Friday, December 27, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
thebahamasweekly.com - U.S. Coast Guard, DEA Partners with the RBPF to Conduct Search and Rescue and Maritime Exercises on Grand Bahama
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
WASHINGTON — A suspicious letter mailed to the White House was similar to two threatening, poison-laced letters on the gun law debate sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most potent gun-control advocates, officials said Thursday.
Yet another letter became known publicly on Thursday, one tainted with the poison ricin and mailed to President Barack Obama from Spokane, Wash., the FBI said. Authorities have arrested a man in Spokane in connection with that letter, which was intercepted May 22.
The Secret Service said the White House-bound letter similar to the ones Bloomberg was sent was intercepted by a White House mail screening facility. Two similar letters postmarked in Louisiana and sent to Bloomberg in New York and his gun control group in Washington contained traces of the deadly poison ricin.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the letter sent to Obama contained ricin. It was turned over to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation.
The two Bloomberg letters, opened Friday in New York and Sunday in Washington, contained an oily pinkish-orange substance.
New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday the same machine or computer had produced the two letters to Bloomberg and the similar one to Obama and that they may be identical. He referred specific questions to the FBI.
The FBI said in a statement that field tests on the letters were consistent with the presence of a biological agent, and the letters were turned over to an accredited laboratory for the kind of thorough analysis that is needed to verify a tentative finding. “More letters may be received,” the statement said, without elaboration.
The body of the letter mailed to New York was addressed to “you” and referenced the gun control debate. Kelly said the unsigned letter says, in so many words: “Anyone who comes for my guns will be shot in the face.” He refused to quote directly from the letter, saying he didn’t want to do the author’s bidding.
Bloomberg has emerged as one of the country’s most important gun-control advocates, able to press his case with both his public position and his private money.
The New York letter was opened at the city’s mail facility in Manhattan in a biochemical containment box, which is a part of the screening process for mayor’s office mail.
“In terms of the processes and procedures that are in place now we think they worked,” Kelly said. “This is sort of an effect of the post-9/11 world that we live in that these checks and facilities are in place and the system worked.”
The second letter was opened Sunday by Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Washington-based nonprofit Bloomberg started.
The letter Glaze opened tested positive for ricin initially. The other letter to Bloomberg at first tested negative but tested positive at a retest Wednesday.
The postal workers union, citing information it got in a Postal Service briefing, said the letters bore a Shreveport, La., postmark. Kelly would not comment on the origin of the letter.
Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Julie Lewis said state authorities have deferred to the FBI and have not opened an investigation. The Shreveport postal center handles mail from Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, so the letter could have come from any of those states, Lewis said.
The people who initially came into contact with the letters showed no symptoms of exposure to the poison, but three officers who later examined the New York letter experienced minor symptoms that have since abated, police said. The mayor visited the mailroom on Thursday but made no public comments on the topic.
On Wednesday, he said he didn’t know why they were sent.
One of the letters “obviously referred to our anti-gun efforts, but there’s 12,000 people that are going to get killed this year with guns and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we’re not going to walk away from those efforts,” said Bloomberg, adding that he didn’t feel threatened.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, vomiting and redness on the skin depending on how the affected person comes into contact with the poison.
The letters were the latest in a string of toxin-laced missives, but authorities would not say whether the letters to Bloomberg and Obama were believed to be linked to any other recent case.
In Washington state, a 37-year-old was charged last week with threatening to kill a federal judge in a letter that contained ricin. On Thursday, the FBI said a suspicious letter containing ricin was mailed to Obama from Spokane on the same day similar ricin-tainted letters were mailed to the judge and to a post office. A fourth letter, sent to nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, continues to undergo testing, officials said.
About a month earlier, letters containing the substance were addressed to Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge. One of the letters postmarked in Memphis, Tenn., was traced back to Tupelo, Miss., and a Mississippi man was arrested.
Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which now counts more than 700 mayors nationwide as members. It lobbies federal and state lawmakers, and it aired a spate of television ads this year urging Congress to expand background checks and pass other gun-control measures after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The background check proposal failed in a Senate vote in April, and other measures gun-control advocates wanted — including a ban on sales of military-style assault weapons — have stalled.
Separately, Bloomberg also has made political donations to candidates who share his desire for tougher gun restrictions. His super PAC, Independence USA, put $2.2 million into a Democratic primary this winter for a congressional seat in Illinois, for example. Bloomberg’s choice, former state lawmaker Robin Kelly, won.
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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Thursday, May 30, 2013
A major safety battle continues to rage between the men who build homes and those tasked with saving them when the unthinkable happens.
Firefighters say indoor residential sprinklers will greatly improve their chances of survival when battling homes erected using “lightweight construction.”
Conversely, contractors say the cost of installing the potentially life saving systems will prevent tens of thousands of Virginians from being able to achieve home ownership.
The estimated cost of the sprinkler system is $1.61 per square foot according to Mike Toalson, CEO of the Virginia Homebuilder’s Association.
“The statistics just don’t bear out the need for it,” said Toalson.
Firefighters who nearly perished in a 2008 blaze in Loudoun County would disagree. A flashover trapped Capt. Micah Kiger and three of his men in a half-million dollar home assembled without a sprinkler system. Temperatures soared above 1,000 degrees around the crew as they fought for their lives.
They were all seriously injured, but managed to escape the inferno that completely destroyed the home on Meadowood Court. One firefighter, however, says he will never return to work.
Robby Dawson, a firefighter representative, says the need is obvious if you understand that new lightweight construction burns remarkably fast.
“(The sprinklers) are not only (critical) in saving lives, but saving property,” said Dawson.
Profits on safety systems are miniscule when compared to luxury building items. Some estimate the cost of sprinklers is roughly the same as granite counter tops — a major issue in the eyes of contractors.
“Profit margins on those nicer amenities are a little bit larger and that’s where they make their money in their business model,” said Toalson. “I don’t blame them for that. That’s just the reality of the situation.”
Five years ago, the International Code Council, which sets minimum safeguards for home construction, voted overwhelmingly in favor of requiring sprinkler systems in new homes.
Hundreds of firefighters flooded the meeting in which the vote was taken, leading the Homebuilder’s Association to say the process had been “hijacked” by firefighters.
Contractors opposed the measure and vowed to fight it with the Commonwealth’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
Their battle was successful as DHCD Board overturned the ICC vote and rejected the requirement.
“The balance of the group are either directly or either marginally indirectly associated with the building industry,” Dawson said.
The firefight between the two parties continues today.
Part 1: Dangerous Battle Raging Between Contractors, Firefighters
Part 2: Lightweight Construction Posing Deadly Risk to Firefighters
Part 3: High Cost of Safety At Heart of Battle Between Firefighters, Contractors
Friday, May 24, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Mass Murderer Julian Knight is taking legal action after being denied a Playstation in his cell. He’s serving 7 life sentences for 7 murders, opening fire at innocent civilians in passing cars. Should he be given a “right” to play?
Read the story here —> http://bit.ly/18HOZrs
Monday, May 13, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
April 25, 2013
A state law enforcement agency is investigating the son of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan after a newspaper determined he is a part-time suburban police officer who uses an unmarked squad car to provide traffic control for his father, an official said this week.
The (Chicago) Sun-Times also reported that Mustapha Farrakhan hasn't worked a shift for the department in more than four years.
"We opened a preliminary investigation after the Sun-Times told us about their investigation," said Kevin McClain, the executive director of the Illinois Police Standards and Training Board.
McClain said he ordered the investigation last week after a reporter contacted his office about what would become a front-page story.
Harvey Police Chief Denard Eaves described Farrakhan as a "volunteer" police officer, but declined to provide the newspaper any details, saying only in a statement that he "stands behind" Farrakhan's appointment and that "Officer Farrakhan assists the Police Department with community relations."
Eaves did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press. Farrakhan does not have a listed number and the Nation of Islam did not immediately return a call for comment from the AP.
The Sun-Times reported that the 52-year-old Farrakhan "certainly has a police badge" from Harvey, a suburb located just south of Chicago, and since 2006 has been registered as a "gun-carrying Harvey cop."
But the paper also found that Farrakhan lives in Crete, about 12 miles from Harvey.
And while state records show he has not worked for the department in four years, the newspaper found YouTube videos that show he has used the lights of his unmarked squad car to stop traffic and escort his father's "unofficial motorcade."
John Millner, the chief of police in Elmhurst and head of the Illinois Police Chief's Association, said that state law allows officers to use their police powers outside their jurisdiction but typically do so only in an emergency, or at the request of the department whose jurisdiction they are in.
McClain would not discuss the Sun-Times story or whether Farrakhan's actions as described by the paper might have been illegal.
Even before Farrakhan stopped logging hours as a sworn police officer more than four years ago, he worked very little, the newspaper said. According to Harvey police records filed with the state, he worked just nine hours in the first half of 2007, 14 in the second half, and 118 1/2 hours in the second half of 2008. After that, the newspaper reported, he stopped working for the department altogether.
Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index
April 25, 2013
By TAMI ABDOLLAH
The city of Los Angeles reached a $4.2 million settlement with two women who were injured when police mistakenly opened fire on them during the manhunt for disgruntled ex-cop Christopher Dorner, an official said Tuesday.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced the sum to KNBC-TV Los Angeles, and an attorney representing the women confirmed the amount to The Associated Press.
The settlement must still be approved by the Los Angeles City Council.
Margie Carranza and her 71-year-old mother, Emma Hernandez, were delivering papers around 5 a.m. on Feb. 7 when LAPD officers guarding the Torrance home of a target named in an online Dorner manifesto blasted at least 100 rounds at their pickup.
Hernandez was shot in the back and Carranza had minor injuries.
The settlement means they cannot pursue any future injury claims against the city.
Dorner had vowed warfare on Los Angeles Police Department officers and their families for what he called an unfair firing.
He killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, during his nearly one-week run from authorities.
Attorney Glen Jonas, who represents the women, called the settlement amount fair and said it spared the city from defending a case that involved eight police officers and would have likely cost millions of dollars.
“The only certainty was the litigation was going to cost everyone a lot of money and a lot of time,” Jonas said.
Jonas sent a nine-page demand to the city more than a month ago that provided an opening to negotiations. He said he negotiated with Trutanich for weeks before the deal was reached on Monday night.
“We’re two veteran trial lawyers trying to settle a case, and we both understand the reality of litigation and what it costs to both sides,” Jonas said.
The women agreed to receive the payment after June 30 — the end of the fiscal year — to help the city with its budgeting. The agreement came in addition to a separate $40,000 settlement reached earlier for the loss of the women’s pickup truck.
“For them, the money is not the issue as much as (the city) just doing the right thing,” Jonas said. “Everyone agreed that they were wronged, but we didn’t know whether responsibility would be assumed ... It’s pleasant to get that done without having to go through years of litigation.”
The eight officers remain assigned to non-field duties pending an internal investigation.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A 50-year-old MetroAccess driver was arrested by D.C.’s Metro Transit Police Wednesday, and charged with first-degree sexual assault.
MetroAccess is a door-to-door paratransit service for people with disabilities that prevent them from using standard bus or rail service.
Police say Ezra Porter, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, stopped his vehicle and had inappropriate sexual contact with the adult female he was transporting on April 19. Transit Police were contacted that afternoon by a family member and immediately launched an investigation. Porter has not provided MetroAccess service since the alleged incident.
Porter is employed by MV Transportation, a company contracted by MetroAccess. Metro requires MV Transportation to screen all employees who provide MetroAccess service for criminal history prior to employment, according to police. Porter has been employed by the company since November 2009.
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(LOS ANGELES) -- A man was shot and killed while walking on the sidewalk on Wednesday, and Los Angeles Police Department West Bureau Homicide detectives are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.
Police say the victim, 31-year-old Kallen Mahone was walking on S. Gramercy Drive around 1:15 a.m. when an unknown suspect approached and shot him numerous times. Mahone, who had moved to Los Angeles less than a year ago, collapsed on the sidewalk.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived and transported Mahone to a local hospital, but he died due to his injuries.
There is very little known about the suspect, and officials have no known motive for the crime at this time.
Police are asking anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of Mahone’s killer to contact West Bureau Homicide Detectives at (213)382-9470. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
April 11, 2013
By TAMI ABDOLLAH Associated Press
When Los Angeles cold case detectives caught up with Samuel Little this past fall, he was living in a Christian shelter in Kentucky, his latest arrest a few months earlier for alleged possession of a crack pipe. But the LA investigators wanted him on far more serious charges: The slayings of two women in 1989, both found strangled and nude below the waist — victims of what police concluded had been sexually motivated strangulations.
Little's name came up, police said, after DNA evidence collected at old crime scenes matched samples of his stored in a criminal database. After detectives say they found yet another match, a third murder charge was soon added against Little.
Now, as the 72-year-old former boxer and transient awaits trial in Los Angeles, authorities in numerous jurisdictions in California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio are scouring their own cold case files for possible ties to Little. One old murder case, in Pascagoula, Miss., already has been reopened. DNA results are pending in some others.
Little's more than 100-page rap sheet details crimes in 24 states spread over 56 years — mostly assault, burglary, armed robbery, shoplifting and drug violations. In that time, authorities say incredulously, he served less than 10 years in prison.
But Los Angeles detectives allege he was also a serial killer, who traveled the country preying on prostitutes, drug addicts and troubled women.
They assert Little often delivered a knockout punch to women and then proceeded to strangle them while masturbating, dumping the bodies and soon after leaving town. Their investigation has turned up a number of cases in which he was a suspect or convicted.
Police are using those old cases — and tracking down surviving victims — to help build their own against Little.
"We see a pattern, and the pattern matches what he's got away with in the past," said LAPD Detective Mitzi Roberts.
Little has pleaded not guilty in the three LA slayings, and in interviews with detectives after his September arrest he described his police record as "dismissed, not guilty, dismissed."
"I just be in the wrong place at the wrong time with people," he said, according to an interview transcript reviewed by The Associated Press.
Still, as more details emerge, so do more questions. Among them: How did someone with so many encounters with the law, suspected by prosecutors and police officers of killing for decades, manage to escape serious jail time?
"It's the craziest rap sheet I've ever seen," said Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman, who has worked many serial killer cold cases. "The fact that he hasn't spent a more significant period of his life (in custody) is a shocking thing. He's gotten break after break after break."
Deputy Public Defender Michael Pentz, who represents Little, declined to comment.
Authorities have pieced together a 24-page timeline tracking Little's activity across the country since his birth. His rap sheet has helped them pinpoint his location sometimes on a monthly basis. Law enforcement agencies are now cross-referencing that timeline with cold case slayings in their states.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is leading a review of that state's unsolved murders and helping coordinate the effort among 12 jurisdictions. The department published an intelligence bulletin alerting authorities in Florida, Alabama and Georgia about Little's case, noting he lived in the area on and off in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
"We strongly encouraged them to look at any unresolved homicides that they had during those time frames and then consider him as a potential suspect," said Jeff Fortier, a special agent supervisor at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The department is re-examining DNA evidence in about 15 cases that was collected before advances in forensic science allowed for thorough analysis, Fortier said.
"We are in the infancy stages of what we expect will be a protracted investigation," he said.
In Mississippi, Pascagoula cold case Detective Darren Versiga is re-investigating the killing of Melinda LaPree, a 22-year-old prostitute found strangled in 1982. Little had been arrested in that crime but never indicted, Versiga said. The detective has tracked down old witnesses and is working to reconstruct the case file because much of it was washed away during Hurricane Katrina.
Little, who often went by the name Samuel McDowell, grew up with his grandmother in Lorain, Ohio. His rap sheet shows his first arrest at age 16 on burglary charges. After serving time in a youth authority he was released and, months later, arrested again for breaking and entering.
In an hour- and 15-minute interview with Los Angeles detectives, Little spoke openly about his past and his time in the penitentiary, where he started boxing as a middleweight against the other inmates. "I used to be a prizefighter," he said.
In his late 20s, Little went to live with his mother in Florida and worked at the Dade County Department of Sanitation and, later, at a cemetery. Soon, he began traveling more widely and had more run-ins with the law; between 1971 and 1974 Little was arrested in eight states for crimes that included armed robbery, rape, theft, solicitation of a prostitute, shoplifting, DUI, aggravated assault on a police officer and fraud.
"I've been in and out of the penitentiary," he told the California officers.
"Well, for what?" a detective asked, to which Little responded: "Shoplifting and, uh, petty thefts and stuff."
Then came the 911 call of Sept. 11, 1976, in Sunset Hills, Mo.
Pamela Kay Smith was banging on the back door of a home, crying for help, naked below the waist with her hands bound behind her back with electrical cord and cloth. Smith, who was a drug addict, told officers that she was picked up by Little in St. Louis. She said he choked her from behind with electrical cord, forced her into his car, beat her unconscious, then drove to Sunset Hills and raped her.
Officers found Little, then 36, still seated in his car near the home where Smith sought refuge, with her jewelry and clothing inside. Little denied raping Smith, telling officers: "I only beat her." The case summary was recalled in court papers filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles.
Little was found guilty of assault with the intent to ravish-rape and was sentenced to three months in county jail. Pascagoula Detective Versiga, who reviewed the Smith case, believes Little may have pleaded to a lesser charge and received a shorter sentence because of the victim's lifestyle. The case file refers to Smith as a heroin addict who often failed to appear in court.
After that, the charges against Little grew more serious.
In Pascagoula, LaPree went missing in September 1982 after getting into a wood-paneled station wagon with a man witnesses later identified as Little. A month later her remains were found, and Little was arrested in her killing and the assault of two other prostitutes. Versiga believes grand jurors failed to indict in part because of the difficulty in determining a precise time of death but also because of credibility problems due to the victim and witnesses working as prostitutes.
Little, nevertheless, remained in custody and was extradited to Florida to be tried in the case of another slain woman.
Patricia Ann Mount, 26 and mentally disabled, was found dead in the fall of 1982 in rural Forest Grove, Fla., near Gainesville. Eyewitnesses described last seeing her leaving a beer tavern with a man identified as Little in a wood-paneled station wagon.
According to The Gainesville Sun's coverage of the trial, a fiber analyst testified that hairs found on Mount's clothes "had the same characteristics as head hairs taken from" Little. But when cross-examined the analyst said "it was also possible for hairs to be transferred if two people bumped together."
A jury acquitted Little in January 1984.
By October 1984, Little was back in custody — this time in San Diego, accused in the attempted murder of two prostitutes who were kidnapped a month apart, driven to the same abandoned dirt lot, assaulted and choked. The first woman was left unconscious on a pile of trash but survived, according to court records. Patrol officers discovered Little in a car with the second woman and arrested him.
The two cases were tried jointly, but the jury failed to reach a verdict. Little later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of assault with great bodily injury and false imprisonment. He served about 2.5 years on a four-year sentence and, in February 1987, he was released on parole.
As he told the LA detectives in his interview, Little then moved to Los Angeles, where three more women were soon discovered dead: Carol Alford, 41, found on July 13, 1987; Audrey Nelson, 35, found on Aug. 14, 1989; and Guadalupe Apodaca, 46, found on Sept. 3, 1989. All were manually strangled.
It is for those slayings that Little now stands charged. No trial date has been set, though Little is due back in court this month for a procedural hearing. If convicted, Little would face a minimum of life in prison without parole, though prosecutors said they may seek the death penalty.
When the case landed on Detective Roberts' desk, she had no idea it would grow from two local cold case slayings to a cross-country probe into the past of a man with some 75 arrests. As she studied her suspect, Roberts also began calling agencies that had dealt with Little most recently.
He had been arrested on May 1, 2012, by sheriff's deputies in Lake Charles, La., for possession of a crack pipe and released with an upcoming court date. At Roberts' request, deputies tried finding him but came up empty. Then last September deputies called with a hit tracing an ATM purchase by Little to a Louisville, Ky., minimart. Within hours he was found at a nearby shelter.
In his interview with police, Little said he didn't recognize the slain LA women. Detectives said that DNA collected from semen on upper body clothing or from fingernail scrapings connect him to the crimes.
Roberts and others who've investigated Little through the years said some cases may not have gone forward because DNA testing wasn't available until the mid-1980s and, even when it was, wouldn't have been useful in these cases unless authorities tested clothing, fingernails or body swabs. Due to this perpetrator's particular modus operandi, DNA wouldn't necessarily be found through standard rape kit collection.
Even in those cases that did go to trial, they said, jurors may have found the victims less credible because of their backgrounds, and the witnesses — often prostitutes — in some cases disappeared. Because Little was also a transient, Roberts said: "I don't think he stuck in a lot of peoples' minds much."
"But what's different now, we're just not going to allow that to happen," she said. "I think we owe it to the victims. I think we owe it to the families."
Tony Zambrano was 17 when he learned his mother, Guadalupe Apodaca, was killed after going out for a drink one night.
"My brother told me she left, she went to go have a couple beers, and never came home," he recalls. Soon after he learned of her slaying.
For years Zambrano tried to find out what happened to his mother. When Roberts called him following Little's arrest, he was grateful. But he's also upset.
"My mom shouldn't really be dead now. For all those charges in San Diego, who gets four years?" Zambrano said. "This thing ain't over for a long shot."
April 18, 2013
City News Service
A man charged with murder and other counts in a shooting and fiery crash on the Las Vegas Strip nearly two months ago has been extradited from Los Angeles to Nevada. Ammar Harris, 27, was released just after 11:30 p.m. Monday to Nevada law enforcement officials, according to jail records. Harris was returned to Clark County, Nev., where he was awaiting a court appearance on Wednesday, according to Tess Driver of the Clark County District Attorney's Office.
He had been jailed in Los Angeles since his arrest at a Studio City apartment complex on February 28. After examining photographs and fingerprints, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba said she determined last month that Harris is ``the same individual'' being sought by the state of Nevada. Authorities allege that Harris opened fire Feb. 21 from a Range Rover on Oakland-based rap artist Kenny Clutch, legally known as Kenneth Wayne Cherry, after a verbal altercation.
The fatally wounded Clutch crashed the Maserati he was driving into a cab that burst into flames, killing taxi driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund. A criminal complaint filed Feb. 22 in Nevada charged Harris with 11 counts, including three counts of murder with use of a deadly weapon, one count of attempted murder, two counts of discharging a firearm at or into a vehicle and five counts of discharging a firearm out of a motor vehicle.
Illustration and creation by ms. Lisa C. Jackson
Monday, April 15, 2013
Second suspect Daniel Martinez arrested in kidnap of Northridge girl. Primary suspect Tobias Summers is still outstanding - @KCBSKCALDESK
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
In the 1990′s, writer and humorist Bill Geerhart began writing letters to celebrities, politicians and criminals under the guide of a young boy. An especially unsettling response to one of his letters came from serial killer Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker.
In 2010, Geerhart’s book Little Billy’s Letters was published by Harper Collins.
See more handwritten correspondence at Letters of Note.
Billy, Greetings. Got yr letter. What school do you go to? Who’s yr friend? You should stay in school. Send pictures. Richard
How do you make a hardened serial killer cry? Gary Ridgeway, aka the Green River Killer, was convicted of the murders of 48 prostitutes on December 18, 2003, though it is believed that he killed more than 90 women. When the families of his many victims had their day in court, Ridgway remained impassive until one father addressed him.
Green River Killer: River of Death
VIDEO: Interview With Green River Killer Gary Ridgway
Illustration and creation by ms. Lisa C. Jackson
In an ongoing feature, Crime Library will shed a light on the women spending the rest of their lives on death row in prisons across America.
In the state of Kentucky, there are 37 inmates on death row. The 36 men wait out their days at Kentucky State Penitentiary. The sole woman, Virginia Caudill, resides at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women.
Virginia Caudill. Prison photo.
After the killing, Virginia and Jonathon fled the county and spent several days in a cabin. They then went to Ocala, Florida, followed by Gulfport, Mississippi. Virginia moved on to New Orleans, leaving her accomplice behind. She’d been free for over six months when she was arrested in November. Jonathon’s arrest came soon after.
At trial, both defendants blamed the other for masterminding the murder and delivering the fatal blow. The finger-pointing had little effect on judge and jury, and Virginia and her accomplice were both convicted of first degree murder, robbery, burglary, arson and evidence tampering and sentenced to death. Following their sentencing, both argued that they were wrongfully convicted due to having ineffective attorneys. Virginia claimed that if an expert witness for the defense were called in to testify on blood spatter evidence found at the scene, the outcome of her case would have been different. A judge, however, disagreed.
Spotlight: The Women on Louisiana’s Death Row
Spotlight: The Women on Alabama’s Death Row
Spotlight: The Women on Florida’s Death Row
A neighbor, who saw the dogs locked on to the boy’s extremities, retrieved his gun from inside his house, returned and shot and killed one of the dogs. A nearby bicycle cop responded when he heard the single shot. The officer killed the other two dogs, though it is unclear how many shots he fired. The boy, who was covered with bites, was rushed to a hospital for emergency surgery. He is stable and recovering, but according to the boy’s uncle, “The injuries are terrible. … This boy is traumatized. … He told me doesn’t want to go outside anymore. He’s too scared.” The child was also shot in the foot, though apparently the police report does not mention this.
Two of the dogs were killed on the spot, but the third, fatally wounded, managed to limp back to it’s owner’s house leaving a trail of blood. The dogs’ owner lives on the same block as the shooter and the victim and has been cited for failing to leash his dogs, a $25 fine for each dog, and for menacing people, a $100 fine.
Authorities have said that, even though the shooter was reportedly very close to his property line when he fired, they are considering charging the shooter for illegally discharging his firearm on a D.C. street, a serious charge that would carry a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison. It is not known if the gun was legally registered or not.
Illustration and creation by ms. Lisa C. Jackson
Quintin O'Dell. Police photo.
According to O’Dell’s confession and courtroom testimony, he had been wading across the Platte River on May 31, 2011, when he saw the 22-year-old Shippert. He approached her and they started talking, but then he attacked her with a hatchet, fatally striking her in the face. Shippert’s murder remained unsolved until O’Dell caught the attention of police later that year. On Christmas night, O’Dell visited Costello at her home. The two were drinking and at one point, O’Dell sliced open her stomach. He later described to police how Costello’s intestines fell out of her body and onto the floor.
As part of his guilty plea, O’Dell avoids the death penalty, something that Shippert’s family is OK with. ”I’m relieved that it’s all over with,” her father, Landis Shippert, told KMBC. “[The prosecutor] had to make a decision about whether to seek the death penalty or not, and we said we just wanted it to be over with, we don’t want to be (dragged) through court.”
Confession Released in Case of Jake Evans, Teen Charged With Killing Mom, Sister