Thursday, October 29, 2009

Man sentenced to 15 years after rape of woman at party - victim dies of drug overdose in May

A man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the sexual battery of a then 36 year old woman who later died of a drug overdose. James Cregger of New Port Richey, FL, was sentenced to the maximum for sexual battery by Pasco Circuit Judge Michael Andrews after 2 1/2 hours of jury deliberation yesterday. Cregger's "defense" was that his ex-wife made up the story to get back at him for deliquent child support payments.

The victim began the night of July 3, 2008, at her brother's New Port Richey apartment for a get-together. Cregger and his girlfriend were also at the party. The woman left after arguing with her boyfriend, telling her brother she was going to walk to a friend's house. Cregger had already left the party and gone to his nearby apartment.

Assistant State Attorney Chris Jensen said the woman met Cregger as she was walking to her friend's house and he was walking to a convenience store. Jensen said Cregger grabbed the victim, dragged her into the dark backyard of a house on Illinois Avenue and raped her on a beach chair. Cregger had lived at the house and knew its owner, Joseph Catania.

The victim eventually talked Cregger into letting her check on her child at home. She and Cregger were walking on Adams Street when [Deena] LaRossa's van approached.

LaRossa and her friends Stacy Davis and Betty Jo Tagerson, prosecution witnesses, saw a scared, barefoot, crying victim walking with Cregger early July 4, 2008. The women in the van stopped to talk to the victim, who whispered to LaRossa, "Please don't leave me. He just raped me." LaRossa helped the victim into the van.

Cregger testified that after an argument between the victim and her boyfriend, Cregger had consensual oral sex with the woman, who did so to get back at her boyfriend.

After the verdict, Cregger told Judge Andrews that he wasn't a rapist. "My only question through all of this has been: Why has my ex-wife and her ex-husband been making my life a living hell, and hunt me down and concoct this whole thing against me to put me away for 15 years?

Cregger's mother, Deborah Leder, said that she still believed her son was innocent. "I know deep down in my heart because I'm a Christian, and I know God knows that my son did not commit these hideous crimes."

"He's a good boy," The defendant's aunt, Judy Thomas said. She also promised that the family would fight for him.

Pewaukee officer demoted beacuse of inappropriate behavior with suspect

A City of Pewaukee police seargeant was demoted to patrol officer and suspended for 15 days without pay on Monday, October 26 for attempting to date a criminal suspect and lying about it. This demotion will cost Officer Cher Sneider almost $10,000 in gross annual salary.

The administrative sanctions were the result of an internal investigation by the City of Pewaukee’s Police And Fire Commission of administrative charges against her, regarding an off-duty incident on May 10, 2008.

According to the complaint, Sgt. Sneider had an on-duty patrol officer access a secure police database to get Sneider the phone number of a man under investigation for suspicion of illegal activity, including drugs. That man had a known criminal history with the City of Pewaukee police department.

Sneider, who thought the suspect was “hot,” and wanted to go out with him, made four calls with her personal cell phone May 10, 2008, another call and a visit to the man’s house the next day, and two more calls May 17, 2008. She denied trying to have a relationship with him, saying she contacted him as part of a noise complaint investigation.

Commission members said that Sneider’s testimony was unconvincing, citing the late night phone calls she made to the suspect’s residence. As part of their seven page decision, they said the following:

"It is not credible that Sneider would be making legitimate and necessary police-related calls...while out visiting a succession of taverns on a Saturday night and drinking alcoholic beverages. It is not believable that Sneider would pursue this issue off duty as late as 12:06 a.m. on Sunday morning, May 11, 2008, which is the time she made her last call to the Doe residence."

Pewaukee Police Department rules state that officers engage in professional conduct, refrain for associating with people of questionable character, use city resources for work, and “speak the truth at all times.”

A separate insubordination charge against Sneider was dismissed by the commission. That charge stemmed from her request to remove a laptop computer mount bracket from then-Chief Gary Bach's squad car to have it installed in her car. Meister earlier had issued an order that nothing be removed from Bach's squad, and Sneider was accused of ignoring the mandate.

The commission said it is disappointing that department personnel and commission time was spent looking into the laptop mount issue.

"The commission is concerned that this situation is symptomatic of poor management, system-wide disregard for authority and continuing deterioration in the chain of command with the police department. This matter should have been handled internally," the commission said.

Sneider's attorney, Gordon McQuillen, says his client may appeal the demotion.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pregnant woman's "boyfriend" sentenced to life without parole for stabbing her to death

An Anderson, SC man who stabbed his pregnant girlfriend 25 times until she bled to death in front of her 7 year old daughter was sentenced to life without parole Thursday, October 22. Circuit Court Judge Cordell Maddox sentenced Christopher Ellis to life without parole after an hour of jury deliberations. The life without parole sentences were for the murder of Erica Olsen and her unborn child. These sentences will run consecutively with a 10 year sentence for possessing a weapon in the commission of a violent crime.

On Oct. 23, 2006, police went to an apartment in Fairview Gardens after dispatchers received a 911 hang-up call and heard a woman screaming in the background. Police found Olson with stab wounds covering her upper body. Ellis was lying on top of her, with wounds to his abdomen and neck. Olson’s 7-year-old daughter told police that Ellis had stabbed her mother and then stabbed himself.

Ellis, the only witness to testify on Wednesday and the only witness the defense called, said Olson had attacked him as he fell asleep in a recliner. According to him, he had been at another woman’s house that afternoon and Olson was angry that he had been cheating on her.

Ellis, who admitted being drunk and high on crack, said that the victim came after him with a knife while he was trying to fall asleep in a recliner. He claimed that he went to the bathroom and the victim stabbed him then. The perp claimed that he called 911, but the phone kept coming out of the wall.

The victim's 7 year old daughter, who testified for the prosecution, said that she awoke to her mother's screams, and saw the victim stabbed to death. The daughter also saw Ellis stab himself in the stomach afterwards.
Assistant Circuit Solicitor Catherine Huey said that Ellis' statement was incredible, and that the 911 tapes showed that he was trying to control the situation.
 “He told dispatchers ‘It’s OK.’ In all that time he never even asked for help. Both he and Erica are hurt and he never asks for help. They want you to believe the phone kept falling out of the wall. But the dispatcher knew something bad was going on. He heard the screaming and he kept calling back. … But by that time, you can’t hear Erica anymore.”
10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams said the crime was a warning to other women in abusive situations. Huey said thew victim waited too long to move out of the place she shared with Ellis.
Adams' statement is below.
This was a horrific crime, committed in front of a 7-year-old child by someone with a previous history of domestic abuse against the victim, a fact I hope will not be lost on those in our community who today find themselves in abusive relationships. We are grateful to the jury and pleased that this defendant will be locked away for the rest of his life,” she said.
The victim's grandmother, Gayle Davison, said that she was satisfied that Ellis won't be able to hurt another woman again. “I think the fact that he will never be able to do this to anyone else is what we all needed. It will be three long years on the 23rd of this month. We’ve waited a long time for this.”

Repeat criminal sentenced to 11 1/2 years for rape of University of Arizona student

A man who raped a University of Arizona student in 2007 was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison Friday, October 16, by Pima County Superior Court Judge Christopher Browning. Thirty-eight year old Deguan Lamar Lee faced a sentence of 3 to 12 1/2 years on the kidnapping count and up to 3 3/4 years on the robbery count, added after Lee took the victim's cell phone.

On April 12, 2007, the student returned to the Manzanita-Mohave dormitory after having dinner with some friends. When she entered the dorm, she saw a man standing by the elevators and, uncomfortable, took the stairs.

Moments later, the student left her room to go to the bathroom, and the man pushed her into the bathroom, punched her in the face repeatedly and digitally penetrated her twice. He then grabbed her cell phone and left. Witnesses who came to check on the commotion ran into the man as he left the bathroom, and he told them, "Everything is OK."

Police arrested Lee, who was not a UA student, two years later when his DNA was linked to the case.  
Lee had a history of being "overly aggressive in pursuing women," according to Deputy Pima County Attorney Anita Simons. Simons asked for an aggravated sentence based of this and Lee's violation of probation for drug offenses.  
According to Simons, these incdients include unwanted sexual attention by Lee gaginst his daughter's teacher, and inappropriate touching of a girl's buttocks at a dance school parking lot. He "either does not understand or refuses to acknowledge that these women didn't invite his behavior," according to the prosecutor.
In a letter to the judge, the victim said it took her more than a month before she could use a public restroom, and when she finally used the dorm's restrooms, she took a pair of scissors and someone with her. She also couldn't sleep in her dorm room after the incident; she slept at friends' homes or at her mother's house.

At the end of the semester, the student said, she transferred schools, but she still has nightmares and crying jags. She often wakes up in the middle of the night and has to double-check the locks on her doors and windows. She sometimes feels her heart racing when she notices the bump on her nose and the scars on her lips.
Lee will have to register as a sex offender and have his DNA taken, since the kidnapping was found to be with sexual motivation.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

72 year old man gets 9 to 12 years for "manslaughter" of wife, stabbed 45 times

A 72 year old Cape Cod man was sentenced to 9 to 12 years in prison yesterday for stabbing his wife 45 times with a kitchen knife before she bled to death in front of a neighbor's porch. Seventy-two year old William Romero Sr. of  Pocasset, MA, who plead guilty in September, was sentenced for a single count of manslaughter and 20 years of probation for to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60 by Judge Richard Connon.

First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny asked for a sentenced of 18 to 20 years, while Romero's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, asked for 6 to 8 years. Judge Connon, after reading Romero's evaluation at Taunton State Hospital and other background information, decided that "age is not a defense - You can't turn your back on someone who commits the most serious of crimes."

Because Romero was found to have a substance abuse problem, his probation conditions, if he lives to get out of prison, will require no drug or alcohol use. However, the defendant, acknowledged to be in poor health, may find prison difficult at his age. "He's at the end of his life and that's a difficult way for him to finish his life." Judge Connon said. "The thing is," he added, "if he does survive, where is he going to go when he gets out?"

He might be able to stay with his son, William Romero Jr.

Romero's son, William Romero Jr., was too distraught to even stay for the hearing, Reddington told the judge. He had recommended a lesser sentence than his sisters in his impact statement, the lawyer said. Connon said he took those into account, as well as the test results from the hospital, in making his decision.
Romero's daughter, Sharon Durkin, shook her head as the sentence was read. She broke into hysterics as Romero was led out of the courtroom.

"We were not pleased with the judge's verdict today and we felt that justice had not been served," Durkin said of herself and her sister, Margaret, in a phone interview later yesterday. The sisters wanted to see their father sent away for the maximum 20 years.

Whatever happens to his client, according to Romero's lawyer, Romero's children will have lost both of their parents due to one selfish act. "I know that they love their father, but they certainly loved their mother," Reddington said.

Masseur with property crime history accused of fondling customer

A masseur with a history of property crimes, including 1st degree burglary, was accused of fondling and molesting a long time customer of the massage business that he worked for. The 35 year old victim claimed that Joshua Shane Beach, 25, fondled her breasts, genitals, and performed oral sex on her during the 1 1/2 hour "massage" section.

Pam Henrichs, Beach's manager, said that she wasn't awars of his criminal history, but appeared to be a legitimate - and popular masseur.  "He's only been here a month and was doing good. He had a number of repeat (customers), including her. I was impressed with him and his knowledge about massage." The victim was a client of the facility for 12 years.

During questioning by detectives, Beach admitted fondling and performing oral sex with the alleged victim, apologizing to the woman for making her "uncomfortable."

Rapist, killer of "girlfriend" sentenced to 20-60 years for molesting 7 year old

A convicted rapist and murderer who served prison time for killing his "girlfriend" will now spend an additional 20 to 60 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for molesting a seven year old girl. Forty-four year old George Quintero, formerly of Salem, NH was found April 1 of aggravated felonious sexual assault and felonious sexual assault for molesting a seven year old girl at his house in February 2007.

Assistant County Attorney Karen Springer said that Quintero's past needed to be taken into consideration when sentencing. "I don't think we're trying to make an analogy, but I do think this defendant picked both of these victims," she said.

The judge in Quintero's case agreed, because her statement to the perpetrator was "If ever there was a case that deserved the maximum sentence, this is the case," said Judge Tina Nadeau, who said that Quintero had a proven history of preying on adults and children.

In 1984, Quintero was in the military, stationed in Germany, when he went to his 20-year-old girlfriend's home drunk wanting her to take care of him, Springer said. When she refused, he went to a friend's home. Quintero and his friend decided to return to the woman's home and murder her, she said.

"He punched her in her face four or five times. She tried to scream, tried to yell out. He responded by slicing both sides of her neck," Springer said. "After that, he raped her and so did his friend." The two men stabbed the woman with a knife repeatedly, Springer said.

After admitting to the rape and murder, Quintero was sentenced to 27 years, but got out of prison in May 2001 after serving 17 - a decision that according to the prosecutor, led to the molestation. "Had he done 27 years, it would have taken him into 2012 and we wouldn't be here."

The girl's mother, arguing for the maximum sentence, "She is a typical 10-year-old (now) with scars for the rest of her life. (She) was a victim because of this rapist and murderer."

Richard Samdperil, Quitero's attorney, said that his client had a productive life after release from prison and may have another chance of contributing to society. "When he was released from prison, he worked, he established a new relationship with a girlfriend. He still has the ability to work and contribute to society. All that should be considered."

Salem police Sgt. Michael Kelly, the investigator in the molestation case, said  "He received what he deserved for a sentence. I'm happy for the mother and father of the victim and hope they can all move on with their lives."

Sex offender convicted of raping wife at gunpoint in vehicle, motel

A Laramie, WY man faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life for kidnapping then raping his wife at a park, then motel. A jury of 10 women and 2 men convicted Donald Ray Daves of 4 counts of 1st degree sexual assault, 5 counts of using a firearm while committing a felony, and single counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery, and possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent.

The 46 year old perpetrator's conviction stemmed from a incident which occurred over the couse of two days. According to the victim and prosecutors, Daves' assault began April 4 at the Monolith Ranch public access area to purportedly dig up jewelry he buried. The gunpoint sex assaults at the access area occurred in Daves' Ford Ranger pickup truck. After Daves finished raping his victim there, he drove around, looking for a motel to stay.  According to Albany County Attorney Richard Bohling, Daves unsucessfully rented a room at a Howard Johnson's. “He reminded her if she runs he’ll blow a hole in her head the size of a coffee mug,” Bohling said about the threats the perpetrator made to his victim.

Eventually, Daves rented a room at the 1st Inn Gold, where he raped his victim three times, each time with the semiautomatic handgus laring on the stand next to the bed. According to Bohling, the gun on the stand was used to keep the victim submissive. “This is all about power. It’s not about consensual sex.”

After he finished raping his wife, he dropped her off at her home April 5, threatening to kill her if she told. The next day, Daves fled and led  police on a high speed chase after Laramie and Albany County Sheriff’s officers attempted to question him about the rapes.

Public defender Vaughn Neubauer focused on the physical evidence and the victim’s testimony.

Neubauer said the victim had lied on the stand because she wanted Daves out of her life. “Don’s an easy target,” he said. “She had the perfect opportunity to get rid of Don Daves forever.”

Neubauer asked the jury to remember the victim’s testimony and how she became “defensive and angry and hostile” during cross examination after crying earlier in the day. “Her testimony was contrived. She made it up,” he said. “Someone … who can turn it on, turn it off and turn it on again is capable of doing that.”

Concerning the physical evidence, Neubauer said the DNA analysis performed by the Wyoming State Crime Lab and the biological materials tests performed by Laramie Police Sgt. Michael Ernst were non-factors.
He reminded the jury that the DNA analysis and presence of fluids on Daves’ underwear could not be used to determine if the sexual acts were consensual or non-consensual. Neubauer added that Ernst failed to find any biological evidence inside Daves’ pickup truck, which is where the victim had said Daves had forced her to perform oral sex.

In addition, Neubauer referred to the testimony of Dr. Jonna W. Gies of the Ivinson Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, who performed a sexual assault examination of the victim on April 9. In her testimony on Tuesday, Gies had said there was no evidence of tearing or redness on the victim. Gies had said there were two bruises on the victim’s inner thighs. However, she admitted they could have happened during consensual or non-consensual sex.

Because the physical evidence could not prove Daves had sexually assaulted his wife, Neubauer said the prosecution’s case depended on the victim’s testimony and circumstantial evidence. “What this case really comes down to is whether you believe (the victim) beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. Neubauer also pointed to the events in the front lobby of the Howard Johnson’s Hotel on the night of April 4 to show the victim was with Daves on her own volition.

Jeffrey Becker, a former Howard Johnson Hotel front desk manager, testified on Wednesday that the victim could have escaped out the front door or spoken to him while Daves was in the restroom.“She had a number of options available to her,” Neubauer said. “She could have asked for help, but she didn’t.”

Then, instead of fleeing the county or holding the victim hostage, Daves took her home before returning to his residence.
Bolling rebutted the defense argument by stating in his closing that “There’s no handbook of how to be a victim of crimes like this...Some people spend years in (an abusive) situation before they ever get out.”
Daves is being held without bail in the Albany County Detention Center until sentencing.

Ex sheriff's deputy pleads guilty to rape of drunk woman

Former Fall River County sheriff deputy Buckly "Buck" McColl plead guilty to a single count of 3rd degree rape in front of Seventh Circuit Court Judge Thomas Trimble in the Cusster County, SD courthouse yesterday. In South Dakota, 3rd degree rape carries a maximum sentence of 25 years or a $50,000 fine. 2rd degree rape is defined as having intercourse with a drunk, drugged, or asleep person, rendering them unable to consent to sex.

Greg Sperlich, McColl's lawyer, said the guilty plea was designed to cap his client's sentence at 5 years. Two other 3rd degree rape charges, as well as counts of perjury and false reporting, were dropped in exchange for the plea.

As part of his guilty plea, Judge Trimble required that McColl give a factual basis for the plea, to which McColl replied, “I had intercourse with (name redacted). She was intoxicated at the time and could not give consent.”

After the plea, Judge Trimble ordered that a pre-sentence investigation be done. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled, but will take place in Fall River County before Judge A.P. Fuller.

State’s Attorney Jim Sword requested that McColl be remanded to the Fall River County Sheriff, but Trimble said that McColl would be allowed to remain free on bond. Sword then asked that he be required to stay within the boundaries of the Seventh Circuit.

McColl stated that he had to leave the 7th Circuit's boundaries for his work as a trucker. Judge Trimble kept McColl's bond at its current level, stating that “He is here. He entered his plea.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ex teacher's aide sentenced to five years for "relationship" with 16 year old

Former Burlington County Special Services teacher's aide Donna Goebel was sentenced to 5 years in prison and lifetime parole  for starting a relationship with a 16 year old student. This sentence was handed down on Monday by Superior Court Judge James Morley and split the difference between the 7 years requested by Burlington County prosecutors and 3 years requested by the defense.

On July 17, Goebel was convicted of a count of sexual assault involving the student who attended class where she was a teacher's aide last year. This "relationship" started while she was still married, but in an unhapy relationship with her husband.

 "It's possible she just wanted to be around someone who was nice to her and got caught up in something she shouldn't have," Judge Morley said, adding she used her position to get close to him whether she originally intended to or not.

Judge Morley also opined "But for the defendant's status, there would be no crime here (because) the relationship was entirely consensual." Pennsylvania's AOC is usually 16, but rises to 18 when the adult is in a position of trust.

In a letter to the judge, Goebel's older daughter, Jennifer, said her mother was in a "poisonous destructive relationship" with her father that made her mother do uncharacteristic things. "She is a loving mother and constantly made sacrifices for me . . . She is not the woman portrayed in the newspapers," the college student wrote.

Goebel is currently divorced and is in the process of remarrying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How date and acquaintence rapists select, target, and violate victims

The steps typical of the pattern are detailed, Cook said, in the article “Date/ Acquaintance Rape: The Crime and Criminal Profile,” by Central Michigan University associate professor Stephen M. Thompson.

1. The man selects someone who is flattered by his attention.
“And that is one of the reasons why freshmen on campus are at such high risk,” Cook said. “They’re vulnerable. They’re targeted because they’re going to be really flattered when an upperclassman invites them to this huge party.”

Usually the woman is a friend, co-worker or friend of a friend, Thompson says.

“It’s important because he is picking someone who he’ll have contact with again,” Cook said. “And probably they’ll have mutual friends and they’ll see each other again, so after he rapes her, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on her not to report it, because it would create huge upheaval in her social life.”

2. Then comes the grooming.

“This is where he’s going to really just break any kind of distrust or boundaries down by being this nice, great guy and creating a situation where she feels like she can trust him,” Cook said. “Control is important, so he might push alcohol at this point.”

If the woman returns his affection, and “if she consents in this situation then that’s great and he’s going to consider that a score,” Cook said. “But if she doesn’t consent, he’s going to go ahead and do it anyway. He believes that sex is his right.”

3. He gets her alone. About 54 percent of the time, this happens at the man’s home, Cook said. “She’ll go because he’s groomed her ... she feels like she knows him.”

4. He sends a message, using just enough aggression to intimidate the woman into not fighting back.

“He sends the message that, ‘Don’t try to resist, you’re not getting out of here until I get what I want.’ ” Cook explains. “And this is where we hear victims say time and time again, ‘I knew I was in a lot of trouble.’ And so natural reaction is to freeze up in fear, to just pray to God to just get through it. This person is capable of this, I don’t know what else they are capable of.”
The last their friends saw, the man and woman had willingly left together. “So they think, of course, it was consensual, of course she wanted to have sex,” Cook said. “But the only person who sees the intimidating, violent, forceful side of the rapist is his victim and to everyone else he’s still that great, nice guy that she left with.”

 5. Placing blame.

At every step, including the last, Cook says the “nice guy” image is believable. Even the “nice guy” himself often believes what happened was OK. “So he might walk her home or kiss her goodnight, call her the next day,” Cook said. “And plant those seeds of doubt that maybe what happened wasn’t rape.”

Cook says it’s common for the woman to think, “I didn’t physically resist, I didn’t scream ‘no,’ so maybe it was mixed signals.” “That’s completely intentional on his part,” she said.

Women who report being raped by a date or acquaintance often tell similar stories about the events that led to the rape, says Corey Cook, of the Centre County Women's Resource Center.

Contra Costa sex crimes prosecutor indicted on sex crimes

Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett was formally indicted by a grand jury yesterday on 13 counts of rape, sodomy, and related crimes after a former colleague accused him of raping her while at a lunch break at his condo. The victim, known only as "Jane Doe" was a 30 year old prosecutor at the time of the alleged attack, and over a dozen prosecutors testified in front of the 19 member grand jury.

Gressett, 23-year veteran prosecutor, is accused of taking the younger woman back to his Martinez home, and repeatedly raping and sodomizing her using the handle of an ice pick while threatening her with a small handgun. He faces four counts of sodomy by use of force; four counts of forcible sexual penetration; two counts of rape, and one count each of false imprisonment, oral copulation by force and criminal threats, with criminal enhancements for the use of the weapons.

His lawyers say the sex was consensual. They cite statements that colleagues claim Doe had made about an interest in sex with weapons, and in having sex with Gressett.

Prosecotors sought the grand jury indictment, which supercedes a previous 12 count indictment which Gressett plead not guilty to, because visiting Judge Carlos Ynostroza stated that the alleged victim would have to testify at a preliminary hearing under the original charges. With a grand jury indictment, the victim's testimony can wait until trial.

Defense attorneys say the move is designed to shield the victim from questions regareding conflicting statements made to family and friends. They also accuse the Contra Costa DA's office of waiting until the last minute to bring in the California AG's office for political purposes.

Gressett, who remains free on $1 million bail, will answer the new charges on november 2. He is currently appealing his firing from the Contra Costa DA's office.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vancouver, WA teacher sentenced to 17 1/2 months for exploiting student

Clark County Superior Court Judge Roger Bennett sentenced former Vancouver (WA) Christian High School teacher to 17 1/2 months in prison for sexually abusing a 16 year old student he coached last Friday, October 16. The sentence was 2 1/2 months above the joint submission by the prosecution and defense. Judge Bennett did so because of 42 year old Richard Gail Parrett's position of trust and authority over the victim.

Parrett was originally charged with 4 counts of 1st degree sexual misconduct for a sexual relationship he had with a 16 year old student he had coached in basketball, track, and weightlifting. Two counts were dropped for Parrett's guilty plea of September 10. The sexual exploitation started in mid-January with flirty texts, and escalated into four sexual encounters, two in the victim's home and the other two in Parrett's SUV. All incidents took place in Vancouver, WA.

Before Friday's sentencing, she addressed the court, telling of the turmoil she'd endured in light of the case. She hurt her parents. She felt violated. And she's felt condemned at school since the news broke.

"My most prevalent emotion is confusion," she said, her voice wavering. "My innocence has been stolen and my virginity taken." Lastly, she had some words for Parrett. "I want him to know that I don't hate him," she said. "And I hope he finds forgiveness in Christ."

While Judge Bennett acknowledged the former teacher's remorse, he said that the consequences "go far beyond the people involved." In Washington, 1st degree sexual misconduct takes place when a teacher enters into a sexual relationship with a student above WA's AOC, which is 16. The law applies to high school students who happen to be legal adults after a revision earlier this year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Late 70's rapes linked to imprisoned Maryland rapist

A Maryland rapist imprisoned for life with the possibility of parole has been charged in the cold case rapes of four women which occured between 1977 and 1980. Timothy Joseph Buzbee, 52, was charged with the rapes after Maryland officials ran his DNA through a national database. Buzbee has been imprisoned for rapes which occured in 1981 and 1982.

According to Montgomery County police chief Thomas Manger, authorities credit the new charges to a commitment to bring violent criminals to justice.

 "Those types of cases, the homicides, the unsolved rapes -- we never forget about them. We continuously run the evidence through the national database because there are new people added to that database all the time and we will continue to get hits in the future, to solve those types of cold cases."

If Busbee is convicted of any of the new charges, he can be sentenced to life without parole.

Dental assisstant sentenced to 5 years in prison for fondling patient under anesthesia

A Frederick, MD dental assistant was sentenced to five years in prison and a lifetime of sex offender registration by Frederick County Circuit Court Judge G. Edward Dwyer for fondling a woman under anesthesia foe wisdom tooth removal. The April 22 assault by 37 year old Danilo Carabio Banados resulted in the victim waking up to find Banados fondling her under her clothes and kissing her. Maryland State Police Trooper First Class Gary Martin interviewed the suspect a week after the assault. Banados initally denied the assault, but three weeks later, admitted it under a polygraph.

Maryland sentencing guidlines called for a sentence of between probation and a year in jail, but Assistant State's Attorney Lindell K. Angel said that sentencing guidelines were inadequate because of the position of trust that was violated. "He took advantage ... the conduct was absolutely not consented to," Angel said.

Judge Dwyer said that "You violated (her) trust. Mr. Banados, you came in here at most with a minor record," Dwyer said. "Now you have two felonies that will follow you for life."

Banados told the woman and her husband, who attended his sentencing but made no victim impact statement, "I'm sorry for what I've done. I ask for their forgiveness."

Judge Dwyer suspended 15 years of a 20 year sentence with five years executed. 5 years of supervised probation were also imposed. If Banados refuses to complete mental health, sex offender treatment, or contact the victim or her family, then the suspended sentence of 15 years can be imposed.

Prosecutor intends to seek life without parole for three strikes felon convicted of rape

A convicted rapist and 3 time felon may be sentenced to up to life without parole for beating and raping a woman who gave him a ride from downtown Olympia, WA on April 12. After several hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Allan Robert Simmons, 23, of 1st degree rape and 2nd degree assault with sexual motivation. The 25 year old victim was punched repeatedly, resulting in a broken nose, two black eyes, and a gash on her nose requiring stitches.

The woman testified at trial that she had met Simmons for the first time on the night of the rape, as she was smoking a cigarette outside after attending a party in downtown Olympia near where she works. The pair talked for about an hour, and she agreed to give him a ride home. Skinder told the jury the woman “is a kind person that made the biggest mistake she could have possibly made when she gave this person a ride in her car.”

She testified that during the ride, Simmons began to give her the creeps, ranting about how much he hated his job at Taco Bell and giving her vague directions home in the area of Mullen Road without a specific address. They finally stopped at a location where he said he could be dropped off, and he asked for a hug. She said she complied, hoping he would leave, but he immediately punched her.

She said she attempted to fight back at first, but he continued to punch her in the face so she stopped. During the rape, she begged him not to kill her, she said. Skinder said in court, “She’s a brave person who did what she had to do to survive that day.”

Thurston County Sheriff’s Detective Chris Ivanovich interviewed Simmons at his workplace, a Taco Bell where a person similar to the suspect's description worked. Simmons initially claimed that he was with his girlfriend, but the girlfriend refused to lie for her man. The girlfriend said that Simmons claimed to be with friends the morning of the rape. Moreover, the girlfriend saw bloody clothes that Simmons said came from a fight, but actually came from the attack on the victim.
During the trial, Simmons' defense attorney Larry Simmons said that the sex between his client and the victim was consensual, with the woman attacking Simmons because she was upset she cheated on her boyfriend. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Skinder rebutted that insinuation be showing pictures of the victim's injuries and contracting his 6' 5", 210 pound frame to her diminutive stature. “This person is an extremely manipulative coward who used his strength and size to beat and pulverize a young person who was kind enough to give him a ride,” Skinder said in his closing argument.
Skinder intends to seek life without parole for Simmons at his sentencing, currently scheduled for November 19. Simmons may be eligible for "three strikes" because of two previous felony convictions in Illinois.

Deborah King - incest survivors need to speak up to begin healing

The recent revelation by Mackenzie King of incest by her father on the Oprah show led to a second Oprah show about incest. Deborah King, a Huffington Post columnist, shares her story of sexual abuse by her father between 2 and 13 and states that healing is possible when survivors tell their stories. An excerpt is below.

When a victim refuses to be silenced, speaking up can heal much of the damage from the abuse. Until then, they often continue to deal with substance abuse, ill-health, promiscuity, depression, anxiety, and a host of other emotional and physical problems. Being able to speak your truth is an important part of the healing process from any trauma--and incest is a traumatic event, whether it's a one-time rape or an ongoing 30-year "relationship."

Deborah King is the Huffington Post's health and wellness columnist.

Yakima, WA teacher who allegedly seduced 16 year old student makes 1st court appearance

A teacher charged with sexual contact with a 16 year old student was oficially arraigned Friday on 1st degree sexual misconduct charges. Michele Taylor, a 13 year old Yakima, WA PE teacher, appeared in Yakima County Superior Court to say that she understood the charges against her. Judge Michael McCarthy also heard arguments arguing that the standard no contact with children order needed to be amended. Judge McCarthy said that the order did not apply to the defendant's three 5 year old triplets, while letting Taylor remain out of bond under her own recognisance.

Taylor, a physical education teacher at East Valley High School since 2004, is charged with first-degree sexual misconduct for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old male student in the back of her truck outside the Yakima Kmart store.

Her husband, Kevin Taylor, is also a physical education teacher in the East Valley School District.

Although the age of consent in Washington is 16, sexual contact with students 16 or older is considered misconduct, rather than rape, under state law.

Taylor is also charged with two counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Authorities allege she exchanged more than 400 text messages with the 16-year-old and a 15-year-old student between March and June.

Taylor, whose case has sparked complaints about double standards, was placed on paid leave in June after school officials learned of the allegations and informed the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

Aoocrding to her supporters, her case was sensantionalized because she was a woman who allegedly "seduced" a male student, while detractors pointed out that she would not been allowed to turn herself in if she had been a man.

The criminal allegations against Taylor also translates into administrative discipline. The East Valley School District will give her an opportunity to answer the allegations, then "After that, we will be prepared to give her a probable cause letter, which starts the dismissal process," [East Valley attorney Michael]Patterson said.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Attacker of woman sentenced to life without parole

A guy who kidnapped and raped his "girlfriend" before she escaped was sentenced to life without parole Friday for sexual battery with a deadly weapon, witness tampering, and kidnapping. Arthur Jones III, 28, was sentenced to mandatory life without parole as a prison release reoffender by Pinellas County Circuit Judge Michael Andrews yesterday. Prison release reoffenders are criminals who have comitted certain crimes within 3 years of prison release.

The charges stem from an attack which began around 4 AM on August 26, 2007 in Tarpon Springs. Jones threw a propane tank through the victim, his "girlfriend's" plate glass window, shattering it. Jones then kidnapped the victim, and tried to rape her in a black SUV in Pasco County on a deserted roadway. After he checked into a Port Richey hotel, he finally suceeded in violating the victim.

After the rape, Jones drove the victim back to her home, where she bailed out. Jones tried to run her over twice, once in her driveway. During the ordeal, Jones had a gun.

As Tarpon Springs police officers arrived on the scene, Jones took off. Police said he tried to hit an officer in a squad car and then swerved at another officer who had ordered him to halt. As it headed east on Keystone Drive, the SUV inexplicably caught fire.

Jones leapt out as it crashed into an embankment, then ran away. Police dogs tracked him to the edge of a lake north of Keystone and east of Highland Avenue, but he was not found. Authorities located him two months later in Suwannee County.

Stanton presented DNA evidence from the rape during the trial, and the woman, 33, testified about her ordeal.

Amazingly, just before sentencing, Jones told his victim that he cared about her. He also tried to excuse his conduct. "I'm not necessarily a bad person. I've made some bad choices in my life. I've learned a lot."

Jones has other criminal charges pending in both Pinellas and Pasco counties, but any conviction won't increase his sentence - in Florida, life sentences are life without parole in all cases.

Catholic priest who fathered child suspended from ministry

A priest exposed as being the father of a now 22 year old son was suspended yesterday by the Catholic Dioscese of Superior, WI by his superiors. Father Henry Willenborg was suspended immediately, according to spokesman Richard Lyons. "He is to step down from active ministry and any involvement in church events until we have a chance to clarify the information that was in the New York Times article today," Lyons said.

Father Willenborg fathered Nathan Halbach after an "affair" with his mother, Pat Bond, currently of O'Fallon, MO, which started back in 1983.  The seduction came after he led a Catholic women's retreat. Father Willenborg led Pat aside for a kiss, beginning five years of intimate sexual exploitation, leading to Nathan's birth and the breakup of her existing marriage.

In public, they were both leaders in their Catholic community in Quincy, Ill. In private they functioned like a married couple, sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children.

Eventually they had a son, setting off a series of legal battles as Ms. Bond repeatedly petitioned the church for child support. The Franciscans acquiesced, with the stipulation that she sign a confidentiality agreement. It is now an agreement she is willing to break as both she and her child, Nathan Halbach, 22, are battling cancer.

Ms. Bond retained a lawyer, and the Franciscans gave her $1,000 toward the costs of the birth that were not covered by insurance, and $505 toward baby furniture. The Franciscans further agreed to pay $600 a month for the baby’s first 10 months, until Ms. Bond could return to work in a travel agency, and after that $350 a month in child support until Nathan turned 18. It added up, after bank and legal fees, to about $85,000 paid in a lump sum.

The Franciscans also agreed to pay half of Nathan's University of Missouri tuition until he turned 21 and "extraordinary medical expences" until age 23 and it is thair refusal to do so which led the victims to tell their stories.

According to Nate, "Father" Willenborg never functioned as a father to him, just as a priest. “I’ve always called him Father Henry — never Father, never Dad. I always felt he picked religion over me.”

Most tellingly, the "relationship" ended after another woman showed up to Bond's house and told Pat that Father WIllenborg had been seeing that second victim even since high school. Soon afterwards, the Franciscans sent Willenborg to this order for treatment.

The exposure was assisted by SNAP, who met in St. Louis yesterday, where the regional Franciscan head is based. SNAP wants the Franciscans as well as the Superior Dioscese to pay the 22 year old's medical expenses.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Man sentenced to life in prison for hammer attack of "girlfriend"

A man who was convicted of raping and then beating his now ex-girlfriend with a hammer was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. Fifty-three year old Walter Cordell was convicted of six counts, including attempted murder, rape, and making criminal threats.

Cordell broke up with his girlfriend on May 30, 2008, but he wanted (and got) one last sexual encounter from her. Afterwards, Cordell said he had a "surprise" for her - which turned out to be a beating with a two pound hammer. Cordell then proceeded to rape the victim for hours, leaving her battered, bleeding, and nude on the floor. The perp also took cell phone pictures of the victim in that condition.

The woman fled to her family's restaraunt, where she got medical attention.  Deputy District Attorney Lindsey Krause stated that injuried included a broken neck, a broken arm, and deep cuts to the back of her head. Cordell was arrested the next day after a 12 hour standoff.

Defense attorney Megan Marcotte had argued during the trial that Cordell holed up in the house because he was afraid of being sent back to prison. Cordell, a parolee, had served time for a conviction eight years earlier stemming from a similar incident.

The victim of the earlier crime attended yesterday's sentencing hearing. She trembled as she told the judge how she had suffered and even contemplated suicide since Dec. 20, 2000, when Cordell hit her repeatedly in the head with a wooden dowel.

“It has now been almost nine years since I was attacked by a man I considered my best friend,” she said. She described the “odd” expression Cordell had on his face that day when he gave her a Christmas present, a $30 watch in a Cartier box.

“What he took from me had no price,” she said.

San Diego Superior Court Judge John Einhorn  gave Cordell life because of his position of trust over the victim, the victim's small frame, and the “high degree of cruelty and viciousness” of the attack. The now 46 year old victim said that “I am not the same person that I was,” she said, adding that she still has nightmares about the attack. “I don't trust men like I used to.” 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ex teacher sentenced to life without parole for murder of love rival

A former teacher was sentenced to life without parole yesterday in a capital murder case stemming from a love triangle between two former teachers. Carla Hughes, a 28 year old mother of a 5 year old son, was sentenced to life without parole for the capital murder of her "love" rival, Avis Banks and her unborn child. The 27 year old Banks was murdered by the then 25 year old Hughes. Banks, who was five months pregnant, was shot four times, stabbed trhree times, and slashed in front of her driveway on November 29, 2006.

The reason for Banks' murder was jealously and a wish for Hughes, a language arts teacher and cheerleading coach at Chastain Middle School in Jackson, MS to steal Banks' man Keyon Pittman, a fellow teacher at the same school. Now 34, married, and living in Detroit, Pittman testified during the trial that though he had a sexual relationship with Hughes, he was still planning to marry Banks - and their wedding day was supposed to be in January 2007.

According to Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest, Hughes "wanted the life Avis Banks had and she believed the only way to get it was to kill Avis and her unborn child."

Banks, 27, was looking forward to having her first child and getting married. The college graduate was working toward her dream of opening her own day-care center.

Meanwhile, Hughes was already a mother and working in the family business - education. She had a master's degree from Belhaven College and completed the coursework for an education speciality degree from Delta State University.

After eight hours of deliberations over two days, thr jury of 9 women and 3 men convicted Hughes of capital murder Tuesday, October 13.
On the other side of the nearly full courtroom, Banks' parents, Frederick and Debra Banks, and about a dozen other family members reacted with quiet sobs and embraces.

"Avis can finally rest in peace," Frederick Banks said after the verdict.

The family has waited for almost three years to see justice, Frederick Banks said. He said pent-up emotions made him feel like someone who has been in jail for three years. He said the guilty verdict allows him to let it out.

Hughes' parents, Carl and Linda Hughes of Noxapater, wouldn't comment after the verdict, but Carla Hughes' aunt, Ruthie Morris, said her niece is innocent.

Her defense attorney, Johnnie Walls, stated that Pittman killed his fiance because he didn't want to be a father, but wanted to stay a womanizer. While Guest did not like Pittman's lifestyle, "he came in here and told the truth. He is no killer."
After the guilty verdict, testimony gravitated to the penalty phase of the trial. Guest said as he tried to persuade the jury to sentence Hughes to death, "This crime was premeditated murder. This was not an accidental death or a heat of passion death. It was premeditated. She hid and waited to shoot Avis Banks when she arrived home."
During the penalty phase of the trial, the prosecution [also] recalled forensic pathologist Steven Hayne to the witness stand to testify about Banks being shot four times, stabbed three times and slashed.

Hayne said Banks probably would have been conscious for 15 or 20 minutes after three of the shots before going into shock and dying. His testimony was to show the manner of Banks' death was heinous and atrocious, an element for sentencing a person to death.

The defense called seven witnesses, including her former pastor and others from her hometown of Greenfield, MS.

Carl Hughes was the final defense witness called in the penalty phase of the trial that has gained national attention through live coverage on national television.

Carl Hughes, a ninth-grade football coach in Greenville, began to cry when he described his daughter and how hard it has been to see her charged and convicted of capital murder.

"That's not Carla the way I perceive her," Carl Hughes said. "I beg you to please spare my daughter."

Carla Hughes' mother also asked the jury to have mercy on her daughter. "She has so much to give," Lynda Hughes said of Carla. She and her husband adopted Carla when she was 6 weeks old.

Armed with an array of awards Carla Hughes had won, Lynda Hughes noted that her daughter has been helping inmates at the Madison County Detention Center to read while she has been incarcerated there and started a Bible-reading session. All the defense witnesses said they have never known Hughes to be violent and she was always a peacemaker.

Hughes' parents and her attorney, Johnnie Walls Jr. of Greenville, made emotional pleas Wednesday to let Hughes live. Walls said Hughes wasn't just a client but a friend he has known all of her life.

At one point, Walls choked with emotion as he spoke to the jury. "I can't believe a woman like that should be put to death," Walls said, fighting back tears. "I ask you to spare her life."

After 52 minutes of deliberation, the jury did just that yesterday. Now Hughes can spend all the time in the world teaching fellow inmates how to read - while Fredreick banks is left to ponder what could have been with his daughter and grandchild.

Federal marshal charged with coercing woman into sexual relationship

A 48 year old deputy US marshal was charged with luring, then coercing a woman less than half of his age into a sexual relationship, stating that she would lose her child if she did not comply with his advances.

According to the criminal complaint, 48 year old Timothy Moseley, charged with one count of capturing an image of nudity without consent and two counts of false imprisonment, met the then 20 year old woman online back in April and immediately told her that he was in law enforcement and coerced her into "dating" him.

In the summer, the sexual abuse escalated, with Moseley gagging and binding the woman while taking pictures of her he threatened to post of Facebook. In another incident, Moseley allegedly gave the victim a drink causing her to pass out. When she awoke, she was on his bead, nude and surrounded by rose petals. Investigators found photos of the victim bound and passed out with the rose petals American Beauty style.

Moseley, a supervisory deputy assigned to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a review of his status with the agency, according to Jeff Carter, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal's Service in Washington, D.C.

Moseley was assigned to the Eastern District in January after being transferred from Wyoming, where he was chief deputy for that district, Carter said in an e-mail.

Moseley made an initial court appearance Tuesday, October 13 and bond was set at $20,000.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Man who led search for wife he killed sentenced to life without parole for 35 years

A Black River Falls, WI man who killed and then "helped" in the search for her body was sentenced to life in prison with possible release in 35 years yesterday. If Douglas Sidie, now 40, is even released, he'll be under monitoring of the Wisconsin Department Of Corrections for the rest of his life.

Sidie shot to death his ex wife, 27 year old Alisha, using a 22 caliber shotgun to the head in their Hatfield home in Jackson County, WI. He drove her body to Komensky, WI, and left her body face down across a dirt road. Her remains were discovered later.

Meanwhile, Sidie reported Alisha missing, and joined other searchers in trying to find her - actions which rankle the victim's mother, Susan Rowlee.

"Doug searched right alongside me. He promised my grandsons he'd bring Momma home. He knew she was dead and her body was out in the woods. I wake up every morning with a hole in my heart."

The victim's father, Tony Rowlee, said that "For you, Doug Sidie, God might forgive you, but I never will. May you rot and die in prison."

Doug Sidie confessed on November 15 that he had killed his wife in the way described above, leaving 2 year old twin boys without a mother.

Circuit Judge Elliott Levine was brought in from La Crosse county to preside over the trial. John Brinckman, Doug's defense attorney, argued for a 20 to 25 year sentence, while the prosecutor, Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox, asked for release after 30 years. The pre sentencing report argued for a life without parole sentence.

In handing down his decision, Judge Levine stated that "When you killed Alisha, you put that bullet not only through her head, but you put it through the hearts of many people sitting in this room. This is a homicide that makes all of us cringe and wonder about humanity."

Brinckman claimed Douglas Sidie was angered by Alisha Sidie's threats to kill his son from a prior relationship but did not plan to shoot her. He delayed his confession so he could spend time with the twins.

"I don't believe his intentions were to torture the public," Brinckman said.

Courtroom tension rose when Douglas Sidie's aunt labeled Alisha Sidie as selfish and verbally abusive. His "stable" life turned "chaotic" when she tried to sever his bond with his other son, Carol Homan told the court.

"Alicia's narcissistic personality caused her own death," she said. "He should not be considered a criminal, rather a victim of abuse."

"Arrest me. That lady is an (expletive) joke," Alisha Sidie's sister, Tracy Rowlee, said as she stormed out the courtroom.

Sidie made a statement to the victims' family, stating that "I know they hate me. I can't say that I blame them," he said. "I can't tell them I'm sorry enough, I can't put it into words … I never meant for this to happen. I never meant for things to go this far."

After the sentencing, the victim's sister Tracy said "I think our family is just kind of like a puzzle with a missing piece. And that's how it's going to be for a long, long time and it will probably always stay like that."

Sidie plans to appeal the sentence.

Murphy to Goldberg - rape is rape!

Wendy Murphy's commentaries on victim's rights always leave you thinking. Even though this topic has been flogged to death in the last 2 1/2 weeks, it is interesting (and enlightening) to hear Murphy's opinion on the Roman Polanski case.

Dunbar Village rapists sentenced to life

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Three men convicted of the gang rape of a West Palm Beach woman and the beating of her young son were sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Krista Marx sentenced Jakaris Taylor, 17, and Nathan Walker, 18, to life in prison while Tommy Poindexter, 20, was sentenced to life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison. A fourth defendant, Avion Lawson, 16, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in December.

The four were convicted of barging into the then-35-year-old woman's West Palm Beach apartment in 2007 and raping her repeatedly, then beating her then-12-year-old son and forcing her to perform oral sex on him. They then doused the two in chemicals and left when they could not find a match.

Authorities say fingerprints and DNA found on clothing and condoms in the apartment identified the defendants, who were juveniles at the time of the crime.

The courtroom, packed with family members of the defendants, erupted after the sentence was read, despite Marx's admonishment that those who could not control themselves should leave beforehand. After Poindexter scuffled with a corrections officer, his brother, Masterson Poindexter, yelled out, "What the (expletive) are you doing to my brother."

Then the 13-year-old half brother of Taylor ran past stunned officers and deputies and opened a back door where his brother had been led in shackles. The crying boy was detained by deputies but later freed.

Defense lawyers had argued that the men were juveniles at the time of the crime and sentencing juveniles to life in prison amounts to cruel and unusual punishment — something that does not even occur in Iraq and North Korea. They noted that two similar cases are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both Public Defender Carey Haughwout, who represents Poindexter, and Robert Gershman, who represents Walker, said they would file motions for new trials and appeal.

Haughwout said she was "disappointed" with the sentence but Gershman said he was not surprised. "I was expecting life based on the facts of the case," he said.

In a statement, State Attorney Michael McAuliffe said, "Today, justice was done for the mother and child who were the victims of a brutal, vicious attack on their bodies and their characters. The blameless in this case are the victims who will likely never fully move beyond one's worst nightmare made all too real."

McAuliffe commended the victim for her "great courage and resolve" in aiding the investigation.

The victim was not present at the sentencing. However, prosecutor Aleathea McRoberts read a letter from her in which she said she and her son were still suffering greatly. In the letter, the victim said she is afraid to leave the house, seeing a psychologist and has been treated for cervical cancer — which she believes is due to the chemicals the defendants put inside her. She said her son is also seeing a psychologist and feels guilty that he could not protect his mother.

The defense attorneys and two psychologists who testified for them argued that the youths were products of troubled upbringings. One was born cocaine addicted, another lost his father at a young age and another was constantly beaten by his grandmother.

Taylor's mother testified that she had been treated for mental illness and alcoholism, and herself was raped twice. "I don't want him to get life," she told Marx. "Every child deserves a second chance."

Taylor's father testified that he was in and out of recovery for drug addiction, saying, "I've battled my own demons." "I'm asking you to give him a second chance and take into account what he has endured," said Nathan Taylor Sr.

But McRoberts countered that, "there is a huge population of kids who were raised by single moms without much money who don't have jobs that never go on to commit crimes."

"This community has a right to be protected from these juveniles," she said. "Short of killing this woman and her son, there is not much worse they could have done."

Judge Marx agreed.

"This was not a garden variety crime by any means." She said. "It was designed to instill fear and invoke terror and gave you all pleasure and excitement. Most of us have a moral code and refrain from wrongdoing. I can only surmise that none of you have a moral code."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wisconsin Department of Corrections to pay for facial reconstruction for killer of girlfriend

Daryl Stremke, 45, is serving 30 years in prison and will serve another 30 years under extended supervision for blasting his "girlfriend" Samantha "Sam" Verby away. When he tried to commit suicide with witnesses, including Samantha's 7 year old daughter, he failed to do anything but blast away the bottom half of his face.

According to the victim's father Larry, Stremke had set up a campground for them near Comstock, WI, near Staples Lake the night before the murder. On the night of the murder, June 30, 2002, Stremke had came to see Sam, yelling for her to come out. According to her father, this is what happened next.

"She said if you want to talk to me, you can come in here and talk to me. He walked inside the trailer, down the hallway and 10 feet away... shot her in the head. He then shot himself right there."

Larry ran from the Verby's Staples Lake Bar to the scene of the murder. He said this about his granddaughter's trauma from witnessing her mother's murder. "It took quite a long time for her to go to sleep by herself," Verby said. "She was afraid someone else was going to shoot through her room."

Later this month, Stremke will have the first in a series of surgeries to correct his speaking and eating problems. These surgeries will be funded by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections - and therefore, the Wisconsin taxpayer. Including the victim's parents.

This is what Larry has to say about the surgery.

"He has to live with what he did. There's no fixing it now...But when the perpetrator does it himself to himself with the idea that he went there on a death wish in the first place, he did it to himself. And being that he murdered my daughter, I have no sympathy for him."

Alice Verby, the victim's mother echoed her husband's feelings. "Taxpayers feel their money should go to better things than rebuilding his face. He did it to himself. Let him live that way."

Strenke's mother is defending the decision, saying Strenke, 45, is "tortured" by his injuries. He is serving a 60-year sentence, including 30 years behind bars.

Without surgery, Darlene Strenke said, her son would continue to struggle to speak and eat. She said his speech is nearly impossible to understand, and his food must be pureed.

"He doesn't have any teeth. He doesn't have a roof in his mouth, and he's only got part of a nose," she said. "It doesn't matter who they are, what crimes they've committed, (prisoners) still deserve the (medical) care," she said. "They're still a human being."

The Wisconsin Department Of Corrections provides surgeries to prisoners on a "medically necessary" basis. This is because of their mandate to avoid cruel and unusual punishment as stated in the 8th Amendment.

According to WDOC spokesman John Dipko, "Our actions as a correctional health care provider are consistent with this constitutional directive, including instances in which an individual is identified by an outside medical specialist as in need of reconstructive surgery to protect the individual's life and health."

State Rep. Ann Hraychuck, D-Balsam Lake, who was the sheriff of Polk County in 2002 and helped prosecute Strenke, said she sees both sides. Taxpayers don't want their hard-earned money wasted, but the state must care for people in its custody, she said.

"I do understand that institutions are responsible for providing necessary medical treatment," Hraychuck said, noting that as sheriff, she ran the Polk County Jail. "Now my job is to protect taxpayers ... and make sure they're getting the best bang for their buck."

In the end, Hraychuck said, she trusts Department of Corrections Secretary Rich Raemisch, former Dane County sheriff, made the right decision. Given the budget cuts across state government, Hraychuck said, "I can't imagine that the secretary of the Department of Corrections would OK any kind of treatments or surgery that isn't absolutely necessary."

The cost of this surgery is undetermined due to complications during surgery and the severity of the injury, according to University of Wisconsin Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Brunette.

"Complicated reconstructions for severe injuries in particular very often present unexpected developments all along the way," Brunette said. "I don't think we can responsibly provide even a ballpark estimate at this stage of the process."

But regardless of the cost to repair the hole in Stremke's face, the hole in the Verby family can never be replaced. A 15 year old girl has been permanently mentally disfigured by the actions of a murder on that early summer night seven years ago. No amount of money can remedy that.

Clause prohibiting defense contractors from arbitration in criminal cases is step towards justice for rape victim

A woman victimized while serving as a Iraq contractor testified before Congress last week, stating that arbitration in her rape case involving overseas contractors denies rape and other crime victims justice.

Jamie Lee Jones, then 19, was drugged and raped by seven other contractors and two KBR guards on her fourth day on the job as a Halliburton employee. Because her employment contract said that all disputes must come through binding arbitration instead of through courts, Jones is still waiting for her day in court.

"I didn't even know that I had signed such a clause, but even if I had known, I would never have guessed that it would prevent me from bringing my claims to court after being brutally sexually harassed and assaulted. I had no idea that the clause was part of the contract, what the clause actually meant, or that I would eventually end up in this horrible situation."

That day may come soon, since Senator Al Franken (D-MN), sponsored an amendment which passed Wednesday, October 7, 68 to 30 prohibiting "the Defense Department from contracting with companies that require employees to resolve sexual assault allegations and other claims through arbitration."

According to Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, as many as 30 million employees are under such contracts, which disallow trials by jury in civil - or criminal cases.

An arbitration act passed by Congress, Leahy said, was meant to "provide sophisticated businesses an alternative venue to resolve their disputes" but instead has "become a hammer for corporations to use against their employees."

"There is no rule of law in arbitration," Leahy said. "There are no juries or independent judges in the arbitrations industry. There is no appellate review. There is no transparency. And…[for] Jamie Leigh Jones there is no justice."

JOnes said that "If women before me. if they were able to go before a judge and jury, that would have been public record, and I would have known before I went to Iraq what I was getting into."

Mark de Bernardo, the executive director of the Council for Employment Law Equity defended the use of arbitration as "decisively in the employees' best interests," and as an inexpensive alternative to jury trials.

"[Alternative Dispute Resolution] is an effective tool for both management and employees," de Bernardo said. "The opponents of arbitration have simply not demonstrated that the drastic, sweeping changes they seek to enact are necessary and/or appropriate. To the contrary, for the average employee, the elimination of arbitration will do more harm than good."

Franken clashed with De Bernardo repeatedly, stating that "This took place in Iraq, at that time she had no recourse, sir! She has not had her day in court, she has litigated for four years to have her day in court. She was drugged, she was raped, and she had to have reconstructive surgery. If that's a better workplace, what was the workplace like before?"

This clause will become law when and if the larger defense spending bill is passed by Congress.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Killer of young mother sentenced to 20 years - currently serving life for rape-slaying of another woman

In the space of two hours yesterday, a Dubuque, IA man went from being charged with to being sentenced for the murder of a Rockford, IL mother of three. Gregory Otterbeck, 54, was charged with the murder of Thomasina Dunivant back in December 1980. The prostitute, 23, was last seen alive outside a bar in East Dubuque, IL on December 7, 1980. Her strangled, beaten body was found on the side of a road in Grant County, WI. The case went cold until 2007, when Wisconsin Department Of Justice matched Otterbeck's DNA to samples taken from the victim's vagina.

Grant County Circuit Judge Robert P. VanDeHey said after accepting Otterbeck's no contest plea that the defendant was one of the most dangerous defendants in his courtroom. "It was a violent murder ... her death shouldn't be minimized just because it took 28 years," he said.

The victim's daughter Margaret, four when her mother was killed, said "He's the type of scum no one should feel sorry for."

Otterbeck is currently serving life for being party to the rape and murder of Jodi Bausman. She was gang raped before being killed at a cabin Otterbeck's friend owned back in April 1981.

The complaint said it was "plausible" Otterbeck killed Dunivant at the same cabin because Dunivant's purse was found 500 yards from the building, it was a short drive from the bar where Dunivant was last seen and bedding from the cabin was missing after Dunivant was killed but before Bausman's death.

The complaint also says a woman told investigators that Otterbeck's sister told her he had wandered into his sister's restaurant at 4:30 a.m., looking half-drunk, and told his sister he had killed a woman. He said they were going to have sex, but she decided not to and began to scream. He covered her mouth until she stopped breathing and he dumped the body in a ditch.

Otterbeck's sister, however, told investigators she didn't remember any such conversation.

Oliveto told the judge she explained to Otterbeck that the complaint was laced with circumstantial evidence, hearsay and evidence of other criminal acts, which might not be allowed at a trial in Dunivant's death, and another conviction would erase any chance at parole.

"He understands all these things," Oliveto told the judge. "Mr. Otterbeck wants to proceed in this manner."

Mr. Otterbeck wants Ms. Dunivant to be at peace," Oliveto said.

In accordance with the plea deal, Assistant Attorney General Dave Wambach asked Judge VanDeHey to order Otterbeck to pay for Dunivant's headstone, a request the judge denied. Wambach recommended the perpetrator for transfer from Oshkosh Correctional Institution to WIsconsin's Supermax in Boscobel, the Secure Program Facility in Boscobel. While judges can make a recommendation on placement, only Wisconsin Department of Correction officials can actually transfer inmates.

Canadian triathlete ordered to serve house arrest for beating of now ex-wife

By Darah Hansen, VANCOUVER SUN 10-08-09

A jail sentence would be “counterproductive” for a Salmon Arm man and renowned Canadian triathlete who
bound and savagely beat his wife repeatedly with a five-pound dumbbell while she begged him for mercy, a provincial court judge has ruled.

Instead, David Reid Dawson was ordered to serve a one-year conditional sentence — including six months of house arrest — followed by two years of probation for his part in the November 2007 aggravated assault on Judith Dawson.

Dawson, 55, who pleaded guilty to the charge, was sentenced in June in Salmon Arm by Judge Edmond De Walle.

The couple had been married 15 years when Dawson, the former captain of the Canadian Triathlon Team, viciously attacked his wife, seemingly out of the blue.

According to the victim, she was punched in the face several times and struck in the face with a barbell.

At one point, she lost consciousness after Dawson began choking her and, when she came to, found that her hands had been tied behind her back.

Despite repeated pleadings to stop the assault, Judith Dawson said her husband continued the violence, first putting a pillow over her face, then picking her up and carrying her to the kitchen where he once again tried to choke her to a point where, she told the court, she feared for her life.

“I begged and begged him to stop hurting me,” Judith Dawson wrote in a victim-impact statement submitted prior to sentencing.

The assault ended when the victim managed to free her hands and escape to a neighbour’s house.

Police arrived to find a bloodied and bruised Judith Dawson laying on a couch.

In her statement to the court, Judith Dawson said she suffered a broken nose and that both eyes were blackened in the assault. Her head, meanwhile, “was split open from the hits from the dumbbell and required stitches, as did my nose and lip. My jaw was very sore and bruised and with my swollen lips, I could only take in liquids for five days.

“Six weeks later, my face was still bruised and disfigured and I suffered a lot of pain and discomfort physically,” she said.

The court learned that David Dawson was suffering from mental illness at the time of the attack, diagnosed by one doctor as agitated depression and narcissistic personality disorder and by another as a “mixed personality disorder characterized by an excessive preoccupation with detail.”

However, Dawson was ordered fit to stand trial.

Since the assault, Dawson has taken responsibility for the assault, expressing “profound remorse, which seems sincere,” according to a psychiatrist who interviewed him earlier this year.

“He appears to be committed to maintaining his current recovery,” the psychiatrist further noted.

In pronouncing sentence in the matter, Judge De Walle said Dawson’s continued success would be better served by imposing a lengthy order of supervision, rather than jail time.

Dawson was ordered to spend the first six months at his home, with permission to leave only to attend work, church, medical and court appointments, and to go to the gym. He must also abstain from alcohol and drugs and have no contact with the victim.

The couple has since divorced.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Murderers of expectant mother sentenced to life with parole possibility

Updated: Fri Oct. 09 2009 18:49:16

A Winnipeg courtroom heard chilling details of the murder of 24-year-old Roxanne Fernando who was pregnant at the time she was killed.

On Thursday, Nathanael Plourde, 21, and Jose Toruno, 21, both pleaded guilty for their roles in the killing of Fernando in February 2007. [The] court heard details of how Fernando was still breathing when she was dumped in a snowy ditch after being beaten twice.

Court was told that Fernando and Plourde had a brief relationship. She wanted it to continue, but he didn't. Plourde drove her to Little Mountain Park on a Valentine's date and later beat her with a wrench several times. Her feet were bound with tape and she was thrown in the trunk of the car.

Plourde later picked up his friend Toruno and the two drove to an isolated spot in Winnipeg's northwest corner where she was beaten again and thrown in a ditch.
Both men expressed remorse at the hearing but the judge said they deserved every minute of their sentences.

Friday morning, a judge gave Plourde a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years after he pleaded guilty to first degree murder. Toruno was also given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 15 years after he pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

A victim impact statement from Fernando's mother said there was no word to describe the loss or pain of losing her daughter.

Attorney sentenced to 40 to life in shooting murder of "girlfriend"

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Wesley sentenced a former attorney to 40 years to life for the shooting death of his "girlfriend" yesterday.

David Mahler, 45, fatally shot Kristin Baldwin, 38, on May 27, 2007. He was convicted Sept. 15 of second-degree murder, with jurors finding true an allegation that he personally discharged a firearm.

During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace told jurors that Mahler was "in a rage'' when he shot Baldwin during an argument.The two had argued several days earlier, the prosecutor said. The woman's badly decomposed body was discovered on June 17, 2007, in the desert near Barstow by some people who had stopped to help a stranded motorist.

Jurors also convicted Mahler of assault with a firearm on a man who was his then-roommate, and the judge tacked on an additional three-year prison term on the assault charge.

Mahler stated to the victim's relatives, "I want to say to the family that I'm sorry this happened,'' Mahler told Baldwin's relatives. "I am extraordinarily regretful ... It doesn't bring her back."

The victim's sister, Robin Henson, who believed that Mahler's show of remorse was insincere, said, pointing to an urn containing her sister's ashes, stating,

"This is my sister, Kristin. My family's life has been completely turned around to a point of pain and suffering because my sister is gone,'' Henson said. "A person that can do this needs to go to prison for a very long time ... I love my sister and I miss her and I want her back."

Proposed 7 year sentence may not be enough - Canadian judge

By: Mike McIntyre (Winnipeg Free Press) 8/10/2009 1:00 AM

A Manitoba judge says seven years in prison for a high-risk rapist who randomly attacked a woman outside a Winnipeg shopping mall may not be severe enough.

Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin said Wednesday he has serious concerns about the proposed sentence agreed to by prosecution and defence lawyers.

"I'm normally very respectful of joint recommendations, especially from senior counsel. But my overriding concerns are protection of the public and rehabilitation," said Martin. He has reserved his decision until Oct. 16.

Garron Scott, 22, has pleaded guilty to sexual assault for the February 2007 incident outside Portage Place. Crown attorney John Barr told court Scott attacked an 18-year-old woman as she was walking to her parked car. Scott forced the woman inside the vehicle, choked her with a seatbelt strap and violently raped her while threatening to kill her.

The victim managed to escape and ran half-naked into the downtown mall for help, court was told. Police linked Scott to the attack by matching his DNA to hair samples they found on a hat he left behind. Scott's DNA was already in the national database because of a previous crime in Ontario where he attacked a 73-year-old man, choked him with a seatbelt strap and stole his car.

Scott told justice officials he attacked the woman because he wanted sex and didn't think he'd get caught.

He has spent the past 30 months in custody, which Crown and defence lawyers say should be given double-time credit of 60 months, followed by two more years behind bars. Scott would then be placed on three years of supervised probation. Defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk told court Wednesday his client has made positive strides since his arrest, including completion of a sex offender treatment program at Headingley Correctional Centre. He said Scott recently admitted to officials he was sexually abused as a child, which contributed to his offending behaviour.

Scott would be a candidate for acceptance into Manitoba's high-risk offender unit upon his release from jail. The group works closely with convicted sex offenders to re-integrate them into society.

"I think he's made a good first step at Headingley, but it's just a first step. He's just scratched the surface," Linda Lafontaine, the program's area director, told court.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Husband of beauty stylist, former Miss Kauai pleads guilty to stabbing murder in front of kids

(Original Post 9-6-09)
A former beauty pageant winner and local hairdresser's murderer was brought to justice when he pled guilty to stabbing her 50 times in their Brownsburg, IN house. Angela Warnock, 38, and former Miss Kauai 1990, was planning to divorce her husband, Joseph Warnock, 41 and a former tanning bed salesman, and take their two daughters, now ages 12 and 8, back to Kauai due to drug and alcohol abuse. Link

At a hearing June 17 where Angela received a protective order against her husband, barring him from the family home, she described him as addicted to drugs and alcohol, while Joe stated that he would never hurt his wife. However, according to police, he had already bought the knife he would use to stab Angie more than 50 times.

The night of June 21, he was at an Eagle Creek Reservoir restaurant until 11:30 p.m., police said. He drove the few miles to a church parking lot about a quarter-mile from the family home, where he parked and crossed a farm field in the dark and broke in the patio door.

Police said he found Angela and the girls asleep. Reports from the coroner and evidence experts said Angela was stabbed 28 times and cut 23 times.
The girls ran, as their mother had taught them. They hid in a closet and called 911.

Hendricks Superior Court Judge Robert Freese accepted a plea agreement which states that Warnock will receive 55 years for 1st degree murder, in the midrange of the 45 to 65 years for 1st degree murder. Formal sentencing is set for October 9. A charge of home invasion was dropped.

County Prosecutor Patricia Baldwin defended the plea agreement, stating that the children would be retraumatized if they were forced to relive their mother's murder, and that the agreement was made with the consultation of the victim's family. The sentence, according to Baldwin, "sends a message about the damage that drugs and alcohol and domestic violence can do to destroy a family."

Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council Executive Director Stephan Johnson stated that 55 years is close to the standard murder sentence and that while there are 16 aggravating factors in murder cases, domestic violence or killings in front of children are not among those factors.

"Judges can have some discretion . . . depending on the circumstances," Johnson said. "But committing a murder in front of children is not one of approximately 16 aggravating circumstances that we have now."

Defense attorney Robert Hammerle agreed, saying the actions of the 41-year-old Warnock -- a former tanning-bed salesman who had no criminal record -- stemmed from his abuse of "alcohol and drugs during the days leading up to these events."

"This is one of those instances when he (Warnock) became a person he really isn't, because of (drug abuse) and lack of sleep.

"It was a momentary collision of emotions, which later are horrifying. But that is not a defense," Hammerle said. "The hope is that by admitting what happened, everyone in this family can move to some healing, some sense of balance, in the future."

He acknowledged that under Indiana's good-behavior provisions, Warnock could be released from prison in 20 years.

Bills have been introduced in the Indiana General Assembly making DV a statutory aggravating factor in a murder case, but none has passed yet.

(Update 10-9-09) The promised sentence, 55 years in prison, was handed down to Joseph Warnock in a Hendricks County courtroom today. Joe waived any right of appeal due to his plea agreement. Even so, Angela's stepfather and mother were present to give victim impact statements.

Gordon McGrath's statement is below:

I don't believe it [the 55 year sentence] is long enough. Anybody that can think about murdering their wife in front of their children and be able to get out in anyway, it's just not right...They're [the victims' daughters, ages 9 and 12] very scared. They won't go to bed at night by themselves. They won't go into a room by themselves. I can understand why, when this horrendous tragedy happened right in front of them. It just scarred their life forever.

Warnock himself spoke afterwards.

"Words cannot express the heartache I feel every day, the grieving and loss I feel...I am unbelievably sorry. I am devastated. I miss you. You were a great mom. I struggle each day to make it through the day. I don't expect forgiveness. I can't forgive myself. I hope and pray that one day they will be able to call me 'Dad' again."

Marci Theobald stated that Angela Warnock "lived for her girls and died for her girls. You are their father, and you were supposed to be their protector, not their destroyer. This tragedy was felt throughout the community and the state."

Presiding Judge Hendricks Superior Court Judge Robert W. Freese stated that Angie's family and friends should channel their anger at her murder into a desire to protect her daughters.