Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog. The Journalist's name and "Source" link follow each story. We add "Tags" based on facts from the article, which are used for later retrieval, if someone wants to see all stories by a tag (Click tag of choice). Tags are at the top of story.
Our Commenting Policy

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Police ID man killed on Santa Ana River Trail

12-30-2011 California:

ANAHEIM – A man stabbed to death on the Santa Ana River Trail, near the 91 freeway, has been identified as 42-year-old Lloyd Middaugh, police said Friday.

About 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, a person exercising on the trail called police to report a person down between Tustin and Lakeview avenues, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

Police and paramedics responded to the trail and found a man, later identified as Middaugh, suffering from at least one stab wound, Dunn said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"There is information that he lived under the freeway overcrossing but we are not certain," Dunn said, adding that there was no indication that Middaugh, who was about 6 foot 4 inches tall and about 300 pounds, had been moved.

The motive for the stabbing is under investigation, Dunn said, and the weapon was not found.

Detectives are investigating whether the incident is related to another fatal stabbing involving a transient on Dec. 21 at a shopping center in Placentia.

Middaugh was a registered sex offender, according to the Megan's Law online database. Police indicated that he was required to register after a crime that occurred more than 20 years ago in San Diego.

The popular Santa Ana River Trail stretches 30 miles along the Santa Ana River, from Huntington Beach to the Orange-Riverside county line.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the stabbing to call 714-765-1900. ..Source.. by DENISSE SALAZAR / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arrest Made in Slaying of SoCal Homeless Men

1-15-2012 California:

Alert citizens chased a man down and led police to him in a Friday night attack of a homeless man in Anaheim

The man arrested in connection with the Friday night killing of a homeless man in Anaheim is being held as the main suspect in a month-long string of transient murders in Orange County.

"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for the killing of four homeless people," Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters said in a press conference Saturday afternoon.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, is being held at the Anaheim Jail without bail, said Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn, a department spokesman.

Friday's stabbing was the fourth such killing of a homeless person in OC.

Officials will ask the District Attorney to pursue four counts of murder against Ocampo, Walter said during the press conference.

"This is great news to know that's been caught," Brad Olsen, brother-in-law of victim Lloyd Middaugh, told NBC 4. "Prayers have been answered. We feel blessed that it's over."

Middaugh was one of four homeless men killed in the area since December. James McGillivray, 53, was stabbed to death Dec. 20 near a Placentia shopping mall. Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found on the Santa Ana River trail in Anaheim on Dec. 28. Paul Cornelius Smit, 57, was killed outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30.

The latest victim, John, was killed after 8 p.m. Friday behind a Carl's Jr., at 3110 E. La Palma Ave.

The victim has not been identified, but locals called him “John” and believe he is a Vietnam War vet in his mid-60s.

Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter said the man arrested fits the description of a man wanted in three stabbing deaths - in Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda - dating to Dec. 20.

“I saw (John) at CVS about a week ago and I started crying when he said he wanted to leave the area and I hugged him,” a woman told NBC4. “But then I saw him and I was so happy he was still here, but I've been busy and I didn't have time the last couple of days to say 'hi.'”

The suspect, chased away by some people who saw him running, was caught on La Palma about a quarter-mile away in next-door Yorba Linda.

Police were believed to be questioning more than two dozen witnesses, whom they recognized as "brave citizens" during the public meeting Saturday.

A task force of local police and the FBI had been set up to investigate three homeless men who were killed in December at the hands of what police believed was a serial killer.

A surveillance camera in Placentia captured images of the suspect, a thin man wearing a dark-hooded sweater, who may have been driving a four-door Toyota Corolla. ..Source.. by Jason Kandel and Samantha Tata

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Former Marine pleads not guilty to 6 murders

2-21-2012 California:

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Itzcoatl Ocampo, the former Marine accused of killing four homeless men and two other people, pleaded not guilty to charges on Tuesday.

During the hearing, Ocampo mumbled to himself and at times appeared to smirk. His own defense attorney said his client is mentally ill.

"He's cracked. He's ill. He's got a mind that is wounded. His mind is so fractured that I think it's hard for him to understand not only the gravity, but even where he is right now," said defense attorney Randall Longwith.

The 23-year-old is charged with stabbing four homeless men to death. The murders took place in Orange County over a three-week period starting in December. It ended with Ocampo's arrest as he ran from the scene of the fourth murder in Anaheim.

Ocampo is also charged with stabbing to death a mother and son in Yorba Linda last October. Unlike the homeless victims, authorities allege Ocampo knew 53-year-old Raquel Estrada and her 34-year-old son Juan Herrera through Estrada's younger son.

Family members of one of Ocampo's homeless victims, 42-year-old Lloyd Middaugh, came to court to see the suspect. Middaugh was found stabbed more than 40 times along the Santa Ana River Trail in Anaheim.

"I'm kind of sick to my stomach," said Marie Middaugh, the victim's mother. "I can't wrap my head around it. It just doesn't seem possible."


Longwith said he has not yet decided whether to use an insanity defense, but stressed that Ocampo was affected by his eight months in Iraq. While he did not see combat, his attorney said Ocampo drove a truck and would have to deal with wounded and deceased people.

Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will seek the death penalty. Ocampo is due back in court on March 9. ..Source.. by Eileen Frere

UPDATE: Investigators scramble for answers in Caldwell man's death

12-29-2011 North Carolina:

LENOIR -- The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is staying tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the death of Matthew Jason Carter, 32, of Lenoir.

“We’re working this as a murder investigation,” said Sgt. B.J. Fore of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, “We’ve got the SBI helping us out on it.”

The sheriff’s office announced on Dec. 22 that Carter had been reported missing from his home on Walnut Drive where he was last seen on Dec. 15. Five days later, deputies found Carter dead in a wooded area off Crump Rd. in Lenoir.

Several of the investigators working on the case were present at the autopsy performed Thursday.

“We’re hoping that will give us a little more information,” Fore said.

He wouldn’t discuss any possible suspects in Carter’s death, how he died or what motive there may have been for murder. Fore said his reluctance to talk stemmed from the fact that investigators don’t have all the answers. They’re asking the public to come forward with new information – not wild theories based on what they’ve read in the media’s coverage of the crime.

“Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information and you don’t have to give them your name,” Fore said.

The photo the sheriff’s office distributed when they announced Carter was missing was a mugshot.

Fore said it was taken when Carter, a registered sex offender, was arrested for pornography – not a crime directly against a person.

“He doesn’t have a history of arrest since then. He’s never been involved with anything violent,” Fore said. “We don’t think that played any part in his death.

Anyone with information about Carter’s death is asked to call the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 758-2324 or Crime Stoppers at 758-8300. ..Source.. by Tim Southers | Hickory Daily

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cause of death determined for Lenoir man found earlier this week

12-30-2011 North Carolina:


The cause of death for a Lenoir man who was found dead earlier this week has been determined. The autopsy performed on 32-year-old Matthew Jason Carter determine that he was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest.

Carter was reported missing last week and was found dead Tuesday in a wooded area near Crump Road in the Gamewell Community. The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case, at this time they are releasing little information.

Authorities are asking for the public's help in determining what happened to Carter. Anyone with any information in in this case is asked to contact the Caldwell County Sheriffs Office at Officials at 828-758-2324 or call Crimestoppers at 828-758-8300. ..Source..

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Man kills wife's rapist

12-17-2011 India:

NAGPUR: A woman's husband killed a farm labourer after catching him red-handed raping his wife on Thursday night at Parasingha about 62-km away from city. Katol police arrested the woman's husband for murder and also booked three more, including the deceased, for gang rape. A school clerk is also among the two arrested for the gang rape.

Akash Kawrati, 27, was a tractor driver and labourer, who came from neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh along with wife and two children, to eke out a living around six months ago. Ravindra Sharmate, another farm labourer in the village, had befriended Kawrati who belonged to the same community.

Police said Sharmate approached Kawrati requesting to arrange a feast for him and his friends Gautam Wagh and Gautam Bagde. Wagh is employed in a school as a clerk. It is learnt that Bagde apparently managed to take Kawrati away on his bike on the pretext of purchasing liquor from a shop around one kilometre away from the house. Kawrati's wife Prema (name changed) was at home preparing the feast along with her two children. Sharmate and Wagh were also present.

As Bagde took Kawrati away, Wagh and Sharmate took the opportunity to molest Prema. Police said that Wagh had already raped Prema. Sharmate was forcing himself upon Prema when Kawrati and Bagde returned.

Catching Sharmate in the act, an enraged Kawrati immediately attacked him with axe and stones. Seeing Kawrati, Bagde and Wagh fled the spot. Kawrati relentlessly assaulted Sharmate until he collapsed, said police.

It was on the following morning that Sharmate's family learnt about the incident and rushed to Katol police station. Sharmate's body was still at Kawrati's house when police reached the spot. Police said that Sharmate had no shirt on him. Kawrati had later put on the trousers on Sharmate's body.

Prema too filed a complaint against Bagde and Wagh following which Katol police also arrested Wagh and Bagde for gang rape. ..Source.. by Times of India

Friday, December 16, 2011

Authorities say woman stabbed Diamond Bar man to death before dismembering him

6-2-2011 California:

RANCHO CUCAMONGA - A prosecutor said Thursday that the head and arms of a slain Diamond Bar man were recovered by police Wednesday in two large flower pots at a Bell Gardens house.

The victim, 63-year-old Samuel Wiggins Jr., was allegedly stabbed to death by his girlfriend, Carmen Montelongo of Riverside, then dismembered, authorities said.

Authorities believe both the killing and the dismemberment may have occurred at Wiggins' Diamond Bar home in the 23700 block of Meadow Falls Drive.

"Probably, but we can't be sure," said David Hidalgo, a supervising deputy district attorney in San Bernardino County.

Montelongo is accused of hiding Wiggins' head and arms in two separate flower pots that she delivered to a relative's home in Bell Gardens. She allegedly buried the rest of his body in the backyard of a relative's home in Ontario.

An autopsy was performed Thursday on Wiggins' remains. Based on the examination, a medical examiner found that Wiggins likely died from multiple stab wounds, said Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos, who attended the autopsy.

It also confirmed the body's identity through fingerprints, dentures and unique surgical scars, Gallegos said.

Montelongo was arrested Sunday in Ontario after she allegedly exhumed Wiggins' body in the backyard of a relative's home in the 700 block of North Holmes Avenue, then loaded the remains into a trash can.

Police arrested her after she wheeled the container about 200 yards through residential streets.

A cousin who lives at the Holmes Avenue address said this week that Montelongo may have buried the body about a month ago during what she said was a gardening project.

Hidalgo said police aren't certain of Montelongo's motive in her alleged killing of Wiggins. But he said it may have been for financial gain.

Montelongo used Wiggins' credit cards after his disappearance and was also in possession of his car, Hidalgo said.

When she was arrested, Montelongo told an officer that the body in the trash can was that of a man who assaulted her, according to a declaration from Ontario police Detective Al Parra contained in Montelongo's court file.

Montelongo's son and daughter were arrested at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of being accessories to Wiggins' killing.

Daniel Ortiz, 25, and Chanel Alicia Ortiz, 26, have not yet been charged by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, but they may be after police deliver reports to prosecutors about the siblings' alleged crimes, Gallegos said.

Daniel Ortiz allegedly helped his mother deliver the flower pots in early May to a relative's home in the 6700 block of Foster Bridge Road in Bell Gardens. One of the pots contained Wiggins' head, and the other contained his arms, Gallegos said.

Gallegos said she did not know Chanel Alicia Ortiz's alleged involvement.

At Wiggins' home on Thursday, his son, daughter-in-law and neighbors were loading a moving truck with the man's possessions.

His daughter-in-law, Michelle Wiggins, said Wiggins' landlord asked his family members to clear out the home as soon as possible.

Michelle Wiggins said that Samuel Wiggins was retired, and a former serviceman who fought in the Vietnam War.

"He was a good man that didn't deserve this," she said. "He was a great father and father-in-law. He's going to be greatly missed."

Wiggins lived in the Meadow Falls Drive home for at least 10 years, neighbors said.

A woman who lives in the neighborhood said she believes Samuel Wiggins and Carmen Montelongo met through the Internet. She said she was unsure how long they dated, though she said she believed it was a short time.

The neighbor, who asked to remain unnamed, said Montelongo and her daughter also lived in Wiggins' home for a brief period.

Montelongo appeared in West Valley Superior Court on Thursday for a brief hearing in which Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Taft was confirmed as her attorney.

Montelongo's only statement during the hearing was "correct," which she said in response to a question from Judge Michael Libutti about whether she wished to be represented by Taft.

Montelongo is in custody in lieu of $1 million bail. She was handcuffed during the hearing and her legs were shackled.

She wore orange scrubs, which indicate she's being housed in the general population area of West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Taft said during the hearing that she plans to visit Montelongo today. Taft withdrew Montelongo's request at her arraignment Tuesday for reduced bail.

Montelongo is set to return to court Monday. Her children may also be arraigned today or Monday if they are charged in the case, Gallegos said.

Authorities have given conflicting statements as to Montelongo's true name and age.

Montelongo has been identified in some police news releases as Montenegro, but a police spokesman said Wednesday that Montelongo is her true name and Montenegro is an alias.

In mail scattered in the suspect's frontyard in the 6200 block of Indian Camp Road in Riverside, she is identified as Carmen Montelongo. She is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit in San Bernardino County under that name.

Parra identified her as Montelongo in his declaration of probable cause.

Montelongo also uses two different dates of birth - one that makes her 51, and another that makes her 44 - and authorities have given conflicting statements about which they believe is her true age. ..Source.. By Will Bigham Staff Writer

------------------------------------------------------------------

Money, sex abuse possible motives in trash can body case, says San Bernardino County DA

6-3-2011 California:

Money and sexual abuse are two possible motives investigators are probing in the bizarre case of a Southern California woman charged with stabbing her ex-boyfriend to death, dismembering him and pushing his body parts down the street in a trash can, authorities said.

The San Bernardino County district attorney's office said Carmen Montenegro might have acted for financial gain in the killing of Samuel Wiggins Jr.

Investigators have surveillance video showing Montenegro, 51, using credit and ATM cards belonging to Wiggins after he disappeared on April 20, said David Hidalgo, supervisor of the district attorney's family violence unit. Montenegro also used the 63-year-old Wiggins' car in the days after his disappearance, he said.

Montenegro also told police that she had been sexually abused and authorities are also considering that as a possible motive, Hidalgo said.

Her public defender, Rebecca Taft, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Montenegro has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bail.

Authorities said she also has a criminal history under the name Carmen Montelongo, but charging documents in the current case list her last name as Montenegro.

An autopsy performed Thursday on Wiggins' remains determined he likely died from multiple stab wounds, Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos told The Sun of San Bernardino.

It also confirmed the body's identity through fingerprints, dentures and unique surgical scars, Gallegos said.

Montenegro was arrested Sunday at a house in Ontario, a San Bernardino County city 40 miles east of Los Angeles, after neighbors called police to say a woman was dragging what appeared to be body parts down the street in a 30-gallon trash bin.

Police found a torso and legs at the address, which was the home of some of Montenegro's relatives, and later discovered a head and arms in two large flower pots that Montenegro and her son delivered on Mother's Day to another relative's address in Bell Gardens, near Los Angeles.

The body parts all have been identified as Wiggins' and an autopsy was under way Thursday to determine how Wiggins was killed, authorities said.

Montenegro's two adult children were arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of helping their mother dispose of the remains.

Daniel Ortiz, 25, and Chanel Alicia Ortiz, 26, both of Riverside, were stopped in Rancho Cucamonga and could be charged as early as Friday, Hidalgo said.

It was not immediately clear if they had retained attorneys.

"It's hard to comprehend that someone could be so callous and pushing body parts down the street in a trash can like it was nothing," Hidalgo said. "She was desperate and she was looking for people to help her dispose of the body."

Authorities believe Montenegro killed Wiggins at his home in Diamond Bar, in Los Angeles County, and then transported the remains to her relative's home in Ontario, where she buried the body parts. She dug several deep holes and told relatives she was re-doing the garden, Hidalgo said.

Investigators have also discovered carpet at a home in Riverside where Montenegro was renting storage space, Hidalgo said. The carpet was in a large cardboard box that was used to deliver a sofa and is believed to have come from the victim's house, he said.

At some point, Montenegro uncovered the body and put the head and arms in flower pots that were delivered to the Bell Gardens address, he said.

A family member of Montenegro's, Matthew Bell, told The Sun that he saw Montenegro in a hole in the backyard of his grandmother's house on Sunday. He said he also saw her throw body parts in the trash can and that she offered him $5,000 to help dispose of the remains.

Bell said he instead went to call police and that Montenegro followed him with the trash can, still pleading for help.

She was arrested about 200 yards from the home. ..Source.. by Gillian Flaccus

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Money possible motive in US trash can body case

6-3-2011 California:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Money and sexual abuse are two possible motives investigators are probing in the bizarre case of a Southern California woman charged with stabbing her ex-boyfriend to death, dismembering him and pushing his body parts down the street in a trash can, U.S. authorities said.

The San Bernardino County district attorney's office said Carmen Montenegro might have acted for financial gain in the killing of Samuel Wiggins Jr.

Investigators have surveillance video showing Montenegro, 51, using credit and ATM cards belonging to Wiggins after he disappeared on April 20, said David Hidalgo, supervisor of the district attorney's family violence unit. Montenegro also used the 63-year-old Wiggins' car in the days after his disappearance, he said.

Montenegro also told police that she had been sexually abused and authorities are also considering that as a possible motive, Hidalgo said.

Her public defender, Rebecca Taft, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Montenegro has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bail.

Authorities said she also has a criminal history under the name Carmen Montelongo, but charging documents in the current case list her last name as Montenegro.

An autopsy performed Thursday on Wiggins' remains determined he likely died from multiple stab wounds, Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos told The Sun of San Bernardino.

It also confirmed the body's identity through fingerprints, dentures and unique surgical scars, Gallegos said.

Montenegro was arrested Sunday at a house in Ontario, a San Bernardino County city 40 miles east of Los Angeles, after neighbors called police to say a woman was dragging what appeared to be body parts down the street in a 30-gallon trash bin.

Police found a torso and legs at the address, which was the home of some of Montenegro's relatives, and later discovered a head and arms in two large flower pots that Montenegro and her son delivered on Mother's Day to another relative's address in Bell Gardens, near Los Angeles.

The body parts all have been identified as Wiggins' and an autopsy was under way Thursday to determine how Wiggins was killed, authorities said.

Montenegro's two adult children were arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of helping their mother dispose of the remains.

Daniel Ortiz, 25, and Chanel Alicia Ortiz, 26, both of Riverside, were stopped in Rancho Cucamonga and could be charged as early as Friday, Hidalgo said.

It was not immediately clear if they had retained attorneys.

"It's hard to comprehend that someone could be so callous and pushing body parts down the street in a trash can like it was nothing," Hidalgo said. "She was desperate and she was looking for people to help her dispose of the body."

Authorities believe Montenegro killed Wiggins at his home in Diamond Bar, in Los Angeles County, and then transported the remains to her relative's home in Ontario, where she buried the body parts. She dug several deep holes and told relatives she was re-doing the garden, Hidalgo said.

Investigators have also discovered carpet at a home in Riverside where Montenegro was renting storage space, Hidalgo said. The carpet was in a large cardboard box that was used to deliver a sofa and is believed to have come from the victim's house, he said.

At some point, Montenegro uncovered the body and put the head and arms in flower pots that were delivered to the Bell Gardens address, he said.

A family member of Montenegro's, Matthew Bell, told The Sun that he saw Montenegro in a hole in the backyard of his grandmother's house on Sunday. He said he also saw her throw body parts in the trash can and that she offered him $5,000 to help dispose of the remains.

Bell said he instead went to call police and that Montenegro followed him with the trash can, still pleading for help.

She was arrested about 200 yards from the home. ..Source.. by WFAA.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DA: Child molester, 64, found slain in prison

12-12-2011 Massachusetts:

An aging child molester was murdered in prison just a few months before he was set to be released after spending nearly 10 years behind bars, authorities said.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said the inmate, Richard Silva 64, was discovered about 3 p.m. yesterday by a guard doing rounds during a shift change at MCI-Norfolk.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrisey’s office said state police assigned to the office are investigating.

“Due to evidence at the scene, the death is being investigated as a probable homicide,” a spokesman for the office said in a statement last night.

Wiffin said Silva, whose last known address was in Lowell, was sentenced to nine to 10 years in prison. He was convicted of indecent assault and battery of a child under 14 in January 2003. He was due to be released in March 2012.

She said the assault happened in May 1989.

Morrissey’s office said no one has yet been charged or arrested for the death.

According to the Sex Offender Registry Board’s online database, an incarcerated Richard Silva of the same age and with the same 1991 conviction date had two prior convictions for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, in 1971 and in 1973. ..Source.. by O’Ryan Johnson

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Convicted killer accused of prison murder

1-27-2012 Massachusetts:

A career criminal serving life for the murder of one woman, and awaiting trial in another killing, was charged today with last month’s slaying of fellow MCI-Norfolk inmate Richard Silva, a convicted child molester.

Christopher Fletcher, 50, formerly of Leominster, was indicted by a Norfolk grand jury for beating Silva, 64, to death on Dec. 12, as Silva was nearing the end of his incarceration on sexual abuse charges, Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said.

Fletcher’s attorney declined comment. Morrissey’s spokesman, David Traub, declined to comment on what evidence prosecutors hold, including whether it includes prison security video.

An arraignment date has not been set.

Fletcher, who the Department of Correction has moved to maximum security at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, rape and kidnapping earlier this month in Worcester Superior Court for the December 1986 slaying in Sterling of Peggy Sue Calvillo, 24, a factory worker and mother of two police believed Fletcher first ran down with a car.

Fletcher is already serving life without parole for the 1995 murder of Elizabeth Salsbury of Lunenberg. When he was arrested for Salsbury’s murder, he told police he had killed before and confessed to Calvillo’s murder, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said.

Salsbury’s body was found behind a car dealership in Shirley. Police said she had been stabbed repeatedly in the throat.

“I commend the correction officers, administration and investigators at the Department of Correction for their constructive partnership and hard work in this investigation, and thank the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section and the homicide detectives attached to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office for their continued professionalism and hard work,” Morrissey said today.

Richard Silva , 64, was serving prison time for a 2003 Suffolk Superior Court sexual abuse conviction, according to Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin. The offenses occurred in May 1989, but they were only the latest in a string of sexual abuse convictions dating back to the 1970s, according to the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board.

Silva was scheduled to be released in March after serving a nine- to 10-year stretch for a 2003 sexual abuse conviction. He’d previously been convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 in 1971, 1973 and 1974. In 1991, he was convicted of two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child over 14. ..Source.. by Laurel J. Sweet

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sex offender possibly murdered

12-6-2011 Canada:

Police believe a sexual offender who died last week while serving time in Mission Institution was murdered.

Officers with Correction Service Canada (CSC) discovered an unresponsive male inside his cell at the medium security prison around 10: 45 p.m. on Friday.

Emergency services were called to the scene, however the victim could not be revived and was pronounced dead.

As a result, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) was called to the scene, and an autopsy was scheduled for early this week.

"Investigators continue to look into this suspicious death," Sgt. Jennifer Pound of IHIT said in a press release.

"It appears to be a homicide and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team . . . has been called in and has since taken conduct of the investigation."

CSC identified the victim as 39-year-old Troy Squires, although the IHIT would not confirm that because the victim's next of kin had yet to be notified.

Squires had been serving an indeterminate sentence for forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats to cause death/harm, assault with a weapon and overcome resistance. He began serving that sentence in January of 2006. The CSC will also review the incident, said Brandon Banks, assistant warden of management services for CSC, in a press release.

Mission Institution is a medium security facility that houses roughly 250 inmates. ..Source.. by Cam Tucker, The Times

Homicide Unit investigating prisoner’s death

12-9-2011 Maryland:

North Branch Correctional Institution inmate found unresponsive inside celll

CRESAPTOWN — The suspicious death of an inmate at the North Branch Correctional Institution on U.S. Route 220 is being investigated by the Internal Investigative Unit of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit.

Correctional officers found the 57-year-old inmate unresponsive in his cell in Housing Unit 3 of the maximum-security prison shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday and immediately started CPR until paramedics arrived. Officers were alerted after “an inmate approached a correctional officer and said something was wrong with his cell mate,” police said.

The unresponsive inmate was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The identity of the inmate is being withheld pending notification of his family. He was serving 40 years on a rape charge.

Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department ambulance responded to the call at 6:20 p.m., according to the Allegany County 911 center.

The Maryland State Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.

By law, Maryland State Police are the lead investigators in the case of a suspicious death inside a Maryland correctional facility. ..Source.. by Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Inmate's death caused by strangulation, ruled a homicide

12-12-2011 Maryland:


CUMBERLAND, Md. — Maryland State Police say an inmate who was found unresponsive in a Cumberland prison was strangled and his death has been ruled a homicide.

Fifty-seven-year-old Lewis J. Thompson Jr. was found in his cell at the North Branch Correctional Institution on Dec. 8 and pronounced dead at a local hospital. He was serving a 40-year sentence on a rape charge.

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports that state police are conducting the investigation into Thompson's death. No charges have been filed yet. (http://bit.ly/sCAG6j) ..Source.. by The Republic

Friday, December 9, 2011

Judge finds cause to hold 3 in death of Colona resident

2-6-2008 Illinois:

A Henry County judge has found probable cause to hold three Colona residents charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of another Colona resident.

During Monday's preliminary hearing, James L. Kelley, 41; his sister, Brandy L. Kelley, 32; and her boyfriend, Joshua T. Martin, 31, all of Colona, sat before Judge Larry Vandersnick in orange jail clothes.

All three are charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of home invasion, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass to residence in the death of Shane M. McFalls, 39.

Colona police Sgt. Suzanne Bogart testified Monday that Mr. McFalls was found dead in a bed in his home Sunday morning, Feb. 3, with blood in his nostrils and on his lip, and a bucket of what appeared to be vomit next to his bed.

She testified that an autopsy indicated Mr. McFalls died from a subdural hematoma, a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

The events leading to Mr. McFalls' death started Friday, Feb. 1, Sgt. Bogart said. Mr. McFalls and his girlfriend, Teresa Lacy, were at the American Legion in Colona and allegedly got in an argument, then left the legion after 10 p.m.

On the way home, Mr. McFalls allegedly hit Ms. Lacy with her purse, his hand or both. Ms. Lacy went back to the legion later that night and told the Kelleys and Mr. Martin about the incident, according to testimony.

Sgt. Bogart said Ms. Lacy told her she begged the three not to go to the house because of Mr. McFalls' temper. A fourth person, Don Vanderheyden, also went to the house with the Kelleys and Mr. Martin, allegedly to help calm things down, according to testimony.

Sgt. Bogart said Mr. Vanderheyden told her they approached Mr. McFalls' house, yelling and beating on the door. When Mr. McFalls opened the door, Mr. Kelley and Mr. Martin allegedly tackled him, breaking a table inside the home.

Mr. Kelley and Mr. Martin then stood behind Mr. McFalls and held him to the ground on his knees, and Ms. Kelley allegedly walked around and kicked Mr. McFalls in the side of the face, Sgt. Bogart testified.

Sgt. Bogart said Mr. Vanderheyden told her he yelled at the three to stop, and then all of them allegedly sat down and talked. At some point, a phone call was made to the legion where Ms. Lacy was.

Sgt. Bogart said Ms. Lacy allegedly verified she was hit with a purse and not with Mr. McFalls' hand. Some time during the conversation, Mr. McFalls allegedly got up and shoved Mr. Vanderheyden, who then shoved Mr. McFalls down onto a piece of furniture and told him to stay calm.

According to Sgt. Bogart, the four reportedly then went back to the legion. Sgt. Bogart said Ms. Lacy told her that Mr. Kelley said they shoved Mr. McFalls around a little and talked to him about hitting Ms. Lacy.

Sgt. Bogart testified that Ms. Lacy said she arrived home between 3 and 4 a.m. Saturday morning, Feb. 2, and Mr. McFalls was in the master bedroom. He then moved to the back bedroom and shut the door.

She said Ms. Lacy did not think Mr. McFalls ever left the house.

Henry County Public Defender Eugene Stockton asked Sgt. Bogart if any locks on the house were broken. She said no.

Mr. Stockton asked why Ms. Lacy never checked on Mr. McFalls until Sunday morning, when she found him dead.

"She stated she was afraid to check on him," Sgt. Bogart testified.

Outside the courtroom, the Kelleys' sister, Crystal, said during a television interview that more information needs to come out. "I'm fighting. I'll do whatever I can to help them. We're a good family. We're human. I just know they're loving people."

The three suspects remain in Henry County Jail on $500,000 bail. Home invasion is a Class X felony punishable by a mandatory 6 to 30 years in prison. Involuntary manslaughter is a Class III felony punishable by two to five years in prison.

Mr. McFalls was a convicted sex offender, but Colona Police Chief Tim Krebs has said it had nothing to do with the alleged crime.

A pre-trial hearing for the three is scheduled on March 13. ..more.. by

-------------------------------------------------------------------

3 Charged in ''retribution beating'' of registered sex offender

2-6-2008 Ilinois:

Colona, QUAD CITIES -- Three people are behind bars in Henry County, charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of beating a registered sex offender as revenge for domestic violence against his girlfriend.

Police say it started Friday night, when 39-year old Shane McFalls and his girlfriend got into a fight at the American Legion in Colona.

''One wanted to go home, the other one didn't, and they ended up getting into a physical confrontation'', said Colona Police Chief Tim Krebs.

The girlfriend returned to the Legion a short time later, battered and crying, and told her friends that McFalls had beaten her up. Police say her friends then took matters into thier own hands.

Investigators say Joshua Martin, James Kelly, and his sister, Brandy Kelly went to McFalls' house to even the score.

''What we're looking at in this case, is more of a retribution type thing, domestic battery that occured between the two parties, and friends wanting to get even'', Krebs said.

Court documents say the trio went to McFall's house, and beat him, tackled him, held him down and kicked him in the head.

McFalls, a registered sex offender who spent time in prison for molesting a 7-year old girl, was found dead, by the girlfriend, who had returned to the house the next day.

Illinois State Police and the Henry County Sheriff's Department helped with the investigation. It's the first homicide in Colona in 15 years.

Both Kelly's and Martin are being held in the Henry County Jail. ..more.. by CHRIS MINOR

---------------------------------------------------------

Three acquitted of manslaughter

10-23-2008 Illinois:

Three people were acquitted of involuntary manslaughter Thursday for the death of Shane M. McFalls of Colona, Ill., in February.

A Henry County jury found James L. Kelley, 41, and Brandi L. Kelley, 32, who are siblings, and Brandi Kelley’s boyfriend, Joshua T. Martin, 32, all not guilty on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and home invasion.

The three were each found guilty on other felony charges, including a second home invasion count, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass to a residence.

McFalls, 39, was found dead at 1019 7th St., Colona, on Feb. 3. Colona police said McFalls died from a head injury.

The suspects were all friends with McFalls and his girlfriend. The homicide was the result of a domestic disturbance that began at the American Legion in Colona, police said.

The suspects went to the residence later that night and attacked McFalls, according to police. According to the charges, McFalls was tackled and struck his head on the fall. He also allegedly was kicked in the head.

Police said the suspects left without intending to kill McFalls, but he later died from his injuries.

Of the charges home invasion carried the lengthiest sentence with up to 30 years in prison if convicted.


The three will be sentenced Nov. 18. ..Source.. by Dustin Lemmon

Friday, December 2, 2011

Man killed in mobile-home park identified

12-2-2011 California:

Deputies identify the victim as Bobby Ray Rainwater – a name that appears on a state website of registered sex offenders.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Deputies responding to an early-morning disturbance call at a mobile-home park here found a man dead in the street outside his home.

Investigators were releasing few details Thursday afternoon, but they were treating the man's death as a homicide and said it was not a random crime.

"There's not a danger to the community," Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Doan said. "We're not looking for somebody running around the neighborhood."

The Sheriff's Department identified the victim as 54-year-old Bobby Ray Rainwater. A man by that name and age is registered as a sex offender on California's Megan's Law website, with an address in San Juan Capistrano.

He was convicted of assault with intent to commit a specified sex offense, according to the website. It does not provide other details, and Bobby Rainwater does not appear in criminal court records in Orange or Los Angeles counties.

Rainwater worked as a handyman and lived with his elderly parents at the San Juan Mobile Estates, park manager Ted Roberts said. A woman who answered the phone at the family's home immediately hung up.

Deputies were called to a disturbance at the mobile-home park in the 32000 block of Alipaz Street around 5:30 a.m. Thursday. Doan did not know who was involved in the disturbance, or who called to report it.

Arriving deputies found Rainwater in the street just outside his home. He had obvious injuries, but the Sheriff's Department was not releasing details about the manner of his death because of its ongoing investigation.

Deputies were interviewing Rainwater's family and neighbors and were "zeroing in on some things," Doan said. They had not made any arrests or named any suspects, but Doan said: "This person was not the victim of a random crime."

He asked that anyone with information about the case call the Sheriff's Department at 714-628-7170. ..Source.. by DOUG IRVING / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

----------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE: Man Killed at Mobile Home Park ID'd

The body of a 54-year-old man was found outside his mobile home residence early Thursday in what authorities consider a homicide.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies later identified the man as Bobby Ray Rainwater, who lived in the San Juan Mobile Estates park with his elderly parents, said Lt. Steve Doan.

A Bobby Ray Rainwater is also listed as a sex offender on the state's Megan's Law registry. Although the Sheriff's Department wouldn't confirm any connection, both have the same birthdate and town of residence, San Juan Capistrano.

The registry says Rainwater was convicted of assault with intent to commit a specified sex offense, but provided no details. He had several tattoos, including a dragon, devil, and skull and crossbones.

The Sheriff's Department received a 911 call around 5:30 a.m. about a disturbance at the mobile home park at 32302 Alipaz St. When they arrived on the scene, they found Rainwater's body outside a mobile home on Paseo Perdido.

"The victim was already deceased when deputies arrived, but we don't know for how long," Doan said.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SC sex crime convict found dead in front of shower in McCormick prison

11-29-2011 South Carolina:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the death of 49-year-old inmate serving a 20-year sentence for criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

The state Corrections Department said Monday it is routine for SLED to investigate possible homicides. The prison agency and SLED would not provide details of the death of Ricky Cooper of Graniteville.

He was found Saturday morning in a common area in front of a shower near the cell.

The Corrections Department said SLED was notified as soon as Cooper's body was found. ..Source.. by The Republic

----------------------------------------------------------

Graniteville sex offender found dead in prison

A convicted sex offender from Graniteville was found dead outside his cell in McCormick Correctional Institution on Saturday.

South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesman Clark Newsom said Monday evening that Ricky Cooper, 49, who was serving a 20-year sentence for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, was found dead by corrections officers at 11:35 a.m.

His body was in a common area outside his cell by the showers.

Newsom said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has taken over the case, and details are limited.

Cooper was charged in June 2007 with eight counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and 10 counts of committing lewd acts on a minor. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to court records.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said when it filed the charges that a boy and a girl were assaulted at an Aiken home between February 1996 and February 2004.

McCormick Correctional Institution is a level 3 all-male prison.

Level 3 prisons are high-security institutions designed primarily to house violent offenders with longer sentences and inmates who exhibit behavioral problems, according to the Department of Corrections Web site. Housing consists of single and double cells, and all perimeters are double-fenced with extensive electronic surveillance. Inmates at level 3 facilities are closely supervised, and their activities and movement within the institution are highly restricted, the Web site says. ..Source.. by Summer Moore, Staff Writer

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prisoner’s death gory, report says

12-3-2012 Georgia:

The mutilation of a convicted child molester killed at a state prison in McCormick included pens and a pin stuck in his eyes, ears and nose, swastikas carved and written on his face and “pervert” inked on his forehead, a report says.

The report, obtained by The State newspaper after state corrections officials declined to describe the crime, is the first revelation of what prison staff encountered Nov. 26 when they discovered the body of Ricky Cooper.

Prison officials went to check on him after receiving an anonymous telephone call about a stabbing, the report says. It’s unclear how long Cooper’s body had been in an area adjoining a shower near his cell. It was not in the report.

State Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, chairman of the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee, told The State on Tuesday that his staff had spoken with prison officials and learned that Cooper was “missing for some length of time before they found him.”

Prison spokesman Clark Newsom wouldn’t say Friday if guidelines requiring staff to make periodic checks on inmates were followed. He declined to explain what current guidelines are, calling that a “security matter.”

In the past, because it is a high-security prison, regulations required that officers check cellblocks every 30 minutes. Further, the rules required an inmate count of the entire prison be completed every four hours.

McCormick County Coroner Faye Puckett, prison officials and the State Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating, each declined to comment on the report.

Gov. Nikki Haley will await the outcome of SLED’s investigation before deciding if any action is necessary on her part, spokesman Rob Godfrey said. The Corrections Department is part of her Cabinet.

Cooper, 49, was serving a 20-year sentence from Aiken County that began in March 2009.

He was strangled, according to a warrant charging cellmate John New of Lee County with murder.

The report doesn’t say if the mutilation is thought to have occurred before or after Cooper’s death.

He was strangled with what the report describes as an unspecified type of string.

Besides the mutilation with the pens, safety pins and the swastikas, Cooper’s stomach was slashed, his groin was bloodied with an unidentified open book laid across his legs, and his face had several other cuts, the report said.

His shredded prison identity card was clipped to an ear, it added.

Cooper and New, 32, were alone during the incident, warrants said. Authorities decline to say if they are investigating whether other inmates were involved in the mutilation.

As of Monday, the prison had 1,246 inmates, 124 more than its normal capacity. It is 75 miles west of Columbia.

New is serving a life sentence for taking hostages by force, according to a state Department of Corrections website. ..Source.. by TIM FLACH

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Graniteville man serving time for sex crimes killed by cellmate

2-2-2012 Georgia:

A Graniteville man incarcerated at a McCormick County prison for repeatedly raping two young boys in Aiken County was strangled to death by his cellmate over the weekend, officials said.

In 2009, Ricky Lynn Cooper, 49, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree and was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.

Less than two years into Cooper's sentence, on Saturday, Cooper's cellmate, John Michael New, 32, who had been serving a life sentence for hostage-taking, reportedly strangled the Aiken County man.

New has been charged with murder.

Senate Corrections Committee Chairman Mike Fair of Greenville said his staff has been told Cooper was mutilated, but Fair did not tell reporters any details, according to the Associated Press.

Neither the McCormick County coroner nor South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents would not comment on the death.

The body was taken for autopsy on Monday.

According to published reports, Cooper's body went undiscovered for as long as several hours.

During the 2009 plea hearing in Aiken, Cooper admitted to raping the victims over a period of years. However, at the last minute the admitted child molester changed his mind and demanded a jury trial, the Aiken Standard reported at the time.

"I don't think it's right ... I think I should have a fair trial and see everything they've got against me," Cooper told the court. "I want a jury to tell me because I am really not guilty of these charges."

After a brief recess, Judge Thomas Russo announced that it was at his discretion whether or not to allow the guilty plea to be withdrawn and that he was not going to allow it.

The victims and their families were in the courtroom but chose not to make any statement to the court. ..Source.. by Karen Daily - Staff writer

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Man Shot in the Back by Police had Extensive Record

11-23-2011 Nevada:

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas police have released the mugshot and criminal history of a man shot and killed by officers on Monday night.

Police say 37-year-old Bernard Pate was shot and killed by Gang Crime detectives on Monday evening near Karen Avenue and Lamb Boulevard. Police say they tried to talk to Pate and he took off on foot. Shots were fired and Pate struck in the upper-left back area of his body. He died at the scene. Police say they found a gun laying near his body.

Pate has an extensive police record, including arrests for attempted lewdness with a minor, attempted robbery, attempted burglary, open and gross lewdness, annoyance of a mentally challenged minor, lewdness with a minor under the age of 14 years, unlawful contact with the mentally ill, and battery, domestic violence. He is also a registered sex offender.

This is the 17th officer-involved shooting of the year for Metro and the 11th fatal shooting. The officer involved in the shooting is on paid administration leave. ..Source.. by Stephen Jackson, Online News Editor

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Man fatally shot by Metro police Monday identified

The man shot and killed by a Metro Police officer Monday night has been identified as 37-year-old Bernard Pate, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Pate, of Las Vegas, died from a gunshot wound to the upper, left back, the coroner said. His death was ruled a homicide.

Metro spokesman Jay Rivera said the officer-involved shooting happened about 11 p.m. Monday at 4550 E. Karen Ave., near Sahara Avenue and Lamb Boulevard.

Police said gang detectives were patrolling the area when they tried to stop a man acting suspiciously in a courtyard. He started running, prompting a chase, Rivera said.

During the foot pursuit, Rivera said an officer shot the suspect, who was believed to be carrying a gun. The weapon was found next to his body, police said.

Police have not released what prompted the officer to fire. Pate died at the scene.

Police said Pate, who was classified as a “Tier O” sex offender, was a registered felon for the following crimes: attempted lewdness with a minor, open and gross lewdness, attempted first-degree robbery and attempted third-degree burglary.

Police said the investigation is ongoing. The officer who fired has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings. ..Source.. by Jackie Valley

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wife faces 50 years in jail for shooting at her husband after she found his stash of child porn

11-19-2011 Maryland:
---She then got hold of ANOTHER gun which he also took off her before killing himself
---University lecturer tells court former USAF Lt Col killed himself out embarrassment over child porn cache
---‘The jury maybe thought that he committed suicide, but found that she had tried to murder him as well’
Jurors found Findlay, originally from Blairgowrie, Perthshire, guilty of attempted second degree murder following a two-and-a-half-day trial

A Scottish university lecturer faces 50 years in a U.S. jail for trying to murder her husband after finding his child porn.
Joanna Findlay, 41, blasted Gary Trogdon in the chest at their home in Hollywood, Maryland, but failed to kill him.

Mr Trogdon, a 55-year-old former U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, then took the gun and killed himself.

Jurors at St Mary’s County Circuit Court found Findlay, originally from Blairgowrie, Perthshire, guilty of attempted second degree murder following a two-and-a-half-day trial.

Findlay was also found guilty of the statutory firearms offence of using a handgun in the commission of a felony.

State attorney Richard Fritz said Findlay now faces a potential 30 years in jail for attempted second degree murder, and potentially another 20 years on top for the firearms offence.

Mr Fritz said: ‘The jury found that she tried to murder him before he shot himself. They decided there was not enough evidence as to whether he committed suicide or she murdered him.

‘The jury maybe thought that he committed suicide, but found that she had tried to murder him as well.’

Findlay, who was an English lecturer at Maryland University, insisted throughout that Mr Trogdon had in fact shot himself over the embarrassment at his child porn cache.



THE GUN-LOVING LECTURER

Joanna Findlay, who studied at Aberdeen University and Dundee College, moved to the US 15 years ago on a student exchange programme. She married Trogdon 11 years ago.

Her parents, Freda and scrap merchant Thomas Findlay, of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, are understood to have flown out to support her.

Freda said last year: ‘Joanna is one of the most caring, good-natured people you could meet.’

But Alex Wahlberg, one of Findlay’s pupils, recalled that Findlay would frequently stop lessons to talk about her love of weaponry.

He said: ‘A class period didn’t go by that she didn’t talk about gun laws or the number of guns she has. She would talk about how her house was “a well-armoured home”.

She owned tons of them.’ ..Source..

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joanna Findlay guilty of US murder bid charge

11-18-2011 Maryland:

A Scots university lecturer has been convicted of attempting to kill her husband in their US home after finding child sex abuse images on his computer.

However, Joanna Findlay, from Blairgowrie in Perthshire, was cleared of her husband's murder by a jury, who concluded he had killed himself.

Findlay, 41, shot at her husband Gary Trogdon at their home in Hollywood, Maryland, on 30 October 2010.

She was released on bail, pending her sentence.

Prosecutors in Maryland said she could face up to 50 years in jail.

Five charges

Findlay was convicted of second degree attempted murder and a handgun charge following the death of her 55-year-old husband, a former US Air Force lieutenant colonel.

The judge at the Leonardtown courthouse allowed Findlay to remain free on bail, while a pre-sentence investigation was carried out.

It was reported the jurors were initially deadlocked after being asked to determine Findlay's guilt on five charges, ranging from assault to first degree murder.

They returned to the court so the judge could re-read them a summary of the case. An hour later the jury returned with its verdict.

Findlay moved away from Blairgowrie 15 years ago. She was a former Dundee College and Aberdeen University student.

She always maintained that her husband had turned his gun on himself after she confronted him. ..Source.. by BBC

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hollywood woman accused of killing husband

11-14-2011 Maryland:

Murder suspect’s lawyer argues death was suicide

Opening arguments Monday in the murder trial of a former college instructor included defense allegations that the victim her husband possessed child pornography and had a penchant for keeping multiple loaded guns in the house.

His death, the defense attorney argued, was a suicide.

When the prosecution began presenting its case later in the day, St. Mary’s County jurors heard three taped conversations from 911 calls made the night of Oct. 30, 2010 the first by Joanna Joyce Findlay, who is charged with murdering Gary Alan Trogdon, and the second two calls initiated by the emergency dispatcher. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the couple’s Hollywood home to find Findlay outside and Trogdon dead inside on a chair in the living room.

“What you will hear is an enraged woman saying my husband just assaulted me,” St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz said before the tapes were played.

Fritz (R) said that earlier the day of the murder the couple was seen in good spirits and had gone to a Mexican restaurant in California for dinner with a neighbor after helping work on the neighbor’s chicken coop.

Fritz alleged that later that night Findlay retrieved a .22 caliber pistol and shot it in the house before her husband took it away from her. Then, he said, Findlay used another pistol, this time a .38 caliber weapon, and eventually shot her husband at close range and “severed his heart.”

John Ray, Findlay’s lawyer, said in his opening argument that his client’s husband had pulled her from her bed that night and assaulted her, chasing her around the house, before she punched him in the nose.

Ray acknowledged that Findlay pulled out the .22 caliber gun and said she shot it into the home’s floor.

He said that based on gunpowder residue patterns on Trogdon’s shirt from the .38 caliber weapon, the gun muzzle was touching the husband’s shirt when it went off.

Ray said that when he presents the defense case later in the trial he intends to call as a witness a doctor who will testify that based on evidence the death was a suicide.

Prosecution witnesses called the first day of the trial included several sheriff’s officers who responded to the 911 call, the emergency dispatcher, a volunteer paramedic, a relative of Trogdon’s and a neighbor.

Detective Sarah Russell said she notified Findlay in the early morning hours the next day while she was at St. Mary’s Hospital that she was being held because her husband died at their house. The detective said Findlay then asked three questions what did her husband die from, whether the police thought she did it and the state of her pets at the house.

During opening arguments, the defense lawyer said that Findlay had discovered child pornography on her husband’s laptop two and a half months earlier and confronted him with it.

Trogdon went to a support group in Virginia the morning before he died, after his wife insisted he seek help for his obsession with child pornography, Ray alleged. Trogdon returned with a chip that showed he attended the group’s meeting, Ray said, an object the lawyer said would later be submitted as evidence.

Ray argued that Trogdon shot himself over the embarrassment of the child pornography.

Last week, during a pretrial hearing, Fritz objected to introducing the pornographic images as evidence, arguing it would be done solely “to inflame the jury.”

Ray alleged that detectives have seized several computers that have thousands of images of child pornography. He said that Findlay told detectives about the pornography the night her husband died.

Fritz said that Findlay was trying to overdose on drugs that night and that her husband took those drugs from her to stop her from committing suicide. The prosecutor said that some of that medication was found by police in Trogdon’s pants pockets.

Grand jurors indicted Findlay on a charge of first-degree murder from Trogdon’s death. Findlay, now 41, and her 55-year-old husband lived on Little Cliffs Road.

Findlay, originally from Scotland, worked as a writing instructor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Trogdon, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, was on the faculty of American Military University, affiliated with the American Public University System in West Virginia. ..Source.. by JESSE YEATMAN, Staff writer

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scots woman jailed in the US for attempted murder set to appeal conviction

4-29-2012 Maryland:

A SCOTS woman jailed in the US for attempted murder wants a retrial – after the jury were told not to believe her because she isn’t a Christian.

University lecturer Joanna Findlay, 42, got five years for the attempted murder of husband Gary Trogdon.

She had been charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser crime after a jury decided she had fired a gun at him before he turned another weapon on himself.

The lecturer – originally of Blairgowrie, Perthshire – denied committing any crime.

She said her husband had killed himself after an argument in which she had fired a shot into the ground in self-defence.

The couple fought after Findlay found child porn on his computer.

She wants a retrial, claiming she might have been acquitted if state attorney Richard Fritz had not attacked her credibility based on her being an atheist.

During her trial, Fritz told a jury that Findlay’s testimony – sworn on oath to God – “cannot be relied on because she does not believe in God, she does not believe in Jesus Christ”.

Her lawyers also say prosecutors tried to portray her as a “porno queen” after making her read a short story expressing her leanings toward atheism and debauchery.

At a post-trial hearing, Fritz said: “Perhaps I did go a little too far in the closing argument but the proof was in the pudding.

“They convicted her on her 911 telephone call heard at the trial and they convicted her on the fact she had gunpowder residue on her.” ..Source.. by Russell Findlay

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Man found shot to death in ditch

10-30-2011 Oklahoma:

Tulsa Police are searching for clues after the body of a man is discovered in a ditch.

It happened near 3100 E. Virgin Street around 8:30 this morning.

Police say the body of 48-year-old Eric Fuller was found lying in a ditch. He had been shot.

At this time, the Homicide unit is still working on leads regarding a motive or suspects.

According to the police department, the number of homicides in 2010 is very close to the numbers last year.

"This is the 44th one we've investigated this year. Last year at this time almost to the day we were at 50, so it's running pretty much the same," says Sgt. Dave Walker.

There were a total of 62 homicides in 2010.

Fuller was wanted for failing to register as a sex offender, however police do not believe this was a motive. ..Source.. by Sharon Phillips

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Man arrested in death of man found in ditch

11-3-2011:

Antwan Maurice Reed, 34, was taken into custody on a complaint of first-degree murder after investigators found evidence linking him to the death of Eric Fuller, 48, Sgt. Dave Walker said.

Fuller was found dead with a gunshot wound in a ditch near 3100 E. Virgin St. about 8:25 a.m. Sunday. Police believe he was killed between 3 and 4 a.m.

Reed is being held at the Tulsa Jail without bail. He also is being held for traffic violations.

He has a history of criminal convictions that include assaulting a police officer, burglary, kidnapping, concealing stolen property and possession of drugs, records show. He served nine years in jail and was released in 2009. ..Source.. by ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Officers shoot, kill suspect in child porn case

10-28-2011 Colorado:

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Authorities have shot and killed a man in Greeley after a meeting at a hotel to exchange child pornography went bad.

Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner told the Greeley Tribune that federal officials on a child pornography case had arranged the meeting Friday afternoon and asked Garner's department for assistance because they knew the suspect would be armed.

He says officers shot the suspect after he allegedly touched his gun. Greeley police Sgt. Joe Tymkowych says it wasn't immediately known which agency shot the suspect.

The Tribune reports Greeley police SWAT team members and agents with the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations were at the scene. ..Source.. by beaumont-enterprise.com

Police: Man shot by officers in child porn sting was Johnstown resident

10-29-2011 Colorado:

Police have identified the suspect in an undercover child porn sting who was shot to death by Greeley police Friday as a Johnstown resident.

The man, Jason Paul Collins, 30, was shot and killed after he reached for what police believed to be a gun during a planned meeting with police at which they were supposed to exchange child pornography. Greeley police spokesman Sgt. Joe Tymkowych said an investigation revealed that the man did not have a firearm but instead reached for a BB or pellet gun fashioned to look like a real gun, known as a replica gun.

“He had also previously told undercover agents specifically that this weapon was real,” Tymkowych said. “He also had told them that he was not going to return to prison.”

The Greeley police SWAT team joined agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations about 4 p.m. Friday in a planned meeting with the suspect. The meeting was on the second floor of the Fairfield Inn, 2401 29th St., just off the U.S. 34 Bypass in Greeley. Tymkowych confirmed that two Greeley officers fired at Collins when he reached for the weapon, but he would not say whether the officers were SWAT officers. He said police are still investigating to determine the exact details of the case. Greeley police were at the scene to assist the ICE agents.

Greeley police chief Jerry Garner said in a statement that early information indicates officers acted appropriately in the shooting.

“The preliminary indications are that procedurally our officers did exactly what they were supposed to do,” he said. “I am extremely proud of our people.”

The Weld District Attorney’s Office will conduct a legal review of the shooting, while the police department will conduct a parallel inquiry to ascertain whether the department’s policies were followed, Tymkowych said.

Tymkowych said ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents conducted an investigation in this case after developing leads as part of routine Internet surveillance for their Homeland Security operations. He said ICE agents routinely conduct such investigations while working with local jurisdictions.

At the scene Friday, police accompanied a tow-truck driver to tow a blue Honda Civic. The scene drew the top officials from the Greeley police and Weld District Attorney’s Office to investigate. Garner, Capt. Jack Statler, Lt. Brad Goldschmidt, Capt. Juan Cruz, city attorney Rick Brady, Weld District Attorney Ken Buck, Assistant District Attorney Michael Rourke and DA investigator Keith Olson all showed up. All left without comment.

Crime scene investigators remained on scene until after 6 p.m. Friday, blocking off much of the second floor of the hotel.

Tymkowych said the investigation is ongoing. ..Source.. by Nate A. Miller

Silver Spring man allegedly killed by fellow patient at Maryland mental health hospital

10-28-2011 Maryland:

40-year-old had been accused of molestation in 2010

A man accused of second-degree rape for molesting an 11-year-old girl in Montgomery County was killed Thursday evening by a fellow resident at a state mental health hospital in Jessup, officials said.

Rogelio Mondragon, 40, was a patient at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup. In December 2010, he was found incompetent to stand trial on a rape charge and was committed to the hospital. On Thursday, he was in Montgomery County Circuit Court for a competency hearing about 10 a.m. and he was ordered back to the hospital for continued treatment.

Hours after he returned to the hospital, about 7:30 p.m., Maryland State Police were called to his room, where Mondragon’s body was found by hospital staff, police said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. His body has been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Maryland State Police say Andre Mayo, 46, who also is a patient at the hospital, killed Mondragon. Mayo is charged with first- and second-degree murder for Mondragon’s death. It was not immediately clear why Mayo was admitted to the institution.

It is the second time in eight days and the third time in 13 months that one patient at the facility has killed another.

All three killings involved Montgomery County patients.

On Oct. 21, 24-year-old Vitaly Davydov, of North Potomac, was arrested on the suspicion that he killed his roommate, David Rico-Noyola, 22, of Anne Arundel County. In 2007, Davydov pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Bethesda psychiatrist Wayne S. Fenton in North Bethesda. He has been hospitalized since.

On Sept. 26, 2010, 51-year-old El Soundani El-Wahhabi, of Baltimore, was arrested for the first-degree murder of Susan Sachs, 45, of Chevy Chase, a fellow patient. Sachs was found face-down on her bed, strangled to death. Sachs was hospitalized at Perkins after being found not competent to stand trial for the 2004 beating death of psychiatrist Joyce Hadl, 71, of Chevy Chase. Hadl was Sachs’ landlord at the time of her death.

“The events at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital over the last week are tragic and unacceptable,” Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein said in a written statement Friday. “Hospitals are places for healing, not violence. Perkins Hospital has taken many steps to strengthen the safety of its environment, but more needs to be done.”

Sharfstein held a meeting in Baltimore on Friday to discuss ways to improve patient and staff safety.

Police said Mayo approached a hospital security staff member and gave details of the assault on Mondragon while other hospital employees were moving patients off the floor for the investigation. Video surveillance tapes show Mayo entering the victim’s room on two occasions within a half hour.

Police investigators were at the hospital throughout the night conducting interviews and reviewing evidence.

A motive for the homicide has not been established, police said. ..Source.. by Danielle E. Gaines, Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marion County identifies young man killed in officer-involved shooting

10-19-2011 Oregon:

A man shot and killed early Monday by a Salem police officer was identified today as 22-year-old Dru Garret Larson.

Criminal records show that Larson had convictions for theft in Marion and Tillamook counties and identity theft, forgery, sex abuse and failure to register as a sex offender in Polk County.

An autopsy confirmed the cause of Larson's death to be gunshot wounds sustained during his confrontation with police, according to the Marion County District Attorney's Office.

Oregon State Police are investigating the shooting. ..Source.. by Alison Barnwell, The Oregonian

Family: man shot by Salem police was "sweet, kind, loving"

10-18-2011 Oregon:

Jane Larson stood at northeast Salem intersection tonight with tears in her eyes and her hand over her mouth, trying not to be physically sick.

Piles of glass and a muddy tire treadmark in the grass showed the spot where her son, Dru Garret Larson, was fatally shot by police early Monday.

“I’m going to miss him so much,” Jane Larson said. “If I had my way, I wish it was me not him. I would change places in a heartbeat.”

Dru Larson, 22, was fatally shot by Salem police early Monday, Marion County Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy said. An autopsy performed by the Oregon State Medical Examiner determined Larson died of gunshot wounds, Kemmy said.

Larson was allegedly driving a stolen car about 1 a.m. Monday when he was spotted by police. A three-minute chase ensued through downtown Salem at speeds of 30 to 50 mph.

The stolen 1989 Honda Civic eventually crashed into a stop sign at the corner of Liberty and Grove streets NE. But the crash didn’t stop Larson, who kept driving and hit at least one other car, officials said.

Police said the driver’s “subsequent actions placed officers at the scene in imminent danger,” resulting in officers Rogers Smith and Laura Seefeldt firing their duty weapons. No new information about what happened immediately before the shooting was released Tuesday.

Witnesses said the driver put the car in reverse and apparently was headed toward police officers.

Photos of the suspect vehicle show bullet holes in the windshield. Officers provided emergency medical aid, but Larson died at the scene.

His family is trying to piece together what happened leading up the shooting. They went to the scene Tuesday night, seeking closure.

They called Dru Larson sweet, kind and loving. He liked football, video games and fixing up cars.

Dru Larson had two sisters and a brother. He grew up in Tillamook and graduated from Tillamook High School in 2007, said his sister, Brandi Larson, of Dallas.

“We’ve gotten more than 100 text messages from (people in) Tillamook,” Jane Larson said. “He will be missed.”

He moved to Salem in 2009 to be closer to family and to get out of the small-town lifestyle.

Dru Larson was homeless, but stayed with Brandi Larson and his mom at times. He spent the last five days of his life with his sister, Brandi Larson.

“He always told me, chin up,” she said.

Dru Larson struggled with a methamphetamine addiction, but had been clean for three weeks before the shooting, according to Jane and Brandi Larson.

“That’s why we can’t imagine this,” Jane Larson said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Dru Larson never carried weapons, they said, questioning why officers used deadly force.

“My son, I feel, was a victim,” Jane Larson said. “And until I find out the whole truth, I won’t rest.”

Larson has about 10 prior misdemeanor convictions in Marion, Polk and Tillamook counties. In April 2011 he was convicted of identity theft, a felony, in Polk County and sentenced to probation and community service.

The officers involved in the Monday shooting have been put on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer involved shooting.

Senate Bill 111 establishes a procedure after officer-involved shootings. The Monday incident is being investigated by Oregon State Police and the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

Kemmy said information on the incident will go before a grand jury, which will determine if charges are necessary and whether the officers were justified in using deadly force.

Smith has been a Salem police officer since 2006. Seefeldt was hired with the department in 2000, after working as an Independence police officer for about six years.

Smith previously was cleared in an officer-involved shooting that wounded Salem man Rockne Mack Nickell in March 2007. Nickell allegedly threatened neighbors with a knife and confronted police with what turned out to be a pellet gun.

According to a state police investigation, Smith thought he was shooting Nickell with his Taser, and instead fired his gun. ..Source.. by Stacey Barchenger, Statesman Journal

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autopsy shows Wasco inmate was beaten to death

10-13-2011 California:

A Wasco State Prison inmate found dead in his cell earlier this week was beaten to death, according to a report from the Kern County coroner's office released Wednesday.

Prison officials have said the suspect in the killing of Michael Thomas Graham is his cellmate, Joseph Hyungmin Son, 40, a former part-time actor who had a role in the 1997 film "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." Son also had a brief career as a mixed martial arts fighter.

Graham, 50, of San Luis Obispo County, was sent to the prison's reception center in June, after he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender and sentenced to two years in prison.

Son was convicted in August of torture for his part in the 1990 rape of a woman in Huntington Beach. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and sent to the prison's reception center in September.

Graham was found dead in his cell Monday afternoon, prison officials said. ..Source.. by LA Times

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prison staff should have protected paedophile who was disemboweled by inmates

10-4-2011 United Kingdom:

Paedophile Mitchell Harrison met a macabre and grisly end after being disemboweled in a prison attack by fellow inmates.

Look away if you’re squeamish, but the serial sex attacker was butchered with makeshift weapons, thought to be razor blades melted into toothbrush handles, after allegedly boasting about his sick crimes

Our gut instinct may well scream that a man who brags about raping a 13 year-old girl may have deserved such a bloody and hideous death. That this was justice in its most primitive sense.

However, this is England, 2011, a so-called civilized society where the rule of law still governs. And though it may be hard to swallow, what’s morally right and legally acceptable can be mutually exclusive.

The authorities at Frankland Prison in County Durham should face a full criminal investigation and Harrison’s family have a right to claim compensation for his unlawful death .

Every prisoner is entitled to full state protection, however horrible their crimes – indeed the greater the horror the more they need protecting.

How on earth can such a violent atrocity ever occur in one of Her Majesty’s prisons? Especially when this place has previous – Soham killer Ian Huntley had his throat slashed in the same jail only last year.

Defendants like this are prime targets for in-house vigilantism. Have the authorities learnt nothing?

Last year I supported Ian Huntley’s right to sue for £100,000 when he was attacked.

And that’s why I support Harrison’s family in suing the prison for every penny it can get.

Breaking the law is a costly business.

This mistake will probably cost the hard-pressed tax payer millions.

Only the other day the High Court ruled that banned extremist Sheikh Raed Salah could claim compensation for unlawful detention by immigration officers because they failed to explain to him ‘in a language he could understand’ precisely why he was being detained – a technical breach of the rules. The pro-Palestinian hardliner, described in the Commons as a ‘virulent anti-Semite’ is banned from this country.

His entry was illegal. But nevertheless now he is here, is entitled to being protected by the law of the land.

It’s essential that those responsible for those protecting us uphold that law. Otherwise we have to pick up the tab.

And until State protectors do their job properly, we’ll keep on paying. Now, where’s the morality in that? ..Source.. by Nick Freeman

Friday, October 7, 2011

Possible motive released in Albany landlord-tenant homicide

6-30-2011 Oregon:

ALBANY, Ore. (KMTR) -- New information and a possible motive has been released in an Albany homicide, as the female suspect in the case makes her first appearance in court on Thursday.

35-year-old Melissa Amber Haley of Albany is charged with murder in the shooting death of 49-year-old Derrick Miller of Albany. Haley was arraigned on the charge Thursday, June 30th, 2011.

Albany Police say Miller and Haley lived in the same house. Miller was Haley’s landlord. Police say Haley admitted to shooting Miller just before noon on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011.

According to the probable cause affidavit in the case, at least four people lived in the home where the shooting happened, on the 600 block of Montgomery Street in southeast Albany.

In the affidavit, Albany Police say Haley rented two rooms in the home, one for herself and one for her 12-year-old child, starting in December 2010. Police say Miller and his wife also lived in the home.

Police say Haley called 911 on Wednesday, telling dispatchers she has “just shot a man.” When Albany Police officers arrived on scene, according to the affidavit, Haley exclaimed, “I couldn’t take it anymore!” and “He’s a pedophile!”

According to the affidavit, Haley later spoke to detectives, accusing Miller of sexually abusing a 4-year-old in the basement of the home in December 2010. Haley alleged that the 4-year-old was in Miller’s wife’s care. Haley also told police that she never reported the allegations to authorities, only to her friend.

In the investigation, Albany Police also interviewed Miller’s wife. In the affidavit, police say Miller’s wife told detectives that she hasn’t provided day care to anyone in the last five years, also that no young children visit the residence at all.

Neighbors say they are shocked by the shooting.

“These people were really nice people. They never fought and argued with each other, we spent afternoon with them where they could have, and they just didn't do that, they were just really gentle people," says David Cunningham, a neighbor, speaking of the Miller family.

"Always active in the neighborhood and active going out boating, camping all the time, fishing,” says Cunningham.

Other details in the affidavit also state that Haley told Albany Police that she had shot Miller in the stomach. Officers found Miller in his home with a gunshot wound in his head.

The affidavit also states that Haley told Albany Police that she suffers from “anxiety” and “depression” and is on medication to treat both conditions.

The Albany Police Department and Linn County District Attorney’s Office declined any further comment on the case on Thursday, June 30th, 2011. Both agencies are continuing to investigate the case.

Albany Police served a search warrant on the home on Thursday and cleared the crime scene early Thursday afternoon. ..Source.. by Chris McKee