Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fabulist who murdered wife convicted, sentenced to LWOP

(Initial Post 9-26-10)
A Tulsa County, OK jury needed only a half hour of deliberation in a lawyer's shooting murder by her own husband. John Robert Kastner, 52, was convicted of the 1st degree murder of his wife, 44 year old Lori Moon Kastner, at their south side Tulsa, OK home on June 25, 2008. The motive, according to Tulsa County, OK prosecutors, was that the victim was about to expose her husband's lies.

Kastner had led his family to believe that all five family members were traveling by plane to Israel on June 25, 2008, prosecutors said. Kastner indicated he was a former member of the Israeli military who had been honored for heroism and that the trip to Israel was related to a high-paying job that Lori Kastner was going to get with a corporation connected to her husband.

No such flight or job offer existed, and Kastner never served in the Israeli military, prosecutors said.

Kastner made significant financial promises to benefit Webster that he could not keep, and he "was a ticking time bomb getting ready to explode," [First Assistant District Attorney Doug] Drummond said.

Drummond also insisted that "[Kastner's] reputation was going to be ruined, and that was the most important thing in John Kastner's life."

The other prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, said that Kastner, the "legend of Webster High School," is "nothing but a bald-faced liar. You cannot believe a word that the defendant says."

Kastner said the killer was an intruder who he said picked up Kastner's gun in the house. He told police that he struggled with the intruder and was shot in the hand, and he said the intruder fled with a bag containing about $5,000, evidence indicated.

Kunzweiler said Kastner's account features a "mysterious man" moving around in a dark house and finding a loaded gun and money on the same table. Kastner was an English teacher, "and as an English teacher he deals in fiction," Kunzweiler said

Assistant Public Defender Jill Webb said that Kastner had no motive to kill his wife because killing her would not solve his problems - "John's problem was John." Webb said that while Kastner was guilty of lying and making false promises, it did not prove he was a murderer. Kastner was never called to the witness stand.

When he is formally sentenced tomorrow, Kastner will be sentenced to life without parole - in Oklahoma, murder carries death, life without parole, or life with parole. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, and jurors ruled out life with parole.  Amber Merchant, Lori Kastner's best friend, said "We're very pleased with the verdict and feel like justice was served."

Kastner plans to appeal the verdict, according to Chief Public Defender Pete Silva. The presiding judge is District Judge Tom Gillert.

(Update 9-29-10) Kastner was formally sentenced to life without parole Monday, September 27, 2010. If he had been granted parole, he would have had to serve 38 and 3 months before his first chance of it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Serial "girlfriend" rapist sentenced to life without parole for raping woman in front of her child

A Savannah, GA man with a history of raping "girlfriends" was sentenced to life without parole as four-time habitual offender Monday, September 20. 47 year old Jerry Howard was convicted by a Chatham County, GA jury Saturday, September 18 of rape, aggravated assault, and misdemeanor cruelty to a child for raping and choking his 28 year old "girlfriend" in front of her 1 year old daughter at his home November 29, 2007.

Assistant District Attorney Isabel Pauley presented evidence that Howerd tried to intimidate the victim into recanting the charges and called as a witness a previous "girlfriend" who was attacked in a similar manner in 1988. 

Chatham County Superior Court Judge John E. Morse Jr imposed the life sentence on Howard based on prior felony convictions. The life term for rape and the 20 year term for aggravated assault were imposed consecutive to each other. A year term for cruelty to a child will be served concurrently with the life sentence. Because this is his fourth strike, the life term is without parole. These convictions include robbery, possession of controlled substances and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Howard was released from prison in August 2007, three months before the latest attack.

Below is the law requiring four time felons in Georgia to serve the maximum sentence for that crime without parole.

[A]ny person who, after having been convicted under the laws of this state for three felonies or having been convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States of three crimes which if committed within this state would be felonies, commits a felony within this state other than a capital felony must, upon conviction for such fourth offense or for subsequent offenses, serve the maximum time provided in the sentence of the judge based upon such conviction and shall not be eligible for parole until the maximum sentence has been served. (from O.C.G.A. 17 -10-7)

Queens rapist gets 37 to 42 years imprisonment for attacking student during first day on job

A Queens, NY rapist was sentenced to a prison term of 37 to 42 years Thursday, September 23. 23 year old James Gillespie was convicted September 3 of the July 2009 rape of a 20 year old St. John's University student in Fresh Meadows, NY. The victim was walking to her first day at work as a part time restaurant hostess when Gillespie pounced.

As Gillespie dragged the woman into an alley, she reached into her purse and called 911 and her pleas for mercy – which Gillespie ignored – were recorded and played back in court during Gillespie’s trial.

"Please don't do this to me- Oh, my God, sir, please!" she pleaded just before the rape. Of course, Gillespie violated her. He also took her cell phone and purse.

Assistant Queens DA Jared Rosenblatt asked for the maximum sentence.

"You are an animal," Rosenblatt said over the objections of Gillespie's lawyer. "You are evil and your actions were heinous."

Gillespie offered a rambling denial."I don't even know why I'm still standing here in this courtroom," he said. "I don't understand what's going on here."

At the sentencing, which the victim attended, her statement to her attacker was this. "You are less than a man. Luckily, I'm a strong individual...I must let you know you are weak. You are a coward. You do not deserve to walk the streets as you are."

Queens Supreme Court Richard Buchter sentenced Gillespie to the max for rape, criminal sex act, and robbery.

"I think Mr. Gillespie is seriously lacking in any humanity.The defendant’s only concern us his own perverse sexual satisfaction. He’s young and that what worries me. He shouldn’t get out while he can still do it again."

Queens DA Richard Brown said about the woman's testimony, "She testified with dignity and grace. Hopefully, knowing that he will now be behind bars for a long time will provide her with a small measure of help in overcoming the physical and psychological trauma." That trauma includes sleepless nights, fear of AIDS, and a reluctance to walk alone.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bangor, ME woman gets six years for scalding, sexually assaulting man

A 28 year old Bangor, ME woman was sentenced to 6 years in the Maine prison system yesterday for sexually assaulting, then scalding a now 43 year old man. Laura M. Smith plead guilty in June to elevated aggravated assault and gross sexual assault for scalding her victim with boiling water and sexually assaulting him with a wooden dowel on November 28, 2009.

The 43-year-old man, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News, was passed out at a party at Smith’s First Street apartment in Bangor. In addition to suffering second-degree burns on his back, the man’s bowel was perforated, according to court documents. The victim also suffered a broken ankle when Smith and another man moved him to his apartment. He was hospitalized for more than a month, according to previous reports.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson sentenced Smith to 18 years in prison with six to serve and four years probation afterwards. Penobscot County district attorney Michael Roberts and  defense attorney David Bate agreed on the 18 year sentence, but Roberts believe only 6 years of the sentence should be suspended. Bate did not give a sentencing recommendation.

Just before the sentencing, Smith said “I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering I caused. I truly, truly am sorry for all that you have been through.” The victim was not present during Smith's sentencing. Smith also tried to partially excuse herself by claiming the attack was due to her alcoholism.

The following is Judge Anderson's sentencing statement. “Although this was a barbaric and depraved act, I can’t conclude it was done for sexual gratification as the statute defines the crime. It seems to have begun as a cruel, painful and degrading prank. The person who did it was not really aware of how horribly painful this was going to be to the victim. There’s absolutely no reason in the world for this to have happened.”

Smith will be credited for the time she has served in the Penobscot County Jail. After release, she will have to register as a sex offender for a decade.

Katy, TX man sentenced to 48 years with half to serve for point-blank shooting murder of wife

A Katy, TX man was sentenced to 48 years imprisonment Monday, September 20 for the point-blank shooting murder of his wife. Michael Wayne Cantu, a petrochemical engineer, will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence. Cantu was tried in Texas 400th District Court under Presiding Judge Clifford J. Vacek.

Cantu reported his wife of 15 years, Jackie Ramirez Cantu, shot herself at their home in the 26300 block of Eden Point on April 24, 2008.

He said during the initial police investigation that he and his 37-year-old wife got into an argument while looking at family photos and reported that his wife then went into the master bathroom and shot herself in the forehead with a .38-caliber revolver.

The couple's two children, now 11 and 9, were in the house at the time but were asleep, [Defense attorney Wendell]Odom said.

Changing statements about the manner of the woman's death led police to charge Cantu with murder. Cantu first told police that he was in the kitchen when his wife committed suicide, then changed his story to claim he was in the bathroom. Cantu later told detectives that he move the gun from the bathroom floor, where it was pointed towards the victim's neck. Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office officials eventually ruled Jackie Cantu's death a homicide.

During the trial, Fort Bend County prosecutor Chad Bridges successfully argued that the changing statements, along with ballistics showing gunpowder residue on Michael's hands and a bruise where he pressed the gun up against Jackie's forehead before firing, constituted evidence of murder. According to Bridges, the forehead bruise was "a tight contact wound, which is inconsistent with trying to pull the firearm away." Jackie tried to defend herself before the father of her two children killed her.

As for the nature of the argument, Bridges said "As for what exactly happened that night and what they were arguing about, we don't know," Bridges said. "We don't know what the exact nature of the conversation was."  About the jury, he said, "We recognize the juror’s personal sacrifice to see that justice is done. It was a long trial of terrible circumstances and intense emotions.  It’s never pleasant but always necessary

The Cantus met while both of them were attending Texas A&M University. Jackie Cantu was originally from Bryan, while Michael Cantu was from Houston. They married in 1992. Both graduated from Texas A&M with Jackie Cantu earning a degree in microbiology, said her father, Guillermo Ramirez of Bryan.
"I wish this thing would have never happened to my daughter, to the family. There's a lot of sadness. The only justice that would satisfy me is if my daughter came back and if I could turn back time and prevent this from happening. But I can't."
Odom said this about his client after the sentencing. "He's always maintained that it was an accident, that he was trying to take the gun away from her.He's realizing that his life will never be the same — that he'll probably spend the rest of his adult life in the penitentiary. He vows that someday he'll be exonerated."
The Cantu children, the true victims of this crime, are being cared for by both sets of grandparents.

Paroled rapist gets two life without parole sentences for rape, arson murder of sisters

A man who raped and burned to death two Northwest Indiana sisters was sentenced to life without parole Thursday, September 9, 2010. 36 year old David Alan Flores, a sex offender convicted of rape twice before, was sentenced by Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr for the burglary, rapes, and murders of two twenty something sisters, one of which had recently married.

Flores, 36, of Griffith, had faced the death penalty had the case gone to trial. He pleaded guilty Aug. 26 to two counts of murder and two counts of rape of Jennifer Evans, 28, of Griffith, and Kristen Evans-Kennedy, 25, of Chicago.

Acknowledging the family's wish to avoid reliving the horror of the sisters' deaths during perhaps 25 years of death penalty appeals, Stefaniak reluctantly accepted Flores' guilty plea for which he will serve two life sentences for murder and two 20-year sentences for rape.

Stefaniak said that if Flores had received the death penalty, there was a three-in-five chance that it would have been overturned on appeal. However, the judge made clear that Flores deserved such a punishment. "As I live my life and talk to people, this is just the case in a perfect world that would justify the death sentence. I could pronounce a death sentence. The fact of the matter is you, Mr. Flores, are the devil among us. There are no redeeming qualities that you have and there is nothing you can offer society," Stefaniak told the murderer.

Jennifer had bought a house on North Lindberg Street, and Flores happened to show up with a friend on Sept. 10, 2009, at a small gathering she hosted.

He went inside to use the bathroom, unlocked a window to the office across the hall, and returned after the women were in bed to rape, strangle and stab them. Before he left, he collected items he'd touched, then set fire to the home. The autopsies showed the women were alive when the fire was started.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said that the family of the victims would have gone for the death penalty, but "They did not want in and out of court for the next 25 years.You have to listen to the family."

Family friend Sue Brownwell said that "Each was a force in her own right, and they were an unbeatable team together. They will live in our treasured memories."

Mary Ann Evans, comparing the murders of her daughters to 9-11, called the murders her "personal terrorist attack." Her husband and the victims' father Ron, a retired Munster firefighter, was the person who discovered his daughters' still burning bodies. "I watched him die the day he found Jen and Kristen. I am alone. I am the woman that everybody pities," she said. Ron died of cancer six months after the murder. A slideshow of them was played just before Flores' sentencing.
Mary Evans is working with legislators to ensure that repeat sex offenders like Flores can never be granted parole. Flores was on parole for another rape when he murdered the two young women.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More allegations against sexting Calumet County WI DA lead to his resignation

(Original Post 9-21-10)
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has called for the removal of the Calumet County DA over allegations that he sexted a domestic violence victim and invited a "date" to an autopsy. The DA, Calumet County Attorney Kenneth Kratz, has taken a leave of absence, citing "medical reasons." Doyle cannot formally seek removal unless he receives a complaint from a Calumet County resident, something he expects to occur later this week.

The second allegation regards a woman who was "dating" Kratz when he took calls involving a missing persons case. The case involved someone believed to have been murdered. He discussed aspects of the case that no other layman (or woman) knew, and that woman alleged Kratz "invit[ed] me to go with him to the autopsy (provided I would be his girlfriend and would wear high heels and a skirt)."

Doyle said "It's mind-boggling.To have an autopsy be used for the premise of a social engagement is just beyond anything anyone can imagine, I think.... That's the part that concerns me the most because it's really the use of official duties, in his official status as district attorney, for purposes completely unrelated to his job as district attorney."

Legislators, advocates for crime victims and prosecutors from across the state had already been calling for Kratz's resignation in the wake of reports that he had sent 30 text messages last year to Stephanie L. Van Groll, 26, while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend on domestic violence charges.

Van Groll's lawyer, Michael R. Fox, said Monday that he is aware of the new allegations against Kratz. "If it's credible, it's incredible," Fox said of the letter released by Doyle's office.

Kratz began texting Van Groll just minutes after she met with him Oct. 20 to discuss the abuse her ex-boyfriend had inflicted upon her. After Van Groll told Kratz about the abuse, he asked if she would mind if he dropped the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to documents released Monday by the state Department of Justice.

Van Groll said she considered the request odd and told Kratz that trying to strangle someone is a felony, the documents show. Kratz sent his first text to Van Groll about 10 minutes after the meeting, telling her that she had potential and signing the message, "KEN (your favorite DA)." In other text messages sent over three days, Kratz referred to Van Groll as a "young, hot nymph" and asked if she "likes secret contact with an older married elected DA."

Van Groll reported the text messages to police. Kratz removed himself from the prosecution of Van Groll's boyfriend after the state began investigating his communication with her. The state appointed a prosecutor to take over the case, and Van Groll's ex-boyfriend was convicted in April of a domestic violence felony, according to court records.

On Friday, Kratz issued a statement saying that he "showed a lack of respect not only for my position but for the young woman that was involved," but refused to step down.

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault released a joint statement saying "Whether or not Kratz has been an advocate for crime victims in the past, it is clear he can no longer serve in his current position. He has ignored victims, advocates and his peers, who have all called for him to step down. His repeated attempts to minimize his behavior show he either is in denial or only concerned for his personal interests."

The Wisconsin District Attorneys Association sent this letter, stating that Kratz' actions "has cast aspersions on our entire profession," and goes on to say that the would have fired subordinates who commites similar actions.
Van Groll's lawyer, Michael R. Fox, said "I am going to pull up every floorboard that I can to see what is behind this. There are things here that don't make sense. It is very strange how it has come to light. I believe my client was treated the way she was treated because she is a woman and was very vulnerable because she was a victim of domestic violence. It strikes me as something that requires further inquiry, because I don't know how you can text a victim in such a suggestive way and not immediately, the moment those texts leave your (phone), be in a conflict of interest."

(Update 9-22-10) Two more women have claimed that Kratz has harassed them. Maria Ruskiewicz, an Appleton, WI native who is now 31, claimed that she was sexted when she met with him in 2008 to discuss a pardon for a 1997 drug conviction. Ruskiewicz needed the pardon because as a student attending Oklahoma City University as a law student, it was necessary for her career goals. Kratz had prosecuted her for the drug conviction and she needed his support for the application she would send to Govenor Jim Doyle.

At the meeting, Kratz asked her about secratary - boss sex, and afterwards Kratz began to send her sexually suggestive texts, including texts describing him in the bedroom. After discussing the harassment with relatives, Ruskiewicz asked Kratz to stop texting her, which he did.

Deborah Felice, the associate dean for students at the law school, said she met with Ruskiewicz at her request on Sept. 25, 2008, to discuss the messages.

"She said she was very upset because she was pursuing a pardon and the DA she was working with was sending her these text messages that were basically stalking her," Felice said, adding that she was shown some of the messages.

Felice said she and Ruskiewicz met with a university lawyer five days later. They decided the best course of action was to ignore Kratz and hope he would go away. Felice said she spoke with Ruskiewicz weeks later and the messages had stopped, and "that's the last I heard of it until this morning," when she saw a segment about Kratz on national TV.

Richard Ginkowski, an assistant Kenosha County prosecutor, discussed the texts with Ruskiewicz as they were discussing the pardon application, and Ginkowski offered to take the matter to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, but "I decided in the end I didn't want to rock the boat." Since the scandal broke, she has said "This is not an isolated event. This happened a year prior to the first woman who came out. He is choosing women who are in vulnerable positions, not just women in general."

Ruskiewicz was granted her pardon last month by Gov. Doyle. A fourth woman has also claimed that Kratz contacted her inappropriately.

(Update 10-5-10) Kratz resigned yesterday as Calumet County DA. In a letter to Jim Doyle, Kratz said, "I hereby resign from my position as District Attorney, Calumet County, effective immediately." The resignation ends Kratz' 18 year career as Calumet County, WI district attorney. The resignation ends the official removal process, with a hearing scheduled for October 8 in Chilton being canceled.

A statement sent by fax to news outlets said Kratz remains at an out-of-state treatment center. He apologized to his "wife, son and entire family for the embarrassment and shame I have caused" and offered his "deepest apology to the citizens of Calumet County."

He cited an undisclosed condition for which he's receiving treatment as his downfall. "I have lost the confidence of the people I represent due primarily to personal issues which have now affected my professional career," Kratz wrote.

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence spokesman Tony Gibart said "I think the resignation is an important step and a necessary step. It's something that had to happen for victims to regain trust in the Calumet County legal system." However, Gibart said that Kratz needs to also face professional and perhaps even criminal charges for his actions. "I don't think that [only a resignation]sends the right message to victims," Gibart said.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Man who dropped into house, stabbed estranged wife to death sentenced to life without parole

On Friday, September 17, a Ft. Worth, TX man who stabbed his estranged wife to death in front of his 8 year old twin boys, named after him, was sentenced to life without parole by State District Judge Mike Thomas. 41-year-old Alma Garcia was stabbed to death by her husband, 42 year old Abel Noe Dominguez, on March 8, 2009. Dominguez broke into his wife's house and stabbed her between 11 PM and 10 AM, according to the testimony of his two oldest children, earning him a capital murder charge, which is applied to murder committed in the course of another felony, in this case, burglary.

[Noely] Dominguez, 17, said she spent most of the day [March 7, 2009] at South Hills High School practicing track and cheerleading.

She said her brothers, Abel and Noe, were at a neighbor’s house while their mother and Janette [Jaimes, 20 year old]were at a birthday party. After returning home about 10 p.m., Dominguez said she picked up her brothers and went back to their house, where the boys watched television in their mother’s room. Dominguez said she watched TV in her own room.

About 11 p.m., when she looked out the window after her dog began barking, Dominguez said she saw a ladder leaned up against the house. Several hours after she went to sleep, she heard her mother and Janette come home but she went back to sleep, she said.

Prosecutors contend that Dominguez broke into the home and waited for Garcia. Defense attorneys say that Dominguez walked through the front door of a house that he shared with Garcia.

Nohely Dominguez said she and Janette were awakened about 11 a.m. by her brothers screaming, “Wake up, I think Mommy’s dead.” When she hesitantly went into her mother’s room, where the boys had been sleeping, Dominguez found “blood everywhere” and her mother['s] body. “We tried shaking her but she was dead,” she said.

During closing arguments,  prosecutors Alana Minton and Kimberly D'Avignon argued that the break-in was burglary because the victim's sister owned the home and the victim kicked her husband out during a violent argument two weeks before her murder. While defense attorneys Wes Ball and Santiago Salinas argued it was Dominguez' home because he made mortgage payments for 15 years, Minton said that the way he entered - climbing onto the roof, dropping through a hole in his sons' room, then lying in wait to stab him victim 19 times, made it murder committed during a burglary.

The burglary specification was significant because in Texas, jurors can convict defendants of capital murder, which carried life without parole or the death penalty, if the homicide is committed during the course of another felony. In Texas, burglary is defined as breaking into someone's home without permission to commit another felony. If not, the homicide becomes simple murder, punishable by 5 to 99 years with one-third to serve. Tarrant County jurors found Dominguez guilty of capital murder after three hours of deliberation over two days.

During the victim impact statement, made after sentencing, Patricia Rodriguez, the homeowner and sister of the victim, said that the children They not only lost their mother. They lost their father. They still have nightmares and cry themselves to sleep because what you’ve done.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Shotgun Bandit" sentenced to life for rape, attempted murder of woman

A suburban Dallas-Ft Worth man was sentenced to life for the rapes of two women Thursday, September 16. Stanley Vernell Ledbetter Jr., a Muscogee, OK native and a Plano, TX resident, was sentenced to life for aggravated sexual assault in a April 10, 2007 sexual attack. Jurors took half an hour to convict Ledbetter of aggravated sexual assault and another 20 minutes to assess him the maximum sentence - life with a $10,000 fine.

Testimony opened on September 15 with the then 29 year old's account of the attack.

The woman, who is not being named because she is a sexual assault victim, told jurors she was in her pajamas watching television about 2 a.m. when the glass on her patio door exploded.  "I screamed," she said. "I saw a dark figure coming through the door right at me."

The man, holding a short-barreled shotgun, dragged her by her hair to the bedroom. She testified he made her dump out her purse and turn over hundreds of dollars in cash she had earned from her waitress job. He also forced her to give up her debit card and the personal identification number.
He made her stay in the bathtub as he searched the place. What he was looking for, she didn't know, she told jurors. Then the attacker took her to her bedroom, where he forced her to perform a sex act. If she didn't, he threatened to blow her head off, she testified.
The attacker used zip ties to bind her hands behind her and laid her on the bed. He stuffed a sock into her mouth and held it there with duct tape. Then he covered her face with a pillow and stabbed her three times.
"I couldn't believe this was happening," she said. "The pain was unreal."

The woman said she played dead as he checked her wrist for a pulse. She rolled her eyes back as he lifted each lid to check for signs of life. He removed the sock and duct tape. She said she heard her front door open and then close. She waited about five minutes and then went to her kitchen to try to cut the ties with a knife. When she couldn't free herself, she went to get help.

She met her attacker at the front door. "You didn't think I wouldn't see the kitchen light come on?" she recalled him asking. There was a struggle. She told jurors he pushed her down and stabbed her two more times. He locked the door behind him as he left.

The woman said she lay there for 30 to 45 minutes "to make sure he was gone."

During the trial, Ledbetter's defense attorney attempted to introduce reasonable doubt by sugessting that his client wasn't the one who stabbed the victim. The defense conceded the DNA evidence proved Ledbetter raped the victim. The only defense witness, Denise Ledbetter, was the attacker's mom. She portrayed her son as a devoted son and asked jurors to give him less than life so "That I have more time with my son."

The 2007 attack victim's impact statement followed the penalty phase of the trial, and went like this. "No matter how much pain and anguish you caused, not once would I let you get the best of me. I will never let you steal my strength or my perseverance. ... I'm the reason you were caught. I got you. ... May you rot in jail for life."

During the punishment phase of the trial, jurors got a clearer picture of Ledbetter, known before his arrest as the shotgun bandit because of his choice of weapon in some of the crimes.

A former Garland woman testified about a man breaking into her home through the patio door on June 1, 2005. He forced her to drive to two automated teller machines and withdraw $500 while he sat in the back seat of her Jaguar with a sawed-off shotgun jabbed in her side. "I was petrified," she told jurors.

A former Southern Methodist University student testified under a pseudonym about a man dressed in black and wielding a shotgun who broke into the Dallas apartment she shared with a friend on June 4, 2005. Both were sexually assaulted. A DNA expert testified that trace evidence from the Jaguar's back seat and the Dallas attack matched Ledbetter's DNA.
A 41-year-old woman testified about being sexually assaulted by Ledbetter on Nov. 7, 2005, at her Plano apartment. Several details matched the other attacks.

Prosecutor JoDee Neil told jurors: "There is no why," she said. "This is evil, plain and straight."

First Assistant District Attorney Greg Davis said Ledbetter deserved the maximum of life without parole
"so that no other woman will have to look at Stanley Ledbetter again and fear for her life."
Ledbetter, known as the "Shotgun Bandit," was already serving two life sentences on similar criminal convictions. Ledbetter is suspected in attacks on 7 women that took place between May 2005 and April 2007, and is suspected in at least 19 home invasions. The presiding judge was State District Judge Webb Biard. The convictions, from Dallas County, are under appeal.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hialeah, FL armed robber gets 30 years for robbery, rape, kidnapping

A Hialeah, FL rapist and robber was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 after pleading guilty to a crime spree which included burglary, robbery, and rape. Jeosvany Salas was caught after DNA evidence left at the attacks matched his profile.

The crimes Salas plead guilty to involved:

Tying up and robbing a 73-year-old Miami woman in a September 2007 robbery that police said was a case of mistaken identity. Through forensic science, again, a fingerprint found on a piece of Scotch tape doomed Salas.

Kidnapping a Miami-Dade pawn shop owner in August 2008, holding him hostage for nine hours. Salas was nailed when his DNA was found on a beer bottle he drank from inside the victim's home.

Taking a Hialeah mother hostage in May 2008, shooting her with a stun gun and sexually assaulting her. It was that final act that broke the case: Saliva swabbed off the victim's chest matched Salas' DNA.

Salas was set to go to trial on the attack on the 73 year old woman, and was facing 21 life sentences in all, but plead after prosecutors filed the rape case. The attack on the woman occured after Salas and other robbers mistook her home for a Cuban human trafficer's. The rape case started out as a kidnapping and robbery, where Salas and his gang tied up the mother and her daughter while ransacking their home looking for electronics and jewerly. The rape occured after Salas asked the mother for a kiss and licked her body. The pawn show owner was beaten for hours while the robbers tried to get him to hand over his secuirty codes. Police caught Salas after noticing his SUV outside the pawn shop.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Craigslist - "Adult Services" ad section gone for good

updated 9/16/2010 10:43:07 AM ET By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal [PC World]

Pressured by law enforcement, advocacy groups, and Congress, Craigslist said it would permanently remove adult services from its online classified ads here in the United States. The move quickly sparked criticism by free-speech advocates who see Craigslist's shuttering of its adult services as a threat to free speech on the Internet.

Craigslist's lawyers told a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on child sex trafficking Wednesday that it has no plans to reopen its U.S. adult services section, which it shut down Sept. 3 after heavy criticism from human rights advocacy groups and Congress who charged that Craigslist was commonly used in the global sex trade of women.

William Clinton Powell, the director of customer service and law enforcement relations for Craigslist, said that his company had "no intention to bring the category back" and "money is not a consideration." Craigslist skirted the issue of whether it would yield to calls by advocacy groups to stop running erotic services ads that appear on international versions of the Craigslist site outside the U.S.

At the end of August a group of 17 attorneys general requested, in an open letter, that Craigslist disable the adult services section of its site immediately. The letter explained that the "increasingly sharp public criticism" of the adult services section "reflects a growing recognition that ads for prostitution — including ads trafficking children — are rampant on it."

The letter also gave examples of how adult services ads on Craigslist were allegedly tied to sex crimes. It cited one story of two girls who were allegedly trafficked over the Internet through listings on the Craigslist site. Those two girls wrote an open letter in July 2010 requesting that Craigslist take the section down.

Craigslist responded with a request evidence of the alleged trafficking authorities.

Earlier this month Craigslist complied with lawmaker requests and put a black bar with the word "censored" over the section of the site labeled adult services. The move raised the question of free speech and the Internet — and whether or not Congress has the right to censor Internet.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Craigslist decision to "censor" its Adult Services section is an unfortunate one. The EFF points out that the attorneys general basically bullied Craigslist into making such a decision, as "over the past two years, Craigslist repeatedly offered to go far above and beyond their legal obligations to work with law enforcement officials," and "the AGs have inevitably rewarded completely voluntary, non-mandatory offers of cooperation from Craigslist with further demands and insults."

Of course, shutting down Craigslist's Adult Services section for good is unlikely to fix all the sex trafficking issues like that. As Elizabeth McDougall, a partner at Perkins Coie LLP (the law firm representing Craigslist), says, the ads will just "migrate to less socially responsible sites" that won't cooperate with law enforcement.

Brooklyn serial rapist sentenced to 174 1/2 to 178 years in prison

A Brooklyn serial rapist who preyed on women in the Crown Heights neighborhood was sentenced to 174 1/2 to 178 years in the New York prison system Wednesday, September 8, 2010, according to the Brooklyn DA's office. 23 year old Erick Lewis was convicted of rape, criminal sex act, robbery, and 2 counts of sex abuse in August.

Lewis’ string of rapes around Crown Heights began in January 2008 around 12:30 p.m, when Lewis followed a woman into a laundry room in the basement of her Crown Heights apartment building, assaulted her and attempted to force her to perform oral sex.

In August 2008, just after midnight, Lewis raped and robbed another woman, at gunpoint, in the elevator of another Crown Heights building. The victim reported the incident to the police, and was taken to Methodist Hospital. There she was treated, and forensic evidence was collected.

On September 11, 2008, Lewis robbed a woman and forced her to perform oral sex on him, in the elevator of another Crown Heights building. Forensic evidence was collected from the floor of the elevator linking Lewis to the crime.

The presiding judge was Brooklyn Superior Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice.

Text messaging "lovers" receive life without parole in murder of woman's husband

Monterey County, CA Judge Larry Hayes sentenced a mother and her "lover" to life without parole for kidnapping and killing the woman's husband.  Marisela Zarate Andrade, 33, and Sergio de la Cruz, 34, were sentenced to life without parole Tuesday, September 14 for the murder of Jose "Nicco" Zarate of Wasco, CA. Zarate was kidnapped April 11, 2008 from his home and his body was found three days later in the trunk of a Ford Escort near Gonzales, CA vineyard with his hands and feet bound with duct tape, shot between the eyes.

The evidence which convicted the two was collected by Monterey County Sheriff's detective Brett Speirs. These included text messages which spoke of how Marisela and De La Cruz intended to kidnap and kill Jose. Marisela would drug her husband's coffee with chloroform, then De La Cruz and another man would kidnap Jose from his Wasco home. After killing Jose, Marisela wanted De La Cruz to behead her husband to make sure "the rat (is) very dead." The pistol used to kill Jose was recovered in San Francicso during a drug raid.

She gave police different statements about the last time she saw him. When confronted with the text messages, she admitted she participated in the plan to have her husband abducted, but insisted she only wanted him beaten up, a claim she maintained at trial.

Noting that he had received a letter from Zarate Andrade prior to sentencing, Hayes said Tuesday the woman was in denial. He said the length of time the two spent planning the murder, and the content of the text messages, showed the extent of the cruelty they intended to inflict on the victim.

Judge Hayes said,"In some ways you are both very lucky the DA did not choose to (seek) the death penalty in this case. That's how atrocious this murder was." Prosecutor David Gross could have sought the death penalty because Zarate's murder occurred duing the course of a kidnapping.

Besides the life without parole sentenced, Judge Hayes sentenced Marisela to an additional 8 years for kidnapping and De La Cruz to an additional 33 to life for kidnapping and executing the victim. Hayes stayed both sentences. The victim's family attended the sentencing.

Woman who allegedly staged shotgun murder of husband charged

A Minnesota woman who claimed that intruders killed her husband was charged with 2nd degree murder in Blue Earth County, MN on September 10. 26 year old James Nibbe was found shot to death early the morning of August 31 in his Lake Crystal, MN home. Jennifer claimed a masked intruder took James' shotgun, killed him, then fled on foot. Police poked holes in the story after learning that there were no footprints out of the house and that the Labrador the couple owned had stayed asleep during the killing.

Charges cite journal entries by Jennifer Nibbe that chronicle her dissatisfaction with her two-year marriage, her interest in another man and how "Sometimes I wish I could go back to just [my son, who is 17] and I plugging along."

The complaint describes Jennifer Nibbe, a nurse, as addicted to painkillers and deeply in debt. Just two months before he was killed with a single shotgun blast to the head, James Nibbe, 26, had taken out a $250,000 life insurance policy, naming his wife as the beneficiary.

On September 13, a judge set bail at $600,000 in front of a courtroom packed with both the suspect and the victim's family.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Couple abuse developmentally disabled woman for 13 years starting when she was 14 - Woman sentenced to 40 years

(Original Post 5-10-08)
Sgt. Linda Cook, a Muncie, IN detective, is calling the case of a couple who has allegedly sexually abused a 27 year old developmentally disabled woman for the past 13 years a "most bizarre case." Duane Tackett, 48, and his wife Patricia, 47, are charged with sexually abusing the developmentally disabled woman.

"It started here in Muncie when the girl was 14. She's presently 27. We believe they lived in Muncie for the first two years of this abuse then moved to Salyersville, Kentucky," said Sgt. Linda Cook, Muncie police.

The Tacketts had recently moved to a Muncie neighborhood from Kentucky. When a relative asked the victim why she was wearing a birth control patch, the woman told of the history of abuse and the relative then called police.

Police say Patricia Tackett and the victim were living in a home on Hodson Street with Duane Tackett still in Kentucky. Police records describe a regular patten of sexual abuse by both suspects. Investigators say the victim has the mental capacity of a child.

"We're looking at adding at least one rape count to each defendant because of the mental capacity of the victim," said Mark McKinney, Delaware County prosecutor.

"I believe it may have become part of her life and maybe it was accepted. She definitely tells me she doesn't want to do it anymore and doesn't like the people that did this to her."

The break in the case occured when the victim told an aunt that Duane Tackett repeatedly had sex with her for the past 13 years. Duane Tackett was persuaded to return to Indiana to face the sex charges according to Cook. Underlying issues regarding the abuse include not wanting the woman to "date" other men.

Patricia Ann Tackett, 47, 124 1/2 N. Hodson St., was arrested this week on a preliminary charge of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Her husband, Duane Ray Tackett, 48, was taken into custody Wednesday, preliminarily charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, criminal deviate conduct and child solicitation. They were being held without bond in the Delaware County jail late Wednesday.

Formal charges the Tacketts face may also include rape, as mentioned above. They are being held without bond and face Kentucky charges as well.

(Update 9-13-10) Patricia Tackett was sentenced to 40 years in prison August 24 by Judge Marianne Vorhees in Delaware Circuit Court 1. Judge Vorhees believed that Patricia Tackett's crimes were "very disturbing, almost beyond belief," and merited a term of as much as 60 years behind bars.

A Delaware County Circuit Court 1 jury found her guilty July 28 of rape, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child solicitation. Child solicitation is a Class D felony carrying a standard 1 1/2 year sentenced - the other felonies are Class B felonies with a standard 10 year sentence. Testimony said that the Tacketts both participated in assults on the woman lasting for at least 14 years.

"The details of this crime are shocking," said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold, who recommended a 38-year sentence.

Defense attorney Kelly Bryan suggested a 10-year sentence with four years suspended, asking the judge to consider "a certain element of provocation and control here, at the hands of her spouse."

[P]robation officer Teresa Brown told the judge that in a pre-sentence interview, Tackett had expressed little remorse for her actions, instead blaming a family member who had learned of the sexual abuse and alerted authorities.

"Not only did she not take responsibility for this crime, she's still having continuous contact with Duane Tackett, who's coming to see her at the jail," Brown said. Brown said the victim -- now 30 and described as having the mental capacity of an 8-year-old -- had told her the Tacketts "should be made to stop so that they won't hurt anyone else, and stay in jail."

At the sentencing hearing, Patricia Tackett said to the victim, who was not present, "I feel so hurt because I let you down...Please forgive me for all I have done." Judge Vorhees, for her part, said that "I believe in my heart she knew exactly what was going on and she knew it was wrong," the judge said. "And she did nothing to stop it." As for her expression of remorse, it was, in Vorhees' opinion, "way too little, (and) way, way, way too late, probably 14, 15, 16 years too late."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Former Navy sailor sentenced to decade behind bars for "love" triangle slaying

On Friday, September 3, Sixto Balbuena, a former Navy sailor who stabbed "romantic" rival Samuel Valdivia to death over the affections of their "girlfriend" and former teacher Tamara Hoffman, was sentenced to a decade behind bars. This sentence was the minimum Balbuena could have gotten after his conviction of 2nd degree murder - the max he could have got was 22 years. The trial started May 28, 2010 and ended June 4. The presiding judge in the trial was Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Whitten

Balbuena and the victim, 18 year old Valdivia, were both seduced by their former math teacher as students at separate high schools. Hoffman was teaching the then 17 year old Balbuena at Tempe, AZ's Marcos de Niza High School. She was fired after police caught Balbuena with Hoffman's bra in a parked car in November 2006 . She then went to Chandler's El Dorado High School and started a sexual relationship with 18 year olf Valdivia.

On April 9, 2009, Balbuena left Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, where he was an aircraft mechanic, at about 9 p.m., after finishing his shift, and headed toward Chandler to visit his fiancee, Hoffman, then 48.

Phone records show that they exchanged cellphone calls several times that night as he made the 4 ½-hour drive. But when he reached her house, according to the attorneys' statements, Hoffman did not answer the door or her cellphone. Balbuena opened the front door.

Inside, he heard noises coming from the bedroom. He grabbed a knife from the kitchen. Then, he told police investigators - one of whom testified Thursday - he saw a shadowy figure and they tussled. Seventeen minutes after he arrived, Balbuena called police. Prosecutor Jason Kalish played the 911 call, in which Balbuena says that "some guy" had been stabbed. Hoffman can be heard sobbing in the background.

When police arrived, they found Balbuena and Hoffman sitting calmly in the living room and wondered if either had been stabbed. An officer then found Valdivia, wearing only boxer shorts, moaning on the bathroom floor, his internal organs protruding from an abdominal wound.

Valdivia, who played for El Dorado's baseball team and wrote songs, died at the scene. After the conviction, Julio Valdivia, Samuel's older brother, said  "I don't know if he's going to pay enough. It's been tough. The pain is still there. I still feel like it happened yesterday. Sometimes, I feel like I need to talk to him. He made me think and kept me out of trouble." During the sentencing hearing, Balbuena said "I'm going to face them. I want to ask your forgiveness for all that has happened," but Valdivia's family did not believe he was sincere.

The victim's mother Placida Maldonado said  "He said he didn't mean to hurt him, but I don't believe that." The victim's brother-in-law Julio Laurean said "He's going to do 10 years, but we will do a lifetime...It felt like he was just trying to get out of the hole, that's how I felt."

Valdivia's relatives also believe that Hoffman had a part in the killing. "There are two victims here. One is dead and the other now behind bars," Maldonado said. A sister said that "She's truly at fault. She's crazy and should not have been dating boys. She was 48 years old and my brother only 18."

TheArizona Board of Education investigation of Hoffman saw her surrender her teaching certificate on December 7, but she can reapply within 5 years of the surrender. No criminal chargers were ever filed regarding Hoffman.

"Boyfriend" charged with 1st degree murder after shooting woman to death

A 23 year old woman was found shot to death in her South Side of Chicago apartment early Saturday morning and her 28 year old "boyfriend," Gerald Rufus was charged in her murder. Theresa Russell was found dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the arm by police at around 2:32 AM Saturday, September 4.

Rufus was picked up after he was seen on top of the victim, who suffered a gunshot wound under the left armpit. He initially told police Russell was shot in front of the building at 6435 S. Morgan St. and he had taken the victim upstairs to the kitchen area, a police report said.

The man then changed his story and said the incident occurred on the back porch of the second floor apartment, and that the gunmen shot into the apartment from the back door, the report said. The man was taken into custody because witnesses gave conflicting statements indicating they heard a single shot fired inside the apartment and there was not evidence that a shooting happened in front of the building. Police later learned Russell was shot dead after arguing with Rufus.

Rufus faces 45 to 85 years in prison in convicted of 1st degree murder - 20 to 60 for the murder charge and 25 years for using a firearm.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

British man receives 15 to life for stabbing "girlfriend" during sex

By Jaya Narain [Daily Mail] Last updated at 8:00 AM [BST] on 8th September 2010

A man stabbed his girlfriend to death after she accidentally blurted out the name of another man as they made love. Gary Higgs, 44, flew into a rage when his girlfriend suddenly cried out: 'Chris!'. He stormed downstairs, grabbed a chef's knife and stabbed Joanne Kitchen once in the back and once in the chest.

As she was dying from her wounds, he throttled the 41-year-old to death with the electrical flex of their alarm clock. He later told police: 'I asked her why she said "Chris", but she said she must have been thinking about her daughter's boyfriend Chris.' Manchester Crown Court heard Chris had been at the house the day before.

But Higgs told officers: 'It didn't make any sense to me and I was getting more angry. Why was she thinking about her daughter's boyfriend when we were having sex?

'I couldn't get things out of my mind. I didn't know exactly what I was thinking. I picked the knife up and carried it upstairs to the bedroom. I don't remember thinking I wanted to harm Jo at this time.I was just so mad.' Higgs also said that after he stabbed her, Miss Kitchen told him: 'You've killed me.'

Higgs, who admitted murder, was yesterday jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 15 years.
The court heard the couple ditched their long-term partners and moved in together after talking on Facebook.

Paul Reid, QC, prosecuting, said they struggled financially and depended on Miss Kitchen's wage as a security officer at a college in Bury. Early one morning in April this year a woman waiting at a bus stop heard 'argumentative screams' from a woman coming from the couple's home and another witness saw Higgs standing bare - chested at the window.

The alarm was raised when Miss Kitchen failed to turn up for work and her daughters could not contact their mother by phone or text. The landlord of the house in Radcliffe, near Bury, let the two women in and he found her body in the upstairs room.

Sentencing Higgs, Judge Andrew Gilbart, QC, said the relationship had been overcome by financial tensions and arguments. He said: "Those tensions can lead to mistrust and sexual jealousy. It seems you were overcome by your view that she could still be interested sexually in others and be as readily welcoming to conduct an affair with others as she had been with you. There is no evidence of that whatsoever, but even if there were, it cannot justify what you did. In my judgment, this is a case of an unreasonably possessive man killing his lover in a rage."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Policeman in Oz sentenced to 33 years with 24 to serve in cliff murder of wife

Des Campbell, the former policeman who murdered his wife Janet by pushing her off a cliff, was jailed for a maximum of 33 years [Friday September 3]. Campbell, 52, dressed in a green prison tracksuit, did not react as the sentence was handed down.

"There can be no doubt that the circumstances under which Janet Campbell met her death demonstrate the offender's sustained callousness towards her for nothing more than monetary gain," the sentencing judge, Megan Latham, said.

Justice Latham, whose decision was shown live to the public via video link, sentenced him to a 24-year non-parole period in "recognition of the deliberate taking of a life". Justice Latham said the non-parole period would expire in May 2034.

Killer and victim met in the Riverina town of Deniliquin, where Janet Fisicaro worked as a hospital orderly.
Campbell, who had previously been a policeman in Victoria and England, was working as a paramedic.
Janet, 49, had been left well off when her first husband died. Prosecutors argued that Campbell was only ever after her money, with the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, comparing the murder to a contract killing.

On March 24, 2005 - six months after they secretly wed, and a week after Janet finally told her family of the marriage - Campbell took her camping in the Royal National Park. Just before nightfall Janet fell to her death from a 50-metre cliff near their campsite. ASupreme Court jury rejected Campbell's claims that she fell accidentally, convicting him in May of murder.

The trial heard that Campbell secretly carried on affairs with other women during his relationship with Janet.
He did not attend her funeral, and booked a holiday with one of his girlfriends the week after his wife plunged to her death.A few months later, the widower holidayed in the Philippines, where he met the woman who became his fourth wife.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wooded Rapist guilty in rape of 16 year old girl - Davidson County won't prosecute any more cases

(Original Post 5-6-08)
Nashville, Tennessee police have caught a suspect whom they believe to be the Wooded Rapist, a sexual predator who has attacked at least 14 women on their wooded homes. Robert Jason Burdick has a criminal record going back to 1998 for rape, and authorities are trying to link him with other unsolved rapes in the area.

Pat Young, the Wooded Rapist's first victim, remembers her attack and hopes that

She said she remembers her attack like it was yesterday. "At home asleep in your bed is supposed to be the safest place you are. Well, that's where I was at, home asleep in my bed," she said.

Young was able to bite her attacker and give police DNA, which they said matches Burdick’s.
But Young said she does not believe her attacker was just getting started.

"You have to wonder where he started. We're the first case that we know of, but were there more that went unreported?" she said.

Sources close to the case said Burdick was sent to Spencer Youth Center for Juvenile Offenders. "I think he's been doing this for a very long time. I know there are cases directly related through DNA. I suspect there are others where there is other evidence and if they can tie it to him, good," Young said.

Burdick has been charged with five counts of aggravated rape and more charges are pending. Sources say that Burdick spent time in juvenile detention and was arrested on assault charges involving a possible girlfriend at age 17.

(Update 10-19-09) The Wooded Rapist suspect was found not guilty of the aggravated rape of Pat Young, but was found guilty of attempted aggravated rape. Robert Jason Burdick, 39, still faces between 8 and 12 years for his attack on Young back in 1994. Burdick has been sentenced to 32 years in prison for the rape of another woman and faces 11 more trials.

The issue that prosecutors failed to prove to the Davidson County Jury was whether Burdick's hand entered Young's vaginal area during the attack, not whether there was an attack. "I don't mind not being raped. Tonight, I'll be with my friends and he goes back to the big house."

Young has been willing to share her name and show her face for the same reason she has reached out to other alleged victims of Burdick, the man police call the "Wooded Rapist."

"This shouldn't be embarrassing for the victims," Young said. "We should be looking at the perpetrators. They take people's souls to empower themselves."

Young was looking at Burdick carefully throughout the trial. She stared at him often during her time on the witness stand. She noticed he would not meet her eyes.

"He looks so dead ordinary," she said. "Put him in a suit and he's a banker or a lawyer. Put him in scrubs and he's a doctor. Put him in a shirt with his name on it and he's a technical guy. There's nothing to say there's evil there."

Defense attorneys cited the failure to prove the most serious charges as a small victory for their client. According to Fletcher Long, "anything other than the charged offense in a high-profile case like this is an achievement. He has been obliterated in the war of public opinion, and if the jurors came in tainted, it wasn't in the defendant's favor."

The defense will appeal based on the theory that only a "John Doe" DNA profile was issued an arrest warrant, not their client by name. Attorney Carrie Gasaway stated "It could very likely be the outcome for Mr. Burdick that there is no conviction on this charge."

Meanwhile, prosecutors are more circumspect, because there are numerous trials to go, and that even though they obtained a conviction for lesser charges that aggravated rape, a conviction is a conviction.

Prosecutor Dan Hamm stated that "Quite frankly we understand that reasonable people could find either way. We were just hoping that the emotions wouldn't be so strong they wouldn't be able to make a decision." His colleague Roger Moore said that  "We will try each count as we get to it. That's our philosophy at this point."

(Update 5-28-10) WIlliamson County, TN jurors found Burdick guilty May 20, 2010 of aggravated and especially aggravated rape in an attack on a then 16 year old girl, Elizabeth "Zea" Miller. Burdick broke into her Brentwood, TN townhouse, kidnapped her and took her at gunpoint to a garage where he raped her. Burdick faces 15 to 25 years when he is sentenced July 13, something that the victim wants.

 "I would love just for my own personal edification to have him be sentenced at the maximum. I have to live this to the fullest and so does he. I don't get to escape out of this any earlier in my life so neither should he. I would love to see two 25-year sentences served consecutively."

[Willamson County District Attorney Kim]Helper called eight witnesses to the stand, including Miller, her mother, detectives working the case and Qadriyyah Debnam, a forensic scientist who worked with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at the time of the rape. She told jurors that she found sperm in Miller's underwear that were a match to Burdick's DNA.

Burdick's next trial will be in Wilson County, where he will be tried on aggravated and especially aggravated rape charges for an attack on hie ex-"girlfriend's" niece who he used to babysit. After that trial, the sexual predator will return to Williamson and Davidson Counties for more rape trials.

(Update 9-4-10) Burdick was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment and a $60,000 fine in a Nashville courtroom July 13, 2010 for Miller's rape. If Burdick had took the plea deal he was offered, he would have only received 20 years maximum. Judge Timothy Easter gave Burdick 2 consecutive 25 year sentences for aggravated and especially aggravated rape.

Davidson County prosecutors have retired the remaining seven cases against Burdick in a cost saving measure.

Metro Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said putting Burdick on trial would waste taxpayer dollars, and he said the remaining five victims agreed the cases could stop. "Lightning may strike the prison, and he may escape, but we are not dealing on possibility. We are dealing with what has been done," Moore said.

Judge Seth Norman agreed to the prosecutor's request, but two other Tennessee counties still plan on trying Burdick on more rape charges. Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper is scheduled to prosecute two more Wooded Rapist cases. "Victims do have a say in this state, and the victims very much … have the right to face offenders in court,"  she said.
Wilson County plans to try Burdick on aggravated rape and especially aggravated kidnapping of a child beginning March 28, 2011. Tom Swink, Wilson County, TN assistant DA, said "While our office believes that Burdick's convictions and sentences will stand on appeal, nothing is certain, and we will proceed as planned with Mr. Burdick's Wilson County prosecution."

Man charged with forcible sex abuse for nurse groping pleads guilty, gets 6 months

(Original Post 10-11-09)
A man accompanying his wife to a Utah hospital missed the birth of his child because he was being booked for fondling the nurse who took care of his baby's mother.

Adam Jay Manning was charged with forcible sex abuse, a Class 2 felony in Utah, for fondling and grabbing the nurse. The incident started at 3 AM October 9, when Manning brought a pregnant woman in labor to Mackay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, UT. Manning made a comment about how cute the nurse was, but the nurse ignored him, attending to the woman in labor.

Manning, according to Ogden police lieutenant Loren Draper, told the nurse that something was wrong with her neck, which was a pretense for him to grab her breast and fondle her neck. The nurse pushed Manning away, moved to the other side of the wheelchair, and reported the incident to police, leading to charges.

Manning pleaded guilty in February 2008 to shoplifting, a class B misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a year of probation that included classes at New Horizons, a mental health and substance abuse treatment center. In June, Manning pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, also a class B misdemeanor. He was sentenced to fines and a year of probation, which he allegedly violated -- a judge issued a warrant for his arrest Sept. 14, court records show.

Draper said it was unclear whether the woman Manning brought to the hospital was a girlfriend or wife, but one thing was abundantly clear - "Obviously, he wasn't there for the birth of the child."

(Update 9-4-10) Last month, Manning received 6 months in jail after pleading guilty June 15 to attempted forcible sex abuse. 2nd District Judge Scott Hadley sentenced Manning on August 10, 2010 to serve the term in the Weber County Jail, and ordered Manning undergo sex, mental health, and substance abuse counseling.

Defense attorney Randall Marshall argued that Manning's action was a rare situation accompanied by a blackout, which Manning is prone to suffer because of brain damage from a Jeep accident 10 years ago.

"He touched her over the clothing. There was no violence, no force," Marshall said. "That doesn't come close to some of the sexual offenses we see ... 180 days in jail seems a little heavy." Marshall asked for 120 days, noting Manning's lack of prior similar crimes, saying he touched the woman twice "and that was the end of it."

Arguing the other side of the same coin, Deputy Weber County Attorney Branden Miles said "precisely because there was a blackout, we don't know that it won't happen again. He continues to pose a danger until it's figured out."

One thing which won't be blacked out is Manning's listing in the sex offender registry.