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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bloody vengeance

'Dark Angel' kills & mutilates her stepdad over sex abuse: probers
7-30-2007 New York

She lured her stepfather to a Queens apartment, then handcuffed, asphyxiated and sexually mutilated him - all to settle a horrific score from two decades ago, sources said.

Cops investigating the twisted slaying of Eric Goodridge, 55, believe stepdaughter Brigitte Harris, 26, cut off his penis to exact revenge for alleged sex abuse when she was a girl, law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Harris, who called herself the Original Dark Angel and Lady Vengeance, left chilling notes in her Rockaways apartment accusing Goodridge of abuse and justifying her crime, sources said.

"He wrecked my life," read one note found near her stepfather's body Saturday. "At first, I blamed myself. Now I know it's not my fault," another said.

"She planned this - it was premeditated," a law enforcement source said. "In her mind, it was justified vengeance."

Police recovered a bloody knife and caught up with Harris after she checked herself into a mental hospital and ranted incoherently about the slaying.

Goodridge, an emigrant from the West African nation of Liberia, had arrests for reckless endangerment in 1978 and menacing in 1982, but no details were available.

Harris was born in 1981.

Police said Harris sent e-mails to Goodridge to lure him to her apartment. Then she handcuffed him to a chair, gagged him with duct tape and throttled him until he died, authorities said.

He was already dead when she cut off his penis, officials said, noting there would have been much more blood if he had been alive when it was severed.

"This is a homicide that had meaning and reason," said one source. "It is like a movie, let me tell you."

The cause of death was "homicidal violence, including gagging and neck compression," according to a medical examiner's spokeswoman.

Goodridge lived in Staten Island when he was married to Harris' mom. He later married another woman, who died five years ago.

That woman's mother defended Goodridge yesterday as a decent dad to his other children, who are now orphaned.

She acknowledged hearing rumors that Goodridge had abused Harris - but she didn't think it was true.

"I would die if I could believe that," said his former mother-in-law. "He wouldn't pay child support, but I wouldn't believe that."

But a former brother-in-law said he had also heard of the sex abuse claims long before Goodridge's shocking death.

"It stands to reason if someone pulls a Lorena Bobbitt, there's a good reason," he said.

Harris has twice made criminal complaints against her stepsister Carleen Goodridge, once for grand larceny and once for assault.

Carleen Goodridge said she couldn't talk about the dark family secrets behind the slaying.

"It will all come out," she said outside her home in Staten Island.

The family arranged for a lawyer to represent Harris, but the lawyer told the Daily News he had not spoken with her yet.

The relatives said Goodridge told them he worked for the government of Liberia, but a diplomat at Liberia's Mission to the United Nations said she had never heard of him.

Harris works for a private security company at Kennedy Airport and is not a government airport screener, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said. ..more.. by ALISON GENDAR, JOE GOULD and DAVE GOLDINER

Shrinks say 'there's a message' in brutal attack
7-30-2007 New York

She called herself Lady Vengeance and the Original Dark Angel.

And her music blared with violent lyrics: "I will be avenged/ these are the secrets/ that kill."

Brigitte Harris saw herself dispensing wrath and retribution, her MySpace online profile shows. And by sexually mutilating the man who sources say she accused of sexually abusing her, Harris acted out a bloody version of payback, experts said.

"That she killed in this particular fashion would be revenge. For a woman to do this to her stepfather, it says 'abused' all over it," said Dr. Louis Schlesinger, a professor of forensic psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"Castration, there's a message there: She's basically eliminating the technique of abuse," he said.

Harris, 26, allegedly lured 55-year-old Eric Goodridge to her apartment via e-mail.

Goodridge was found there handcuffed to a chair, with his genitals cut off and duct tape around his mouth.

While authorities will investigate her sex abuse allegations, "it's extremely rare" for victims to kill their abusers, said forensic psychologist Dawn Hughes.

"Was she still being abused and still feeling controlled by this individual?" Hughes asked. "Was she acting in her own salvation to prevent a future occurrence?"

Harris last logged on to MySpace on Saturday, the same day sources believe she placed a 911 call reporting the slaying.

She lists her mood as "depressed" and says she'd like to meet "anyone who can save me."

The angry song "Ghostflowers" by the metal band OTEP plays on the page.

She declares in a June 2006 blog post that "cocaine is a helluva drug" and apologizes "2 any1 i may have hurt ... i was pretty wasted." ..more.. by JORDAN LITE

Monday, August 13, 2007

WA- Slain sex offender held job at women's shelter

Posted in Related Deaths
3-25-2004 Washington:

He was a convicted rapist, a level three sex offender, and last week, he killed a single mother before he was fatally shot by police.

But despite his history of abusing women, Lawrence Owens, 43, had spent the past three months working through a temporary employment agency at the YWCA's Opportunity Place, a Belltown facility that includes among its services a 25-bed shelter for homeless women, some of them victims of domestic violence.

Because Owens was working through the Labor Ready employment agency, YWCA authorities did not know about his criminal background.

"As you can imagine, we were pretty angry when we learned of this," said Sherry Dawley, YWCA's director of community affairs. "Labor Ready got quite an earful when we contacted them."

The YWCA immediately ended its relationship with the agency, she said.

Stacey Burke, spokeswoman for the Tacoma-based company, said Labor Ready didn't know about Owens' background, either.

The agency conducts background checks of its employees only at clients' request, she said.

"It wasn't requested by the customer," she said, adding the company might have reconsidered where it placed Owens.

Owens' violent actions, Burke said, should not reflect upon the thousands of people Labor Ready employs.

"This situation is so unusual and so sad," she said.

Seattle police Capt. Neil Low, who supervises the sex offender unit, said employers aren't among the groups the department notifies when a sex offender registers in the area.

"We're not going to get these people fired from their jobs," he said. "We're not trying to punish them. We're trying to keep them from hurting more people."

Still, he said, he understands why the YWCA would be reluctant to have a level three sex offender working at a women's shelter.

"That's a bad mix," he said.

In 1997, Owens pleaded guilty to assault and unlawful possession of a firearm after his arrest for beating up a girlfriend in his Seattle apartment. He also held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her.

As part of the same case, Owens was convicted of assault with sexual motivation for beating and raping another woman.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison, but was released this past September. Upon release, he was required to register as a level three sex offender, the type considered most likely to reoffend.

On March 17, Seattle police shot Owens to death at the Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill.

Just moments earlier, Owens had killed 31-year-old Dori Cordova, shooting her three times with a shotgun he was not legally entitled to possess because he was a convicted felon.

Owens and Cordova were tenants at the Jensonia Hotel near downtown Seattle and were displaced by fire a week before the shooting. They were staying at the community center, where the Red Cross had set up a temporary shelter for the displaced tenants.

Investigators have said Owens apparently had found someplace else to stay and wanted Cordova to join him. When she would not, he killed her.

By coincidence, Cordova and her 10-year-old son were about to move into another YWCA facility, said Nicole Wagner, a family-support worker with Gatzert Elementary School who was helping mother and son. (Note: The facility where Cordova and her son were moving was misidentified in the original version of this article.)

"Lawrence knew she was going there," Wagner said. "She only went to the community center to gather personal belongings."

Owens had worked at the YWCA shelter since December, Dawley said.

Because the facility had only opened in November, the YWCA had not filled all the positions with permanent workers. They relied upon temporary employment agencies to fill the gaps.

Labor Ready supplied Owens as a custodian.

By most accounts, he was doing a good job, Dawley said.

"There are a number of staff members who were upset about his death," she said. "He had been a very good worker, had been a very pleasant worker. He went out of his way to be very helpful to people."

Still, she said, had the YWCA known about his status, he would not have worked there.

The agency requires criminal background checks on all employees and believed Labor Ready was following the same policy, Dawley said.

"We go to such great lengths to try to create a safe environment for everyone," she said.

Since learning about Owens' background, the YWCA has decided to require any temporary employment agency it uses to conduct background checks and to let the YWCA know what they find before they send workers to any YWCA facility.

Cordova's son is living with relatives in Kent. But his mother's sudden death has been hard on him.

Mother and son had struggled financially for some time and had received help through Seattle Public Schools' Family Support Worker Program.

The program provides vouchers, clothing and housing assistance.

Cordova's son still needs help with many of these things, Wagner said.

"This is a pivotal time for him," she said. "He's a super, super kid."

His mother's funeral is set for Sunday. ..more.. by HECTOR CASTRO

NYS Trooper Wounded, Kills Sex Offender

6-19-2007 New York:

POTSDAM—New York State Trooper Amanda Reif, just returned to duty from a maternity leave, is in serious condition at the Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington, Vt. after being shot Monday while responding to a domestic dispute on Route 56 in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County.

Reif, 29, a nearly five-year veteran of the State Police, was shot in the shoulder by suspect Steven McCumber, 45, as she exited her patrol car. She was able to return fire, killing McCumber.

Reif is stationed at the SP barracks in Canton, Troop B.

According to state police officials, Reif was shot while investigating a domestic dispute at McCumber’s home and was first on the scene. As soon as she arrived, McCumber allegedly shot her, ran back into the house and then back out into the driveway where police say he aggressively charged at other officers. Reif fired one shot, killing him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said that McCumber was a registered level 3 sex offender with recent convictions of attempted sexual abuse for incidents involving girls ages 10 and 12 and one for rape involving a 13-year old girl in the late 80s.

The State Troopers PBA issued a statement Tuesday, saying that Reif’s injuries are not life-threatening.

This the eighth shooting of a state trooper in the last 16 months, three of which have been fatal—Trooper David Brinkerhoff, Trooper Andrew Speer and Joseph Longobardo.

Since March 2006, the New York State Troopers have suffered the loss of six Troopers in the line of duty, including four who were killed by gunfire. Additionally, five Troopers were shot and wounded during this time period. ..more.. by North Country Gazette

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sex offender dies after fight in prison

8-8-2007 Missouri:

Jefferson City — Authorities on Tuesday were investigating a fight at a southern Missouri prison that resulted in the death of a convicted sex offender.

Pleasant J. Hurst, 48, was punched in the head and injured during an altercation Saturday in the gymnasium of the South Central Correctional Center in Licking. He was pronounced dead later that day at a hospital in Houston, Mo., said Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Hauswirth.

His death is being investigated as a possible homicide, Texas County Prosecutor Michael R. Anderson said Tuesday. Anderson said he has a suspect but declined to identify the person.

Hurst was serving a 52-year sentence from St. Charles County for first-degree child molestation, sexual misconduct with a child, kidnapping and attempted kidnapping.

The Corrections Department's investigators are looking into a motive for the fight, including the potential that it was related to the nature of Hurst's convictions. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Hauswirth declined to identify the other inmate involved in the fight but said he did not believe the other inmate was injured or that any weapons were used in the attack. Department investigators are to report their findings to the Texas County prosecutor.

At Hurst's 2003 trial, prosecutors said he grabbed a 10-year-old girl at a Wal-Mart store in O'Fallon in December 2002 and forced her to lie on the floor while threatening to hurt her and the child's family. The girl ignored the command and began to scream, attracting the attention of employees who chased Hurst as he tried to flee the store. Witnesses eventually caught him.

Hurst also had several previous convictions for sex offenses. Among them, he was convicted in 1989 on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of sexual assault. He was released from prison in February 1993. ..more.. by The Associated Press

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Police seek more after paedophile death

8-4-2007 New Zealand:

More people can expect a knock on the door from the police over the death of a convicted paedophile in Foxton.

Police yesterday arrested a 27-year-old for the murder of Glen Stinson, the sex offender found dead on a rural property last Saturday.

The arrest follows the court appearance of a woman on assault and kidnap charges.

Inspector Mark Harrison says they want to talk to other people who were at the Palmerston North address where Stinson was the night before his body was found.

He won't talk about whether Stinson's death could be related to historical sex offences, or fresh charges he was facing. ..more.. by New Zealand City Limited

Second man due in court on murder charge
8-6-2007 New Zealand

A second man will appear in court on Monday charged with the murder of a convicted pedophile who was found dead in Foxton.

The body of Glen Donald Stinson, 57, was found on Wylies Road last weekend. He had convictions for sexual offending against children and was facing fresh charges.

A man, 27, was charged with his murder on Friday. The police say a Palmerston North man, 46, who was arrested in Woodville on Sunday, has also been charged with murder.

A woman, 31, is also facing kidnapping and assault charges over the incident. ..more.. by Radio New Zealnd

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Columbia man dead after police standoff, SLED investigating

7-26-2007 Wisconsin:

COLUMBIA (WIS) - What started as a routine call to a fire turned in to a deadly standoff in Richland County Sunday.

"You can't wait until he gets on top of her and starts to stab her and cut her and decide what you go do at that point," says Sheriff Leon Lott, who's standing by Deputy Kelly Hendrix. Hendrix shot 38-year-old Richard Lewis Catoe, Jr. during a two and a half hour long showdown beginning Sunday morning.

Authorities say it all started around 3:00am Sunday. They believe Catoe may have set fire to his home twice.

Neighbors say it was because his wife left him.

"He said well if I can't live there, ain't nobody going to live there. I'm going to burn this house down," said McKenly Minger.

They say he was also threatening to kill an officer with what police describe as a large hunting knife.

After that, they say the officer then shot Catoe in the stomach once.

"Other officers arrived and the individual still kept the knife at bay and at that point threatened to kill any officer that came near him and stated that he was not going to give himself up," said Columbia Police Chief Dean Crisp.

By that point, the sheriff's department arrived on the scene and began negotiations that they say would last several hours.

"I stood about here, they were there, but you could hear everything that this negotiator had to say. He was very arrogant, so for him to try to negotiate a man putting a knife down, it was done very tacky," Sonya Kennedy told WIS News 10.

"He threatened to stab one of the officers, he actually escaped the perimeter and came toward one of the officers with a knife and at that time one of the sheriff's deputies shot him," said Sheriff Leon Lott.

All of this while they think Catoe was under the influence of drugs. Columbia Police Chief Dean Crisp says, "With my experience, with an individual with that type of behavior it would appear to be some type of amphetamine."

The sheriff's department described Catoe as having abnormal strength, and they say they tried to stop him with Tasers before firing the shots that killed him.

"The officer was put in a position where she had no choice whatsoever. Her life was in danger and so was the life of others," Lott said.

But other witnesses, including friends and neighbors, paint a different picture of what happened. "He wasn't threatening the officers ... they had the upper hand," says John Hutto. Hutto lived a few doors down from Catoe, and described him as a nice man, but also one that had problems.

But those were problems that he says he and other neighbors who knew him could solve without violence. Hutto says, "I went down there and stopped him from arguing and fighting several times and had no problem out of him, asked the police if I could do the same today."

Hutto says they said no. Close friend and neighbor Kennedy says she also offered to talk to Catoe because she knew he would respond to her better than the officers. "Sure, they might have talked with him and given him ample enough time to put the knife down, but he was not causing harm to no one else but himself."

But Lott says he was, and he was out there for the neighborhood's protection. "Mr. Catoe was not the person yesterday that they know all the time."

Coroner Gary Watts says Catoe died as a result of blood loss, after gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach.

Catoe was a convicted sex offender with a laundry list of charges including assaulting a police officer.

Sheriff Lott says shooting Catoe was something his deputy had to do, not something she wanted to do. He added that more officers have been killed in the first six months of this year than in the last 30 years. ..more.. by Trey Paul