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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Candler death ruled a homicide

11-28-2012 North Carolina:

CANDLER — Buncombe County investigators have determined that a man found dead in a wooded area last week is the victim of a homicide, Lt. Randy Sorrells said Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in learning more about the death of Thomas Curtis Reese, 29, who was visiting the Asheville area from Florida.

“Sheriff’s investigators have talked with witnesses who saw Reese and companions in the West Asheville and Candler area prior to his death,” Sorrells said. “The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who had any contact with Thomas Reese or may have seen him in the Asheville area to please call investigators.”

Residents cleaning up their property on Carrion Lane in Candler found the body around 11:45 a.m. Friday near the edge of their property line and called authorities. The Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and later deemed it a “a suspicious death investigation,” but declined to discuss the condition of the body when it was found.

Family members of Reese could not be reached for comment.

An autopsy was performed Monday, but Sorrells declined to release the cause of death. He also declined to talk about other details of the investigation, including whether authorities had a suspect. He said investigators were not aware of any disturbance in the area before the call from residents.

Seeking info

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Walt Thrower at 250-4449 or Crimestoppers at 255-5050.

Reese had a criminal history. He was a registered sex offender in Florida. He was convicted of sexual battery on a girl younger than 16 in June 2001, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

He committed burglary and grand theft in November 1999, according to online records from the Florida Department of Corrections. He was also charged with resisting an officer with violence in September 2000 and attempted burglary in January 2001.

He was incarcerated twice, according to online records. He was in prison from July 2001-January 2003 and again from December 2003-May 2010. ..Source.. by

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homeless Sex Offender Dies; Van Amasses Tickets

This post documents the death of Faamamalu Casey mentioned at the end of this story.

While the article is about the death Thomas Craig who died in the van he has his own post elsewhere in the Murders blog, as does Nicolas Chaykovsky also mentioned at end of story.
12-11-2010 California:

While passing the Caltrain station earlier this week, one of the men we'd interviewed for our story on homeless sex offenders last year flagged us down. He'd said no one had seen Thomas Craig, another one of our sources in the story, for several weeks. Now the Ford Windstar that Craig slept in parked on Bluxome Street had been gathering parking tickets, and our informant speculated the worst: "I think he died in there. I told the fire department, but they just laughed it off."

The consequences of Jessica's Law have been sinister to Craig and others to say the least: Since the law mandates that sex offenders must live 2,000 feet away from a park or school, in San Francisco, their only option is to not have a residence at all. The parole department currently mandates that they remain homeless.

While the city mulls a change to how the law is enforced locally, the paroled offenders continue to sleep in vans parked in lots and alleys, in homeless drop-in centers, or in doorways. Law enforcement experts say the instability makes it more likely the sex offenders will re-offend. In Craig's case, he had been convicted of forced oral copulation with a minor, though he always insisted he'd been framed. He did tell us about how the sex offenders were no longer allowed to enter a program for parolees at Walden House since it was too close to a school.

The complications from Jessica's Law abound. Yet a man dying inside his van and lying undiscovered for weeks seemed to be taking the macabre circumstances up a notch.

We checked on the minivan various times this week and, yep, it had been pegged with three different tickets for parking during street cleaning since mid-November. On Wednesday, a pink notice that the city was going to tow the van appeared. The sheets that Craig usually hung inside for a modicum of privacy were still up. We knocked and there was no answer. The county jail said he wasn't in custody, and the medical examiner said they had no record of him.

Finally today, we met our informant at the Caltrain station again. "He died." But not in the van.

A call to the medical examiner cleared things up: Craig had checked into St. Francis Hospital.

on Nov. 14, saying he had lung cancer. His condition declined at the hospital until he died at 2 p.m. on Nov. 18, likely due to multiple organ failure from cancer.

This will be the third person made homeless by Jessica's Law to die that SF Weekly has learned of this year. First, Nicolas Chaykovsky died in February from a heart attack, with his case manager speculating it was living on the streets that did him in. Faamamalu Casey died of a heart attack on May 27, according to the medical examiner.
Craig's van, meanwhile, is still slated to be towed. Apparently a handful of the homeless guys stored their stuff in there. Since no one has a key, they're all going to lose their possessions now. "Can't inherit the car," our informant, who sleeps under a nearby highway, said with a wry chuckle. "He's gone. I hate to say it." ..Source.. by Lauren Smiley

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2 arrests in sex assault suspect murder

12-2-2010 Missouri:

(KMOV) -- News 4 sources confirm a man found shot to death Tuesday at Route 66 State Park near Eureka was the owner of a south St. Louis comic book store and suspect in the rape of a 13-year-old.

Police found the car owned by Kenneth McClure, 57, Wednesday morning in south St. Louis.

That car was seen in the area of where McClure's body was discovered.
McClure was supposed to be in court Tuesday morning for a hearing related to his rape charge, but he did not show up.

A State Park Ranger found McClure's body on the ground in an area near where Highway 44 and the Meramec River meet at Route 66 state park. He was shot in the back of the head.

Police are still looking for the shooter. ..Source.. by KMOV News4
UPDATE 12-2: News 4: 2 arrests in sex assault suspect murder

(KMOV) -- News 4 has learned 2 suspects have been arrested in the murder of Kenneth McClure.

His body was found Tuesday at Route 66 State Park near Eureka. McClure, 57, was the owner of a south St. Louis comic book store and suspect in the rape of a 13-year-old.

St. Louis County police say the two suspects were arrested Wednesday morning and booked on 1st degree murder charges and armed criminal action. The charges were taken under advisement by the St. Louis County Prosecutor's office and the suspects were released from custody.

McClure was supposed to be in court Tuesday morning for a hearing related to his rape charge, but he did not show up.

A State Park Ranger found McClure's body on the ground in an area near where Highway 44 and the Meramec River meet at Route 66 state park. He was shot in the back of the head.

Man found dead in St. Louis County was arrested for rape in October

ST. LOUIS • A man found dead in St. Louis County Tuesday was charged earlier this year in a statutory rape case and had been arrested after a standoff with police in October, a relative said.

The man's nephew identified the shooting victim found by St. Louis County police at Route 66 State Park as Kenneth McClure, 57, of St. Louis. His body was found a few hours after he missed an appearance in the court case against him.

McClure was involved in a standoff with police Oct. 28 after they showed up at the comic book shop he operated to arrest him on charges of statutory rape, assault and unlawful use of a weapon. He was accused of sex with a 13-year-old girl.

McClure had a weapon when police showed up at Legends Comics and Sports Cards, in the 5800 block of Hampton Avenue. He put the gun to his head at one point but later surrendered to police. He was charged with resisting arrest.

St. Louis County Police on Wednesday afternoon confirmed Kenneth McClure was the man found at the state park.

St. Louis police said a car seen leaving the park and found later in the city is linked to McClure. They said the license plate belonged to McClure, though they said it didn't appear the plate matched the car. McClure's nephew said McClure had recently put the plate on the Camaro to move the car from storage.

Police found the body at Route 66 State Park, near the Meramec River and Interstate 44, while responding to a call of shots fired about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The area is at the entrance of the old Times Beach community. A ranger saw the older-model, dark-colored Chevrolet Camaro leaving the area. St. Louis County police said the car was the victim's.

The man, who appeared to be in his 50s, had been fatally shot. A ranger found the body under a bridge on the north outer road, according to Rick Eckhard, spokesman for the St. Louis County police.

Police on Wednesday morning recovered the Camaro. The car was discovered after 6 a.m. Wednesday at Juniata Street and Ohio Avenue.

McClure posted bond and was released from jail Nov. 4. He was scheduled to appear in Judge Michael Stelzer's court Tuesday morning on the charges against him.

Just before the 9 a.m. hearing, McClure called his attorney, Jim Pree, and said he had car trouble, Stelzer said. They waited, but when he still didn't show up, Stelzer issued a warrant for his arrest.

"This is the first time I was waiting for a client and I found out he was murdered while I was waiting," said Pree.

McClure was the "nicest guy you'd want to meet," Pree said, and professed his "absolute, complete innocence," in the sex case.

His nephew, Everett "Sonny" McClure III, 30, said the last time he spoke to his uncle was shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, when his uncle called him telling him to go to the comic book store to check on the alarm system that had been tripped. Everett McClure said he assumed his uncle was calling from the courthouse. When Everett McClure arrived at the store, he found a note from his uncle instructing him on how to sell the Camaro. The salutation in the note said, "Love you stay strong for me."

He said he found out later Tuesday afternoon that his uncle was likely the man found dead in the state park near Eureka.

"I feel like I got cheated out of my goodbye," Everett McClure said. "To get the last chance to say goodbye, to say how I felt."

Everett McClure said police questioned him at St. Louis County Police headquarters for nine hours before releasing him.

The charges against McClure in the case stem from incidents between June 2008 and June 2009, according to court documents. He was accused of sex with the girl, pointing a gun at her, and hitting her with a back scratcher and a fly swatter, all in the 5800 block of Hampton. That's where the comic shop is located and also where McClure lived. ..Source.. by FROM STAFF REPORTS


[UPDATE] Kenneth McClure: Man Killed at Route 66 Park Was Comic Shop Owner Accused of Raping Teen


Update: St. Louis County police have questioned two people on suspicion of killing McClure. Otis Richmond, 32, and Angel Scheibel, 25, live in the 3400 block of Juniata in south St. Louis, just down the street from where McClure's Camaro was discovered yesterday.

The two were arrested and booked early Wednesday and later released. The St. Louis County prosecutor's office is determining whether or not to file charges of first-degree murder and armed-criminal action. Their mugshots appear below. ..Source.. by Chad Garrison

Friday, November 9, 2012

Inmate killed in prison fight

11-7-2012 Ohio:

A former Massillon man serving a life sentence for raping a young girl was killed Tuesday night during a fight with his cellmate at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.

No charges have been filed in the case, which is being investigated by the Ohio Highway Patrol and the state’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Authorities say Robert Parr, 62, was unresponsive when security guards found him inside his cell at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. He was rushed to Mansfield MedCentral Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:59 p.m. by the Richland County Coroner’s Office, said Lt. Anne Ralston, Highway Patrol spokeswoman. An autopsy is expected to be performed today, a Coroner’s Office spokesman said.

The suspect’s name is being withheld because he has not been charged, Ralston said. There is no timetable for the completion of the investigation. The Highway Patrol handles all criminal investigations on state-owned property. Ralston said the agency is cooperating with the Richland County Prosecutor’s Office on the case.

“We are gathering all the information and processing evidence,” she said.

The cellmate was the only other person in the cell with Parr. No details of the incident are being released due to the pending investigation, Ralston said.

JoEllen Smith, public information officer for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, declined to comment on the status of the other inmate involved in the altercation.

“We’re not releasing anything. This is both a criminal and an administrative investigation to make sure officers were conducting their appropriate rounds,” Smith said.

Smith said corrections officers are required to complete rounds every 30 minutes on staggered intervals. Mansfield is rated a closed security prison, one step lower than a maximum security facility. The prison houses 2,500 inmates.

Parr, formerly of 514 Tremont Ave. SW, pleaded guilty to two first-degree felony rape charges in March 2007 in Stark County Common Pleas Court, according to court records. Parr received a life sentence but was eligible to apply for parole after serving 10 years. Judge Charles Brown also designated Parr a sexual predator. Parr was charged with sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl between August 2002 and September 2006 at a home in Canton. ..Source.. by Corrections Special Ops


OH inmate dies after fight with cellmate

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say an inmate has died after a fight with his cellmate at a prison in northern Ohio.

The State Highway Patrol said Wednesday that staff at the Mansfield Correctional Institution found 62-year-old Robert Parr in his cell shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday. Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston says Parr was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead about an hour later.

The cause of death has not been released.

Ralston says no details of the fight have been released and no charges have been filed. She says the cellmate was the only other person in the cell with Parr.

Ralston says Parr entered the prison in 2007 after his conviction on rape charges. He was serving a sentence of 10 years to life. ..Source.. by

Big Bend murder suspect says brother sexually assaulted him

11-7-2012 California:

A Big Bend man who told sheriff's investigators he shot his younger brother twice in the back of the head with a .22- caliber rifle because he had been sexually assaulting and abusing him was formally charged with murder Wednesday.

His alleged co-conspirator was arraigned on identical charges stemming from the fatal shooting early Saturday morning of Sonny Moss Potts, 27.

Noah Ryan Potts, 28, and co-defendant Colin Horn Kennedy, 25, pleaded not guilty through their attorneys to felony counts of murder and conspiracy during their arraignments in Shasta County Superior Court.

A Shasta County sheriff's summary of the case filed with the court said Noah Potts told detectives his younger brother got out of prison about a year ago and has sexually assaulted him on a few occasions since.

Potts said his brother would pin him against a wall and grab his genitals against his will, the sheriff's report said.

He told deputies that on the night of the shooting Sonny Potts gave him a hug, grabbed his genitals and told him that he would be his "b---h" for the night.

The Record Searchlight does not identify sexual assault victims under normal circumstances. The newspaper is reporting Noah Potts' allegations of abuse because they are at the heart of his case and potentially central to any defense.

According to the sheriff's summary, Noah Potts told detectives he and Kennedy had hatched a plan to kill his brother while they were out poaching deer.

"Noah told us when they went out looking for deer (and) Kennedy made comments about 'cleansing the (Native American) reservation' of rapists, child molesters and the like," the sheriff's report said. "Noah told us when they got back to the residence he and Kennedy both knew that they were going to kill Sonny Potts."

Noah Potts said he went into the house several times trying to "get the courage" to shoot his brother, but could not do so.

Kennedy, who was outside the residence, told him it was OK if he did not have the heart to shoot Potts, the sheriff's report said, adding that Kennedy told him to stay in his vehicle and that he would do it.

However, the report said, Potts later got out of the vehicle and went inside the house.

Potts said he found Kennedy sitting with his brother and all of them began to smoke methamphetamine, the report said.

At one point, the report said, Kennedy asked his friend, "Are we going to do it?" without getting a reply from him.

But shortly afterward Noah Potts shot his brother in the back of his head with a rifle that Kennedy had loaded beforehand and he then fired a second shot from only inches away as his brother was lying facedown, the sheriff's report said.

Deputies have said they went to the house about a quarter-mile north of the Pit Stop store in Big Bend in eastern Shasta County after getting reports of a gunshot victim around 4:48 a.m.

When deputies arrived, they found Sonny Potts inside the home, dead of gunshot wounds.

Both Kennedy and Noah Potts were later arrested.

Despite protests Wednesday from Redding defense attorney Elliot Burick that Potts was not arraigned within a required 48-hour time period, retired Superior Court Judge Richard McEachen declined to consider a verbal motion to dismiss the case and continued with the arraignment.

McEachen set a Nov. 21 preliminary hearing for both defendants.

An attorney from the Shasta County Public Defender's Office was appointed to represent Kennedy.

According to electronic court records, Sonny Potts has served time in prison for assault and drug offenses and was sentenced last year to three years in prison for false impersonation.

A petition to revoke his parole was filed in August.

According to electronic court records, authorities arrested Kennedy on a warrant out of Missouri in May. But the records do not specify the nature of the warrant, though he was extradited in June.

Noah Potts' criminal history includes arrests for public intoxication, interfering with emergency personnel, obstructing police officers and petty theft.

Potts is being held in Shasta County jail in lieu of $2.1 million bail, while Kennedy is in custody there in lieu of $2 million bail. ..Source.. by Jim Schultz

Court documents: homicide victims found lying in bed, shot in head

Posted in Related Deaths
11-8-2012 North Carolina:

Clyde and Ida Valentine were found lying in the bed of a back bedroom of her northern Charlotte home last week, dead from gunshot wounds to the head, according to a search warrant obtained by the Observer on Thursday.

Still, police have not said who they believe is responsible for the deaths. Clyde Valentine had tape over his mouth. Police say the case is classified as a death investigation and spokeswoman Officer Jessica Lawrence said investigators were not looking for a suspect.

Authorities said a man called police on Nov. 1 and said he’d found his parents’ bodies in the home on Swift Arrow Lane. The search warrant identified that man as Malcolm Valentine, who came to his the house after his girlfriend said she couldn’t get anyone to come to the door.

Records show the Valentines had divorced in 2004, and Clyde Valentine had remarried three years ago.

Officers at the scene told reporters they believe the deaths were domestic-related. But they would not comment about whether the deaths were related to child sex charges filed against Clyde Valentine earlier this year.

Clyde Valentine was arrested in June on three felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. In September, he was charged with one count of statutory rape. He was expected to appear in court Nov. 13 on the charges.

Detectives said during the summer that the charges against Clyde Valentine involved a relative, and not a student at Phillip O. Berry Academy where he once taught electronics. ..Source.. by Cleve R. Wootson Jr.


Man found dead with wife had protection order against family member

A day after Clyde Valentine and his wife Ida were found in their home neighbors are still wondering what happened.

"It gave me goose bumps just to hear about it," said neighbor Darcy Farman.

The bodies were found Thursday inside the home on Swift Arrow Lane by the couple's son.

Details of trouble inside that home are starting to unravel.

A source confirmed to Eyewitness News that Clyde Valentine had a domestic violence protection order against a family member who was not his wife Ida.

Channel 9 also learned the protection order is probably related to an ongoing criminal case against Clyde Valentine.

Clyde Valentine was facing charges and accused of sex acts against a child.

Eyewitness News discovered the list of accusations against him dated back to 2003. He was fired, just Tuesday from his teaching job with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

A source told Eyewitness News the domestic violence protection order was issued after a family member was accused of assaulting Clyde Valentine. Channel 9 learned the fight may have been linked to the child sex allegations against him.

Police are not calling that family member a suspect in the deaths of Clyde and Ida Valentine.

Police are not saying how the Valentines died and they aren’t naming any suspects.

Neighbors said they want answers for the sake of the family and to make sure they are safe as well. ..Source.. by Tina Terry

Gunman in cop shooting faced sex charges

11-1-2012 California:

Philip Martin Hernandez was supposed to be in Riverside County Monday being arraigned on charges of having sex with a minor. Instead, he set off on a violent rampage across San Diego County that came to a deadly end Wednesday night when he was killed in a shootout with police.

By all indications, the crime spree was the final act of a desperate man whose life had unraveled over the past year. The 40-year-old divorced former firefighter had lured a teenage girl into a sexual relationship, filed for bankruptcy, lost his National City condo to foreclosure, quit his job at Cal Fire, and recently moved into an Escondido apartment with his mother and sister.

During a 17-hour span Monday, police say Hernandez shot a man in Hillcrest and an off-duty San Diego police officer at an ATM in Escondido, set three vehicles on fire in San Diego and Chula Vista, and robbed pedestrians.

“It’s difficult to address at this point what set him off,” said San Diego police Capt. Terry McManus. “We don’t know definitively what was going on in his mind.”

A multiagency task force of officers, arson investigators and forensic technicians quickly assembled and worked around the clock to pinpoint the gunman.

San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne praised their tireless efforts and collaboration that solved the case within 72 hours.

“None of this could have happened by itself. ... It was each person in each agency who all put a piece of this together,” Lansdowne said at a news conference Thursday, while flanked by brass from Escondido and Chula Vista police and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

An 18-year-old woman, Cindy Altamirano Garcia, was taken into custody during Wednesday night’s shootout between police and Hernandez. She faces one count of carjacking in connection with the crime spree and is expected to be arraigned Monday.

In a jailhouse interview with 10News Thursday, Garcia said her relationship with Hernandez began when she was 16, and that she was the victim in his sex abuse case.

Court records show Hernandez had filed for divorce from his wife in 2010, although they’d been separated since 2001. His ex-wife and their 17-year-old daughter have been living in Greece.

According to Riverside County prosecutors, Hernandez befriended an unnamed teenage girl at a National City park, then manipulated her into a sexual relationship. Hernandez paid her $600 a month.

He made it clear to the girl that he would not give her money or help her “poor” family unless she complied, said John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

She agreed to move to an apartment in Blythe with him in April. A month later, she reported the relationship to Blythe police, saying Hernandez had become overly possessive of her, and she didn’t want to live there any longer, Hall said.

Then, in July, he ended his 10-year career at Cal Fire in Blythe. No details were released about his resignation.

Riverside County prosecutors filed a complaint against him Aug. 14 on four felony counts of sex with a minor. A $10,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.

Jail records show Hernandez was arrested Oct. 19 in Mission Valley by San Diego police on the sex charges. He posted bail and was ordered to appear in Blythe for his arraignment Monday, but he failed to show.

A Riverside County judge issued a $20,000 warrant for his arrest.

Instead of going to court, police said, Hernandez set his pickup on fire about 2 a.m. in Mission Bay. The windshield was riddled with bullet holes.

About 45 minutes later, he shot a man on Upas Street on the edge of Balboa Park in Hillcrest, leaving the victim critically wounded.

Then at 9 a.m., Hernandez robbed a man at gunpoint in a Mission Valley parking lot. He was wearing a jacket labeled “police.”

About 12:15 p.m., he held up off-duty San Diego police Officer Les Stewart, who was using an ATM in Escondido. After the thief took the officer’s wallet and saw his police identification, he shot Stewart in the back of the head.

The round grazed the officer’s head. Stewart, 57, has been released from the hospital and is in good condition. He is a 27-year veteran of the San Diego force.

About an hour after the shooting, Hernandez and a female accomplice, both wearing vests labeled “police,” are suspected of then carjacking a man at the College Grove Center in Oak Park, a neighborhood in east San Diego. The getaway car used earlier in the day — a Ford Crown Victoria — was found burned there.

The Suzuki Aerio hatchback he carjacked was found burned up in Chula Vista later Monday night.

Investigators quickly linked all the crimes together, and by Tuesday had zeroed in on Hernandez as their prime suspect.

On Tuesday afternoon, police raided his mother’s Escondido apartment on Broadway near El Norte Parkway, where he had been living, but the officers didn’t stay long, neighbors said.

Investigators conducted surveillance on numerous possible locations where Hernandez may be hiding and learned he may be driving a white van. The description was given to patrol officers everywhere to be on the lookout.

The van had been posted for sale on Craigslist on Oct. 27. The Spring Valley owner was asking $2,700 for the cargo vehicle with no rear seats and a three-section roof rack.

About 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a patrol officer spotted the van on National Avenue, Capt. McManus said.

The officer began to follow the van south to Cesar E. Chavez Parkway, then they turned left onto Harbor Drive. Several other officers also began to follow, and the van driver pulled over on his own, McManus said.

“Immediately when that van stopped, he exited with what is believed to be a high-powered rifle, directed the rifle at officers and began firing upon them,” McManus said.

As the three officers fired back, Garcia got out of the van. She was ordered to walk backward toward the officers, and she was taken into custody.

Meanwhile, Hernandez started walking forward slowly, out of the officers’ line of sight. He collapsed about 20 feet in front of the van.

Officers yelled at him, but got no response. A police dog was brought in but also failed to get a response from the driver, and finally tactical officers approached him and found that he was dead, McManus said.

Both Hernandez and Garcia were wearing police-type vests.

“No officers were injured — that’s great news for us,” McManus said.

Police recovered a small arsenal in the van, including handguns, rifles and ammunition.

Investigators remained at the scene Thursday morning, directly across the street from the Harbor Drive trolley station, collecting evidence and measuring the trajectory of the bullets, which had riddled the van.

A patrol car was also hit by gunfire. One bullet struck the car’s windshield in the top center, and both tires on the driver’s side were flattened.

“In the end, it came to three police officers who were assaulted and attacked by the suspect who had larger weapons than they did,” Chief Lansdowne said. “They didn’t run from danger. They stood tall, and they ran to danger because their purpose was to bring these people to justice.” ..Source.. by Debbi Baker, Kristina Davis, Pauline Repard

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kidnapping suspect dies after chase

11-6-2012 Michigan:

A suspect in a kidnapping and sexual assault died after crashing during a police chase Tuesday, according to Michigan State Police at the Mt. Pleasant Post.

The dead man is identified as Robert Lee Mongar of Cadillac.

According to a statement from troopers, Mongar reportedly physically and sexually assaulted a female acquaintance in Wexford County, then tied her up, put her in her vehicle and drove south.

She managed to escape and run into a gas station near Stanwood when Mongar stopped for fuel. The victim was still restrained, but store employees helped her.

Mongar sped off, but a state trooper spotted the vehicle, which did not stop. Instead, he fled into deeply forested Newaygo County.

The chase led down a dirt road, and troopers said Mongar drove the car off the road where the road curved, and hit a large stand of mature trees. There was no indication the driver tried to brake or make the turn, troopers said.

Mongar was pronounced dead at the scene. There was no immediate word on the condition of the victim. ..Source.. by Morning Sun

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Neighbors, family shocked at shooting death of 92-year-old Flint man

10-30-2012 Michigan:

FLINT, MI -- Police continue to investigate the shooting death Oct. 30 of a man believed to be the oldest homicide victim in recent memory.

Iris Gardner, 92, heard a knock on his door around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday at his home on Race Street near Myrtle Avenue, police said. When he opened the door, someone shot him once in the torso and fled the scene, police said. Police have no suspect information.

Flint Police Capt. T.P. Johnson said he can't remember an older homicide victim in his 27 years with the department.

"Obviously he was no threat to anyone," he said. "This was a random act of violence that did not have any rhyme or reason to it."

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Gardner was one of the older homicide victims he's heard of during his time as prosecutor.

"It's terrible, just terrible," Leyton said. "It's very difficult to imagine how a 92-year- old was a threat to anyone."

Gardner's niece, Joann Cooper, 55, of Flint, said her family is shocked that her uncle would die that way.

"I never figured he would get gunned down in his own house," she said. "One part is anger, and the other part is grieving. It's like two emotions wrapped into one."

Detective Robert Dunham said police have very little information to go on and that the crime is disturbing.

"The worst thing about the whole thing is the people that did it aren't talking," he said. "They are out running the streets. If they are willing to kill a 92-year-old, who wouldn't they kill?"

Cooper said her uncle grew up during the Great Depression in a small town in Georgia. He would talk about being so poor that he had to walk to school in his bare feet during the winter, she said.

He came to Flint in the 1950s or 1960s and worked as a supervisor at a junkyard for 30 years, Cooper said. In his older age, he still remained active, continuing to drive, walk around in the neighborhood and do yard work, family said.

"If you would have saw him, you would have thought he was still 78," Cooper said.

He was a World War II veteran and a big fan of the Detroit Tigers who was excited about the team's recent playoff run.

Gardner did have a brush with the law. He was on the state sex offender registry for a 1993 conviction of misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct, fourth degree, according to records. He served 90 days in the Genesee County Jail. Cooper said his family maintains that he was innocent, and his accuser later recanted her story.

Neighbor Elois Thames, 26, said Gardner was a friendly man. She was upset that he would die in a violent manner.

"It's just senseless, he didn't bother anybody," she said.

Cooper said Gardner did not have any children and was the last surviving member of his siblings. Funeral arrangements are being handled at Lawrence E. Moon Funeral Home.

In the meantime, his family will continue to grieve his death.

"It's like somebody ripped out your heart and took it," Cooper said. ..Source.. by David Harris

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alameda County inmate suspected of killing cell mate in Folsom State Prison

10-19-2012 California:

FOLSOM, Calif. — A convicted sex offender from Contra Costa County was found dead in his prison cell in Folsom this week and his cell mate, a convicted murderer from Alameda County, was suspected Friday of killing him, according to prison officials.

Correctional officers found the 51-year-old inmate from Contra Costa County unresponsive in his cell at California State Prison, Sacramento, just after 9 p.m. Wednesday when prisoners were being counted.

The inmate, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

The prison's investigative services unit was investigating the death as a homicide, officials said Friday.

Prison officials also said that the man had been in prison since Dec. 10, 2001, and was serving a 25-year-to-life sentence from Contra Costa County for assault with the intent to commit a specific sex act.

They said the 46-year-old suspect has been in state prison since Nov. 9, 1986, and was serving a 17-year-to-life sentence from Alameda County for second-degree murder.

The suspect was being housed in the prison's administrative segregation unit that week pending the completion of the investigation.

Prison officials said California State Prison, Sacramento, houses about 2,600 inmates and employs more than 1,700 staff members.

They said it primarily houses maximum-security inmates serving long sentences and those who have proved to be management problems at other institutions. ..Source.. by


Contra Costa County inmate killed in prison identified


A convicted sex offender from Contra Costa County who was killed in an apparent homicide in his state prison cell in Folsom last week has been identified as 51-year-old Raymond Johnston.

Lt. Tony Quinn, of California State Prison-Sacramento in Folsom, said correctional officers found Johnston unresponsive in his cell just after 9 p.m. Wednesday as prisoners were being counted.

Quinn said medical staff responded immediately and tried to resuscitate Johnston but he was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

Quinn said the prison's investigative services unit is investigating Johnston's death as a homicide because there were "obvious signs of trauma" on him, although he declined to elaborate or disclose a cause of death.

He said Johnston's cellmate, a 46-year-old convicted murderer from Alameda County, is suspected of killing Johnson but he declined to release the cellmate's name because of concern that the cellmate could be targeted in prison.

Quinn said the suspect has been in state prison since Nov. 9, 1986, and is serving a sentence of 17 years to life for a second-degree murder conviction in Alameda County.

The suspect is being housed in the prison's administrative segregation unit pending the completion of the investigation.

Quinn said Johnston had been in prison since Dec. 10, 2001, and was serving 25 years to life after being convicted in Contra Costa County of assault with the intent to commit a sex act.

Prison officials said California State Prison-Sacramento houses about 2,600 inmates and employs more than 1,700 staff members.

Quinn said it primarily houses maximum-security inmates serving long sentences and those who have proved to be management problems at other institutions.

He said about 85 percent of the inmates are serving life sentences, and that many have engaged in acts of violence while serving time at other prisons.

Quinn said, "We have some pretty nasty fights here" but that homicides are uncommon, although there were two murders last year. ..Source.. by Bay City News Service

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Death Of Convicted Sex Offender Under Investigation In Otero County

10-14-2012 Colorado:

The body of a registered sex offender was found inside a home outside La Junta Friday night, prompting officials to begin an investigation into the circumstances around his death.

Byron Griffy, 76, was a funeral home director in Fowler, Colo. prior to his 2011 arrest for sexually assaulting a child. Court records indicate Griffy pleaded guilty to the charge, and was sentenced in May of this year. He was put on strict sex offender probation.

The Otero County Sheriff's Office is investigating Griffy's death as suspicious, but will not say if they believe his death is related to his sex assault conviction. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation assisted in processing the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office says an autopsy is scheduled for early next week by the El Paso County Coroner's Office. ..Source.. by


Cause of death released, family of Byron Griffy want him remembered for his lifelong kindness

New details today in the death of a Fowler man.

We've learned that Byron Griffy died from a gunshot wound to his head.

We spoke to those at the Otero County Sheriff Office who are investigating along with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Family members found Byron Griffy dead in a home on his farm one day before his 76th birthday.

"The circumstances surrounding the gunshot wound are still pending," said Otero County Sheriff Chris Johnson.

Griffy did plead guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child several months ago, but his family says too much focus has been placed on that.

"My sisters and I would like you to know that our father was a caring, compassionate, love man who spent his life taking care of others in their time of need," said Amy Griffy, Byron Griffy's youngest daughter.

Many in Fowler told us they always admired Griffy and do not believe he was guilty.

"God knows it," said JH McCuistion, a close friend of Griffy. "He knows the truth of this whole thing, and I feel the same way God does."

Close friends believe he only pled guilty for a lesser charge, so he would be able to see his family more often.

"There will never be anybody to change my mind that Byron Griffy was one of our greatest men to help in our community of Fowler," said McCuistion.

Griffy was described around town as a funeral director who was so giving, those who couldn't afford a funeral had one for free.

He was also President on the school board for many years and always sent a lot of flowers to people in town.

"I had a little surgery a time or two," said McCuistion. "You know, I didn't even tell him I was going to have it, but he found out and he brought me a plant."

Sheriff Johnson says nothing at this time connects Griffy's death to his recent plea.

"We're still investigating," said Sheriff Johnson. "It's still early in the investigation. We're talking to a lot of people." ..Source.. by Lacey Steele

Man Pleads Not Guilty In Murder Of Convicted Sex Offender


A Canon City man has pleaded not guilty in death of a convicted sex offender.

Anthony Wright, 43, will go to trial in September for the 2012 death of former funeral home director Byron Griffy. An autopsy showed Griffy died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Griffy, 76, was a funeral home director in Fowler, Colo. prior to his 2011 arrest for sexually assaulting a child. Court records indicate Griffy pleaded guilty to the charge, and was sentenced in May the following year. He was put on strict sex offender probation.

He was found shot to death five months later.

Wright has maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on Thursday. He is out on a $250,000 bail. Wright will go to trial in September.

Wright and Griffy knew each other through the funeral home business. ..Source.. by

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Montana State Prison has 2 suspects in murder of inmate

10-8-2012 Montana:

An inmate at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge was found murdered Sunday evening, authorities reported Monday.

Investigators have two suspects in connection with the death of Danny Lee Hartford. Hartford, 53, was found dead in a cell of a housing unit in the high-security portion of the prison at about 8:10 p.m.

Investigators didn’t release how Hartford was killed, because the investigation continued, according to Linda Moodry of the Montana Department of Corrections.

Hartford was last seen alive during a head count Sunday at about 6 p.m., Moodry said. The two suspects in Hartford’s death are fellow inmates in the prison.

Moodry didn’t release the identities or the status of the suspects.

Moodry described the block of the prison where Hartford was killed as housing offenders at various levels. It’s between the maximum-security and low-security blocks, she said. It houses some general population prisoners and those transferring to the lower-level security block of the prison, she said.

The unit where Hartford was killed is monitored by prison staff and security cameras. However, Moodry said the prison doesn’t have cameras in all the cells at the prison.

“They (the prisoners) are monitored and watched, but unfortunately things like this can happen,” Moodry said.

The last homicide reported at the prison was in September 2011. Shaun Morrison, 30, is accused of beating, choking and cutting another inmate with a weapon fashioned from razor blades. Morrison has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and is scheduled for trial in November.

Hartford was serving 30 years probation from 1997 on two counts of sexual assault out of Lewis and Clark County. He violated the terms of his probation and was ordered to prison in 2010.

The investigation is being handled by the Montana Department of Corrections, the Powell County sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s office. ..Source.. by JOHN GRANT EMEIGH


Montana prison officials investigate homicide

Officials at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

An investigation into the death of Danny Lee Hartford, 53, is ongoing, according to a news release from the Department of Corrections.

Hartford's body was found about 8:10 p.m. in a cell of a housing unit in the high-security portion of the prison. Two inmates are suspects in the death.

Hartford was sentenced to 30 years probation in 1997 on two counts of sexual assault out of Lewis and Clark County. He violated conditions of his probation and a judge ordered him to prison in 2010.

Prison officials did not say how Hartford died. The investigation is being handled by the Montana Department of Corrections, Powell County sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s offices.

The last homicide reported at the prison was in September 2011. Shaun Morrison, 30, is accused of beating, choking and cutting another inmate with a weapon fashioned from razor blades. Morrison has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and is scheduled for trial in November. ..Source.. by BillingsGazette

Monday, October 1, 2012

4 arrested, fifth suspect sought in beating, strangulation of man

10-1-2012 Washington:

TACOMA, Wash. -- Four people have been arrested and a fifth suspect is beijung sought in the death of a man found bound, brutally beaten and strangled outside a Graham home last week.

Dean Barker was found dead outside a vacant home in the 22200 block of 124th Ave. E. on the night of Sept. 8. Investigators said 51-year-old Barker's hands were bound behind his back, his mouth taped shut and a red bandanna tied around his neck. An autopsy revealed he had been beaten and strangled.

Four people -- Angela King, 24; William Barry, 33; Justin Mahaffey, 23; and a 17-year-old suspect whom KOMO has chosen not to identify-- are being held on $2 million bail. They have not been charged.

Police are also seeking 30-year-old Jeffrey W. Powell, II, who has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and kidnapping in the first degree. A warrant has been issued for his arrested

When questioned by investigators, several of the suspects said they abducted and beat Barker because they believe he had molested a toddler, according to the statement of probable case. One suspect claimed Barker had also sexually assaulted a woman.

However, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the suspects' claim of vigilante justice for the victim's alleged sex crimes may not be true as investigators have not found any evidence to support either claim.

"Why wait until weeks after the alleged sexual assault? Why take the victim's watch? Why steal the victim's money?" said Lindquist.

After the beating, the suspects took Barker's wallet and split the cash, they told investigators. They also tied a red bandanna around his neck to "mark him, as Mahaffey belongs to a blood gang, the statement said.

The 17-year-old suspect said she participated in the beating, but did not accompany the others to the home where the victim was abandoned. King said she went to the Graham home, but stayed in the car while Mahaffey and Powell walked Barker out of the car. She said Barker was still alive when she and Mahaffey left the scene.

The four suspects are due in court on Tuesday. ..Source.. by KOMO Staff

Friday, September 28, 2012

Police confirm identify of SWAT officer who shot Alexander

9-20-2012 Ohio:

The Lorain County SWAT team member who shot and killed Billy Alexander early Sept. 15 has been identified as Wayne Ramsey, a LaGrange police officer, according to Lorain police Lt. Mark Carpentiere. Lorain police are investigating the incident triggered by a 911 call.

Ramsey was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting, said LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss. Such leave is common for officers who have been involved in a shooting, according to Dennis Cavanaugh, Chief Deputy of the Lorain County Sheriff Department.

“This is Ramsey’s first time being involved in a shooting,” Cavanaugh said. “He will take as long as he sees fit to recover.”

Police are not releasing any other details. “The investigation is still ongoing,” Carpentiere said.

Alexander, 41, of Lorain was shot at least twice — in the chest and torso — with a .223-caliber rifle, said Dr. Stephen Evans, the Lorain County coroner.

Alexander was a registered sex offender, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s website. He pleaded guilty to the rape of a 4-year-old girl in 1991 and served 15 years in Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton. He was released in 2008. He was also convicted of escape in 1992.

Early Saturday morning, the Lorain County SWAT team went to a house at 704 DeWitt St. in Sheffield Township. They were responding to a 911 call from a woman who was crying hysterically that Alexander had molested a 5-year-old child and was threatening to kill himself and them.

She said he was “throwing a gun around,” according to the 911 recording. Later she shouted, “He just shot off the gun!”

A child can be heard saying, “Daddy, please don’t shoot us!” and the woman can be heard comforting the child by saying, “It’s OK baby.”

When officers arrived at about 1:45 a.m., Alexander fired one shot at them and then went into the house with the woman and two children. Police ordered the woman and children to leave while they pursued Alexander into the back yard. Alexander was pronounced dead at 3:30 a.m. Evans said. ..Source.. by Morning Journal Staff

Citrus County Deputy, Gregory Entrekin, shoots sex offender in his home

Something isn't right here, see last story?

9-27-2012 Florida:

An investigation is under way after an off-duty Citrus County deputy allegedly shot a sex offender who broke into his home.

Investigators say 28-year-old Derrick Vaccianna broke into the home of Deputy Gregory Entrekin, 24, at around 11 p.m. Wednesday, when he was confronted by Entrekin and his girlfriend.

Vaccianna was shot during the confrontation and taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Vaccianna was a registered sex offender on probation at the time of his death.

Since Entrekin was off-duty at the time, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was called in, and both the FDLE and the Citrus County Sheriff's Office are investigating.

As is customary in cases such as these, Deputy Entrekin has been placed on paid administrative leave pending further notice. ..Source.. by Melissa Ramsey


Off-duty Citrus County deputy shoots, kills intruder


An off-duty Citrus County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a 28-year-old man who broke into his girlfriend's home late Tuesday, officials said.

Citrus County Sheriff's officials did not immediately identify the deputy other than to say he was familiar with the intruder, Derrick Vaccianna, 28, who broke into the house on Eden Drive about 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

Vaccianna, who lived in the town of Hernando, was a registered sex offender and on probation at the time of his death.

According to the Sheriff's office, the deputy was inside the residence with his girlfriend when Vaccianna broke in.

Soon after, the deputy and Vaccianna became embroiled in an argument, which quickly escalated to a physical fight, officials said.

Then the deputy got his gun.

He shot the intruder once in the chest, according to Sheriff's Office reports.

Vaccianna was taken to Citrus Memorial Health System, where he was pronounced dead.

It was not immediately clear whether the victim was armed at the time of the shooting.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and State Attorney's Office are investigating the incident. No further information was available early Thursday morning. ..Source.. by Marissa Lang, Times Staff Writer


Off-Duty Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Man in Alleged Break-in

10-2-2012 Florida:

We love stories of self-defense because they prove just how important guns are, but every once in a while you get a story that's a real puzzler.

Florida Citrus County Sheriff's Deputy Gregory Entrekin, who was actually deputized last month, was spending some off-duty time with his girlfriend, Amanda Vance, when 28-year-old Derrick Vaccianna broke into Vance’s home. Now, before we get too far with this, we should point out that this wasn’t just some random robbery. Neighbors claim that Vaccianna and Vance had been in a relationship as recently as two weeks ago, and Entrekin personally knew Vaccianna. We're using the term "break in" because people involved in the case are calling it a break in, but it's not entirely clear if that's an accurate description.

First off, Vaccianna had a key to Vance's home, and it appears that Vance had invited Vaccianna into her home in order to talk. Chuck Hobbs, the attorney for Vaccianna’s family, stated, “I have strong confirmation that [Vance] had been trying to reach out to Derrick all that day, saying she wanted him to come over to the house because she was trying to reconcile their relationship.”

So, did Vaccianna "break in" or did he simply walk in? We suppose that depends on who's telling the story.

To complicate matters, Vaccianna is a registered sex offender who was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct involving a 12-year-old girl. But these are all complicated details -- let's get to the facts.

According to reports, Vaccianna entered Vance’s home at about 10:45 p.m last Tuesday. Vaccianna and Entrekin became embroiled in an argument, which escalated into physical violence. The deputy got his gun and shot at Vaccianna, striking him once in the chest. Vaccianna was taken to the hospital but was later pronounced dead. Entrekin has since been placed on paid administrative leave.

We’ve come across some fuzzy, morally ambiguous self-defense shootings before, but this one might take cake. With so many complicated factors at play, how can we determine whether Entrekin was justified in pulling the trigger?

Did Vaccianna have a right to be in the home or was it a real break-in? Did the physical confrontation warrant violence? Were jealousy and relationship issues factors in this shooting?

We’d hate to be in Entrekin’s shoes right now. By the looks of things, Vaccianna’s family might be able to make a persuasive argument that Vaccianna had just as much right to be in Vance’s home as Entrekin did, and at that point it all boils down to the question of whether or not the physical confrontation warranted pulling the trigger.

We’re not saying that physical threat isn’t a sufficient reason to use a gun to defend yourself -- we’re just saying that in this case it really isn’t clear that it was the best course of action. After all, what if Vaccianna had shot Entrekin instead of the other way around? Would he also be able to claim self-defense?

This case might hinge on Vance, whose testimony could condemn or support Entrekin.

What do our readers think? When you invite somebody into your home, how (if at all) does that change your rights self-defense? Or even better yet – if you are invited to somebody else’s home and you get into a fight with another guest, who gets to claim self-defense -- whoever is left standing? ..Source.. by dabneybailey


Citrus County Deputy involved in fatal shooting made news before


Inverness, FL - A Citrus County sheriff's deputy who authorities said fatally shot a man inside his girlfriend's house, has made headlines before.

10 News did a story on Gregory Entrekin back in 2008, when he saw his newborn daughter for the first time over a computer screen. The then-Marine reservist was serving in Iraq at the time. According to court documents, Entrekin and his wife divorced in 2010.

Officials with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office said Entrekin, now 24 years old, was with his current girlfriend when he shot a man inside her house along Eden Drive Wednesday.

Authorities said 28-year-old Derrick Vaccianna broke into the home and confronted the off-duty deputy and his girlfriend, Amanda Vance. According to detectives, a fight broke out and Deputy Entrekin shot Vaccianna once in the chest. He later died at an area hospital.

Vaccianna was a sex offender on probation. In 2005, when he was 19, Vaccianna was convicted of Lewd and Lascivious Conduct involving a 12-year-old girl.

Neighbors, however, said Vaccianna and Vance were a couple, and saw them together as recently as last week. They add, from what they could tell, Vaccianna did live at the house at some point.

"I've never had any issues with him. Upstanding guy. Always waving 'hi'. We have our little conversations here and there. But that was very shocking," said a neighbor, who didn't want to be identified.

Deputy Greg Entrekin is new to the Sheriff's Office. He joined the agency in August after serving overseas with the Marines. He has now been placed on paid administrative leave. ..Source.. by Althea Paul


Deputy cleared in off-duty shooting


Report paints picture of love triangle gone wrong

An off-duty deputy involved in the shooting of a Hernando man early last fall has been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a report from the State Attorney’s Office.

Trainee deputy Greg Entrekin shot and killed Derrick Vaccianna, 28, the night of Sept. 26 after a struggle in the bedroom of an Inverness woman.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Entrekin and his girlfriend at the time, Amanda Vance, were confronted by Vaccianna after he entered the residence on Eden Drive in Inverness through a bedroom window. Entrekin shot Vaccianna when he reportedly charged at him. Vaccianna died at the scene. The case was handed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an independent investigation.

“This was a tragic event in which there were no winners,” said Sheriff Jeff Dawsy. “We knew right away it was best to have an independent review of the case and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted a very comprehensive and detailed investigation. We are very confident in their findings.”

That investigation and just-released report points to a love-triangle rife with alleged threats and declarations of love.

Vaccianna’s family was stunned by news of the state attorney’s decision.

“That’s just wrong. Wow, I can’t believe this. How is it that they couldn’t find anything wrong with what he (Entrekin) did?” Derrick Vaccianna’s sister Verron Vaccianna said.

Ms. Vaccianna said the family is now pondering possible legal options.

Entrekin, who had been with the sheriff’s office barely a month before the incident, was initially placed on administrative leave, and then returned to the sheriff’s office in an administrative capacity. Recently, Entrekin was permitted to begin his field training officer program, which is required before he goes on the road as a patrol deputy, according to CCSO.

“I’m sure Deputy Entrekin is anxious to officially begin his career as a law enforcement officer,” Dawsy said. “We are looking forward to the contributions he will make here as a member of this team.”

According to the report released by the State Attorney’s Office, before the fateful September day, Vance was dating Entrekin, but was carrying on a relationship with Vaccianna.

The report state Entrekin knew Vance and Vaccianna had previously been romantically involved, but did not know the entire story.

Vance reportedly altered the entry for Vaccianna in her phone to read “Janice” and would delete text messages to and from Vaccianna from her phone immediately so Entrekin would not see them.

Vaccianna, conversely, also knew Vance was seeing Entrekin and on Sept. 24 called Entrekin and, according to Entrekin, threatened him if he continued to see Vance.

The report stated the phone call was followed by a series of text messages to Entrekin from Vaccianna that said, among other things, that Entrekin would “catch a bullet” if he continued to see Vance. “If I catch you you’re a dead man,” one text reported said.

FDLE was reportedly able to piece together a sequence through text records and by tracking Vaccianna’s movement on the night of the shooting. Vaccianna was on sex-offender probation and had a GPS ankle bracelet on.

Vaccianna reportedly exchanged a series of texts with Vance the day of the shooting, with Vance saying she loved Vaccianna, but she later said it was a ruse to pacify him because he was mad that she was with Entrekin.

The report stated Vaccianna eventually entered Vance’s residence through a bedroom window and confronted the couple, who were in bed.
Vaccianna reportedly grabbed Vance and started screaming at Vance and Entrekin, who had the gun by the bed and grabbed it. Vaccianna called 911 to report that Entrekin was holding a gun to his head.

Vaccianna reportedly “lunged” at Entrekin after more shouting, and Entrekin pulled the trigger. ..Source.. by

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tyler County deputy fatally shoots man

9-25-2012 Texas:

One man is dead after deputies say he lead them on a high-speed chase and pointed a gun at police and sheriff's deputies.

The incident happened around 10:30 p.m.

A news release issued by the Sheriff's Office says a deputy was sent to a home on U.S. 69 just north of Warren after dispatchers received a call from a person reporting a sexual assault.

While interviewing the victim, the suspect in the sexual assault, identified by deputies as Dennis Ray Murray Jr., of Woodville, drove into the driveway. The victim told the deputy Murray would be armed.

The deputy told Murray to show his hands. The deputy said Murray then sped out of the driveway and a high-speed chase began. The chase went into Woodville. More deputies, a Woodville Police Officer and a Department of Public Safety Trooper joined in on the chase.

Muyrray's vehicle was slowed down with road spikes, but he continued to drive to his home in the 500 block of Lyndale in Woodville.

Deputies ordered Murray out of his vehicle. Deputies say this is when he pointed a long-barreled weapon at them.

Two deputies fired at Murray.

Officers approached Murray who had fallen back in his vehicle. A Woodville Police Officer tried to pull the rifle from Murray, but Murry then "became conscious" and grabbed the officer. Deputies say he also fired a shot at the officer.

Murray then grabbed for a second rifle and a struggle began.

A third Tyler County Sheriff's Office Deputy fired two shots at Murray disabling him.

Murray was taken to the Tyler County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m.

All three deputies who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

The incident is under investigation by the Texas Rangers. ..Source.. by KIII


Woodville man dies after shootout with deputies


A man accused of sexually assaulting someone died after becoming involved in a shooting with several law enforcement officers Tuesday night. No officers were hurt.

The shooting started following a high-speed chase from the Warren area and ended in the residence of the suspect, Dennis Ray Murray Jr., 40, of Woodville, according to a press release from the Tyler County Sheriff's Office.

Murray stopped at his residence on the 500 block of Lyndale Street after deputies used road spikes to flatten his tires. Once Murray stopped at his residence, deputies ordered him out of his vehicle.

Instead, Murray pointed a long-barreled gun at them, prompting two deputies to shoot at him. It appears at least one of the bullets hit Murray, knocking him unconscious. A Woodville Police officer assisting in the case then approached Murray to disarm him and Murray then woke up and fired a shot at the officer and missed him.

The officer then removed the gun from Murray and Murray grabbed a second rifle out of the vehicle. The officer struggled with Murray and a third deputy then fired two shots at Murray.

Officers on the scene and an EMS crew worked to revive Murray but were not successful. He was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. at a Woodville hospital.

The case began at 10:10 p.m. when a deputy was dispatched to a caller at a residence on US 69, just north of Warren, who said she was sexually assaulted. The deputy arrived at 10:25 p.m. and while interviewing the victim, Murray drove into the driveway. The victim said Murray was the one who assaulted her and told the deputy he had two rifles and had threatened to kill her.

The deputy ordered Murray to show his hands, but instead Murray sped out of the driveway, which began the pursuit into Woodville.

Deputies, Woodville PD and state troopers assisted in the chase.

Per standard procedure, the three deputies who fired their guns have been placed on paid leave until an investigation is complete.

Sheriff David Hennigan said he has asked the Texas Rangers to handle the investigation.

Murray had numerous previous convictions on his record. In addition to numerous possession charges, he convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in August 1994 and sentenced to an eight-year prison term with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Murray was tried and sentenced in Angelina County's 159th District Court. ..Source.. by

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sheriffs office releases name of homicide victim

9-24-2012 New York:

KILL BUCK — The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office late Sunday morning released the name of the deceased in a Friday night shooting at a Route 417 residence in the Hamlet of Kill Buck.

Henry Francis Ackley, 58, of 6263 Route 417, was killed around midnight Friday at the hands of a still-unidentified gunman. Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb told the Times Herald his department was following up on leads around the Olean area on Sunday.

It was unclear if a motive or any other circumstances surrounding the alleged shooting had been determined.

“We’ll be looking into persons of interest in (Olean) here Sunday — around the city I should say,” Sheriff Whitcomb said outside the New York State Troopers Barracks in Olean around 11 a.m. Sunday. “But we are releasing the identity of the victim.”

The sheriff formally announced the wrongful death was indeed a homicide involving a firearm. He was unable to provide further details, however, as they could potentially compromise the investigation.

“We’re just confirming there was a homicide at that address sometime before midnight on Friday night,” Sheriff Whitcomb said. “We’re aggressively pursuing leads.

“Any of the other details of what exactly we’re working on, we’re keeping those close to the collar right now. Just for the continuity of the investigation, we’re being careful about what we release.”

When asked if he could say how close law-enforcement agencies were to making an arrest, Sheriff Whitcomb wouldn’t venture a guess.

“I hope we’re close,” he said. “I’m optimistic.”

Mr. Ackley’s neighbor told a Times Herald editor Saturday afternoon the deceased was a helpful neighbor who often kept to himself.

“He would do anything for you,” said the neighbor, who spoke on a condition of anonymity. “If I needed help with anything, he’d help.”

Authorities said the homicide is not believed to be connected to Mr. Ackley’s 1986 conviction for a sex offense.

According to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Mr. Ackley was convicted of first-degree sodomy, a class B felony, in 1986. He was released from Orleans Correctional Facility in 1991 on parole. He is not listed on the state Sex Offender Registry, which is reserved for Level 2 and 3 offenders — those considered a higher risk to the community.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office at (716) 938-9191. ..Source.. by Kelsey Boudin Olean Times Herald


Homicide victim was a registered sex offender

The man shot and killed late Friday in this Cattaraugus County hamlet has been identified as 58-year-old Henry F. Ackley, sheriff's officials reported.

The shooting death occurred shortly before midnight at a home on Route 417.

Sheriff's officials have released no other information on the killing but The Buffalo News confirmed through state prison records that Ackley served about six years at the Orleans Correctional Facility for a 1985 first-degree sodomy conviction in Cattaraugus County.

Because of that conviction, Ackley was a state-registered sex offender who had to alert police agencies about his home address and if he planned to move. Whether his killing was related to his criminal history was a topic the Sheriff's Office would not discuss.

Ackley's last obligations to the state prison system over his conviction expired in December 1994, records show. ..Source..

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coroner: Man who died after Taser incident had health issues

3-23-2011 Nevada:

A 44-year-old man who died after Las Vegas police shocked him with a Taser "several" times in December had cocaine and alcohol in his system, the Clark County coroner's office said Wednesday.

Las Vegan Anthony Jones died from cocaine and ethanol intoxication, the coroner's office said. But other factors contributed to his death, including "police restraining procedures" and an enlarged heart from obesity and mild hypertension, the coroner found.

Assistant Coroner John Fudenberg said that although science has not determined whether Taser guns kill, the use of the less-lethal weapon could have been a factor in Jones' death.

"It's safe to say that it could have possibly contributed to his death," Fudenberg said.

The coroner ruled Jones' death a homicide, meaning only that Jones died as the result of actions of others.


Jones died in the early morning hours of Dec. 11. His confrontation with police began with a routine traffic stop less than a mile from his home and ended with a struggle with officers who used a Taser to subdue him.

The incident began when Jones' 1993 Lexus was stopped at about 1 a.m. in the 1000 block of West Lake Mead Boulevard, near Martin Luther King Boulevard. Police have not said what prompted the stop.

Police said Jones ran north across Lake Mead and jumped a wall into the backyard of an abandoned house in the 1000 block of Hart Avenue, about two-tenths of a mile from his car. When police caught up to him, he aggressively resisted them, and officers used a Taser "several times," according to police. The department has not said how many times Jones was shocked.

Jones was pronounced dead at Valley Hospital Medical Center.

The officers involved were Mark Hatten, who has been with the agency since January 2007, and Timothy English, who was hired in June 2008.

Hatten and English were placed on routine paid administrative leave after their encounter with Jones, but police spokesman Jacinto Rivera said they are back at work in positions in which they do not have "citizen contact." Their return to regular duty depends on the outcome of a coroner's inquest that has yet to be scheduled, he said.


Jones spent most of his adult life in prison, starting with a sexual assault conviction in 1982 when he was 16. He had several other offenses since then, prison records indicate.

On Aug. 25, Henderson resident Eduardo Hernandez-Lopez, 21, died after he was shot with a Taser by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, troopers were alerted to an accident on U.S. Highway 95 involving an individual fighting others there.

When officers arrived, they had an altercation with Hernandez-Lopez, whom they described as an "irate individual." During the altercation the man was shot with a Taser, and troopers later noticed he was not breathing. The coroner's office listed his death as "cardiopulmonary arrest during varied restraining procedures" and a homicide. The inquest is pending.

A Taser delivers 50,000 volts of electricity, which incapacitates the body.

A 2008 study by Amnesty International concluded that Las Vegas led U.S. cities in deaths involving law enforcement use of Tasers. The study found that between June 2001 and August 2008, seven people died after Tasers were used on them.

Six of the deaths involved Las Vegas officers, who began using Tasers in 2004.
..Source.. by Antonio Planas

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Police: We had to shoot

12-7-2010 Nebraska:

Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes said Tuesday that a police officer and U.S. marshal had no choice but to shoot a man in the parking lot of a busy southwest Omaha strip mall.

The lawmen who fired at Joe M. Weible narrowly avoided being run over by Weible's vehicle, Hayes said.

“We don't get to pick the location where these (shootings) happen,” Hayes said. “When you're thrust into a situation where you have to use deadly force, it happens where it happens.”

Hayes said officers “try to minimize what the backdrop is when those shots are fired” and try to control where they point their weapons.

Hayes said Weible, 35, did not have a gun but did have knives in his possession. He said Weible accelerated and drove his pickup truck at a high rate of speed toward Officer Jeff Gassaway and the marshal.

Hayes said the threat was from the charging vehicle.

“It's a deadly weapon,” Hayes said of the pickup, a 1998 Chevy S-10. “It will kill you if you don't get out of the way or try to stop it.”

Four to five shots were fired. One struck Weible. Police have not said if the other bullets struck the pickup.

The shooting happened about 2 p.m. Monday at the strip mall near 120th Street and West Center Road. Weible died later at Creighton University Medical Center.

Hayes said it was not clear who fired the fatal shot.

Gassaway, 44, is a 13-year police veteran. In 2008, he shot an escapee from a state prison after he swerved his vehicle at Gassaway.

Gassaway was honored by the U.S. Attorney's Office for investigating street gangs and shared the 2004 CrimeStoppers Officer of the Year Award with another officer.

The U.S. Marshals Service refused to identify the marshal involved in the shooting.

Both Gassaway and the marshal are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Metro Area Fugitive Task Force is led by U.S. marshals. It has 12 full-time members — six marshals, six Omaha police officers, one Douglas County sheriff's deputy and one Council Bluffs police officer. There are also nine part-time members.

The task force operates in both Iowa and Nebraska and works to take fugitives off the streets.
U.S. marshals also are responsible for protecting federal courts, transporting prisoners and other duties.

Hayes said the task force had been working with the woman who alleged she was assaulted by Weible. She called 911 on Nov. 29.

An arrest warrant was issued, charging Weible with first-degree sexual assault and attempted strangulation of his former girlfriend.

Weible called the ex-girlfriend, 26, on Monday and asked her to meet him at the shopping center.

That place was a familiar meeting spot for the couple, Hayes said.

The woman notified police of the phone call.

Task force members arrived before the meeting time. Weible already was there, sitting in his truck. Law officers, some of them in vehicles, surrounded him and ordered him out of the pickup.

Gassaway and a marshal approached on foot.

Weible started the truck, tried to back up but was blocked in by police vehicles.

He accelerated in the direction of Gassaway and the marshal, who were about 6 feet away, Hayes said.

Both fired their weapons as they got out of the way of the truck.

After he was shot, Weible's vehicle continued forward and crashed into two parked cars near the entrance to a Baker's Supermarket, Hayes said.

He was then Tasered, Hayes said.

The Police Department's policy on use of deadly force apparently covers situations such as the Weible shooting:

“Shot(s) will not be fired at or from a moving vehicle except as the ultimate measure of self-defense, or defense of another. Firing of weapons at a moving vehicle will only be done in extreme, close-range circumstances when all other means of stopping the vehicle containing a dangerous felon have been attempted and have failed.”

The Weible shooting was the fifth officer-involved shooting in Omaha this year that resulted in a death. Omaha hadn't had a police-involved fatal shooting since 2007.

The total number of police-involved shootings for 2010 is nine when accounting for people who were injured but not killed.

Hayes said the task force had tried to find Weible before Monday's shooting.

“We had to get him off the street before he tried to hurt this woman again,” he said.

Last week, members of the task force searched Weible's father's home in Cozad, Neb.

“They looked under the beds and everything, even the building out back,” Jack Weible, 81, said. “I asked them what the deal was but they wouldn't say. They didn't believe he wasn't here.”

Weible's father said his son had an off-and-on relationship with the woman he was accused of assaulting.

The couple met at Nebraska By-Products in Lexington, Neb., where Joe Weible drove a truck. They lived together in an apartment there.

The couple split up for several years, Jack Weible said, but had gotten back together in the last few months.

“I thought he was happy,” Jack Weible said. “They went to get her stuff about three or four months ago, and I thought they were getting along good.”

The ex-girlfriend declined to comment on Tuesday.

Joe Weible moved to Omaha about six months ago and worked for a lumber company, his father said. He graduated from Cozad High School and had previously lived in Kearney. ..Source.. by Jason Kuiper and Juan Perez Jr.

Smith County man serving life for sexual assault found dead in cell

9-5-2012 Texas:

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV)- An East Texan was killed in prison while serving a sentence for sexual assault.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, on August 7, Elasko Thomas was found bleeding from the neck at his cell door at the Robertson Unit near Abilene.

He was taken to the medical unit, and then transferred to a hospital, but died en route.

Thomas was serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting a woman in Smith County back in 2010. ..Source.. by KLTV Web Staff


Three of 10 homicides in Texas prisons this year were in Abilene units, officials say

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has reported 10 prison homicides this year, with three of those deaths being reported in Abilene's two units, according to a recent Associated Press article.

The article published Monday says this year's numbers are indicating a swell of violent rate of death in prisons. The 10 deaths this year are up from three homicides in 2011, five in 2010 and one in 2009, the AP reported.

The latest slaying in Texas prisons occurred in the Robertson Unit last month — the first such death listed as a homicide within the unit in the past seven years, said Jason Clark, TDCJ spokesman.

"It's definitely jumped out at us," Bruce Toney, the agency's inspector general, told the AP about the increase. "It definitely has not been an average year."

On Aug. 7, during checks at the Robertson Unit, inmate Elasko Thomas was found standing at the door of his cell, holding his neck and bleeding profusely. He was transported to Hendrick Medical Center, where he died about an hour later.

Clark said Thomas had an altercation with his cellmate Michael Deloach.

Deloach has refused to cooperate with the investigation, Clark said.

There have been two homicides this year at the Middleton Unit, Clark said, both the result of June assaults.

The Middleton Unit is a transfer facility — inmates are sent from this prison to other prisons in the state for the duration of their confinement. The Robertson Unit is a maximum-security facility.

On June 3, a fight with another Middleton inmate resulted in the death of a 47-year-old Dallas man. Mark Anthony Rauls was injured after Cody Lane Vernon allegedly struck Rauls' head on a concrete floor. Rauls died two days later after being taken off life support at Hendrick.

Twenty days later, on June 26, Middleton Unit inmate Billy Dickerson fought in a dorm dayroom with an inmate identified as Maurice Miller.

Clark said Dickerson was observed lying on the floor while he was bleeding from the back of his head. Dickerson was escorted to the unit's infirmary and then was transported by ambulance to Hendrick. He was later released from Hendrick and transferred to the Montford Unit's Regional Medical Center in Lubbock, according to agency records.

Five days after Dickerson was assaulted, officers found him unresponsive while they were performing security checks, Clark said. Additional staff responded, Clark said, but even after life-saving procedures were initiated, Dickerson was pronounced dead.

No weapons were reported to have been used during the June 26 assault.

Clark said each homicide is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General.

According to The Associated Press, the 10 homicides don't appear to be connected and have been scattered throughout the 111-prison state system. The reason for the surge — the highest number in 15 years, is uncertain, Toney said.

He described the majority of the deaths as the result of "hands and feet kicking" and not a question of inmates armed with contraband weapons. More than half of the fatal attacks were committed in cells and involved altercations between cellmates, making it difficult to prevent, he said.

"It's a situation where they have some kind of disagreement and it results in a death," Toney told the AP. "Inside a prison cell, everything is metal so that leaves the potential for injuries if someone gets knocked down."

According to the AP, in the 1980s, a much smaller Texas corrections department dealt with a wave of violence.

In 1985, 27 inmates were killed and hundreds of others hurt in attacks at a time when Texas prisons housed only about one-fourth of the more than 150,000 convicts now incarcerated, the AP reported. ..Source.. by Denise Blaz


ELASKO THOMAS, 38, Tyler, died Aug. 7. Brooks-Sterling & Garrett Funeral Directors, Tyler. ..Source..