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.