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Friday, November 28, 2008

FL- Ocala shooting victim was homeless sex offender

11-28-2008 Florida:

OCALA -- The Ocala Police Department has released the name of the man shot to death after a confrontation late Tuesday night.

He was identified as 34-year-old William Anthony Surratt. Officials notified Surratt's family about his death sometime late Wednesday night to early Thursday morning.

Ocala police Capt. Lester Revels said Friday that family members said Surratt was originally from Atlanta and had moved to the Marion Oaks area roughly four years ago.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site indicates Surratt had been a registered sex offender. The sex offender information lists him as a 6-foot-tall, 280-pound homeless man, and describes his 1995 conviction in Interstate, Ga., as involving rape and child molestation.

Revels said there is no indication Surratt was slain because he was a sex offender.

Investigators were still searching for several people who detectives believe had a confrontation with Surratt in the 700 block of Northwest First Street beside a white brick home. The group had gathered by a bonfire because of the cold that night.

There were reports of about four shots fired shortly after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Afterward, officials say, Surratt ran and then collapsed about 150 to 200 yards away from the original crime scene.

When officers arrived on scene, in the 600 block of Northwest Second Street, Surratt was lying on the side of the roadway by an open lot. Authorities say the victim was in shock and was cared for by Ocala Fire Rescue personnel.

He was taken by ambulance to Munroe Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Surratt’s wallet was in his left back pocket. In his right pants pocket was a box of Marlboro cigarettes filled with coins instead of cigarettes, authorities said.

Officials on Wednesday say they could not rule out any motive, including robbery or attempted robbery.

Surratt was known to frequent the area, and detectives were still trying to figure out what caused the confrontation. ..News Source.. by Austin L. Miller, Star-Banner

Saturday, November 22, 2008

CA- Charges filed in trailer park killing

Garcia, who killed Maddon, ended up serving 1-year in jail! See below..
11-22-2008 California:

A Chico man was charged with murder Thursday after a Crescent City man was fatally stabbed Wednesday night at the Shangri-La Trailer Court, 1130 U.S. Hwy. 101 North.

Mario Contreras Garcia, 21, is in custody at the Del Norte County Jail, charged with the murder of Terry Eugene Maddon, 39, said the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office Thursday. Garcia is being held without bail.

A second defendant, Guillermo Montanez, 20, of Crescent City, is in jail on suspicion of being an accessory to the murder and is being held on $500,000 bail.

Authorities were called to the trailer park at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. By then, Maddon had been taken by ambulance to Sutter Coast Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"Basically we got a call that he had been transported to the hospital by ambulance and had been stabbed," said sheriff's Detective Ed Fleshman.

Maddon was stabbed once in the area to the left of his armpit.

"It was an altercation between (Maddon and) two Mexican males and one female," said Fleshman.

As investigators continued to search the scene, two people were taken into custody. They were eventually released, said Fleshman, but not before authorities were able to get information on the suspects.

"Because of that they uncovered some very good leads for us," said Detective Sergeant Steve Morris.

Early Thursday, hours after the stabbing, Del Norte Search and Rescue workers found Mario Garcia "hiding behind a trailer in the back of the park," Fleshman said.

Garcia's sister, Maricruz Garcia, was also questioned and released.

Fleshman did not release details of a possible motive in the killing of Maddon, a registered sex offender.

Morris said that the suspected murder weapon, a lock-back folding knife was also found.

"It was located in a storage shed in the trailer park," said the sergeant.

Maddon had lived with his mother, Georgie Maddon, 57, at the trailer park, said the Sheriff's Office. Georgie Maddon was named on the lease, which began in December 2007, but her son was not, authorities said.

Maddon had been convicted of sexually abusing a minor under 14.

Morris said the office is awaiting forensic tests on evidence from the knife and from Mario Garcia's clothing.

The sergeant said authorities are investigating other suspects in the case as well. ..News Source.. by Triplicate staff writer


Stabbing charge lowered

2-21-2009 California:

Manslaughter now alleged

The charge against a Crescent City man accused in a fatal stabbing was reduced Friday from murder to manslaughter.

Mario Contreras Garcia, 21, was facing a murder charge after he confessed to stabbing Terry Maddon, 39, during an altercation at the Shangri-la Trailer Court on U.S. Highway 101 last Nov. 19.

Garcia now faces charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, with an enhancement for allegedly using a knife, said District Attorney Mike Riese. Garcia pleaded not guilty last year.

“The victim’s family is really disappointed that while we thought intent was there, the judge didn’t see it,” said Riese, noting intent is needed for a murder charge to stick.

Garcia’s sister, Maricruz Contreras Garcia, 18, recently pleaded guilty to destruction of evidence in connection with the case for attempting to wash bloodstained clothing. Her boyfriend, Guillermo Montanez, 20, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact. They have not been sentenced

Riese said visiting Judge Phillip Schaeffer found “there was a gap in the evidence to show” that Mario Garcia intended to kill Maddon.

“When the evidence shows that it looks like multiple people on one, and one person comes armed with a knife, we file murder charges,” said the DA in defense of his original filing.

Mario Garcia told authorities that Maddon was intoxicated and hit him, causing him to fall, according to court documents. Garcia said he blacked out, then got up and stabbed Maddon.

“I’m disappointed the judge did not agree, but that’s the nature of the system, so instead of facing life, he now faces approximately a decade,” said Riese.

After authorities arrived, it took half the night to locate Mario Garcia, who was found hiding in the back of the trailer park.

Bloodstained clothing worn by Maricruz Garcia and Montanez was found in the possession of Maricruz Garcia that night, the documents state. She admitted she was about to launder the clothing.

The suspected murder weapon, a bloodstained knife, was also found at the trailer park from information obtained from Maricruz Garcia, the documents state.

A pre-trial hearing for Mario Garcia is scheduled for April 16. ..Source.. Adam Madison, The Triplicate


Convict in fatal stabbing to be released

9-18-2009 California:

One-year prison term given at sentencing in manslaughter case

A 21-year-old man who pled guilty to causing the stabbing death of a man during an altercation last year will soon be released after being sentenced Thursday to one year in county jail.

Mario Garcia, 21, of Crescent City was sentenced by Judge Phillip Schaffer in Del Norte County Superior Court to one year in jail, with a stipulated seven year prison sentence and five years of probation on charges of voluntary manslaughter with an enhancement for using a knife during commission of a felony.

Garcia was originally charged with murder, but Judge Schaffer found there was insufficient evidence to show that Garcia intended to kill Maddon, so charges were reduced to manslaughter.

Garcia pled guilty to the manslaughter charges in August.

He has served 302 days with 75 custodial credit days for good behavior, totaling 377 days, according to court proceedings.

The Del Norte County jail said Garcia was still in custody on Thursday night.
Garcia was convicted for the fatal stabbing of Terry Maddon, 39, during a fight at Shangri-La Trailer Court on Nov. 19 of last year.

Garcia’s sister, Maricruz Garcia, then 18, pled guilty earlier this year to destruction of evidence in connection with the crime for attempting to wash blood stained clothing. Guillermo Montanez, her boyfriend, then 20, pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

According to Del Norte County Deputy District Attorney Katie Micks, Montanez and Maricruz Garcia have not been sentenced yet.

Garcia declined to address the court, speaking only through his attorney, Darren McElfresh.

In defense of Garcia, McElfresh said that autopsy reports showed Maddon had methamphetamine in his system and that Maddon had caused the altercation.

The attorney said that the stabbing was self-defense, according to autopsy reports that showed Maddon had scuffs on his knees as if he had mounted Garcia to assault him.

“The victim was the initiator,” said McElfresh. “My client was struck first,” he said.

Georgina Maddon, the victim’s mother, and Julie Collyer, another relative, addressed the court by phone.

“He took my boy’s life and he gets away with a slap on the hand. I can never accept that,” said Georgina Maddon.

“He’s my son, and he’s way more important than that,” she said, her sobbing audible through the speaker- phone.

“I pray that justice was served, and it was not today,” she said before hanging up the phone.

Collyer was contacted and addressed the court by speaker-phone next.

“I will say this to the young man,” she said, addressing Garcia. “It just killed me. You didn’t even know his name.”

Collyer broke down after the statement. Her sobbing could be clearly heard through the phone.

“You took an innocent man, and you didn’t even know his name,” she said.

Collyer addressed Garcia’s sentence as well.

“Whatever you get will not bring Terry back,” she said.

“I’m damn angry, and I don’t wish you dead. I just hope that every day you remember him,” said Collyer.

Tracy Brown, Maddon’s sister, addressed the court in person through tears after Collyer and Georgina Maddon had finished their telephone appearances.

“He would never have hurt you. You came to his house,” said Brown.

She said she could forgive the actual crime but was more worried about how the death affected their mother.

“You hurt my mom. He died in her arms. I’ll never have the same mom,” said Brown.

She said she would leave judgement up to a higher power.

“If you believe in god, then you’d better get next to him,” said Brown, before leaving the courtroom. ..Source.. by Adam Madison, The Triplicate


Accomplices in fatal stabbing at trailer park sentenced

9-19-2009 California:

The final two people involved in the stabbing death of Terry Maddon in a trailer park last year were sentenced on Friday.

Mario Garcia, who had pled guilty in August to stabbing Maddon and causing his death during an altercation at Shangri-la Trailer Park on Nov. 19, was sentenced on Thursday.

He was released from custody yesterday, due to already having served his sentence, which was one year, while awaiting court proceedings.

Maricruz Garcia and her boyfriend, Guillermo Montanez, were reported as being at the scene of the stabbing, according to authorities.

Maricruz Garcia pled guilty to destruction of evidence for attempting to wash bloodstained clothing worn by Mario Garcia.

Montanez pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact for being involved in the attempt to cover up the crime, according to authorities.

Montanez and Maricruz were each fined $500 plus court fees and sentenced to three years of informal probation.

Montanez had previously served 54 days in Del Norte County Jail on the offense, and Maricruz Garcia had credit for two days served. ..Source.. by Adam Madison, The Triplicate

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

PA- Man found guilty of killing son's alleged molester

11-18-2008 Pennsylvania:

ERIE -- A northwestern Pennsylvania man has been convicted of third-degree murder for shooting a man who was accused of molesting the suspect's 10-year-old son.

Terry Sherlock, 34, of Erie County, will face up to a 20- to 40-year prison sentence when he's sentenced Jan. 15 on the murder charge, and more time on four lesser charges including reckless endangerment.

Erie County prosecutors say Sherlock purposely shot and killed Kenneth Himrod, 28, on Nov. 20, while Himrod was being investigated on allegations he molested Sherlock's son.

Sherlock's attorney had argued at trial that Sherlock killed Himrod in a rage and should be convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. Today, a jury agreed with prosecutors instead. ..News Source.. by

Earlier story:

Shooter asked police for help

11-17-2008 Pennsylvania:

About four hours before he fatally shot a man accused of child molestation, a heavily intoxicated Terry A. Sherlock indirectly threatened to kill someone else -- a city of Corry police officer in front of a house in Corry.

Sherlock used the term "body bag" to explain what the police would need once Sherlock got done firing away, according to testimony at Sherlock's homicide trial in Erie County Court.

The police officer on the scene, Patrolman Chad Carrier, testified he believed the threat was not serious, and that he never arrested Sherlock, but tried to get him mental help later that night.

Carrier's decision brought questions from Sherlock's lawyer, as well as from Judge Michael E. Dunlavey, who is presiding.

"You didn't think that was serious?" Dunlavey said to Carrier. "He threatened to shoot you."

Carrier said that Sherlock -- who was known to drink two cases of beer a day and smoke marijuana -- was intoxicated, and that his wife, Crystal L. Sherlock, was driving him around Corry that night.

"He was functioning," Carrier said, explaining why he did not arrest Sherlock for public drunkenness. "He was walking, talking. He wasn't puking. He wasn't driving."

Sherlock's drunken interaction with Carrier was one of several he had with police in the hours before he arrived at the Union Township trailer home of Kenneth C. Himrod -- who had been accused of molesting Sherlock's 10-year-old son -- and shot Himrod 10 times sometime after 3 a.m. on Nov. 20.

The interactions occurred between Sherlock and either the city of Corry police and the state police at Corry. In each instance, according to testimony, Sherlock told officers he was agitated that Himrod had not been charged with molesting his son. In each instance, the police said Sherlock was belligerent, with Sherlock telling the officers he would "take matters into his own hands."

And in each instance, according to testimony, the police let Sherlock go -- after Sherlock told them he would try to seek help.

"I did not place him under arrest," testified state police Trooper Matthew Wargo, who encountered Sherlock at the state police barracks after midnight on Nov. 20. "I knew he was, supposedly, as he claimed, seeking help."

No one at the trial, which resumes today, has presented evidence that any of the police officers in the case were accused of wrongdoing in how they handled the incidents with Sherlock. Evidence also showed that Sherlock, 34, was known to be prone to exaggeration and to frequent Corry-area bars, where he often got into fights.

At the same time, the way the police handled the events leading up to Himrod's death has created a unique situation at Sherlock's trial. Typically, police testify about the basics of a case -- how investigators collected evidence, for example, or whether the defendant talked to police.

In the Sherlock case, however, the interactions Sherlock had with police leading up to the shooting provide a look into his state of mind.

For the prosecution, Sherlock's statements to police show that he planned to kill Himrod, and that he committed a first-degree murder.

For the defense, the statements show that Sherlock, 34, was upset at Himrod, 28, and became angrier at the situation after the visits to the police turned out, in his estimation, to be fruitless. Sherlock, the defense is arguing, killed Himrod in a rage, and committed voluntary manslaughter.

The jury could start deliberating on the competing theories as early as today.

Confrontation in Corry

Terry Sherlock, an unemployed father of five, had been drinking for more than 11 hours when he and his wife showed up at a house in Corry about 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 19, according to testimony.

Carrier, the Corry police officer, said Sherlock was claiming that man at the house was selling pills to children, and that Sherlock said he wanted to help police investigate by buying the drugs himself.

If nothing happened as a result of the probe, Carrier said Sherlock told him, Sherlock would come back "locked and loaded" and police should bring a "body bag."

Sherlock said "he was going to take matters into his own hands," Carrier said.

Carrier said he did not take Sherlock's threat to shoot someone seriously because Sherlock was intoxicated and because Sherlock said he would only shoot if police did not let him buy the drugs -- a fanciful notion under the circumstances.

Carrier said Sherlock also talked about Himrod and the molestation case. Carrier said he told Sherlock that he would be "accountable for his actions" if something happened.

Sherlock left the scene in a van driven by his wife.

State police barracks

The Sherlocks drove to the state police barracks at Corry, on Route 6, where Trooper Wargo was manning the front desk. He testified that Crystal Sherlock telephoned the barracks at about 12:30 a.m. Nov. 20, and said her husband was complaining about a case involving his son. He said the Sherlocks arrived at the barracks about 12:50 a.m.

Terry Sherlock was "noticeably intoxicated," Wargo said. He said he also swore at him, and complained about the pace of the investigation of the molestation case, though Wargo said Sherlock did not name Himrod.

"He was adamant that we go arrest a subject that had violated his son," Wargo said.

He testified that he explained to Sherlock that the probe was ongoing, and he said he told him that another trooper, who was not present, was handling the case and could talk to Sherlock at another time.

"He stated he would take matters into his own hands," Wargo testified. He said Sherlock also told him "he did not need help, that it was his 10-year-old son who needed help."

Wargo said he and the Sherlocks talked about getting mental-health help for Terry Sherlock. Regarding the molestation case, Wargo said he told Terry Sherlock "anything he would do, he could possibly be in trouble with."

Crystal Sherlock, Wargo said, told him that her husband "would be fine, that the alcohol was talking. When he is sober, he is too tough to get help."

Terry Sherlock walked out of the barracks at about 1:30 p.m. Wargo said he sent out other troopers to find him.

Crystal Sherlock picked up her husband in the van. They headed to the police station in the city of Corry.

Calling Crisis Services

Carrier, the patrolman, was on duty. He testified that Sherlock called him first, and that the Sherlocks arrived at the police station at about 2 a.m. on Nov. 20. He said Terry Sherlock said he was having "issues with my son getting molested."

Sherlock, he said, told him he had just been at the state police barracks, "trying to get 302d" -- referring to an involuntary mental-health commitment, which falls under section 302 of the state's mental health act.

Sherlock still wanted to be committed, and taken to the mental-health unit at Millcreek Community Hospital, Carrier testified. He said he took the Sherlocks' car keys and got a representative from Erie County Crisis Services on the phone, and put Terry Sherlock on the line.

Carrier said he and the Sherlocks were waiting for someone from Crisis Services to drive from Erie to Corry to meet with Terry Sherlock. He said Sherlock changed his mind about the plans. Sherlock, Carrier said, now wanted to have his wife drive him to Millcreek Community Hospital so Sherlock could commit himself voluntarily.

The Sherlocks left the station at about 2:20 p.m. Carrier said he had no idea the Sherlocks had second set of keys to the van.

Crystal Sherlock never drove her husband to Millcreek Community Hospital. After leaving the Corry police station, she testified, she and her husband went to their residence on Plank Road. She said her husband pointed a loaded rifle at her face and demanded that she drive him to the trailer home of Kenneth Himrod, a trip of 18.8 miles.

The couple drove off. ..News Source.. by ED PALATTELLA

Sherlock convicted
11-18-2008 Pennsylvania:

Jury chooses 3rd-degree murder for shooter

Throughout the three days of testimony in the trial of Terry A. Sherlock, the jury never heard the prosecution or the defense ask for a verdict of the third-degree murder.

That's the fate the jury picked for Sherlock -- a verdict the prosecution and defense described as a compromise.

The 34-year-old Corry resident now faces a maximum of 20 to 40 years in a state prison for fatally shooting a man who had been accused of molesting Sherlock's 10-year-old son.

The jury reached its verdict Tuesday, after about six hours of deliberations over two days in the courtroom of Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey.

He set sentencing for Jan. 15 for Sherlock, who was also found guilty of four other charges, including aggravated assault.

Sherlock gunned down Kenneth C. Himrod, 28, at Himrod's Union Township trailer home sometime after 3 a.m. on Nov. 20, or about a month after Sherlock learned of the molestation allegations against Himrod.

With the agreement of the District Attorney's Office and defense, Dunlavey before the deliberations instructed the jury on three possible verdicts for homicide -- first-degree murder, third-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

The District Attorney's Office wanted Sherlock convicted of first-degree murder. The defense said Sherlock was guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The third-degree murder conviction represented a blend of both theories.

The jury of nine women and three men, who left the courtroom immediately after the verdict, appeared to agree that Sherlock acted with malice in killing Sherlock, but that the slaying did not rise to the level of first-degree murder. But the jurors also declined to accept the defense's full argument that Sherlock acted out of rage, which would have made the killing tantamount to voluntary manslaughter.

Though neither the prosecution nor defense raised the possibility of third-degree murder during the trial, the evidence made such a conviction a possibility -- thus requiring Dunlavey to instruct the jury on the charge.

Under Pennsylvania law, a first-degree murder can be reduced to third-degree murder if the jury finds the defendant acted with a diminished mental capacity due to such circumstances as a mental defect or intoxication.

Sherlock's court-appointed attorney, Jamie Mead, presented evidence that both those factors were present when Sherlock shot Himrod 10 times, including three times in the face, with a .22-caliber rifle.

A psychiatrist testified for the defense that Sherlock suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because he was sexually molested as a child. Mead presented evidence that Sherlock, who was unemployed, was an alcoholic who drank as many as two cases of beer a day and also used marijuana. Sherlock had been drinking nearly 12 hours straight until about three hours and 30 minutes before the shooting, according to testimony.

Mead also called the third-degree murder conviction a compromise. Mead is a shareholder of the Times Publishing Company, which publishes the Erie Times-News.

Sherlock did not testify. Mead throughout the trial argued that Sherlock should not have killed Himrod, but that he acted out of a sudden passion, and a concern for his son's safety, rather than coldblooded premeditation.

Sherlock is at Erie County Prison.

One of the defense's key pieces of evidence was that Sherlock hours before the shooting sought mental help at the city of Corry police station and the state police barracks at Corry. The police also said Sherlock complained to them about the pace of the investigation into the allegations against Himrod, and he told police he would handle matters himself.

For the defense, the interactions with police showed Sherlock's fury. For the prosecution, they showed premeditation.

The District Attorney's Office throughout the trial focused on the evidence surrounding Sherlock's slaying of Himrod, but an underlying theme was also at work for Connelly, the lead prosecutor, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jack Daneri, who also prosecuted.

They told the jury that Sherlock or any other aggrieved person is never justified in taking the law into his or her hands.

Citing that stance against vigilantism, the District Attorney's Office from the start of the Sherlock case wanted to pursue a conviction for first-degree murder, said Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly, the lead prosecutor.

"Our office could never agree that this should happen," she said of Himrod's death at the hands of Sherlock. "To allow this would allow chaos." ..News Source.. by Ed Palattella

PA- Killer's wife pleads guilty in slaying near Union City

12-5-2008 Pennsylvania:

Corry woman pleaded guilty to a reduced count today in a case in which she was originally charged with helping her husband kill an accused child molester.

Crystal L. Sherlock, 36, pleaded guilty to the second-degree felony of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison at her sentencing Feb. 4 before Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey, who accepted her plea.

Sherlock's husband, Terry A. Sherlock, 34, was convicted at a jury trial in November of third-degree murder and other charges related to the fatal shooting of Kenneth C. Himrod, 28. Sherlock shot Himrod at the victim's trailer home on Route 8, in Union Township, outside Union City, on Nov. 20, 2007.

Himrod had been accused of sexually molesting Terry Sherlock's 10-year-old son.

State police initially charged Crystal Sherlock with homicide as an accomplice, based on her admissions that she drove her husband to and from Himrod's trailer.

Crystal Sherlock testified against her husband at trial. That cooperation, plus the outcome of Terry Sherlock's trial, led to the plea deal for Crystal Sherlock, the District Attorney's Office said in court.

The jury acquitted Terry Sherlock of conspiring with his wife to commit the homicide. ..News Source.. by Ed Palattella

PA- W.Pa. man gets prison for killing accused molester
1-15-2009 Pennsylvania:

ERIE, Pa.—A northwestern Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to 21 to 42 years in prison for fatally shooting a man accused of molesting the shooter's 10-year-old son.

Erie County Judge Michael Dunlavey gave 34-year-old Terry Sherlock, of Corry, the maximum sentence for third-degree murder and another one to two years for a weapons violation on Thursday.

Sherlock shot and killed 28-year-old Kenneth Himrod in November 2007 while Himrod was being investigated on allegations he molested Sherlock's son.

Sherlock's attorney argued at his November trial that he acted in rage and should have been convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. The prosecution said he planned to kill Himrod. ..News Source.. by

FL- Sex offender killed outside game arcade

11-18-2008 Florida:

A registered sex offender from North Miami was shot and killed outside a video game arcade in Lake Worth.

A North Miami man shot and mortally wounded Sunday night outside a children's amusement center in Lake Worth was a registered sex offender, according to state records.

Edner Eustache, 27, was shot at least twice in the ''upper part of his body'' at about 8:30 p.m. after a fist fight outside Fun Depot, 2003 10th Ave. North, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

Eustache was flown to Delray Medical Center, where he died, said Teri Barbera, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

Witnesses told deputies that three men were involved in the fight in the parking lot, and that two drove away in a white van and green car.

In February 2002, Eustache registered in Broward County as a sex offender who had assaulted a minor, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.

In three arrests in Miami-Dade and Broward counties since December 2007, Eustache was charged with failure to obey state registration laws for sexual offenders. In the case of a Dec. 1 arrest by Miami-Dade police, he pleaded guilty to the charge, records show.

It was not immediately clear what Eustache was doing outside Fun Depot, where young people gather to play video games and laser tag.

Fun Depot general manager Eddie Naphan said he watched security camera footage Monday morning but did not see anyone who looked like the victim enter or leave the park's arcade in the hour before the shooting.

Naphan said the security cameras showed a car sitting by a trash bin in Fun Depot's parking lot.

''You can't see anything but headlights,'' he said.

As detectives paced outside Fun Depot, patrons continued to hit baseballs in the batting cages, which overlooked the crime scene.

''I've been around here for 20 years, and I can tell you we've never had an incident like this near this place,'' said Naphan, whose father opened Fun Depot in 1988.

Police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-458-8477.
..News Source.. by MICHAEL LaFORGIA, Palm Beach Post


Man charged in 2008 slaying outside Fun Depot in Lake Worth

11-23-2009 Florida:

Three men, including a registered sex offender, drive from Broward County to a Lake Worth amusement park for a robbery, according to authorities.

Their intended victim, in a struggle, kills one of the assailants with his own gun.

The other two return to Broward, where they kidnap their dead colleague's girlfriend and her 3-month-old daughter and are arrested.

Now a year later, under the state's "felony murder" law, one of them has been brought to Palm Beach County, charged with his alleged accomplice's death.

The second is in the Broward County Jail, awaiting transfer on the same charges.

Ralph Gutierrez, 29, of Lauderdale Lakes, was booked Wednesday afternoon into the Palm Beach County Jail on a warrant issued March 9, documents show.

He is charged with second-degree felony murder with a firearm and attempted armed robbery in the Nov. 16, 2008, death of Edner Eustache, 27, of North Miami at the Fun Depot.

Gutierrez was transferred from the Broward County Jail, where he has been since his arrest the day of the slaying.

The second defendant is not identified in a Palm Beach County Sheriff's report.

But Broward documents identify him as Dante Coats, 24, of Parkland, and confirm he faces the same Palm Beach County charges as Gutierrez.

A bond hearing for Gutierrrez is set for Friday before Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Karen Miller at the main courthouse.

According to the Palm Beach County sheriff's affidavit, Gutierrez, Eustache and the third person, Coats, came from Broward County, driving the company van of Coats' father.

Aaron Bazan, 27, of West Palm Beach, told investigators Gutierrez, a distant cousin, called to say he was on the way to the Fun Depot, at 2003 10th Ave. North.

Bazan said when he met Gutierrez near a dumpster outside the park, he started to shake hands, but Gutierrez grabbed his hand and the other two men stepped out.

One, armed with a handgun -- the report doesn't say which — demanded Bazan's wallet.

Bazan said that as the two men tried to rifle his pockets, he got hold of the gun and he and Eustache struggled and went down.

The gun went off and Bazan crawled out from under Eustache, ran to his car, and drove off with his girlfriend, the report said.

Eustache, struck twice in the upper body, was taken to Delray Medical Center, where he died the next morning.

Gutierrez and Coats drove back to Broward County, where they rifled Eustache's hotel room and demanded his girlfriend say where he might have money.

They then grabbed the girlfriend, Darline Gabriel, and her three-month-old daughter Cally, and forced them to another hotel, saying they feared authorities would track them at the first one.

But the woman was able to call the front desk and have the clerk call police.

The Palm Beach County report does not say if the child was Eustache's daughter.

Inquiries to Plantation police for details were unsuccessful.

Broward prosecutors say Gutierrez and Coats were each charged with two counts of armed kidnapping and one of attempted robbery with a firearm, and Coats with carrying a concealed firearm.

Gutierrez later confessed to the Fun Depot robbery, the Palm Beach County report said.

Attempts to reach Bazan today were unsuccessful.

According to state law, if someone dies during the commission of a felony, any of the people who perpetrated the original crime can be charged in his death.

Jesse Watson, a manager at the park, said today he could not comment because the general manager was out of town.

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Records, in February 2002, Eustache registered in Broward County as a sex offender who had assaulted a minor. ..Source.. by Eliot Kleinberg

Sunday, November 16, 2008

MO- Gunman who killed ex-girlfriend in O'Fallon, Mo. was registered sex offender

Posted in Related Deaths
11-16-2008 Missouri:

St. Johns Mercy Urgent Care Center in O'Fallon, Mo. will remain closed this weekend and reopen Monday.

On Friday, Gary Sheets, 45, held hostage his ex-girlfriend, who worked as a lab technician. Police said he shot and killed Jenenne Meadows, 47, before the SWAT team shot and killed him.

Sheets was convicted in 1998 of sexual assault against a 27-year-old woman in Colorado and served 3 years in prison.

Jeff Lesinski knew the suspect since high school at Ritenor. He believes his friend was frustrated from not being able to get a job after being labeled a felon. Lesinski said, "I think what he did was horrible and unforgivable but I can see how he got pushed into it but it doesn't make it right. I'm sorry for Jenenne and her kids. I'm sorry for his mom and his family. It's a terrible tragedy."

The victim had 3 children, the youngest being a teen.

Her family and neighbors asked for privacy. ..News Source.. by KSDK

Killer of girlfriend in O'Fallon, Mo., sexually assaulted another in 1998

O'FALLON, Mo. — The Gary Sheets who shot his ex-girlfriend dead at St. John's Mercy Urgent Care Center is a stranger to an ex-wife who said he was never violent.

But he would be familiar to another girlfriend — the one who put him in prison for sexually assaulting her in 1998 and told police he threatened to harm her parents.

Information from Sheets' friends, and police reports, suggests parallels between Friday night's shooting of Jenenne Meadows and the sexual attack on the St. Louis woman with whom he moved to Colorado in 1998.

In both cases, he lived with strong-willed women in their homes and would not disconnect when they tried to break up with him.
Sheets, a former blackjack dealer, and Meadows, an avid poker player, met at a bar in the summer of 2007. The divorcees hit it off — but not for long.

The relationship soured after Sheets moved into Meadows' home in St. Peters that October, friends said. He moved out in May. But ill will festered.

Late Friday afternoon, Sheets, 45, calmly carried a pistol into the clinic in O'Fallon, Mo., where Meadows, 47, was a lab technician. He ordered the others out and held her hostage.

He let her call her eldest son, Kyle, 22, to say goodbye. When Kyle didn't pick up, she reached her next-oldest, Anthony, 21.

"She told Anthony what was going on," her ex-husband, Ken Meadows, said Saturday. "Then this guy Gary takes the phone over and got rather graphic as to what he was going to do and how he was going to deal with her."

Eventually, Sheets killed her. MetroWest SWAT officers stormed in and killed him.

What made Sheets snap? Police did not take questions Saturday. But Jeff Lesinski, a friend of Sheets, said the estranged couple had exchanged hostile text messages for weeks.

Ken Meadows, who had three sons with Jenenne Meadows before their divorce in 2002, said she had left Sheets because "he had a significant drinking problem she wasn't willing to tolerate."

Lesinski said Sheets was frustrated because "Jenenne had basically said it was her house and her rules and he wasn't the husband so he didn't get much input as to what happened with the house. Jenenne was pretty forceful and pretty strong-willed."

Dana Miles, of St. Louis, who had married Sheets in 1987, said he got alcoholism treatment during their marriage and was sober for about a year. She divorced him in 1992, after he started drinking again.

"He was a very nice and fun-loving guy, but had an alcohol problem," she said. "He hated guns. He was never comfortable with any of that. And he was not a violent person. He just wasn't. Even when he was drunk, when we were married, he was always the sloppy, fall-down-go-to-sleep drunk. I'm just shocked that it came to that."

In 1998, Sheets moved to Westminster, Colo., with a girlfriend from St. Louis. He continued to live in her apartment there, sleeping on a sofa, after she broke up with him. She would later tell police he refused to move out unless she paid him $4,000 for the cost of giving up a good job to go west with her. She would also say that he was becoming more aggressive, making her afraid with threats to "ruin her" and "destroy her." She told an officer Sheets had said he would not harm her "but would hurt her family, living in St. Louis."

The night of June 1, 1998, according to police reports obtained by the Post-Dispatch, Sheets would not stop banging on her barred bedroom door, so she opened it. She said he sexually assaulted her but stopped when she made fun of him.

The report said she asked him that night, "Why don't you just kill me? This is what you're doing to me anyway." She told police he replied, "Believe me, if I had a gun, I would. Maybe I could go into Denver right now and get one off the street."

She said he also warned her, "I don't care what happens to me, if you go to the police, I'm allowed one phone call. I will use it to call my friends in St. Louis and have them take care of your parents."

Records show that he pleaded guilty of sexual assault and served about two years in prison. After his release in 2000, he moved back to Missouri and had to register as a sex offender.

The conviction meant he could not return to his former job at the Alton Belle.

Lesinski said that he got Sheets a job at his mortgage business for about 2 1/2 years, and that his friend later worked as a pipefitter.

Sheets and Meadows met at a bar last summer, Lesinski said. "He had casino experience, he knew the game well, that's how they started things off, playing the game together," Lesinski said.

Meadows had competed regularly in a bar-based poker league with 6,000 area members.

"She was awesome," said Allan Zwick, the St. Louis-area manger for Nationwide Poker Tour. "She was fun, energetic. She'd get a little drunk and she'd be loud, and kind of fun."

Deziray Vickers, a tournament director, recalled her as "the life of the party" who "laughed a lot."

After the breakup, Sheets took a job with a salvage company that took him to the Western states. He returned about six weeks ago and complained to Lesinski that his chances of finding work were slim.

During that time, the angry texting with Meadows accelerated, Lesinski said.

At the Eagle's Nest in St. Charles on Friday night, word of her slaying stopped poker players in the middle of a game, Vickers said. "Some people were in tears and some were numb. People couldn't focus."

She said, "The shock to me was that Gary was such a nice guy when he was playing poker with me." ..News Source.. by Jeremy Kohler, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Child molester killed in Canadian prison

11-11-2008 Canada:

The inmate killed in a riot at a Canadian prison was a convicted child molester serving an indefinite sentence, officials said Sunday.

Michael Gibbon, 39, was the only prisoner to die in the riot Saturday night at Mountain Institution, a medium-security prison in British Columbia, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported. Dave Lefebvre, a spokesman for the Correctional Service of Canada, said another inmate was hospitalized.

Gibbon, a lifelong resident of Chilliwack, a city west of Vancouver and a few miles north of the U.S. border, was sentenced to three months in 1992 for molesting a boy. He was imprisoned in 1997 for child pornography and sexual assault.

Inmates began breaking windows in the gymnasium at about 9:45 p.m., Lefebvre said. As the riot escalated, they began attacking each other.

Homicide investigators from Vancouver were called in to investigate Gibbon's death. The Correctional Service and the coroner will conduct independent investigations, Lefebvre said. ..News Source.. by UPI