Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Guru" who groomed, raped young women sentenced to 10 years

The Australian

A MAN who claimed to be an internationally revered spiritual guru in order to rape and sexually assault potentially hundreds of women has been jailed for ten years by a British judge.

London's Wood Green Crown Court was told [July 26, 2010] that Michael Lyons, 52, known as Mohan Singh, drugged and sexually assaulted women he had "groomed" with lies that he was a spiritual leader who had treated the Queen and counted the Dalai Lama and Hollywood actor Steven Seagal among his friends.

Jamaican-born Lyons, who was raised in Manchester, northern England, was convicted on one count of rape and another of sexual assault by penetration, and placed on the sex offenders register for life as police were investigating further claims against him.

The court was told Lyons also regularly extracted hundreds of pounds from each of his 40 female followers, using the money to buy cars and apartments in London, Los Angeles and Miami, all the while claiming that he was funding lamas to teach in the U.K.

In 2002 Lyons raped one victim in his London flat after she went there after a work colleague praised Lyons as a "spiritual, maybe psychic person."

He was also convicted of assaulting a 43-year-old teacher who traveled to London to see him for chiropractic treatment on the recommendation of her female lodger, one of Lyons' followers. Philip Katz, QC, for the prosecution, said Lyons surrounded himself with young and attractive women but was a "sexual predator masquerading as a guru and a healer".

Detective Sergeant Nick Giles, who led the investigation, told the court Lyons used "deprivation, psychological harassment as well as group social pressure" to entice the unsuspecting women into the cult and that he manipulated his female followers to lure other women.

"He has a spider’s web of women who will go out and get other women and tell them Michael Lyons will be a positive influence in their life," he said."He sexually assaulted victims during this process," he added. "This coercive persuasion forced people to change their beliefs, ideas, attitudes and behaviors, using psychological pressure, undue influence, threats, anxiety and intimidation."

As well as U.K. victims who gave evidence, others flew from New Zealand and the U.S., where he is wanted by the FBI on rape allegations. His powerful cult is also believed to span France and India.

Some of his followers, who had also raised £300,000 ($513,000) bail and £500,000 ($855,000) for his defense, attended every day of the three month trial, at which Lyons appeared wearing burgundy robes. Giles said that witnesses gave alibis to Lyons and would say anything in his support. Lyons, who has been accused of raping women since 1998, was finally caught after an international joint operation between Scotland Yard and the FBI.

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Browne, QC, said: "Under the guise of giving them alternative therapeutic treatment when their guard was low you took advantage of them by sexually abusing them. You used treatment as a precursor to sexual abuse and you were in a position of trust."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Juarez serial rapist caught - sentenced to 60 years imprisonment

(Original Post 4-9-09)

An El Paso, TX man has been captured by Juarez, Mexico police after allegedly going across the border and raping females between 13 and 20. The rapes took places between 8 and 10 PM, and always Tuesdays and Fridays in neighborhoods near the Rio Grande. The 1st known assault happened April 4, 2008; the last assault was April 3, 2009. Jorge Alberto Mendez Navarro, 43, has been officially charged with the rape of a 17 yera old girl March 24, but suspected in 18 other gunpoint rapes.

Mendez, who allegedly used a handgun, in some cases forced his way into a victim's home and claimed to be a hit man. He allegedly told women not to tell anyone or he would kill them, officials said. There were up to three victims in some assaults. On occasion, Mendez was allegedly nude wearing only black gloves and a tan panty- hose with eye-holes on his head during the attacks. Investigators said Mendez allegedly told one girl that he wasn't from Juárez.

The break in the case came after Mendez broke into two 19 year old women's homes, but was scared off by the victims' relative. The relative took down Mendez's license plate number, and Chihuahua State investigators arrested Mendez when he crossed the border in his 1997 Chevy Tahoe. Clothing, porn, and a Kia sedan were also seized.

Juarez is infamous for its drug related shootings due to the narcotics trade. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was the scene of hundereds of femicides (killings of women). Most of these killings are still unsolved.

(Update 7-22-10) Last week, after a two week trial in a Chihuahua, Mexico courtroom, Mendez was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment and an over 60,000 peso fine for the rapes of the girls and young women. Mendez was found guilty of aggravated rape, rape, child pornography, and sexual abuse.

Monday, July 19, 2010

British serial killer "Yorkshire Ripper" sentenced to life without parole - a rarity in UK

Published Date: 16 July 2010 [Yorkshire Post]
By Olwen Dudgeon Legal Correspondent
YORKSHIRE Ripper Peter Sutcliffe will spend the rest of his life behind bars, a judge has ruled. The serial killer, now known as Peter Coonan, must serve a "whole life" tariff, Mr Justice Mitting announced yesterday at the High Court in London. The judge said he had no doubt that was the appropriate term and added: "This was a campaign of murder which terrorised the population of a large part of Yorkshire for several years.

"The only explanation for it, on the jury's verdict, was anger, hatred and obsession. Apart from a terrorist outrage it is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which one man could account for so many victims. Those circumstances alone make it appropriate to set a whole life term."

His ruling was widely welcomed among the victims' families. Richard McCann, whose mother Wilma was the first murdered during Sutcliffe's reign of terror, said his overwhelming feeling was one of relief. "I just hope he does not go and appeal it and keep this all going." Sutcliffe, now 64, from Bradford, was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1981, receiving 20 life sentences for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven more.

He was transferred to Broadmoor top-security psychiatric hospital three years later suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Mr Justice Mitting said he did not accept any reduction from a whole life term was appropriate for "exceptional progress" by Sutcliffe in hospital. He said he believed it was more likely than not that had a Home Secretary set a tariff for Sutcliffe it would have been a whole life.

"Only Rosemary West and Dennis Neilsen approach the number of victims murdered."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Zealand man gets 7 1/2 years for torture of wife

The Dominion Post Wellington, New Zealand Last updated 11:09 13/07/2010

A Wellington man who poured boiling water on his partner after stuffing a sponge in her mouth to stifle her screams has been jailed for seven and a half yearsWellington District Court judge Stephen Harrop told Dean Carl Griffiths, 41, there was an element of torture to the offending, which was ''like a reign of terror''. In August last year, Griffiths put a blue sponge in her mouth while pouring boiling water over her abdomen and legs.

Her recovery would take a year, the judge said.  Griffiths had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, three charges of male assaults female, assault with a weapon and breaching a protection order.

Harrop said the offending took place over several days. ''It was gross, barbaric and degrading.''
Griffiths also hit the woman with a broomstick, and later broke her eye socket when he punched her.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Man forces wife and her "lover" to have sex after catching her cheating - both plead guilty

(Original Post 12-24-09)
A man whose wife cheated on him with another man allegedly forced the "lover" and his wife to have sex with each other in their Minnesota home. 52 year old Kevin Robert Thomas was charged in Cook County, MN court with kidnapping, second-degree assault, terroristic threats, false imprisonment, domestic assault and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His wife, Susan Ann Thompson, 40, is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Susan Thompson, the alleged victim believed that her husband had discovered the affair. When he turned down her invitation to her home on May 15, she became angry and threatened to tell her husband that the alleged victim had been bothering her. She said her husband would harm him by “peeling off his face or killing him,” the complaint alleges.

 Susan Thompson is accused of calling the alleged victim several times on May 15 and demanding that he come to their house. He eventually acquiesced. When he arrived at the house, the woman invited him downstairs. The man told Cook County sheriff’s deputies that the woman told him: “You look hot. Take off your shirt and take something else off.” He was wearing only a T-shirt and his underwear when Kevin Thompson arrived home. Kevin Thompson came downstairs holding a crowbar and a hammer.

[Defense Attorney Richard] Holmstrom said his client came home and saw another vehicle in his driveway and didn’t know if someone might be burglarizing his house. He said Kevin Thompson put a handgun in his belt for his own protection, went downstairs and found his wife and the alleged victim engaged in sexual activity.

Susan Thompson was charged because she willingly accepted a sex toy and did not express surprise or concern about the events, but the victim did, especially after Kevin struggled with him and tied him up with plastic ties and duct tape. According to the complaint, Kevin uttered threats to the "lover" during the standoff, saying “We start with losing a digit here and there...I could turn that on and put your face in it [the electric oven.]...I want to ruin you financially. I don’t need your money. I’ve got five million in the bank.”

Richard Holmstrom, who represents Kevin, said that  “The best way to sum this case up is if the prosecution wants to call [the alleged victim] a victim, the only thing he is a victim of is his own lust and his own illicit lust,” Holmstrom said. “He got caught in the act, and now they are trying to make it out that Kevin Thompson is some kind of a criminal here — and he’s just not.
"He came home and he’s presented with a situation where his wife is engaged in sexual activity with another man,” Holmstrom said. “He got mad, things happened during that night, but [the alleged victim] was not injured in any way physically. He was allowed to leave. … It’s our position that he committed no crime.”
Law enforcement alleges that they “found digital material on the Thompson’s computers and cell phones indicating that both husband and wife regularly search for ‘swinger’ relationships on the Internet … and have engaged in sexual relationships with multiple partners.”
[Susan Thompson's attorney Chris]Stocke describes Susan Thompson as “a very pretty woman, genteel, honest, well-spoken, professional.” He said she did volunteer work and had worked as a substitute teacher.

“That’s just speculation by police,” Holmstrom said. “They seized every computer they could get their hands on in the house. At least one of those computers had been used in Mr. Thompson’s business in the Chicago area.”

The Thompsons are the parents of an 11 year old boy, the only real victim, regardless of the outcome of this case.

(Update 5-14-10) Guilty Plea

The Thompsons plead guilty in Minnesota's Cook County District Court to kidnapping, false imprisonment, and criminal sexual conduct. Kevin Thompson also plead to second-degree assault and terroristic threats. Both appeared separately under 6th Judicial District Judge Kenneth Sandvik Tuesday, May 11.

Both testified that Kevin Thompson had learned of Susan's affair with another man about a week earlier, and that Kevin Thompson asked Susan to lure the victim to their residence. Susan Thompson, under questioning by her attorney, Christopher Stocke of Duluth, said she was no longer claiming that her husband forced her to take part in the scheme.

"He asked you to get (the victim) to come to your residence?" Stocke asked. "Yes," Susan Thompson said. "To really scare him?" "Yes." "Maybe threaten him?" "Yes."

Kevin Thompson, under questioning from his attorney, Richard Holmstrom of Duluth, testified that he surprised the victim in the basement of their home that night, that the two men struggled, and that Thompson overpowered the victim.

"You forced him to stay in the home for the next, I would imagine, six to eight hours?" Holmstrom asked. "Yes," Kevin Thompson said. "You don't have any doubt that he was terrorized?" "That's correct."  Thompson also testified that he displayed a firearm, and that he forced the victim to have sexual contact with his wife.

According to the plea agreement, Kevin will serve 2 years at the Northeast Regional Correction Center, another year under house arrest and 10 years probation. He'll be ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution and a $20,000 fine, undergo psychosexual evaluation and register as a sex offender. Susan will not have to register as a sex offender or spend time in prison, but will have to under a year or two of electronic monitoring, pay $10,000 fine, and otherwise abide by the same stipulations as her husband.

Cook County Attorney Timothy Scannell reached a plea agreement with both Thompsons separately. The lack of jail time for the wife was so their son, described as a straight A student by her attorney Chris Stocke, could be raised by at least one biological parent. "The main reason my client agreed to this is that (their child) would be able to be taken care of. If both of them were going to be incarcerated, this case would have gone to trial."

Scanell said that the involvement of the child factored into the prosecution's decision to plea. "I think that the impact of the child influenced their decision and the state's decision as well. I think it's an appropriate resolution, and I'm pleased that we're finally done with this case." Formal sentencing will be July 7.

(Update 7-11-10) As promised, the Thompsons were sentenced as indicated in their plea agreement Wednesday, July 7. The victim was present in their courtroom, and said in a statement, “The Thompsons are scurrilous individuals who show no shame, no remorse and no regret. It’s time for the Thompsons to realize that the gig is up.”

Judge Sandvik said that “You’re not here because you engaged in an alternative sexual lifestyle. You’re here because you engaged in violence and threats of violence … and they were sexual in nature.”

Kevin was ordered taken into custody immediately, while Susan was ordered under house arrest, which includes no guests without permission of her probation officer. Both Thompsons were ordered to enter sex offender treatment programs and pay restitution and court costs totaling $50,000.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Drug addict, batterer sentenced to life without parole for killing of "girlfriend"

A Michigan man with a history of violence against woman was sentenced to life without parole Monday, July 5 in the strangulation murder of his "girlfriend." Oakland County Circuit Judge Colleen O'Brien sentenced 50 year old Joseph Susalla, of Howell, MI to life without parole for the 1st degree murder of 50 year old Kelley Duberg, 50, of Wixom, MI.

Susalla, with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and a criminal record for violence against women, was convicted by a jury after under an hour of deliberation last month on the murder charge. Lawrence Kaluzny, Susalla's attorney, hopes that even though his client faced the mandatory life without parole sentence, that Susalla would get drug and alcohol treatment in prison.

Duberg and Susalla had dated for several months. Susalla strangled Duberg in her Wixom apartment on May 22, 2009, authorities said, because he was angry she wanted to break up. He then drove to an area near Grayling and buried her body on his family's property. Michigan State Police, acting on a tip from his mother, found the body on June 5, 2009, in a shallow grave, nude and wrapped in a shower curtain. Duberg had been beaten and strangled with twine.

The victim's sister, Kimberly Arresto, said her sister was a smart and funny woman who adored her cat Peaches. "The world was a better place when Kelley was with us," Arresto said.

Judge O'Brien said that while the life sentence handed down was mandatory, it was also deserved for the attack on Duberg. "You left a gaping hole in her family and her community. I've seen very little remorse...The defendant is not fit to live in society."

Former sheriff's deputy gets probation for groping of 18 year old at Halloween party

A Rock County Sheriff's deputy was sentenced to 30 days in jail with work release (or Huber) privileges Monday, June 28 in a Rock County, WI courtroom. Steven L. Stenulson, a 39 year old man from Janesville, WI, was accused of sexually assaulting an 18 year old woman at a party November 1, 2009.

Milton police were called to the house in the 500 block of College Street at 2:46 a.m. after a sexual assault at a Halloween party was reported. A Milton woman told police she was drinking and got sick. She went to an upstairs bedroom to sleep and was awakened by Stenulson who was in bed with her allegedly attempting to grope her.

After the incident Stenulson was placed on administrative leave. Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden asked for and received Stenulson’s resignation from the sheriff’s office on Nov. 18.

Stenulson plead guilty to 4th degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor after initial charges of 3rd degree sex assault. He was ordered to complete sex offender and alcohol treatment and counseling and have no contact with the victim.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

RCMP, New Westminister BC police seek suspects in HIV infection cases

The RCMP and local authorities are seeking two men who they suspect have had sexual contact with women without revealing their HIV+ status. On May 19, 2010, Mounties charged Adam Rollo with aggravated assault on a woman for sexual contact with a woman despite knowing he had been HIV positive since 2003. Corporal Peter DeVries has the following to say about Rollo.

 Since the North Vancouver RCMP last notified the public, four additional women have come forward and provided enough evidence for investigators to recommend four more charges of aggravated assault against Mr. Rollo. Police are awaiting crown counsel’s response to the recommendations. Mr. Rollo is currently under court imposed conditions that require him to disclose to any potential partners the fact that he carries the HIV virus. Investigators want talk to all potential victims and witnesses in this case.

New Westminster Police have issued an arrest warrant for a 38 year old man who they fear has traveled to Eastern Canada to have sex with more unsuspecting women without disclosing his HIV+ status. Bongani Nyoni is accused of having sex with 3 women while concealing his status.

 New Westminster Crown Counsel has issued a Canada wide warrant for Nyoni’s arrest as it is believed he may have travelled to eastern Canada. The offences date back to May of 2006 and investigators are concerned that Nyoni may continue to engage in intimate relations with females without disclosing his medical condition.

The contact person for the Adam Rollo case is Corporal Doug Trousdell of the North Vancouver RCMP who is handling the file. You can call him at 604-990-7491. Refer to file 2010-13171.

Craigslist rapists get 60 to life - ad seeking someone with "no regard for women" led to rape

Both men involved in the rape of a woman after a Craigslist ad was placed to solicit it were sentenced to 60 years to life in the Wyoming prison system. Natrona County District Judge David Park sentenced both Jebidiah James Stipe, now 28, and 26 year old Ty Oliver McDowell to 60 years to life for their role in the brutal attack, an attack which left the victim, a woman Stipe once dated, traumatized.

Stipe plead guilty to 5 felonies including conspiracy to commit sexual assault. McDowell also plead guilty to 5 felonies, including 3 counts of 1st degree sexual assault. Stipe's sentencing was held Monday, June 28 and McDowell's sentenced was handed down Tuesday, June 29. The ad solicited the rape of a woman seeking a "real aggressive man with no concerns for women well being interested let me know."

Stipe, a 28-year-old Carbon County native, paid for the ad that led McDowell to a 25-year-old woman's west Casper residence and impersonated the woman in online communications with McDowell. The ad appeared on Dec. 5, reading, in part, "Need a real aggressive man with no concerns for women well being interested let me know," according to an affidavit from the case.

Less than a week later [On December 11, 2009], McDowell showed up at the victim's west Casper residence. Once inside, the victim -- weighing less than 100 pounds -- struggled to fight, biting and scratching McDowell. Unable to escape, she was raped by a penis and a knife sharpener found in the home after the assault. Her wrists were bound so tightly together a nurse later thought they were broken. Then she was raped and left naked and tied in her living room, bruised from head to toe. An investigation by the Natrona County Sheriff's Office revealed Ty Oliver McDowell, who carried out the rape, was led to the 25-year-old victim's Casper home after responding the bogus Craigslist ad Stipe posted.

During the sentencing, the victim said that "It's very hard for me to trust people and not question what their intentions are.[Stipe] turned my world upside-down. I don't understand why someone would do something as violent and as vicious as he did." Sgt. Michael Steinberg testified that Stipe had requested that similar things happen to other women, including his ex-wife. The ex-wife, according to Steinberg, had to change vehicles and move back into her parents' house.

George Doherty, a witness presented by Stipe's defense attorney Vaughn Neubauer, said that he believed Stipe, an ex-Marine who served in Iraq, suffered from PTSD. Neubauer said that "Something happened inside Mr. Stipe. Something happened. But that something can be addressed, he can be salvaged."

District Attorney Michael Blonigen showed how the rape was planned and that Stipe had a change to back out of the devious (and deviant) scheme, but did not. "This defendant had every opportunity in the world to stop this. Mr. Stipe could have pulled back. Instead, he pushed the throttle forward."

After Stipe's sentencing, Blonigen said that the Craigslist rape was the worst he had seen over his 27 years as a prosecutor. "We were satisfied with the sentence. Sixty years to life for a 28-year-old man is virtually a life sentence. I really think that it's because of the courage of the victim that we're here today."

Ty Oliver McDowell was a technician for a hospital who lived in Bar Nunn, Wyoming when he raped the woman. Just before his 60 year to life sentence, he addressed Judge Park, the victim, and Stipe. "I am terribly sorry that (she) had to go through this nightmare. I'm sorry that I put her through it...I forgive [Stipe]for tricking me and deceiving me into doing this."

After McDowell made his statement, the victim went to the front of the court and addressed how the rape impacted her life. "This is something I will never get over. My family have been the ones to pick up the pieces of something he tore apart for something he thought was a game."
Toward the end of her statement, choked with tears, she said, "I'm sorry." "That's all right," Natrona County District Judge David Park told her. "You don't need to apologize."
District Attorney Michael Blonigen, speaking at McDowell's sentencing Tuesday, said if someone is going to solicit a rape, "He has to find a rapist...I don't see a dime's worth of difference between the two," he said of McDowell and Stipe.

The prosecutor argued that McDowell's act were premeditated. He took pictures of the victim's home with his cellular telephone; communicated with Stipe in the days leading up to the rape; on another occasion checked the home's front and back door, finding them locked; and, on the day he committed the rape, carried with him a blindfold and rope to bind the victim's hands.

Blonigen said that McDowell's actions were that of someone who had not accepted accountability for his actions. "I do not see how any rational person can insist -- like Mr. McDowell continues to insist -- that this was a terrible misunderstanding. He has taken the charge, but he has not taken responsibility."
Both McDowell's attorney Tim Cotton and McDowell's parents described a man who was raised with good morals and to shun alcohol and drugs, but had "really began to lose touch." Cotton asked for a sentenced of 20 years, stating that it would allow his client to rehabilitate himself eventually while also "satisfying the demands of justice."
After McDowell's sentencing Blonigen stated that while Craigslist cooperated throughout the investigation, "I would like them to not take those sort of ads. But, as someone else has said, if they don't, someone else will. It boils down to personal (responsibility)."
He also reiterated that both Stipe and McDowell earned the identical 60 to life sentences and shared equal accountability. "Either one of these people could have stopped it at any time. The only person who couldn't have stopped it is [the victim]."

Prison teacher's aide charged with sexual activity with inmates

A teacher's assistant who had 6 years on the job at a New Jersey prison for sex offenders was charged with 5 counts of sexual assault, official misconduct, and drug distribution.  Joy R. Black, 32 of Irvington, NJ was charged with incidents at the East Jersey State Prison in Avenel, NJ which occured between November 2009 and June 2010, according to investigation. Black allegedly had sex with 5 inmates in prison classrooms and smuggled marijuana and cocaine inside the prison for use by two of those inmates.

Black has worked at the prison in the Avenel section of Woodbridge since June 12, 2004. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Sgt. Randi Colatrella or Investigator Melissa Terpanick of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at (732) 745-3600, or senior investigators Chris Birardi or Kevin Koch of the Special Investigations Unit of the prison at (732) 499-5003.Woodbridge police assisted in the investigation.

Black was arrested at the prison June 30, 2010 and is currently facing a decade in prison, sex offender registration for life, and a lifetime ban on New Jersey public employment. She is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Marine faces charged in abduction, rape of N. Virginia woman

A US Marine has been charged with the rape of two Ballston, VA women who he followed home and assaulted at around 4AM on February 27, 2010. 21 year old Jorge "George" Torrez was charged with acts relating to the gunpoint rape and abduction of two women after they returned home from a meal. According to authorities, after Torrez forced them inside of their house, one of the women called 911 and hung up, leading him to flee with the other woman.

4 hours later, that woman was found in Prince William County VA, close to the edge of Marine Corps Base Quantico. Torrez was stationed in Ft. Myer, near the area of the attack. She had been raped, beaten and choked to within inches of her life before being dumped in the woods. Authorities arrested him within hours of the attack.

Arlington police on Friday [June 25] announced that they have charged Torrez with 14 criminal counts related to the North Wakefield Street attack, including abduction, rape, forcible sodomy, robbery, burglary with intent to commit sexual assault and use of a firearm during a felony.

Torrez was already in jail for a second attack which took place February 10, 2010, when he allegedly attempted to abduct a woman at gunpoint near a local high school, but settled for simply grabbing her purse. That attack led to a composite sketch which led to Torrez.

Arlington County spokeswoman Crystal Nosal, a detective, said "If these two cases are connected, there's obviously a clear escalation within two weeks. Two weeks ago the woman convinced him not to take her, and then he confronts two women and leaves one for dead in Prince William County."

Torrez, who joined the Marine Corps at 18 immediately after graduating from high school in Zion, Ill., served in Okinawa, Japan, for two years before moving to Northern Virginia last year, according to his family. He had a lifelong ambition to join the military, an ambition that solidified after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his sister said.

Sara Torrez said her brother has been working at the Pentagon and seemed to be enjoying it, their discussions centering on whether he wanted to continue with a career in the Marine Corps or to leave, go to school and return to Illinois.

Torrez is being held in the Arlington County Jail without bond. His next court appearance was scheduled for July 26, but may be sooner in Prince William County officials file their own charges. Prosecutors are considering bringing attempted capital murder charges against Torrez because it appears that parts of the attack occurred in their jurisdiction and the attack included rape.

Chicago man sentenced to 34 years in prison for attempted hit on ex-wife

A Chicago man was sentenced to 34 years in prison Monday, June 28 for arranging a hit on his wife by a man who turned out to be a suburban Chicago detective. 42 year old John Johnson was in the DuPage County Jail in Wheaton for violating an order of protection that his ex-wife filed. DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin presided over Johnson's trial.

Johnson was caught on a jail phone arranging the murder with a DuPage County sheriff's detective who was posing as a hitman. He is heard in the recordings telling the fake hitman that he wants his ex-wife shot twice in the head. The detective asks five different times if Johnson wants to back out, but Johnson never does. Johnson argued that his threats against his ex-wife were mere jailhouse bravado. He claimed he was set up by authorities who used a fellow inmate to mediate the hit.

Judge Guerin discounted Johnson's claim that his threats were idle, citing his history of domestic violence. Your criminal history demonstrates an inability or disinterest in obeying the law," Guerin said. That history includes two previous "girlfriends" who testified they were physically assaulted by Johnson, and their testimony was backed up by Johnson's ex-wife, who testified that they were only married for a year before Johnson hit her with a frying pan. That attack led to their divorce.

Johnson claimed that his victim were lying during the trial. "Maybe people are underestimating my physical strength, but if I swing a frying pan at your head and hit you in the leg, you would need medical attention. I'm not trying to brag."

After he was convicted by a jury which took less than an hour to reach their guilty verdict, he made a rambling statement, claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy, and saying, "There will be a time when the rabbit will have the gun and it won't be no fun. But I'm not talking about a gun-gun."

Man sentenced to dozen years in prison for rape attempt which left woman brain damaged

A Gangster Disciple leader was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for kidnapping Monday, June 28 in the attempted rape of a woman, suffering from mental illness, who either fell or was pushed 7 stories off of a project building at 51st and Federal on Chicago's south side. The woman suffered broken legs, a broken pelvis, and massive brain injuries that will leave her under the care of a guardian for the rest of her life.

The victim, a 21-year-old woman who suffered from bipolar disorder, had just been released from the police lockup at 51st and Wentworth, authorities said. She wandered into a JJ Fish restaurant, and several young men took her to an apartment in the Robert Taylor Homes, sources said. A video camera in the restaurant reportedly captured bizarre behavior by the woman.

After she was left there by the men, now 27 year old Marvin Powell forced himself into the apartment, and ended up alone with the victim. Chicago police sought the last man in the apartment with her after the fall (or push) out of the window. Powell was originally charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, attempted criminal sexual assault and unlawful restraint, but plead guilty to a single count of kidnapping Monday, June 28.

Powell's previous most serious charge was attempted murder in 2002, pleaded down to aggravated battery with a firearm. He served 3 years before release in 2005.