Friday, July 31, 2009

Myron Britt sentenced to life without parole in murder of wife

After killing his wife, all that was left for a Roberson County, NC jury to decide, according to his lawyer, was how Myron Britt would die in jail - by the hands of the state through lethal injection, or by the hands of God (or another inmate). After 40 minutes of deliberation, the jury chose the latter option yesterday, July 30.

Nancy Britt was murdered at her childhood home in August 2003 while caring for a disabled sister. The murder, according to prosecutors, was a way for Britt to pay off a growing pile of debt by cashing in of his wife's $800,000 insurance policy.

[Robeson County District Attorney]Johnson Britt said Myron Britt killed his wife to maintain a particular lifestyle and keep up appearances.

The jury was told it would have to determine whether the aggravating factor outweighed the 11 mitigating circumstances the defense would present, Johnson Britt said. Aggravating factors favor imposing the death penalty. Mitigating factors favor a life sentence.

"I am not going to stand up here and tell you there is no value of a father-son relationship, that there is no value in a father-daughter relationship or that there is no value in a son-mother relationship,'' Johnson Britt said. "What I am going to tell you is that the 11 pale in comparison for the reason Nancy Britt was murdered.''

Myron Britt's grown children - 22-year-old Lauren and 29-year-old Brandon - told jurors Wednesday they have a strong relationship with their father and still rely on him for advice.

Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks allowed Myron Britt time to address the courtroom after he passed sentence of life without parole. Britt thanked his supporters, but also told the jury he forgave them for "wrongfully convicting" him. He also said that the life without parole sentence was a sentence on his children as well as himself.

Jim Parrish and Sue Berry, Myron Britt's attorneys, stated that the mitigating families justify nothing; they prove that he still has value to his family, friends, and faith community, and that the jury will spare his life if there's still value.

West Union, SC man sentenced to 17 years for voluntary manslaughter of wife

Tenth Circuit Court Judge James Williams sentenced a West Union, South Carolina man to 17 years in prison Wednesday. The man plead guilty to the shooting death of his wife after she told him that she was seeing another man. Because in SC, violent criminals must serve 85% of their sentence, Timothy Allen Bolt, 43, must serve 14 years of his sentence before early release, though 16 moths in jail have already by credited.

Bolt was originally charged with murder in the shooting of Charlie Ann Wood Bolt, 41, on March 9, 2008 at their home at 169 Town Road, West Union.

Assistant Tenth Circuit Solicitor David Wagner said Wednesday indications were that the Bolts had been involved in a domestic altercation and that Charlie Ann Bolt was informing her husband she was leaving him for another man when Timothy Bolt pulled a .45 cal. handgun from beneath his chair and shot her once through the head.

“It was done in the heat of passion,” Wagner said.

Julian Stoudemire, attorney for Bolt, said his client had little or no memory of the incident and alluded to the quantity of medications Bolt had been taking at the time as creating a different person than the man standing before the court.

“This was a very, very unfortunate incident,” Stoudemire said of the shooting and the aftermath.

Stoudemire said of his client that “He is not the type of person who would survive a long incarceration in some of our rougher prisons." Bolt himself said that he had been on anti anxiety medications at the time of the shooting.

"He’s my only child,” said Brenda Bolt, his mother. “I never had a minute’s trouble out of him.” Bolt, in white shirt and jeans, declined the chance to speak on his behalf, but through tears mumbled only, “I loved my wife.”

Before imposing sentence, Judge Williams said that “This is a bad case for everyone. We have two little girls without a mother or a father...I’m impressed by the people who spoke for you and by their sincerity.”

The Bolts' two daughters, ages 5 and 9, are in the care of relatives.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

BBC - Devon, England sex offender's jail term appeal rejected

A sex offender from Devon who breached an order banning him from contacting people over the age of 60 has failed in a bid to reduce his latest jail term.

Derek Francis Hornett, of Crossways, Whitestone, Exeter, was jailed in 2005 for three years for knowingly infecting an 82-year-old Paignton woman with HIV. In May, Hornett was again sentenced to three years for breaching the order.

Judges at the Court of Appeal rejected the 49-year-old's case, saying his sentence was "richly deserved".

Hornett, who knew he was HIV positive, was first jailed for causing grievous bodily harm to the elderly woman after having sex with her and infecting her with the HIV virus.

He was jailed by Judge Graham Cottle in December 2005, who told Hornett his actions had devastated his victim both physically and mentally. As part of that sentence, Hornett was given a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) banning him from contacting people over 60.
But, within months of being released from jail, Hornett struck up a friendship with a 66-year-old woman, who he did odd jobs for.

Police were called in when the woman became suspicious. They discovered that Hornett had befriended three other women over 60, one of whom was in her 80s.
He was jailed for three years for breaching the SOPO.

His lawyers argued Hornett's sentence should be reduced to give him the chance to care for his seriously ill wife. But Mr Justice Foskett said: "Nothing we have heard persuades us that it's right to make any alteration to a richly deserved sentence."

Ex-wife of former Marine sentenced to 11 years in prison for stabbing him

VISTA, Calif. -- A woman who stabbed her Marine ex-husband in the back with a large military-style knife as he arrived home was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in state prison. Leslie Nichole Hawkins, 30, pleaded guilty Feb. 17 to attempted murder causing great bodily injury.

The defendant went to the Carlsbad home of 28-year-old Alfred Hawkins on June 18, 2008 -- two days before the attack -- and the two argued about money she owed him, but he didn't let her into his residence that day.

Two days later, Hawkins had just walked in the door of his home on Peach Tree Road about 12:15 p.m. when his ex-wife jumped him and plunged the knife into his back, according to testimony.

The Marine staggered outside, crossed the street and collapsed on the roadside. Patrol officers sent to the scene found him conscious, the knife still protruding from his back, being tended by a nurse who lived in the area, prosecutors said.

Following the attack, Leslie Hawkins drove off, then made a U-turn a short distance away and began heading back toward the scene of the stabbing and was pulled over and arrested, police said.

The couple's divorce was final in April 2007. They had no children together.

Florence, SC man sentenced to 40 years for maiming wife, burning apartment

A Florence, SC man convicted today of charges filed after he cut off his wife's hands and set fire to their apartment has been sentenced to 40 years in prison by a Kershaw County, SC judge earlier today. Tarus Tramaine Henry, 28, was convicted on counts of assault and battery with intent to kill, 2nd degree arson, and unlawful neglect of a child in the June 2008 attack on the 24 year old woman.

12th Circuit Court Judge Ralph King Anderson sentenced Henry to 20 years for the arson and another 20 years for the assault charge, both counts to run consecutively. Anderson also sentenced Henry to 10 years in prison for the child neglect charges, but those counts will run concurrently with the arson and assault charges.

Henry’s 24-year-old wife was on a ventilator at a Florence hospital and both of her hands had been cut off, a victim’s advocate told Magistrate Judge Belinda Timmons during a June 24, 2008, bond hearing.

The woman also suffered stab wounds through her skull, her spine and her chest, the victim’s advocate said.

The victim’s advocate also relayed information she said the victim told her family. In those conversations, the victim said she was left in the apartment after the attack and crawled out for help.

A witness told deputies he saw the victim leave the apartment covered in blood with what appeared to be large gashes in her head and arm, according to sheriff’s office reports.

The suspect took the woman to a Florence emergency room and left with two children — the couple’s now 19-month-old child and a 5-year-old child of Henry’s from a previous marriage, according to sheriff’s office reports.

The trial lasted three days, from jury selection Monday to the verdict today. The victim testified Wednesday morning and the perpetrator testified Wednesday afternoon.

Twelfth Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements III said that he was "very pleased with the outcome of this case. It was a horrible, horrible case and I am very proud of the work done by Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone and his office, and am proud of Assistant (12th Circuit) Solicitor Stephen Hill, who prosecuted the case.”

Milwaukee man arrested for choking woman to death after sex sentenced to life without parole

(Original Post 9-26-08)
A Northwest side of Milwaukee man is being investigated for links to other crimes after being formally charged Monday with 1st degree murder for the choking death of a 21 year old woman after sex. Sgt. Mark Stanmeyer says Milwaukee detectives are taking a closer look at Calvin Pirtle due to a previous incident involving a girl at the same home where the latest victim was killed.

Pirtle, 29, was charged Monday with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 21-year-old Yasmine Tatum-Massey, whose body was found [September 17] in a plastic bag in Pirtle’s basement in the 4600 block of W. Mill Road.

According to the complaint, Pirtle told investigators that he and Tatum-Massey had consensual sex and took a shower together before she attacked him with a knife. Pirtle told police he took the knife away from her while choking her, and taped her wrists and ankles before she died, the complaint charges.

Pirtle's girlfriend found the victim's body last week after she was suspicious of Pirtle's insistence that blood found on the floor of their home was his after cutting himself. The girlfriend wanted him to call police, but he flagged down officers and told them about a robbery the week before. They left, assuming the blood was his, and the girlfriend unwittingly helped him clean up the crime scene.

After finding a 32 gallon garbage can with a large plastic bag, the girlfriend called police, who cut open the can and found Tatum-Massey's bruised, strangled body along with bloody duct tape.

Pirtle was charged with 2nd degree sexual assault for luring a girl in a similar manner to the same home in 2007.

The victim, a juvenile, told police she had gone to the same Mill Road home, where Pirtle pushed her to the floor, taped a sock in her mouth, taped her wrists, held a butcher knife to her neck, and threatened to kill her. He then taped her ankles together and raped her, according to the complaint. Pirtle admitted to many of the details.

However, Pirtle was able to plead down to false imprisonment, a misdemeanor which landed him in the House Of Correction in suburban Franklin for a year.

(Update 7-30-09) After being convicted of 1st degree intentional homicide in February, 2009, Pirtle was sentenced to life without parole yesterday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Suburban Chicago woman gets 50 years for death of "partner"

A Villa Park, IL woman who killed her "partner" of 7 years to pursue a younger woman has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for suffocating her victim. 32 year old Rebecca Klein was killed by then 26 year old Nicole Abusharif in their shared house March 15, 2007. Two days later, Klein's body was found in Abusharif's 1966 Mustang, still in their garage. The victim's mouth was duct taped, her head was covered with a plastic bag, and hand and feet were bound.

While defense attorneys sought the minimum 20 year sentence for 1st degree murder in Illinois, Assistant DuPage County State's Atty. Joe Ruggiero sought the 60 year maximum sentence. The motive for the murder was Klein's $250,000 life insurance policy and Rose Sodaro, a woman Abusharif had become sexually involved with and whoo was brought to the house the night of Klein's murder.

Klein, a caregiver for disabled people, was "a flower in God's garden on Earth," Ruggiero said. Abusharif was "the bottom of the barrel," he said.

[Judge John] Kinsella said he had no doubt that Abusharif killed Klein, noting that her fingerprints were found on the plastic bag and the tape binding the victim.

The judge said of the defendant, "It was her hand that was on Becky's head when Becky breathed her last."

Klein's sister, Melanie Baldridge, said her family has spent two years trying to figure out how they could have been taken in by Abusharif."Nicole was someone we trusted," Baldridge said.

"She duped and misled all of us."At family dinners, Baldridge said, she and her parents sometimes just stare at the seat Klein used to occupy.

People convicted of 1st degree murder in Illinois must serve all of their sentence without any provision for early release.

While Judge Kinsella stated that how someone can kill another they used to love was "beyond the ken of the court's understanding," when you are dealing with people who see others as objects to be used, then thrown away, the "love" turns out to be really lust, abuse, or obsession.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Manitoba 1st Nations man sentenced to 4 years for beating "girlfriend"

Three days of terror
Man jailed for giving woman 'severe, long beating'

Last Updated: 24th July 2009, 11:44am

A Garden Hill First Nation man who subjected his ex-girlfriend to three days of terror and violence has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Jason Knott, 28, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, assault, uttering threats, theft and two counts of breaching court orders he have no contact with the woman.

"This is a severe, long beating -- those are the only words to describe it," said Judge Linda Giesbrecht. "You have absolutely no regard for the feelings of another human being."

The 25-year-old victim told Knott in January 2008 she was breaking off their 18-month long relationship when Knott invited her to his home "for one last kiss," Crown attorney Wendy Friesen told court.

Shortly after her arrival, Knott gouged her eyes with his thumbs and punched her in the head. Knott held her captive until the next morning when he became apologetic and offered to take her to Winnipeg. Knott and the victim boarded a plane for Winnipeg that same day and rented a room at the Maryland Hotel.

Knott's contrition was short-lived. The two began drinking heavily and Knott resumed his attack on the woman, punching and kicking her repeatedly in the face. The woman locked herself in the bathroom when Knott threatened to throw her out a window, Friesen said.

"What's six years (in prison)?" Knott told the woman. "It's a walk in the park."

Fearing Knott would make good on his threats to kill her, the woman exited the bathroom only to be beaten again, Friesen said. The next day, Knott punched, kicked and dragged the woman as they walked in the vicinity of McPhillips Street Station casino. Knott robbed the woman of her bank card and told her: "Now you're not going anywhere."

Casino staff came to the woman's assistance after part of the attack was caught on security video. The woman was treated at hospital for a broken jaw, cheekbone, eye sockets and nose and extensive bruising to her entire body.

Police arrested Knott 10 days later after he turned up drunk at the Health Sciences Centre.
Knott has 29 criminal convictions, including two for assaulting the same victim.
Defence lawyer John Corona had little to say in Knott's favour, and blamed his actions on an upbringing "rife with domestic violence and alcohol abuse."

"He clearly has anger management issues when he drinks and control issues in relation to women," Corona said. "This is the way he was brought up."

Knott claimed he was drunk and had no memory of the most recent assaults.
"If you are drinking you are a very dangerous, violent man," Giesbrecht said.

Giesbrecht credited Knott the double-time equivalent of two years time served, reducing his remaining sentence to two years

ASShole Indy police officer sentenced to house arrest for coercing sex from 19 year old

(Original Post 8-22-08)
Anthony S. Smith, 36, was charged with rape, criminal deviate conduct, sexual misconduct, and official misconduct Thursday after a SWAT team arrested him at his home Thursday afternoon. The charges stem from allegedly sexually assaulting a 19 year old woman Friday, August 15.

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears held a joint news conference yesterday, stating "Things don't get much worse than this case. These allegations are horrific. ... This officer used his authority and position, allegedly, to satisfy his own desires."

According to a probable cause affidavit, Smith stopped the woman at an Eastside gas station and told her she was wanted on a warrant in a misdemeanor case involving driving without a valid license.

"I’m going to give you an option. I can lock you up, but I really don’t want to,” Smith said, according to court documents, “or you can ride with me for an hour.” The victim agreed to ride with the officer. Smith, the woman said, threatened to jail her if she did not have sex with him. Smith later admitted to having sex with the woman but said it was consensual. He denied threatening to arrest her, according to the affidavit.

IMPD Patrol Officer Anthony S. Smith, 36, was suspended without pay Monday morning, Chief Michael Spears said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

A woman came forward on Aug. 15, telling police Smith had assaulted her while he was on duty.
Spears would not comment on those allegations, but said that Smith had violated several police department procedures, including IMPD's ride-along policy.

"He did not devote his full attention to duty. I believe he was in violation of many other of our policies … and those, combined with the other allegations, which will be forthcoming, were enough information for me Sunday night to make the decision to immediately separate him from employment."

Smith worked nights with the Northeast District, a post he was assigned to in April of 2007, police said.

The arrests of several officers this year on charges ranging from running a prostitution ring to selling firearms to felons, drunken driving and drug trafficking have damaged the department.

Mayor Ballard said the police chief did the right thing in dismissing Smith.

"We give him the latitude to do what he thinks is the right thing to do with the cops," Ballard said. "They're seeing it. If they get out of line -- we don't want a witch hunt -- but if they're doing the wrong thing, they're going to pay the price."

(Update 8-28-08) Smith was arraigned Monday, August 25 in Marion Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner's courtroom. Judge Stoner entered not guilty pleas on his behalf and set a trial date for October 27. Wife Deidre Smith said that she loved her husband and that's he's innocent. Smith is being held on $80,000 bond. Attorney Robert Love of Ft. Wayne will represent Smith during his trial.

(Update 7-26-09) Smith was sentenced to 4 years suspended after pleading guilty. The former officer, now 37 years old, will serve another year of house arrest and won't be registered as a sex offender. The plea agreement, accepted by Judge Stoner, stipulated that while no force was used, Smith's misconduct towards the victim was unjustified.

A woman who identified herself as the young woman's mother called the sentence "a slap on the hand." The woman angrily told reporters and a court bailiff outside the courtroom that her daughter was raped. That was the original charge but after further investigation the prosecution agreed to a plea bargain on the lesser charges of sexual misconduct and official misconduct.

Smith and his attorney declined comment. Smith's mother, stepfather, pastor and former co-workers testified on his behalf. All said he has shown remorse.

Long Island wife killer denied new trial

Manhasset wife killer denied a new trial
Sunday, July 26, 2009 By ANN GIVENS

A Manhasset man convicted of shooting his wife to death in front of their two children will not get a new trial, a federal judge has ruled.

In an 85-page decision released late Friday, Judge Arthur Spatt said Nikolaos Kotsopoulos' claim that his lawyer had talked him into an illegal deal, where the lawyer would get an additional $100,000 if Kotsopoulos were acquitted, was just not credible.

"The evidence at this trial was crystal clear," Spatt said, pointing out that Kotsopoulos' own 12-year-old son, George, had testified against him.

Kotsopoulos, 47, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after a Nassau jury found him guilty of shooting his wife, Carol, 41, in the face as she was preparing dinner for Greek Orthodox Easter in 2002.

He was granted a hearing this spring after he claimed that his former attorney, Jack Evseroff of Brooklyn, had encouraged him to tell the jury at his criminal trial that an armed intruder had killed his wife because Evseroff had been promised an illegal $100,000 "bonus" if Kotsopoulos was acquitted of all charges.

Kotsopoulos claimed at the hearing in March in Central Islip that he in fact had shot his wife accidentally while he was fidgeting with his gun after an argument. Kotsopoulos said if Evseroff had allowed him to present that story at trial, he might have had a chance at being convicted of a lesser charge, such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.

In his decision, Spatt said that he does not believe there was an illegal deal, nor does he believe Kotsopoulos ever claimed that he had killed his wife accidentally.

"The court finds that he never told Evseroff that it was he who shot his wife," Spatt wrote in the decision. "Only at this hearing, almost six years after his wife's murder, did the petitioner finally admit that he killed her, albeit only . . . when his confession was offered for his own benefit."

Kotsopoulos' attorney, Steven Kartagener of Manhattan, could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Prosecutor Michael Canty said the judge had no reason to believe Kotsopoulos' story, especially after he changed it so radically.

"Hopefully now the family can have some closure, and Mr. Kotsopoulos will go to prison for the rest of his life," Canty said.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Department Of Homeland Security allows women facing DV in home countries to apply for US asylum

Chris McGreal The Guardian (UK)

The Obama administration has moved to grant political asylum to foreign women who suffer severe physical or sexual abuse from which they are unable to escape because it is part of the culture of their own countries.

The decision, made evident in a court case involving a battered women from Mexico, ends years of dispute over the issue which saw the Bush administration stall moves toward recognising domestic violence as legitimate grounds for asylum made during Bill Clinton's tenure.

The department of homeland security has told an immigration court that it regards the woman, identified only as 42-year-old LR, as potentially having grounds to apply for political asylum because she feared she would be murdered by her common-law husband who repeatedly raped her at gunpoint and tried to burn her alive when he discovered she was pregnant.

Karen Musalo, a lawyer and director of the Centre for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California who is representing a second woman involved in a similar asylum case, said that the move is a significant shift in policy that opens the way for physically and sexually abused women to seek the same protection that those fleeing female genital mutilation are already offered.

"There has been so much controversy and back and forth on this over many years. This finally opens the door to these women to seek protection," she said.

But women who apply for asylum will still face significant obstacles.

"These are not easy cases to prove," said Musalo. "LR must prove that in Mexico violence against women is pervasive and that there is a societal perception that this is acceptable. Then she has to prove that the Mexican government is unable or unwilling to protect her, and on top of that she has to show that there is nowhere in Mexico where she can be safe from her abusers."

LR stands a good chance of meeting the criteria. According to court papers, her husband, who seduced her when he was her physical education teacher at school, forced her to have sex by holding a gun or machete to her head.

He broke her nose on one occasion and, when he discovered she was pregnant, doused her bed with kerosene as she was sleeping and set it alight.
But when she reported the assaults to the police they dismissed them as a "private matter". A judge she appealed to for help attempted to seduce her.

"In Mexico, men believe they have a right to abuse their women because they are like a possession," LR said in the court submission.

The struggle to have domestic violence categorised as grounds for asylum has long centred on another women, Rody Alvarado from Guatemala, who has been represented by Musalo.
For many years, the US government said battered women did not qualify because they could not show persecution on specific grounds such as race or political opinion. That position was eroded in 1996 in a key ruling over female genital mutilation.

Until then the courts held that the women were victims of cultural oppression and that was not grounds for asylum because they were not members of a persecuted group under US law.

"The harm that women suffer is often a harm that is a cultural norm or accepted within a culture or required by the religion and so some adjudicators had taken the position that can't be persecution as required by refugee law because it's a cultural or religious requirement," said Musalo. "Female genital cutting fell in to that category but the board of immigration said it doesn't matter that it's a cultural rite - if it's a violation of human rights and objectively an egregious harm, it's persecution."

In the wake of the 1996 decision, Alvarado sought asylum to escape repeated severe beatings by her husband. Her case has been at the centre of a tangled and politicised dispute over the legitimacy of claims for protection from physical abuse.

An immigration court granted Alvarado asylum based on the earlier decision on female genital mutilation. An appeal court reversed the decision.

Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno, overturned the appeal court decision but shortly after that George Bush came to power and stalled the case which remains unresolved.
Musalo says the change in the department of homeland security's position means Alvarado's case is finally likely to be addressed.

Opposition to admitting battered women has in part come from politicians who argue that it will open the floodgates. Musalo said similar objections were made over the admission of women fleeing female genital mutilation.

"A lot of people who were opposed to a grant of asylum said millions of women are subject to female genital cutting a year and if we establish a precedent that this is a basis for asylum these millions of women are going to arrive in the US," she said.

But, she said, there was not significant increase in claims. More than 29,000 people won asylum in the US last year on a variety of grounds.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Man who kidnapped, raped, bit wife sentenced to 24 years in prison

Yesterday, Madison County Circuit Court Associate Judge James Hackett sentenced a Granite City, IL man to 24 years in prison for attacking and raping his estranged wife July 11, 2008. Because at least 85% of Class X sentences must be served, he will be in prison until 2030 at least.

Thomas Byrd, 32, of Granite City plead guilty to home invasion and aggravated assault after the attack on the victim. The couple was separated and in the process of divorcing before the attack. This was the 3rd conviction regarding the same victim – previous convictions included a burglary and a Missouri conviction for sexual assault. There was an outstanding order of protection against Byrd.

Authorities said that on the day Byrd was placed on probation in the burglary case, he went back to the victim's house, heaved a brick against an exterior door to open it, then ran upstairs to break into her locked bedroom.

The victim said in her impact statement that she kept a knife in her bedroom to protect herself from him. After attacking her, Byrd took the knife from her and threatened her with it until she quit resisting. "She was afraid if she didn't, she was going to die," Fischer said.

After raping her, Byrd put his wife in a car, rolled up the windows and locked the doors. "I told her, 'You're fixin' to die,'" he reportedly told her. He drove her at 90 mph into St. Louis, where she attempted to get free by trying to cause a traffic crash.

Byrd then took her to a side road, where he bit off a chunk of the side of her face.

The victim impact statement said that while she had surgery for the bite wounds, the psychological wounds will always remain. She also has trouble sleeping and driving with the car windows down.

Defense attorney Scott Turner argued that, while the crime was brutal, there was a reason behind it. His client is a drug and alcohol addict who grew up without a father. The life he spent with his victim was the only lifestyle he knows, Turner argued. "It's not an excuse; it's an explanation," Turner argued.

The judge praised Turner for his argument but said it did not work. "The explanation isn't persuasive," he said.

Judge Hackett did find Assistant Madison County State's Attorney John Fischer’s closing argument persuasive.

"This goes beyond brutal and heinous. This is something out of a horror film, Fischer said," while Hackett agreed. "We can't allow people to behave this way.”

Kasey Johnes, former health teacher, sentenced to 2 years for sexual abuse of 17 year old

On Tuesday, July 21, Kasey E. Johnes, A former Edwardsville High School health teacher and Medical Careers Club sponser, was sentenced to 2 years probation and fined $500 for having sex with a 17 year old high school student. In exchange for her guilty plea to aggravated criminal sexual abuse, charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault were dropped. School officials reported the relationship with the 17 year old to law enforcement in April. Johnes resigned from her position April 17.

The charges alleged she committed an act of sexual penetration with a senior male student, who was 17 at the time of the sexual encounters. The charges stated she had sexual relations with a victim between the ages of 13 and 18 "at a time when she held a position of trust, authority or supervision in relation to the victim."

The acts took place at her home in Glen Carbon the previous year, authorities said. The relationship lasted about five months and ended in February, authorities said.

An adult in Illinois who does not have a position of trust can legally have sex with a 17 year old. With a position of trust, the AOC rises to 18. There is no AOC for therapist/patient or guard/inmate sexual abuse.

The guilty plea took place in Madison County Circuit Court. Madison County State's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Stephanee Smith stated that "[Johnes] has lost her job, she has to register as a sex offender, and she has to continue counseling," and the court will monitor the counseling.

Central Wisconsin kidnapper, rapist of young men sentenced to 50 years

A man who abducted and raped two Wisconsin Rapids men in their early 20s was sentenced to 50 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision for his crimes, which the mother of one of the victims called "a mother's worst nightmare." Lanphear was formally sentenced of 2 counts of 1st degree sexual assault and 2 counts of kidnapping. Besides the prison sentence, Wood County Circuit Court Judge Greg Potter ordered Lanphear to undergo any necessary counseling, and pay court costs and restitution.

Lanphear had been planning this crime for months, even though he did not have specific targets, according to Wood County District Attorney Todd Wolf. There were chains, phony police badges, and a sleeping area set up for the 1st victim. Though the perp did not have specific targets, he was prepared when the opportunity presented itself.

The 1st victim was walking home from Wisconsin Rapids’ annual July 4th fireworks display because he was drunk and did not want to drive. A guy came by in a pickup truck and asked the 23 year old if he wanted a ride home. When the car was in the Town Of Grand Rapids, Lanphear, the guy in the truck, flashed a badge and told the victim he was a Grand Rapids police officer. Lanphear handcuffed and smacked the man over the head with a flashlight.

When the first victim came to, he was chained, blindfolded, and after Lanphear cut his clothes off, nude in Lanphear’s basement. Lanphear then raped this victim. The next morning, July 5, the 23 year old was taken upstairs, nude, chained, and blindfolded for feeding.

The victim was told he was lying on plastic because “there would be no mess for anyone to find” if he got out of hand. Lanphear told him how the chains were attached to a rifle what would go off if the victim tried to move. That night, the defendant slept with and caressed the basement victim, and this escalated to rape.

The 2nd victim was kidnapped on July 7, 2008 after getting drunk at Johnny’s Bar in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. This victim, 21, decided to sleep in his truck instead of driving home. This was when “Eddy” came up and handcuffed him with zip ties. He was blindfolded, and recognized Lanphear as someone who he knew. The 21 year old was taken to Lanphear’s house where he was chained in the garage in a manner similar to the first victim.

When this victim resisted, Lanphear struck him with a hard object at least twice, knocking him out. The perp led this victim to the living room, where he was made to drink orange juice mixed with vodka. After being raped on the living room floor, the victim was forced to sleep in the garage on a cot.

The next day, July 8, Lanphear hung the 21 year old from a chain suspended to the ceiling. He asked Lanphear to get his cigarettes. This victim remove the blindfold, pulled the ladder to him, and climbed to the ceiling where he removed the resitaints. This victim fled nude to a neighbors’ house and called police, who arrested Lanphear and rescued the basement victim.

When the 21 year old's mother saw him in the hospital, he was "beaten and broken beyond belief."

Lanphear plead guilty on June 1 to these four counts, down from the original 13 counts cited in the first complaint. Judge Potter, reading from the presentencing report, stated that Lanphear was a medium to high risk to reoffend, but that any chance of reoffending was too much.

"In this situation, you're every person's worst nightmare. The things you did we only read about in books and see in movies. Unfortunately for these two individuals, their worst nightmare came true and they had to live it."

Although only the two men endured physical harm, others also fell victim to Lanphear's actions, including the community, Judge Greg Potter said during the sentencing.

"We want to know we can walk the streets and be safe from bodily harm, and that isn't the case now in Wisconsin Rapids," Potter said.

The mother of the last victim stated that "This past year has been extremely difficult for our son and our family," she said.

47 year old Dave O'Keefe of Stevens Point stated after the verdict, "If he could do that to two grown men, he could do that to women and children, too, or to other men. He had 47 years out of prison, and he made a big mistake."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Judge unsure whether consent obtained before victim passes out counts as true consent

A JUDGE has questioned whether a man who had sex with a drunken woman after she passed out should be "marked for the rest of his days" as a rapist.

AdelaideNow reports South Australian District Court Judge David Smith today said he was "troubled" by the case of Matthew James Sloan because his crime might be a "technical rape". "Rape is a horrible offence ... I suggest that this is a technical rape," he said.

"This is not a situation where an offender perpetrated a sex act on an unconscious victim which she would not have consented to, had she been conscious. "To mark this man with the grave offence of rape for the rest of his days will stop him travelling to some countries and prevent him getting jobs."

Sloan, 29, of Highbury, pleaded guilty to raping a woman in the city's east parklands in June 2008. The court has previously heard he met his victim at the PJ O'Brien's pub, on East Tce, and suggested they have sex across the road.

She agreed and the two began to have sex, but she fell asleep during foreplay - which Sloan continued despite her being unconscious. Both were drunk at the time, with the woman being "heavily intoxicated".

Sloan was due to be sentenced today - prosecutors had asked he receive at least a suspended jail term for his crime. Judge Smith, however, said that might not be an appropriate penalty.

"There is an inference that she might have consented (to more sex) had she been awake," he said. "The issue I have to resolve is whether I should even impose a suspended sentence here, that's my problem." He declined to pass sentence, saying he needed more time to consider his ruling. "I'm troubled by this," he said. "I've got you to consider, Mr Sloan, but also the victim and the public's perception." He remanded Sloan on continuing bail until next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Glen St. Mary, FL woman sentenced to life without parole in husband killing

A Baker County, FL woman was sentenced to life without parole for the 1st degree murder of her husband. Circuit Judge James Nilon sentenced Melony Lee Jackson, 40, to the mandatory LWOP sentence for shooting and killing her husband, 47 year old Kevin, outside their Glen St. Mary home in March 2008.

Jackson's lawyer plans to appeal, and the reason for the appeal is the relationship a female juror had with the defendant's oldest son, James Wallace, after the verdict, reached in May. Prosecutors notified Assistant Public Defender George Nelson about the relationship, and Nelson requested a new trial. Nelson said that the juror was tainted by Wallace telling her (and others) that his mother was evil.

“It would only be fair to Ms. Jackson to have a jury that hasn’t heard from her own son telling people she’s an evil bitch,” Nelson said.

But Assistant State Attorney Geoff Fleck of Gainesville argued there was no evidence Wallace made those statements to the juror. And he noted that Jackson never disclosed the relationship during the trial either. “She probably thought that she had a ringer, a friend of her son who would help her out,” Fleck said.

Testimony on Monday indicated that Wallace and [Amanda]Daniels knew each other in high school in 2003 then rekindled their relationship in 2008, with Daniels spending several nights with Wallace at his grandmother’s home.

Despite that, both testified they never discussed the case, and Daniels told the judge she never connected Jackson to Wallace because of their different last names.

Nilon made specific findings that Daniel's "boyfriend" was not known by her to be Jackson's son, and in any case, the fact did not matreially change her verdict.

At the sentencing hearing, 17 year old Dustin Jackson told Judge Nilon that he missed his stepfather, the only father he really knew, in contrast to his mother, who changed from "fun-loving" to "spiteful." "I love her for what she was, but I hate her for what she became and what she’s done.”

His mother wept quietly as her son and her husband’s family spoke to Nilon, but she didn’t look up or make eye contact as they passed the defense table.

Nilon said the case compounded tragedy upon tragedy, but the one that touched him most was the plight of Jackson’s two teenage children, left with one parent dead and the other forever incarcerated.

“My heart goes out to them immensely as well as other members of the family,” Nilon said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Former Cal football player sentenced to 4 years for rapes

Former Cal football player Noah Smith was sentenced July 14 to 4 years in prison for sexually assaulting 2 UC-Berkeley students while studying there in May 2007. Prosecutors wanted 17 years, but the judge was lenient to Smith due to his clean prior record. In June, Smith was convicted of a count of rape, a count of attempted rape, and a count of forced oral copulation.

During the trial, two additional women offered testimony that he had also sexually assaulted them, but no separate charges were filed.

The additional women said in court that Smith faked an illness that he told them required collection of his sperm. They testified that he then exposed his genitals and, when they attempted to leave, physically assaulted and raped them. Smith denied the charges in his testimony.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Moriarty, who said he believed Smith is a sociopath based on his actions and testimony given during the trial, asked for the maximum possible sentence of 17 years in prison.

But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon sentenced Smith to only four years, citing his lack of a prior criminal record as a mitigating factor.

During the trial, Smith explained the urine specimen cups in his car as a ploy by him and other football players to give the other players clean samples for their urine tests. Herb Benenson, director of media relations for Cal Athletics, said that "The claims made by Mr. Smith are completely false and have no credibility. There are policies and procedures in place to prevent the scenario that he described."

Smith played in 14 games for Cal, going 6 -14 for 89 years and a touchdown. He was an All-American wide receiver (WR) from Taft High School in Lakeview, Calif

Husband kills wife, 5 others in two state rampage

A man seperated from his wife killed her, her child and 4 others in a rampage stretching across Tennessee and Alabama. Jacob Shaffer, 30 is charged with killing his 38 year old wife Traci Shaffer, her son Devin Brooks, and neighbor, Robert Berber at Traci's home in Fayetteville, TN, a comunnity of around 7000 near the Tennessee, Alabama border.

Robert and Devin were both 16. Devin and a 9 year old girl who wasn't home at the time of the killings were from a previous relationship - a 4 year old girl that Shaffer and Traci had was found unharmed at the crime scene. According to neighbors, the Shaffers moved into the home earlier this year.

After killing those 3, Shaffer went across the street and killed Traci's brother Chris Hall, 34, and Billy Hall, 58. Shaffer went 30 miles south to Huntsville, AL and killed someone at Hall Cultured Marble Granite, a business which Traci's family owns.

The Shaffers were no longer sharing a home but had not filed for separation, said 29-year-old James Wilson, who was gathering belongings from Traci's home in Lincoln County. He said he is the boyfriend of Shaffer's sister, Jennifer.

The Shaffers had a 4-year-old daughter, and Wilson said police told him the girl was home during the killings but wasn't hurt. Wilson told the AP that he met Jacob Shaffer when they were installing drywall, but they had stopped being friends about a year and a half ago.

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said Saturday that his department was investigating three crime scenes and would not confirm the causes of death in what he called "horrendous" killings and "one of the worst crimes Lincoln County has seen." Autopsies were being performed Sunday and Wilson said police wouldn't tell him how the family was killed.

Helm said the family members died Friday night or early Saturday and that Jacob Shaffer was sitting on the porch of one of the houses when authorities first arrived. Huntsville police said information from him led them to the body at the granite business. They have not released the name of the sixth victim.

Shaffer is currently being held without bond at the Lincoln County Jail.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

South Jersey teacher guilty of indecent liberties with 16 year old boy

A Westampton, NJ teacher's aide faces 5 to 10 years in prison for having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old boy who she met at detention. The 6 man and 6 woman jury deliberated for 3 hours before finding Donna Goebel, 45, guilty of having sex with a student she met in her health class at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year in the Burlington County Special Services School.

During the trial, the teenager testified he had a normal student-teacher relationship with Goebel, but in January 2008 they began calling and text messaging each other. Soon, he said, they were exchanging "I love you, babe" text messages and taking trips to the mall and Atlantic City. He stayed overnight at her house and had sex "two or three times" in his bedroom, the teen testified.

Burlington County Assistant Prosecutors Kevin Morgan and Daniel Rosenberg argued that Goebel and the teen had consensual sex, but that it was illegal because of her status and supervisory role at the school.

In New Jersey, the AOC is 16 as long as there isn't a supervisory or custodial relationship. Even so, teachers who had sex with their 18 year old students have forfeited their teaching certificates after being charged and convicted on official misconduct charges.

Goebel testified that while she never had sex with the boy, the relationship she had was inappropriate because of her status as an adult and as a mother. She blamed her husband for bringing "false charges" against her after finding pictures of her and the teen in locations including the bedroom and shower.

The teen testified that Goebel made calls to the boy asking him to recant his statements to police and the boy agreed so that Goebel would leave his family alone.

Jurors heard a taped conversation of Goebel and the boy during which she advised him that he could tell police about being at her house but also to "just don't say that part." Also, she asked him if he had changed his sheets "since then."

Defense attorney Mark Fury argued for Goebel to remain free on bail, saying she did not pose any threat to the community or the victim. He said she is a first-time offender who may serve only a year or two in prison because the sentence is not subject to parole ineligibility.

"This is not a violent crime," Fury said, noting that Goebel had family support and no place to flee. He said revoking her bail would be "just plain mean."

Morley doubled bond from $75,000 to $150,000 because Goebel may leave Burlington County to live with family, and also because "I need some added surety. There's been a monumental shift with the return of the verdict."

Goebel is being held at the Minimum Security Facility in Pemberton until sentencing, scheduled for October 18.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wife charged with reckless homicide after husband dies during bondage session - convicted of negligent homicide, sentenced to 18 months

(Original Post 4-21-08)

A woman is being charged with reckless homicide, punishable by up to 12 years in prison, after a BDSM session gone wrong. James Bargy, 29, was found with his hands and feet tied behind his back, a ball in his mouth , which was tied with duct tape, after sexual games with his wife Rebecca, 25. Police say he was like that for almost 20 hours, according to his wife's confession.

Authorities believe she tied up her husband, James Bargy, 29, for sexual pleasure and then left him inside their trailer on Jacobs Lane for about 20 hours, according to a warrant.Sheriff’s deputies found the body about 4 p.m. Saturday. Rebecca Bargy allegedly inserted a ball in her husband’s mouth, duct taped it shut, wrapped a bandage around his head, tied his arms and legs behind his back and then left him in the trailer, according to the warrant.

“When we found him, his head was completely wrapped in an ace bandage with only his nostrils showing,” he said. “Apparently, this was not the first time it had happened.”

While detectives have not called it intentional, James Bargy's family believes that troubles in their marriage led to Becky's killing of her husband.

They say the couple's marriage was on the rocks, and that James had plans to return to his home state of New York.

His sister believes what happened to his brother on Saturday was no accident.

"What kind of person does that, leaves someone for so long without checking on them? Who could do that?" said Lisa Brady, the victim's sister.

Becky's mother said that it was simply a case of bondage gone wrong.

I hope they let her go. She doesn't deserve this, I mean he doesn't either, but something went wrong and god knows its not her fault," said Mona Phillips, Rebecca Bargy's mother.

Rebecca's mother, says the couple often engaged in bondage related sexual activities at James' request.

"They do this all the time and something went wrong. I don't know what went wrong," Phillips explained.

Rebecca Bargy is still in Maury County Jail as of Sunday.

(Update 7-18-09) Last Monday, July 13, Rebecca Bargy was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison for negligent homicide. On May 20, after 3 1/2 hours of deliberation, jurors acquitted Bargy of much more serious 2nd degree murder charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison in Tennessee. During the trial, jurors and the victim's family members heard evidence that Bargy had left her husband bound and gagged for 20 hours because she had left to see a "boyfriend," Matthew Gilmore, a man she met while playing World Of Warcraft (WoW).

During the trial, Becky testified that bondage was a part of her 7 year marriage to the victim, and that on April 18, the day before James' death, she had tied her husband up, had sex with her "boyfriend," and the husband got out of his bounds.

Before [Maury County Circuit Court Judge Stella] Hargrove made her ruling, Mona Phillips, Rebecca Bargy’s mother, testified that putting her daughter in jail would do no good and that Rebecca Bargy is upset over her husband’s death. Assistant District Attorney Larry Nickell took exception to the mother’s statements. He pointed out that Rebecca Bargy lived with Gilmore for about a month after James Bargy was found dead.

“This is the last person in the world you think she’d move in with,” he said.During closing arguments, Defense Attorney Samuel Patterson maintained James Bargy’s death was an accident.“This type of case falls under unusual circumstances,” he said. “If she could turn back time, she would.”

In an interview after the verdict, Lisa Bargy, the victim's sister, said this:

She left my brother to die while she was in a hotel room with another man. My brother fighting for every last breath while she was breathing heavy in a hotel...I don't think she meant to kill him, but she definitely should have had to pay for what she did.

Judge Hargrove echoed that sentiment when she said to the perp, “In this court’s mind, the jury did not consider this an accident. It’s almost like Miss Bargy is presenting herself as a victim. I have problems with that. I don’t see her as helpless. Someone has to be held accountable. “ feel there needs to be a consequence when there’s a death that could have been avoided.”

Bargy must serve her time at the Maury County Jail.

California woman under "5150" order for mental illness raped by driver

An Oroville, CA man faces charges for rape of a mentally ill person, rape with a foreign object, and lewd and lascivious acts upon a dependant for raping a woman he was supposed to be transporting to Vallejo, CA from a hospital in Solano, CA. The 22 year old victim, with a history of mental illness, was transported from Butte County, where there were no psychiatric beds, to Vallejo by Ronald Edward Phillips, 32.

The woman was placed on a 72-hour hold, or "5150," something which can only occur in California under three conditions - The patient is a danger to him or herself; dangerous to others; or gravely disabled (unable to provide for his or her basic personal needs for food, clothing or shelter). Police found out that Phillips raped the woman in a Vallejo motel by looking at hotel records.

Chicago man gets 45 years in prison for rape-kidnapping of woman

Chicago man gets 45 years in prison for 2004 kidnapping, rape - Victim escaped from moving car
Tribune staff report
July 17, 2009

A Chicago man was sentenced to 45 years in prison Thursday for kidnapping and repeatedly raping a woman before she escaped, naked, from a moving car. Antwan Turnipseed, 32, avoided a trial scheduled to start Monday by pleading guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated vehicular hijacking and the attempted murder of the 42-year-old woman on the West Side.

The victim told Cook County Circuit Judge Carol Kipperman that the physical scars from the April 26, 2004, attack have healed, but the emotional ones have not."I fear being alone. ...When I close my eyes, I can smell him. I can see his face," she said. "My life as I once knew it will never be again."

Carthage, MO man charged with rape, physical assault on wife

William F. Hutson, a 33 year old man, was arrested and charged with forcible rape and forcible sodomy for allegedly attacking his wife Wednesday, July 15 at around 10 PM. The assault began after Hutson slapped his 32 year old wife hard enough to make her unconscious. Before the slapping, the wife told authorities that her husband raped and sodomized her after holding her down on their bed and after she plead with him to stop.

Carthage police stopped Hutson at around 10:20 PM, where they took him to the police department. They also issued a press release as shown below:

Further investigation by the Carthage Police Department uncovered that Hutson also committed the crimes of Forcible Rape and Forcible Sodomy on the same night. Hutson was held at the Carthage Police Department and charges were sent to the Jasper County Prosecutor for consideration of charges for rape, sodomy, and domestic assault third degree.

The Jasper County prosecutor’s office filed charges Thursday against Hutson for forcible rape and forcible sodomy. A probable-cause affidavit states that he allegedly held the woman down on a bed and sexually assaulted her despite her efforts to get him to stop.

A police detective called in on the case wrote in the affidavit that he observed fresh bruising on the woman’s arms and a bra strap that was bent due to the undergarment being forcibly removed.

Hutson is currently being held on $100,000 bond in the Jasper County Jail.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Woman, hitman sentenced to long prison terms for murder of estranged husband

A woman was sentenced to 54 years in prison for the murder-for hire of her estranged husband. The hitman himself got 48 years in a Colorado courtroom Friday, July 10. They plead guilty and agreed to testify against the shooter in the case, the woman's new boyfriend.

Kristin Durgan, 40, was sentenced to 48 years for 2nd degree murder and 6 years for kidnapping as a crime of violence, with Kristin’s sentences to be served consecutively. Brian Folsom, 30, the hitman, was sentences to the same terms, but his sentences will be served concurrently. Both plead guilty to 37 year old James Durgan’s murder, which took place a year to the day before the sentencing, July 10, 2008, after Kristin pretended that she had car trouble while transporting their two kids.

James drove to the canyon between Canon City & Salida, where he thought his estranged wife was, but instead met Folsom, who kidnapped him. Folsom drove the victim about a mile before handcuffing him to a tree. Folsom then went back to Salida where he met Kristin's new boyfriend, Andrew Tanner, 22. Tanner received a map from Folsom showing where the victim was before driving down to the spot and shooting him 3 times in the head. James' body was discovered in the Arkansas River near Parkdale by kayakers July 19, 2008.

Folsom accepted $1500 to $2000 to kill James.

Six weeks later, three people were arrested for the killing. Durgan’s estranged wife Kristin, 40, was arrested by the Fremont County Combined Investigation Team in Gunnison; her alleged boyfriend, Andrew Tanner, 22, was arrested in Salida; and Brian Nicholas Folsom, 29, was arrested at the Chaffee County Jail where, he was being held for a parole violation.

All three eventually were charged with one count of first-degree murder after deliberation, one count of first-degree murder during the commission of another felony, one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping.

Eventually, the story would emerge publicly through a two-day preliminary hearing held for all three defendants. Lead investigator on the case Det. Mike Jolliffe presented the bulk of the testimony in the hearing. District Attorney Thom LeDoux, who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Deputy District Attorney Chip Cutler, introduced 46 pieces of evidence on the first day of the hearing.

During Kristin's sentencing hearing, James' family members testified about his being a father to his two kids. "I will never understand why this had to happen. The method in which Jim was killed haunts me every day...Sons are meant to bury their fathers, not fathers to bury their sons.”

Larry Durgan said he was sure his son’s thoughts during his final hours were for the safety of his children. He added that by killing James, the murderers took more than his life, they took his children’s lives as well as Larry’s own.

Maryann Godbehere, who was a neighbor of the Durgan family in Phoenix while James was growing up and whose son was James’ best friend, also spoke.

“(Kristen Durgan) lured him to his death using her own children as bait. I wish we could take away from her the title of mother. She doesn’t deserve it. May God have mercy on her wretched soul.”

Tara Barber, of Jackson, Wyo., who was James Durgan’s girlfriend at the time of his death, presented a photo montage in his memory.

“I was his girlfriend and true soul mate,” she told District Judge Julie Marshall. “I stand before you a year to the day from the last time I saw him. Words will never express what so many have lost.”

Judge Marshall then spoke about the victim before passing sentence.

“James Durgan was a person and he was a person who mattered; he mattered to the people in the courtroom and he mattered to people who are not present.”

She also spoke about the effect the murder will have on the Durgans’ children — who are now 11 and 13 years old. She said the children’s victim impact statements asked that their mother not be sent to prison, that she receive probation instead.

“They will in fact lack a father, and they will in fact lack a mother,” Marshall said of the children. “The consequences to your children have to be severe.”

After this, she spoke to the victim's family members, stating, “It’s [Kristin's] burden to get over it. "It’s your burden to celebrate the life you had with Mr. Durgan."

When Folsom was brought out for his sentencing, the defense agreed to allow Marshall to consider victims’ statements from Durgan’s hearing. Barber showed the photo montage of James Durgan a second time.

“The last year of my life has felt longer than the first 30,” she said. “My life will forever be changed.”

When LeDoux made the prosecution’s statement, he said the amount of money Folsom accepted for his part in the crime — between $1,500 and $2,000 — was “appalling.”

“It became clear to us that Mr. Folsom knew exactly what he was doing,” LeDoux said.
Folsom took the opportunity to make a statement before Marshall imposed his sentence. “I just want to apologize for my part in this crime. And I hope the family can forgive me someday.”

Marshall said to deal with two people who had admitted to participating in a murder in one day was emotionally exhausting for everyone involved. She recapped the victims’ statements from Durgan’s hearing for Folsom.

Marshall repeated her remarks about the burden of the survivors of James Duggan to Folsom. “Their burden remains heavy. It’s mind boggling (for the victims) to imagine that his life mattered so little to others....It’s clear that you didn’t treat Mr. Durgan as a fellow human being. What was done by you cannot be undone.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Teacher gets a year of probation for sexual relationship with 16 year old girl

By Darcy Gray - The Hutchinson News -

A former Hutchinson High School basketball coach and teacher was sentenced Monday in Reno County Court to one year of community corrections for having sex with a 16-year-old female student.

Bradly S. Specht, 35, who appeared Monday before Reno County District Judge Tim Chambers, had pleaded no contest and was found guilty in May of the single count of unlawful sexual relations.

Specht avoided a possible six-month stint in jail when he was sentenced to community corrections, an intensive form of probation, which was part of a plea agreement revealed in court Monday by Assistant Kansas Attorney General Jason Hart.

When given the opportunity to speak in court, Specht solemnly described the incident as “life-changing” and “something I’ll never get out from under.”

Specht, who also had been a physical education teacher at Hutchinson High School, said he’d apologized to some of his former colleagues and students he had seen since his arrest in March. He also offered “condolences to the victim” and her family.

Chambers said he had not received any statements from the victim, who did not appear in court Monday.

“I can only speculate the effect it will have on the rest of her life,” Chambers told Specht.

After telling Specht he had caused “denigration to a profession that’s an honorable profession,” Chambers ordered him to write a letter of apology to all teachers at Hutchinson High School for the undue publicity the school and its teachers had received.

The case led to “bad effects on a profession that should not be subject to this activity,” not only for Hutchinson High School teachers but for teachers across the state, Chambers said.

Other requirements Chambers ordered Specht to follow, as part of the plea agreement, included no contact with the victim and registering on the statewide felony offender list for the next 10 years.

While Hart requested Specht attend a sex offender treatment program, Charlie O’Hara, the Wichita attorney representing Specht, questioned whether that was necessary. O’Hara noted Specht had been cooperative with authorities.

“His background as a coach and teacher has obviously been destroyed by this,” O’Hara said Monday. “He’ll never be able to do that again.”

Chambers ordered Specht to undergo an evaluation and attend whatever treatment is recommended to be appropriate in the case.

Specht and the female student first kissed in November 2008 in Specht’s office, according to details of the case previously released by Hart.

The contact later escalated in the office and adjoining film viewing room, and Specht began sending suggestive text messages. From December 2008 through February, the pair met several times during lunchtime at Dillon Nature Center in Hutchinson and at Specht’s home.

Officials learned of the relationship after the girl confided in a friend, who alerted the girl’s parents. The parents contacted school officials Feb. 25, who called police. Specht resigned his teaching and coaching positions that same day.

Specht initially was booked into jail on suspicion of eight counts of unlawful sexual relations, but the attorney general’s office filed only a single count. The case was referred to the attorney general because Specht’s sister once was an attorney in the Reno County District Attorney’s Office.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boxer Arturo Gatti's wife charged in his murder

Brazilian authorities have charged the wife of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti with first-degree murder on Sunday following his death at a posh seaside tourist resort in Brazil.

Police said 23-year-old Amanda Rodrigues was taken into custody after contradictions in her interrogation. The Canadian boxer's body was found early Saturday in a hotel room at the Porto de Galinhas resort in northeastern Brazil.

The former junior welterweight champion from Montreal was apparently strangled with the strap of a purse, which was found at the scene with blood stains, said Milena Saraiva, a spokeswoman for the Pernambuco state civil police. She told The Associated Press that Gatti also sustained a head injury.

While the investigation was not complete, Saraiva said authorities were preparing to present a formal accusation against Rodrigues, who denied being involved in her husband's death.
Police said Rodrigues, a Brazilian, could not explain how she spent nearly 10 hours in the room without noticing that Gatti was already dead.

Police were investigating witness reports that the couple fought and Gatti was drunk when he returned to his room Friday night, Saraiva said, adding that police were told the couple were extremely jealous of each other and that he constantly complained of her clothing when she travelled to Brazil.

Acelino (Popo) Freitas, a four-time world champion Brazilian boxer, told Globo TV's website on Saturday that he was a close friend of Gatti and his wife and that he "knew they were having some sort of problem and were about to separate."

The couple's one-year-old son, who was unhurt, was handed to Rodrigues's sister, Saraiva said.
The 37-year-old Gatti, whose epic trilogy with Micky Ward branded him one of the most exciting fighters of his generation, retired in 2007 with a career record of 40-9 and 31 knockouts.

Known for his straightforward punching and granite-like chin, Gatti captured the junior welterweight title in 1995, when he defeated Tracy Harris Patterson in Atlantic City, N.J.

East Springfield, MO man sentenced to 80 years in murder of wife

An East Springfield, MO husband was sentenced to 80 years in prison for stabbing his wife 5 times in the chest and slashing her throat from the back on June 14, 2007. Richard Allred, 53, tried to commit suicide, but failed after he killed his wife Jamie on September 14, 2007.

The reason that the charges were 2nd instead of 1st degree murder was because the wife had a history of substance abuse problems and infidelity. Defense attorneys claimed that Richard was defensing himself from his wife. After conviction by a jury in March of this year, Green County Circuit Judge Tom Mountjoy meted out 30 years for 2nd degree murder and 50 years for armed criminal action, counts that will be served consecutively and almost ensures that Allred will die in prison.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

London, ON man convicted of DV and child porn charges gets long term offender designation

London Free Press [London, ON, Canada]

A London man's history of sexual deviancy led to a long-term offender status after he was convicted of assaulting and harassing his common-law spouse.

The 42 year-old man was convicted in November and sentenced last month after a lengthy hearing that focused on a psychiatric assessment, classifying the man as a "substantial risk to the community." As a long-term offender, the man will be subject to a 10-year supervision order after he completes his prison sentence.

Superior Court Justice William Jenkins sentenced the man to 30 months. The man was given 18 months' credit for his one year in pre-trial custody, leaving him 12 more months to serve before he's released.

The man was charged in October 2007. He pleaded guilty to a minor physical assault on his common-law spouse, whose name is protected by court order.

He was convicted of harassing her by threatening to harm any man she was with and telling her she had to go to him each week for sex.

He was also convicted of possession of child pornography for a photo on his computer showing a seven-year-old girl. The common-law wife had to leave a job and move away because of the crimes. She fears for her safety.

In his decision, Jenkins noted the man had a record dating back to 1989 that included three sexual assaults, six convictions for invitation to sexual touching of a child under 14, two convictions of sexual interference and one for weapons possession.

Psychiatrist Philip Klassen from the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health examined the man and determined he didn't suffer from a major mental illness but did suffer from "a personality disorder, paraphilias, a probable attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and borderline intellectual functioning."

Klassen said the biggest concern was the man's "bisexual pedophilia" and said he was a high risk to re-offend.

Assistant Crown attorney Peter Rollings told Jenkins the man was warned in 2006 he could face a dangerous offender application if he re-offended. The man had not taken prescribed sex drive reduction medication and failed to comply with court orders.

Jenkins recommended the man serve his sentence at the Ontario Correctional Institute where he can receive sex offender counselling. Once he's released, he cannot associate with his victim or be within 500 metres of her home or work.

He must take his sex drive reduction medications. "Failure to comply with such a mandatory treatment will result in denial of release into the community," Jenkins wrote in his decision.
The man must also abstain from non-prescribed drugs, take anger management and sexual deviancy treatment, and stay away from anyone under the age of 16 unless in the immediate presence of a responsible adult.

He cannot go to parks, playgrounds, public swimming areas, day-care centres, schools or community centres or anywhere children are. He cannot get a job that involves children or use a computer to communicate with a person under 16. The man was ordered banned from firearms for 10 years, placed on the sex offender registry for 10 years and ordered to give a DNA sample.

Jane Sims is The Free Press justice reporter.

"Boyfriend" sentenced to 99 years for sledgehammer attack on woman

A brutal attacker who left a former dancer and singer with the mental capacity of a young teen has been sentenced to 99 years in prison. What makes it worse that this attack did not take place on a stranger, or as a result of a robbery, but took place against a woman by her own "boyfriend."

Brandon Bishop, of Plantation, FL, a 23 year old former University of Florida student, was sentenced to 99 years in prison yesterday Broward Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus in the 2006 sledgehammer attack against Jennifer McClary. The attack left McClary in a coma for several weeks and today, she has the mental capacity of a 12 to 15 year old.

In June, a jury took about 30 minuted to convict Bishop of attempted 1st degree murder and reject his insanity plea.

The mother and stepfather of the victim spoke before Judge Lazarus before he meted out his sentence. "His choice of weapon was barbaric...If he did this to an animal there would be a public outcry," said Bill Murphy about his stepdaughter's attacker.

"This was a murder," said Karen Murphy, the victim's mother said.

Bishop's defense attorney Joel Hirschhorn had argued that his client, debilitated by a major depressive disorder and vulnerable to psychotic episodes, lost control and could not recognize the consequences of his actions.Mental health experts testified Friday that he could be treated.Bishop himself spoke before the sentencing, telling Lazarus, "I know in my right mind I wouldn't have done this.""Please let us take our son home today," his mother, Suzann Bishop, begged the judge.

In the end, Judge Lazarus scolded the perp directly before passing sentence, stating that "you created a crime that was horrific. You ruined a person's life."

Prosecutors stated that the attacker had enough clarity of thought to but the sledgehammer a few days before the attack, place it inside his parents' home, and lie in wait for his victim.

Bishop will probably die in jsil, since his earliest release date is in just over 84 years. All felons in Florida must serve at least 85% of their prison sentence.

Philly date-rapist sentenced to 10 to 20 years, gets 15 to life in Idaho case


This is yet another post which highlights the dangers of sexual predators on the Web, even though they may appear to be nice, charming, and suitable. Not all predators target underage victims or strangers, and all women are potential victims.
The below story, is taken from the Philadelphia Enquirer in its entirety. (10-13-07)

Marsalis gets 10 to 20 years in date-rape cases
By Dwight Ott

Inquirer Staff Writer

Before a courtroom filled with women who had accused of him of plying them with drink and deceit, and then raping them, Jeffrey Marsalis was sentenced yesterday to the maximum, and given a lifetime label intended to warn potential victims.
Common Pleas Court Judge Steven R. Geroff sentenced Marsalis, 34, to 10 to 20 years in prison, and added that once released from prison, he would have to report under Megan's Law to let others know the threat that he poses.

"I believe you are a menace to the women who you meet on the Internet or in any manner - even at a long distance," Geroff said. "What you were was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Your lifestyle was a fantasy, but what happened to your victims was reality."

Wearing a buzz cut and displaying blue eyes that swept the room, Marsalis pleaded no contest during yesterday's hearing to an unlawful imprisonment charge that merited him an additional 10 to 12 months in jail.

Nearly a dozen women sat in three rows, one of them in a wheelchair, clutching tissues and watching the proceedings with red-eyed attention. They smiled for the first time on hearing the judge's ruling.

"Thank God," said one.

Marsalis - who had been charged with assaulting seven women between 2003 to 2005 - was convicted in June of sexually assaulting two women. The trial lasted three weeks and was filled with accounts of his using the Web dating site to pose as an astronaut, a doctor, and even a secret agent to lure women.

Before the sentencing, psychologist Barry Zakireh testified that Marsalis met the criteria of a sexual offender and qualified for restrictions imposed by Megan's Law, including leafleting neighborhoods and posting alerts on the Internet.

Kevin E. Hexstall, a lawyer for Marsalis, said of the Megan's Law decision: "I believe it is punitive because it does not allow my client a subsequent review. . . . It doesn't allow for reevaluation."

Marsalis was convicted of sexual assault, not rape, Hexstall said. Under the law, rape involves force, and sexual assault involves a classification where force does not have to be proven.

"I think the commonwealth has fallen short of its burden of proof," Hexstall said.

Zakireh testified that in some cases, Marsalis wore surgical scrubs and carried medical books as part of his ruse.

But Hexstall argued that since Marsalis had been a nursing student at the Hahnemann nursing school, that was to be expected.

Hexstall felt his client was guilty of nothing more than masquerading while his intoxicated clients agreed to consensual sex.
(Note - there is no such thing as consensual sex when the woman is drunk, sleeping, or drugged. All sex when intoxicated is considered to be assaultive.)

One woman, a dietitian, testified that she met Marsalis on

They agreed to meet in person in central Philadelphia. He told her he was a doctor and a former flight surgeon, and flashed a badge to spirit them to the head of the line outside bars.

But the woman said that after a drink or two, her vision blurred, she began to feel woozy, she developed a pounding headache, and she became so uncoordinated that she tripped and fell.

She said she hung on to Marsalis, who assured her he was an emergency-room doctor and knew what to do. She said that despite her protestations, she was raped, but did not remember the incident until the next day.

Marsalis still faces sexual-assault charges in Idaho.

This is the textbook definition of a psychopath - one who cares only for his own sexual pleasure and perversion. This "man" should not be spending 10 to 20 years, but 30 to 60 years in prison. In Pennsylvania, the legal difference between sexual assault and rape is use of force in rape vs. lack of force in sexual assault, but the victims called it what it is - rape. Sexual predation occurs with frightening regularity, and just like those who prey on children, not all of them fit the stereotypical mold.

Philly Daily News Coverage of Marsalis Sentencing
(Update 10-19-07)
Marsalis will be extradited to Blaine County, Idaho, where he faces charges of raping a 21-year old Sun Valley woman back in 2005. Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas expect Marsalis to be brought back to Idaho around the 1st of the year, with a trial scheduled for the spring. Marsalis waived extradition as a Blaine County bond condition.
(Update 7-11-09) Ten days ago, Marsalis was sentenced to the maximum term - life imprisonment, for the rape of a 21 year old woman that he met at a Sun Valley, ID ski resort where they were both employed. Marsalis was found guilty in April by a jury of 10 women and 2 men of plying the 21 year old victim with alcohol, then raping her when she was too drunk to refuse.
The sentencing, like the trial and conviction, took place at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, ID. The judge who presided over the trial, Judge Daniel Hurlbutt Jr., said that he took into consideration the Pennsylvania rape victims before handing the life sentence down.
Hurlbutt stated, "It is clear the victim was harmed by your actions. This was a manner of grooming the victim. Without question, you did take off your clothes and you did have sexual intercourse with her."
Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas stated that Marsalis was not a typical date rapist, and that Marsalis used the same grooming tactics against the Idaho victim as he did against the Philadelphia victims.
"If the old adage is true- where there's smoke, there's fire, then Mr. Marsalis is an inferno."
The victim impact statement reads as follows.
"I have no doubt that if he wasn't in jail he would be victimizing other women. He took advantage of my body while I was unconscious. I don't need to know what he did to me to know that what he did was wrong....It continues to affect my life today. I had no idea what a monster he would turn out to be. I hope that he will be put away for so long that he will never be able to hurt another woman."
Marsalis will be parole eligible in 15 years.