Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Former supply officer for Navy SEALS gets 25 years in wife's murder

An ex-Navy officer who beat his wife to death after she threatened to expose his homosexual conduct with other men was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for 1st degree murder. The 41 year old Michael Lee Everage was sentenced yesterday to the jury-recommended 25 years in prison for beating his wife Robyn to death.

Robyn was killed February 20, 2007, when Michael reported her missing from their Virginia Beach, VA home. Her body was found the next day, next to her SUV. She was 41 when she was murdered. Prosecutors said the motive was that Robyn threatened to expose her husband's gay affair after she learned that he had a second affair with her female friend. Robyn could accept the same sex conduct, but not so much the straight affair.

During a two-week trial in December, authorities said Everage beat his wife to death with a side-view truck mirror, loaded her body into her Toyota Sequoia and drove from their Norfolk home to Shore Drive. He parked the SUV along the shoulder and dragged her body into the woods, staging the scene to appear as if Robyn had gotten out of her vehicle and been hit by a passing truck.

A medical examiner testified she had been struck repeatedly in the back of the head.

Everage's sentencing hearing was delayed for months after his attorneys filed motions for a mistrial and for the judge to set aside the verdict. The motions followed a Virginian-Pilot article that revealed an inmate who testified Everage had confessed to him in jail also had offered to testify in other high-profile cases.

"It's like a dark cloud that never lifts," Robyn's mother, Karen Taylor, said. "I wish we could erase the month of February from the rest of our lives."

Speaking directly to Everage, Taylor said her daughter never would have disclosed his gay affair to Navy officials. Robyn felt betrayed, but she wouldn't have ruined her husband's career because doing so would have hurt their young daughter, as well as Everage's two sons from a previous marriage, her mother said. "She was killed for nothing."

Robyn's brother, Rod Taylor, also took the witness stand. He chastised Everage, describing him as a coward and a hypocrite for leading Bible study sessions in jail. "You lived a selfish life," he told Everage, "and the death of my sister was the ultimate selfish act."

The presiding judge in the case was Circuit Judge Stephen C. Mahan. Everage plans to appeal the conviction.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Self-described "rape hound" declared dangerous offender by Canadian court

Chris Thompson, The Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, September 26, 2009

A self-described "rape hound" must be put away indefinitely to protect the public, a dangerous offender hearing heard in final arguments Friday.

"One cannot command the public safety being protected without some sort of supervision of Mr. (Jeffrey) Bastien for the rest of his life," said assistant Crown attorney Gary Nikota.

Bastien, 33, a repeat sexual offender, has been the subject of a dangerous offender hearing that has been sitting periodically since February 2008. The conviction that led to the dangerous offender application occurred in May 2006, when Bastien was found guilty of breaking into a teenage girl's home, sexually assaulting her, striking her and threatening her.

In the midst of the attack the Grade 11 student had the presence of mind to dial 911, while Bastien's attention was elsewhere. Police responded to the call and arrested Bastien within minutes.

Nikota told Superior Court Justice Terry Patterson that Bastien has a history of sexual deviance, impulsivity, substance abuse and a predilection for violence.

"He has an utter lack of empathy, an utter lack of understanding of the enormity of his conduct. He has no understanding that he could permanently scar these women's lives."

Nikota recapped the series of sexual crimes that recur in his criminal record, many of them committed shortly after being released from prison. "This is an individual who shows violent antisocial disposition. It is part and parcel of his soul, it would seem."

Bastien's lawyer Brian Dube said his client should not be declared a dangerous offender and should instead be sentenced to six years for the sexual assault.

"The number one thing, I think, is whether Mr. Bastien's underlying disorders are treatable or not treatable," said Dube.

He recalled a brief time when Bastien was being held at the Ontario Regional Treatment Centre in Kingston when his behaviour was kept under control.Dube recounted how Bastien was struck by a car at the age of five and suffered serious head trauma.

He referred to a number of other cases where people were declared dangerous offenders who were extremely clever, cunning, manipulative and evil. Dube said Bastien doesn't fall into that category because of his diminished mental capacity. "It's really a punishment of last resort."

(Update 11-21-09) Bastien, the self-described "rape hound," was put away indefinately by Canadian Superior Court Justice Terry Patterson on Wednesday, November 18. In Canada, dangerous offenders are detained indefinately, with review at the 7 year point and every two years thereafter. According to Justice Patterson, “There is a high likelihood that Mr. Bastien will not contain his sexual urges and will reoffend- There is a substantial permanent risk to the community.”

During 37 days of testimony over 21 months, Patterson heard from psychiatrist after psychiatrist who said Bastien suffers from mental illness, sexual deviancy and drug dependency. He attacks even when chemically castrated and his crimes show a troubling pattern of increasingly violent behaviour toward women. Patterson concluded Bastien, who suffered a head injury as a child and has a low IQ, needs 24-hour supervision and can’t be managed in the community.

Bastien has racked up 43 criminal convictions. In the past 15 years, he has had only one day of freedom, being on probation, in jail or in a psychiatric hospital for his entire adult life. Every time he is released from custody, he commits a new crime, often within hours.

A mother was attacked in a downtown Windsor, ON parking lot on the first day of her new job March 29, 1999. She had finished working when Bastien knocked her to the ground and groped her through her underwear. She escaped only because she punched Bastien in the head. She did it because “You think you’re going to get raped. You’re going to die. All I could think was who’s going to take care of my children.”

On Oct. 10, 2000, in Toronto, on the very day he was released from custody for the parking garage attack, Bastien grabbed a woman on the street, put her in a headlock and tossed her into a concrete flowerpot. Minutes before the unprovoked attack, Bastien had been in a Business Depot store, groping female customers on the buttocks.

Three weeks to the day of his release from Millbrook prison where he was in custody for the Toronto attack, Bastien was back in Windsor. He attacked three women in and around the same casino parking garage where he attacked his first victim two years earlier. He grabbed one woman’s breasts, simulated intercourse with a second woman and knocked a third to the ground, shoving his hands down her pants. He made himself out to be the victim, because the third woman bit his fingers when he forced them into her mouth.

Bastien was denied parole twice after bragging about his rape fantasies of pulling female guards through his prison cell. After he was released, he tried to grope a woman caseworker assigned to help him. May 5, 2006 marked the last day of freddom for Bastien, as he showed up, naked from the waist down in a teen girl's home. He followed her to her bedroom and beat her. She called 911, which recorded the attack, including the girl's screams.

“He has chosen to carry out increasingly violent offences against women. There is no other way to protect the public but a dangerous offender designation,” said Assistant Crown Attorney Gary Nikota.

The first parking lot victim, who still fears going alone to lots, said that “It breaks my heart that it happened over and over again. If they don’t keep him locked up, he’ll do this again and again, woman after woman.”

Adulterous husband gets life without parole for murdering wife to retain mistress

A Lancaster, PA funeral director was sentenced to life without parole for murdering his wife, the mother of his four kids, because he wanted to be with his latest mistress without divorcing. 42 year old Michael Roseboro was sentenced to life without parole, the mandatory sentence for 1st degree murder in Pennsylvania, yesterday.

On Friday, Lancaster County Judge James P. Cullen handed down the sentence to the murder of 45 year old Jan Roseboro, found beaten, strangled and drowned in their backyard swimming pool July 22, 2008. Police zeroed in on Roseboro after police discovered his relationship with mistress Angela Funk. Both Funk and Roseboro were married to others, and met for trysts, discussions of weddings, and their honeymoon, but never planned to divorce their spouses. Funk discovered she was pregnant with Roseboroès child the day he was arrested for 1st degree murder.

But the prosecutor, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, said he had several things he wanted to say:

"What stands out to me is the selfishness and senselessness of this crime," Stedman began."This murder should not have happened. We should not be here...He was extremely fortunate to marry a woman who everyone loved and liked....And rather than divorce his wife, Stedman said, Roseboro decided to kill her. He stripped four children of their mother.

Steadman also said that unlike a gunshot, which is a quick, even though not always painless murder method, Roseboro chose to strangle, beat, and drown his wife, a process which could have been stopped at any time.

Judge Cullen let Roseboro stay in the Lancaster County Prison for 10 days to discuss his appeal. He also ordered Roseboro to pay $25,112 restitution to his four kids, currently being raised by their aunt.

Estranged husband sentence to life without parole for rape-slaying of wife

A Kansas man who raped, then smothered his estranged wife to death was sentenced to life without parole Thursday. Jerome Overstreet, 52, was sentenced after six hours of jury deliberation in the murder of his 51 year old wife Vicki, who he met while he was serving time in prison. Vicki was found dead in her Euless, TX apartment on November 12, 2007 after her grown son hadn't heard from her. The grown son, Lamont Webb, and Vicki's parents came to the trial from Kansas.

Although witnesses testified that Jerome Overstreet physically abused his wife during their 11-year marriage, he had visited her several times in Euless and had made another trip there to reconcile with her the weekend she died. Authorities believe that Jerome Overstreet killed her because she changed her mind about reconciling.

Questioned about his wife’s murder, Jerome Overstreet denied even being in Euless the weekend she died, Foran said.

But investigators obtained cellphone records, a Kroger surveillance tape and store receipts placing the defendant within a mile of his wife’s apartment shortly after she was last seen, Foran said.

Forensic experts also matched carpet fibers, glitter and beads found in a vacuum canister in Jerome Overstreet’s Wichita home to carpet from his wife’s apartment and glitter and beads from her clothing, he said.

And DNA experts matched Jerome Overstreet’s semen to that found on the carpet in his wife’s apartment, Foran said.

According to Steven King, Jerome's lawyer, the DNA evidence could be explained by the attempted reconciliation of the victim and the suspect. Because prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty, the only possible sentence was life without parole, introduced by Texas in 2006.

Minimum sentence raised to 15 from 10 years for killer

The Alberta Court of Appeal has hiked the parole ineligibility for an Edmonton man serving life in prison for cutting up his estranged wife's face and killing her boyfriend after finding them in bed.

In a decision released Ŵednesday, September 23ç, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled the sentencing judge had erred in giving killer Kham Tran, 45, a "demonstrably unfit" sentence by handing him a life term with no chance of parole for 10 years. Instead, the three-judge panel ordered that Tran must serve at least 15 years before being eligible for parole.

"Given the nature of the offence and the circumstances of this murder, a 10-year period of parole ineligibility is demonstrably unfit," says the written decision.

"The deceased was stabbed 37 times. He crawled from the bedroom to escape. (Tran) kicked him. (Tran) also placed a knife in the deceased's hand, presumably to infer that the deceased had attacked (him).

"We also conclude that the sentencing judge erred when she failed to consider the other offences as aggravating factors. (Tran) was convicted of aggravated assault on his estranged wife. He sliced her face from ear to jaw and deep to the bone, and she is permanently disfigured. He told her that she would no longer be beautiful. He threatened to kill her children. These were separate offences and ought to have been considered as aggravating."

In 2006, Tran was sentenced to nearly nine years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault for the Feb. 10, 2004, slaying.

However, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the manslaughter conviction and instead substituted a conviction for second-degree murder. The appeal court ruled the trial judge had erred in accepting a defence of provocation and was mistaken when she found Tran had been provoked by the "insult" of catching his naked wife in bed with another man.

The case was sent back to the same judge for sentencing and she gave Tran a life term with no parole for 10 years. At trial, court heard Tran and his wife had been separated for months, he had already suspected his wife of being in a relationship and had said he knew who the man was.

Court heard Tran stabbed An Quoc Tran, a 41-year-old father of four who is not related, 37 times and sliced the face and hands of his estranged wife, Hoa Le Duong, 38. Duong testified she and An Tran were napping after having sex when they heard someone open the door and then Kham Tran was scratching An's face and kicking him.

She said he punched her and tried to claw out her eyeballs and then ran out and returned with two butcher knives as the terrified pair tried to grab their clothes.
Duong said her estranged husband stabbed her boyfriend in the chest and then came over to her and chopped her hand several times and grabbed her by the face.

"He said, 'Are you beautiful,' and he cut my face," she said, adding he then followed An Tran to the living room and repeatedly stabbed and kicked him.

Postal worker charged in 4th rape

A mailman accused of being a serial rapist was charged with a 4th attack on a female Wednesday, September 23. 41 year old Tommie Naylor of the 7900 block of S. Yale Av, Chicago was charged with 2 counts of criminal sexual assault and a single count of kidnapping for an attack November 1, 2008. In that attack, Naylor and two other assailants forced a woman into a car and drove her to a location on Chicago's Southwest side where she was raped.

Naylor was being held on other rape charges in Cook COunty Jail and was brought to a local police station for questioning in the 2008 case after his DNA turned up.

In the original cases, Naylor abducted his victims as they were walking outside, forced them into his black SUV, drove them to a secluded location and threatened them with a weapon or displayed one as he raped them, Stevens said.

In one incident on July 4, 2005, Naylor allegedly offered to help a teen who was crying in the streets at 3 a.m., looking for a police station to report she had been raped. He ended up choking the 16-year-old girl, saying "he was sorry and hoped God would forgive him" before proceeding to sexually assault her in his car at West 93rd and South Racine Avenue, according to prosecutors at his bond hearing.

Police are looking for the other two suspects. Kidnapping carries a 6 to 30 year prison sentence, and criminal sexual assault carries a 4 to 15 year sentence in Illinois.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Milwaukee's North Side Strangler suspect pleads "Not Guilty"

Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler, allegedly Walter E. Ellis, was arraigned during his preliminary hearing yesterday. His not guilty plea to the seven counts of 1st degree intentional homicide came after a preliminary hearing during which Ellis’ DNA match with the killer’s and the strangulation death of all seven women, played a crucial role in the state’s argument that Ellis should be tried for the murders.

The preliminary hearing featured a parade of 18 current and retired Milwaukee police detectives who testified about the crime scenes, the gathering of DNA evidence and its transport to the State Crime Laboratory.

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Christopher Happy testified that the cause of death in each case was strangulation.

The state moved into evidence reports from the lab that matched DNA from the crime scenes to DNA taken from Ellis' cheeks on Sept. 8 after he had been arrested.

At the end of testimony, Ellis' attorney, Russell J.A. Jones, requested that the case be dismissed because the only evidence offered was that Ellis' DNA was found at the crime scenes - along with DNA from other men, in some instances. At best, Jones said, the state showed that Ellis had sex with six of the victims. In one case, his DNA was on a small can of pepper spray found under the victim.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams argued that it was not a coincidence or an accident that Ellis' DNA was found on or near all seven victims, over a 21-year period, and that all had died by virtually the same manner. Williams said the "only reasonable inference" was that Ellis committed the crimes.

Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet ordered Ellis bound over for a May trial and also ordered no contact with his “girlfriend,” Tressie Johnson by any means except through his attorney. Johnson was arrested with Ellis September 5, but released a few days later.

Among the many relatives attending the preliminary hearing were Florence McCormick’s father and daughter. After detectives showed that she was found tied to a utility tub in a basement, nude except for a pair of socks because the killer had stuffed her underwear and pants down her mouth, they cried, recovering enough to give the following statements:

"I'm upset that he said 'not guilty,' but I'm glad they're putting him on trial," "I'm upset that he said 'not guilty,' but I'm glad they're putting him on trial," said Korona Richmond, whose mother, Florence McCormick, was murdered in 1995.

"What I want to know is, why did he kill my daughter?" asked Cornelius Thomas, after the hearing produced no hint of that answer.

Irene Smith’s older brother Sammy said "It's like a dream come true but like a nightmare all over again. It's like bringing her funeral back to the surface. I don't know how to deal with it, if I should be happy, sad, mad . . . I'm glad the killer's no longer on the streets. Who knows when he was going to kill next?"

Smith was killed in the fall of 1992 after Ellis bribed his way out of a halfway house, according to prosecutors.

Peeper sentenced to 48 - 96 years for brutally raping graduate student

A convicted peeper was sentenced to 48 to 96 years in a Pennsylvania prison for an attack on a Penn State graduate student. The repeat criminal defendant, 32 year old Michael Kuhn, attacked a then 36 year old woman after breaking into her State College, PA apartment on July 4, 2007. Judge Thomas King Kistler stated that the attack could have resulted in loss of life if there wans’t prompt medical attention. “She was bound, helpless and the rape was of a particularly brutal nature. But for the fortuitous circumstances that (she) was able to get immediate care, she may have perished.”

She testified that she awoke that morning to the smell of blood pouring from her head onto her pillow. She was tied up, raped three times and then beaten with a metal object before she was able to run for help.

At trial, a sexual assault nurse who worked in the field 20 years said this woman’s case was by far the worst she’d ever seen. Prosecutor Nathan Boob passionately asked that the maximum sentence allowed in this case — 60 to 120 years — be imposed on Kuhn.

He counted several factors, including a story the victim told at trial, about how she was so traumatized she couldn’t even walk to a gas station. He also highlighted that Kuhn attacked a complete stranger in her own bed, showed her “no mercy” and then showed “no remorse.”

“The defendant’s actions were brutal, atrocious, barbaric and reflect a mind that acts without fear of social consequence,” Boob said.

Boob also brought up the defendant’s 17 year criminal history and lack of change, stating that Pennsylvania’s non prison criminal sanctions have failed for Kuhn.

“Nothing has worked with this defendant,” Boob said. “We have tried fines and costs, ARD, probation, he has been given the chance of in-home detention, he’s been on parole. None of these attempts by the criminal justice system were able to prevent this horrific event. In fact, the defendant was on parole when he committed this crime.”

The woman’s victim impact statement, delivered via webcam to the courtroom, said, “This person needs to be put away for a very long time, if not forever. I need to put this to rest, too. I need to know that he’s behind bars when I’m 60 years old. I would have a fear of him knowing how to find me when he gets out. ... This is something I will have to tell my children about ... This is something I am working through.”

The crime that Kuhn was on parole from was peeping and videotaping a woman as she undressed. After parole was revoked, Kuhn was sentenced to 29 months. Police linked Kuhn to the rape through his involvement with the voyeurism counts.

Boob stated that “Even after committing this heinous act, Mr. Kuhn was not satisfied with his desire. He went further and started to victimize more people. It is clear in my mind that Mr. Kuhn presents a substantial danger to any woman he comes across in his life. The only fortunate thing in this case is that Mr. Kuhn has been caught ... and we have the opportunity to stop this from ever happening again.”

The father of the peeping victim stated to Boob, “I prepared my daughter for everything I could I tried to teach her right from wrong. I tried to make sure she was safe. But the one thing you can never prepare a child for are the likes of Michael Kuhn.”

The sentence breaks down as follows:

Attempted murder of the first-degree: 10 to 20 years.
Rape: 9 to 18 years.
Rape: 9 to 18 years.
Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse: 9 to 18 years.
Burglary: 4 to 8 years.
Aggravated assault: 5 to 10 years.
Terroristic threats: 1 to 2 years.
False imprisonment: 1 to 2 years.

An additional 24 counts for which the jury convicted Michael Kuhn were merged for sentencing purposes.

Besides the prison sentence, Kuhn will have to pay $6500 in restution for victim expenses, and if released, will have to register under Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Philly police impersonator sentenced to 25 to 50 years for multiple rapes, kidnappings

A South Philadelphia man who raped and kidnapped prostitutes was sentenced to a 25 to 50 year sentence for the attacks between September 2007 and January 2008. 42 year old Salvatore Longo was able to lure his victims by posing as a police officer, then attacking. Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Rayford A. Means heard Longo's plea agreement which stipulated that he would serve 25 to 50 years if he plead guilty to all six assaults.

[Assistant District Attorney Carolyn]Naylor said Longo admitted raping and kidnapping five of the six victims. One escaped from his car. He was also charged with attempted murder for putting a plastic bag over one victim's head. Naylor said the woman escaped suffocating by chewing a hole in the bag.

Authorities said the six women worked as prostitutes and were stopped by Longo as he cruised South Philadelphia and Kensington in his red 2001 Pontiac Grand Am.

The women got into Longo's car believing he wanted sex. Instead, authorities said, Longo identified himself as police, showed a bogus badge, and handcuffed them in the back of the car.

Longo then drove the victims to a secluded location where he sexually assaulted them, sometimes at gunpoint, police said.

Police arrested Longo about a week after the abduction of a 20-year-old woman about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 30, 2008, as she walked near Kensington Avenue and Westmoreland Street.The woman was handcuffed and sexually assaulted in the back of the car on Front Street under I-95 in South Philadelphia. She escaped and alerted residents.

While Longo was sentenced Monday, his Megan's Law sex offender assessment was not, meaning that his restriction after prison and sex offendr reporting requirements are still up in the air.

Frederick, MD man gets 7 years for raping mother's friend

A Frederick, MD man was sentenced to a 7 year sentence Tuesday, September 23 for the rape of his mother's friend, distraught over the recent breakup with a boyfriend. According to the presiding judge, only the victim's request for leniency prevented the now 23 year old Corey Andrew Bailey from being sentenced to the maximum sentence for 2nd degree rape in Maryland, 20 years.

Judge G Edward Dwyer Jr. stated that the victim was vulnerable and that "she had gone to your mother ... and you took advantage of her. Fortunately for you, but for her request, you would be spending a longer period of time in prison. If you violate probation, you'll be facing 13 more years."

The afternoon of Feb. 25, Bailey visited the woman after learning she was upset about an argument with her boyfriend, according to testimony Tuesday in Frederick County Circuit Court.

While sharing a 12-pack of beer, Bailey told the woman, "Anyone would be lucky to have you," the woman told police, Angel said in court Tuesday. She declined his offer of a kiss on the neck, telling him "she only wanted a friend," [Maryland Assistant State's Attorney Lindell K.] Angel said.

Fatigued, the woman fell asleep on the couch. She woke up to the sex assault, Angel said. He ignored her when she told him to stop and hit him with her fist.

The victim did not attend the sentencing even though she arranged the plea agreement because according to Angel, "The victim is very, very anxious. She did not want to face him."

Bailey will face 3 years of post release supervision after release from prison. He is ordered not to contact the victim, stay drug and alcohol free, and register as a violent sex offender.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dru Sjodin's killer's appeal of federal death sentence denied

By JAMES WALSH, Star Tribune

Last update: September 22, 2009 - 8:04 PM
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. still is slated to become the first Minnesota resident to die by execution since the state abolished the death penalty in 1911.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the Crookston man's federal conviction in the 2003 kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin and rejected arguments to overturn his death sentence.

In a 77-page opinion, the panel voted 2-1 to affirm the death penalty and ruled that Rodriguez received a fair trial. As part of its opinion, the court ruled that the prosecutor's arguments during consideration of the death penalty did not prejudice jurors.

But appellate Judge Michael Melloy dissented, saying the prosecutor's statements to the jury may have led jurors to believe that a death sentence was their only choice. Melloy said he would have returned the case to federal court for a new penalty phase.

Defense attorney Richard Ney said Tuesday that Melloy's opinion shows there remain valid grounds to overturn Rodriguez's death sentence.

"We, of course, were disappointed on the whole of the decision. But we're gratified that Judge Melloy would have reversed the death penalty based on prosecutorial misconduct. He would have overturned the death penalty," Ney said. "It is astounding that we could put a man to death based on a 2-1 opinion."

Lynn Jordheim, acting U.S. attorney for North Dakota, said the fact remains that the Appeals Court affirmed Rodriguez's conviction and sentence. "The defense will be taking further steps, but that was anticipated no matter what was the opinion [Tuesday]," Jordheim said. "We will address their arguments whenever they file."

Ney said attorneys generally have 14 days to appeal to the full 11-member Appeals Court for consideration, but more time is given in death penalty cases. He said he anticipates taking a couple of months to prepare for that step

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Man chokes baby's mama, released on $5000 bond

A suburban New Orleans man was charged with strangling the mother of his child in front of the child. 35 year old Oscar Moya was charged with domestic abuse by strangulation and disturbing the peace by drunkenness after police were called to their Kenner, LA house.

The responding officer saw the victim and her daughter standing on the side of the road, crying. The red marks and scratches found on the woman were consistent with strangling, according to the responding officer. Moya was yelling and reeking of alcohol, according to Kenner police. Moya was released on $5000 bond Tuesday, September 15.

Taxpayers will pay for defense of Davie, FL police officer charged with rape of girl

A Davie, FL police officer will be granted legal aid for his upcoming trial, according to his attorney. Stephen Olenchak, 35, plead not guilty to sexual battery, however due to his suspesion without pay from the Davie Police Department, taxpayers will be footing his defense. According to this report, the girl was between 12 and 18, and ironically, happened after the threesome was watching the HBO series "Big Love."

According to the arrest report, the victim told investigators Olenchak brought his wife a drink before going to bed on March 22. After his wife fell asleep, he brought the victim something to drink. At the time, police said they were investigating whether the drinks were spiked with drugs.

According to the report, Olenchak then fondled and had intercourse with the victim, who said she did not consent and was not coherent enough to call out to Olenchak's wife for help.

Olenchak, an 11-year veteran, was put on administrative leave without pay on May 13, town records show. He will remain on leave pending the outcome of the case.

"He is innocent of what he is accused of doing - He has a spotless record as a Davie police officer" said his attorney."

Buffalo man sentenced to 19 years for manslaughter of wife

A Buffalo man was sentenced to 19 years for killing his wife last January. Akhmed Burnell strangled his wife, 28 year old Akia, in January , hiding her body in a closer. When police were called to Burnell's home to investigate a drug overdose, they found Akia's body.

Burnell, 33, was apologetic and insisted he regretted what he described as her accidental death as they argued. She died of asphyxiation. He previously pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter after a Erie County grand jury indicted him in April on one count of second-degree [murder].

Women relatives of the victim questioned whether Akia's death was accidental, noting that her body was deliberately his in a closet. They also noted that her funeral was closed casket.

Diver charged in death of wife off of Great Barrier Reef has sentenced increased to 1 1/2 years in prison - Alabama seeks to try him

(Original Post 6-23-08)
Gabe Watson, 31, will be placed on trial for the drowning death of his wife of 11 days, Christina "Tina" Watson, 26 when she drowned off the shipwreck Yongala, located in the Great Barrier Reef off the Australian coast back in October 2003. The beginning of the trip took place 2 days after their wedding.

Gabe said that hid bride appeared to panic, and afterwards, he "looked into her eyes and saw her eyes were wide open, but there was no response."

However [Townsville Coroner David]Glascow, however, cited what he said were inconsistencies in Watson's statements to investigators. The coroner said he was "unable to conclude that Tina's death was an accidental drowning."

As possible evidence for the husband's motive, Glascow pointed to a statement by the woman's father that Watson asked her to maximize her life insurance and make him the beneficiary shortly before the wedding.

The insurance company confirmed that Gabe Watson inquired about her life insurance policy after her death, the coroner said.The coroner noted that Watson, through his lawyers, contended that police had made a judgment that he killed his wife before they began their investigation and that they tailored their investigation to fit their theory.

Glascow said he saw no evidence of police rushing to judgment.
"It appears certain that at some point in time, investigators considered some of Gabe's explanations lacked credibility, and it further appears to me that investigators gave Gabe the opportunity to clarify matters which may have caused concern," the coroner said.

(Update 9-19-09) After a plea deal on June 10, Gabe Watson was sentenced to 7 years in prison with 1 year to serve for his wife's manslaughter. The manslaughter charge is a step below the murder charge that Australian officials were originally seeking. Watson admitted that he swam away from his dying wife instead of trying to rescue her while scuba diving, and that removing weights and activating buoyancy vests could have helped save the woman.

This outraged Australians and the family members of the victim, as Watson's 1 year to serve was lower than any Australian sentenced for the same crime. Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick had appealed the sentence to the Queensland Court Of Appeal, arguing that the time served before parole should be 2 1/2 years.

In a 2 to 1 split decision yesterday, Australian time, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey favored doubling the year sentence Watson was originally sentenced to, but decided to extend the sentence by 6 months because a second justice would only agree to extend it by that much, and a third justice voted against the appeal.

"The respondent pleaded guilty not just to causing his wife's death negligently, but criminally negligently," Chief Justice de Jersey found. "And that warrants this court at least doubling the penalty effectively visited upon him by the sentencing court."

Judge John Muir disagreed. "Minds may well differ as to whether the suspension of the 4 1/2 year sentence after 12 months was overly generous. However, the sentence imposed, in my respectful opinion, was not so substantially different from any sentence which ought to have been imposed."

The victim's father, Tommy Thomas, from his Alabama home, stated "They let him escape justice and he's still escaping justice."

"It's not anywhere near the justice that Tina deserves, and I think everybody is fully aware of that."

Echoing that, Alabama Attorney General Troy King has convened a team of prosecutors hoping to retry Watson on capital murder charges there.

Mr King had been considering hitting Watson with a murder conspiracy charge, but yesterday declared he would go for the more serious offence.

During a meeting yesterday, he ordered a team of prosecutors and investigators to compile a brief of evidence that will be presented to a grand jury for a capital murder indictment. The presentation could happen within months. If the 16-person panel agrees there is enough evidence to support a conviction in Alabama, he will be tried for murder. If convicted, a judge would decide whether to give him life in jail or condemn him to death.

Mr King said he hoped to give the family "what they could not get in Australia - justice".

The victim's sister, Alanda Thomas, supports the Alabama push for a new trial and murder conviction. "My sister, Tina, had her entire life taken from her by his actions and all he gets is 18 months in jail. That is just a disgrace. Hopefully my sister will get her day in court and Gabe will finally stand trial for all he has done."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Gay best friend" sentenced to 40 years for serial rapes

A Cincinnati rapist who posed as a gay man to lure two of his victims and a talent agent to lure a fourth victim was sentenced to 40 years in prison today. In denial to the end, Robert Williams claimed he never pretended to be gay, never raped them, and after ranting to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin, a relative on one of the victims rebuked him, shouting "You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself."

Williams, 26, was convicted of four counts of rape, at 10 years in prison each. In Ohio, all prison sentences are served at 100%. During the trial, prosecutors used the analogy of a spider and a web when describing how Williams lured, then sexually attacked, his prey.

Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Katie Burroughs said, "I use the analogy of the spider and his web. He weaved intricate lies about who he was and what he was. Once the women became ensnared, he pounced."

It took almost 5 years for the earlier cases to be brought to trial because the first victim, raped in February 2004, refused to file charges and the June 2004 rape victim's story was nor believed by a grand jury, so charges were not filed in that case, either. When Williams went on trial last month, he said that the sex was consensual, but paid.

At the trial, Burroughs asked why Williams would need to pay for sex if he's so good looking.

Williams said that because he is effeminate women assume he is gay and therefore aren't interested in dating him.

In the February 2004 case, Williams befriended the victim at her workplace in Tower Place downtown. Over a six- to eight-month period, he often stopped by and they would talk about God and their churches. Williams even agreed to lend her money.

One night, they went out after work and later Williams lured the victim to his home where he insisted on giving her money.

Williams led her into his dark Evanston apartment, shut the door and grabbed her by her neck. They struggled. He pulled her hair. He left a nail imprint on her neck.

He then raped her. She reported the attack, but declined to prosecute.

Williams was already on to the next victim.

The woman worked in the Federal Courthouse, where he often stopped by to visit her. She said they would talk about shoes and fashion. She assumed because of his interests and mannerisms Williams was gay.

One night he called and said he was having a bad day, would she come over? The woman was hesitant, but agreed. They talked but when she tried to leave, Williams sexually assaulted her, saying he had a gun. She convinced him to let her go to the bathroom. From there, she escaped, running from the apartment naked from the waist down and not stopping until she saw a police officer.

Prosecutors say the other three female victims, were targets of a similar "I'm your gay best friend" scam. Those attacks happened between 2005 and 2007.

Williams then got sloppy, unwilling to wait, Burroughs said. He approached the teenage girl at Government Square Transit Center downtown in December of 2008, commenting that she could be a model. He followed her onto a bus, trying to engage her in conversation.

When the teen got up to get off, Williams gave her a business card saying he did photo shoots and the photographer, "Karen," would just love her.

He wooed her, saying the photos would be for a church brochure. She gave Williams her number and when he called a few days later, she agreed to meet Williams and "Karen" in a downtown hotel lobby where "Karen" supposedly worked. Of course, "Karen" doesn't exist, Burroughs said.
Once there, Williams said "Karen" was running late, and said she would catch up with them at his Bond Hill home. Once there, Williams asked the teenager take off her clothes to make sure she didn't have objectionable tattoos.

She balked and Williams turned mean and aggressive. Scared, she did what he asked and Williams raped her. She escaped and called 911, leading to Williams' arrest.

According to Cincinnati detective DeRon Hall, Williams had two other known victims who refused to testify because they are still scared of him, and suspects there are more victims. "If there is somebody else out there, we'd definitely like to talk to them. I'm not a doctor by any means, but he definitely has some sociopath tendencies in that he doesn't think he did anything wrong."

At the sentencing today, two of Williams' victims gave their impact statements. "I'm glad that I did come forward and I hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else," the first victim said. The second victim stated that she had finally worked through the shame and fear she felt after Williams changed. "Today is the day I no longer have to apologize for what happened," she said. "I feared for my life. I believed that he had a gun."

Before the judge passed sentence, he rebuked Williams for implying that he wasn't the rapist jurors convicted him of being. "You are in fact a serial rapist. There's just no question about it."

Female Missassauga teacher gets year probation for "affair" with student

Leslie Merlino, a 29 year old former Missassauga, ON teacher who had a sexual affair with a student, was sentenced to a year of probation after continuing contact with that same female student even after a court order prohibited it. Besides the probation, Merlino will be listed as a sex offender for 20 years, and was ordered to submit a DNA sample to Canada's DNA database. The charges Merlino officially plead guilty to were sexual exploitation, breach of probation and failure to comply with a court order.

By all accounts, Merlino was one of the best-liked teachers at the Streetsville school, where she taught Spanish and French to Grade 10 and 11 students, including her young lover.

The friendship between teacher and student blossomed into an infatuation on a European high school trip in March 2006.Later, she stroked the girl's hair and began sending emails. That would lead to an assault charge and a court order to stay away from the student.

From January to September 2007, they exchanged sexually explicit emails and talked frequently on the phone and in person.

They held hands during strolls and met secretly in coffee shops. They kissed and fondled each other in their more private moments. By late summer of 2007, the suspended teacher and former student had become lovers.

The trip to Quebec City Merlino took with her young charge the fall of 2007 did her clean criminal record in, as on October 12, 2007, police officers saw Merlino and her former student get into a car together in Toronto.

Merlino spent 2 1/2 months in jail before being released on conditions which included a curfew. Justice Bruce Durno took that into account in not sentencing Merlino to more jail time, stating that he would have done so if the curfew was not in place. "A career has been lost ... these offences are serious, a flagrant breach of court orders. Regardless of the (victim's) wishes, it was Merlino who was in a position of trust and authority."

The sentence was a joint submission (Canadian version of a plea deal) with Peel Crown prosecutor Kelly Slate and Merlino's defense attorney Gerald Logan. "This is a tragic tale of woman who succumbed to temptation and destroyed her career," Logan said.

Neither the student nor her parents were in court. The student, who cannot be identified, did not file a victim impact statement, and asked to be "left alone" in an email to the Star.

The student's parents, who live in Mississauga, declined to comment.

The 20-year-old's relationship status on Facebook is listed as "engaged."

In a Facebook note "25 things about me," she has written: "Sometimes, I freak out, that I made a mistake. And I shouldn't be with the person I'm with. Other times, I don't know how we've managed to spend so much time apart."

Merlino, who stopped teaching in 2007, had her teaching license permanently revoked Ontario College of Teachers this spring for professional misconduct. She's currently living with her mother in London, ON.

The Canadian age of consent is 16, unless the adult is in a position of trust like a teacher or other professional, in which case the AOC rises to 18. The age of consent, not called the age of protection, was raised from 14 effective May 1, 2008.

Contractors sentenced to jail (not prison) for sexual assault of inmate

Two contractors working for a company which transported prison inmates have been sentenced to 270 and 75 days in jail, respectively for forcing a woman to perform oral sex with them. Both men, Miguel Jacobo, and Ronald Yglesias, plead no contest to a count of sexual activity in a detention facility, with Yglesias also pleading to a count of oral copulation in a detention facility. The sentencing s were held September 4, 11 days ago.

Yglesias was sentenced to 270 days in the Santa Barbara Jail, while Jacobo was sentenced to 75 days in the same facility. Both must register as sex offenders for life, and both cannot work as guards in any capacity anymore.

The illegal acts were committed while the two were returning the female inmate to Santa Barbara County Jail in October of last year. They had worked for just under six months for U.S. Extradition Services, which contracted with the county to transport prisoners among facilities throughout California. The company no longer has a contract with the Sheriff.

The victim said that Ygelsias made her give him oral sex while in a van with seven inmates in it, both male and female. “Clearly, the victim was particularly vulnerable,” Dudley said. “I think his behavior was despicable.” He claimed to detectives that he had taken four Ambien sleeping pills to fall asleep, and woke up to find the victim performing oral sex on him.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley, prosecutor of this case, stated that “those who work within our criminal justice system are public servants, their behavior must be above reproach. In this case, it wasn’t just criminal, it was unconscionable.”

The victim stated to presiding judge Frank Ochoa that "I am supposed to trust law enforcement, and now I am going to have a hard time doing that.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ambulance company owes $3.25 million for sexual abuse by paramedic

An ambulance company responsible for ambulance transportation in the greater Portland, OR metro area was ordered to pay $3.25 million in damages to a woman sexually abused by a paramedic currently serving 5 years in prison for sexual assault on Wednesday, September 9. The award against American Medical Response, or AMR, goes as follows - $2.25 million in damages caused by the abuse itself, and another million because the victim, 29 year old Royshekka Herring, was determined to be a vulnerable victim under state law.

[Plaintiff attorney Greg Kafoury] also said there were “two smoking guns in this case.” The first, he said, is that [former paramedic Lannie]Haszard had three complaints against him in 14 months while working for AMR and he continued to keep his job. The other is that AMR kept information about previous accusations that had been reported to them from police.

AMR serves the greater Portland area. “When you call 911, that’s who you’re going to get,” said Kafoury.

AMR’s attorney, James Dumas, said in his closing argument that Haszard “is a master of deception” and that he fooled every single person whom he worked with at AMR. He urged that “AMR Northwest is also a victim” and that they, too, were abused by Haszard.

Besides Herring, other victims of the abusive paramedic were in court September 4, listening to the closing arguments. Paula Price, a victim who complained of molestation to Portland, OR police, was one of them. After Price went to police, Haszard was caught, arrested, and evnetually convicted. “If Paula Price made her report to AMR instead of the police, would Haszard be in jail?” asked Kafoury.

AMR was on the hook for punitive damages, but the request for punitive damages was denied by a Multnomah County jury on Thursday, September 10, the day after the verdict.

Connecticut drama teacher pleads guilty to sex with 17, 18 year old students

A Connecticut man who was a high school teacher pleaded guilty to two counts of 2nd degree sexual assault for entering into sexual relationships with two of his students, one 17 and the other 18. The relationships lasted from spring of 2008 to fall of 2008, according to prosecutors.

Though 16 is Connecticut's age of consent in most situations, teacher student sex is considered to be sexual assault even if the student is over 16 (or for that matter, 18). Russell Andrews, a 34 year old Lebanon, CT resident, plead guilty Wednesday, September 10, in New London Superior Court during a scheduled court appearance.

Andrews, the former chorus and drama club director, was arrested in the wake of a police investigation started in December after rumors started circulating around [Montville High School] that he was in a relationship with a 17-year-old student.

Andrews and the student engaged in consensual sex in the school auditorium, police said.

Further investigation uncovered a second victim, another former student, who admitted having sex with Andrews on numerous occasions during her senior year at the school. Andrews claims he did not have sex with the student until she was 18.

State prosecutor John Gravalec-Pannone will recommend a sentence of 14 years in prison, suspended after 7 years, and 20 years probation. The plea agreement meant that the 6 counts of 2nd degree sexual assault Andrews faced is now only two. Andrews must spend nine months in prison because that's the minimum mandatory sentence for 2nd degree sexual assault in Connecticut. Judge Susan B. Handy will preside over Andrews' sentencing, scheduled for November 10.

Justice in sight for man allegedly murdered by hitman wife hired after 25 years?

By Derrick Nunnally

[Philadephia]Inquirer Staff Writer

A quarter-century after Alan Bailey was shot to death in his Pottstown home, and 17 years since his body turned up in a Berks County forest, his widow was charged yesterday with helping her boyfriend commit the murder.

Jane A. Bailey, 53, admitted to police that she gave the accused gunman, Joey Small, the .357 Magnum used to kill Bailey in the summer of 1984, Montgomery County prosecutors said yesterday.

She confessed that to police in 1993, the year after Bailey's body was found in Colebrookdale Township, but said that the killing happened "because she could no longer stand Alan's physical abuse," according to an affidavit.

She also told police that Small had been buying methamphetamine from the Baileys.

Investigators at the time could not find Small or any other witnesses to corroborate the story.

"They did not have a great deal of information to go on," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

In fall 2007, Montgomery County detectives took a new look at the file and interviewed a witness who had been arrested by Philadelphia homicide investigators.

The new witness - whose name prosecutors withheld - said Small and Bailey were romantically involved for a year before the killing and cohabitated afterward.

She was arrested late Tuesday in Fayette County, where she has been jailed without bail. A warrant has been issued for Small, 55.

Woman appealing murder conviction in husband's shooting pleads guilty to "boyfriend's" murder for hire attempt

A Buffalo, NY woman already serving (and appealing) a 25 to life sentence for the 2nd degree murder of her husband plead guilty to the attempted murder for hire plot against her "lover," the man she cheated on her husband with. Robin Wagner Kalinowski plead guilty Wednesday, September 9, to the plot against the man after State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang promised her she would only serve 6 to 12 years.

The mother of two pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy in the second degree and admitted she had sought the murder of her estranged lover, John F. Carey of Tonawanda.

She acknowledged she tried to make a deal in April 2008 with an undercover state trooper posing as an underworld hitman.

After the judge agreed to make the conspiracy sentence run concurrently with the 25-year-to-life term imposed Feb. 25 on her murder conviction, prosecutors Aaron F. Glazer and Lauren A. Rott agreed with the plea to the highest charge still facing her.

John Jordan, Robin's lawyer, said that the plea was in the perpetrator's best interest because if she had took the case to trial and lost, she would probably serve 12 1/2 to 25 years consecutively with the 2nd degree murder sentence for Kevin Kalinowski, shot by his perpetrator wife in their Buffalo home. Robin is appealing that conviction.

E. Moline man sentenced to 16 years in van death of "girlfriend"

An East Moline, IL man will serve 16 years, 8 years each for involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, for the death of his "girlfriend" after she fell off the side of a van he was driving. Rock Island County jurors convicted Henry Sims of the charges in June, a year after the incident involving Sims and his "girlfriend," Erin Waeyaert, who was 24 when she died June 15, 2008.

Wayert let Sims drive her van before taking the van back after rumors Sims was cheating on her. Sims' tried to retake the van, at the victims' mother's house, but Wayert held on while standing on the passenger side running board. Sims, while driving at a high rate of speed, sped off as Wayert fell off the side of the van, dying from her injuries.

Sims accused the prosecution of being corrupt by pursuing a murder conviction against him at trial. The Rock Island County State's Attorney's office argued that he tried to knock Waeyaert off the vehicle.

Assistant Rock Island County State's Attorney Norma Kauzlarich asked Braud for the maximum sentence and cited Sims' lengthy criminal history, which includes other offenses against women, as part of her argument.

She also noted that Sims has a poor employment record. Sims' attorney Jack Schwartz argued for a lower sentence saying that Sims should not be separated from his family for too long.

Judge Braud heard from the victim's brother, Andrew Waeyaert, noting that Sims never checked up on his "girlfriend" after she fell from the van. "God did not take Erin away from us, Henry Sims did. Along with her he took away a part of us."

Braud took into consideration Sims' other acts against women, reckless driving convictions, and lack of remorse, stating that "You still are telling me how this victim jumped on her car and it's somehow her fault."

Mother of toddlers receives justice after "boyfriend" who killed her sentenced to life with parole

PROVIDENCE –– Almost four months after he strangled his estranged girlfriend, struck her head several times and fatally stabbed her, Herbert Byrd made a tearful courtroom apology at his sentencing Wednesday after pleading no contest to first-degree murder and arson.

“I’m sorry for all the pain I caused everyone,” said Byrd as the family of Linda Encarnacao looked on in Superior Court.

“I turn to God for forgiveness, and he says he forgives all,” Byrd said, pausing as emotion overwhelmed him. “But how can he forgive me when I can’t forgive myself?”

Encarnacao, 26, was found alive, but dying and unconscious, in her burning Reservoir Triangle apartment on May 14.

She had suffered 26 stab wounds and lacerations to her stomach, face and other areas of her body. Byrd also caused strangulation wounds to her neck and he inflicted a blunt force injury to her head, according to Assistant Attorney General Scott Erickson.

After inflicting “the multiple trauma injuries” that caused the woman’s death, Byrd set fire to her apartment, Erickson added in court yesterday.

Judge William E. Carnes Wednesday sentenced Byrd to life in prison for murder and imposed a concurrent 20-year sentence on the arson count. He also ordered that Byrd serve an additional 10 years for being a habitual offender.

Byrd’s plea bargain, which the attorney general’s office said allowed him to avoid a possible sentence of life without parole, gives Byrd a chance for parole in 2029, a fact that haunts Encarnacao’s family, who asked Carnes to imprison Byrd for life with no possibility of parole.

Authorities say the 26-year-old Byrd attacked Encarnacao because he was jealous and wanted a more substantial relationship than she was willing to allow.

He was a regular caretaker of Encarnacao’s two children and a father of one of the youngsters. The children, now 3 and 5 years old, were in Byrd’s care before he left them alone and set out for Encarnacao’s apartment, according to authorities.

The slaying was one of 13 homicides in Providence this year, the same number as in all of 2008.

Encarnacao’s murder happened about eight months after a domestic incident involving Byrd and Encarnacao in September 2008.

Immediately after the incident, Encarnacao told the police Byrd had strangled her until she passed out and he had tried to rape her, but she later told authorities she did not want to press a charge of domestic simple assault against him.

In the sentencing Wednesday, Carnes deemed Byrd a habitual offender because of convictions in 2006 for possessing a controlled substance and delivering a controlled substance. The 10 year prison term on that count with no chance for parole is consecutive to the other two sentences. This means Byrd must serve an additional 10 years if he should be receive parole on the murder count, according to Erickson, who figures Byrd would be eligible for parole on May 14, 2029. Byrd’s release at that time would put people in danger, according to members of Encarnacao’s family.

The family members crafted a joint statement that Special Assistant Attorney General Diane Daigle read to the court before Byrd’s sentencing.

“In 30 years, Mr. Byrd will be in his 50s and he will be released,” says the statement. “Linda’s two children and family will again relive this horrible nightmare and be petrified that he will come searching for them. What more does Mr. Byrd need to do to prove that he is a leach on society? Words can never express how Mr. Byrd’s senseless and violent crime has forever changed our lives.”

Belligham man gets 45 years for murder of wife even without body


BELLINGHAM - Bruce Hummel was given a maximum sentence of 45 years in a state prison after refusing to reveal the location of his wife's remains.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder sentenced Hummel Tuesday, Sept. 8, for murdering his wife, Alice, in October 1990. A jury found him guilty of first-degree murder Aug. 20.

Hummel, 67, had been facing a sentence of 34 to 45 years in prison. Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said he offered to recommend the minimum sentence if Hummel provided information leading to his wife's remains. Hummel declined, and McEachran recommended the maximum sentence.

"It would have provided such a relief to the children to bury their mother," McEachran said, adding that he thought the sentence was "very fitting."

Hummel's attorney, Jon Komorowski, director of the Whatcom County Public Defender's Office, said they intend on appealing the conviction, citing insufficient evidence.

"Mr. Hummel has always maintained his innocence," Komorowski said.

The Hummels' three children have not seen their mother since October 1990, and Alice Hummel's body has never been found.

The backbone of McEachran's case was a nine-year investigation by Bellingham Police detectives, who began looking into Alice's disappearance after her oldest daughter filed a missing person's report with the department in 2001.

McEachran said that Bruce Hummel killed his wife to continue cashing her disability checks and to cover up his alleged molestation of his youngest daughter. Alice Hummel found out about the alleged molestation just before she disappeared, McEachran said.

Hummel covered up the murder by telling his children that Alice moved to California for a new job and to abandon the family, McEachran argued in court.

Letters and packages purportedly from Alice Hummel were sent to the children for years after her disappearance. But police could find no trace of her existence after October 1990.

Bruce Hummel initially told police his wife had abandoned the family. Later he sent them a letter saying Alice had committed suicide and he dumped her body in Bellingham Bay.

Hummel will be transferred to a state prison Tuesday, Sept. 15, to begin serving his sentence.

Man sentenced to 22 years without parole for murder of mother he had "consensual" sexual relations with

A 21 year old man plead guilty but mentally ill to the murder of his 43 year old mother with whom he had a "consensual" but inappropriate sexual relationship for the past 4 years. Mary Finnegan was found dead, nude and wrapped in bedding, by her other, 23 year old son July 24, 2008. John Finnegan initially denied killing his mother, but told police that he was "bottled up with rage."

John Finnegan tried to kill himself, but when that did not work, he grabbed some cash, left the house in his mother's car, and fled for a few days before being arrested in a neighboring county, according to prosecutors.

The guilty but mentally ill plea allows the younger Finnegan to get mental health counseling during his 22 year prison stay, a stay which cannot be reduced for good behavior. All 1st degree murderers in Illinois must serve all of their sentence, with 1st degree murder sentences ranging from 20 to 60 years in most cases.

Man convicted of HIV positive rape - sentencing date scheduled for September 25

(Original Post 2-24-09)
A Nigerian immigrant to Canada was convicted of aggravated sexual assault for raping his ex-"girlfriend," causing her to be infected with HIV. William-Imona Russel, 35, was also convicted of beating and endangering the 58 year old victim's life. Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon stated that "there's no absolute proof" that Imona-Russel infected the victim.

The judge found him guilty of assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, threatening death, attempted aggravated sexual assault to endanger life and two counts of sexual assault.
"I do not find Mr. Imona-Russel to be a forthright witness," McMahon said, noting his testimony was not only contradicted by other witnesses but was internally inconsistent.

The judge found that long after Imona-Russel and his former girlfriend ceased to have consensual sex, he visited her apartment on March 3, 2005, pushed, slapped and kicked her, stood on her chest, threw her on her bed, and threatened to kill her with a power drill before having forced intercourse.

On March 13, he returned, pushing open the bathroom door she was cowering behind, grabbed her throat and raped her again. A few days later, the woman complained to police, who had a pair of her underwear tested for Imona-Russel's semen. The test was positive.
Police also urged the woman to get tested for HIV. She was infected.

Imona-Russel stated that he came to Canada claiming refugee status April 2003, then met the victim in an apartment building near the airport. They started having sex until an immigration doctor told him he was HIV positive, and they never had sex again. However, the judge stated that he tested positive for HIV a month before he stopped having sex with his victim.

The victim suffers from PTSD and substance abuse. Imona-Russel is facing charges that in 2006, he stabbed another woman to death.

(Update 9-13-09) Imona-Russel's sentence, according to Crown prosecutor Julia Forward, should be 8 to 10 years for his "violent and callous" crime against his victim. "She's infected because of his selfish indifference and that is something she'll have to deal with for the rest of her life," Foward opined in her argument before Justice John McMahon in Imona-Russel's sentencing hearing.

Lawyer Ferhan Javed, appointed by Justice McMahon to represent Imona-Russell after he fired other attorneys, argued for a 4 to 6 year sentence. Even though the sentencing hearing was Friday, September 11, his actual sentence will be meted out two weeks later, on September 25.

Surburban Toronto woman shot and killed, allegedly by estranged husband

Woman found dying of gunshot wound 45 minutes after police left her house

Sep 13, 2009 04:30 AM
Raveena Aulakh
[Toronto Star]Staff reporter
ORANGEVILLE–Cyril Donaldson was going to bed when a bloodied woman staggered through his front door, gasping for life and pleading for help.

"I've been shot by my husband – help me," Donaldson's neighbour begged as she collapsed in his arms around 1 a.m. yesterday. He cradled her as his 17-year-old granddaughter called 911.

Heidi Ferguson, 39, mother of two children, was airlifted to Sunnybrook hospital where she died of her injuries.

"I didn't think she would survive," said Donaldson. "She had lost too much blood," he said, pointing to the trail leading into his house.

At midnight, Orangeville police had been called to Ferguson's home on Westdale Ave. on a report of unknown trouble. When the officers got there, Ferguson told them the source of the trouble, her estranged husband, had left, according to an OPP spokesperson. About 45 minutes later, they were called back by Donaldson's granddaughter as Ferguson lay dying from her chest wounds.

Two hours later, her husband, Hugh Ferguson, 42, who had barricaded himself in his house in Mono Township, 13 kilometres north of Orangeville, shot himself as police surrounded the house. Determining what happened in those two crucial hours is now the task of the province's Special Investigations Unit.

Yesterday, Ontario Provincial Police Const. Peter Leon defended the actions of the Orangeville police, saying officers didn't misjudge the severity of the situation as there was no history of violence involving the couple.

"They (officers) were in the midst of an investigation after the first call," he said. "The gentleman had left and there was no indication the outcome was going to be what it was." Leon would not say if police had been called to Ferguson's home in the previous months, but said there was "no such behaviour in the past," referring to violence.

The husband is said by neighbours to have been an avid hunter who owned many firearms. Some speculated that he wanted to get back together with his wife, but that she wanted to move on. Neighbours on Westdale Ave., an affluent, tree-lined street, said Heidi Ferguson moved into the single-storey home about 14 months ago after separating from her husband.

Before moving in, she completely renovated the house. Their children, a 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old daughter, who neighbours said just started studying at Ryerson University, lived with both parents. The Fergusons operated a business that bought, renovated and sold homes, and he used to visit her as often as twice a week but didn't speak to neighbours.

A police officer said the estranged husband picked up their 15-year-old son some time Friday night and dropped him at a friend's place in the town. The daughter was at Ryerson, said the police source.

A black SUV with the name of Ferguson's company, www.suitedreamdesignteam, stood in the driveway cordoned off by yellow police tape. A cellphone, covered by a cardboard box, lay in the grass between the two driveways. The porch lights were still on in Ferguson's home and the blinds were closed.

Ferguson worked from home. If there was trouble between the Fergusons, Donaldson said he didn't hear of it. He last spoke to Ferguson on Thursday evening when she was leaving and he was coming home.

"She said hello, asked how my wife was ... that's it," said Donaldson, 73, whose wife uses a wheelchair. Ferguson was very friendly and often chatted with him, his daughter and two granddaughters but "if there was any problem, she would never talk about it," he said.

Pam Hillock, who lives across the street, didn't hear the gunfire, but was startled by the arrival on the street of at least three police cruisers shortly after 1 a.m. yesterday.

"It came pretty out of the blue ... you know, there were no loud fights, nothing.

"My heart goes out to the two kids."

At the estranged husband's sprawling million-dollar home in Mono Township, a lone black pick-up truck stood in the driveway as an OPP cruiser guarded the scene.

The SIU team, which had been called at 6 a.m., left the scene at 3 p.m.

A "For Sale by Owner" sign hung outside the brown brick house, which has a three-car attached garage.

Neighbours said they didn't hear any gunfire, but woke up to a large police presence.

"We didn't know what (had) happened till we heard it on the radio," one neighbour said.

"It's so tragic."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Milwaukee serial killer update

Five more 1st degree intentional homicide (murder) charges were added to the criminal complaint in the Milwaukee "North SIde Strangler"serial killer case. Late this afternoon, 49 year old Walter E. Ellis was charged with the murders of Sheila Farrior, Florence McCormick, Irene Smith, Tanya Miller, and Debra Harris. All five women were strangled, but only Irene Smith died by "bleeding out." Smith's death occured on November 28, 1992. The killer strangled Sheila Farrior with her bra on June 27, 1995, Florence McCormick with a rope on April 24, 1995, Debra Lynn Harris with a handkerchief on October 10, 1986. and the day after Harris' death, killed Tanya Miller by choking her to death. Except for Harris, whose body was dumped in the Menominee River, all bodies were found in abandoned houses on Milwaukee's north side.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Phillipi, WV man sentenced to 20 years for shooting "girlfriend"

A Phillippi, WV man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting his pregnant girlfriend and killing their unborn baby. Glen Junior Corder III pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and wanton endangerment last month. Yesterday, Corder was sentenced by Judge Alan Moats to 20 years. The plea agreement spared Corder from a 1st degree murder charge and malicious assault charge for shooting Karen Sue Smith at an apartment complex last December.

In February 2009, a Barbour County grand jury indicted Corder for one count each of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, wanton endangerment and malicious assault. At his arraignment, Corder pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Judge Moats set Corder's trial for June 2009.

In late May 2009, Judge Moats rescheduled Corder's trial for August, because both the prosecution and defense were still waiting on forensic evidence to come back.

On August 14, 2009, Corder entered his guilty plea.

At the hearing, Corder admitted that he knew Smith was pregnant at the time he shot her, and said he was drunk at the time of the incident.

Corder will go back to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail until he can be sent to a state prison.

The 20 year sentence runs as follows - 15 years for the voluntary manslaughter, and 5 years for wanton endangerment.

Soldier charged in murder of wife

An Army soldier was arrested in the murder of his wife in their Clarksville, TN home. Sena Marie Downing, 25, from the Iowa town of Decorah, was found shot to death after her body was discovered by police around 3:17 AM, Tuesday morning. Her husband, a 31 year old Iraq veteran who had been deployed to Iraq twice, was arrested later yesterday after fleeing in his vehicle, with a Kentucky tag and Ft. Campbell decals.

The vehicle turned up in Robertson County where the police also found Jonathan Clyde Downing, 31, hiding in the woods. Police used officers on foot, K-9s and a helicopter in the search.
Police talked with him for a couple of hours before arresting him without incident at around noon.

Clarksville Police spokesman Jim Knoll said officers then transported Downing to the Montgomery County Jail to be booked. Knoll did not know whether Downing had obtained a lawyer.

Downing, who was a Calvary Scout in the Army, is charged with criminal homicide. He's originally from Decorah, IA via Ventura, CA.

Men fondled by convicted sex offender settle lawsuit for $780,000

BY PEGGY WRIGHT • STAFF WRITER [Daily Record] • September 8, 2009

Three men who were fondled by a volunteer at a now-defunct substance abuse resource center run by the town of Morristown have settled their lawsuit claims for a total of $780,000, according to records.

The men, whose names are being withheld by the Daily Record because they were victims of sexual abuse, were all referred in 2004 and 2005 by Morris County probation officers to the Morristown-run Beginnings substance abuse and counseling center to satisfy terms of sentences for drug offenses.

But instead of receiving healthy counseling, the treatment they got from volunteer Terence Michael Lynch involved spankings, genital exams, hernia checks and nosy questions about their sex lives.

Morristown went through a scandal when Lynch, a then-71-year-old town resident who called himself "Dr. Mike," was charged in December 2005 with criminal sexual contact on three adult probationers who attended Beginnings.

It was revealed that Lynch had been a volunteer counselor for the facility since 1997, the year he was released from prison after spending seven years behind bars for sexually abusing 12 boys at the exclusive boarding school he used to run in Mendham Township, called Chartwell Manor.

While a volunteer and to this day, Lynch, a Miller Road resident, was and is classified as a Tier 3 offender under Megan's Law, meaning he poses a high risk of re-offending.

Alleging battery, negligent hiring and supervision and other claims, five men sued. Two had their claims dismissed and three others accepted settlements over the past year, according to court records and information received through the Open Public Records Act.

The cases were transferred to Superior Court in Passaic County, and the defendants included Morristown, Beginnings, Terence Lynch and his wife, Judith, and the state of New Jersey, because probation services in counties are funded and overseen by the state.

On behalf of Morristown, its insurer, the New Jersey Intergovernmental Insurance Fund, agreed to pay a total of $482,500 to the three men, now ages 48, 52 and 56. Fund attorney Eric Nemeth said the insurer will pay the entire share of Morristown's settlement, plus attorney fees, and that the town paid no deductible.

The state of New Jersey paid a total of $117,500 to the trio. Lynch paid $180,000. The outcome is that one man received $380,000, the second $240,000, and the third, $160,000, for a global settlement of $780,000.

Town Mayor Donald Cresitello was not in office when Lynch became a volunteer but was mayor when he was arrested. He said the period of time around Lynch's arrest was frightening because the town didn't know what its liability exposure might be.

Right after the arrest, he learned that a state parole officer recommended Lynch volunteer for Beginnings because of his strong educational background, a fact confirmed by the state Parole Board.

"I think the position was 'he's a pedophile, he only goes after children, not grown men,"' Cresitello said. "He never should have been around people who are vulnerable. But I don't think anyone meant to do anything improper in having him there."

Soon after the Lynch scandal broke, the state shut down Beginnings because it never had received proper licenses to function as a substance abuse and counseling facility.

Several council members and Cresitello said at the time they were aware of Lynch's background but didn't know he was a town volunteer for the center that was overseen by a director, David McCoy.

Lynch, now 75, pleaded guilty in November 2006 to abusing three men at Beginnings and to holding himself out to them as a medical doctor qualified to give physical examinations. He was sentenced to a period in the county jail and is on probation now, and still is a Megan's Law registrant.

Peggy Wright: 973-267-1142; pwright@gannett.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Milwaukee serial killer taskforce announces arrest in prostitute murders

A 49 year old man was arrested by Milwaukee detectives Saturday for the murders and strangulation of 8 women over a 21 year period. Currently charged with the 1st degree murders of 2 women, more 1st degree murder charges are expected against 49 year old Walter E. Ellis, according to officials. Ellis is suspected in murders dating back to 1986, with the victims ranging from age 16 to 41. All eight of these victims were prostitutes. According to Milwaukee Police. A ninth victim was thought to have been killed by someone else after Ellis had sex with her.

Ellis was arrested in a Franklin, WI motel after DNA taken from a toothbrush linked him to the murders. he fled his Northwest Side residence, where he lived with a woman. Having caught wind of the investigation, Ellis struggled before his arrest by Franklin police. Franklin is a suburb about 10 miles south of downtown Milwaukee.

Ellis was caught four months after a taskforce was started after realizing that the same DNA profile was involved in the deaths of 7 women. The taskforce's investigative work is also responsible for progress on other cold cases involving prostitute murders, and has led to arrests in other, unrelated cases.

Terry Williams, the brother of the 41 year old victim, Joyce Mims, murdered on June 20, 1997, said that "We just hated that it had taken so long for them to find her killer, those women's killer. But you know, justice one day is better than no justice at all."

Mims' son, Purvis Mims, now 30, stated that his mother dated Ellis' uncle at the time of her death and that she "probably knew him much better than we did. I always thought that she did know the (killer), because of the environment they found her in. I know she wouldn't have gone in an abandoned house with a stranger, regardless of the circumstances. She probably had a rapport of some fashion with him."

The criminal complaint states that Mims was found nude and dead on June 20, 1997 in a residence on Milwaukee's north side. An autopsy confirmed that Mims was choked to death, and that bruising on her neck showed that there had been a struggle.

Besides Mims, a second victim, 28 year old Ouithreaun Stokes, was found strangled and injured in a way similar to Mims. There was more of a struggle, as blood on a pepper spray can beling to the suspect in the murder. The victim's jacket and shirt was pulled up, and there was blood on the floor near the victim's legs. Stokes was killed on April 27, 2007, barely a half a mile away from where Mims was murdered. DNA from both murders were linked to each other a few months after Stokes' murder.

Police officials have said they think someone else killed one of those victims, Jessica Payne, a white 16-year-old runaway whose throat was slashed. The other victims, all prostitutes and African-American, were strangled.

The State Crime Laboratory processed DNA found on two dozen slain prostitutes to see if there is a match with Ellis and discovered two other hits - on Irene Smith, 25, killed in 1992, and Carron D. Kilpatrick, 32, killed 1994, authorities said Monday. Both women were strangled.

Other victims linked to Ellis are Shelia Farrior, 37, strangled in 1995; Tanya L. Miller, 19, killed in 1986; Deborah L. Harris, 31, killed in 1986, and Florence McCormick, 28, strangled in 1995.

A task force of local, state and federal law enforcement was convened and in three months it received 193 tips, Flynn said last month. Some suspects were interviewed and ruled out.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said Monday evening he anticipates more homicide charges to be filed against Ellis in the other slayings in the next day or so.

"We intend to bring justice to these victims and their families," said Chisholm.

Ellis has a criminal record consisting of violent and property offenses. Though all Wisconsin felons must submit DNA samples, the law requiring this was not in effect in 1998, when Ellis went to prison for recklessly endangering safety, serving three out of five years. No victims from the serial killer were killed between 1998 and 2006.

(Update 9-9-09) Ellis was being held on $1 million bond after being arraigned earlier today. Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm requested such a high bond based on the severity of the criminal charges and Ellis' prior record. Alejandro Lockwood stated that he wanted his client to have a $50,000 bail because "there's no way on this planet that (Ellis) can raise that amount of bail."

Ellis' preliminary hearing is set for September 23.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an article about mistakes made that kept Ellis' DNA off of DNA databases even though it was taken from him back in 2001 when he was in the Oshkosh Correctional Center for the recklessly endangering safety conviction. While state records show that the DNA sample was taken, Justice Department records do not show receipt of Ellis' DNA samples, and neither did a Texas contractor.

Staff did collect the sample, and the samples were mailed out for processing," [Wisconsin Corrections spokesman John]Dipko said. "In terms of documentation, there is nothing inconsistent about it."

"In our institutional experience, this is the first time we've seen something like this," [Special Assistant Attorney General Kevin]St. John said of the confusion over Ellis' sample. "If it was happening more often, it would be concerning."

The Journal-Sentinel article also has more information on Ellis' past criminal convictions and contacts with authorities.