Sunday, August 30, 2009
The charges are federal because Eccles' hitman would have traveled from the Midwest to Florida, meaning interstate commerce would be involved. There is no parole in the federal prison system. Lake City is 40 miles west of Jacksonville.
A North Aurora man was sentenced Wednesday [August 26, 2009] to six years in prison for trying to kill his wife by suffocating her with a plastic bag.
Dariusz Hrehorowicz, 38, was convicted June 24 of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated unlawful restraint in the Jan. 23, 2008, attack, which the woman survived. He had faced up to 30 years in prison.
Kane County Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon cited Hrehorowicz's lack of a prior criminal history and two daughters, who "need him in their life someday," in handing down the minimum sentence for attempted murder, a Class X felony [Class X felonies carry up to a 30 year sentence in Illinois].
"The court finds it's a tragedy when the whole family has to pay the price for this," Sheldon said.
Prosecutor David Belshan had sought a nine-year sentence for Hrehorowicz, arguing he harbors "great hatred" for the victim and still blames her for the ordeal.
"This defendant has completely lost control," Belshan said. "He blames her for taking his daughters away from him. He tried once to make her pay for that, and it almost cost her her life."
The case centered on accusations Hrehorowicz tried to kill his wife after she began legal proceedings to end their 14-year marriage last year.
The pending divorce filled Hrehorowicz with a "seething, jealous anger that kept escalating" until the day he lured her into a closet at their home on the 600 block of Graham Road and pulled a plastic bag tightly over her head, prosecutors said. The incident was reported after the woman fought off Hrehorowicz and ran to a neighbor's house.
At Wednesday's sentencing hearing, Hrehorowicz expressed remorse in a brief statement to the judge, but he did not go as far as to admit he tried to kill his wife. "I feel remorse," he said. "I feel my wife could have been a little frightened because I argued with her and I'm very sorry about that. I'm very sorry about everything."
Hrehorowicz was credited for 580 days of time served awaiting trial. He must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence, meaning he could be released in about three and a half years.
In addition, Hrehorowicz, who does not speak fluent English, was ordered to pay the cost of having a Polish translator present for his trial, which previously ended in two mistrials - once because a jury was deadlocked, and once because the victim fainted in the courtroom while jurors were present.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The first jury deliberated 5 1/2 hours Friday before convicting 20-year-old Tommy Poindexter of rape, kidnapping, assault and burglary. He faces multiple life terms. A second jury returned less than two hours later, convicting 18-year-old Nathan Walker of similar charges.
The two were tried together but with separate juries. A third defendant, 16-year-old Avion Lawson, pleaded guilty and testified against Poindexter and Walker. A fourth defendant, 17-year-old Jakaris Taylor, is set for trial next month. Authorities say they identified the defendants with fingerprints and DNA. They are still seeking additional suspects.
The defendants made limited admissions to the attack, but also tried to deflect blame. Lawson claims he raped the woman once, then left soon after. Poindexter's attorney says her client raped the woman, but didn't participate in any other crimes. Walker's attorney hasn't acknowledged any guilt.
Authorities say fingerprints and DNA found on clothing and condoms inside the apartment identified the defendants. They are still seeking additional suspects.
The prosecutor told jurors that it doesn't matter how many of the crimes each defendant actually participated in — they are all equally responsible for the entire episode. Defense attorneys had argued the juries don't have to find guilt on all counts just because the suspects may have committed some of the crimes.
Earlier in the week, the female victim described for jurors the terrifying night of June 18, 2007, in her public housing complex apartment a few miles from downtown West Palm Beach.
She recounted how she prayed for her life and cried in pain as she was repeatedly raped and her son beaten by 10 masked, gun-toting teens. Then she testified about being forced to perform oral sex on her son. The victims were then doused with chemicals in an attempt to clean the crime scene.
Throughout the attack, the suspects demanded money, but she had none. The victims had fled even worse poverty in their native Haiti several years earlier, landing in the crime-plagued Dunbar Village housing complex where the attack occurred.
Potts came into the victim, his neighbor's home and started choking her. He took off her pajama bottoms and began to fondle her, but she had the presence of mind to shout "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!" as part of a "death prayer." "Because of what you said, I can't do it," Potts said to the victim, and he called off the attack.
His attorney, Michael Misner, states that Potts will need alcohol addiction treatment while he's in prison, and that he only remembered flashbacks of the near rape because he was drunk during the incident.
The victim told Christiansen she is disappointed in prosecutors, who offered Potts a plea bargain. Potts was originally charged with first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault and second-degree felony burglary, which could have landed Potts a longer minimum sentence than the three years he received.
The burglary charge was dismissed and the aggravated sexual assault charge was changed to attempted aggravated sexual assault, but remained a first-degree felony.
The victim, who taught English at a Magna school for 15 years, said the assault took place just a few months after her husband died from throat cancer. Potts, who lived next door with his family, was one of few people who knew the victim lived alone, she said.
Nevertheless, Potts apologized, stating that "I would like to say how horrible I feel about what happened. It eats away at me every day." The woman stated that despite the fear that Potts will come back and try to kill her, "I have forgiven him and I hope he and his family will recover from whatever sickness holds this man," she said.
The sentencing judge was Judge Michele Christiansen of Utah's 3rd district.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
27 year old Jason Dennis Vaughn was formally charged with felony capital offense rape and domestic violence assault on his wife and felony child abuse of his 9 month old daughter by punching her. The rape bond was set at half a million dollars, the aggravated assault bond was set at $250,000 and the child abuse bond was set at $100,000.
The woman said she wasn’t able to call for help right away because her husband wouldn’t allow it. She told investigators she would’ve gone to her neighbors for help but couldn’t because they were her husband’s relatives.
Sheriff Byrd said Vaughn was charged with felony rape for allegedly sexually assaulting his wife. In addition, he’s accused of punching the couple’s 9-month-old daughter.
Also investigating the child abuse allegations are officials with the state Department of Human Services. The couple’s child was turned over the care of her great-grandmother pending the mother’s recovery.
"If you're able to make bond, you have to stay out of trouble, and you have to stay away from (the victim and the child.) You're to have no contact. Let your lawyer handle all of that. You should not e-mail them, text them, call them on the phone or have a family member contact them. Let your lawyer handle it. You're to have no contact with them as a part of your bond."
Ocean Springs Hospital reported the victim's split lip, black eye, and stomach bruises when Vaughn brought the victims there early Sunday, August 23. The rape charges carry a maximum life sentence.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This one comes from Houston, courtesy of Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle, who wrote the story, and a new group called CounterQuo (as in not the status quo) that is trying to make sure people see it. It's about a teenage girl who went to a club last summer with a friend. She met a man who drove her and her friend into a wooded area and then raped her while her friend ran for help.
The victim, now a college student, testified that she tried to resist her attacker, repeatedly hitting him in the face, but he brushed it away, threatened to put her "in the bayou" and told her he had killed five people and would kill her.
The jury convicted.
The judge wondered why she was on top.
No, he didn't just wonder, he actually asked her in the sentencing phase since the defense had wisely decided to have the judge determine his sentence and not the jury.
"Sending an innocent man to prison in the name of law and order is the greatest injustice this society can do," the judge said in explaining his approach to sentencing a man who had just been convicted of violent rape.
According to Falkenberg, "What shocked the victim most was when the judge questioned whether she was really raped since he found it 'odd' that was she was on top of Escobar during the assault."
I wrote a book called "Real Rape" in 1986. Its argument should be obsolete. It isn't. This case could have been the first chapter, if it hadn't been about all the times I had to convince people that I really was raped by a man who threatened to kill me with an ice pick. At least no judge ever asked me the question.
I know there are smart judges and stupid judges, just like there are smart and stupid versions of everything else in life, even things that often matter more, like doctors and politicians.
"I know these are tough questions, and I don't like to have to ask them," the judge said, according to the transcript Hildebrand reviewed. "It's just you understand that most rapes take place with the man on top so he has complete control of the female."
When the prosecutor objected to the question, the judge overruled him, saying he was allowed to consider the circumstances of the offense in determining the sentence.
The circumstances of the offense are whether she is on top? Of a man she believes has a gun, who has threatened to kill her and told her that he has killed before? As she is trying to stay alive while her friend races to get help?
The judge later acknowledged in a legal blog that he should have expressed his concerns in private. Actually, his concerns were stupid and offensive and would have been so in private, as well. The case is on appeal, so he is refusing to say anything more.
But here's the punch line: The guy didn't get away with it. After listening to the 911 tape of the screaming girls "for the sixth time," the judge sent him away for 25 years. He even said he was convinced, the judge I mean, that "no means no." That's why the rapist is appealing. That's why I'm not using the judge's name.
Some things have changed. This time, anyway, the rapist got punished by the system. Sadly, so did the victim. Again. Still.
To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
More serious charges of endangering the welfare of minors and possession of drug paraphernalia were dropped in the plea agreement. Venango County Judge Robert Boyer sentenced Fetty after she reached a plea agreement last month.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As part of his sentence, Brown must also complete a one-year domestic violence counseling program. Brown, 20, pleaded guilty to assault June 22, admitting that he assaulted Rihanna during an argument that began around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 8, while the couple were in a rented Lamborghini on North June Street near First Street.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg agreed to allow Brown to perform his community labor -- meaning highway cleanup, litter removal or other work -- in Virginia, where he lives. He will also be allowed to attend a domestic violence counseling program in that state. Schnegg said she expected to receive regular reports from the chief of police in Richmond, Va., to ensure Brown was complying with all the terms of his sentence.
As part of the sentence, Schnegg also ordered Brown to stay at least 100 yards away from Rihanna, unless they are both attending an entertainment industry function, when the restriction would be lowered to 10 yards. "Any violation of this protective order is a violation of your probation," Schnegg told Brown, who said he understood.
Schnegg also warned him that if he violates any term of probation, he could serve time behind bars. The charge "does come with a potential of state prison if you should violate in any way," the judge said. Brown is due back in court for a progress hearing on Nov. 19. Rihanna was not in court for the sentencing hearing, but her attorney, Donald Etra, was present.
At the time of the attack, Brown and Rihanna were en route to a home in the Hancock Park area following a pre-Grammy Awards party. The singers were scheduled to attend the Grammy ceremony, but both were no-shows. Brown later turned himself in at a Los Angeles police station, where he was arrested and freed on bail. A photo of Rihanna, with visible injuries to her face, was leaked to an entertainment Web site several days later, prompting the Los Angeles Police Department to launch an internal investigation.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Jenkins was charged in California with murdering his ex-wife Jasmine Fiore, a swimsuit model whose corpse was found stuffed into a garbage bin about 30 kilometres south of Los Angeles. He was also charged with mutilating her body as_her fingers and teeth had been removed — fingerprints and dental records are often how homicide victims are identified.
Instead, the 28-year-old was identified by the serial number on her breast implants.
After an international manhunt and an apparent attempt to flee U.S. justice by returning to his native Canada, Jenkins apparently gave up his game of hide-and-seek Sunday. His body was found in a hotel room in Hope, 135 kilometres east of Vancouver. Police say he apparently took his own life.
"We were able to determine that it was Ryan Jenkins," said Sgt. Duncan Pound of the RCMP’s Federal Border Integrity Program, during an early evening news conference. "At this point it would be speculation as to how long he had been there."
The find came just hours after RCMP said Jenkins was in Canada, ‘desperate,’ and posing a public danger if approached.
“We don’t want anyone to have interactions with someone who’s obviously desperate to avoid the police right now,” said Pound earlier Sunday. “If someone approaches him, it could trigger the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome.“Do not approach him — get a licence plate, get a location, get information that can help police, then phone 911.”
Jenkins, 32, has been traced to Blaine and Point Roberts — two Washington-state communities just across the U.S. border from the Lower Mainland — and Pound said earlier Sunday that police believed he was hiding in Canada.
A visit on Sunday to the Vancouver building where mother Nada Jenkins lives turned up no sign of the fugitive’s mom. A ring on the building’s buzzer marked ‘Jenkins’ instead connected a Province news team with neighbour Mark Lanfranco.
“There have been lots of news crews around, and surveillance on the seawall,” said Lanfranco, 26, an environmental consultant who’s lived in the building for three months. “It’s a little scary for my girlfriend. I’m probably more worried for her than she is for herself.”
Rohrig, 25, of Flax Mill Lane, has been on paid administrative leave from his job since July 23, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, said Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne.
The unnamed woman told police July 22 that she was sexually assaulted July 19 at the Rohrig home, where she went to meet Joe Rohrig, Jared's identical twin. The woman had been having a sexual relationship with Joe Rohrig since March, and on July 19 she talked on the phone with someone she believed was him and agreed to meet at his house, according to a search warrant.
When she arrived, she got into the hot tub with the Rohrig brother she believed was Joe, began kissing him and agreed to go to an upstairs bedroom with him.
It was then that she had noticed that the cowboy tattoo on Joe's left buttocks were missing. According to the warrant, the woman "immediately began to cry and asked him where his tattoo went. The male replied that he had never had a tattoo and told her that she must have hooked up with his brother who had a tattoo. The female victim realized at this point that this was not the person that she had previously had sexual relations with."
After she tried to leave the bedroom, Jared threw her back on, and "grabbed her arms and threw her on the bed, where she continued to cry," while Jared continued to have sex with her.
When the woman told Jared Rohrig to get off her, he allegedly put a pillow over her face, and while it did not prevent her from breathing, she felt "scared and claustrophobic," according to the warrant.
Her attempts to push him off were unsuccessful "because he was too strong and she gave up," the warrant states. Later, the man -- still claiming to be Joe Rohrig -- drove the woman home in Jared Rohrig's pickup truck, but could not find the way, even though Joe had previously visited there several times, she told police.
"The female victim looked at the male and asked, 'When did you think I was going to find out? When I realized you didn't have a tattoo? When we didn't use Joe's car to drive home? Or when you didn't know how to get to my house because you've never been there?"
Jared claimed to have said his brother, the woman's "boyfriend," "told me to go for it." The victim recieved a text message from Joe's phone stating "I want to apologize for what my brother did last night. I had no idea what was going on until this morning."
A graduate of Jonathan Law High School, Rohrig is the son of Joanne Rohrig, a Republican member of the Board of Education, and the family owns Lasses Restaurant and catering in Milford.
A separate investigation into anonymous allegations that adults served alcohol to minors at a July 12 graduation party at the Rohrig residence has determined those charges to be "unfounded," said Milford Police Chief Keith Mello.
There was no evidence substantiating the claims, Mello said, adding that investigation showed "the family went to significant steps" to avoid giving minors access to alcohol at the party.
According to Gagne, Jared Rohrig is still in the 18 month probationary period given to all new police officers, having been hired July 11, 2008. He was released on $50,000 bond Friday, August 21, charged with 1st degree sexual assault and criminal impersonation. His preliminary hearing will be September 8 in Milford Superior Court.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Robert Gray, now 36, was convicted of rape after kidnapping the victim from Naismith Hall, taking her to the old tennis courts at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, KS and raping her on May 11, 1997 around 11:45 PM. The victim's boyfriend saw the abduction, and while police were taking his statements, the victim drove up to the officer and said she was raped. Grey was not convicted of kidnapping because the 5 year statute of limitations had ran out and Grey was charged in 2007.
FBI's Automated Fingerprint Identification System identified Grey's prints as matching prints lifted from the victim's car back in 1997. Grey's DNA was stored by authorities after being convicted of more crimes, enabling police to match his DNA with DNA taken from the rape kit.
Before the sentencing, Grey’s attorney, Jessica Travis, argued for a new trial, claiming her client was denied his right to a fair trial. Travis went so far as to accuse the state of prosecutorial misconduct, arguing McGowan intentionally withheld information that she was required to turn over to the defense.
Travis’ main complaint had to do with a surprise identification of the defendant by the victim in court during the first day of the trial. The woman had previously never identified Grey in open court.
“There were too many things withheld,” Travis told the judge, “and in the long run, it essentially stripped Mr. Grey of his right to a fair trial.”
But Kittel ruled the evidence in the case was overwhelming and any changes would not have affected the outcome of the trial.
Grey's lawyer also said that her client should be sentenced under the more lenient 1999 Kansas sentencing guidelines rather than the more punitive 1997 guidelines. She also asked that her client's criminal history past 1997 be disregarded. Both motions were denied by Judge Kittel.
The victim wrote in her impact statement that "Time heals all wounds, but a scar never goes away.” Grey did not testify at his sentencing.
Published: August 22, 2009
Although a Davie County jury ruled yesterday that Dr. Kirk Alan Turner killed his wife, Jennifer, in self-defense, his legal troubles are far from over. Turner, a Clemmons dentist, still faces a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Gwen Elizabeth Kennedy, Jennifer Turner's sister and the executor of her estate.
"We have every intention of pursuing the civil action," said David Freedman, who represents the estate in the lawsuit.
There is also an alienation-of-affection lawsuit that Jennifer Turner filed against her husband's girlfriend, Tondja Woods Colvin. That suit will also go forward, Freedman said. And the divorce that prosecutors said was the center of the murder case remains unsettled, he said.
Yesterday marked the end of Turner's monthlong murder trial, which was often emotional and high profile. The case split the Turners' children, Gilbert "Ritchie" Turner and Gwendolyn "Wendy" Elizabeth Turner, who no longer speak to each other. Ritchie Turner says he believes that his father killed his mother in self-defense. Wendy Turner doesn't speak to her father, and says she believes that he intentionally killed her mother.
The jury of eight men and four women took about seven hours over two days to return a verdict of not guilty by reason of self-defense. Prosecutors had argued that Turner slashed his wife's throat twice with a pocketknife on Sept. 12, 2007, because he was angry over the pending divorce and the lawsuit filed against Colvin.
They said that the stab wounds that cut Jennifer Turner's carotid artery and her trachea were so deep that they reached her cervical spine. Defense attorneys said that Turner killed his wife in self-defense after she stabbed him twice in the left thigh near the groin with a 7-foot, Viking-style spear.
The jury believed the defense's version. "They threw stuff against the wall to see if something would stick, and we felt nothing stuck," the jury foreman, Landon Potts, said of prosecutors.
In addition to first-degree murder, the jury also considered second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
"The jury believed he was justified in defending himself against his wife's attack, and that whatever force he used was not excessive," said Kami Chavis Simmons, an associate professor of law at Wake Forest University.
In order for the jury to find Kirk Turner guilty of first-degree murder, it had to believe that he planned to kill his wife, Simmons said, there had to be premeditation and deliberation.
The burden of proof won't be as high in the wrongful-death lawsuit, she said. "With a civil case, you have a preponderance of the evidence, which is not as rigorous a standard as beyond a reasonable doubt," she said.
Joe Cheshire, one of Turner's attorneys, argued that in the trial, prosecutors had put forth several theories about what happened. Yesterday he said that justice was served and that Turner has regained his life.
In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors accused Greg Smithson, the man who was with Kirk Turner the night that his wife died, of helping to stage the crime scene to make it look as though the Turners had struggled. They said that Kirk Turner had either stabbed himself or had Smithson do it. And they argued that Turner had the medical knowledge to stab himself and miss his femoral artery.
District Attorney Garry Frank said that the prosecutors' job was to look at the evidence and seek justice."We tried to do just that," he said. "I thought my prosecutors put on the relevant evidence."
Cheshire lambasted prosecutors for accusing Smithson of helping Turner cover up a crime. Smithson testified that he did not see Turner kill his wife, and that he performed CPR on Jennifer Turner.
"That was false and wrong and should never have been made," Cheshire said. "This verdict completely exonerates a man who did everything to save Jennifer Turner's life."
Frank said that there is not enough evidence to charge Smithson.
After the verdict was read, Turner hugged his attorneys and his supporters.
Wendy Turner cried as she left the courtroom with her uncle, Rick Wittwer. As TV cameras trailed her out of the courthouse, she didn't comment. Later in the day, she distributed a statement saying that the verdict was a "distinct failure of justice."
"The women of Davie County should be scared," she said. "Let us not forget this woman, Jennifer Turner." Her father gave a brief statement after the hearing. He thanked God and the jury. When asked if there was anything he wanted to say about his daughter, he said, "She's a great girl," and then walked back into the courtroom.
Keith Maynard, 42, was charged with breaking into his home on Cook St. on July 1, at 11:15 AM and attacking Ida Marie Lucarelli after she came home from working out at the gym. According to Lucarelli, the attacker was hiding behind the door and wearing a bandanna. The attacker grabbed Lucarelli and flipped her to the ground, and started trying to stuff a pillow in her mouth. Lucarelli fought back, and the attacker started hitting her with a bat. she screamed and the attacker fled. Lucarelli was taken to the hospital for hospitalization. Wounds received included abrasions on her cheek, temple, and upper chest. Her right forearm was bruised.
Maynard initially denied any involvement in the attack and claimed he was working for the state Department of Transportation in Norwalk at the time, the chief said. A motive for the attack is unclear, [Ansonia Police Chief Kevin Hale] said.
"I've worked with Keith Maynard for many years, while he was on the board, in matters of importance to neighborhoods, both in his ward and throughout the city. and that's why this is a sad day," said Hale. "Nevertheless, we went where the facts took us."Domestic violence is a top priority for this police department. We take these matters very seriously," he added.
Maynard was arraigned Thursday, August 20, and released on $50,000 bail. His victim attended the arraignment, and he was ordered to stay away from the victim's home and turn over any firearms he had.
Maynard represented the 4th ward of Ansonia, and according to Aldermanic President Steve Blume, "came as a shock. it's also very saddening because of what that poor woman went through. I'm kind of speechless." He was seeking November re-election as a Democrat, and served on various committees, including Public Works and Economic Development. Maynard still worked for the Connecticut Department Of Transportation.
"I don't want my children or the people I consider family to be in a place where there are snitches," 33 year old Angela Simpson said. The killing is thought to have taken place August 2, after 8 PM, when the victim was last seen alive leaving his assisted living facility.
Once there, Simpson said she beat [46 year old Terry Neely] with a tire iron, hammered a nail into his head, pulled his teeth and strangled him with a television cord.
"You made him watch it through a mirror?" Wingate asked.
"Yes, I did," Simpson replied calmly. "He needed to see what he deserved."
After the killing, Simpson dismembered Neely's body and placed it in a trash can. She drove to a church where the can and its contents were set on fire. The trash can was set ablaze August 5, and Simpson was arrested August 19. After the murder, Simpson allegedly committed robbery with Edward "Cracker" McFarland. McFarland told his apartment manager about the murder, and threatened to kill the manager if he "snitched."
Autopsy results confirmed that a nail was either driven or hammered into the victim's brain. Before the dismemberment, which forced police to rely on fingerprints, Neely was stabbed approximately 50 times, including once in the throat.
The woman, already in jail when arrested, stated that she had killed before, and "I believe informants and child molesters should be killed ... period." Simpson was musing about the medication she took for mental illness, stating that "I think something's wrong with the world that I live in, but, according to other people, yes, something is wrong with me."
The relationship between the Ratley's did not start out as plagued by domestic violence. In late 2006, Michael saved his wife Effie and their then 2 week old son from a trailer fire in Bryceville, FL. "I might have lost everything physical, but I've still got my two most precious things," he told WJXT-TV.
However, on January 27, 2007, with his parents watching TV downstaris and his son in the next room, Machael took some gloves, a hammer, and started bashing his wife Effie with it. When he was through, Effie was dead, her head suffering at least seven different blows.
During the trial, Ratley said he had nothing to do with the slaying. His defense lawyers argued that an intruder, who Ratley alleged attacked him in the barn the night before, was the culprit. But prosecutors said that was part of Ratley's plan, setting up for a scenario in which an intruder killed his wife by cutting the wire on their window.
The prosecution focused on what it believed to be aggravating circumstances in the murder. Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said the murder was cold, calculated and premeditated and the attack on Effie Ratley heinous, atrocious and cruel - all of which are conditions that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the jury to render an advisory sentence of the death penalty."(Effie) attempted to fight for her life," de la Rionda said.
"She did the best she could," but the defendant "had the upper hand. It took at least seven blows to the head to finally get her under control."
[After the guilty verdict, the] defense focused on Ratley's lack of criminal background and a nonviolent disposition as mitigating factors. "The death penalty is reserved for the worst of the worst," defense attorney Lee Hutton said. "A sentence of death is never required by law."
Ratliff's mother testified on behalf of her son and grandson Aidan. We were a close family that watched out for each other," Ratley's mother Cindy said. "He has always been a caring, nonviolent person- He'd give you the shirt off his back...I could sit here all day and give memory after memory, but we've lost a daughter and a son. You can go out in the future as far as you want, but Michael Ratley will be in prison until the day he dies. At a minimum Aiden should be given the opportunity to have a father, to a very limited degree, if he chooses."
However, the prosecution disputed the picture of Michael Ratley's mother gave the court, stating that the turest measure of his character was the bludgeoning of his wife.
"Unfortunately, the best example we have of his character is in what he did. This shows his best character...This loving father had no problem whatsoever -- a short distance from his son -- exterminating the life of his son's mother," Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda stated.
The prosecutor called the victim's father and stepmother as character witnesses. The father, Duane Williams, stated that "The death of any child is a nightmare. The death of a child due to homicide is almost too much to bear..She's the first thing I think about in the morning when I wake up. And the last thing before I go to bed."
Effie Ratley, who enjoyed listening to '50s music and watching black-and-white movies, was thrilled when she and her husband had their baby, her family told the court Tuesday.
"Her son was her pride and joy," said her stepmother, Joy Williams, wearing a purple and pink "Justice for Effie" bracelet. "But she never knew more than six weeks of her motherhood dreams."
While both familes did not speak to reporters after the verdict, De la Rionda stated that for the victim's family, life without parole was the next "best" outcome to the death penalty. "They were always hoping for death , but they're happy he's going to get life and he's not going to be able to get out. He's going to die in prison."
Friday, August 21, 2009
The plot to murder John M. Parker, a Kirby vacuum salesman, finally came together after she had her 17 year old daughter, Christina Hicks Grabski, buy a pistol for her then 15 year old son, Daniel Hicks, with the son shooting the father to death execution style outside of his Merillville, IN office April 17, 2003.
The victim's father, also named John, stated that he had "to forgive her for what she did. It's the Christian thing to do." He remembered his son as a positive human being who provided for his family. However, his granddaughter Tiffany, 11 at the time of the killing, said that once when the family lived in southwest Michigan, her father came to the dinner table and beat her over a book report. "It wasn't what everybody saw -- the perfect family," she said.
Defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Nick Thiros also presented testimony by Douglas Caruana, a licensed clinical psychologist, who said Parker fit the battered woman profile. In two interviews at the jail, Caruana said Parker told him of being sexually and physically abused as a girl. She married her abusive first husband at age 15. While the couple was divorcing in 1991, she met Parker but had extramarital affairs during their 10-year marriage.By all accounts, John Parker was a successful businessman and at one time ran the fifth best Kirby distributorship in the world, deputy prosecutor John Burke said.
Judy Parker's journey from her impoverished childhood in Texas to a life of jewelry, new cars, luxury vacations and nice homes apparently didn't buy happiness. Her daughter Tiffany testified that a month or two before her father was killed, her mother told her she was saving money so she could divorce John Parker.
In reality, Judy Parker was scheming with her two oldest children, Christina Hicks Grabski and Daniel Hicks, on how to carry out her husband's execution. They later would agree to testify against their mother in exchange for more lenient sentences.
Grabski, then 17, called the couple and had them stop by the office after dinner at the Patio restaurant under the guise of picking up something she needed for homework on that Thursday before Easter 2003. Fifteen-year-old Hicks, wearing dark clothing his mother furnished, was waiting when they pulled up in their Cadillac.
Hicks, 21, of Phoenix, AZ, faces a sentence of between 20 and 25 years when he is sentenced September 14. Grabski, 23, of Gary, faces an eight year sentence for assisting a criminal three days later on September 17. But the harshest sentence will go to Parker, who faces 28 to 35 years in prison for using her kids "in such a way you have jeopardized their liberty, their happiness, their livelihood."
[Orlando] Sentinel Staff Writer
An Orange circuit court judge this morning [August 19] sentenced Phillip Eugene O'Connor to 25 years in prison for raping a woman at Lake Eola .After serving time in prison, O'Connor, 24, must remain on probation for five years and register as a sexual predator, according to Orange County Circuit Court Judge Jenifer Davis. O'Connor plead guilty to the charge of sexual battery.
State prosecutors dropped the kidnapping charge against him.Orlando police said O'Connor grabbed a woman as she walked along East Central Boulevard, dragged her into the bushes and raped her on May 6. Investigators questioned O'Connor, who was homeless, after it was reported that he fit the suspect description.
Authorities matched O'Connor's DNA with DNA taken at the scene, according to court records.Records show the State Attorney's Office filed a motion for HIV testing after the victim requested it. Walter Pacheco of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report
In April 2008, on the opening night of the baseball season, Behrens took the 18-year-old high school senior and another girl to an Altoona Curve game. After the game, Behrens dropped off one girl and then pulled to the side of Decker Hollow Road in Snyder Township and began fondling his young passenger, police said.
She reported the incident to state police, and within days, Aungst, then an investigator at the Hollidaysburg barracks, interviewed Behrens. Behrens called the girl the next day, stating he was concerned about her, police said.Since the incident, Behrens said he has been attending counseling sessions with a Cambria County minister and at Family Resources of Pittsburgh.
Behrens began the counseling programs before criminal charges were filed, said his defense attorney, Terry Despoy. "I really have to commend his efforts at dealing with this problem," Despoy said after the hearing.
Court papers also stated that after the incident, "I know you must think that I'm the worst hypocrite in the world. ... I feel that way. I failed my wife, I failed my children and I failed my family."
The victim, now a college student in California, stated that she needed counseling and that the fondling "continues to haunt me. This is going to be a process of healing no matter where I am."
According to investigating state trooper Charles Aungst, the woman wanted guilt acknowledged more that a jail sentence.
This is not the first incident involving Behrens and a young person. In 1986, he was charged with indecent assault of his stepdaughter, but charges were dropped after the stepdaughter refused to testify. Behrens also faces mandatory reporting of his conviction to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania since the maximum jail term for indecent assault is more than a year.
by Jennifer Golson/The Star-Ledger
Sunday August 16, 2009, 12:30 PM
HUNTERDON COUNTY -- The mother of a mentally challenged Hunterdon County woman is suing the bus driver accused of fondling her daughter on several occasions and the man's former employer.
The complaint, filed recently in Superior Court in Flemington, accuses Califon resident Gary Sherratt, 69, of inflicting emotional distress and battery for abuse the then-28-year-old woman allegedly suffered between late 2007 and the first five months of 2008, on her way home from a job training program. Her name is being withheld by The Star-Ledger because she is an alleged victim of sexual assault.
Easton Coach Co. is accused of negligence for failing to investigate Sherratt before hiring him, according to the lawsuit filed by Phillipsburg-based attorney Edward Glynn on behalf of the victim's mother.
Easton has a contract with the county and transports individuals with disabilities, such as the alleged victim, the lawsuit states.
The victim functions on the level of a 12-year-old, Glynn said. She told her mother about the alleged abuse, and the mother notified authorities, the lawyer said.
Sherratt "basically sexually molested a mentally incompetent person," Glynn said in a telephone interview. "This happened a number of times, where he would take everybody else to their residences and drop them off, and he would have to go out of his way to do it," ensuring that the victim was the last passenger, the lawyer said.
Sherratt called the claims "absolutely false."
"I was the least likely to have done it," he said.
Sherratt was charged with one count of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, said Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Shevlin, who represented the state. Authorities narrowed the time period for the alleged assaults to between March 1 and May 28, 2008. Sherratt did not plead guilty, but he was admitted into the pretrial intervention program for two years.
Sherratt said he only applied for PTI because his lawyer advised him to, "on the assumption that it could go either way, because of the circumstances."
Joe Scott, president and chief executive officer of the company based in Easton, Pa., said company officials are aware of the situation. He declined comment on the lawsuit, saying he has not seen it.
The 7-year-old company has several public contracts working with transportation authorities or county agencies, Scott said.
Once they learned of the investigation, "our standard procedure is to take him out of service, with a complaint of that type and magnitude," he said. Sherratt was suspended with pay during the investigation, which lasted about six months.
Sherratt no longer works for the busing company, Scott said, and it is unclear what will happen after he completes the PTI program. "He's not officially terminated, but we would not employ somebody who was in that type of program," Scott said.
Easton is still the road operator for Hunterdon County's Community Transportation system, the LINK, said Pamela Pontrelli, county human services administrator. Hunterdon paid them about $2.7 million in 2008.
The victim was one of the passengers with disabilities whom Sherratt transported to a day program in Flemington, according to the lawsuit. On various occasions, he "inappropriately and illegally" touched the victim, committing battery, the lawsuit states.
The victim "sustained psychological harm and injuries, severe emotional distress and other injuries of a severe nature, requiring extensive treatment/counseling," the lawsuit says.
Easton Coach "was negligent in failing to investigate defendant, Gary Sherratt, prior to hiring him, failing to monitor his actions while on the job, failing to properly supervise him while on the job, failing to investigate him after hiring him, and was otherwise generally negligent in allowing Gary Sherratt to become involved in circumstances and settings where he was able to accomplish the illegal and improper acts," the lawsuit says.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN (AP) – 12 hours ago
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Marriott hotel chain on Monday abandoned its legal claim that a Connecticut woman raped at gunpoint in a hotel parking garage, in front of her young children, had been careless and was partly at fault.
The withdrawal followed days of backlash against Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International Inc., which had claimed in its defense of a lawsuit by the woman that she had "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities."
Her attacker is serving a 20-year prison term for the 2006 attack at the Stamford hotel.
The woman also accused Marriott in June of indirectly disclosing her and her children's identities by seeking subpoenas for her Pilates instructor, friends and tennis partners, a house cleaner, and a baby sitter.
"This was done to expose the identities of the Doe family in their community so as to intimidate them from pursuing this case, pure and simple," attorneys Paul Slager and Ernest Teitell wrote in court papers.
Marriott attorney Donald Derrico said the company was trying to determine the effect of the crime on the victim and that subpoenas have not been issued. The hotel will decide whom to subpoena on a case-by-case basis, he said.
"Her name was never, ever, ever disclosed to anyone," Derrico said.
Marriott issued a statement Friday that it was "profoundly sorry that such a terrible thing happened to the victim of this violent crime" in its parking garage. The chain said the situation has "created a mistaken impression that Marriott lacks respect" for victims of violent crimes.
Critics said the blame-the-victim defense wasn't softened by the apology.
"I thought it was despicable, disgusting and all too common," said Jessica Mindlin, a national director for the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston. "It's like a second rape."
The defense claim was made before attorneys finished taking the victim's deposition, Derrico said, "so as not to waive a potential defense." He said that Marriott officials asked his law firm to withdraw the claim in July, but that his associate had not done so because his mother died.
"We're not accusing her of anything," Derrico said.
Court papers do not indicate how the hotel planned to argue that the woman was careless, and Derrico declined to elaborate.
Gary Fricker assaulted the 40-year-old woman in her minivan at the Marriott Hotel & Spa in October 2006 in Stamford in front of her children, both younger than 7. Fricker, 56, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, risk of injury to a minor and robbery.
Her attorney read a letter in court at the time in which she said frightening situations confront her every day.
"Right after the assault, I became a zombie," the woman wrote. "I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think, I couldn't drive a car, I couldn't hold a conversation. I shut myself inside the house, spent a lot of time in the shower, first to wash myself clean and then later to have a place to cry freely, and I jumped every time the telephone rang."
Her lawsuit contends the hotel failed to take adequate security precautions, monitor the parking lot and train employees in basic security techniques. The hotel also should have known about other sexual assaults before her rape, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
The Associated Press generally does not name victims of sexual assault.
Women's advocates said Marriott's handling of the case is every rape victim's nightmare come true — and a major reason why rape remains one of the most underreported crimes, despite changes like shield laws that make a victim's sexual history irrelevant.
"The fear of being blamed for being raped is one of the most common reasons that victims of sexual assault don't come forward," said Nancy Kushins, executive director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.
Defenses that blame the victim to some extent are not uncommon, as insurance companies try to minimize their losses. But Jim Nugent, chairman of the litigation section of the Connecticut Bar Association, said doing so in this case would be odd, given the especially horrific nature of a rape witnessed by the victim's children.
"It's just not going to sit well with a jury," Nugent said. "How in the world could this poor woman contribute to that?"
Sunday, August 16, 2009
A Marion Superior Court judge Friday sentenced a repeated Peeping Tom to 12 years in prison and two years in community corrections.
William Newhouse, 51, was accused of spying into a woman'sbedroom several times from September to February in an apartment complex on Indianapolis' Far Southside. He pleaded guilty to all counts against him, including two counts of burglary, voyeurism, stalking and public indecency.
Newhouse broke into a screened-in porch adjacent to the woman's bedroom, according to charging documents.
He had three previous voyeurism or trespassing convictions, Deputy Prosecutor Eric Schmadeke said. Judge Kurt Eisgruber gave Newhouse a 24-year sentence, suspending 10 years. Newhouse also will be put on probation for three years and was ordered to get sex-offender treatment.
Legislator Loretta Butler-Turner, who drafted the bill, said the attitude that wives are subordinate to husbands has put some women at risk of violence in the socially conservative archipelago. "There is a constituency of our community that is not protected against rape," she said. "That is the bottom line."
Under current Bahamian law, a man can be charged with raping his wife only if the two are in divorce proceedings or living apart. The bill already has caused debate on radio talk shows, with some islanders saying women could file false rape charges as leverage for alimony, child support or custody. Others have said the bill contradicts traditional Christian values.
Sandra Dean-Patterson, director of a nonprofit group that provides services to victims of abuse, defended the proposal, saying such a law would be an important step forward.
"It says that our nation will no longer condone violence in the family. If you have to force your husband or your wife to be sexual, something is wrong with the relationship," she said.
The government is organizing a series of forums to get comments from the public.
The proposed law would allow a judge to decide the penalty for marital rape. People currently convicted of rape face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Placide, Moresca and the two other defendants -- Cliff Cenelien and Carl Colas, both 21 and from Stamford -- were accused of taking part in a gang rape of the victim during a night of drug use and partying. The incident began July 30, 2007, and took place over a span of 14 hours in three different houses in Stamford and Norwalk.
Cenelien and Colas each pleaded guilty to unlawful restraint under the Alford Doctrine in June 2008 and agreed to serve two years of a five-year prison sentence, followed by five years of probation.
Darnell Crosland, Placide's attorney, said his client and Moresca pled no contest due to racial factors. "They might look at the victim as a white girl from New Canaan and these Haitian men she accused. It was too much of a risk." The defendants said that the sexual encounter was consensual, but the victim, on probation for drug use, wanted an excuse to escape possible revocation.
Tice, 32, was scheduled to go to trial next week, but in an appearance before Summit County Common Pleas Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer, he pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with a gun specification and kidnapping.
On the recommendation of prosecutors, Stormer sentenced Tice to life in prison without parole possibility for 20 years for murder and an additional three years — a mandatory sentence that must run consecutively to the principal offense — for the gun specification.
Stormer also gave Tice 10 years for kidnapping, but ordered that sentence to run simultaneously to the murder charge. Charges for murder, endangering children, domestic violence, one additional count of kidnapping and other firearms specifications were dismissed in the plea bargain.
The kidnapping charge stems from the 8 hour standoff Tice had with a SWAT team, all while holding his 5 year old son. SWAT team members shot Tice in the head, but he survived. Tice's written statement in court read like this:
I hope you will find comfort and peace within your heart with God's help,'' he said, reading the statement with no visible emotion, ''and I deeply apologize for everything that I have done. I pray for God's forgiveness and guidance in everyone's lives, and may God be with us all.
Jessica Colbetzor, the victim's cousin, said that ''all of our lives will be changed forever,because you couldn't walk away and let her go." The kids, which include two daughters, ages 8 and 9, are being cared by their maternal grandmother, Sandra Fox and aunt, Mandi Hostetler.
He was charged March 30 after the Dixon woman reported she’d been sexually assaulted in the women’s room. Hernandez-Reyes, she said, had entered the restroom and advised her he wanted sex. She told police she did not know her assailant, who then punched her in the head, grabbed her by the neck and committed two forcible sex acts after she refused.
The victim was soon found by an unidentified motorist who stopped a Mendota police squad car and reported the crime. A short time later, armed with a cursory description of the man, La Salle County sheriff's deputies spotted the 6 foot-tall, 200-pound Hernandez walking south on Route 251 near North 39th Road and took him into custody.
Prosecutors said Friday that Hernandez-Reyes confessed to the crime. A DNA match between victim and assailant further corroborated the sexual assault.Public defender Tim Cappellini declined to comment on Friday’s disposition.
Theoretically, Hernandez-Reyes is scheduled for decades of mandatory supervised release, but more likely, he'll be deported, as he had an immigration hold even before the rape.
According to police reports, the victim and her husband, Robert Linnear, went to Kizart's St. Paul apartment to confront Kizart about a STD which she infected Bob with. Bob passed the STD on to Jennifer. The victim, got out of the car and started yelling at Kizart before being fatally stabbed by the perpetrator.
Shon Cannon read the victim impact statement before sentencing.
I had the honor and pleasure of loving my cousin for 26 years but her children will not. ... Their mother was not taken from them due to an ailment, accident or surgery that went wrong, but by murder.
Jennifer did not live a life that was flawless or of luxury, but she would give a family member or stranger whatever she had, and most importantly her children. Her children were the center of her joy and her reason for trying to improve in life.
District Judge James H. Clark also fined Kizart $1000 and ordered restitution.
Counts dropped as part of Pluff's July 27 plea agreement include 2 counts of 1st degree criminal sex act, a count of 1st degree unlawful imprisonment, another count of 2nd degree assault, and 2 counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Pluff, who has a previous sex-related felony conviction, admitted last month that at 2 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2008, he was riding on the path just south of 102nd Street when he knocked the woman off her bike and attacked her. He then bound and raped her.
Investigators said they were aided by the fact that Pluff left his red, white and blue 20-inch mountain-style bike and some of his clothes at the scene.
Pictures of the bike released to the media and DNA from the clothes helped Troy Detective Sgts. Ron Epstein and Brian Owens capture Pluff, said District Attorney Richard McNally.
After the attack, the woman was able to run away and call police.
The victim impact statement included these words from the woman who was attacked.
''I just took a simple bike ride on a beautiful sunny day that turned into a nightmare. There is now a scar on my soul I will carry forever. I feel sad for you that you were never taught how to be a real man.
Joseph Thurura, a Kenyan immigrant, was convicted of 2nd degree rape in a sexual assault on a 45 year old developmentally disabled woman who had been previously victimized. Thurura was found guilty in a bench trial Thursday, July 16 after the victim miscarried the baby Thurura had with her.
DNA samples were taken from 11 men who had access to the victim at the Kent, WA assisted living facility where Thurura was supposed to care for the victim. The victim is blind and mute, and is legally incapable of consent. King County Superior Court Judge Richard McDermott presided over the trial, and will sentence him to between 6 1/2 and 8 1/2 years in prison at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent August 14.
Thurura was sentenced to 8 1/2 years to life yesterday. The victim's mother spoke out on behalf of her daughter, who has the developmental capacitiy of an 11 month old girl.
"[She] was tortured and raped repeatedly over a long period of time in her own home -- in her own bed. I believe that Mr. Thurura should be removed from society so that other human beings can be safe from him."
King County Superior Court Judge Richard McDermott said that "If I could send you, Mr. Thurura, to twice the amount of time, or three times the amount of time, I would do so in a heartbeat...It is difficult for me, as a judge sitting here, to conceive of a more heinous offense. You took advantage of and violated one of the most vulnerable members of our society."
After the 8 1/2 years are up, the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board will review the sentence, ultimately deciding how much more time he has to serve. If Thurura is released, he'll have to register as a sex offender. In Washington, rape resulting in pregnancy only results in aggravation when the victim is a child, not when the victim is an adult, even in severely disabled. In other states, pregnancy is an aggravating factor in rape sentencing.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Suburban Columbus, OH man pleas no contest to raping prostitute, attempt on another - sentenced to 2 decades
Edwin Zimmerman, 46 of Madison County, OH, was convicted of rape and attempted rape after a plea deal in a case which involved 2 prostitutes. The prostitutes, based on the west side of Columbus, OH, were abducted for sexual purposes. Zimmerman claimed to he had sex with 800 prostitutes, and that he had been a john in that area since 2001.
One said she was grabbed by a man with a knife in a white van on Sullivant Avenue at 3 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2007, and forced to perform sex acts near Rickenbacker Airport, Assistant County Prosecutor Christopher Brown said. She was threatened with a butcher knife and left on a roadside.
A month later, a woman told London police that she willingly got into Zimmerman's van along W. Broad Street but immediately felt uncomfortable and asked to be dropped off. She was instead driven to Zimmerman's house in London. He demanded sex, but she sprayed a chemical irritant in his face and escaped.
A DNA sample from the first victim was a match for Zimmerman, who was arrested in July 2008 after a high-speed chase by police.
Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard A. Frye dropped abduction and kidnapping charges in exchange for the Alford (no contest) plea of the sexual charges. Zimmerman faces as much as 28 years in prison when sentenced July 2. Police have not found any other victims in this case so far.
(Update 8-13-09) Zimmerman tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye upheld his pleas, finding that the perp had adequate legal representation. Judge Frye sentenced Zimmerman to 20 years without parole, a $35,000 fine, and a lifetime as a sexual predator on Ohio's sex offender list.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Hurricane police officer charged with sexual assault on duty sentenced to 60 days jail, 3 years probation
Nathan Amosa, a 24 year old police officer from Hurricane, UT, was charged with coercing sex from a woman by threatening to cite her for child neglect to obtain sexual favors from his alleged victim. He was on call when he allegedly coerced her into letting him fondle her and perform a sex act.
"Amosa stated that he used his authority and the threat of a citation for child neglect in order to obtain sexual favors from the victim," Washington County sheriff's officials stated.
[He] was charged in 5th District Court in St. George on Monday with forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony; and two counts of second-degree felony forcible sex abuse. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.
Hurricane police received a complaint of officer misconduct on Friday, and Amosa was placed on administrative leave. The Washington County Sheriff's Office conducted a criminal investigation, and the case was forwarded to the county attorney's office.
Amosa pleaded no contest to custodial sexual relations, a 3rd degree felony, today. Judge James Shumate of Utah's 5th District Court sentenced Amosa to up to 5 years in prison, the standard sentence for a 3rd degree felony. The sentence mandates that Amosa spend 60 days in the Washington County Jail and 3 years probation. Amosa was also ordered to stay away from the victim and not go within 500 yards of her or her residence.
Amosa was originally charged with forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, and two counts of second degree-felony forcible sex abuse. He entered the no-contest plea after negotiations with prosecutors, his defense attorney and the victim.
According to the probable-cause statement filed with the charges, Amosa admitted to "coercing the victim into oral sex," and said he fondled her and put his mouth on her breasts. He "used his authority and the threat of a citation for child neglect" to gain the sexual favors, the document said.
Prosecutor Ryan Shaum, Adult Probation and Parole's pre sentence report, and Amosa's attorney Gary Pendelton agreed to the sentence. Shaum stated that due to the difficulty of proving whether the sex act was coercive or not, "If Mr. Amosa was not in law enforcement, I don't think we'd be here for sentencing for anything."
The victim told investigators Amosa was at her house and on duty when she was assaulted.
The victim was "distraught" when she talked to investigators, telling them she thought she had to comply with Amosa because "he was in uniform and had a gun," according to court documents.
The victim, her father, and their lawyer, Brandon Simmons, appeared for sentencing. The victim's letter said in part, "I always trusted the police and their integrity, until he entered my home and took that trust away."
The victim's father said about the 60 day sentence, "I don't think he got what he deserved."
Lisa Glide plead guilty in a New Brunswick, NJ courtroom June 2 to the sexual abuse of a 17 year old student she had a relationship with. The 35 year old former Old Bridge High School drama teacher agreed in Superior Court Judge Frederick De Vesa's courtroom to mental health counseling, to no unsupervised contact with boys, and to give up her teaching license and any other chance of public employment in New Jersey.
Glide faces up to 364 days in the Middlesex County Jail and 5 years probation when she is sentenced in August. Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua stated the 17 year old victim was agreeing to the plea deal so he would not have to testify at a trial.
Glide, who organized the high school's plays, was arrested in December. She began teaching at the high school in September 2004 and was suspended after her arrest. The relationship with the student took place between February and May of last year.
Before working for Old Bridge, Glide was employed with the Marlboro Township schools from 2001 to 2004, and worked for Jersey City schools from 2000 to 2001, authorities said. She began her teaching career as a substitute in Weehawken in 1999 and 2000.
She was earning $50,943 annually as a teacher in Old Bridge. She majored in theater at Montclair State University and studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.
In a December 2005 article in The Suburban, a weekly newspaper in Old Bridge, Glide said she appeared on the soap operas "One Life to Live" and "All My Children," and was on an episode of the television drama, "Dawson's Creek." She gave the interview after directing the high school's production of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite."
In New Jersey, the usual AOC is 16, but rises to 18 when a teacher/student relationship is involved. Even after 18, teacher/student sex can be punished by criminal official misconduct charges.
(Update 8-12-09) On Monday, August 10, Glide was sentenced to 5 years probation by Superior Court Judge Frederick De Vesa. While the Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua wanted 364 days in jail, De Vesa cited depression and cancer that Glide suffered from as factors in the lack of incarceration. Two mental health professionals stated that a term of incarceration for Glide could be life threatening.
Another factor in leniency included a letter from the victim, who is now a college sophomore. He stated that the incident "was blown out of proportion."
The victim said "I was 17 1/2 at the time and very able to take care of myself," and added he did not feel as if he was a victim. In fact, he said "I was the initiator," and admitted Glide refused his advances, but he pursued her, even looking up her address on the Internet and making an unannounced visit to her home.
Bevacqua's push for the maximum sentence was because "it is against the law for teachers to have sex with their students...it was her burden to stop this. She was the adult in this situation."
Glide is not only barred from teaching, but also barred from any public sector job in New Jersey.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
"I cannot stress enough that when using social networking sites, use extreme caution," said Staff Sgt. Brian Readman, of the sex crimes unit.
Police said the attacks began July 29, with the string of violence continuing until 6 a.m. yesterday, about six hours before a tactical squad arrested their suspect. All four victims -- ranging in age from 20 to 44 -- met their attacker online, either on a social networking or dating website. Usually, they chatted with their new cyber pal for a few days before feeling comfortable enough to meet him in person.
In three of the cases, police said, the victims were lured to remote areas of Mill Woods. The fourth woman was victimized in a residence. Sometimes, the culprit used a weapon. Some of the victims were treated at hospital for minor injuries.
"(The predator) specially groomed the victims, establishing a certain level of comfort with the victims prior to the meetings, which were definitely for a criminal purpose," Readman said.
"The occurrences were a result of the suspect deliberately connecting with women on social networking sites."
Police first tried arresting their top suspect early Monday, but he escaped during a foot chase. A tactical unit tracked him down about noon yesterday near 44 Avenue and 77 Street.
"We arrested an individual we believe is responsible for assaulting four women since last week," Readman told reporters.
The 22-year-old man's name has not yet been released, but police said he faces a number of charges. He was also wanted on an immigration warrant. Police wouldn't say where he's from but believe he's been in the Edmonton area since last year.
This wasn't the first time cyber friendships have turned violent. Last year, police said, two men were lured to a south Edmonton garage hoping to meet a mystery woman they had been chatting with online. One of the men escaped. The other, Johnny Altinger, was never found.
In those cases, St. Albert filmmaker Mark Twitchell was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.