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Saturday, February 28, 2009

WA- No one would say how inmate was killed

2-28-2009 Washington:

MONROE -- Their code of silence was as strong as the walls that kept them from freedom.

Inmates at the Washington State Reformatory saw what happened to Brian Anderson in the prison yard. They refused to talk about the 1999 brutal attack, at least not enough to help Monroe police and prison officials catch the killer.

Anderson, 31, is on the eight of diamonds in the state's first deck of cold-case playing cards. Snohomish County sheriff's detectives have handed out the cards to jail and prison inmates in hopes of turning up new leads in unsolved homicides and missing person cases.

Anderson is one of two prison inmates in the deck.

Violence landed Anderson behind bars in Monroe. He was serving a 41-year sentence for a vicious attack in 1996 in the Spokane Valley. He kidnapped a woman, raped her and tied her to a tree with wire.

Three years later someone pummeled Anderson in the prison's big yard. The blow was fatal. Anderson collapsed in front of a guard and died a short time later.

His family deserves answers, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.

"Somebody did something to him that shouldn't have been done," she said. "I don't know where that person is living. They could be living in our community. We can't tolerate that type of violence."

At the time, investigators believed Anderson was killed over drugs. He was dealing dope to other inmates. Authorities found marijuana hidden in the soles of his tennis shoes. Police believe another prisoner demanded drugs from Anderson. When Anderson refused, he was attacked.

At least two witnesses spoke to authorities. They were afraid to snitch. Both refused to sign a statement or testify in court. The investigation grew cold.

Now, police hope someone will have a change of heart, break their silence, and help bring a killer to justice. ..News Source.. by Diana Hefley


Monroe inmate killing still unsolved

April 3, 2000 Washington:

MONROE - A man who killed in broad daylight may go unpunished, even though authorities think they know who he is, thanks to the unspoken code of prisoners.

Brian Anderson, who was serving a 41-year sentence for rape, collapsed at the Washington State Reformatory last August and died within hours - the apparent victim of a drug robbery gone bad.

"I'm confident that I know who did it," said Vicqui Heuett, the state Department of Corrections' lead investigator on the case. She declined to elaborate.

Police and prison officials believe they have run up against an unwritten code of prison life: Don't openly snitch on another inmate.

That code has kept two inmates who claim to have witnessed the crime from signing a statement or testifying in court.

"They have to live here," Heuett said.

Eight months later, no arrests have been made.

Investigators say they have little hard evidence of who assaulted Anderson, 31, who was known to deal drugs in prison, but Heuett said the two inmate witnesses gave the following account:

About 1:30 p.m. Aug. 11, a prisoner demanded drugs from Anderson while they stood in the yard in the center of the reformatory. When Anderson refused, the inmate punched him, then ordered him to get the drugs.

Anderson instead went into the gymnasium and collapsed. He died in the hospital an hour later.

Investigators at first suspected Anderson had died of a drug overdose or that someone had slipped him a lethal dose of illegal drugs. There was no sign of trauma, he had marijuana on his person, and he'd made a comment about laced drugs shortly before he died, Monroe police Sgt. Brian Johnston said.

But informers soon suggested his death was the result of an assault. Subsequently, the Snohomish County medical examiner found Anderson died of a blow that lacerated his liver.

Heuett said investigators learned of the homicide too late to collect evidence in the yard, and video cameras didn't capture it. She thinks at least four men besides the assailant witnessed the attack - a circumstance that would have it an open-and-shut case had it occurred outside the prison.

But the investigation has ground to a halt. Monroe police, who are leading the investigation, consider the case "open but inactive." Prison officials say their investigation also remains open, but they may have to wait years before a witness decides to speak.

"It's not unheard of for somebody to finish their time and come back to say, `I want to tell you what happened out there,' " Johnston said. ..Source.. by AP

UT- Officer fatally shoots man in Taylor

After reading other stories of deaths by this police dep't, I'm classifying this as a murder case. It appears they are too quick to kill rather than wound.

2-28-2009 Utah:

A 64-year-old man, Michael John Taylor, who had been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, is dead after a barricade situation with Weber County Sheriff's Office that resulted in a shooting.

"Several shots were fired, and there was a deputy who did fire a shot. That, apparently, is the fatal shot that killed Taylor," said Capt. Klint Anderson.

Taylor, of the unincorporated community of Taylor on the county's west side, came home intoxicated and suicidal Friday evening, prompting his wife to call 911, Anderson said.

When deputies arrived at Taylor's home at 4366 West and 2550 South, Taylor was in the barn behind his house with a handgun. While she was on the phone with 911 and before the deputies arrived, Taylor's wife heard him fire a shot while he was inside the barn, Anderson said.

The SWAT team was called to the scene, part of the neighborhood was evacuated, and the barn was surrounded by deputies and officers.

Individuals negotiated with Taylor for more than an hour before he walked out of the barn with his handgun and approached the officers.

"He challenged the situation and walked up to the officers with the gun in his hand," Anderson said.

At that point, several shots were fired, resulting in Taylor's death.

"We can't say what actually triggered his behavior. It would all be speculation," Anderson said.

While the shooting is investigated, the officer who was said to have shot Taylor was placed on administrative leave, a typical procedure after an officer-involved shooting.

The Weber County Attorney's Office will conduct the formal investigation of the shooting.

Taylor was charged Tuesday for sex abuse offenses alleged to have occurred Dec. 1. He was arrested by North Ogden police on Monday, less than three weeks after he was sentenced on his last case involving sexual abuse of children.

He was released on a $40,000 bail bond.

Taylor had faced charges of aggravated sexual abuse stemming from a Jan. 31, 2008, incident. Those charges were reduced to misdemeanors in a plea bargain to which the victims had agreed.

Taylor was sentenced on Feb. 2 to probation on the 2008 case on the condition he complete sex-offender therapy and drug and alcohol counseling. ..News Source..

Mob lynches suspected rapist in Venezuela

2-27-2009 Venezuela:

Caracas, Feb 6 (IANS) A suspected rapist was lynched, burned and dragged through the streets by residents of a west Caracas neighbourhood who accused the police of not doing their jobs, Venezuelan media has reported.The residents said that the suspect was killed Wednesday morning after he allegedly tried to rape a nine-year-old girl, EFE stated.

The man, according to eyewitnesses, was chased by a mob, caught, beaten, shot, burned and tied to a motorcycle and dragged down an avenue, where the body was burned again.

The incident occurred in the Zamora neighbourhood, where another suspected criminal was killed by a mob in October, the El Universal newspaper said.

Residents told reporters that they took justice into their own hands because the man had allegedly raped five women, including a girl, in the neighbourhood.

“We had been following him and managed to capture him this morning (Wednesday) when he tried to abuse a nine-year-old girl. He got away twice,” a resident who refused to identify himself told El Universal.

“We don’t believe the police. They are corrupt. We don’t want them here,” Josefina Guzman, who lives in El Valle, told the daily Ultimas Noticias.

Venezuelans, according to polls, consider crime the biggest problem facing the country. ..News Source.. by IANS

Murder accused suspected ex of abusing daughter

2-27-2009 New Zealand:

The woman accused of the body-on-the-bonnet murder decided to kill her ex-partner because she suspected him of molesting their little daughter, a Crown lawyer told the High Court in New Plymouth yesterday.

Cindy Fairburn, 38, is alleged to have deliberately driven into the path of an oncoming car as Darin Paul Maxwell, 42, clung on to the bonnet.

The story of the 13km wild, crazy ride on State Highway 3 on August 6, 2007 unfolded in the High Court in New Plymouth yesterday.

The impact with the Isuzu was so severe, Mr Maxwell was flung from the bonnet and through the windscreen of the Isuzu.

His extensive injuries included bleeding lungs, a foot almost amputated, fractured legs and a deep cut on his shoulder.

Mr Maxwell died in the ambulance on the way to Taranaki Base Hospital.

The Isuzu's driver also suffered life-threatening injuries but survived after weeks in hospital.

Fairburn herself was knocked unconscious and critically injured, spending 15 weeks in hospital.

An infection resulted in a return to hospital where a leg was amputated.

Fairburn, who quietly wept as the jury trial started yesterday, has denied murdering her former partner and dangerous driving injuring the Isuzu driver, whose name is suppressed.

Fairburn's lawyers argue that her actions on the night were solely those of a woman defending herself from Mr Maxwell.

In opening, Crown prosecutor Cherie Clarke said Fairburn had been angry and upset since the Saturday before the fatal impact.

In response to her child's unusual cry after she was put to bed, Fairburn had gone in to her baby's room to find her tucked up in her cot, but without nappies and her nappy and pants neatly folded at the end of the cot.

In her mind, he had sexually abused their two-year-old daughter, Miss Clarke said.

The accused told others she wanted to either poison him or use a stun gun.

She reported the incident to police, taking them a cot sheet, hairs she said were pubic hairs she had found on the floor next to the cot and the underblanket so they could use them as evidence.

When told by police that Mr Maxwell would not be arrested immediately, she was angered, saying he should not be allowed to get away with it.

The accused had told a friend that if police were not going to do anything, she would.

On the Monday, the baby was examined by a paediatrician who found no evidence of a sexual assault and ESR tests weeks later found no evidence of semen on the baby's bedding, Miss Clarke said.

That night, she encountered Mr Maxwell at the Heritage Bar in Inglewood.

She had left the bar and he had somehow ended up on the bonnet of her car, Miss Clarke said.

Other drivers on the road that night described how Mr Maxwell was slipping and sliding across the bonnet as she veered across the white line on the main road in Inglewood, cars on the opposite side having to steer hard left to avoid her.

She then drove at speeds up to 120kmh on the open road with Mr Maxwell still clinging to the bonnet, Ms Clarke said.

At 9.53pm, nearly at the Mangorei Rd intersection, she suddenly and violently swerved her car directly into the path of the Isuzu which was travelling towards Inglewood, Miss Clarke said.

At the time, the accused's car was estimated to be travelling between 83 and 133kmh.

Weeks later, Fairburn told police that she had got a fright when he jumped on the bonnet outside the hotel yelling and screaming.

She had not wanted to stop the car in case he jumped into the car.

She said she had no memory of the collision.

The couple's history included a charge of Mr Maxwell threatening to kill her and the toddler in 2006.

But she withdrew her allegations saying she was concerned about his suicidal tendencies and she was charged with making a false statement.

Mr Maxwell had been convicted of assaults against two other women in 2002.

Defence lawyer Pamela Jensen said self-defence would be argued.

The accused did not murder Mr Maxwell nor did she intend to injure the Isuzu driver.

When she drove her car that night, the sole purpose was to defend herself against the actions of Mr Maxwell, Ms Jensen said. ..News Source.. by LYN HUMPHREYS

Monday, February 23, 2009

NY- Suspected molester shot; friend charged

See court appeal also:

4-30-1998 New York:

SHELTER ISLAND (AP) -- A man accused of sexually molesting an 8-year-old girl on this quiet resort island was blasted to death with a shotgun at his home, allegedly by a neighbor who's known him for 20 years.

Kenneth Payne was being held without bail after pleading innocent to a murder charge in the death of neighbor Curtis Cook.

Cook, 42, had been arrested last month on charges he sexually abused an 8-year-old girl, and was free on bail, police said Tuesday.

Payne initially believed Cook was wrongly accused, but changed his mind, police said.

Payne also may have believed Cook attacked his 10-year-old daughter, a playmate of the 8-year-old, although Cook was not charged with molesting Payne's daughter, the Daily News said.

On Monday, apparently bothered by a message on Cook's answering machine boasting that he would beat the charge, Payne got his 12-gauge shotgun and went to Cook's house, police said at a news conference.

Then he went home and called friends to tell them of the shooting. When officers arrived, summoned by calls from the friends, they found five rifles and shotguns lying outside Payne's trailer. It took about an hour to coax Payne out, said Sgt. James Read, chief of the island's small police force.

Police said Payne confessed, telling officers: "I shot him once. I believe I shot him just below the heart."

Payne also allegedly called the mother of the 8-year-old and told her she didn't have to worry about Curtis anymore.

He was "motivated by anger," Suffolk County prosecutor Janet Albertson said. "He has his own children."

It was believed to be the first killing on Shelter Island since the tiny island at the east end of Long Island was settled in 1652, the News said. It has a year-round population of about 3,000 but swells to 20,000 during the summer. ..Source.. by

Man Is Held in Killing of His Friend After a Girl's Sex Abuse

4-29-1998 New York:

Kenneth Payne and Curtis Cook had been friends for more than 20 years, sharing the bleak winters when the population here shrinks and the Northeasters' cold rain and mists sweep in for days at a time.

Indeed, two years ago, when Mr. Cook was despondent over the death of his wife, Mr. Payne talked him out of committing suicide.

But Monday night, furious because he believed that Mr. Cook had molested an 8-year-old girl, the police said, Mr. Payne stalked the few dozen yards to his neighbor's house and fired a shotgun into Mr. Cook's chest just below the heart, killing him instantly.

It was the first recorded homicide in the 300-year history of this quaint, peaceful settlement, stunning the year-round population of 3,000, where virtually everybody knows everybody else.

''Everybody's talking about it,'' said Kenneth A. Rose, a captain on the North Ferry that plies Peconic Bay between here and Greenport. ''They mainly agree with the guy who shot him. I don't like child molesters, for one thing, but he took the law upon himself. You can't do that anymore, unfortunately.''

Three weeks ago, Mr. Cook, 44, was arrested on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse of the 8-year-old. Mr. Payne, 42, apparently believed his old friend's protestations of innocence at first, the police said. But when he returned to his battered white trailer home on Monday night there was a recorded message on his answering machine from Mr. Cook that changed Mr. Payne's mind.

''He was despondent and agitated over what he heard,'' Sgt. James J. Read of the Shelter Island Police told a news conference, without divulging any further details, ''and took this action as a result.''

When the police responded to a 911 call, they found Mr. Cook's body, with a single gunshot wound, behind the door of his tiny wood-frame house. They said they found Mr. Payne in his trailer, the shotgun and several other weapons neatly stacked outside, still making a series of phone calls telling people he had killed Mr. Cook.

''He called that little girl's mother and told her: 'You don't have to worry. He won't do this to your little girl again,' '' said a neighbor who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Most of the workers mowing lawns and painting white fences today in preparation for the summer, when the island's population quadruples, knew the two men, who got by on odd jobs and lived alone in scrubby rentals behind a gas station.

It is the slow pace on this 12-square-mile island, which lies midway between the North and South Forks of Long Island and can only be reached by boat, that the summer people treasure, particularly compared with the Hamptons. Quakers settled here in the mid-1600's, fleeing persecution in the Massachusetts Bay colony, where they had been imprisoned and tortured.

The island's gentle tone, amid the Victorian beachfront houses and hotels and the marshes and ponds where once-endangered osprey nest, made the crime seem even more Gothic.

Detective Lieut. John Gierasch, the commander of the Suffolk County police homicide squad, said the first word of the shooting came in a call about 9:45 P.M. Monday from one of the people Mr. Payne had called.

The police said Mr. Payne had given oral, written and videotaped statements to investigators describing the message Mr. Cook left on his answering machine and the shooting.

Lieutenant Gierasch said Mr. Payne got his shotgun, walked the short distance to Mr. Cook's front door and ''after a limited exchange of words, raised the gun and fired one shot.'' Mr. Payne then returned to his trailer and ''made some telephone calls admitting he had just shot Mr. Cook,'' the detective added.

Mr. Cook had been released from jail after putting up $100,000 cash bond, and the sex-abuse charges against him were pending. Sergeant Read said the girl was not related to either man, but declined to discuss the case further, saying, ''We're a small, close-knit community and we have an 8-year-old victim we want to protect.''

Both men had previous police records, Sergeant Read said. Mr. Payne had been involved in a dispute with a summer resident last year, and the man obtained a court order of protection against him. Mr. Cook was charged in the late 1980's with abusing a young boy, but physically, not sexually. It was not clear who the boy was, and Sergeant Read said he did not know the disposition of the case.

Neighbors said the two friends each lived alone and worked at odd jobs. Mr. Payne, who grew up on the island and has relatives here, was separated or divorced from his wife, Sergeant Read said. Mr. Cook had sometimes worked as a handyman at the Pridwin Hotel and the Sunset Beach Hotel.

Vincent P. Geraghty, who rented Mr. Payne the trailer and Mr. Cook the house down a dirt driveway behind the Northville gas station at 35 South Ferry Road, said they sometimes worked together, clearing brush and debris and cutting firewood.

''They were friends, they worked together,'' Mr. Geraghty said.

The gas station operator, Rizzo G. Assoud, 32, said: ''They were nice quiet guys. They lived back there and that's all I know. They came here for gas.''

Mr. Payne was arraigned this afternoon before Shelter Island's judge, Justice Edward J. Hannabury, on a charge of second degree murder. No bail was set. Mr. Payne was sent to the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead. Janet Albertson, an assistant Suffolk County District attorney, said the state would not seek the death penalty. If convicted, Mr. Payne could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Sharon Kast, a councilwoman on the Shelter Island Town Board, spoke of the stunning impact of the crime among the permanent residents of this quiet place, where nearly a third of the land is a nature preserve, and where many make a hard living as baymen dragging for clams and scallops in surrounding waters.

''The people in the town are in a state of shock because there has never been a homicide on Shelter Island,'' she said. ''This doesn't happen on Shelter Island.'' ..Source.. by JOHN T. MCQUISTON WITH JOHN KIFNER

UK- Town man’s life sentence for brutal murder of sex offender

1-28-2009 United Kingdom:

A MACCLESFIELD dad of three has been jailed for life for brutally murdering his 60-year-old flatmate after learning he was a convicted paedophile.

Ex-butcher Lea Mason, 33, formerly of Turnock Street, will serve a minimum of 17 and a half years after launching a "violent and frenzied attack" on his victim.

Mason used knives to stab, and a frying pan to bludgeon, Darren Presley – until they bent or broke – then stamped on his head, which left "huge gaping holes" and soaked the killer’s trainers in blood, a judge heard.

Mason and co-defendant Stephen Brian Kidd, 37, originally from Stoke, both pleaded guilty to murder at Preston Crown Court and were sentenced last Thursday (January 22).

Mason was a thug well-known to police in Macclesfield through a string of violent offences stretching back 15 years.

He admitted the murder after being captured by police in Blackpool. ..News Source.. by Pete Bainbridge

NV- Police: Slain home intruder had long criminal record

2-18-2009 Nevada:

The home intruder gunned down by a northeast valley resident Sunday was a registered sex offender with a long criminal history, Las Vegas police said.

The Clark County coroner’s office identified the dead man as Mark Clinton Vains, 42, of Las Vegas. Vains died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest at a residence on the 4600 block of Crystal Peak Drive, near Cheyenne Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Resident Paul Witte returned home around 4:15 p.m. and upon entering discovered Vains, who was carrying a pellet gun, homicide Lt. Lew Roberts has said.

Roberts said Witte’s gun was registered.

Witte did not return calls from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

He told KVBC-TV, Channel 3 that he knew something was wrong when he saw a suitcase on the floor containing his possessions. He chambered a round and fired at Vains, who rushed him holding what appeared to be a .45-caliber handgun. Witte didn’t know it was a pellet gun until police told him so later.

“I didn’t create the situation,” Witte said. “I reacted to his actions. I have no remorse whatsoever.”

Vains died at the scene. Police said charges against Witte would not be sought.

Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said Vains had a lengthy, local criminal history that included numerous arrests for burglaries and possession of stolen vehicles and property. He also was arrested in 2004 for lewdness with a minor under 14 and convicted.

Morgan said Vains’ most recent offenses include an attempted burglary arrest in December and run-ins with officers earlier this month, when he was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and felony failure to report his change of address as a convicted sex offender.

“Looks like burglary and car theft were his main occupations,” Morgan said.

Neighbors made several complaints about Vains to management at the Desert Winds Mobile Home Park, where he lived with his wife and teenage son. The park is on Nellis Boulevard, south of Las Vegas Boulevard

Desert Winds Manager Judy Sanders said neighbors knew of his sex offender status and criminal history and were uncomfortable with him. He lived there for about 17 years. Sanders said he spent many of those years in and out of jail.

Vains was seen taking electronics and computers into his home in years past, Sanders said. Late last year, Sanders said people from a neighboring mobile home park reported he had burglarized a home there.

“He wouldn’t stay out of trouble,” Sanders said.

On Jan. 14, Sanders got a court order barring Vains from returning to Desert Winds.

Sanders said she hadn’t seen Vains in the area recently and wasn’t surprised by the way he died.

“It was kind of sad but I could kind of see it coming.” ..News Source.. by MAGGIE LILLIS, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SC- Iva Police Chief releases officer’s name

2-16-2009 SOuth Carolina:

IVA — A dispute over a stolen prescription was a flash point that left a 41-year-old Anderson man dead, an Iva police officer and a 71-year-old woman injured.

Iva Police Chief Thomas Miller on Monday identified the officer who fired the fatal shots at Mark Monroe Evans as Sgt. Tim Striss. The woman was identified as Lula Charping.

Sgt. Striss, 34, shot Evans about 4 p.m. Saturday at 713 Front St. in Iva.

Sgt. Striss had gone to the house to complete a report after Ms. Charping reported that Mr. Evans stole her prescription. But he found himself “trapped in the house. Both were attacking him,” Chief Miller said.

When Sgt. Striss arrived to take the prescription report, he found Mr. Evans and Ms. Charping in an argument and attempted to separate them, Chief Miller said. Moments after the officer told Mr. Evans to sit and wait in a kitchen, he ran, causing Sgt. Striss to try to restrain him, using pepper spray and a baton to no effect, Chief Miller said.

“(Ms. Charping) attacked the officer when Evans was struck with the baton,” Chief Miller said.

Sgt. Striss suffered bruises, abrasions and a cut that required six stitches under his eye, the chief said.

Chief Miller, who was off duty at the time, said he was just arriving at the house about 4 minutes after dispatchers reported an officer requesting assistance.

“Then they called out, ‘Shots fired,’” Chief Miller said. “I have never been in that situation. By the grace of God, (Sgt. Striss) is not the one that is deceased.”

Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said Mr. Evans suffered a gunshot to his stomach and a fatal gunshot to his neck.

At the time Sgt. Striss was in the house, deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office were headed to Iva to talk with Mr. Evans about a stolen vehicle and a robbery on Thursday, Chief Miller said.

According to records at the Anderson County Courthouse, Mr. Evans was released from the Anderson City Jail on Dec. 3. An Anderson Municipal Court judge set a $15,000 bond after Mr. Evans was accused in October of receiving or possessing stolen goods valued at more than $1,000. His address was listed as 101 Farmer St. in Anderson, court records show.

On Jan. 2, Mr. Evans completed his annual registration as one of South Carolina’s sex offenders, listing Ms. Charping’s 713 Front St. home in Iva as his residence, according to state and detention records. Mr. Evans was convicted in 1993 of committing a lewd act on a child, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Web site. His initial sex offender registration was in June 1999, state records show.

Sunday, Ms. Charping was charged with assault on a police officer and interference with an officer, according to records at the Anderson County Detention Center. Chief Miller said Ms. Charping is being held under a $10,000 bond.

SLED officials have been called in by Chief Miller to investigate. It’s a routine procedure, he said.

And an internal investigation is under way by Iva police officials to make sure that city policies were followed on Saturday, Chief Miller said. ..News Source.. by Pearce Adams

Saturday, February 14, 2009

WA- Killings of 2 Bellingham sex offenders may have been by vigilante, police say

This documents one (Hank Eisses) of the two deaths that night. The story of the other sex offender murdered (Victor Vasquez) is HERE
8-30-2005 Washington:

BELLINGHAM — Last Friday night, a man claiming to be an FBI agent dropped in on three Level 3 sex offenders living together, supposedly to warn them of an Internet "hit list" targeting sex offenders.

The man was not an FBI agent, but he may have been enforcing a hit list of his own creation.

Two of the roommates were found dead early Saturday of gunshot wounds, and Bellingham police are investigating a crime that authorities say may be one of the nation's most serious cases of vigilantism aimed at sex offenders.

The killings also highlight a potential problem about Washington's 1990 law requiring sex offenders to register their addresses so the public can keep track of them.
Bellingham Police Chief Randall Carroll said it is too early to conclude that Hank Eisses, 49, and Victor Vasquez, 68, were killed because they were sex offenders. Police released a sketch of the suspect, who is still at large.

Note: See what Vasquez's daughter has to say about her father's murder.
But Carroll noted that their address — and descriptions of their crimes — were posted on the city's Web site, and if someone used that information to target Eisses and Vasquez, it could have a broad impact.

"Certainly if sex offenders were targeted and attacked because of their offense, the Legislature could decide they could repeal our sex-offender notification law," Carroll said.

Eisses owned the house where the killings took place, and had rented rooms for the past three years to Vasquez and James Russell, 42.

Russell was there the night the suspect showed up, but he soon left to go to work. When he returned about 3 a.m., he told police, he found his roommates dead. Based on their estimated time of death, and the fact that Russell was at work, he is not considered a suspect, according to police. Results of an autopsy are expected later this week, Carroll said.

Vasquez was convicted in 1991 of molesting several relatives. According to court documents, his victims endured regular abuse, sexual and otherwise. He was on Department of Corrections supervision at the time of the murder.

Russell was convicted in 1994 of molesting a 3-year-old girl, and released from DOC supervision about three weeks ago after serving 5 ½ years in prison.

While the public is understandably concerned about sex crimes, Kit Bail, a DOC official, said the three men have been quiet, law-abiding offenders while living together. None of the three had violated supervision conditions, she said, and none had reoffended.

"In a sense, they are a success story," said Bail, the DOC's field supervisor for Whatcom County. "These guys were doing fine. They were employed. They were living according to the conditions."

The killings, she said, should "not be the basis on which we change the laws on registration, but if it is a vigilante act, it gives one pause. It gives me concern about other Level 3 sex offenders living responsibly — or even irresponsibly — in the community. Murder is not the response anywhere."

A fake FBI agent

Eisses was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison in 1997 for raping a 13-year-old boy at his home in Sumas, near the Canadian border. He was released from DOC supervision about two years ago, Bail said.

He bought a blue house with a white picket fence in Bellingham's Columbia neighborhood — about a half-mile from a middle school — with the help of Theodore Kingma. In a brief interview, Kingma said he met Eisses at church. "He confessed his sins, and he lived right with God and the neighbors," said Kingma. "That's all I know."

It is unclear how Eisses met Russell and Vasquez. One of Russell's relatives said Russell's sex-offender status made it difficult to find a place to live until he moved in with Eisses.

According to police, Russell said a man wearing a blue jumpsuit and a hat with an FBI logo dropped by at about 9 p.m. on Friday to warn the trio of the alleged "hit list."

There were no FBI agents in the neighborhood that day, prompting the bureau to open an investigation of impersonation, said FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs. The case does not qualify for federal hate-crime prosecution because the law does not appear to cover sex offenders, she said.

Too much information?

In response to a series of vicious sex crimes against children, Washington became the first state to require sex offenders to register their address upon release from prison. Level 3 offenders like Eisses, Vasquez and Russell, considered the most likely to commit a new crime, must register for life.

Since then, most states and the federal government have passed similar mandatory-notification laws.

A searchable, statewide database maintained by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs provides block-specific addresses for Level 2 and 3 offenders. Other municipalities — including Bellingham — go further by giving exact addresses.
That information has led some to take the law into their own hands. In 1993, Joseph Gallardo planned to move into his family's home in Lynnwood after serving about three years for the statutory rape of a 10-year-old girl.

The home was burned after neighbors heard of Gallardo's plan. He then planned to move to New Mexico but encountered fierce protests there. He returned to Lynnwood, where he still lives. He has not been convicted of another crime.
John La Fond, a lawyer who fought the notification law on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said posting sex offenders' addresses "almost becomes a confession by the state that they cannot keep the society safe from harm, and invites society to take matters into its own hands."

In researching a 2005 book on notification laws, he found dozens of assaults and harassment against sex offenders. Eisses and Vasquez, he said, may be the first deaths.

Don Pierce, head of the police-chiefs association, said the case will renew the debate on publishing sex offenders' addresses.

"I think there are risks and this may prove to be an example of one of those risks," said Pierce. "I also think the public and Legislature have said there's a risk to the general public if they don't know with specificity where a sex offender lives." ..more.. by Mike Carter and staff researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.


Police Say Idaho Case Inspired Sex Offenders' Killer

9-7-2005 National

SEATTLE -- The man who confessed to slaying two registered sex offenders in Bellingham told police that he was outraged by the recent case of Joseph Edward Duncan III, a convicted sexual predator being held in Idaho.

Michael Anthony Mullen, 36, made a brief court appearance Tuesday in Whatcom County Superior Court, about 80 miles north of here, after turning himself in to Bellingham police Monday afternoon.

A longtime resident of Whatcom County with a history of petty crimes, Mullen faces charges in the Aug. 26 shooting deaths of Hank Eisses, 49, and Victor Vasquez, 68. Both victims were Level III sex offenders, considered the most likely to commit similar crimes again. Mullen's arrest all but ended fears that a vigilante was on the loose targeting other registered sex offenders in the Bellingham area.

"It's a relief that he's not running around anymore with who-knows-what on his mind, probably more of the same," said Bellingham Mayor Mark Asmundson, who was informed of Mullen's arrest just minutes after it happened.

According to police, Mullen called 911 from a Bellingham restaurant and confessed to the murders. He was arrested and questioned for "hours and hours," said Bellingham police Lt. Craige Ambrose.

Investigators said Mullen provided details of the crime that only the killer would know, such as the caliber of the weapon and the way in which each victim was shot: once in the head. Ambrose said that during the interview Mullen repeatedly "came back around to the Idaho incident," referring to the Duncan case.

"Let's just say he was influenced by what happened there," Ambrose said. Duncan, a 42-year-old convicted sex predator from Tacoma, Wash., is in Kootenai County, Idaho, awaiting trial for the murders of four people and the kidnapping of two children in May near Coeur D'Alene. Duncan is being investigated in the deaths of other children across four states.

Less than two weeks after Duncan's case made national headlines, police said Mullen got on a Whatcom County Website that listed the names and addresses of all Level III sex offenders in the county.

Eisses and Vasquez lived with a third sex offender in a little green house on Northwest Avenue. According to earlier reports, the suspect had entered the victims' home, just north of downtown Bellingham, impersonating an FBI agent. The suspect told the men there was a "hit list" targeting sex offenders and that he was there to warn them.

The third man left for work with the suspect still in the house. When he returned home from work, the man found his housemates dead. Eisses had been convicted of child rape, Vaquez, of child rape and molestation. Both men had committed their crimes in Whatcom County.

On Aug. 31, five days after the murders, the Bellingham Herald received a letter from someone claiming responsibility for the killings and threatening to kill all other Whatcom County sex offenders designated as Level III. The county has 31 registered Level III offenders, including four in Bellingham, which has a population of 71,000.

Police said Mullen has confessed to sending the letter, and told investigators that more letters would soon be arriving at other media outlets. Ambrose said he did not know the content of those letters.

Ambrose said Mullen, a big man standing at 6-foot-5-inches and weighing nearly 250 pounds, had no known history of violence but had an extensive history of theft and other property crimes. Mullen had no permanent address, police said.

The slayings stirred debate over the 1990 state law requiring sex offenders to register their addresses. Washington was the first state to pass such a law, which is intended to help the public keep track of dangerous sexual predators. Congress mandated that states create registers of sex offenders. Now all 50 states have their own version of Washington's Community Protection Act.

Supporters say the public has a right to know about such offenders, but opponents argue that publicizing exact addresses invites vigilantism and prevents sexual offenders from leading normal lives. ..more.. by AP


Sketchy details released on inmate death

9-15-2007 Washington

Michael Mullen, a Stafford Creek Corrections Center inmate who died in April, was determined to have died of pneumonia, but the manner of death is undetermined because “acute mild drug toxicity” is a contributing factor, according to Grays Harbor County Coroner Ed Fleming. Initially, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department indicated they believed Mullen had committed suicide.

Mullen, from Bellingham, had an extensive law enforcement history, mostly involving minor crimes. But he was at Stafford Creek for the high-profile murder of two Level Three sex offenders, whom he found on a local sex offender registry Web site. He killed the two men after showing up at their home posing as an FBI agent, a ruse he said he used to confirm that the men were indeed sex offenders and to determine if they were sincerely repentant.

Fleming said Mullen had ingested prescription drugs, but the coroner would not say which drugs. “It’s a medical privacy issue,” he said. And he would not say whether the doses were therapeutic or not.

“There was enough medication, but not enough to cause the death directly,” Fleming said.

Instead, Fleming said, the immediate cause of death was lobar pneumonia, an illness in which an infection of the lungs causes them to fill with fluid, interfering with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen.

An official at the State Patrol, which handles the toxicology tests, said they were unable to discuss test results.

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office preliminarily believed Mullen, 37, had taken his own life, basing that on a lack of blunt force trauma and because of writings recovered from the dead man’s cell. Mullen was in the intensive management unit, where he did not have contact with other inmates.

Chad Lewis, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said the department was still putting the pieces together to figure out what led to Mullen’s death. An investigation is still under way, and the corrections department does not comment on open investigations, Lewis said.

Mullen died on the night of April 15, two hours after being found unresponsive in his cell. The prison’s Health Care Unit gave him first aid until emergency crews arrived. ..more.. by Callie White - Daily World Writer

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TX- Bryan death probed (20 Year Old Registered Sex Offender)

2-11-2009 Texas:

A preliminary autopsy report released Wednesday shows that a 20-year-old homeless man found in a vacant downtown Bryan building died from blunt force trauma.

Dale Wayne Ellis was discovered in an abandoned dry cleaning business at Main and Pruitt streets less than two blocks from the homeless shelter where he had recently stayed.

Bryan police spokesman Jason James said it was not clear how Ellis died.

"We're investigating this as a homicide because we investigate all deaths as homicides until we prove otherwise," James said.

Scott James, who knew Ellis from the shelter, said Ellis was good-natured, although he had "irritated" some residents when he stayed at The Bridge, Twin City Mission's homeless shelter.

"He was not real grown-up, but he wasn't malicious in any way," he said. "He was probably going to grow up at some point, but he just hadn't got there yet."

Scott James said he came out of The Bridge to drink his morning coffee before 6 a.m. Tuesday and talked to a man who said he had found Ellis dead around 4:30 a.m. The man said it appeared that Ellis had been severely beaten, James said.

Bryan police responded to the building around 6 a.m.

Deputy Chief Peter Scheets said the cause of Ellis' death was difficult to determine and he couldn't confirm whether Ellis had been beaten or shot.

Scheets said investigators had identified "several persons of interests" in the case.

Ellis had stayed at the mission off and on for the past three months, shelter officials said, but was not considered a client at the time of his death because he had been discharged Friday for "non-compliance."

Shelter Program Coordinator Steve Bethea said Ellis "didn't have any issues at the shelter" beyond normal disagreements among residents.

But Bethea said that he knew Ellis on personal level and that he was "very impressionable."

"He wasn't a bad guy," he said, adding that Ellis was never involved with drugs or alcohol abuse. "Mainly he just wouldn't do what he was supposed to do."

The Bridge runs on a "fair share" system through which residents help out at the shelter or pay a weekly fee as a condition of their stay.

"When you're 20 years old, your life has just started," he said. "He was here trying to find that opportunity, and it didn't work out."

Ellis would often hang around The Bridge during the day, even when he was not living there. He often ate in the community cafe, which provides free meals.

Friends said Ellis told them he was originally from Arkansas but had spent some time in Colorado before coming to Texas. Bryan police said Ellis had at least one family member living in Texas.

Friends and shelter officials said it was well-known among shelter residents that Ellis was a registered sex offender. Public records show that Ellis served two years behind bars as a teenager for a crime involving a 6-year-old girl.

On Sunday, Scott James said, Ellis took him over to the abandoned dry cleaning store behind Food Town to show him where he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

James said he liked Ellis, who would always share cigarettes with him.

"I didn't see this coming," James said. He said Ellis once turned a group of shelter residents in to administrators for drinking alcohol, which is not allowed. "He's hacked some people off, but he never made anyone mad enough to do this."

Bethea described the mood among shelter residents as somber Tuesday. They'd all heard that Elllis died violently.

Lenni Lissberger, who volunteers as a chaplain at The Bridge, met Tuesday with residents to talk about Ellis' death. Lissberger said many were dealing with grief, but also with the knowledge that Ellis was killed in their backyard.

Lissberger had met with Ellis weekly since he came to the shelter.

"He was a kid," she said. "He was young. He was exuberant. You've just got to enjoy a young, exuberant person."

On Tuesday night, Lissberger met with people who eat at the community cafe regularly but have no place to sleep at night. Those are the people most affected by Ellis' death, she said, because they have to sleep outside again tonight knowing that his killer is still out there.

In his six years at The Bridge, Bethea said, he has seen other residents die. Several old people have died, and their ashes remain at Twin City Mission's administration offices because family members never claimed them.

But Bethea said this was the first time someone associated with The Bridge had died so violently.

Many residents, and especially nonresidents who seek help from Twin City Mission's community cafe or case managers, are scared because of Ellis death.

"It's just 1 1/2 blocks away," Bethea said.

Bryan city spokeswoman April Saginor said the city owns the property where Ellis was found. She said officials learned after the event that the area was a hangout and that people often slept there.

The abandoned dry cleaners was boarded up Tuesday after police left, she said.

"This appears to be an isolated incident. It doesn't affect my personal perception of safety downtown," Saginor wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "When I think of downtown, I think of a thriving business district that is home to the award-winning Texas Reds Festival. I'm sorry that a tragedy has occurred but it should not have an impact on how our historic downtown is viewed by the public." ..News Source..

Despite Murder of Homeless Man, Bryan Police Say Downtown Safe

2-12-2009 Texas:

Its an area the city of Bryan is redeveloping. Its also the scene of the city's first homicide.

Tuesday morning, 20-year-old Dale Ellis was found bludgeoned to death in a vacant building on the corner of Pruitt and Main streets, in downtown Bryan.

"Bryan is still safe, the downtown district is a safe area,"said Bryan Police Officer Jason James. "We believe that this was an isolated incident and doesn't impact or reflect on the downtown area."

Bryan Police said Wednesday that they have persons of interest, but so far have made no arrest. Detectives climbed in the bucket of a city fire truck Wednesday afternoon, to get a bird's eye view of the downtown.

Ellis was homeless, and often stayed a few blocks down Main Street from where he was found, at Twin City Mission.

Twin City Program Director Steven Bethea says he's not sure who might have done this.

"I've thought about that for the last day," said Bethea. "This is just evil to me, and is this just random act of evilness, or was this somebody who might have known this person?"

Twin City Mission CEO Doug Weedon said Ellis was discharged from the mission last week, for not complying with rules.

"I allow people to enjoy the consequences of their actions," said Weedon. "When you choose not to follow our requirements, then you choose not to live at the mission."

The building Ellis took shelter in Monday night, was a vacant city property. Police said had they known about it, the incident would have warranted a criminal trespass arrest.

However, Robert Boyd, works across main street and said Ellis wasn't the first to take shelter in the green building.

"There are always people over there every single night, drinking, doing whatever they're doing over there," said Boyd.

"Kinda freaks me out a little bit, knowing people are getting killed 100 feet from where I park."

However, those who lived with Ellis, don't believe his death was random.

"There's a good chance we know who the person is," said Scott James. James said he came to know Ellis over the last several months, when they both lived at the shelter.

Ellis was a registered sex offender, and according to James, not liked by all of the mission's residents.

"He has like a past to him a little bit that people kinda held against him," said James.

Well-liked or not, his former roommates want answers.

"Everybody kinda wants to get to the bottom of it to figure out who is in our group that might be able to do something like that," said James.

Twin City Mission is offering grief counseling to residents and staff. ..Source.. by Ashlea Sigman

Autopsy: Bryan man was beaten to death

2-12-2009 Texas:

BRYAN - There are a few more answers surrounding the body that was found in Downtown Bryan on Tuesday morning.

According to the autopsy report, 20-year-old Dale Wayne Ellis died from blunt force trauma. Police told ABC 40 he was beaten to death, but they could not give out any details about the injuries Ellis suffered.

Ellis' body was found in an abandoned building around 6:00 on Tuesday morning.

According to police, Ellis was homeless, but his last-known address was on N. Main Street in Bryan.

The city of Bryan's website lists him as a registered sex offender, who victimized a 6-year-old girl. But police told ABC 40 they do not think that has anything to do with Ellis' murder. ..Source.. by Nicole Pytel

Arrest Made in Homeless Bryan Man's Murder

2-14-2009 Texas:

A homeless man whose last address was listed as Madisonville is behind bars, accused of murdering a homeless Bryan man in an abandoned downtown building.

Danny Ray Grammer, 22, was taken into custody Friday evening in Madisonville for the murder of 20-year-old Dale Ellis. Bond has been set at $250,000.

According to court documents, Grammer was interviewed by police Tuesday, the day Ellis's body was found at an abandoned dry cleaners in the 600 block of North Main. Grammer denied involvement in Ellis's death at that time.

However, on Friday, police say another homeless man, identified as Antonio Bernard, came to them and said his "partner," Grammer, had killed Ellis. Bernard said Grammer had taken him to the body right after the murder. Bernard then provided police with details about the scene and the case that had not been released to the public.

Bernard went on to pick Grammer out of a lineup, identifying him as his "partner." Bernard said Grammer had confessed the murder to him and that he didn't mean to kill Ellis.

Bryan Police had also found the shirt Grammer had worn in his initial interview with police. It was bloody near the homeless camp he and Bernard lived at in the downtown area.

According to Twin City Mission officials, Grammer had been staying at the mission, but was discharged about a week and a half prior to Tuesday's murder. Ron Crozier with Twin City says Grammer was not complying with the mission's conditions for staying at the facility, which include helping out at the various operations.

Ellis had also been discharged from the mission days prior to his murder. Crozier says those two dischargings were unrelated, and that staff members at the mission did not suspect Grammer in Ellis's death.

Ellis was convicted of indecency with a child in Montgomery County in 2004. In January, he had registered as a sex offender in Brazos County. It is unknown whether his previous crime played a role in his murder, which police say was a result of "blunt force trauma."

Ellis's murder was the first in Bryan in 2009. ..Source.. By Steve Fullhart