Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Repeat felon sentenced to 2 decades in prison for pulling over, raping woman

A Frederick, MD native was sentenced to two decades in prison Wednesday, June 23 for raping a woman on her way to her cleaning job. His April trial on charges of  charges of second-degree rape, fourth-degree sexual offense, robbery, theft, false imprisonment and impersonating an officer ended after one of the jurors was unable to continue deliberations. Michael Allen Barnwell, 37, plead guilty in Washington County, MD circuit court to a charge of 2nd degree sex offense and was immediately sentenced to the 20 year term. Judge Daniel P. Dwyer presided over the sentencing and trial.

The sexual assault took place Feb. 23, 2009. Barnwell, driving a SUV, pulled up next to the woman at a traffic light in Hagerstown, MD at 4 AM. Barnwell flashed a badge, said he was a police officer and ordered her to pull over into a parking lot ordered her into his vehicle, where he made her peform oral sex and stole $100. After that, Barnwell raped her.

The woman was able to remember three numbers from the license plate of the vehicle, according to trial testimony. Hagerstown Police Detective Christopher Kayser testified at the trial that he attempted to identify the vehicle from those numbers and images captured on video surveillance cameras at the intersection where the assault began.

Barnwell was stopped in downtown Hagerstown on the morning of April 4, 2009, driving a Pontiac Torrent registered to his girlfriend, Kayser testified at the trial. As a result of an incident preceding the stop, he was charged with second-degree assault and indecent exposure, according to District Court records. He pleaded guilty to the second-degree assault charge and was sentenced to three years in prison, court records said.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Gina Cirincion, the victim "is a woman from a foreign country where a crime of this kind is often blamed on the woman.” She did not initially report the crime and had to be coaxed into doing so by her grown daughter.  Judge Daniel P. Dwyer told Barnwell that he would have received a much stiffer sentence than 20 years if he had been convicted at trial. Barnwell is serving 8 years for a probation violation on a drug conviction in addition to the other sentences.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hospital groper sentenced to 16 to 36 months in prison

A hospital groper was sentenced to a prison term of 16 months to 3 years for groping a woman he didn't know in a Lansing, MI hospital. 52 year old Rochester Terrell, a felon with prior convictions for retail fraud and posession of a gun by a felon, was sentenced as a habitual offender Wednesday, June 23 in Ingham County Circuit Court.

It was the afternoon of March 4, the woman recalled. She had gone to the emergency room because of a blood sugar problem and eventually was transferred to a private room. She was starting to drift off to sleep when 52-year-old Rochester Terrell - wearing a leather jacket over a collared shirt and dress pants - walked up to her bed and offered her the gold-and-yellow box of chocolates. "I told him, 'no, I'm a diabetic,' " she recalled.

Discreetly, so he wouldn't see, she tried to press the button that would call a nurse. But instead, the television changed channels. "I kept asking him who he wanted to see, and he said: 'Just anybody,' " the woman said.Eventually, the woman said Terrell touched her inappropriately and then tried to lift up her dress. At that point, she didn't care if he saw her press the button to call the nurse.

The victim told the nurse to "get in the room real quick." Terrell looked at the victim and asked "Why?" before packing up his stuff and leaving. Hospital security apprehended Terrell and handed him over to police.

The incident has called into question Sparrow Hospital's security.  A task force has recommended changes to the hospital's procedures. Hospital spokesman John Berg said "We're asking associates to ask questions, ask people if they are visiting, to check in and get a visitor's badge."

"Our security has a fairly active presence. The question is, how do we improve that?"

Northwest Territories sex assault case criticized as being too lenient - CBC

A Northwest Territories court ruling, in which a man was spared jail time for sexual assault, has been criticized by a women's rights advocate who says victims should be protected first. Late last week, a Fort Smith, N.W.T., man was sentenced to one year of probation after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in the summer of 2008. The man was 17 years old at the time of the incident, and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

His lawyer, Abdul Khan, told CBC News that territorial court Judge Garth Malakoe had no choice but to keep his client out of jail, since there was no evidence of a violent assault or lasting physical or mental harm.

The court heard Thursday that the man, who was intoxicated, groped a young woman who was unconscious. The incident involved no intercourse and she was not injured, the court was told. The woman later woke up in hospital, recovering from alcohol poisoning, and had no memory of the assault, the court was told.

Crown prosecutors had called for a jail term of up to nine months, arguing that the victim had suffered psychological harm. However, Malakoe pointed out that the woman only learned of the sexual assault after she had woken up in hospital. Conditions of the man's sentence order him to undergo counselling and to have no contact with the woman.

Khan said the Youth Criminal Justice Act puts emphasis on rehabilitating young offenders, with imprisonment used as a last resort. But Arlene Haché of the Centre for Northern Families in Yellowknife said Malakoe's sentence sends the wrong message to men.

"What message does the guy get if he can just essentially just not face any punitive avenue, because he took advantage of a woman that was so totally blacked out she didn't know what was going on?" Haché told CBC News.

While Haché agreed that jail is not the best answer for some offenders, she added that a lenient legal system encourages men to re-offend and leaves women vulnerable as a result. "Still, there's nothing to replace it [jail] yet. So I'm more concerned about girls and women not being protected at this point, than I am right now about the recovery of boys and men," she said.

She pointed to another case, in which a woman in Dettah, N.W.T., is thinking of leaving town because her accused attacker is now out on bail. Haché said she is helping to design a treatment program for men who have used violence in their relationships.

Hmong immigrant receives 8 years out of 40 max for raping wife

A Wisconsin man was sentenced to 8 out of a possible 40 years imprisonment Monday, June 28 for raping his wife, the first rape being when his victim was 12. Thaying Lor, 43, was convicted of 6 counts of sexual and attempted sexual assault by Judge Kevin Martens last December. The first four counts are before Wisconsin's truth-in-sentencing law, passed in 1999.

The case began when a bailiff overheard the victim testify in her divorce early last year about how she was kidnapped, raped and essentially sold into marriage at age 12. The victim never wanted to involve police out of respect for the Hmong culture, but the bailiff alerted law enforcement and Lor was charged 10 days later. The victim testified at trial that she came here from Laos in 1989.

Two years later, when she was 12, Lor used the promise of a trip to the mall to lure her to a house where she was essentially kidnapped and raped. Later, they were wed at a Hmong marriage ceremony after negotiations among their family members. Her mother testified at Lor's trial that the girl's parents accepted a $3,000 dowry.

It was that initial kidnapping of the then 12 year old girl which led to the longest sentence, 8 years. Three other rapes which led to the birth of children received a sentence of probation, which in my opinion, is much too light a sentence.  Judge Martens sentenced Lor to 4 years in prison with 8 years of supervision for 2nd degree sexual assault of his wife in 2005, and 2 years imprisonment with 4 years extended supervision for attempted rape in 2007. All of these prison terms are consecutive, with Lor being credited for 466 days in custody.

[The case] drew nationwide attention among Hmong-Americans, who feared it could lead to unfair judgment of their culture and an upsurge in Hmong wives making similar claims years after their weddings.  Prosecutors and advocates for victims of domestic violence sought much tougher punishment, while Lor's counsel and Hmong-American groups and individuals who sent dozens of letters recommended probation.

Before sentencing, Judge Martens said that this was a difficult case, "given the number of issues I'm asked to consider on both sides." Martens also said that the trial focused on Lor's conduct, and that "It would be wrong for anyone to take this as an indictment of the Hmong community as a whole."

The victim, who is raising the couple's 6 children, did not appear for her rapist's sentencing because of death threats she received from some in her community. "They have threatened to hunt me down like a squirrel in the woods," she said. She hoped that Judge Martens would send her husband to prison to send a message to other domestic violence and marital rape victims. Judge Martens message would have been that much stronger if he had sentenced Lor to 30 years and fully taken into account the pattern of abuse which had started with a 12 year old girl.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cook County, IL press release - Chicago female sex offender captured, imprisoned

One of Cook County’s Most Wanted has been apprehended and sentenced, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced Thursday [June 24, 2010]. Tyreka Simms, 23, whose last known address was the 1500 block of West Marquette in Chicago, is accused of sexually molesting her 18-year-old mentally disabled relative in 2004. The victim contracted gonorrhea as a result of Simms’ assault. At the time, the victim’s family agreed to a sentence of 30 months sex offender probation.

On May 5th, 2008, a warrant was issued for Simms’ arrest after she violated probation and fled her home without notification. Simms’ mugshot and information was placed on the sheriff’s website as one of Cook County’s Most Wanted.

Based on a nationwide alert, Louisiana authorities apprehended Simms and returned her to Chicago on June 14th. On June 23, she was sentenced to one year imprisonment on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and four counts of criminal sexual abuse/can’t consent.

Simms will be transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections to fulfill the remainder of her sentence. She has received 303 days credit for time served while in jail in 2008.

Van driver pleads guilty to groping developmentally disabled passenger

A 67 year old van driver plead guilty to 4th degree criminal sexual conduct for groping a disabled woman with an IQ of 49 on February 23, 2009. Minnesota City, MN resident David Michael Taylor plead guilty to the 4th degree count Wednesday, June 23.

At the time of the incident, Taylor was a driver for Winona ORC Industries, a company that provides job opportunities to disabled area residents. ORC officials fired Taylor after an internal investigation. He admitted Wednesday that he kissed the woman and groped her breast. The woman told police she twice asked Taylor to stop.

Taylor admitted that he had sexual contact with the woman, but claimed that it was consensual, and admitted to police he “knew that (the victim) wasn’t all quite there.” His counsel, J.P. Plachecki, said the victim considered Taylor to be her "boyfriend." Taylor called the conduct with the victim "a little tryst" at his plea hearing.

Judge Mary Leahy will sentence Taylor later this summer, but before September 15. He'll be required to register with the state of Minnesota as a predatory offender.

"Boyfriend" who strangled woman to death with bra sentenced to 45 years

A man with a long history of mental illness was sentenced to 45 years behind bars for the 2nd degree murder of his "girlfriend," who he strangled to death with her own bra. Circuit Judge F. Rand Wallis imposed the sentence on Orlando, FL resident Abdullah Khalig as the result of a guilty plea to 2nd degree murder in the death of Lolitta Flores February last year. The sentencing range was between 30 and 45 years.

Khalig described a long history of drug use and mental illness. But he admitted to strangling Flores with a bra. He said the voices came in his sleep. He woke up, reached over and started strangling her, he said.

"What I remember that night, I was hearing voices and I couldn't control myself," the 38 year old said in court this morning. "They were telling me to strangle her. I strangled her with the bra," he said. 49 year old Flores, a victim of Khalig's violence according to a December 2008 DV complaint, was last seen alive February 21, 2009.

He went away to use drugs and told a friend what happened. The friend contacted police, who arrested Khalig. The perpetrator led authorities to Flores' nude body, bra still around her neck, who had been dead about a week. Police believe she was murdered the night of February 22-23, 2009.  "I just needed to let it out. I felt bad for what I did. I'm thinking clearly now. I'd just like to apologize to the family and the friends."

Initially, Khalig denied killing Flores to authorities, but he later confessed. Khalig said he suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. A psychiatric evaluation, however, determined Khalig's condition did not meet the legal requirements of an insanity plea. And all parties agreed Khalig was competent to make his guilty plea.

Khalig asked for a 30-year sentence. So did his defense attorney, Marc Burnham, who told the judge that no matter what his sentence, Khalig would be an old man if he makes it out of prison. [He]described a long history of drug use — including crack cocaine and heroin — and mental illness. He said he was homeless before staying with Flores, who held a steady job as manager for a telemarketing company. He added that they used drugs together. And he openly admitted to strangling Flores with a bra.

Phillip Marion Warren, the half brother of Flores, who experienced her as a mother figure, asked for the maximum sentence. "You took away my mother.I know he's accepted responsibility. Do I forgive him, your honor? Yes, I do. I also believe he deserves the maximum time he can get."

Assistant State Attorney Jim Altman also asked for the maximum. "You took that bra and wrapped it around her neck until you were sure she was dead?" "Yes sir," Khalig responded.

After the sentencing, Warren said, "The judge listened. He gave us the 45-year maximum. We were very happy with that."

Man kills woman he wed twice over other husband - had 2nd wife of own

Clair Fullarton, Kilmarnock Standard

A KILMARNOCK man has been jailed for life for murdering the woman he had married for the second time. George Clark, 53, was ordered to spend at least 14 years for what temporary judge Michael O'Grady QC described as the ‘cowardly and brutal’ murder of his wife Sharlene. The High Court in Glasgow heard that love triangle killer Clark married his victim Sharlene twice and moved with her into the home he shared with his second wife Helen, 58.

Judge O'Grady told Clark: “You have taken the life of your own wife. A woman who had a lot to live for.”
The High Court in Glasgow heard that Clark told a social worker that she had it coming to her saying: “I would have done it sooner or later.”

Clark murdered 44-year-old Sharlene by knifing her three times on the chest and once on the neck, a day after sending a chilling text message saying he was going to kill her. As Sharlene lay dying Clark dialled 999 and told an operator: “I've just stabbed my wife. Would you please get an ambulance. She's not breathing, hurry up.” When paramedics arrived on the scene they found Clark with both hands covered in blood and Sharlene lying dead on the living room floor.

Prosecutor Alastair Carmichael revealed that Clark has previous convictions for assault, breach of the peace and road traffic offences.

The couple who were first married 27 years earlier fell in love again after meeting by chance when Clark returned to Kilmarnock. Within seven months on March 11, 2009, they had married for a second time on the anniversary of their first wedding. They were the last couple to be married in the old registrar’s office in Kilmarnock town centre.

At first the couple were besotted with each other and even got tattoos to show their love for one another. Sharlene had the word George tattooed on her back and Clark had Sharlene tattooed on his body. But, Clark was jealous of Sharlene's friendship with former love Hayden McGonigale, 42, and she feared Clark was going to return to his second wife Helen.

Clark said he loved his wife and added: “I wouldn't have hurt Sharlene in a million years”, claimed he had killed her in self-defence after she had launched a murderous attack on him with a kitchen knife. He admitted picking up a double-edged hunter's knife and stabbing her, but claimed he was fighting for his life.

But the jury didn't believe his story and convicted him of murdering 44-year-old Sharlene, a mum of four and a gran of one, at 25 Lindsay Drive on October 12, last year.

Entrepreneur & father of three killed - wife and employee charged in love triangle slaying

A West Goshen, Pennsylvania father of three and entrenpreneur was poisoned and bludgeoned to death with a shovel before being buried in a shallow grave next to a high school. The suspects are the victim's wife, 34 year old Morgan Mengel and 22 year old employee Stephen Shappell. The victim, according to police, is 33 year old Kevin Mengel Jr.  The suspects are 34 year old Morgan Mengel and Stephen Shappell, 22. According to the wife's Facebook page, they had been married since August 1998. The couple have 3 children.

According to officials, the plot began when Morgan and Steve began to "fall in love" at the business that the victim and Morgan ran together, M.K.B. Property Management LLC. The company does landscaping for homeowners and other property owners.

On June 17, she reportedly said, Shappell placed "some sort of drug" in a lemon Snapple, which Morgan Mengel then left on the hood of the pickup truck for Kevin Mengel to find. No one else who worked at the business drank Snapple, she reportedly told police, and she knew Kevin Mengel would drink it.

A short time later, according to court documents, she received a text from Shappell that said he had struck Kevin Mengel in the head with a shovel.

She reportedly asked if he was serious and he replied, "Dead serious." She then asked if there was a "pulse," police reports said, to which he replied "Get down here now." Morgan Mengel reportedly told police that Shappell told her he buried Kevin Mengel's body approximately 150 yards behind Marple Newtown High School, where he had been a student.

The beginning of the end for Morgan Mengel and Shappell's freedom came on Father's Day, when Kathleen Barton reported her son missing. She noted that her daughter-in-law told her that she had seen Kevin move out of their West Goshen, PA apartment on June 18. Still suspicious, Kathleen monitored her son's Facebook page and told West Goshen detectives about the affair. After her son's Facebook page was updated in a different style than he would use on June 23, detectives went to the victim's apartment.

While Morgan gave police the same story that she gave her mother-in-law, detectives saw the victim's clothes and toothbrush in the apartment. After being taken to the police station for an interview, Morgan Mengel admitted the affair and the murder.

According to West Goshen Police Department Chief Michael J. Carroll, "Normally a report of a missing person who's a 33-year-old adult male is sometimes not taken as seriously because they have the absolute right to be missing, they can go wherever they want to go. During the course of the week it became clear to our department that this was more than just a missing person case."

 We were able to identify and locate the victim by the use of a cadaver dog that was brought to us by the Search and Rescue Dogs of Pennsylvania in Malvern. I can tell you without the use of this dog, we would not have been able to find this body.

It's a very tragic case. The victim was the father of three children. Obviously the children have lost their father and with what has gone on so far they're going to lose their mother for an extended period of time.

Shappell was arrested in Denver the evening of Sunday, June 27. Carroll said "This was a direct result of cooperation between departments. It was through an investigation here. We knew where to look for him."

It is unknown what charges he'll face when he is extradited to Pennsylvania, but Morgan Mengel will be facing 1st degree murder and criminal homicide.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Felon gets 25 years for killing, dismembering "fiancee" after argument

A Buffalo man who killed his former "girlfriend" was sentenced to 25 years in the New York prison system for killing her and dismembering her after she died. Tomell HaSidi killed LaQuiesta "Pinky" Brown, his "girlfriend" after she found out his true character as a criminal. After killing Brown and cutting her body into pieces, HaSidi told police that his victim was killed accidentally during an argument.

Prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty said HaSidi had initially told police he accidentally killed Brown during an argument after she broke off their engagement and ordered him to move out of her family's home. Members of the Buffalo Police Underwater Recovery Team searched the channel after authorities at the nearby Peace Bridge reported that surveillance cameras had recorded suspicious activity there.

The judge lauded Buffalo police homicide detectives for tracing HaSidi's movements through the parole ankle bracelet he was wearing. At the time of her killing, Brown was working on a psychology degree at Erie Community College's North Campus in Amherst.

Brown met HaSidi while he was in prison of parole violations from forgery and grand larceny cases. Brown felt that by being there for him, and letting his move into her family's home, despite their concerns. She also cared for HaSidi after he was being treated for cancer.

The victim's father, Bernard Brown, said his daughter's killer's lack of remorse "showed what kind of a coward he is" and hoped that HaSidi is killed by the Aryan Nation in prison.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Australian man gets 3 years imprisonment for trying to rape wife, attacking daughter

Karen Matthews [Geelong Advertiser]
June 24th, 2010

A 43-YEAR-OLD Geelong man has been jailed for three years for attempting to rape his wife and assaulting his teenage daughter with a torch. The man, who cannot be identified, had pleaded guilty to charges of attempted rape, indecent assault and two counts of recklessly causing injury.

Handing down sentence in Geelong County Court yesterday Judge Phillip Coish said that at the time of his offending, the accused had been married to the victim for 17 years. He said that in June last year the accused man was in bed with his wife when he asked her for sex. She refused the request and went to sleep. Judge Coish said the victim woke during the early hours to find her husband fondling her body.

When she again refused his request for sex, the accused man sat on the victim's chest and performed a sexual act. Judge Coish said that in July last year the victim went to bed and was woken during the night by her husband again fondling her. He asked her to have sex and, when she refused, he told her, 'You're gonna get it anyway.' His honour said the accused man got a torch, got out of bed and locked the door.

"You then pulled the doona and sheets off your wife and removed her pyjama pants," he said. "The victim struggled and you were yelling at her, 'Give it to me you bitch'." Judge Coish said that as the struggle continued the victim was screaming and yelling for help."You then struck her to the head with the torch," he said.

"Hearing her mother's calls for help, your daughter started banging on the door yelling 'Stop it, Stop it. The child was very upset and you were very angry.You got off the bed, opened the door and told your daughter, 'Your mother is a mole.'You then hit your daughter to the face with the torch."

Judge Coish said the victim intervened and together with her daughter, fled the house.

The child suffered bruising and pain to the head. His honour said that when interviewed by police, the accused man made full admissions and, shortly after his arrest, sought treatment for anger management.

Judge Coish said the man had a good work record and had made significant contributions to the community.
"But you acted impulsively, lacked self control and had a pre-conceived attitude towards your entitlements to sex in marriage," he said.

The judge said the accused man had four prior court appearances between 1984 and 1989, some of which involved the use of violence.The man was convicted on all counts and sentenced to a total of three years' jail with a non-parole period of  18 months.

Rapist sentenced to 35 years without parole in Mississippi courtroom

A convicted felon who raped a 21 year old coed at gunpoint with a stun gun was sentenced to 35 years without parole by Mississippi 15th District Circuit Court Judge R.I. Prichard III yesterday (June 25, 2010). James H. Crockett, 38, of Chalmette, LA, plead guilty to the attack, which took place in Hattiesburg, MS July 6, in the midst of a three state crime spree.

Crockett also is accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman July 5, 2009, in Baton Rouge, LA, where he was charged with aggravated rape, aggravated battery and false imprisonment. He also was sought in Hammond, LA., on attempted aggravated assault and kidnapping charges.

Crockett was detained in Florence, AL, on July 7 after he was caught at an apartment complex with handcuffs and a stun gun. However, since he had not yet been identified as a suspect in the earlier crimes, he was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and released.

He returned to Louisiana and attacked a woman on July 10 in Hammond, though she was able to fend him off. By then, authorities had linked Crockett to the attacks in Mississippi and Louisiana, and began a manhunt. He was arrested July 12 after wrecking his car during a chase in Huntsville, AL.

Crockett "apologized" to the victim and her family, stating just before his sentence, "It was a chain of events, and unfortunately, if it hadn't have been (her), it probably would have been someone else. I was on a path of self-destruction, and she just happened to get in the way, or be the one who was in the way." He also hoped that they "can get over this and get on with their lives," something that doesn't happen with sexual assault, even after years of therapy.

Judge Pritchard said about the attack, "This happened early in the morning. She had left to get some milk, come back, and without ever knowing you or doing anything on her part, you assaulted her."

  Having looked at the facts of this case, this is one of those cases that is the most classical, horrible (crimes) that can happen to a female. In fact, the psychological and psychiatric communities agree, that probably, under the circumstances, by using a stun gun, by using handcuffs and the complete domination of the lady, this is probably a fate worse than possibly a murder. I don't know how you equate taking someone's life with what happened here, but as far as the psychological and psychiatric disciplines, there is no (crime), in their opinion, that has more devastating effects on a victim than this kind of complete domination."

Other aggravating factors included Crockett's use of marijuana and seven prior felony convictions. Judge Pritchett arrived at the 35 year term by using Crockett's further life expectancy of 40 years. Besides the no parole term, Crockett, if he's released, must register as a sex offender and have no contact with the victim or her family.

Judge Pritchett also sentenced two molesters to 15 years in prison, sex offender registration and treatment, and a $3000 fine Friday. The molesters were Michael Mullins, 25, convicted of fondling a 13 year old family friend, and George Fries, 30, a former high school substitute teacher who fondled a 17 year old student.

Swedish doctor jailed for 10 months, ordered to pay $3500 in restitution for infecting sex partners

The Local (Sweden)

A male senior physician has been jailed by Stockholm District Court after he had unprotected sex with two men despite knowing that he was HIV positive. The court sentenced the physician to ten months imprisonment for reckless endangerment and was also ordered to pay 26,900 kronor ($3,512) in compensation to one of the men.

One of the two men has been diagnosed with HIV, but the court argued that it can not be ruled out that he was infected by someone else. The second man is not HIV positive. Lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz, representing the two men, told news agency TT that the ruling will be appealed.

"The prosecutor and I agreed that we would appeal if any of the charges were to be dismissed."

The man was facing a further charge of aggravated assault, with an alternative charge relating to causing the HIV infection. These charges were dismissed by the court as it could not be concluded that the doctor was responsible for the infection.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz says she is not surprised at the verdict but expressed disappointment that one of the charges was dismissed. "There can be no other person that has infected my client. But we have to obtain a supplementary investigation to prove this," said Massi Fritz.

The district court concluded in its ruling that the doctor's actions had threatened the lives of the men and that his offence should be considered especially serious, given that in his professional capacity he should be aware of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI) rules of conduct.

Friday, June 25, 2010

States hope to curb domestic murders by targeting choking

More and more states are charging those who choke victims in domestic violence situations with felonies. According to DV advocates and studies, people who choke their"partners" are more likely to go on to kill or seriously injure them in future domestic attacks. The latest states to pass laws targeting DV strangulations are Delaware and New Hampshire. In Delaware, choking a partner carries up to 5 years imprisonment and is always a felony. Delaware state troopers analyzed cases and found that half of choking cases were charges as misdemeanors, eventually leading them to lobby for the strenghtened law.

New Hampshire passed its law after Melissa Cantin Charbonneau, 29, a mother and nurse, was killed by her husband two days after he tried to strangle her. Jonathan Charbonneau, 32, shot and killed her in October. He also shot his father-in-law and then killed himself, a report by the state attorney general found. He was out on $30 bail after being charged with a misdemeanor for throwing her down a flight of stairs and trying to strangle her.

John Cantin, the victim's father, said that his daughter would still be alive if her "husband" had been charged with felony strangulation. "I'm doing this for my daughter. I don't believe this bill will stop the person doing the choking, but at least when it does happen and they are arrested, they are put away."

In New York, Democratic State Sen. Eric Schneiderman introduced a strangulation bill after chairing a commitee that investigated a state senator for domestic abuse. During the hearings, he learned there was no penalty for strangulation, even though women who were choked have a higher risk of being killed by their partner. "I'm just sorry it took us so long in New York state to do this," he says. "I think this will save a lot of lives."

A 2008 study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine found 43% of women who were murdered in domestic assaults and 45% who were victims of attempted murder had been choked in the past year by their male partners.

New York's strangulation bill, passed by its legislature, is on its way to Governor David Patterson's desk.

Ex-"boyfriend" sentenced to 15 years for attemped murder of woman outside mall

A man who stabbed his ex-"girlfriend" 5 times outside the Main Place Mall in downtown Buffalo, NY last year was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk Tuesday, June 22. Jeffery Pearson, 51, stabbed "girlfriend" 48 year old Jean Cox on February 25, 2009 after an argument, presumably over her new boyfriend. According to Homicide Prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty, only the actions of two bystanders prevented the attack from becoming a murder case.

He was found guilty by the judge after a two-day trial in April. Besides attempted murder, he was convicted of aggravated criminal contempt for violating a court order of protection that the victim had obtained against him before the attack and aggravated harassment for threatening telephone calls he kept making to her. 

Pearson claimed that he "snapped," with Cox accidentally falling on his knife 5 times. The judge saw through that lie - people don't accidently fall on knives carried by others even once.

His lawyer, Louis P. Violanti, argued that the attack represented only “two minutes of [Pearson’s] life.” He also told the judge that his client, a reformed drug addict, is “an emotional man who suffers from depression and anxiety.”

Though Pearson apologized to Cox, who was in court for the sentencing, Pearson still tried to minimize responsibility, stating that the knife was intended for a suicide in front of the victim, not her attempted murder.

Serial rapist who absconded from halfway house caught, sentenced for breach of conditions

(Original Post 10-25-09)
A serial rapist and attacker of women is being sought on a Canada-wide warrant by the RCMP after absconding from a Calgary, AB halfway house. Dean Robert Zimmerman, 44, is believed to be heading back to the Abbottsford, BC area from Calgary.

According to RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, “Zimmerman has ties to both the British Columbia Interior and the Lower Mainland and there is a likelihood that he could attempt to reach these areas.”

Calgary police expect Zimmerman to offend again, citing his long history of sexual and physical assaults against women. Const. Jason Bobrowich, with the Calgary Police Service high risk offender unit, says that  "It's totally a matter of when; it's not even if. Eventually, he will come into contact with a female and he will target them. Past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour."

Zimmenman was released to a halfway house under a curfew after serving 40 months of a prison sentence for sexual assault and forcible confinement. The victim was a 24 year old Edmonton, AB woman. The three Canada-wide warrants he's wanted on include two breach of release conditions, and a fraud charge. Authorities believe that this was always Zimmerman's plan.

Bobrowich says that "I don't think it was his intention ever to stay in the Calgary area and be monitored by us for two years. Probably he worked out as much as he could while in jail."

Zimmerman's sexual criminal history began in 1995, when he served three years for the rape of a Abbottsford, BC woman. It was there that his second wife met him, despite the rape conviction and despite the ongoing marraige to another woman.

The second wife found out just how much of a criminal Zimmerman was in June 1998, when near Mission, BC he beat her, while pregnant, and allegedly raped her at knifpoint in a tent over a 12 hour period. In 2001, a jury convicted him of physical assault and obstruction of justice, bur acquitted him of sex assault charges. Zimmerman's last contact with British Columbia authorities came in 2005, as he was being sought for the Edmonton rape.

On Tuesday, [Calgary] police released new photos of Zimmerman, including ones that have been digitally altered to show how he would look with a beard or if he shaves off his goatee.
Bobrowich said the fugitive is known to alter his appearance and likely has changed his looks--growing out his hair for example -- to keep the public from recognizing him. Police also have photos of him leaving his home, dressed for the weather and with a backpack and duffel bag around 4 a. m. on Oct. 13.
Zimmerman has a limited amount of cash, so he may have hitchhiked out of town or taken a bus. He could be staying at a lower-rate hotel or motel, Bobrowich said. Police warned those staying or working at those accommodations to be wary.

Bobrowich worries that Zimmerman may con his way into a woman's life, get her to let him stay at her house or apartment, groom, then rape her. "His violent sexual offences have been as a result of him associating with women. It's very much a power and control, and slow manipulating and grooming process," he said.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said every police officer in the department has received information on Zimmerman. “I would imagine given the nature of the crime we have a major crime detective who is liaising with other police agencies and an intelligence officer disseminating information,” said MacDonald.
Officers have made attempts to speak to various people in Abbotsford and check last known addresses for the offender, he said. He would not say if any of Zimmerman’s victims were still in the community or seeking police protection.

“We’re fully aware of the background and potential dangers that exist, and are conducting the appropriate inquiries, but due to the nature of his background we won’t be going into details.”

Calgary and Abbottford police are in contact working to apprehend Zimmerman. He is described as an extremely high risk to offend. He is bald, white, 5’9” in height, and weighing 205 pounds. Anyone spotting Zimmerman is urged not to approach him but to call local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

(Update 6-25-10) Zimmerman was caught in Abbotsford, BC on December 7, 2009, carrying restraining devices (shoelaces which could be used as a ligature to strangle), and  was brought before Provincial court Judge Gerald Meagher Tuesday, June 22. Zimmenman admitted breaching six conditions of his peace bond, which he signed September 29. Those conditions were not abiding by a curfew, not living at a designated Calgary residence, not reporting to his probation officer, possessing a knife, possessing a weapon dangerous to the public peace and possessing shoe laces tied together that could be used as a ligature.

He was sentenced to 40 months in prison by Judge Meagher, who was concerned about the convicted rapist "continu[ing] to be a high risk for violent recidivism and sexual recidivism." Meagher's assessment of Zimmerman continues below.

  The breaches of the reporting, residency and curfew conditions were serious breaches, because they were part of the framework of supervision to manage the offender's risk to the community. His degree of violence appears to be escalating and he appears to be ambivalent to accepting responsibility for his offences and his victims...These same items, a knife and restraining devices (shoelaces tied with slip knots), had been used on his most recent victim who had been repeatedly sexually asaulted over a period of approximately nine hours of confinement. For these offences Zimmerman served his full sentence, the National Parole Board refusing to grant him parole because of the danger or risk that he presented to the community."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Long Island doctor convicted of voyeurism charges - faces 4 years in prison

A Long Island doctor has been convicted of using a hidden toliet camera against his patients and employees Monday, June 21. 54 year old Vincent Pacienza was found guilty in a Nassau County, NY courtroom of unlawful surveillance. Pacienza told his employees back in June 2008 that he would be installing an air purifier in the washroom which was shared by employees and patients, closing down the employee-only washroom.

However, that air purifier contained a hidden camera which faced the toilet (and the women using it). It was hooked up to a monitor hidden underneath Pacienza's desk. He was caught when one of the victims opened up office mail and saw the invoice for the air purifier with the hidden camera inside. Pacienza was arrested a bit later on.

While sentencing is set for July 31, Pacienza will face a decade on the New York sex offender registry, and disciplinary action against his medical license. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said  “This defendant completely betrayed the trust of his employees, many of whom worked him for many years.”  

Long Island man sentenced to 18 to life for wife's murder

A 31 year old Long Island, NY man who killed his wife by strangling her then pretended to look for her was sentenced to 18 years to life yesterday, June 23, with the presiding judge and prosecutor angling for the life sentence. Judge David Ayres said that the man, a "cold blooded murderer," should never get out of prison and that he recommended to the parole board that the killer never be released.

After an argument over his cheating, William Walsh strangled his wife, Leah Hirschel Walsh, in their Bethpage, NY apartment, early on October 26, 2008. After covering her body up with black trash bags, William went to the gym, laundromat, and McDonalds. When he returned home at 10 that night, he stuffed her body in the bags and drove her car to a wooded area off of the Long Island Expressway, and dumped her body there. He left her car on another expressway to make the murder look like a carjacking.

For two days, Walsh made impassioned public pleas for information on his wife’s whereabouts that were covered extensively by the local media. In several of his appearances, he stood with his in-laws in front of their Rockville Centre home. Police arrested him on Oct. 29, when his wife’s body was found. Walsh later confessed to her murder, and police said he gave them a written seven-page confession.

On May 20, Walsh plead guilty to 2nd degree murder, criminal posession of a weapon, and tampering with evidence.

In his victim’s impact statement, Howard Hirschel spoke of how hundreds of special-needs students would be deprived of his daughter's special gifts as a teacher. He spoke of the pain and anguish her family has suffered and said that Leah’s violent, brutal death and ultimate betrayal gave new meaning to the phrase "till death do us part.” Calling her murder cruel, cold and premeditated, Leah’s father said that Walsh had no sense of remorse. "His sole purpose was to save his own skin,” he said.

A statement from Leah's mother, read by Assistant District Attorney Michael Walsh, and one from her brother followed. In his statement, Josh Hirschel said that Walsh ran up debt in his sister’s name, and that when she had had enough of his drugs, gambling and infidelity, he decided to end her life. “The plea agreement is for 18 years to life,” he said, “and the emphasis should be on ‘life.’”

As for the defendant, his lawyer William Petrillo, of Rockville Centre said that contrary to reports, his client had shown emotion, and that the murder was not premeditated. Describing his client as sincere, he cited a probation report saying his client prays for his victim's family and will never find peace. William Walsh spoke, saying he was sorry for the pain he caused his wife's family.

Judge Ayres contrasted Walsh, who he considered to be a narcissistic and controlling killer, with the victim and her family. He acknowledged letters saying that Leah was a special education teacher with much more to give. But for Walsh, Judge Ayres offered only denunciation, saying that "The physical violence you showed Leah,” Ayres said, “was echoed only by the cowardice you showed."

After the sentencing, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that “The fact that Walsh cruelly tortured the victim’s family in the days following her brutal murder with his deceitful lies just shows what a cold and merciless killer he is.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Domestic violence coordinator guilty of assaulting husband over alleged affair - sentenced to DV counseling

(Original Post 5-29-10)
A director of a Michigan domestic violence shelter was convicted of attacking her husband over an alleged affair on May 18, 2010. 46 year old LaDonna Glenn was convicted of felonious assault, which carries a maximum 4 year prison term and a $2,000 fine for threatening her husband with a hammer September 24 at their Southfield, MI condo. An Oakland County jury found her guilty after only two hours of deliberation.  Oakland County Circuit Judge Martha Anderson will sentence Glenn June 21.

She was accused of going Sept. 24 to her and her husband’s condominium in Southfield, beating on the door with a hammer and twice raising the tool at her husband, George Glenn, 69, whom she alleged was unfaithful. LaDonna Glenn was arrested after George Glenn told police he had to grab his wife’s hands and wrestle her to the floor to remove the hammer from her grip, according to a Southfield Police Department report. She had been hitting a glass table with it and calling her husband a cheater.

When officers, who were summoned by a neighbor, arrived at the home, George Glenn was sitting on LaDonna Glenn as she lay on her stomach, pinning down her hands at the wrist, according to the report. LaDonna Glenn told officers her husband forced her into the living room and threw her to the ground, hurting her right knee. She went to a hospital before going to jail.

LaDonna Glenn is the domestic violence coordinator of AWARE, Inc, an organization which serves victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse/assault in the Jackson, MI area. AWARE's executive director Rebecca Filip and president Bree Thurlby did not comment, but released the following statement:

AWARE cannot comment on the exact circumstances surrounding an employee matter due to employee confidentiality and the law,” according to a letter submitted by the board last week to the [Jackson, MI]Citizen Patriot.

When the legal process is complete, the board determines what action it must take as an employer on a case-by-case basis. Issues involving AWARE’s employees are addressed pursuant to the agency’s policies and procedures. The board fully supports its executive director and all employees.

(Update 6-22-10) LaDonna Glenn was sentenced to a year probation, domestic violence and anger management treatment, and must abstain from posessing deadly weapons or engaging in assaultive behavior. The sentencing took place yesterday in Circuit Judge Martha Anderson's courtroom. Glenn was fired from her job as the AWARE domestic violence coordinator.

Chicago Tribune - Illinois doctors can practice despite sex crime convictions

A Chicago Tribune report on doctors who have been convicted of sexually abusive patients finds that many Illinois doctors who have been convicted of sexually abusing their clients are still practicing. One case involves a Lemont, IL doctor who was convicted of sexually abusive a patient undergoing cosmetic surgery in 2000. Disciplinary proceedings were started, but never followed up against him for the assault.

A Tribune review uncovered 16 sex offenders who have held state medical licenses within the past 15 years. Not one had his license permanently revoked following his conviction. Even those who were the most severely sanctioned are allowed to reapply to practice. The Lemont woman's doctor, Nercy Jafari, was never punished by the disciplinary agency in any way, records show.

The woman's father asked "How in God's name can someone convicted of sexual abuse by a jury of his peers be allowed to continue practicing medicine?"

In Illinois, only doctors convicted of drug offenses and public aid fraud can have their licenses permanently revoked. Here's hoping that the Tribune report can change that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Husband of postdoc student sentenced to 27 to life for murder, arson

A New Zealand native who stabbed his wife in a state park and set fire to her body to cover up evidence will serve 27 to life in the New York state prison system. Blazej Kot, a Cornell University graduate student and New Zealand native, was sentenced by Tompkins County Judge John Rowley June 16 on charges of 2nd degree murder, 3rd degree arson, and tampering with evidence. Kot was convicted by a jury on April 20 on these charges after a three and a half week trial. The defense tried, but failed to prove that Kot was under extreme emotional distress.

His victim was Dr. Caroline Coffey, a postdoctoral student at the Cornell University College Of Veterinary Medicine. Her father, Michael Coffey, carried her ashes into the courtroom for the sentencing, urging her killer to look at them."Today, it's about Caroline. In this green casket lies her remains. We thought it would be appropriate for this convicted murderer to see what is left of his beautiful wife. That's all there is."

"My wife and I have cried every day since she was murdered, and who knows if that will ever end," he said. Kot — their son-in-law — murdered Caroline 54 weeks ago, and they carried the "deeply horrifying details" about him during his trial, which lasted three weeks and two days, he recalled. No one should have to undergo such an ordeal, he stressed.

"The trial was an additional tragedy, all by itself," Michael said, adding that [defense attorney Joe] Joch and defense psychiatrist Dr. Rory Houghtalen -- whom he called a "hired-gun psychiatrist" -- had created an imaginary scenario to support Kot's defense. They had accepted Kot as their own son, and he never showed any hint of an extreme emotional disturbance, he said.

Kot has an "unexplained high opinion of his own abilities," felt he was smarter than Caroline, disliked his advisers, and looked down on his fellow students, Michael said. On the trial's second day, he and his wife, Patricia, met with Kot's parents, who told them they had learned on the Internet that Kot had admitted to killing Caroline. This is more evidence of Kot's disrespect and apathy toward others, he said.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew McElwee said that "In talking with some of her advisers, there appeared to be no ceiling on the contributions she may have made to the fields of science, research and biology," McElwee said. "We don't know what sort of a loss that will be to humanity, entirely, and we'll never know." McElwee also believed that Kot should reimburse Tompkins County for the cost of the trial, perhaps through patents he holds.

McElwell said that because of the brutality of the crime, the maximum sentence of 25 to life for 2nd degree murder was appropriate. "We're asking for the maximum sentence today. If a sentence of a maximum nature gives at least one person that's about to commit a crime like this pause, then that sentence is justified."

Judge John Rowley said that "The facts are just so disturbing, the images so powerful, the reality so harsh. I'm, of course, affected like everyone else is. I'm not to be overruled by that. The brutality of the death itself and the innocence of Dr. Coffey are just hard to accept."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Man who faked cancer, stabbed "girlfriend" after she found out gets decades in prison

An Irish national who slew his "lover," a NYPD forensic investigator, was sentenced to 29 to 37 years in prison for her murder. The official charges McGurk plead guilty to were manslaughter and three counts of evidence tampering. Gary McGurk, the "boyfriend" of criminologist Michelle Lee, was sentenced June 16 by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak, who indicated he would have sentenced the murderer to life if he hadn't plead guilty. "This makes no sense at all. You deserve a life sentence, Mr. McGurk. You know that," Judge Lasak said.

In April 2009, Lee was bashed 4 times with a hammer, stabbed in the neck, and burned with an iron before McGurk left her nude body on her bed for police to find, with the knife still in his victim's neck. Prosecutors believe that the motive for the attack was anger over not getting any more money from Lee, who he tricked into believing had cancer. Lee had gave McGurk thousands for "treatment," for "cancer" which McGurk claimed spread to his kidney, liver, and lungs.

"I'm not ready to lose Gary," Lee wrote in an entry read by Queens Assistant District Attorney Charles Testagrossa. "I'm just trying to figure out the right time to tell him I love him. I truly do...He's so brave. I can't stop crying. I love him so much. I wish he would get better. I wish I could hold onto him forever."

The couple met in 2004 at CUNY John Jay college. Lee was 24 when she was killed.

At the sentencing, McGurk said that "I hope that in the years to come God will help you through this. Michelle is safe with him now. I don't ask for forgiveness because I don't deserve it. I will meet my maker one day and receive my punishment that day as I receive my punishment today. I can only hope the years to come will be easier. May she rest in peace."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rapist gets decade imprisonment, no contact with minors order

A mentally ill man with a sexual addiction was sentenced Friday, June 4 to 10 years imprisonment, 35 years of probation, and a stay away order from minors and his now 22 year old victim for an attack at a Connecticut YMCA last year. 26 year old Raymond Warren plead guilty to 1st degree sexual assault for an attack that occurred when he and his victim were in the same YMCA mental health program.

Warren invited the girl his room to watch television and listen to music in August 2009, police said. When the woman came into the room, Warren requested sex from her and the woman refused and tried to leave, court documents detailed.

He then grabbed her, and raped her, the warrant stated. She screamed and tried to fight him off but he did not stop. When the incident concluded, the woman fled to the Susan B. Anthony Project and Warren was arrested. He admitted to police the crime and said he did not understand the woman at the time and that he was battling a sexual addiction.

Judge James P. Ginocchio said just before the sentencing, “It was a vicious sexual assault… the victim was trying to get away. It happened repeatedly, it was very serious offense...He’s big, he’s strong, he overpowered this victim. By his own admissions, he’s a very dangerous person. Based on the facts here, in this case, the sentence he’s facing is fair.”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rape-slaying of retired St. Louis journalist nets sex offender life without parole

A man with a history of sex crimes got life without parole Tuesday, June 1 for the rape-slaying of a retired St. Louis journalist. Nancy Miller, 59, was slain February 1, 2008 by a repeat sex offender. Brian Walters, who turned 30 the day of the sentencing, broke into Miller's Chesterfield, MO condo and attacked her when she encountered him. After raping Miller, Walters stabbed Miller with a knife until it broke, then got another knife he used to slit her throat. She didn't die immediately, even after Miller left and poured bleach over her body, which an autopsy showed suffered 50 stab wounds.

He was arrested in 1999 in Charlotte, N.C., accused of beating and raping a teenage girl there, according to police and court records. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of assault and false imprisonment. A judge sentenced Walters to 120 days in jail and released him on time served. Later that year, a police officer found Walters outside Parkway North High School before dawn. Walters drove at the officer, who got out of the way.

Months later, Walters was charged with several burglaries in Maryland Heights. During one, he had cut the screen of the apartment of three female college students and stolen a pair of underwear from each of their dressers. For the encounter at Parkway and the burglaries, Walters was imprisoned for 2½ years.

In May 2003, he was caught in the garage of a home in Chesterfield. Police said he had been casing homes and keeping a journal of the comings and goings of women. He was sentenced to seven years for the burglary and paroled after serving about 4½ years.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch originally sought the death penalty for Walters, but the perpetrator's mother's cooperation with the investigation led McCulloch to offer Walters a plea deal. That deal, which Walters took, featured a sentenced of two life without parole terms plus 45 years. "Today marks the end of a tragic situation. From the very beginning of this case, my primary concern was justice for Nancy Miller and the members of her family. This … was an appropriate sentence, all things considered."
During the sentencing hearing, presided over by Circuit Judge Richard C. Bresnahan, Walters never made a statement, but the victim's brother, Ben Nix did.  "Nancy was the glue that made us even closer. She was the most loving, giving, caring human being on this Earth." Nix went on to tell how friends put together a memorial book, featuring her old St. Louis Post Dispatch columns.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Man sentenced to death for rape-slay of college coed

A 28 year old man who kidnapped, raped and murdered a Reno, NV college student and raped two other women was sentenced to death yesterday for the murder. After a 3 1/2 week trial and 9 hours of deliberation, James Biela, a pipe fitter from Sparks, NV was sentenced for the November 20, 2008 rape and murder of 19 year old Brianna Denison. Besides the Denison rape-slaying, Biela was found guilty May 27 of attacking a woman in a parking garage in October 2007 and raping another college student in December 2007. Biela was convicted of a total of 5 counts relating to the attacks.

During the penalty phase, Biela's father testified that he beat his wife in front of Biela and his siblings, and told of an upbringing of poverty. Denison's family plans to lobby for DNA collection upon arrest for a felony.