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Monday, September 26, 2011

Man killed at 26th and Jefferson identified as Shaun Harris, 43

9-26-2011 Washington:

The man apparently beaten to death at 26th and Jefferson September 22 has been identified as Shaun Ansar Harris, 43.

Police were called to the scene just after 6:30 a.m. after someone reported an altercation inside a vehicle. Harris was found outside a red Mercedes-Benz convertible with a fatal head wound. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.

At the September 22 meeting of the East Precinct Advisory Council (EastPAC), precinct commander James Dermody said police do not believe the killing was related to the neighborhood or Garfield High School, which is one block away from the site of the attack.

According to the King County sex offender website, Harris was convicted of third degree rape in 1995. He also has a lengthy list of aliases. ..Source.. by Tom Fucoloro


Man beaten to death near Central Area school

9-22-2011 Oregon:

A man was fatally beaten in Seattle's Central Area early Thursday, and homicide detectives are working to identify a suspect, according to police.

Several people called 911 to report an assault shortly after 6:30 a.m. at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue East and 26th Avenue, department spokesman Mark Jamieson said.

When officers arrived, they found the victim with obvious head injuries lying on the ground near a red Mercedes-Benz convertible, he said.

The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died, Jamieson said.

Crime-scene investigators spent much of the morning processing the scene, located a block east of Garfield High School. Seattle police said there was no connection to the high school.

Jamieson said he could not say whether the assault occurred inside the vehicle or outside on the street.

The victim's name was not released Thursday by the King County Medical Examiner's Office. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

"We believe the victim knew the suspect," said Renee Witt, a police spokeswoman. "We don't think this is some random act." ..Source.. by Seattle Times staff


Part of a larger article on 9-22-2011:
Harris, a 43-year-old sex offender, was found unresponsive and bleeding from the head in the Central District. Hours before his death, police contacted Harris on a suspicious circumstances call.

At 4:06 a.m. that morning, police contacted Harris in a red Mercedes-Benz. A woman also was inside. Police questioned then, but released the pair because there was no evidence of a crime. Two and a half hours later, a man was walking his dog on 25th Avenue toward Jefferson Street when he saw what he thought was a silver Cadillac make a fast turn east on Jefferson. When the man got to the intersection, the pedestrian saw a person about a block away, standing outside Harris' red Mercedes, striking a person in the driver's seat.

The man told police the silver Cadillac that passed him was parked with its taillights on directly across from the Mercedes-Benz. East Precinct officers found Harris on the ground outside the Mercedes about a block from Garfield High School. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he died about 7:30 a.m.

The woman who had been with Harris told homicide investigators that after being released, she and Harris drove around until he eventually pulled over at 26th and Jefferson and tried to have sexual relations with her, which she didn't want. She told detectives she left after calling her sister, and left Harris sitting in his car.

Detectives noticed a possible blood stain on the lower portion of the woman's pants, according to a search warrant affidavit. In late September, investigators searched the Infinity she drove and recovered clothes, shoes and paperwork. But police not named anyone as a suspect.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homicide victim a convicted sex offender

9-16-2011 Canada:

Hamilton’s most recent homicide victim, George Washington Burnett, was a convicted child molester.

Court documents obtained by The Spectator show Burnett pleaded guilty to sex-related offences in 1993 involving three victims, whose identities are protected under a publication ban. He was sentenced to seven years in a penitentiary.

The abuse took place during two time periods. The first was in the mid-1970s. The second occurred over several years, ending in the early 1990s.

Burnett, 82, was found dead in his bed at his Stirton Street home with a knife in his neck on the evening of Sept. 7. His son David and concerned friends had come to check on him and found his body.

Police said he was last seen by several people around noon the day before.

Neighbours have remembered Burnett, a former pastor, as a deeply religious man whom one neighbour said was like everybody’s grandfather.

Hamilton police say they are confident the murder was not random, but would not comment on whether his death was connected to his past. Staff Sergeant Steve Hrab, of the homicide unit, said there is some sort of relationship between Burnett and his killer.

“This individual wasn’t a stranger to the deceased,” Hrab said.

When asked if police are looking at someone in the neighbourhood, he said: “That’s a possibility, but it’s not conclusive to just that.”

Hrab described Stirton Street, in the central lower city near Sanford Avenue North and Wilson Street, as a close-knit neighbourhood. Burnett was known to most of his neighbours and they knew it was unusual that he had not been seen for more than a day.

One of the victims Burnett was convicted of molesting spoke to The Spectator.

She stoically recalled details of the abuse, which began more than 20 years ago when she was nine years old. The woman, now 30, read about the homicide in the newspaper and wondered if it was the same George Washington Burnett.

She hadn’t seen or spoken to Burnett since he was sent to prison. No one told her he lived about a 10-minute drive away. News of his death brought back memories.

“I started thinking, ‘Well maybe somebody from before that he did something to had come back to get revenge.’ Or maybe he did it to someone’s kid,” she said.

The woman said the abuse started about a month after she met Burnett. She said he would cover her mouth so she couldn’t scream and threaten her by saying he would send her away and she would never see her family again. She never told anyone what happened, not even her mother.

“I was scared to tell anyone, he put the fear in me,” she said. “I just remember being in shock, I don’t remember ever having emotion. After this happened, I just had to deal with it.”

The woman broke down when she talked about how Burnett changed her life — she was always afraid of men and new people until she got older.

“I never had boyfriends growing up, I felt like I never had a normal childhood because of that.”

A few years into the abuse, she was confronted by a woman who said Burnett raped her. At first she denied anything had been done to her, but when she found out she wasn’t the only victim, she broke her silence and told her family. Burnett was charged with five offences in 1993. He eventually pleaded guilty to three of those charges.

She never saw him again.

Following his death, neighbours — who say they knew little about Burnett — were deeply saddened. They described him as a wonderful man whom everyone looked after. He spent holidays with the folks across the street, and others helped him with meals and chores. They said Burnett was always alone and some recalled him living on Stirton for 10 to 15 years.

Burnett had seven children and several grandchildren. He once worked at Menasco Aerospace in Oakville as an engineer. Before he went to prison, he was a pastor at a local church.

Some of Burnett’s family members declined to speak to The Spectator. They held a funeral service for him Friday morning.

Police set up a command van in the neighbourhood on Thursday hoping to interview about 30 people they had not yet spoken to. Hrab said they did reach some of them, but would not say whether police learned any new details about the case.

“I don’t want the people responsible to know what we are thinking,” Hrab said. ..Source.. by Stacey Escott

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guards Can't Toss Suit Over Murdered Inmate

9-13-2011 Texas:

HOUSTON (CN) - Four prison employees still face claims that they let an inmate strangle his cellmate and kick him to death with boots, a federal judge ruled.

Michael Dewayne Walker was a prisoner at a Texas state prison in Midway, serving a 21-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault of a child. Officials at the Ferguson Unit assigned the 20-year-old Walker to bunk with Wilbert "Peanut" Hamilton, who was serving time for homicide, arson and assault.

On July 13, 2006, just six months into Walker's sentence, Hamilton strangled Walker and kicked him with a pair of black brogans issued to him for use in the prison work area. After Hamilton pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, the courts tacked another seven years to his prison sentence.

Walker was not the first cellmate that Hamilton had assaulted. Steven Ware nearly died when Hamilton went after him in a similar attack five years earlier.

Walker's parents, Mary Walker and Michael Spencer, filed a wrongful-death complaint in the Southern District of Texas. The original complaint lists eight claims for relief, which include violations of Walker's Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights.

"It is well known to all defendants - and frankly the general public - that sex offenders are routinely targeted by the general population inmates and singled out for harassment, intimidation, abuse, assault, and/or injury," the complaint states. Walker's parents also say Hamilton should not have had his boots in the cell.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt noted this week that the four remaining defendants - Ferguson Unit Warden Michael Upshaw, prison guard Matthew Bazan III, prison guard Jason Pfleiderer, and prison guard Leonard Laskowski - were each named for the first time in an amended complaint.

On Wednesday, Hoyt dismissed their second motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. The officials had claimed that "the law was not clearly established that sex offenders such as Walker had to be segregated from the prison population, nor that offenders were prohibited from having boots in the housing area," according to the eight-page order.

There are "genuine issues of material fact remain disputed regarding whether the defendants violated Walker's Eighth Amendment rights," Hoyt said, noting that Walker's parents have claimed that "Hamilton's propensity for violence was well known within the prison, and that his attack on Walker was audible and occurred over several hours."

Walker's parents "also claim that Warden Upshaw failed to properly train his staff, as evidenced by the fact that they put him into Hamilton's cell, despite the fact that Hamilton was outspokenly threatening to any potential cell mate."

"In light of Hamilton's well-documented history of violence, mental instability and routine need for solitary confinement, the conflicting accounts of the length and volume of the fatal beating, the defendants' qualified immunity defense fails," Hoyt wrote. ..Source.. by BONNIE BARRON

Saturday, September 3, 2011

AWOL Fort Riley soldier killed in standoff

9-3-2011 Kansas:

A Fort Riley soldier who had been convicted Wednesday of raping a child was killed Thursday after a standoff with law enforcement officers in Abilene, a Fort Riley official said late Thursday.

U.S. marshals and local authorities located Sgt. Kirk Evenson at a hotel in Abilene. He had been reported absent without leave by military authorities Tuesday when he failed to appear for the second day of his court-martial for rape of a child — a violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“The man killed by law enforcement officials in Abilene, Kan., this evening was a Fort Riley soldier who was fleeing from military justice,” Lt. Col. Sophie Gainey, 1st Infantry Division public affairs officer, said in a news release.

Evenson was tried in absentia and was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

His vehicle was spotted outside a hotel in Abilene on Thursday.

Gainey says Evenson was shot after a lengthy standoff when officers decided to enter the room and he “offered resistance.” Further details weren’t available.

“We are confident law enforcement officials made every effort possible in their attempts to apprehend Evenson peacefully,” Gainey said. “We are saddened for everyone affected by this tragic case.”

Evenson was assigned to the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. ..Source.. by The Capital-Journal