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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Man Suspected of Pedophilia Lynched in Mexico

4-27-2012 Mexico:

A man suspected of sexually abusing a 4-year-old child has been lynched by an angry mob of his fellow villagers in north-western Mexico, prosecutors have said.

The villagers broke into the man’s house after the child told his family that the 48-year-old had taken him to his house by force, the report said.

Before police arrived, the man had been severely beaten. He died of internal bleeding at the police headquarters before it was possible to establish the details of the conflict. ..Source.. by

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mentally ill man shot to death in east Bakersfield Tuesday

4-24-2012 California:

Relatives said a man who was gunned down on Irene Street Tuesday night was mentally ill and never bothered anyone as he strolled the east Bakersfield neighborhood.

Bobbie Hawkins said her son, Telon Hester, was shot shortly after they left a recycling business that was closed. Hawkins went to a relative's house on King Street and Hester went to look for more cans, Hawkins said. She was at the house with a friend when she heard three gunshots.

"When I came, I didn't see nothing but my son just laying there," Hawkins said. She said she stayed at the other end of the street because she couldn't bear to go closer to her son.

Hawkins said Hester's death comes just about three weeks after her other son, Donte Hester, died. Hawkins and her sister, Carolyn Cooper, said Donte Hester was shot about a year and a half ago in the same neighborhood where his brother was killed, resulting in health complications. Hawkins said the shootings were not connected as far as she knew.

"Ain't too much I can do, you know, but try to be strong," Hawkins said.

The Kern County Sheriff's Department was called to the 700 block of Irene Street for a report of a victim of a shooting just before 5 p.m., sheriff's department spokesman Ray Pruitt said.

Deputies found Telon Hester, 33, lying in the road with major injuries from several gunshot wounds, deputies said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives are investigating the shooting as a homicide and were looking for witnesses Tuesday night, Pruitt said.

"At this point we don't know or have a motive for the shooting," Pruitt said. Deputies did not have any suspects and did not know if the killing was gang-related, he added.

Hester lived in an apartment on Knotts Street with his mother and other family members, according to Hawkins. She asked neighbors to look out for Hester because he had a mental problem, Hawkins said. He would get out in the street and "yell and holler" and talk to himself, his mother recalled, but she said he didn't have problems with anyone.

"He just stayed at his house (and) looked for cans," Hawkins said.

Kern County Superior Court records list more than a dozen cases under Telon Hester's name and year of birth. The court records showed Hester had been convicted of charges including obstructing/resisting a public officer, peace officer or emergency medical technician, failure to register as a sex offender and possession of a controlled substance. ..Source.. by

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inmate Dies After Fight In Facility Dining Room

4-23-2012 California:

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate assigned to California Men’s Colony (CMC) died of presumed injuries resulting from a one-on-one physical altercation with another inmate Saturday morning while at his work assignment in a facility dining room.

A suspect has been identified and is currently housed in the Administrative Segregation Unit. CMC Facility C has been placed on a modified program pending further investigation.

The deceased inmate, Michael Walsh, 51, was at his assigned job in the Facility C Dining Room on April 21 when he was found by a correctional officer lying face down and unresponsive. Walsh was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:05a.m.

Walsh was received from Kern County on June 30, 1997, with a life sentence for multiple charges including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, false imprisonment, sexual assault with force, and assault with a deadly weapon.

His death is being investigated as a homicide by the CMC Investigative Services Unit and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. The Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was also notified of the incident.

CMC is a multi-mission institution that houses more than 5,500 inmates, employs nearly 1,800 people, and includes a general acute care hospital, CAL-Fire fire camp, substance abuse treatment programs, an accredited school, and an extensive Prison Industries Authority program. ..Source.. by


Homicide investigation under way in CMC inmate death

Family of inmate who died after altercation say he was a model prisoner who avoided trouble

A homicide investigation is under way at the California Men’s Colony after inmate Michael Walsh died Saturday following an altercation with another inmate.

A correctional officer found Walsh, 51, in the dining room lying face down, motionless and unresponsive, according to Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 9:05 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday to determine what caused his death. Investigators will not say what the motive may have been.

One suspect has been identified and is currently behind held in the administrative segregation unit, according to prison officials. Inmates in that unit are kept from the general population and permitted 10 hours a week of yard time in a small, supervised yard.

The suspect was not identified by CMC officials because of the ongoing investigation.

The prison’s investigative services unit is heading the investigation. An investigator from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is assisting.

Walsh’s death is the first homicide to be investigated at the California Men’s Colony since 2006, according to Lt. Dean Spears.

Walsh had been incarcerated at the prison since June 30, 1997, and was serving a life sentence for multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, false imprisonment, sexual assault with force and assault with a deadly weapon.

Myrna Summers, his mother, had traveled from Sacramento to visit Walsh earlier this month.

She said the family was shocked to learn of his death, and that Walsh was a man loyal to his family and a model prisoner who avoided trouble.

Having served time in several other prisons, including Corcoran, Summers said Walsh was happy to be at the Men’s Colony because it was known to be considerably less harsh.

He was assigned to work in the dining room and spent his time writing, she said.

“He was doing his time and doing it as well as he could,” Summers said.

Walsh’s sister Shakati Walsh said her brother spent nearly the last two decades “of his life doing his best to make amends, to stay close to his family, make peace with God, and to do the psychological and spiritual work it takes to overcome the scars he incurred growing up in a severely domestic violent situation. ... He wore no tattoos, organized sports programs for the entire yard during his years at Corcoran, and was probably the first and only white man to cross the prison-driven racial divide by having an African-American man as a cell mate due to building a friendship through sports at Corcoran.”

Walsh is survived by his mother, five siblings and several nieces and nephews. ..Source.. by AnnMarie Cornejo


CMC inmate died of injuries caused by blunt force trauma, autopsy shows

4-26-2012 :

Injuries resulting from blunt force trauma led to the death of California Men’s Colony inmate Michael Walsh, who was killed Saturday during an altercation with another inmate.

Walsh died from brain swelling due to a hemorrhage caused by blunt force trauma to the head, according to autopsy results released Thursday. The coroner also found Walsh inhaled blood from blunt force trauma to his face, which contributed to his death.

The prison’s investigative services unit is in charge of the ongoing homicide investigation.

Prison officials said Monday that they have identified a suspect who is being held in the administrative segregation unit. Charges have not yet been filed with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

A correctional officer found Walsh, 51, in the dining room lying face down, motionless and unresponsive.

Walsh had been incarcerated at the prison since June 30, 1997, and was serving a life sentence for multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, false imprisonment, sexual assault with force and assault with a deadly weapon. ..Source.. by AnnMarie Cornejo

Monday, April 23, 2012

Man Shot, Killed By State Trooper During Struggle

4-23-2012 Arkansas:

A Washington County man was shot by a state trooper near Alma Saturday night during a struggle between the trooper and the suspect, authorities said.

Christopher Wayne Snyder, 28, of Winslow was shot and killed by trooper Michael Bowman of the Arkansas State Police after Snyder attempted to overpower Bowman during a struggle, according to a news release issued by Bill Sadler, public information officer for Arkansas State Police.

Bowman, Sadler stated, was on patrol near Alma when he pulled over a speeding vehicle at around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The speeder, later identified as Snyder, stopped in a driveway along the 7500 block of U.S. 71, according to the news release.

“The violator … exited the vehicle and fled from trooper Bowman,” Sadler stated. “A foot chase covering nearly one-quarter mile ensued before ending in the backyard of an abandoned mobile home.”

Snyder refused to comply with Bowman’s orders, and as Bowman attempted to place handcuffs on Snyder, a fight began and Snyder started to choke Bowman, the news release states.

“As Snyder moved on top of trooper Bowman, the trooper was able to reach his handgun and fire the weapon, striking Snyder, who was pronounced dead at the scene,” Sadler stated.

Bowman was examined and released from a nearby hospital. He was placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation, which will be reviewed by Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune, according to the news release.

Sadler said at this time he had no further information to release. ..Source.. by Hicham Raache


Slain Sex Offender History Shows Failure To Register

4-23-2012 Arkansas:

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. -- Christopher Wayne Snyder was shot by Arkansas State Police Trooper Michael Bowman Sunday, April 22. But Snyder's history with law enforcement reaches back to 2007.

Snyder is listed as a level 3 sex offender on Arkansas's Sex Offender online registry.

According to arrest reports from Washington County Sheriff's office, Snyder was arrested in 2007 for driving on a suspended or revoked license.

In 2008, Snyder was arrested for failure to register as a sex offender. Court documents state Snyder was convicted in Oregon for sexual assault with a minor.

Then in June 2010, he was arrested for possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Snyder's family told 40/29 News he was staying with his girlfriend in Crawford County, but the Crawford County Sheriff said they had no record of Snyder registering with his department.

Trooper Michael Bowman is on administrative leave as the investigation into Snyder's death continues. ..Source.. by

Hunnisett had ‘paedophile hit list’, court told

4-23-2012 United Kingdom:

A FORMER altar boy appeared in court today (Monday) accused of murdering a man believed to have been a friend of Prince Philip - as part of a campaign of hate against paedophiles.

Christopher Hunnisett, 28, of Chanctonbury Drive, Hastings, previously denied one count of murder at Lewes Crown Court saying in April last year: ‘It is not wrong to try and stand up to evil in this world.’

Police found Peter Bick, 57, dead in his flat on January 11 2011 after Hunnisett handed himself in at Hastings Police Station, admitting the crime.

The court heard that there was ‘not a shred of evidence’ he was a paedophile but that Hunnisett became convinced he was after becoming involved in a sexual relationship with him.

Mr Bick, who shared a love of carriage racing with Prince Philip, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his flat in Bexhill, East Sussex.

He had previously boasted to neighbours that he had driven for the Duke of Edinburgh, although there are no records to support his claim.

Prosecutor Philip Katz QC said: ‘Peter Bick was living on his own in a studio flat, there is not a shred of evidence that he was a paedophile.

‘There is an abundance of evidence that he enjoyed consensual sex with adult men, including this defendant.

‘Hunnisett has striven in every devious way he could to make it look like the man he killed was a paedophile.

‘We will hear from a young woman who had a relationship with him after he got out of prison.

‘She will tell you about his various and coloured sexual preferences.

‘He talked to her about his plan to kill paedophiles.

‘He is confused about his own sexuality but that does not make it right to kill people then make himself look like a hero.

‘He had planned to kill more men who he had been in contact with on the internet, he compiled a hit list and Peter Bick was at the top of that list.

‘On some of these internet chat rooms Hunnisett was pretending to be a woman.

‘None of the men he arranged to meet was a paedophile.

‘This is a cold blooded and dangerous killer.’

The court heard today that Hunnisett had previously served eight years of a life sentence for the murder of an 81-year-old retired priest called Reverend Ronald Glazebrook.

His body had been dismembered and was found in two different locations in Sussex.

Mr Katz told the jury that Hunnisett had met Glazebrook through the church when he was young boy and later became his lodger before being convicted of his murder in 2002 .

Throughout the trial Hunnisett denied knowing how Reverend Glazebrook died, claiming he found the dead body in the bath ‘panicked’ and recruited a friend to help him dispose of it

The jury convicted him of murder and he was sentenced to life, however in September 2010 he was acquitted of the murder at a retrial by the Appeal Court – where it emerged the clergyman sexually abused him throughout his teens.

Hunnisett then admitted punching the vicar for trying to grope him in the bathroom — and claimed he then fell in the bath and died.

It was just four months after this conviction was quashed that he walked into a police station confessing to the of Peter Bick.

Mr Katz said: ‘That history is of central importance.

‘I also want to mention that before and after both his trial and retrial and before the trial today Hunnisett has been seen by different psychiatrists and not one of them think that he is mentally ill and not one thinks he has a personality disorder.

Mr Katz added Hunnisett had already admitted killing Mr Bick but the jury must decide whether he can mount a partial defence of diminished responsibility.

He said: ‘This was a brutal and carefully planned murder, responsibility for which he is trying to escape in any way he can.’

The trial is expected to last three weeks. ..Source.. by Observer


Accused murderer ‘targeted sex offenders’


Accused murderer Christopher Hunnisett yesterday (Monday) gave evidence to defend his actions claiming he was protecting vulnerable people from sex offenders.

Hunnisett, 28, of Chanctonbury Drive, remained calm and spoke in military terminology as he stood in the witness box at Lewes Crown Court and detailed the ‘clear and concise strategy’ he applied when trying to catch sex offenders.

He stands trial on one count of murder after 57-year-old Peter Bick was found bludgeoned to death in his flat in Bexhill.

The court heard from defence barrister David Martin-Sperry that in the run up to Mr Bick’s death Hunnsiett had been using various websites and forums to gather information about him.

Hunnisett said: “What I was doing was gathering lots of different information on different people.

“I was using vigilante sites, victims forums, and listening to rumours.

“I would then track people down, find them and test them.

“There was a rumour about Peter one or two weeks before and that is how I first found him.

“I knew basic information, that his name was Peter, he had a red car, he lived in Bexhill was aged between 50 and 70.”

Hunnisett said the information and the rumour about Mr Bick had come from a ‘live source’.

He added: “I had also seen a photo, a digital photo on the screen of a hand held device.

“I had a certain time limit to deal with this specific incident to prevent further potential contact.

“I started searches from websites where I had established profiles already.

“Sex sites specifically have lots of filters, age, sex and location its easy to filter down to Bexhill area the do an age filter.

“If you have the full name it is even easier.”

He admitted spending ‘around 50 per cent’ of his day every day using his parents’ and friends’ computers.

He also told the court he used military code words he had read about in books to define his potential victims.

Any suspect was called ‘Sierra’ in reference to the phonetic alphabet and once the name and location had been confirmed they became a target and were then called ‘Tango’.

Hunnisett said once he had established contact and was in a position to ‘test’ the person they were called ‘ASU’.

Final stage is X-ray where suspects had been ‘made safe’ by being locked up ‘or whatever’, he added.

Hunnisett said: “I based a lot of structure of it on being clear and concise like a military strategy, using the terminology.

Becoming more agitated, Hunnisett added: “There are an estimated 600,000 paedophiles in the UK.

“Even if you found 100 a day it would still take over 20 years. It is overwhelming for once person.

“I do commend the police and child protection agencies but they are bound by laws and rules.

“They can’t go on the internet like me because it is a breach of privacy. They can only do open source research, if you really want to find out you need to look a little bit deeper.

“I was going outside of the law I admit that. I was stopping them hurting women children and vulnerable people.”

Mr Martin-Sperry said while in prison Hunnisett had been at the Brendan Underwood treatment centre for convicts.

He was involved in some ‘unsuitable’ therapy where he was forced to speak as a victim so paedophiles could see the damage they have done.

After this therapy session Hunnisett went back to his cell and claims to have heard these abusers plotting their next paedophile ring, the court heard.

Mr Martin-Sperry said: “He knows that a true paedophile isn’t to be cured. He remains an absolute threat to children.

“That is why Hunnisett forms a resolve to expose paedophiles.”

Hunnisett had previously been convicted of murder in 2002 for killing 81-year-old Reverend Ronald Glazebrook who was his landlord at the time.

He was sentenced to life but in September 2010 he was acquitted of the murder at a retrial by the Appeal Court - where it emerged the clergyman sexually abused him throughout his teens. ..Source.. by Hastings Observer


Murder accused man 'had list of 900 paedophiles'


A man accused of murdering a supermarket worker he met for sex has told a court he had a list of 900 men he believed to be paedophiles.

Christopher Hunnisett, 28, of Hastings, is accused of killing Peter Bick at his home in Bexhill on 11 January 2011.

Lewes Crown Court was told there was no evidence Mr Bick was a paedophile.

Mr Hunnisett, who admits manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denies murder, said he would draw up a list of people to "deal with" every week.

The court was told Mr Bick died after being hit over the head with a hammer and strangled with a shoelace.

Mr Hunnisett, of Chanctonbury Drive, said he started making lists of people he suspected of being paedophiles after being acquitted of murder in September 2010.

He had already served nine years of a life sentence over the death of Reverend Ronald Glazebrook - whom he accused of abusing him - before he was freed.

While questioning him during the trial his lawyer David Martin-Sperry said: "In terms of the relatively short period of time you had from your release from custody and walking into the police station, how many different people had you actually started to deal with and to make notes about, and to develop their case, as it were?"

Mr Hunnisett said he had about 30 sheets of paper with names on both sides which ran into the hundreds.

He added: "People were crossed off because they could not be progressed any further.

"A lot of them I had reported anonymously to the NSPCC from phone boxes. But that's a tiny, tiny proportion of what the problem actually is."

Mr Hunnisett said he had worked entirely on his own because he did not want anyone else to become involved.

He told the court that after he killed Mr Bick he drove the dead man's car to Paddock Wood, in Kent, to the home of Mr A, another man on his list who cannot be named for legal reasons.

However, he drove back to Hastings after Mr A told him he could not meet.

On his return, Mr Hunnisett said he told his girlfriend and sister he had killed someone, before they took him to a police station.

The trial continues. ..Source.. by News Sussex


Murderer may never be released


An anti-paedophile vigilante from Hastings who murdered a gay man he wrongly believed to be a child molester has been told that he may never be released from prison.

Christopher Hunnisett, 28, killed supermarket worker Peter Bick, 57, just four months after being freed from jail following his acquittal for the murder of a vicar.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London.

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, warned he was an "extremely dangerous man" who "may well kill again" if released in the foreseeable future.

He said: "The time may never come when this defendant is considered safe to be released."

Hunnisett previously spent more than nine years in jail for killing the Rev Ronald Glazebrook, 81, in his bath and cutting up his body in April 2001.

But his conviction was quashed and he was cleared of Mr Glazebrook's murder at a retrial during which he alleged that the priest sexually abused him.

After being freed from prison in September 2010, Hunnisett made a "hit list" of men he planned to kill in his bid to rid the world of paedophiles.

Having formulated a plan to track down child abusers and rapists while he was in custody, on his release he set up false internet accounts as a "honeytrap" for sex offenders.

Mr Bick, an Asda employee from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, was at the top of Hunnisett's list of targets, although the prosecution said there was "not a shred of evidence" that he was a paedophile.

Overnight on January 10-11 last year, Hunnisett had sex with Mr Bick at his flat before smashing his head with five severe hammer blows and strangling him with a shoelace.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sloan of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: "This was a terrible crime, and the jury were clearly unconvinced by Hunnisett's claims about his motives for carrying out such a cruel and deliberate killing.

"Peter Bick's sister, together with her husband, was present at court throughout the trial and they had to listen to Christopher Hunnisett deliver utterly unfounded personal attacks about the character of her brother.

"They endured this with great dignity and this is testimony to how they have conducted themselves since Peter was murdered'.

"What exactly was motivating Hunnisett in the lead up to the murder and afterwards we will perhaps never really know, but there is no doubt at all that society is a safer place now that he is in prison." ..Source..

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two inmates charged with murder after 'disembowelled' paedophile is killed in jail attack

10-3-2011 United Kingdom:

Nathan Mann, 23, and Michael Parr, 32, charged with murdering Mitchell Harrison, 23;
Soham killer Ian Huntley had his throat slashed at same prison last year

Two prisoners have appeared in court charged with the murder of a paedophile inmate who died after being disembowelled in an attack in his cell.

Nathan Mann, 23, and Michael Parr, 32, spoke only to confirm their names at the five-minute hearing at Peterlee Magistrates Court.

They are accused of killing Mitchell Harrison, 23, at high-security Frankland Prison, in County Durham - where last year Soham killer Ian Huntley was slashed in the throat by a fellow inmate.

Serial sex attacker Harrison was killed with makeshift weapons, thought to be razor blades melted into toothbrush handles.

Harrison, who was sentenced in January 2010 to a minimum of four-and-a-half years for raping a 13-year-old girl, was found by warders shortly after 10am on Saturday.

A source close to the prison said: ‘To all intents and purposes he had been disembowelled. There was blood everywhere.

‘We are still trying to work out the exact chain of events.’

Magistrates set Mann and Parr's case to be heard at Newcastle Crown Court, where the pair will next appear on Wednesday.

Harrison was jailed indefinitely at Carlisle Crown Court in January last year as the judge said he posed a ‘substantial risk’ to young girls.

He lured his teenage victim to his flat in Kendal, Cumbria. Once inside he ordered her to strip before raping her twice.

It was the third time Harrison, originally from Wolverhampton, had been in trouble for sexually assaulting girls.

When he was 13 he was given a formal warning for indecently assaulting a seven-year-old and when he was 15 he was taken to court for threatening to rape a 15-year-old classmate.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, of Durham Police, said a pathologist found Harrison had died of ‘multiple injuries’.

Last night criminology expert Professor David Wilson, of Birmingham City University, said the extremely violent nature of the attack was significant.

He said: ‘The question is how can something like this take place in Frankland and why didn’t the staff protect him?’

The Ministry of Justice said the incident was a matter for police. ..Source.. by Chris Greenwood and Paul Sims

Friday, April 13, 2012

Police: Man fatally shot by police was in possession of drugs, had more than 30 previous arrests

4-12-2012 Texas:

A man fatally shot by an Austin police officer one week ago today had more than 30 prior arrests and was in possession of cocaine the night of the shooting, Austin police officials said Thursday.

Ahmede Jabbar Bradley, 35, had been arrested on charges including driver’s license offenses, evading, robbery, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping, assistant chief Sean Mannix said.

Police have said Bradley fought with officer Eric Copeland for about 2 minutes after a brief foot chase about 7 p.m. near Manor Road and 51st Street.

During the fight, Bradley tried to choke Copeland with the cord of his radio, police have said. Evidence shows Bradley was reaching for Copeland’s weapon as well, Mannix said.

“Mr. Bradley was attempting to disarm him of his weapon,” Mannix said.

Copeland eventually gained control of his weapon and fired at Bradley three times, striking him in the chest area, Mannix said. All three shots were consistent with being fired in a face-to-face confrontation, he added.

Police released two 911 calls today in which witnesses said they could see the suspect struggling with the officer and were concerned the officer needed help.

Listen to the 911 calls here and here.

“Should I go help him?” a man asked a 911 dispatcher as he watched the struggle.

Mannix said the calls alone demonstrate that the officer was in a bad situation.

“It’s very unusual for someone to call 911 when a police officer is on the scene,” Mannix said. “Both callers believe the officer was being disarmed.”

Bradley was found in possession of more than 1 ounce of cocaine and $1,700 in cash, Mannix said.

Mannix said the officer pulled Bradley over about 6:40 p.m. for playing loud music. Copeland smelled marijuana, and as he tried to search the vehicle Bradley fled on foot, he said.

Austin police chief Art Acevedo has said the officer tried to use his Taser stun gun during the chase, but that “one of the prongs did not take.”

Following the shooting, officers attempted CPR, but Bradley died at the scene about 7 p.m., officials have said.

Copeland, who has been with the Police Department since September 2009 , was placed on administrative leave with pay, pending a review of the incident and a chemical and psychological evaluation, officials have said. ..Source.. by Claudia Grisales


APD officer shoots, kills suspect

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police officer Thursday night shot and killed a man officials said ran from a traffic stop and then began fighting with the officer in the 5200 block of Overbrook , near Manor Road in East Austin.

According to Assistant Chief David Carter, a patrol officer was trying to stop a vehicle in the 6000 block of 51st Street around 6:40 p.m. for a routine traffic stop.

When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver took off and headed north on to Overbrook Drive where he dumped his vehicle and took off on foot.

Police said the suspect, identified as Ahmede Jabbar Bradley, 37, tried to jump a fence but the officer caught up with him and a scuffle ensued. The suspect managed to get away from the officer but the officer caught up to him, attempted to use his stun gun, but it didn't work.

During a news briefing at Police Headquarters on Friday afternoon, Police Chief Art Acevedo said Police Officer Eric Copland and the suspect engaged in "a violent struggle for the officer's firearm." He said that Copland grabbed the officer's microphone cord and wrapped it around his neck. Acevedo said they have photos of the marks on Copeland's neck. He also said the officer broke a finger in the struggle.

Finally, the officer managed to fire "several shots were fired" by the officer.

Bradley died at the scene. When back-up officers arrived at the scene, they tried to do CPR but to no avail.

The officer was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. He has been with the department for 1 1/2 years.

Police said the patrol vehicle's dashboard camera was on and recording.

"We've captured the entire incident in terms of the audio, in terms of the video. You can see the stop, you can see all those things and we'll look at that tape carefully to find out what's going on," said Carter.

Acevedo said that nearly all of the events were captured either on patrol car video or described in recorded phone calls to police. He also said several civilian well-position witnesses have also provided accounts to police.

No other individuals were involved.

Copland was placed on paid leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure.

While authorities were at the scene gathering information, a large crowd of residents and onlookers started forming. While the crowd has remained relatively calm, extra officers were called in to maintain crowd control.

A witness to the events spoke out on Friday. Greg Anderson said he owns the home and yard where the suspect was shot and died.

" I was sitting up watching TV, me and my little girl," said Anderson, "and next thing I know we heard three gunshots -- come outside and look through the window, and there was cops surrounding this -- well, one cop [was] chasing this one guy. Next thing I know he was in my yard. I heard gunshots and came outside. They were trying to give him CPR and that's when he passed away."

Friday, the family of the suspect placed flowers in the yard where he died. ..Source.. by Calily Bien, Shannon Wolfson, Josh Hinkle

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two men dead, one hospitalized in Dalton shooting

Posted in Related Deaths
4-12-2012 New Hampshire:

DALTON -- Two men are dead and a third was hospitalized following what law enforcement officials are calling an apparent shooting incident. The incident occurred yesterday at the residence of Wayne Ainsworth at 643 Whitefield Road in Dalton.

A joint press release issued early yesterday evening by N.H. Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, State Police Colonel Robert Quinn, Dalton Police Chief Mario Audit, and Whitefield Police Chief William Colborn said all three men, whose identities have not yet been released, had apparent gunshot wounds. The identities of the men were withheld last night pending notification of family members. Police said autopsies for the two deceased men will be scheduled.

Ainsworth made headlines in January 2010, when he was married to Joseph Besk, an inmate at the Northern NH Correctional Facility in a prison ceremony. At the time Besk was serving a 10-20 year sentence on felonious sexual assault charges. The two men met in prison while Ainsworth was also serving a 10-year sentence, the last five of which was spent in the same cell as Besk. The marriage was believed to be the first same sex marriage in the NH Correctional System.

It is unclear whether Ainsworth or Besk were involved in the Thursday afternoon incident. According to the NH sex offender online registry, both men resided at the Whitefield Road address.

Police said the investigation is still ongoing but there is no reason to believe the public is in danger. ..Source.. by Melissa Grima


2 men killed at registered NH sex offenders' home

DALTON, N.H.—Two men were shot to death Thursday at a northern New Hampshire home listed on the state's sex offender registry. A third man was injured in the shooting.

Wayne Ainsworth, who lived in the home, was injured and was in stable condition at a hospital, said his sister, Shari Souliere, who was briefed by police. She didn't know who else may have been living in the home, and she wasn't provided with details about what may have transpired, she said.

Investigators didn't release the victims' names or other details about the investigation. But the attorney general's office said there was no threat to the public.

The state's sex offender registry lists two offenders at the address, 54-year-old Ainsworth and 48-year-old Joseph Besk. Both were convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault. A story by The Berlin Daily Sun says the two married in 2010, while Besk was finishing his prison sentence.

State police were originally alerted around 1:15 p.m. Thursday.

Hours later, crime scene tape blocked the dirt road leading to the home at 643 Whitefield Road, and the attorney general's major crime unit was processing the scene Thursday evening. The attorney general's office said autopsies on the two deceased victims were scheduled. ..Source.. by


Roommate Shot Couple, Then Killed Himself

4-14-2012 New Hampshire:

DALTON, N.H. -- Investigators said it was the third man at the home of a Dalton married couple who fired the shots in what they're calling a murder-suicide.

Killed Thursday afternoon were Joseph Besk, 48, of Dalton, and Christopher Smith, 45.

Surviving is Wayne Ainsworth, 54, of Dalton.

According to a statement issued Friday from the office of the New Hampshire Attorney General, "The cause of Mr. Besk's death was determined to be gunshot wounds to the chest and neck, and the manner of death has been classified as a homicide. The cause of Mr. Smith's death was a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of his death has been classified as a suicide."

The investigation continues and no motive has been given in the incident that took place at the home at 643 Whitefield Road.

Besk and Ainsworth, who met in prison, made news in January 2010 when they were married at the Northern Correctional Facility, in Berlin, in what was likely the first wedding ceremony to take place in a prison since the state's same-sex marriage law went into effect Jan. 1 of that year.

On Friday, Besk's father, John Besk, of Merrimack, said he came to Dalton a month ago to visit his son, who he said was happy and looking for a fresh start in life by returning to school and starting a business.

Also on Friday, Joel White, a lifelong friend of Ainsworth, said Ainsworth has a sharp mind and love of books and has suffered a string of recent tragedies, including the loss of his father, mother and second wife.

Sources said that after the shooting Ainsworth was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. On Friday, Dartmouth officials said the name of Ainsworth is not on the patient list that authorizes them to disclose patient information.

According to the Associated Press, Ainsworth's sister, Shari Souliere, said on Thursday that Ainsworth is in stable condition.

Both Ainsworth and Besk served prison sentences for convictions of sexual assault against minors and are listed on the New Hampshire Sex Offender Registry. Ainsworth was released in 2006 after serving a 10-year sentence and Besk was released last year after serving 18½ years.

John Besk and White had previously met Smith and both said Smith seemed pleasant and not the type of person who would commit the violence that took place Thursday. John Besk said he saw no signs of any trouble.

"He seemed like the nicest guy in the world," White said of Smith. "It seemed like the last thing you'd expect from him."

Both said Smith came from Maine. White said Smith had been living at the home off and on for several years. John Besk said Smith was a roommate who helped out by paying rent.

"We were shocked," John Besk said upon hearing that his son had been killed. "My daughter and nephew had just talked to him the night before. He was doing real well. He was happy."

Joseph Besk was registering for college courses in Berlin and trying to find a job and get his life back on track, said John Besk.

"He was a good son," said John Besk. "There was no problem when he was a kid. He just made a mistake due to being on drugs. He served 18 and a half years. He paid for it."

John Besk said Joseph Besk has two sons, ages 26 and 21, from a previous marriage.

Ainsworth also has children, a son and a daughter, from his first marriage, said White.

White said Ainsworth's second wife died suddenly several years ago, and in 2010, both his mother and father died, and all, he said, at the same house at which the shooting took place.

"He's lost a lot in a short amount of time," said White.

White, who runs White's Septic Service in Dalton, said he grew up with Ainsworth, whose family has a history in Dalton.

"He lived in South Berwick, Maine, and his parents had a camp on [Dalton] Mountain," said White. "That's how I met Wayne. He has always been really smart."

White said Ainsworth got high marks in high school, and after being sent to prison for what he said was a wrongful accusation, said Ainsworth was instrumental in advancing the prison library in Concord and setting up the prison library in Berlin. After his release, White said Ainsworth took courses at the technical college in Berlin.

White said he hires Ainsworth regularly for jobs and saw him as recently as last week.

"I'm just glad Wayne's alive," White said.

John Besk communicated with his son last week on the telephone.

"He seemed happy and was planning on coming down to visit," said John Besk. "He was doing good and straightening his life out and then this happened." ..Source.. by The Caledonian-Record

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Man shot to death in Beaufort County

4-10-2012 South Carolina:

BEAUFORT, S.C. Sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting death of a man about 10 miles northwest of Beaufort.

Deputies were called to a home in the Seabrook community about 2 p.m. Tuesday and found 23-year-old Octavis Moultrie of Beaufort. He was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Deputy Coroner David Ott says an autopsy is planned at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Beaufort County sheriff's Sgt. Robin McIntosh says investigators don't know what led to the shooting. McIntosh said officers are not getting much cooperation from those who live in the area.

No suspects have been identified. ..Source.. by The Charlotte Observer.


Seabrook shooting victim once among county's most wanted

4-11-2012 South Carolina:

A 23-year-old Burton man shot to death Tuesday outside a home in Seabrook had several previous run-ins with local law enforcement and was once among the county's "most wanted," according to authorities.

Octavius Moultrie, known to his friends and family as "Tavis," was arrested three times in the past five years and accused of crimes ranging from attempted murder to misdemeanor drug possession. Included is a 2007 rape charge that landed him on the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office's "most wanted" list, county court records show.

Moultrie was charged with rape and kidnapping in 2007 after a Varnville woman accused him of sexually assaulting her at knifepoint. A jury found him not guilty in 2009, according to court records.

Moultrie was charged last year with attempted murder after witnesses said he fired a shotgun toward a man in a car in 2010 on Poppy Hill Road in Burton. No injuries were reported. The charge was dismissed after a grand jury did not indict him, according to court records.

In January, Moultrie pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor drug offenses and was sentenced to probation.

Moultrie was found shot Tuesday outside a home on Fawnwood Lane and later died at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, according to the Beaufort County Coroner's Office. Authorities have declined to say where and how many times Moultrie was shot. ..Source.. by PATRICK DONOHUE

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Syracuse man in police custody in shooting death on Kenmore Avenue

4-10-2012 New York:

Syracuse, NY -- A man is in Syracuse police custody in the homicide of Chance Gathers, 33, who was shot March 23 as he stood on a porch in the 100 block of Kenmore Avenue.

Gathers, a level 3 sex offender, later died from his wounds at Upstate University Hospital.

Demetrius Hackett, 19, was arraigned in Syracuse City Court this morning on a charge of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a gun. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he was ordered held without bail.

Police have scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. in the Public Safety Building to release the details of the arrest. ..Source.. by Robert A. Baker / The Post-Standard


Syracuse police chief: Motive for Chance Gathers' homicide was retaliation


Syracuse, NY -- Demetrius Hackett shot and killed Chance Gathers March 23 in retaliation for the shooting death last year of Hackett's brother, Pierre Hackett, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said this morning.

Demetrius Hackett, 19, of 110 Helen St., was arraigned this morning in city court on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Hackett is accused of shooting Gathers, 33, about 3:30 p.m. March 23 while Gathers was on a porch at 157 Kenmore Ave.

Hackett quickly became a suspect but was evading police, Fowler said. The police department's warrant squad found him Monday night and brought him in for questioning, Fowler said. He was charged shortly afterward, Fowler said.

"It appears this was in retaliation for a homicide," Fowler said.

Pierre Hackett, 23, was gunned down just before noon on Aug. 1 as he was walking in the 100 block of Merriman Avenue with his cousin Leroy Hackett and Leroy Hackett's two young daughters.

Pierre Hackett's father witnessed the attack. Pierre Hackett died several hours later.

The homicide remains unsolved, Fowler said, but Gathers' name did come up as a possible suspect.

At a news conference today, Fowler said Hackett fired a handgun at Gathers, hitting the man in the lower back. Court papers said Hackett fired several times and indicate the bullet that struck Gathers injured his kidney and aorta.

When police arrived, they found Gathers lying on his back near a fence line with a civilian performing CPR on him, Fowler said. The first arriving officer assisted the civilian until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene and took over. Gathers was taken to Upstate University Hospital, where he died, Fowler said.

Fowler said he is not sure whether the shooting is gang related.

The day before Pierre Hackett's fatal shooting, July 31, Leroy Hackett was the victim of gunfire on South Avenue, suffering wounds to the arm and hand.

Immediately after the shooting of Pierre Hackett, Pierre's father Benjamin Hackett removed a loaded handgun from Pierre's pants. Benjamin Hackett handed the gun to his brother, Leroy Hackett Sr., who took the weapon and placed it in the trunk of his car, according to lawyer Thomas Ryan, who defended Leroy Hackett Sr. Police recovered the weapon after stopping the car moments later on Grace Street.

A grand jury opted in October not to file any criminal charges relating to possessing the handgun. The gun was taken, Ryan said, to prevent further violence.

Hackett was arraigned in Syracuse City Court this morning in front of Judge Vanessa Bogan, who entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf and ordered him held without bail. Hackett is expected back in court on Friday.

Kimberly Freeman, mother of both Pierre and Demetrius Hackett, said that Demetrius was innocent of the charges.

"I know he didn't do it," Freeman said of her son today.

"Chance Gathers was terrorizing the neighborhood and terrorizing my family," she said.

On Aug. 6, Gathers, a level 3 sex offender, was charged by Syracuse police with gang assault, a felony, and criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, according to The Post-Standard archives. On Aug. 18, Gathers was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, both felonies, the archives show. The disposition of those cases is not known.

Fowler said the Gathers homicide is still under investigation and credited civilians coming forward to help solve the shooting. Fowler said they provided tips that pointed toward the suspect.

"If you look at the citizen cooperation, it's there," Fowler said, adding that citizen cooperation is the greatest deterrent to crime. ..Source.. by Robert A. Baker, The Post-Standard

Friday, April 6, 2012

Police reveal sex offender's past in blaze death inquiry

3-6-2012 United Kingdom:

A former Leicester man who died when his flat was deliberately set on fire was a convicted sex offender, police have revealed.

Officers disclosed Andrew Heath's criminal history – including offences against young boys in Leicester – this week, three months after his death in his flat in Worcester.

Police are examining the possibility that the arson attacks and the 52-year-old's past offences may be linked.

Mr Heath, a former member of Leicester Male Voice Choir and a fan of Leicester City, the Tigers and the county cricket team, dialled 999, knowing he was trapped in his flat in Chedworth Close, Warndon, at about 4am on December 14.

West Mercia Police have now revealed Mr Heath had committed five sexual offences, including gross indecency and indecent assault, between 1984 and 1999 in Leicester and Birmingham.

His victims were boys aged between 14 and 17. Some of the offences were committed before the age of consent for gay men was lowered from 18 to 16 in 2000. Detectives said they had no records of any offences or complaints against him since he moved to Worcester in 2001.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, of West Mercia Police, said: "We have looked at whether these offences could have been a motivation for someone to target Mr Heath, but to date we have no evidence of this.

"Whatever Mr Heath did in his past, he died in a terrible way and his family have been left in limbo not knowing what happened to him.

"The person responsible is still out there on our streets and needs to be caught."

The 52-year-old's family are originally from Leicester's West End.

His sister, Leia Charleson and her parents, Les and Helen, now live in Eastbourne. Ms Charleson, 57, said: "I can't understand why anyone would do this."

A £20,000 reward has been offered to anyone who supplies the information which results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Mr Heath's death.

A number of people have been arrested in connection with the attack. None have been charged. ..Source.. by Leicester Mercury


Three bailed in Andrew Heath murder case

THREE people who were arrested on suspicion of murdering Worcester man Andrew Heath have been released on bail.

Two men, aged 21 and 20, and a 17-year-old male youth were arrested on Monday at addresses in the city’s Warndon and Brickfields areas and taken in for questioning.

They were arrested as part of the investigation into the death of Andrew Heath, who was killed in a flat fire at his home in Warndon.

Mr Heath, aged 52, was found dead at his flat in Chedworth Close after a suspected arson attack in the early hours of Wednesday, December 14.

The latest arrests brings the total of people now arrested in relation to the killing to 10. ..Source.. by Freya Leng


Police reveal Worcester arson victim was a paedophile


A Worcester man, who was killed after an arson attack on his home, was a convicted paedophile, according to West Mercia Police.

Andrew Heath, aged 52, was found dead at his flat in Warndon last December.

Police confirmed he was convicted for gross indecency and indecent assault against teenage boys five times during the 1980s and 1990s. These assaults happened in Leicester and Birmingham- before Mr Heath moved to Worcester.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, who is leading the operation, said:

""I have taken the decision to make public details of previous offences committed by Andrew Heath because it may have some bearing on our inquiries.

"Since his death a lot of rumours have been circulating around the local community in Warndon about Mr Heath, some of them quite fanciful, and we believe these may have hampered our investigation. We wish to set the record straight and use this as another opportunity to appeal to the public for any information".
"a lot of rumours have been circulating around the local community in Warndon about Mr Heath, some of them quite fanciful, and we believe these may have hampered our investigation"
West Mercia Police say they have no records of any offences or complaints against him since he moved to Worcester.

DCI Williamson said:
"Whatever Mr Heath did in his past, he died in a terrible way and his family have been left in limbo not knowing what happened to him."
A total of 10 people have been arrested over his death. To date, nobody has been charged.

Police increased the reward for information leading to finding Mr Heath's killer from £10,000 to £20,000. ..Source.. by ITV Central

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening statements to begin in mistaken identity murder trial

The choice of "mistaken identity" in the title implies that, if the neighbor WAS a RSO it would be OK to kill him. Poor choice of words..
4-5-2012 florida:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday in the trial of an Orange County man accused of a mistaken identity murder.

Prosecutors said Michael Garay and another man killed his 79-year-old neighbor because he thought he was a sexual offender.

It's been two years since investigators say that Garay and his friend Robert Pascale beat 79-year-old Hugh Edwards to death.

After Pascale was caught by deputies hiding in the mud, he even admitted to his role in the alleged crime to WFTV.

"What did you do to him?" WFTV asked.

"I hit him twice with a bat. That was it," replied Pascale.

Investigators said Garay and Pascale were drunk and angry when they attacked Edwards, who they thought was a sex offender, but it turns out he was not.

Pascale hit Edwards with the bat and then threw it into the woods, police said.

Detectives also said that both of them also disposed of bloody clothes, information the prosecution is expected to share.

Pascale will face a judge later in a separate trial.

At one point on Wednesday Garay wanted to defend himself. WFTV found out that is because he tried to fire his defense attorney. But Judge Mike Murphy ruled that Garay's arguments were not legally sufficient.

Prosecutors offered Garay a plea deal, which would put him in prison for 33 years, but he turned it down and now he's facing life behind bars if convicted.

WFTV will have a crew in the courtroom before opening statements begin at 8:30 a.m. ..Source.. by


Trial starts in elderly man's baseball bat beating death

4-11-2012 Florida:

One of two men charged in the killing of an elderly Bithlo resident beaten to death almost two years ago faces trial this week in Orlando on a murder charge.

Deputies found Hugh Edwards, 78, dead in a trailer in Bithlo on May 12, 2010, after a woman who lived nearby called to report she thought two men she knew had killed him.

She had been drinking with Michael Garay, 33, and Robert Pascale, 22, an arrest report states, when Garay asked her what she would do if she lived "next to a sex offender."

Her response, the report states: I would kill him.

Soon after the conversation, the woman told deputies, she saw the two men enter Edwards' trailer and heard thumping sounds coming from inside.

An arrest report states the men later ditched a baseball bat used to beat Edwards and their bloody clothes in a wooded area. Edwards, records show, was not a sex offender.

Garay's trial began Wednesday with jury selection before Circuit Judge Mike Murphy. Opening statements are expected early Thursday. ..Source.. by Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel


Man convicted in Bithlo baseball bat murder


After a trial that lasted several days, a jury today returned a murder conviction for Michael Garay, one of two men accused in the beating death of an elderly Bithlo man almost two years ago.

The jury began deliberating about noon Wednesday, and returned its verdict this morning. Garay was also convicted of accessory after the fact. He faces life in prison.

Hugh Edwards, 78, was found dead in a trailer in Bithlo in May 2010. Garay and co-defendant Robert Pascale are accused of beating him to death with a Louisville Slugger.

According to testimony, the men mistakenly thought Edwards was a child molester.

Before deliberations, Prosecutor William Jay showed the jury Edwards' driver license.

"This was a senseless beating of a little old man," Jay told jurors. "Why? Because a few people thought he was a sex offender."

Jay described the injuries suffered by Edwards before showing jurors a photo of his bloody corpse, collapsed on a broken, overturned tabletop on the floor of his trailer.

"He was struck with a bat hard enough that his head actually caved in," Jay said.

The defense, however, argued that the state failed to prove not only that Garay had a hand in Edwards' killing, but that Garay was even in Edwards' trailer.

Garay's defense lawyer, Joseph Haynes Davis, told the jury that it was Pascale that killed Edwards. Any actions Garay took, Davis said, were for fear of Pascale.

It remains unclear why the men suspected that Edwards, who had no criminal history, was a molester.

During the trial, jurors heard multiple witness accounts of the night of the killing, as well as DNA and other forensic evidence. Pascale is currently awaiting trial on a murder charge. ..Source.. by Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel


Bithlo man guilty of beating 78-year-old man to death


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A Bithlo man will spend the rest of his life in prison for beating to death a 78-year-old man he mistakenly thought was a sex offender

Robert Pascale, 22, had no reaction on Friday as the judge read the “guilty of first-degree murder’’ verdict in the 2010 slaying of Hugh Edwards. The sentence carries a mandatory life sentence.

Prosecutors said Pascale and Michael Garay, who had previously been convicted, beat Edwards to death with a baseball bat in May 2010 because they thought he was a sex offender.

On Friday, paramedics had to be called to Orange County Courthouse after Ruth Pascale, the defendant’s mother, was overcome with emotion and collapsed on the courtroom floor. She did manage to walk out of the courthouse on her own.

Moments after the verdict, Robert Pascale said as he was being led away, "It's not over until God says it is. I'm still coming home."

Prosecutor William Jay emphasized during closing arguments that Pascale admitted several times, including in an interview aired on WFTV, that he beat Edwards with a baseball bat.

Pascale’s attorney, Roger Weeden, argued that his client was only guilty of aggravated assault and not premeditated murder. Weeden said Pascale chose not to testify in his own defense because prosecutors could have then asked him about his prior felony convictions for robbery, battery and grand theft.

Garay is already serving a life sentence. ..Source.. by

Rapist battered to death by mob in Chipinge

4-4-2012 Africa:

A mob of 10 villagers reportedly fatally attacked a Chipinge man who was caught red-handed raping a neighbour’s wife in Musirizwi village in the district. Police this week said no arrest had been made, but urged people to desist from meting instant justice.

The deceased, Kenneth Majuta (26), on Monday last week went to his neighbour’s homestead at Musirizwi village in Chipinge where he forced open the door at the 24-year-old complainant’s hut at around 10pm.

He found her asleep in her bedroom hut. Police said Majuta went to the bed pretending he was the complainant’s husband and raped her once. However, as they were being intimate, she noticed that the man was not her real husband.

She then screamed for help while preventing the rapist from leaving the hut. One of the villagers implicated in the murder, Simon Chireni, rushed to Chigumira’s homestead and found out Majuta had raped his neighbour.

He then tied him up and proceeded to call the complainant’s husband, Prince Simango, who was at Lovemore Chimene’s homestead in the same village. Police said Chireni teamed up with nine other villagers and assaulted Majuta.

“When they arrived at Chigumira’s homestead, the 10 started to assault the now deceased several times using logs, clenched fists and booted feet. After a prolonged assault, they handed him over to the police who took him to Chipinge,” said acting Manicaland police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Enock Chishiri.

“He was referred to Chipinge District Hospital for treatment, but he died the following morning,” he said. Chishiri said no arrests had been made because all the 10 villagers left the village after realising that Majuta would not survive.

“We are advising members of the public not to take the law into their hands and they should report all matters to the police,” said Chishiri. ..Source.. by NewsDay

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wichita police give details of weekend shooting involving officer

4-4-2012 Kansas:

At first, when the two police officers showed up at his door at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning, Troy Lanning Sr. thought they just wanted help tracking down Troy Jr., who had failed to report to state officers supervising him after his release from prison. So he got names and numbers out of his home phone for them, told them the names of his son’s friends. But then he asked, “So you have him in custody?”

They said no, and suggested he sit down. And when he froze in place for a moment, they asked him again.

Police on Monday revealed that they killed 24-year-old Troy Lanning Jr. on Sunday after Lanning, after a car chase, put his hand in a bag of belongings and appeared to aim it toward the officer in a threatening manner.

The officer confronted him in a backyard in south Wichita after Lanning and three other people led police on a seven-minute high-speed chase from an area where a drive-by shooting had been reported. But no gun was found in the bag Lanning was carrying, or in the stolen vehicle he rode in during the chase.

And Lanning Sr., and several of his son’s friends, gathered on Monday afternoon and said there was no way anybody would have any good reason to shoot him. Lanning Sr. said he has already talked with a lawyer and is considering whether to sue the Wichita Police Department for his son’s death. He said he believes officers could have used a Taser on his son, or sent a K-9 unit dog to run him down, rather than shoot him.

Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz described how the confrontation happened:

At 11:56 p.m. on Saturday, police dispatchers sent officers to a report of a drive-by shooting in the 4600 block of South Charles, south of I-235 and McArthur. Dispatchers told the officers to look for a white vehicle.

An officer driving into the area, going eastbound on 45th Street South, saw a white vehicle pass him while going the other direction. The officer turned around, and saw it speed away. The driver refused to stop after the officer turned on his lights and sirens.

The chase lasted seven minutes, Stolz said, and ended when the white vehicle drove up over a curb at 35th and Everett, damaging a wheel. Witnesses and the officer saw four people bail out of the vehicle, three men and a woman. The officer chased one of the men, Lanning, yelling at him to stop. Lanning climbed over a privacy fence; the officer followed.

The officer, a nine-year veteran of the Police Department, confronted Lanning in a backyard, and told him to stop reaching into a bag he was carrying. Lanning continued going through the bag, and at one point the officer thought Lanning raised the bag up in a threatening manner. The officer fired several shots at Lanning, hitting him.

Other officers from the Police Department, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Highway Patrol blocked off streets and “locked down about eight or ten blocks of the neighborhood,” Stolz said. They caught one other man they think was in the white vehicle.

Lanning was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators found no weapon, either in Lanning’s bag of belongings or in the white vehicle he was riding in.

Stolz said he thinks Lanning tried to evade police because a records check on him showed that he was an absconder from the Kansas Department of Corrections, and also had an outstanding warrant in Sedgwick County for failing to register as an offender.

In the white vehicle, investigators found items stolen a few hours earlier during a burglary in the 2600 block of West Newell. The vehicle itself was stolen sometime before the chase.

Lanning Sr. said his son had a criminal history, and that it’s possible he might have been involved in a burglary. His son had served time for a conviction as a juvenile for taking indecent liberties with a child. That case, though it required his son to register with the state as a sex offender, was what Lanning Sr. called a “Romeo and Juliet” situation, meaning that there was consent. But under the law, having had sex with a female younger than 14, his son did three years in jail in a juvenile facility in Topeka, he said.

There were later charges, the father said, for burglary and theft, and as police pointed out on Monday, his son was wanted as an absconder from the state prison system. Lanning Sr. said his son failed to register as a sex offender as required, and failed to take several classes requires of him during his probationary period. “He did a lot of things he shouldn’t have done, and there were times when you couldn’t tell Troy anything,” Lanning Sr. said.

Still, the father and the son’s friends said, there was no good reason to shoot him to death. “I think it was a wrongful shooting,” Lanning Sr. said. He said his son had no history of violence, and can’t imagine why the officer who killed his son thought that his son was trying to threaten him with a bag that he believes contained nothing more than clothes and shampoo.

Victoria Harper, a sometime girlfriend of Troy Lanning Jr., said Troy was “a big baby, more sensitive and needy than most females.” She said he was a good and decent person, and “a wimp” rather than anyone violent. “I knew him for 14 years, have loved him that whole time, and he never once raised his voice at me.”

She and several of Lanning Jr.’s friends also said they trusted him to babysit their small children, even though he’d served time for indecent liberties. He would never have harmed any children, they said.

But Stolz said an initial look at the shooting indicates to him that the officer acted properly in shooting the man.

“After a confrontation like this, we sometimes wonder why people do the things they do,” Stolz said. He declined to say what was in the bag that the man kept rummaging in as the officer told him to drop it; he said only that it contained “personal items.”

“All we can expect from our officers is reasonable behavior,” Stolz said. He said the officer was sent to the scene of a shooting, at night, a dangerous situation. “It’s reasonable to expect to confront a weapon in a situation like that,” he said. “The vehicle ran, which is not reasonable; they led the officer on a seven-minute chase, not reasonable; and after they wrecked, they ran, which is not reasonable. And then the man refused repeated verbal commands to stop running.”

“The officer was doing the job he was sent to do,” Stolz said. “It appears we have policy and procedure properly followed here.”

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation will handle the investigation of the shooting, and turn over information to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether the officer obeyed the law. The officer has been put on administrative leave.

Lanning was not a documented gang member, but the man arrested after the chase is, Stolz said. That man was booked into jail on suspicion of possession of drugs.

Lanning Sr., a 41-year-old handyman, said he is trying to work out funeral arrangements, but that his son’s mother, who he is separated from, has been too grief-stricken to help with the details.

His son was making some efforts to tun his life around, Lanning Sr. said. He diligently applied for jobs, and got one at small factory in Haysville. He did not want to go back to jail or prison. He even talked about going to church this past Sunday with the three women friends who now sat in his father’s house, mourning the loss of a friend.

“He’d been telling us that he was tired of always having to look over his shoulder because he’d absconded, and that he wanted to get his life in order,” Harper said. “I don’t know if he was kidding about going to church when he brought it up on Saturday, but I think he really did want to go. But Sunday never came for him.” ..Source.. by Roy Wenzl, The Wichita Eagle

Tucson teen faces prison in stepdad’s killing, separate shooting

4-4-2012 Arizona:

A Tucson teenager admitted Wednesday to shooting and killing his mother’s boyfriend and to shooting at another man in August 2010.

Angel Marcelino Lerma, 18, is facing between seven and 36 years in prison for manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Jorge Castillo, 36, was killed after getting into an argument with Lerma outside a trailer at the Desert Breeze Mobile Home Park, 5344 S. Park Ave.

Lerma was arrested five days later and indicted on first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges.

Assistant Pima County Public Defender Sheena Chawla said after Wednesday’s hearing that her client shot Castillo, a registered sex offender who was in the country illegally, because he was beating Lerma’s mother in front of several of children. Joaquin Armenta was almost shot in the process, she said.

Armenta told Pima County Superior Court Judge Teresa Godoy the potential sentence Lerma is facing is too light for someone who killed one person and tried to kill another.

Chawla asked for a June sentencing date because she intends to present a large amount of mitigating evidence.

Court records indicate Chawla had concerns about Lerma’s competency to stand trial because he was a special education student, had sustained multiple blows to the head in the five years preceding his arrest and used drugs for a lengthy period of time starting at a young age.

Lerma was ultimately deemed competent. He will be sentenced June 18. ..Source.. by Kim Smith, Arizona Daily Star

Monday, April 2, 2012

Justifiable Homicides Rise, Especially in States with ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

4-2-2012 National:

Justifiable homicides are increasing, especially in states with “stand your ground” laws, even as the overall U.S. homicide rate is falling.

From 2000 to 2010, justifiable homicides rose from 176 to 326, an 85 percent increase, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. The category includes killings categorized as justifiable by police and prosecutors, and those in which defendants win at trial based on the claim.

Among all homicides, when races differ, the victim is more often white. In justifiable homicides, when races differ, the victim is more often black.

Florida passed its stand-your-ground law in 2005. Considered one of the broadest self-defense laws, it doesn’t require people to retreat when they are threatened outside their homes. The law creates a presumption that a person who kills in self defense had a reasonable fear of death or serious injury, according to an opinion column at CNN. After the law took effect, justifiable homicides in the state rose from 12 to 33 a year, the story says.

One person who relied on a stand your ground law is Columbia, S.C., lawyer James Corley, the Wall Street Journal says. He shot a gun-wielding man in 2009 who broke into a club for recovering alcoholics and demanded wallets. "I don't want to find out whether I can outrun a bullet," Corley tells the publication.

Another lawyer, John Hagler, says the Texas law has given defense attorneys another tool. "If you've got two guys shooting it out, how many defenses are there?" he told the Wall Street Journal. "I've had cases where my guy shot a guy in the back with an automatic rifle 11 times and claimed self-defense." ..Source.. by Debra Cassens Weiss