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.”