Friday, October 28, 2011

Ohio gym teacher charged with allegedly doing members of football team gets 4 years, lifetime SO registration

(Original Post 2-6-11)
An Ohio teacher has been charged with 16 counts of sexual battery and 3 misdemeanor counts of offenses involving underage persons for allegedly having sex with football team members and providing them alcohol at the high school she worked at. Stacy Schuler of Springboro OH, was charged by the Warren County Prosecutor's Office after parents went to the authorities regarding their sons' sexual contact with Schuler. Schuler's indictment can be found here.

Schuler, a health and physical education teacher at the 3,048 student-populated Mason High School, has been under investigation by police after an anonymous tip was given to school officials during the week of Jan. 10, according to Tracey Carson, schools spokeswoman. Carson said Schuler was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 18. During that time, Schuler was prohibited from attending district events or being on district property.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bruce McGary said the allegations did not happen at a party. Mason police Detective Toni Hoelke said when the parents of the students found out about the allegations, they “were surprised and that they had no idea about it.”

The Mason High School teacher, who turns 33 next week, was arraigned in Warren County Common Pleas Court Friday, February 4 and is currently being held on $50,000 bond, which she has not yet raised, according to her attorney, Charlie Rittgers of Lebanon, OH.

“We knew she was being investigated. There has been no discovery from prosecutors and we’ll be starting our own investigation.” Rittgers also stated that if she made bond, thought to be unlikely before the end of the weekend, she would have to wear a GPS monitoring device. and stay away from the victims and other Mason High students. “Anytime a teacher is accused of having sex with students, it gets peoples attention. It doesn’t surprise me with those allegations.”

Mason High school mother Ginnie Sclosser said that "It is just heartbreak all over, and I especially feel bad for the students that were involved and my heart breaks for their parents, too. It's just a bad situation for everybody,"

Schuler graduated from Centerville High School in 1996 and Wright State University in 2000. She was a student teacher at Fairmont High School in Kettering from 1999-2000, according to her file.Her duties included work as an athletic trainer for the high school’s girls and boys sports teams. She earned $53,194 in 2008, according to her personnel file.

In her Health Education Philosophy as part of her application to work at Mason, Schuler wrote that she wanted to teach students about major risk factors for teenagers including “sexual behaviors that result in disease, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies.” Part of her mission statement included “Today’s society has its own standards of behavior, values, and norms that do not necessarily reflect healthy living...How can a child who is sexually active as a teenager learn about STDs and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies?”

Mason superintendent Superintendent Kevin Bright said that “Our job at the end of the day, is to partner with our families and to empower our staff to report anything that seems out of line, and then to act swiftly when someone behaves inappropriately. He also said his district “acted swiftly, partnered with police immediately, and we are standing her[e] today because of how seriously our high school principal took an anonymous tip.”
The principal of Mason High, Mindy McCarty-Stewart sent out a e-mail to parents January 31. She said that “As high school principal, I am committed to the safety and well-being of our students, and will not tolerate behavior that does not conform to that goal. Our staff is prepared to help our students during this situation, and know how it important it is to continue to build trust with our students and families.”
Schuler isn't the only Mason High employee who has been embroiled in this scandal. George Coates, an assistant Mason High principal, allegedly sent Schuler sexually explicit images. Coates turned in his resignation and the Mason High School board is voting on whether to accept it at their upcoming Tuesday meeting. The school board is also voting on whether to suspend Schuler without pay and beging termination procedures against her at the meeting.

(Update 2-9-11) Schuler was released on her own recognisance yesterday. Conditions of release include a 8PM to 6AM curfew, no contact with any minors or high school students over 18, and no drugs or alcohol. The now former teacher must also wear a GPS device.

During the Mason School Board meeting last night, the board unanimously accepted the resignation of Schuler, who has submitted a letter of resignation Monday. They also accepted the resignation of former assistant principal George Coates. Despite this, Dr. Kevin Bright, Mason School District superintendent, faced calls from parents to also resign. One said "All this stuff happened under his watch." and another said, "It's your policies that now have cost the children their innocence. You ought to get out of Mason. Just get out of Mason. Get out."

Bright said that he reported the allegations to the Ohio Department Of Education, and "While we had begun the process to terminate Ms. Schuler, we received her resignation today and believe that accepting it will save the district a lot of legal fees, which is in the best interest of our taxpayers and students."

(Update 10-28-11) After a three day bench trial, Stacy Schuler was convicted of 16 felony counts of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of giving alcohol to minors in a Warren County, OH courtroom yesterday. The presiding judge was Judge Robert Peeler. All five teenage boys were over Ohio's age of cpnsent, which is normally 16, but does not exist when there is a position of formal authority.

All five teens, who were about 17 years old at time, testified that Schuler was drinking alcohol at the time of the alleged incidents, was a willing participant in the acts and initiated much of the contact.

One of the teens testified they considered Schuler’s home a safe place to get high. Several said they were high on marijuana during sex with Schuler and that she made them vodka smoothies and served them beer and peach wine.

Originally, Schuler plead not guilty to all charges, but changed her plea to guilty by reason on insanity, a plea which according to a prosecution witness, was planned by Schuler before she was formally charged. During Thursday's closing arguments, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Teresa Hiett said that "She got drunk and made some really poor choices. Does that mean she’s insane? No. She was the adult. She was the teacher. She had the trust. It’s the relationship between the defendant and the victims that makes this a crime.”

Defense attorney Charlie Rittgers said that her condition was caused by a mixture of bipolar disorder, Zoloft, an antidepressant drug, and alcohol."The underlying disease is the bipolar. The catalyst is the Zoloft magnified by the alcohol.”

Rittgers said it didn’t make sense that a person with Christian values would risk her livelihood and freedom, and said that the evidence supported an insanity defense.

“They want us to believe that all of a sudden after 10 years teaching, she wants to throw it away to have sex with five different guys,” he told the judge. “It’s far more reasonable to believe Stacy was suffering from an underlying psychological disorder.”

Judge Peeler said that while the defense argument about the adverse reaction of alcohol and drugs or an underlying condition may explain Schuler's behavior, it does not excuse it. Being voluntarily drunk was no excuse for taking advantage of students, and that it would be "a leap" to suggest that Schuler did not appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct.

Before the verdict, the mother of one of the victims took the stand and said while crying, "These young men may appear as if they are tough guys, but in reality they are truly hurting. (Schuler) played on their emotions and she crossed the line.”

The four year prison sentence comes with an option for early release in six months. Besides the felony convictions of sexual battery, Schuler must register as a Tier 3 sex offender every 90 days for the rest of her life. Schuler resigned as a gym teacher from Mason High school back in February.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Missing Jersey City mom's body found in concrete drum - "husband" charged with 1st degree murder

A Jersey City man was charged with 1st degree murder in the death of his baby's mother, a Canadian who moved to Jersey City, NJ to become a waitress. 38 year old Steven Acuna was charged with strangling his wife and dumping her into a cement-filled barrel which he then folded his wife's body into. The mother's remains were discovered Friday, Septem,ber 23 and Acuna was formally charged with 1st degree murder.

[Randy "Amanda"]Lehrer, 32, was reported missing on Aug. 17. One of the last times she was seen publicly was leaving Tommy’s Family Restaurant on Central Avenue where she worked on Aug. 12 with Acuna, officials said.

Tommy Diakos, owner of Tommy’s Restaurant where Lehrer worked for nearly four years last saw her on Friday Aug. 12 when she finished her shift at 2 p.m.

“I never thought he (Acuna) would do something like that. He was very quiet when he came here,” Diakos said yesterday. “I hope she rests in peace. The baby is going to miss her more than anybody else.”

Acuna was always a suspect in his wife's disappearance. After Jersey City police used cadaverdogs to search their apartment and found nothing, Acuna was held of outstanding warrants, then released. Officials went back late last week after surmising that Amanda's body might have been dumped in the basement.

Hudson County, NJ Prosecutor Edward DeFazio stated, “Last week, based on further investigation, Jersey City police ascertained that tenants in the building had access to the basement. Based on that information they got permission from the owner of the property to inspect the basement...They discovered this barrel that was hidden by construction-type debrisAnd when they saw that barrel, based on good intuition, they said something didn’t look right about the barrel.”

The barrel was opened and Lehrer’s remains were found “encased” in concrete, according to DeFazio. There was no evidence that she was dismembered. “It is almost like she was bent, folded,” the prosecutor said. As investigators examined the remains, they realized they belonged to a woman, DeFazio said.

“Although there was decomposition, they were of a mind that it was Amanda. Then, further corroboration was obtained at the time of autopsy.”

DeFazio went on to say, "We believe this (murder) occurred during the course of a domestic violence situation and it could be that she was strangled.We believe it happened shortly after she was last seen alive.”

Acuna is being held on $1 million bail for 1st degree murder at the Hudson County Correctional Facility.  After his wife's body was found, neighbors organized a vigil outside their apartment. A woman who was visiting her daughter said, "It's so sad, just painfully sad. I was visiting my daughter and wanted to know why everyone was standing around this house. Now, I wish it wasn't so."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Serial British philandering teacher sentenced to 22 to life for murdering "partner"

A JUDGE described music teacher Andrew Lindo as “cunning, cruel and calculating” as he sentenced him to 22 years in prison for the murder of Marie Stewart. Mr Justice Andrew Smith said it was “chilling” that Lindo had shown no remorse after brutally murdering his fiancee Miss Stewart, 30, at their Holmfirth home.

Throughout the sentencing at Bradford Crown Court, Lindo stared forwards blankly and expressionless, his hands clasped in front of him.The 29-year-old – in a grey suit and blue striped tie – did not flinch when the judge told him he would serve a minimum of 22 years.

Mr Justice Smith told Lindo: “When you have served it, it will be for others to consider whether it is safe to release you. Those faced with the decision will weigh it carefully.

“They will be wary of your extraordinary cunning and facility for deceit. They will also reflect upon how someone could be as calm and calculating as you were so soon after such a murder. They will consider all the texts that you sent that evening, and they will ask themselves whether your mental state can sufficiently be comprehended for it to be safe to release you.”

Lindo brutally murdered Marie – who was a special needs carer at Holmfirth High School – on December 18 last year, while their two children slept in their rooms at their rented house on Perseverance Place, Holmfirth.

Mr Justice Smith said: “The murder was not planned, but the attack on her was vicious and sustained.
You assaulted Marie in bed, and tried to throttle her. You used a suitcase to haul her to the living room.She was still alive. I am prepared to suppose – having considered the evidence – she was not conscious.You battered her face with a solid wood chair and you tried to strangle her with a belt.

You pulled her to the garage, covered her face in bubble wrap plastic and then inflicted fatal blows with a knife, stabbing her at least eight times.Your children were in the house at the time.”

Lindo then stuffed Marie’s body in a flight bag and hid it in the garage – her remains were not discovered by police for nearly two months. Mr Justice Smith said Marie had been devoted to Lindo and their children and said that she had recently found out that Lindo was cheating on her.

He told Lindo: “I cannot tell why you killed Marie Stewart, still less why you killed her so brutally – whether there was a motive and if so what it was. I do not accept that you were provoked or suffering prolonged stress. But that evening you faced a crisis in the double life that you were leading.”

The judge said that Lindo had become scared that his lover Angela Rylance would find out that he was living with Marie.

He said: “You had convinced Angela Rylance that you were a single father deserted by your partner, and you were committed to having her spend the night at your home. You might have been driven to do what you did because you could not face losing Angela Rylance. It was not the first time that you had seduced other woman with such deceit, cunningly trapping them and betraying Marie and your family.”

Mr Justice Smith said: I have seen no sign of remorse. Even when eventually you had no choice but to admit killing Marie, you again portrayed yourself as the victim. Your allegations against Marie reached new depths – accusing her of mistreating her own daughter. I am sure that those allegations were without truth – that they were a deliberate and despicable fiction.”
The judge said an aggravating feature was that the attack was “sustained and cruel” and culminated in a multiple stabbing. And that it had all been done while the children – a daughter, three , and a baby son – slept in their bedrooms in the three-storey house.

He said: “There is no evidence that they woke before or during the fatal attack – we can only hope that, mercifully, they did not. But the noise was enough to rouse the two-year-old boy next door.”

Mr Justice Smith said that it was “chilling” that Lindo had lacked any remorse following the murder and that he had been “cruel” and “calculating” when he concealed her remains in the garage and continued his lies about what had happened to her.

DETECTIVES who investigated the murder of Marie Stewart condemned the “selfishness” of her callous killer. They said Andrew Lindo had sought only to cause further suffering for her family.

Det Supt Dick Nuttall, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said Lindo had done nothing but “compound” the Stewart family’s suffering by trying to blacken Marie’s name.
He spoke out minutes after 29-year-old Lindo was jailed for at least 22 years for the brutal murder.

He said: “Andrew Lindo has now been convicted of the murder of Marie Stewart, a verdict which confirms that this was a cruel and deliberate act rather than the spontaneous and momentary loss of control that Lindo has claimed in his defence.

Lindo killed Marie in a series of brutal assaults that began in a bedroom a few feet from where their young children lay asleep and which continued through three floors of the family home before ending with Marie’s body being callously consigned to a flight bag in the garage.

“Within hours of Marie’s death – and by prior arrangement – Lindo brought his unsuspecting new girlfriend into his home before embarking on an elaborate charade that convinced everyone that Marie was still alive for several weeks. In his conduct since killing Marie, Lindo has continually sought to avoid or minimise his responsibility for his actions."

“Right from Lindo’s despicable behaviour and use of text and facebook messages prior to his arrest, his lies and crocodile tears in police interviews through to his descent to the ultimate low of blackening Marie Stewart’s character in the worst possible way he has shown himself to be calculating and manipulative.”

He said Lindo’s behaviour “inspired revulsion” among even the most experienced officers on the enquiry team who painstakingly exposed his lies and subterfuge to present a compelling case to the court.

“This killing had it roots in Andrew Lindo’s selfishness and whilst it is his behaviour that will make the news we shouldn’t forget that through his actions he has caused the needless death of Marie Stewart and has deprived her two young children of their loving and devoted mother.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 rapist sentenced to a year in jail

A Southern California man who raped a woman after his second date on was sentenced to a year in jail yesterday for his crime. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara R. Johnson sentenced 67 year old Alan Paul Wurtzel of Pacific Palisades, CA to 5 years probation, lifetime registration as a sex offender, and no use of computers or telephones for social networking unless approved by a probation officer.

Wurtzel pled no contest to sexual battery by restraint, and prosecutors dismissed a charge of forcible oral copulation. The victim learned abut his history of sexual assault after he followed her into her home and attacked her. She sued and settled the lawsuit last month, which would require the dating site to screen members against the state and federal sex offender registries.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oregon man sentenced to 56 years for sexual attacks on wife

A man who raped his wife and terrorized their children was sentenced to 56 1/4 years in the Oregon prison system on August 10, 2011. 50 year old Diego Lara Andrade was convicted of numerous sex crimes at the conclusion of a two day trial which took place in a Umatilla County, Or courtroom on July 25 and July 26.

50 year old Diego Lara Andrade of Hermiston, OR was convicted of sexual attacks on his wife, the mother of his children, between March and October 2010. The jury convicted him of several counts of rape, sodomy, and physical abuse of his victimized wife.

Each of the sex crimes defendant was convicted of are listed under Oregon’s Ballot Measure 11, requiring minimum mandatory prison sentences. Convicts sentenced under Oregon’s Ballot Measure 11 are not eligible for parole or any other forms of early release.

Judge Daniel Hill presided over the trial and sentencing of Andrade. Judge Hill imposed five consecutive 100 month sentences in prison for each of the counts of rape in the first degree, one consecutive 100 month sentence for sodomy in the first degree, and one 75 month consecutive sentence for sexual abuse in the first degree for a total of 675 months (56 ¼ years) in prison, without any eligibility for early release.

Judge Hill said that it was his "own arrogance toward his wife and his family that put him in the position he is now in," and that he expected Andrade to die in prison.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rapist sentenced to 50 more years for week-long assault on wife - appeal denied

(Original Post 9-29-09)
A man who was convicted of raping his wife in a second trial was sentenced to 50 years in prison in addition to 22 years handed down in a previous aggravated rape conviction. The 50 years sentence stems from two consecutive 25 year sentences for aggravated rape and especially aggravated kidnapping. 6 year sentences for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault were imposed, but they'll run concurrently with the other charges.

Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge Robert Montgomery said that he “I shudder to think what might have happened” if Bristol TN resident Doug Young, 49, hadn't been apprehended in Georgia a week after he kidnapped and raped his wife, Heather Moore.

The rapes and kidnapping occurred over the week of January 4 to 11, 2008 after they ate breakfast at Moore's home. Young's presence was a violation of the protective order Moore filed against him on December 3, 2007, citing that “[Young] possesses many firearms and has threatened to shoot me and I am in fear for my life.” Moore's father, fred Moore began staying with his daughter, trying to protect her.

The two traveled in Moore’s vehicle to Asheville, N.C., where they spent the night at a rest stop; to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where they circled the scenic loop over and over again; and to Cherokee, N.C., where they holed up at the Drama Inn for most of the next week, according to testimony presented Monday and Tuesday.

From Cherokee, Young and Moore took shopping and dining excursions to Spartanburg, S.C., and Clayton, Ga. From Jan. 4 to Jan. 11, Moore testified, Young kept a gun trained on her at almost all times, and forced her to have sex with him on at least seven separate occasions. Prosecutors are focusing only on the incidents that occurred in Sullivan County.

Everywhere they went, Moore testified, Young kept the pistol in his right-hand pants pocket. One day, while drinking vodka and driving, Young menaced her with the gun, running it up and down her head, saying, “I could kill you right now,” she recalled.

Friday’s sentencing concluded the most serious charges that Young racked up in just over a month between Dec. 1, 2007, and Jan. 10, 2008. Before then, he had been a superintendent at BurWil Construction, whose worst offense was an incident of joyriding as a juvenile.

But with his marriage to Moore unraveling, Young turned violent, sexually assaulting Moore in December 2007 at her home, after she refused to give him a hug, a jury concluded.

Then, on the eve of finalizing their divorce and days ahead of a hearing on Young’s aggravated rape charge, he violated the court’s no-contact order and stole in to Moore’s house to wait for her.

Prosecutors in Young’s second trial in August built their case by focusing on his offenses from the time he entered Moore’s residence, to when he left, abducting her at gunpoint, and commandeering her car.

According to Moore's previous victim impact statement, she fears coming home at dark, her rapist escaping and putting a gun to her head, and has to face the door when eating at restaurants. "All of this make it very difficult to report a crime like this and have the most horrible thing that has ever happened to you be exposed in the media for all to see.”

Moore's mother, Margaret Schaffer, said that “We’re going forward now. We’re not looking back.” Young's 2008 rape conviction is currently being appealed.

(Update 5-27-11) Doug Young's appeal of his 2009 rape conviction has been denied by the Tennessee Court Of Criminal Appeals in a unanimous decision dated Monday, May 23, 2011. The appeal is based on the introduction of Young's 1st rape conviction in the second trial as evidence. The court said that while testimony regarding the first rape conviction was a bit excessive, it allowed prosecutors to privide evidence of a criminal plan or motive. The appellate court also ruled that other evidence against Young outweightd the error of allowing the testimony relating to the first conviction. The entire decision can be found here in this pdf file. The case number is E2010-00027-CCA-R3-CD.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teacher gets 60 days jail, lifetime SO registration for banging 18 year old student

A former high school French teacher and bowling coach was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and lifetime sex offender registration for having sexual encounters with an 18 year old student on Monday, May 16, 2011.  
44 year old Cheryl Clark’s sentencing was the culmination of a guilty plea entered Monday, April 11, 2011 in a Bellefontaine, OH courtroom. The guilty plea was for a single count of sexual battery. The presiding judge over was Logan County Common Pleas Judge Mark S. O'Connor. Clark, of Huntsville, OH, was a teacher for 15 years at Indian Lake High School before she was charged with sex with an 18 year old student.
Clark and the teenager had sex in her home at least twice, the first time on Feb.10 [2011], 16 days after the student turned 18, [Logan County Assistant Prosecutor Eric]Stewart said. Still, under Ohio law, it is a felony because Clark held a position of trust.

The boy’s mother became suspicious after she saw Clarke with her son at a school event. She went to local authorities,  and the Washington Township Police Department went to Clarke’s home and found evidence, including text messages.

Clark told probation officers who were conducting a pre-sentence investigation that she thought the relationship was permissible because the student had turned 18, Stewart said. O'Connor could have sentenced Clark to as long as five years in prison, and the prosecutor wanted prison time.

Besides the jail sentence, lifetime registration, and the $500 fine, Clark's teaching certificate was permanently revoked. She must also undergo counseling and have no contact with her victim.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Snake rapist sentenced to 25 years prison and lifetime extended supervision

One of two men who were found guilty of raping a woman with a live snake last fall was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by Eau Claire County Judge Paul Lenz on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. 24 year old John Bullock, of Altoona, earned the sentence after a jury convicted him and 25 year old Damonta Jones of Eau Claire, WI of two counts of 1st degree sexual assault last month.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman told police she was at Jones' residence in the early morning hours of Nov. 11 with Jones, Bullock and two friends.The group was drinking alcohol and dancing. At one point, one of the friends left the residence while the second went to take a shower. Jones then invited the woman into a bedroom to see his children's pictures.

When she walked into the bedroom the woman said she was struck in the head with an unknown object and thrown on the floor before blacking out. The woman said she remembered Jones holding her while Bullock sexually assaulted her. She said she later was sexually assaulted with a live snake.
Bullock told police he had sexual contact with the woman but that it was consensual.

Besides 25 years imprisonment, Bullock will spend the rest of his life on extended supervision and the sex offender registry. He must stay away from the victim, Jones, minors, taverns, and alcohol. He also can't own pets.

The 25 year sentence falls in line with the pre-sentence investigation prepared by the Wisconsin Department Of Corrections, which recommended a 20-40 year sentence, but under Eau Claire County Assistant District Attorney Meri Larson's 30-40 year sentence suggestion. According to Larson, Bullock "attacked a defenseless woman in the most degrading way he and Mr. Jones could think of" and that Bullock "is a great threat to the community."

Before sentencing, Bullock said "I can't apologize about a crime I did not commit...My case is a case ... of media sensationalism and police misconduct. My case has been built on a foundation of lies. I am not a man that sexually assaults women."

Judge Lenz disagreed, saying "Just when you think you've seen every kind of depravity that comes into the mind of a man, there comes along another one."

Jones, still being held on $30,000 bail in the Eau Claire County Jail, will be sentenced August 3 after a pre-sentence investigation is run on him. Both Bullock and Jones have appealed their convictions.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

15 year old boy handed 15 life sentences in rapes - sentence modified to 65 years

(Original Post 3-14-10) A 15 year old boy was sentenced to 15 life terms Wednesday, March 10 for raping and kidnapping two Apollo Beach restaraunt workers. Jose Walle, 13 when he attacked the woman, entered a blind plea to 19 felony counts last month.

The women were abducted from the Apollo Beach restaurant Aug. 15, 2008, held for several hours and repeatedly sexually assaulted before being dumped along Interstate 75. One said Walle got in the back seat of her truck, pointed a gun at her and raped her.

One of the victims said in her impact statement, "There was no doubt in my mind that he would kill us. He chose to rob us. He chose to abduct us. He was the one who raped me." The other victim said that "I think he should be shown the same mercy he showed us - none."

Walle's parents, friends, soccer coach and attorney, as well as a psychiatrist hired by the defense, portrayed him as a youth soccer star who got caught up in drugs and came under the sway of bad influences - co-defendants Rigoberto Martinez, 22, and Vincente Reyes-Carbajal, 21, who are awaiting trial.

Walle's explanation of his attack on the women was "I was angry. I was on drugs."

But Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters said Walle laughed and smiled his way through a presentence interview with a state corrections official. Walle told the official, "I'm a nice guy, but if you mess with me I have no problems killing you," Peters quoted from the report.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe used those statements to justify his 15 life sentences. This is one of the most disturbing cases I have ever come across...If he is not stopped, he is going to do it again. And, quite frankly, I'm not willing to take that chance. It is my intention that you never ever walk the streets of our community again as a free man. He's going to kill; it's just a matter of time."

Walle's life sentences will be served concurrently to one another and consexutively with a 27 year sentence handed down for the rape of a third woman. Two other Florida youths have been jailed for life without parole terms for non-murder crimes committed at 13.

(Update 5-21-11) After a 2010 US Supreme Court ruling stating that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole for crimes other than murder, Judge Tharpe resentenced Walle to 65 years imprisonment on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Judge Tharpe said at Walle's second sentencing, "Jose Walle knew the difference between right and wrong. He has forfeited his right to live in a free society."

After listening to both sides re-present arguments made during the first sentencing, Judge Tharpe said to the defense, "Let me start out by saying, what's wrong with this picture? Shouldn't our focus be first and foremost on the welfare of the victims? Is it not cruel and unusual punishment for the victims to have endured the rage, the brutality, the terror that your client exacted upon them? What about the fact that these ladies have to live the rest of their lives worrying about whether or not they will become a victim again of another person like Jose Walle …Isn't that cruel and unusual punishment?"

Tharpe also gave the opinon that the juvenile justice system does not give enough accountability to youths convicted of serious crimes and that "grave crimes bring grave sentences.""Why don't we focus our money and our resources and our time on fixing the problems as opposed to trying to coddle a Jose Walle?"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Man who threatened to kill "girlfriend" in front of child then does it gets 30 to life

A Bella Vista, CA man who threatened to kill his "girlfriend" in front of her 7 year old child, then proceeded to do just that was sentenced to a prison term of 30 years to life on April 22, 2011. 49 year old Ty Rone Pitts was sentenced in Shasta County Superior Court by Judge Bradley Boeckman on April 22 for the 1st degree murder of 24 year old Randal Leigh Wert. Wert was stabbed five times in front of her 7 year old daughter Kaylee, with three of those stabbings going through Wert's body. This was not the first felony conviction Pitts had for attacking Wert - a 2008 conviction was for choking and holding a knife to Wert's throat.

According to court documents, Pitts told a sheriff's detective that he and Wert, who worked as a shift manager at a fast-food restaurant in Redding, had been arguing the night of the stabbing and that "she continued to 'needle' and 'nag' " at him.

He then pulled an 18-inch "coconut knife" from the top of the refrigerator, and he nicked her arm with it, the court documents show. Wert then told Pitts she was "going to call the cops and he was going to prison."At that point, the report said, Pitts began to stab Wert in the upper torso.

Jankowitz said during the trial's closing arguments that Pitts inflicted the final stab wound after the bleeding and terrified Wert tried to run away from him but tripped and fell down in the driveway at their residence.

Pitts then rolled Wert onto her back and, holding the knife with both hands, raised it high over his head and plunged it into her heart, Jankowitz has said.

Karen Hallenbeck of Shasta Lake, CA said her daughter's murder has caused continuing nightmares."I miss her so much...I talk to her every night before bed...I will never forgive him." Hallenbeck read a letter from her granddaughter Kaylee who asked Pitts why he killed her mother. "I wish you were here so we could play," Kaylee said in her letter.

Hallenbeck also opined that Pitts should get life without parole since "he always said he was going to kill her in front of the children." Judge Boekman said "You predicted this and you made it happen."

Former Houston officer sentenced to 6 years jail for coercing prostitute into sex

A former Houston police officer was convicted, then sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for raping two prostitutes while on duty. 26 year old Demetrie Trevail Dixon, 26 was convicted by a Harris county jury on two counts of sex assault Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The conviction stems from charges that two prostitutes had been coerced into performing oral sex by Dixon while he was on duty.

Dixon was sworn in as an HPD officer in January 2009. He was arrested June 4 and terminated after an internal investigation Jan. 7 [2011].The north Houston division patrol officer was charged last year with four felony counts of sexual assault and two misdemeanor counts of official oppression.

Internal affairs investigators said Dixon stalked several women while on duty then took them to a secluded area to strip-search them. Prosecutors said he raped two of the women twice over a three-month period. After more than a week of trial and about two hours of deliberating, Dixon was sentenced for raping one of the women twice.

While Harris County Prosecutor Prosecutor Matthew Peneguy asked for the maximum of 20 years behind bars for "using the badge to coerce" sex, Dixon's defense attorney said "We don't need to warehouse this guy, he needs help," but the jury disagreed.

Dixon sill faces sexual assault charges for raping the other prostitute, and faces two misdemeanor allegations that he forced two other women, one of them an undercover police officer, to submit to strip searches under threat of jail. 

Woman charged with biting boyfriend's lip off during fight

A 26 year old Las Cruces, NM woman is facing a third degree felony charge after biting her "boyfriend's" lip off during an argument on Sunday May 1, 2011. Aurelia Lorena Reyes, 26, is charged with one count of aggravated battery against a household member causing great bodily injury, a third-degree felony.

At around 11 p.m. Sunday, Las Cruces police were called to the Coachlight Inn at 301 S. Motel Blvd., where officers found the victim with a bloody face. The 35-year-old man was taken to a local hospital and then, because of the severity of his injuries, to University Medical Center of El Paso. His injuries are not life-threatening.

According to Las Cruces police, Reyes had an argument with her boyfriend, who told her to leave. Reyes became angry, so she grabbed the victim's head and bit off his upper lip, which was found about two feet from the entrance to their shared apartment. After hiding out in a neighboring school parking lot, Reyes turned herself it Monday, May 2 morning. Reyes is currently being held on $10,000 bond in the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Home invader sentenced to 360 years for robbery, kidnapping, and rapes

In Virginia Beach, VA, a 22 year old man was sentenced to 360 years imprisonment on Wednesday, April 27 for multiple robberies, kidnappings, and sexual assault which took place during a 2008 home invasion.

Richard Richardson Jr. and two other gunmen intended to rob a drug dealer at Pembroke Lake Apartments the night of Sept. 10 but mistakenly went to the wrong address. They instead robbed 10 young friends who had gathered at a home to watch ultimate fighting on television, according to testimony during Richardson's four-day trial in December.

The gunmen ordered the eight men and two women to the floor and demanded cell phones, wallets and money. They struck the men, then marched the women to a back bedroom where they sexually assaulted them at gunpoint, according to court testimony. The night ended when another young man knocked on the door; he was shot in the head as he tried to flee. He continues to suffer from seizures.

According to prosecutors, Richardson was the triggerman in that particular shooting.

Richardson was convicted of all forty felony charges he faced on December 10. These felonies included 17 counts of the use of a firearm in a felony, 10 counts of robbery, two counts each of abduction, object sexual penetration, forcible sodomy, and single counts of aggravated malicious wounding and rape.

Circuit Court Judge Edward Hanson Jr. presided over the Richardson trial and conviction.

Tyvonte Lawton, then 17, pled guilty to 17 felonies and was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Leslie L. Lilley to 45 years on January 18, 2011. Kevin Marshall Jr., 21, plead guilty to to robbery with a firearm, conspiracy, and two firearms charges related to those offenses for being a lookout. Antoine Linn Jackson was sentenced to life plus 241 years by Stephen C. Mahan on February 15, 2011. Jackson was convicted of 16 counts of the use of a firearm in a felony, 9 counts of robbery, 2 counts each of abduction, object sexual penetration, and sodomy, and single counts of rape, aggravated malicious wounding,  and attempted robbery. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teacher who faced 10 years behind bars for "relationship" with 19 year old student gets 10 months

(Original Post 5-29-10)
A 28 year old Shelby, NC teacher is facing a decade behind bars for an "affair" with a 19 year old student at the school she worked at. Nichole Chapman, a married mother of three daughters was arraigned at the Cleveland County Law Enforcement Center Thursday morning. Chapman was charged with two counts each of indecent liberties with a student and sex offense with a student.

The judge set Chapman's bond at $75,000 and ordered her not to have any contact with the victim, 19 year old Vavaughia Snipes. This may be a problem since instead of listing her estranged husband, Chapman listed Snipes' mother, Chella Whisnant as her nearest relative during booking.

Chapman and Snipes began their "relationship" about a month ago at North Shelby School, a school for special needs students between 3 and 21. All encounters took place at his home, and he claimed to have started the relationship. Snipes said that "I ain't no victim...I love her and she loves me, so as far as that goes. They are not going to stop me from seeing her so it don't matter,” he said. He suffers from seizures and a learning disability.

Chapman said she believes she was arrested and charged “Probably because I'm white and he's black." Jeff Ledford, the Shelby police chief, disagrees. "That teacher-student relationship, that's where it's at. That's where your issue lies. The age goes out the window when you are talking about a teacher [and a] student,” because North Carolina law considers teachers to be guardians of students.

(Update 5-2-11) Chapman was sentenced to 10 to 12 months in jail for indecent liberties with a student and sex offense with a student. In December, Cleveland County (NC) Superior Court Judge Forrest D. Bridges accepted Chapman's pleas. On Monday, May 2, it wasn't Judge Bridges, but Judge James W. Morgan who formally sentenced Chapman. Bridges ordered psychatric evaulations for Chapman, conducted while at a psychiatric hospital in Butner, NC. The evaluations stated that she was competent to stand trial.

Chapman’s lawyer, Katherine Haen, said the former teacher was on medications to treat her various disorders at the time of the incident. Haen said this “cocktail” of medicine affected her behavior.

Chapman’s mother and father sat in the courtroom during the proceedings. Haen said Chapman’s parents drove to Raleigh on a regular basis to visit their daughter over the three months she was at the psychiatric hospital. Haen said it was over the course of her stay at the psychiatric hospital that Chapman changed.

"I think she’s gotten to know herself. She actually thanks Judge Bridges for putting her through that program...She has three daughters she hasn’t seen since December. I hope that the court will allow her to be released today to start a new life, a new direction. This experience has really transformed her.”

Chapman echoed her lawyer's statement. “I’m not the same Nicole. I can tell, and my family can tell, I’m a different person thanks to the help I’ve gotten.”

Missing mother abducted from parents' house by estranged husband - husband sentenced to life without parole

By Rex Hall Jr.
Kalamazoo Gazette
April 26, 2010, 5:03PM

COLON TOWNSHIP — Police are searching for a missing St. Joseph County woman who is believed to have been abducted Monday morning by her estranged husband, authorities said.
Venus Rose Stewart, 32, was taken some time between 7:10 and 8:30 a.m. from her parents’ home in the 55000 block of Driftwood Drive in Colon Township, according to Michigan State Police. Police said Stewart, who was last seen wearing pajamas, may be with her estranged husband, Douglas Harrie Stewart, 29.

“We have information to believe she did not leave voluntarily,” said Lt. Mike Risko of the State Police Post in White Pigeon.

Police said the Stewarts may be traveling in a 1998 silver Mercury sedan with Virginia license plate XNP1453 or a silver full-size Dodge Ram with four doors and Virginia plate XNP1301. Douglas Stewart lives in Newport News, Va., and police believe the two may be headed there.

Risko said Venus Stewart formerly lived in Newport News but had moved back to Michigan where she was living with her parents and children. He said Venus Stewart’s father and children were asleep at the house in Colon Township at the time that she is believed to have been abducted. The lieutenant declined to say Monday what information police have that leads them to believe that Venus Stewart did not leave her parents’ home willingly.

Police described Venus Stewart as a white female, 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing approximately 130 pounds with brown eyes and dark hair. Douglas Stewart is described as a white male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing approximately 250 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information about the Stewarts’ whereabouts to call the White Pigeon post at 269-483-7611 or the State Police Regional Dispatch Center in Rockford.

(Update 5-2-11)
Two weeks ago, Doug Stewart was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of kidnapping and killing his wife. Stewart was sentenced to life without parole on counts of 1st degree intential murder, and conspiracy to commit first degree inentional murder. A St. Joseph jury convicted Douglas of these charges on March 11 after a three week trial.

During the sentencing, which took place on April 18, Venus' brother Dustin Jasper read a statement by their mother, Therese McComb. Jasper was angry at his former brother-in-law for not telling his family where Venus' McComb's body was.

“Don’t you miss her? Don’t you realize how much Brook and Rachel need their mother? This just shows how much you didn’t love them and saw them as pawns to hunt Venus. You’re hurting Mom by not telling where she is at to have a proper burial.”
Jasper then called his sister's murder a sociopath who lied and seduced his sister into the marriage. "He never served in Afghanistan or was a sniper...A pathological liar lies to get sympathy, to look better, to save his butt...A sociopath will quickly proclaim that you are their true love and soulmate,” Jasper said. “They want to move in together or get married quickly.”

St. Joseph County Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman presided over the trial and sentencing.
A week ago, on April 26, 2011,  a vigil was held for Venus McComb in Centreville, MI. It was led by Pastor Don Smith of Firm Foundation Ministries and attended by about 100 people. Pastor Smith said “It was a special day for me. My mother had also dedicated her life to the Lord and was going to be baptized that day...You could see the joy in her face in the midst of the struggles she was going through. Today, the biggest question is, ‘what are we supposed to do without Venus?’ How can something good come out of something so tragic?...We see the life in her legacy just by looking at her daughters. There’s nothing wrong with crying over Venus tonight. We need to mourn.”

Theresa McComb, the victim's mother said, “She made my life complete...She was a free spirit. She loved her little girls more than anything in the world.”

Monday, April 25, 2011

Burglar who beat, raped victim sentenced to 165 years to life

A home invasion which turned into a beating and rape has netten a Kansas City, MO man 165 years to life in the Missouri correctional system. Taurian J. Burton, 24, was convicted by a Clay County jury in January of single counts of forcible rape and 1st degree robbery, 2 counts of 1st degree assault, and 3 counts of armed criminal action for the incident at a Northland, MO residence on July 24, 2009.

According to court records, two gunmen wearing masks forced their way through a door just after midnight. They demanded cash and drugs before binding and beating the two victims. The intruders raped the woman. The man suffered a skull fracture, a broken finger and other injuries.
The gunmen stole a television, two laptop computers, jewelry and other items.
Burton was convicted in 2005 for burglary in Jackson County. He served several years but was released in 2008, said Corey Carter, an assistant Clay County prosecutor.

Burton is one of two men charged in the attack. A second man, Anthony L. Taborn, also of kansas City, is scheduled to go on trial in July as well. The presiding judge in Burton's trial was Circuit Judge Shane T. Alexander 

27 to life for rape of coed by fellow college student

Former Cuesta College student David Andrew Shenosky was sentenced to 27 to life on Friday, April 22, 2011 for the rape and kidnapping of a fellow student on March 27, 2010. The 23 year old plead no contest under San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge John Trice

After the incident, her eyes had broken blood vessels, consistent with the choking she described, and an examination found that she had been raped, police said. Police found a note on Shenosky’s computer expressing his regret for hurting her. The note said he loved her and wished the incident had never happened. According to the woman’s statements to police, Shenosky drove her home to San Luis Obispo after the rape and then she told her roommates, later describing the events to police.

Shenosky's sentence is as follows : 15 years to life on a single count of forcible rape, and 12 years for 2 counts of felony sexual penetration by a foreign object and a count of kidnapping, all to be served consecutively.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Man gets 12-25 years, woman gets 5 2/3 to 15 years for three way with developmentally disabled daughter

A Fruitland Township, MI man was sentenced to 12-25 years in prison Tuesday, April 12, 2011 after pleading to three counts of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct. He and a Manistee, MI woman were originally charged with three counts of 1st degree and 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct, respectively by Muskegon County officials.

The sexual assault charge stem from both perpetrators having sex with the woman's 21 year old developmentally disabled daughter, described as needing 9 to 16 hours of supervision a day by her case manager and as a girl with the mental capacity of a 10 to 13 year old. Both perpetrators were sentenced by Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge William C. Marietti.

The victimization of the daughter by then 51 year old Mark Wayne Barnhard and her then 46 year old mother took place over several months in 2008, with the victim undergoing a sexual assault examination April 23, 2009. Both offenders were originally arraigned in May 2009.

According to a Muskegon County Sheriff's report, Barnhard -- using the alias "Mike Bradford" -- met the woman in an online chatroom more than a year and a half ago. He told police that the two later met in person and began having sex on numerous occasions at his Fruitland Township home.

At some point, Barnhard and the woman -- both married to other people -- decided they wanted to have a "three way" and the woman brought her 21-year-old mentally impaired daughter to Barnhard's house to participate, the report said.

Authorities were alerted to the alleged sexual abuse after the 21-year-old victim told her aunt that she might be pregnant by Barnhard. It turns out she was not, according to the report. Barnhard told investigators that both he and the victim's mother performed sex acts on the daughter.
"It was a secret life I had," he told investigators.

The mother was sentenced to 5 2/3 to 15 years imprisonment by Judge Marietti on September 15, 2009. The victim's aunt, now her guardian, said "when she gets dressed, there's not enough layers of shirts and sweaters."

When the young woman first arrived in her aunt and uncle's home, she barely spoke, and her family could see "fear in this young girl's eyes."

The victim's impact statement, read during the first sentencing by a family friend, said, "You did a very bad thing to me and let bad things happen to me...Why did you do this?" When the victim wanted the abuse to stop, instead of stopping,"you yelled at me and told me not to be a baby...You made me feel dirty and told many lies. I never want to be anything like you, Mom...I will never forgive or forget you, Mom... I hope you'll be gone for a long time."

Judge Marietti said that "this is probably the most outrageous and disgusting scenario that I have ever come across. It actually is beyond belief." Robert Hedges, a 22 year prosecutor in the Muskegon County court system, said "It's just awful. Even in the animal world, mothers care for their children."

Barnhard plead guilty to his three counts of 1st degree CSC on March 2, 2011, and was able to stay out on bond until his sentencing. At the sentencing, the family friend read another letter from the victim, this time directed at Barnhard. “Auntie wakes me up and I'm afraid to open my eyes, because I'm afraid it will be you. I scrub my skin until it's red and I can't feel clean. … Auntie and I moved far away and I still can't feel safe.” The aunt asked Barnhard, "Does it make you feel like a big man that this little girl's afraid of you? Calling you a monster is too good for you.”

Nurse guilty of sexually assaulting women and girls at medical offices in suburban Atlanta

A nurse who sexually assaulted women and girls under anesthesia was found guilty as charged in a Cobb County, GA courtroom on Monday April 11 and is expected to be sentenced to a lengthy prison term by Superior Court Judge Reuben Green during sentencing which is scheduled to take place within the next month or so.

48 year old Paul Serdula, a nurse anesthesiologist who practiced in metro Atlanta, was found guilty by Judge Green in a "stipulated facts" bench trial in which 20 pages of still sealed facts were agreed to and entered into evidence. Judge Green reviewed multiple images, presumably of women and girls being victimized. According to Cobb County investigators, this evidence shows victims from around the county and not just the victim Serdula was convicted of videotaping.

Serdula's defense attorney Jimmy Berry said that the images were the reason his client did not plead guilty, citing police misconduct in obtaining the evidence. "The pictures are what they are, they show what they show...We didn’t have a lot to fight about. Just the procedure of how they got them, and whether they got a valid search warrant.”

Serdula, who appeared in court Monday shackled at the waist, was charged in two separate indictments of assaulting 19 victims, including two girls under the age of 16, at a local hospital, surgery center, and a dentist’s office.

He was first arrested in November 2009, after a woman found the camera hidden beneath a bathroom sink at the Goldstein Garber & Salama dental office at 600 Galleria Parkway and called 911. He was later released on $50,000 bond, but was re-arrested about a week later on child molestation charges, after one victim was identified as a child
[The 15 year old victim was victimized at the same dental office Serdula was arrested before].

In July 2010, he was again released, this time on $250,000 bond, before being arrested a third time, in December 2010 on additional charges of unlawful surveillance, aggravated sodomy and sexual assault. He has been held without bond at Cobb County Jail since that time.

A lawsuit filed by five female patients against WellStar Cobb Hospital was setteld out of court for an undisclosed amount.

According to the original lawsuit, four of the women were at the hospital to deliver babies via cesarean section, and a minor was undergoing an emergency appendectomy. The suit claimed that Serdula administered some drugs without medical need, and gave excessive doses, leaving the new mothers unable to recall their babies’ births. Other operating room staff were in the room at the time of the assaults but unaware of what was happening.

Serdula faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Minnesota serial predator sentenced to 10 years for raping woman, groping three others

A Shoreview, MN developer was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday, April 20 and will be deported back to his native Bangladesh after being convicted of raping a woman and groping three other women. The sex assaults took place between January 2008 and September 2009. According to prosecutors at his trial, now 36 year old Maksud Mahbub would target women who were drunk at downtown Minneapolis bars during closing time and offer them "help" or rides, when they would be assaulted in his car or home.

The women testified that they passed out and woke up in Mahbub's home or car, unable to remember how they got there. The evidence against Mahbub included a shopping bag found in his closet with four pairs of women's underwear, including one belonging to a victim; a bra; and some women's jewelry. The victims also testified that Mahbub took or disabled their cellphones, in some cases by removing the batteries, so they could not call for help.

In one of the assaults, the victim testified that she had gone to a Minneapolis bar with a friend in September 2009 and had about five beers and six shots of liquor before ending up alone. She testified that the next thing she remembered was being in Mahbub's car. At his townhouse, she said, she fell asleep with her clothes on in his bedroom, but was nude when she woke up and he was on top of her. She said he raped her, even though she pushed him off twice.

Mahbub testified that he had never touched the woman. He also said that he had consensual sex with one of the women and kissed another, but denied touching the others. Mahbub testified at trial that he had only good intentions when he offered the inebriated women rides or took them to his townhome. He admitted only after aggressive questioning that he would have liked to have sex with the ones he groped "if they wanted to."

Investigators found three victims through taxi records after the first reported she was raped in September 2009. Another reported her assault after officials put out a public call for victims to come forward.

The charges that Mahbub was found guilty of and sentenced by Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen were a single count of 3rd degree CSC and 3 counts of 4th degree CSC. A charge of 3rd degree sexual misconduct was dropped, and cases against six other women were not pursued or dropped due to lack of evidence. One of his victim wrote a letter to Judge Tilsen regarding her assault.

"I wanted to write this letter not only for myself but for the other women in this trial, and the countless others that may have been afraid to come forward. I thought, how could this happen to me? I am so much ... stronger than to let this happen." she said, before realizing that regardless of background, there is a difference between sex and rape. As for Mahbub's actions, the victim said, "that's what predators do."

Mahbub through his attorney Earl Gray, argued for a year in jail and SO treatment, stating that the immigration hold Mahbub has meant that he will be seperated from his brother, young daughter, and mother, who cried throught the proceedings. "I have been blessed with a loving family. I'm sorry to everyone because they had to endure such a hard time ... because of my conduct. I'll never be able to see my daughter, brother and mom ever again." said Mahbub.

Judge Tilsen said in response, "I'm not going to depart from (state sentencing) guidelines because it's going to be hard on your family," and Ella Friendt, a juror on the case, said "To me, it was a gut-wrenching case. It was very hard being a mother, to see what his mother was going through. But I also have a daughter ... and he was a predator."

Sterling Heights man who kidnapped, raped mother of his children gets 26 3/4 to 75 years

A Sterling Heights, MI man was sentenced to 26 3/4 to 75 years in prison in a suburban Detroit courtroom Friday, April 15, 2011 for raping and kidnapping his "girlfriend," the mother of his two children, on New Years Day 2010.  Brandon Jay Smith kidnapped the woman be forcing her into his grandmother's car when she arrived to work at a Green Oak Township restaurant.

The woman testified at a June preliminary examination that Smith was waiting for her when she arrived to work. She said he told her not to resist and not to scream for help. She resisted and she screamed, and Smith grew angrier, the woman said. The woman sat on the ground in an effort to be dead weight, but her 5-foot, 96-pound frame was no match for Smith, at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds.

She said Smith fled on U.S. 23, where he cut off his electronic tether, he had to wear one as a condition of his sentencing less than a month earlier on charges of aggravated domestic violence against the same woman, and threw it out the window. He put zip ties on her wrists and took the batteries out of both of their cell phones.

Smith told the woman that he was taking her somewhere no one would find her and during that trip north, he told her that he was going to asphyxiate himself and she was going to watch. He also told her that he was going to kill her and if police stopped them, he threatened to kill her in front of them.

The woman said Smith raped her while en route to his family’s camper trailer in Antrim County and again once they reached the site. She was rescued by Antrim County sheriff’s deputies in the early morning hours of Jan. 2, 2010.

Defense attorney Mark Gatesman said that he was proud of his client's taking responsibility. He also said that a factor in his client's favor was that instead of killing his victim should police raid the trailer, he simply surrendered to police.

This view contrasts with some of the statements Smith made to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry.  "My intent was never to hurt her, but she got hurt. We were supposed to go up to the camper, up north. She kept asking why we were going there. I told her that's where I'm going to commit suicide. ... The reason she was with me was she could watch. Never got around to doing it, though. The cops came before I had a chance to."

However, according to presiding Judge Livingston County Circuit Judge Michael P. Hatty, it was Smith's mother who took on her reasonably to the mother of her grandkids to lead them to the camper. Judge Hatty, citing the "horrendous" nature of the case, said "This case came up very short of being a murder case, if the police didn't get there quick enough." According to Prosecutor David Moses, the victim was 45 minutes from death. "She thought she was going to die. She thought she would not see her family again, would not see her children," Moses said about the victim.

Beside the kidnapping and 1st degree criminal sexual conduct counts, Smith was also sentenced for assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, aggravated domestic violence and assault with a dangerous weapon for threatening and cutting the woman with a knife as well as interfering with electronic communications.

The victim's father, who attended the sentencing, said that he thanked the officials who helped find his daughter. "We owe a lot to the police agencies that were involved in this. Those guys did a great job."

Man who shot father-in-law to death while stalking estranged wife sentenced to 50 years

A man who shot his father-in-law to death at a mall while gunning for his estranged wife was sentenced to 50 years without parole. Michael James Young Jr, 25, was sentenced in a Lexington County, SC courtroom Monday, April 11 after pleading guilty to murder and assault with intent to kill for the shooting of his estranged wife, then 21 year old Shaunna Bell, and her father, a retired US Air Force officer, 49 year old Robert Lynn Bell, on June 13, 2007 in the Columbiana Center mall parking lot.

Before the deadly shooting four days shy of Father’s Day that year, Bell had called police to report that Young threatened to destroy the kiosk at the mall where she sold computers and told her he didn’t care if she lost her job. He also damaged her parents’ vehicle. She told police at the time that Young was known to carry a snub-nosed .38-caliber revolver.

Her father had been driving Bell to and from work for several weeks in an attempt to keep Young away from his daughter, said Robert Rikard, a Columbia lawyer hired by the family.

The Bells are suing the security company, saying that they did not do enough to protect Shaunna from her husband's stalking. While Young was banned from the mall, the supervisor on duty was not informed of this fact.

Shaunna said in her victim impact statement, "I think about getting married and not having anyone to walk me down the aisle. My father/daughter dance was taken from me. When my mom’s birthday or Mother’s Day comes around, I do not have anyone to secretly call for details of what she has been wanting.”

Young has accepted his responsibility for the mall shooting and has expressed his remorse “innumerable” times, his lawyer, John Delgado, said. “He considers it a life sentence, but he considers it a just sentence for what he did.” Despite Young’s imposing size, his aggression toward women “was his way of being able to assert himself in the world,” Delgado said, saying Young had no self esteem.
“He’s a completely different person now,” the lawyer said.

The 50 year sentence for murder will be served concurrently with the assault with intent to kill. In exchange for the guilty plea, Young saw four stalking charges, and single charges of forgery, telephone harassment, and assault with intent to kill. Judge Thomas Russo was the presiding judge over this case.

"Boyfriend" sentenced to life without parole for running over woman on Jacksonville, FL street

A man who deliberately ran over his "girlfriend", crushing her bones so badly that they "resembled sand" was sentenced to life without parole in a Jacksonville, FL courtroom a week ago today. Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey sentenced Giacinto Martin, now 34, for a count of attempted murder for pushing mother of two Mary Wilkie out of a car she was driving and running her over last July in Jacksonville.

Martin pushed Wilkie out of the car, ran over her, backed over her and then ran her over again. He maintained it was an accident. The two had left a bar that night and Wilkie drove because Martin was drunk.

Police said Martin left Wilkie on Anniston Road just off Beach Boulevard to die in the middle of the night. During a break in his interview with detectives, he was caught on video saying to himself, “If I was going to run her over, I’d make sure she was dead but I’d never do that.”

According to the victim's mother Judith Wilkie, her daughter is still in a wheelchair relrning how to walk, and medicial bills from her recovery have topped $1.4 million. Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said that the $1.4 million was the highest amount he has seen for medical costs resulting from crimes he has prosecuted.

Before Judge Hulsey sentenced Martin, Martin asked for a term which would allow him to attempt to pay off the victim's bills. “I have nightmares every single night about this. I swear to you. I swear to God. I swear to everybody in my life I’d never hurt her.”

However, Hulsey said, “There are cases where lenience is called for. This isn’t one of them. I hope that God has mercy on your soul, to be honest with you.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rapist, murderer of coed sentenced to life plus 42 years in Nashville

A man who raped, robbed, then killed a Tennessee State University student was sentenced to life without parole plus 42 years yesterday in a Nashville, TN courtroom. Deshaun Lewis was convicted of 1st degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated rape.  18-year-old Raquel Johnson was killed after Lewis robbed her car, with her body found not far away from the school that she was attending. Judge Steve Dozier sentenced Lewis to 20 years for robbery, 22 years for rape, and 51 to life for murder, ordering the sentences to be served consecutively and in full.

Prosecutors contended that Lewis took the girl to the home for a planned robbery. Prosecutors said Johnson was beaten, robbed and raped. Her car was stolen as well.

A key piece of evidence in the trial was testimony from Lewis' former girlfriend who told police that he had forced her at gunpoint to tell police that she had seen someone else driving the victim's stolen car a few days after the murder. Prosecutors also had relied on physical evidence, including Lewis' bloody hand prints, left at the crime scene. Attorneys for the defendant had claimed the evidence simply didn't add up.

The victim's mother, Maria Johnson said that while she has forgiven Lewis, that he needed to be punished to the fullest extent of the law so that others would not be hurt by him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Enemies of (womankind)

(Original Post 3-23-08)
In international law, hosti humani generis, enemies of mankind, is the term given to those that torture, commit war crimes, genocide, piracy, and a host of other actions which violate jus cogens, or peremptory norms.

What happened to this 29 year old woman is nothing short of horrendous. It rivals the worst cases of child abuse and torture, including a case where the stepfather of a 7 year old girl was convicted of her murder. I'm reprinting this AP story in its entirety.

ALTON, Ill. - Banished to the basement, the 29-year-old mother with a childlike mind and another baby on the way had little more than a thin rug and a mattress to call her own on the chilly concrete floor.

Dorothy Dixon ate what she could forage from the refrigerator upstairs, where prosecutors say housemates used her for target practice with BBs, burned her with a glue gun and doused her with scalding liquid that peeled away her skin.

They torched what few clothes she had, authorities say, so she walked around naked. They often pummeled her with an aluminum bat or metal handle.

Dixon — six months pregnant — died after weeks of abuse. Police have charged two adults, three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy with murder in the case that has repulsed many in this Mississippi River town.

"This is heartbreaking," police Lt. David Hayes said. "It was almost as though they were making fun of the abuse they were administering. This woman was almost like living in a prison."

Investigators put much of the blame on Michelle Riley, 35, who they said befriended Dixon but pocketed monthly Social Security checks she got because of her developmental delays.
Dixon saw little, if any, of the money, Hayes said. For months she weathered the torment to keep a roof over her head and that of her year-old son, who weighed just 15 pounds when taken into state custody after his mom's death.

"I've never seen an almost conspiratorial effort by a group of people to continuously torture someone until she finally died, then not really show any remorse," Hayes said. "It was just a slow, torturous, tragic way to die. I highly doubt Dorothy Dixon even knew she was dying."

Riley, 43-year-old Judy Woods and three teenagers, including Riley's 15-year-old daughter, LeShelle McBride, are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated and heinous battery, intentional homicide of an unborn child, and unlawful restraint. Riley's 12-year-old son is charged as a juvenile.

Riley, her daughter, Woods and 16-year-old Benny Wilson have public defenders who did not immediately return messages for comment. An 18-year-old defendant, Michael Elliott, planned to get his own attorney, court records show. All remain in jail on $1 million bond.

Messages left with a Chicago-area sister of Dixon went unreturned, but neighbors, Hayes and newspaper accounts offer a mosaic of the months leading to Dixon's demise inside the small, white, blue-shuttered house.

Riley and Dixon, police said, had lived in Quincy, a Mississippi River town about 100 miles north of St. Louis, Mo. Quincy is where Riley worked as a coordinator for a regional center that helps the developmentally disabled with housing and other services. Dixon was a client.

For years, an impoverished Riley struggled raising her children. Her use of methamphetamine and cocaine brought drug convictions in 2002 and 2004. But with treatment and housing help from the Quincy YWCA, Riley put her life in order — so much that in February of last year, the Quincy Herald-Whig did a story on her comeback.

Last summer, Dixon and Riley moved into the $800-a-month, three-bedroom rental in Alton about 15 miles north of St. Louis. From the start, neighbors Chad Hudson and Terri Brandt considered Riley trouble.

"Michelle was evil, vindictive. Manipulative," said Hudson, convinced the teenagers were Riley's powerless minions. "She was angry, vicious," added Brandt.

Riley considered Dixon her slave, making her rub Riley's feet until Riley fell asleep and forcing her to run naked around the house when she got in trouble, the neighbors said. "Being in their house was like being in a prison day room," Hudson said. "They just sat around the kitchen table and fought." There was little question that Riley ruled the roost.

While doing fix-ups on the home last fall, landlord Steve Atkins saw Riley "barking orders" at the children and everyone else. Atkins joked to her whether he needed to call the Army and see if they wanted their drill sergeant back.
"She didn't laugh about it at all," Atkins said. "Obviously, I hit a nerve."
Atkins said Dixon generally kept to herself "but was always nice when she spoke to you." He saw no hints she'd been suffering or tortured.
"I would have never, ever suspected something like this," he said. "It's definitely shocking."

Police said Dixon was allowed out of the house but didn't say under what conditions. Hayes didn't know who the father of Dixon's fetus is.

Hayes said things apparently came to a head Jan. 30, when investigators believe that Woods, during a dispute, beat Dixon on the head with an object Hayes wouldn't identify. The next day Woods found her dead.

Hayes watched the autopsy and found her injuries disturbing. X-rays revealed roughly 30 BBs lodged in her. Deep-tissue burns covered about one-third of her body — her face, her chest, her arms and feet — and left her severely dehydrated. Her face and body showed signs of prolonged abuse. Many of her wounds were infected.

None of the injuries, Hayes said, proved singly fatal to Dixon. Her system already was taxed by her unborn baby. "The autopsy sort of indicates her immune system just shut down," he said. "It was not capable of fending off any more."

In the rental home's basement, Atkins said, he found spots of blood in a shower and tiny smears on the concrete floor, washer and dryer. "It's disgraceful the way this girl died, as kind and as sweet as this girl was," he said. "She didn't deserve to die the way she did. It's just terrible, senseless. It's just a total shame."

(Update 2-7-10) The ringleader of the torture, Michelle Riley, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for 1st degree murder Friday, February 5. This was the maximum sentence possible in a plea agreement made by Michelle Riley, 37 and Assistant State's Attorney Mike Stewart. Stewart believed that "I don't think 45 years is enough, but that's what we agreed to."

Riley, said in front of presiding Madison County Circuit Judge Charles Romani Jr, "I'm sorry that I can't take it back," but Romain said that that statement, along with Riley's history of substance abuse, was no excuse. "There were things done to this woman that you don't see done to animals, let alone human beings. This lady was tortured."

Riley will serve her sentence without parole, as she pled guilty to 1st degree murder. Her lawyer, Jon Delaney, said she took the plea deal to spare her daughter, 17 year old LeShelle, 1st degree murder charges in exchange for 2nd degree murder. The daughter and three others are scheduled to go on trial for 1st degree murder. 

(Update 7-13-10) LeShelle McBride was spared a trial and 1st degree murder charges by pleading guilty to 2nd degree murder. WIth credit for time served, she could be out in 2 to 8 months. A 12 year old boy was found deliquent for 2nd degree murder and sentenced to juvenile detention. Others are either awaiting trial for or sentencing on 1st degree murder charges.

(Update 4-19-11) Benny Wilson, the last defendant in this case, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for 1st degree murder. According to authorities, it was Wilson who repeatedly shot Dixon in the head with a BB gun. Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Vucich asked for 45 years while defense attorney Rand Hale asked for 20 years. Vucich said that "Clearly what he did to Dorothy Dixon was despicable. I don't think anyone in the room can imagine the suffering she endured." Madison County Associate Judge James Hackett imposed sentence and presided over the guilty plea Friday, April 15.

Prosecutors have said that some of the other defendants received better deals because they were less culpable. Michelle Riley got a sentence of 45 years because she was believed to be the ringleader in the murder.

Michael Elliot and LeShelle McBride both pled to second degree murder and received sentences of eight years and six years respective; Judy Woods pled to aggravated battery and was sentenced to 18 months' periodic imprisonment.

Judge Hackett said that testimony was"some of the most horrific that could come before this court."
"It is stunning. It is at least remarkable, at most, overwhelming." However, Judge Hackett took into account the lack of previous criminal history, young age, and multiple perpetrators when sentencing WIlson.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stripper sentenced to decade of imprisonment for running over customer

By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer [Journal-News, Hamilton, OH]

HAMILTON — An exotic dancer who pleaded guilty to striking a customer with her vehicle and dragging him to death was sentenced to 10 years in prison this afternoon [Thursday, April 7, 2011]in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Kristina Hensley, 35, of Higginsport, was given the maximum sentence by Judge Keith Spaeth at a 1:30 p.m. hearing. Supporters of Jae Cho, the 31-year-old Monroe man killed by Hensley, applauded the judge’s ruling. Pam Birch, Hensley’s mother, began wailing as her daughter broke out in tears and doubled over.

Spaeth called the autopsy photos and the autophy report detailing how Cho died, “ghastly.” The judge said he had seen a lot of autopsy photos over the years, but Cho’s were “very hard to look at.”

“Given the circumstances of this case, Ms. Hensley, the court has not choice,” Spaeth said before handing down her sentence. “You didn’t just hit Mr. Cho, he was (dragged) to a horrible death.”

Hensley took a deal in February, pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and failure to stop after an accident. Her plea came days before she was scheduled to go to trial on charges of murder, aggravated robbery, theft and failure to stop after an accident.

She was accused of robbing and killing Cho on Aug. 7, and stealing from another customer a few hours earlier in Blue Ash. In the statement of facts read at her plea hearing, Hensley admitted to causing Cho’s death after attempting to steal from him.

Hensley originally told police that after the incident she received a call from her employer, Naughty Bodies, to go to 367 Timrick Place in Monroe for a private show. She said she arrived about 4:20 a.m., and that once inside, Cho touched her inappropriately. She told police she left immediately, and Cho followed her out of the house. She struck him with her vehicle as she fled, but told authorities she didn’t know Cho was lodged underneath her sport-utility vehicle.

In a sentencing memorandum filed this week, defense attorneys Jeremy Evans and Timothy Upton urged the judge to give Hensley community control or sentence her to the minimum of three years in prison with credit for the 334 days she has served since her arrest. Hensley has three sons, ages 13, 8, and 7, and is engaged to their father, who has been unemployed for some time, according to defense attorneys.

“As a result, Kristina has been the sole income provider for their family, opting to work as a dancer due to economic hardship in an economy that had nothing else to offer her,” Evans wrote in the motion. “She would sit in a parking lot waiting for a call to do a show, travel alone to a show, go alone to a stranger’s home to perform and was expected to collect the money, perform a show and leave without incident.”

The defense also said Hensley has no prior violent history and her only exposure to the criminal system was in 2002 in Florida for petty larceny and resisting an officer in the recovery of a stolen vehicle. “The facts surrounding this event show that this was not a vindictive, malicious or retaliatory act toward Mr. Cho nor that Kristina Hensley intended to cause his death,” Evans wrote.

The defense said GPS evidence shows Hensley pulled out of Cho’s driveway and sat in the street before driving off. “There is some evidence that she did not just heartlessly plow over Mr. Cho, but sat in the street for more than 9 minutes before leaving his home.”

Evans and Upton said Hensley then drove 1.3 miles to the nearest open and lit establishment — a Shell gas station — and stopped. Hensley has shown emotional trauma and remorse for her actions, according to her attorneys.

Letters asking the judge to show leniency for Hensley have been sent by family members, including her oldest son, her mother, Pam Birch; and stepfather, Douglas, who live in Middletown.

According to the prosecutor’s office, numerous letters from Cho’s friends and loved ones also have been sent to Spaeth. Cho, a University of Cincinnati graduate, worked as a server at Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers and Beer in Blue Ash.

Last month, a wrongful death lawsuit asking for $3 million in damages was filed by Cho’s father, In Chae Cho, against Hensley, State Auto Insurance Companies and Allied Communications Network (doing business as Naughty Bodies).

The suit filed by attorney Gary Franke of Cincinnati seeks damages for reasonable and necessary funeral expenses, mental anguish and a loss of Cho’s support and services, according to Butler County court documents.