Author Topic: 40 YEARS LATER... AN ARREST  (Read 10817 times)

Offline Battle

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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2018, 07:53:05 pm »
Thursday, 20th September 2018

Two women mental health patients in sheriff’s van drown in S.C. floodwaters after law enforcement abandoned them

by Avi Selk

(South Carolina) - Two women drowned in the back of a sheriff’s van Tuesday when deputies tried to drive down a South Carolina road flooded by tropical storm Florence.

The Horry County Sheriff’s Office described the women as “detainees" but later clarified they were mental patients who had been involuntarily committed for treatment.

They were getting a routine ride from the sheriff’s office to another hospital, according to coroner Jerry Richardson.

“It’s a courtesy they do,” he said.

“Sometimes you do the right thing and it ends up wrong.”

He said the sheriff’s van picked up Wendy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43, at a hospital in Loris — a small town north of Myrtle Beach that lacked a mental-health ward.

(A county spokeswoman said they had actually been picked up in Conway, about 20 miles southeast of Loris.)

The van was bound for Florence, about an hour’s drive northwest in good conditions.

But that afternoon, in the storm’s aftermath, it wound through a treacherous maze of closed roads and floodwaters pouring off the Pee Dee River and its tributaries.

The van was only halfway to Florence by early evening, when it went underwater near Highway 76 and Pee Dee Island Road.

“They were driving through very swift water, and deep water,” Richardson said.

“It took them away. It ran off the road and sank.”

In a statement, the sheriff’s office said two deputies escaped from the cab and tried to get the women out of the back.

While some news reports said the women were chained up, a county spokeswoman said they were only bound by seat belts.

“Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly, and the deputies were unable to open the doors,” the county’s statement reads.

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Offline Battle

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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2018, 02:52:46 pm »
Friday, 19th October 2018
Police officers in the US were charged with more than 400 rapes over a 9-year period

by Eliott C. McLaughlin



(CNN) - A police officer in Prince George County, Maryland, was charged this week with raping a woman during a traffic stop.

He's pleaded not guilty, but it's a disturbing headline -- even more disturbing when you consider there are hundreds more like him.

Yes, hundreds. According to research from Bowling Green State University, police officers in the US were charged with forcible rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013.

That's an average of 45 a year. Forcible fondling was more common, with 636 instances.

Yet experts say those statistics are, by no means, comprehensive.

Data on sexual assaults by police are almost nonexistent, they say.

"It's just not available at all," said Jonathan Blanks, a research associate with the Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice.

"You can only crowdsource this info."

The BGSU researchers compiled their list by documenting cases of sworn nonfederal law enforcement officers who have been arrested.
But the 2016 federally funded paper,

"Police Integrity Lost: A Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested," says the problem isn't limited to sexual assault.

"There are no comprehensive statistics available on problems with police integrity," the report says, and no government entity collects data on police who are arrested.
It adds, "Police sexual misconduct and cases of police sexual violence are often referred to as hidden offenses, and studies on police sexual misconduct are usually based on small samples or derived from officer surveys that are threatened by a reluctance to reveal these cases."

The nation's foremost researchers on the subject, thus, must often rely on published media reports.

The BGSU numbers, for instance, are the result of Google alerts on 48 search terms entered by researchers.

The scholars then follow each case through adjudication.

While those numbers represent a fair portion of cases, arrests rely on a victim making a report and a law enforcement agency making that report public, after an arrest or otherwise.

With sexual assaults by police officers, neither is guaranteed.

One of the greatest impediments to understanding the scope of police sexual assault is the victims' reluctance to report the crime.
"Who do you call when your rapist or offender is a police officer?

What a scary situation that must be," said Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice who served as principal investigator for the police integrity paper and whose research assistants maintain the BGSU database.

No one interviewed for this story could give an estimate, even ballpark, on how underreported these types of crimes might be.

"I have to think it's a much worse problem than my data suggests," said Stinson, himself a former police officer.

There are several reasons behind the muddy data.

The federal government cannot compel states to make the nation's 18,000 law enforcement agencies report the numbers.

Even if they could, the Justice Department wouldn't have the resources to oversee and maintain such a database, Blanks said.

Unions also work hard to protect police officers and their reputations, he said.
"They don't want their officers and membership shamed if something goes wrong," Blanks said.

There also can be legal hurdles to obtaining basic information in such cases, he said, "and that's on purpose."

Some states' laws shield the identities of police officers who commit crimes, he said, while some jurisdictions include nondisclosure agreements in victim settlements.

"The system is rigged to protect police officers from outside accountability," Blanks said.

"The worst cops are going to get the most protection."

What data is available paints a jarring picture.

One statistic from Stinson indicates that for every sexual assault that makes the news, there are almost always more victims -- on average, five more.

About half of the victims are children, researchers say.

Stinson has gotten accustomed to hearing his research assistants proclaim during their work,

"Oh my God, it's another 14-year-old."

Victims can include both the people police are supposed to be chasing and those they're charged with protecting, according to the police integrity paper.

"Opportunities for sex-related police crime abound because officers operate in a low visibility environment with very little supervision," it says.

"The potential victims of sex-related police crime include criminal suspects but also unaccompanied victims of crime."

Experts say officers who prey on people they encounter while on duty take advantage of the trust the public places in police as an institution.

"Police have a reputational advantage over anyone, especially someone accused of a crime," Blanks said, explaining that a regular Gallup poll shows again and again that police are third only to the military and small business owners in terms of trust.

"People want to believe the police."

Offenders who seek to victimize people know this, experts say, and they strategically select victims, bolstering their chances of not getting caught.
Researchers find that a predominance of the victims fall into at least one of several categories:

They have criminal records, are homeless, are sex workers or have issues with drug or alcohol abuse.

Essentially, predatory cops are "picking on people who juries won't believe or who don't trust police," Stinson said.

To be clear: The majority of police officers are good people, not sexual predators. Every expert interviewed for this story concurs on this point. But the problem is much larger than individual officers, said author and former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper.
"I think it's a huge problem," he said.

"In reality, there's probably no law enforcement agency that has not had this problem."

The ripple effect can be devastating to a community.

Stamper, who was a policeman in San Diego for 28 years before taking the helm in Seattle in 1994, recalled when California Highway Patrol officer Craig Peyer was convicted of the on-duty killing of student Cara Knott after a traffic stop.

No San Diego officer was tangentially involved, yet the department experienced enormous trust issues with the community, he said.

Residents were fearful and some motorists were anxious about being pulled over, said Stamper, whose books address the "dark side" of policing and how to fix it.

"It cheats good cops," he said.

"If a police officer is arrested for having fondled a DUI suspect in a jurisdiction, that affects all officers."

The trust issue is only exacerbated by the "blue wall" of silence that's erected when an officer is accused of a crime, he said.

That's to be expected, Stamper said, because officers rely heavily on each other, especially in dangerous situations, and ratting out a colleague could mean trouble for an officer the next time she or he needs backup.

"If I'm a snitch, then the chance that my fellow officers will not have my back is significant," the former police chief said.

Stamper and others believe the solution lies in revamping police culture.

"The paramilitary, bureaucratic structure produces a dysfunctional culture," Stamper said, adding that for one of the "most delicate and demanding" jobs in America, officers largely go unsupervised.
Specific to sexual assault, experts would like to see departments enact:

  • Policies "to make victims feel safe," Stinson said, which could include online or anonymous reporting and special officers trained in dealing with sexual assault victims
  • GPS tracking of officers, especially those with take-home vehicles, and monitoring of officers.
  • If a supervisor notices a patrolman predominantly stops women between the ages of 18 and 30 at the same time of night in the same part of town, it would raise red flags
  • Rules forbidding departments from hiring officers who were fired from other agencies, which happens too frequently, Stamper said
  • Mandates that officers must activate their bodycams and dash cams and be punished if they don't. (This will actually vindicate officers more often than not, experts say)
  • Occasional sting operations, involving internal affairs, aimed at ensuring police officers are appropriately interacting with the public

"It's critical supervisors trust officers, but trust is earned," Stamper said, adding that the job is too important to trust officers blindly.
Police chiefs and sheriffs defending bad cops also erodes trust, Stamper said.

He finds himself frustrated, he said, every time he sees a police executive step to a podium to decry the "bad apples" responsible for a crime that has tainted a department.

"If they repeatedly go back to that bank of microphones to bemoan the bad apples, it's time to look at the barrel. ... Look at the orchard," he said.

Accountability is critical to changing police culture, experts say.

Stamper believes uniformity -- via the licensing of individual officers and the certification of police departments -- is key.

All 18,000 departments operate under their own rules, based on their traditions, policies, procedures and recruitment methods, he said.
He believes creating national standards -- not for small things, but for larger constitutional issues -- could improve the quality of policing.

If a licensed officer were to violate someone's rights -- by illegally searching or arresting them, manipulating evidence, using unnecessary force or, of course, engaging in sexually predatory behavior -- that officer's license would be yanked.

Likewise, a city police department with a pattern of violations could lose its certification and be taken over the by the county.

An offending sheriff's department could be taken over by the state, he said.

It's pie in the sky, Stamper acknowledges, but until America changes the nature of the conversation around policing, things are destined to remain the same when it comes to crooked cops.

"The forces of resistance are powerful," he said. "If you push the system, it's going to push back with equal or greater force."

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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2018, 04:00:29 am »
Wednesday, 26th October 2018
South Carolina prison guard tried to smuggle more than 100 pills in his groin, police say
by Emily Bohatch


A South Carolina Department of Corrections officer was arrested Wednesday after trying to bring drugs into a Bennettsville prison, according to a statement from SCDC.

William Shaquille Suggs, a correctional officer at Evans Correctional Institution, was charged with possessing or manufacturing drugs, misconduct in office, furnishing or attempting to furnish a prisoner with contraband and possession of 15 doses of MDMA or ecstasy.

Evans C.I. is a Level 2 institution that houses medium security offenders.

According to arrest warrants, Suggs tried to smuggle the drugs into the prison by hiding them in his groin area. One package contained about 40 Oxycodone pills.

He was also found with about 65 MDMA pills and 19 cigarettes, as well as a lighter, according to the warrants.

Police services also found about 450 grams of synthetic marijuana in Suggs’ car, according to the warrants.

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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2018, 07:48:58 pm »
Saturday, 27th October 2018
Virginia criminal database missing 750,000 cases used for gun and background checks, crime scene investigations

by Tim Jackman


As staff members of the Virginia State Crime Commission were reviewing the state’s Central Criminal Records Exchange, they made a stunning discovery: The state court system had recorded about 11 million convictions dating to 2000, but the criminal records database showed only about 10.2 million convictions.

More than 750,000 records were not in the system maintained by the Virginia State Police, including more than 300 murder convictions, 1,300 rape convictions and 4,600 felony assault convictions.

This is the database that courts and police use to check a person’s prior record, often to determine what charge or sentence is appropriate.

It’s a database that state police in Virginia, and around the country, use to determine whether someone is eligible to buy a gun.

It’s what state agencies and employers check to see if someone has a conviction that might disqualify them from working at, say, a child-care center.

It’s also the repository for fingerprints that investigators use when trying to match a print at a crime scene to a possible perpetrator.

“What I can discern is there is confusion and breakdowns,” said state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), chairman of the crime commission, “and these need to be resolved. The list of the offenses is pretty staggering.”

The crime commission, which researches justice issues and recommends solutions to the Virginia General Assembly, determined that the problem stemmed from failures to enter a defendant’s fingerprints into the system when he or she was charged.

If that step is missed, no record of a person’s arrest is in the database.

About 90 percent of the 751,154 missing records, or more than 675,000, lacked fingerprints.

Another 76,000 were missing due to other errors.

Of the cases with missing fingerprints, 35 percent are felonies and 65 percent are misdemeanors, the crime commission found.

But the misdemeanors can involve drug charges, assaults, drunken driving and family abuse, all of which could be disqualifying convictions for anyone seeking a gun or a professional license.

Missing fingerprints can also prevent police from solving crimes.

“That’s probably the most worrisome,” said Henrico County Police Chief Humberto I. Cardounel, who is in a group of law enforcement and courts officials trying to figure out how the problem arose and how to fix it.

“Our fingerprint system is only as good as what’s in it. If prints aren’t entered, you run the risk of submitting a set of latent prints [from a crime] and not getting a match” with a suspect who should have been in the system, Cardounel said.

Typically, a defendant is fingerprinted for a felony, Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor at the time of the arrest, and the prints and charges are sent electronically to the state police with a document control number for each charge.

When a conviction or acquittal comes in with the same control number, it is added to the person’s record.

But there are many ways that process can break down.

One way is when a person is arrested and released on a summons, often for marijuana possession, without being taken to jail.

Officers and deputies normally don’t take fingerprints from a person who is arrested on the street, officials said.

When the person goes to court and is found guilty, or mails in a fine, the prints sometimes aren’t taken at the courthouse.

More than 70,000 narcotics convictions, more than 70,000 simple assault convictions and more than 37,000 drunken driving convictions are not in the state database, the crime commission found in a report issued Oct. 11.

Felonies have also been omitted.

In addition to rapes and murders, more than 2,500 robbery convictions and nearly 1,500 weapons convictions are missing from the database.

One suspected problem, crime commission Executive Director Kristen Howard said, is when a defendant is charged with multiple counts but the fingerprints are only attached to one count that winds up dismissed.

Or when a new charge might be added as part of a plea deal, and the original charge is dismissed.

Though 96 percent of Virginia’s jurisdictions now use the Live Scan imaging machine to capture and transmit fingerprints, it was gradually adopted across the state beginning in 2000, meaning old-school ink fingerprints on cards may belong to defendants with multiple charges.

Even on Live Scan, one set of prints can be applied only to a maximum of 15 counts, so a person’s fingers must be scanned again for additional charges, Lt. Keenon Hook of the state police said.

Another problem may occur with direct indictments, when a defendant is indicted without being arrested and booked on a warrant.

In some courts, defendants may appear for their indictment, then leave the courthouse without being fingerprinted.

Smaller counties may not have the personnel to manage fingerprinting at every possible stage, officials said.

“At the conclusion of these cases, everyone assumes that someone else has gotten the fingerprints,” said Del. Rob Bell (R-Albemarle), vice chairman of the commission and a former prosecutor now in private defense practice.

“With the more serious charges, by having more people involved, it makes it less clear who’s responsible.

We’re going to establish a default method and make sure it doesn’t happen going forward.”

The state police have a staff of 120 people who maintain the Central Criminal Records Exchange, and they work full time to remedy discrepancies.

When a case enters the courts but no fingerprints or arrest record have come from the police or sheriff, letters go out to the arresting agency, Hook said. That results in about 10 to 15 percent of the incomplete records being completed.

The rest go into a “hold file” at the records exchange, where more than 30,000 cases per year have piled up in recent years, the crime commission found.

Even if a person was convicted of a crime, that wouldn’t show up in a background check because the case was not initially entered into the system.

When a request for a background check comes in and the database doesn’t include the outcome of the case, the state police staff will contact courts or arresting agencies to try to track down the record, often doing so within minutes, Hook said.

The same is true for gun purchase checks through the Firearms Transaction Center, where such a background check is, by law, not supposed to exceed three days.

He said gun dealers usually wait beyond three days if the check is not completed.

In addition to guns and employment, criminal history records are used for the sex offender registry, the DNA database, and bail and sentencing determinations.

Hook said 40 percent of the inquiries to the database are for background checks. He also noted that about 40 percent of the missing felony cases were probation violations, which often have prints on file from the original conviction.

Most background checks will only provide conviction data. But some agencies, such as law enforcement, have access to a person’s entire arrest record.

Howard said the crime commission staff discovered the discrepancy while researching deferred cases involving marijuana.

The commission issued 13 recommendations and a series of policy options, including requiring the state police to send monthly notices to agencies involved in an incomplete case and requiring courts to verify that fingerprints have been collected.

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« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2018, 12:26:48 pm »
Friday, 26th October 2018
South Carolina Rep. harrison found guilty in public corruption case, gets prison sentence
by John Monk

"Yeah...but, he...she..Well, I... Well, I... Well, I...!"

(COLUMBIA, SC) - A Richland County jury late Friday night found ex-SC Rep. Jim Harrison, R-Richland, guilty of multiple public corruption-related counts.

Within minutes, state Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen sentenced Harrison, 67, to 18 months in prison.

harrison is the first South Carolina state lawmaker to get a prison sentence as a result of an ongoing state grand jury investigation run by special prosecutor David Pascoe. Three other lawmakers have pleaded guilty and gotten probation.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Harrison - known as one of most cheerful and sociable of state lawmakers - declined comment.

The jury of five men and seven women found Harrison not guilty on a charge of conspiracy. But it returned guilty verdicts on two counts of misconduct and one count of perjury, which included two instances of perjury.
The misconduct charges centered around Harrison’s secret and illegal acceptance of some $900,000 over 13 years from the Richard Quinn & Associates consulting firm. Another element of the misconduct charges is that it is illegal for a lawmaker to use his public position to earn money for his private gain.

Prosecutors charged that Harrison had, basically, sold his influence as a prominent lawmaker and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to secretly help the Quinn firm’s corporate clients get their bills passed in the Legislature.

Quinn’s payments to Harrison stopped at the end of 2012, when Harrison retired from the General Assembly.

The verdict came down at 10:30 pm after the jury deliberated more than four hours.

Harrison had taken the stand Friday morning and, under questioning by his attorney, Reggie Lloyd, told the jury he is “an honest, honorable man.” In the end, the jury didn’t buy that.

The trial was one of South Carolina’s major public trials in years.

It exposed how state lawmakers can easily hide sources of revenue.
During closing arguments Friday, special prosecutor Pascoe told the jury that South Carolina’s last major legislative public corruption case - the FBI’s Lost Trust scandal in the 1990s that resulted in more than a dozen state lawmakers pleading guilty to accepting bribes - was a “joke” compared to Harrison’s case.

Harrison had illegally sold his influence for $900,000 over 13 years, while Lost Trust lawmakers sold their votes for just several hundred dollars, Pascoe told the jury.
Pascoe had a family obligation so he was not in the courtroom Friday night when the verdict came down.
But he told The State in a later phone interview that the jury’s verdict lets people know that corruption in the Legislature will not be tolerated.

“This verdict, and Judge Mullen’s verdict, sends a strong message,” Pascoe said.
Already, Pascoe said, he had gotten calls from lawmakers who want to explore introducing new ethics legislation in next year’s General Assembly session.

The case was a personal triumph for Pascoe. During the last three years, State Attorney General Alan Wilson had tried to derail his investigation and publicly questioned Pascoe’s competence.

Wilson also asserted that Pascoe, whom Wilson had appointed as a special prosecutor, has unlawfully usurped Wilson’s authority.
But the State Supreme Court told Wilson that Pascoe had the right to conduct a broad investigation if it was related to the two lawmakers that Wilson had originally allowed Pascoe to investigate.

Pascoe also had fought off numerous other attempts by defense lawyers to scuttle his state grand jury investigation into three other prominent state lawmakers - Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington; Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley; and State Sen. John Courson, R-Richland. All have pleaded guilty to misconduct and resigned their offices. All received probation.

A common thread that linked Harrison with the three other legislators was that they all got money from Richard Quinn & Associates, a firm run by Richard Quinn, 73, a longtime political consultant known as a kingmaker in South Carolina politics.

For decades, Quinn has run the campaigns of numerous prominent public officials, including Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Lexington and State Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Quinn’s political empire, which included political operatives and officials, was so well known it was dubbed “the Quinndom” and “Team Quinn.”

During this week’s trial, Pascoe referred repeatedly to “the Quinndom,” and stressed how Harrison was part of the money-and influence-fueled network. And Harrison, on the witness stand, admitted he was a member of “the Quinndom.”

What people didn’t know about “the Quinndom” is that Quinn’s firm had, in addition to its political clients, a bevy of prominent corporate clients that paid Quinn tens of thousands of dollars every month to help them out when they had bills or interests in the Legislature, according to prosecution testimony.

Quinn’s clients included the University of South Carolina, AT&T, Palmetto Health hospitals, SCANA electric utility, Unisys technology and the S.C. trial lawyers’ association.

Last December, threatened with numerous criminal charges by Pascoe, Richard Quinn allowed his firm, Richard Quinn & Associates, to plead guilty to illegal lobbying in the state Legislature.

Pascoe then dropped the charges and gave Quinn immunity from further prosecution if he testified before the state grand jury.

During this week’s trial, Pascoe introduced 15 witnesses and numerous exhibits to hammer home these points:

  • Quinn’s firm Richard Quinn & Associates, which had employed Harrison for 13 years at approximately $80,000 per year, had pleaded guilty last year to illegal lobbying. One basic charge against Harrison was that it was illegal for him to work for a firm that lobbied the S.C. General Assembly for corporate interests without disclosing his relationship and compensation from the firm.
  • Harrison kept his job with the Quinn firm secret. Harrison’s former colleagues in the House, including Reps. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, and Todd Rutherford, R-Richland, testified for the prosecution, saying they were shocked to learn that Harrison was paid about $80,000 a year by Quinn while he was in the Legislature. Harrison “flat-out lied” about what he did for the Quinn firm, Pascoe told the jury. “He couldn’t let people know he worked for Richard Quinn or the whole house of cards would have fallen.”
  • Quinn stopped paying Harrison at the end of 2012, when Harrison left the Legislature. Pascoe argued Harrison was no more use to Quinn’s corporate clients when he retired.
  • Harrison never explained to the jury what he did to earn his $80,000 a year salary from Quinn. And so the jury was left to wonder how Harrison - who testified he was already busy with his triple jobs of being a lawyer, being in the Army Reserve and working in the Legislature - found the time to be worth some $80,000 a year doing work for Quinn. Harrison told the jury he worked on Quinn’s campaigns and was a “sounding board” for Quinn. But top officials in numerous S.C. campaigns Quinn ran testified they had no knowledge Harrison did any political work.
    Pascoe told the jury that Harrison helped Quinn to “make millions” from corporate clients because whenever Harrison took positions on bills, he was so respected that other lawmakers were influenced by him.
  • Over and over, Pascoe stressed how other lawmakers - including Merrill and Courson - also took money covertly from the Quinn firm and had been convicted of misconduct. Pascoe stressed how the Quinn firm had pleaded guilty to illegal lobbying. If those lawmakers were guilty, Pascoe argued, so was Harrison.
  • Although defense attorneys tried to poke a hole in Pascoe’s case by telling the jury that Pascoe had failed to call Richard Quinn as a witness to back up the prosecution charge that Harrison and Quinn conspired with each other, Pascoe poked right back, telling the jury that the defense too, could have called Quinn as a witness. In the end, however, the one charge the jury acquitted Harrison on was the conspiracy charge.
  • Defense lawyers had belittled Pascoe’s case, saying someone as honest as Harrison would never sell his vote, especially when he had a good career and “so much to lose.” But Pascoe said Harrison’s motivation was “greed” - by working for Quinn, Harrison pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Prosecutors didn’t “go after” Harrison. “This case was an accident,” Pascoe told the jury. When the grand jury was investigating other lawmakers’ ties to the Quinn firm, it stumbled over records showing the Quinn firm had paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Merrill, Courson and Harrison.
Late Friday night, Pascoe said he wanted to thank State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel for allowing a small team of investigators, headed by Maj. Richard Gregory, to help gather evidence on the case, over the past three years.

SLED’s active involvement was not considered a sure thing. Keel’s boss is Gov. McMaster, who for years used Richard Quinn as his top political consultant in successful campaigns for governor and attorney general. But McMaster, who has severed ties to Quinn, gave Keel free rein to investigate the case.

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« Last Edit: October 29, 2018, 04:09:18 pm by Battle »

Offline Battle

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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2018, 10:45:38 am »
"No need for a death penalty sentence."
Tuesday, 30th October 2018
‘Whitey’ killed at federal prison in West Virginia
by Travis Andersen and Shelley Murphy

Notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed Tuesday at a West Virginia prison, according to two people briefed on the situation.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The WV News website reported that a male inmate was slain overnight at the maximum security prison where Bulger was being held.

A union official said a man had been killed, but he didn’t know who.

Bulger, who had been serving a life sentence for 11 murders, had recently landed at the federal prison in West Virginia after a quick stop at an Oklahoma City transfer site.

Bulger, 89, had been listed Tuesday morning as an inmate at USP Hazelton, a high-security prison in Bruceton Mills, W. Va. with a minimum security satellite camp, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

He had recently been moved from a Florida prison to the stopover in Oklahoma City.

A person familiar with the matter said Thursday that Bulger’s health had deteriorated, and that he was expected to be transferred to a federal prison medical facility. Hazelton is not a medical facility. Bulger has suffered from a heart condition for decades.

In a statement Tuesday, the BOP said that for “safety, security and privacy reasons, we can not disclose specifics regarding inmate movement or transfers; nor can we disclose an inmate’s health information.”

The former South Boston crime boss and longtime FBI informant was one of America’s most wanted criminals until his capture in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011 after more than 16 years on the run.

In 2013, a federal jury in Boston convicted him of participating in 11 murders in the 1970s and 1980s while running a sprawling criminal enterprise involved in gambling, extortion, and drug trafficking.

Bulger was transferred to US Penitentiary Coleman II in Sumterville, Fla., in 2014 from another high-security penitentiary in Arizona after his relationship with a female psychologist who was counseling him came under scrutiny.

Paul Weadick, another convicted killer with ties to Boston’s underworld, is also serving a life term at the Hazelton prison, records show.

Weadick, 63, was convicted in June of murdering South Boston club owner Steven DiSarro in 1993, in a slaying that involved a former New England mob boss.

The ex-boss, Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, 85, was also convicted of killing DiSarro and sentenced to life.
Salemme remains at a federal transfer center in Brooklyn.

Bulger’s former sidekick and fellow FBI informant, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, testified during the trial of Salemme and Weadick and said that he walked in on the slaying of DiSarro, then hastily left.

Flemmi is serving a life sentence for 10 murders, including one former girlfriend and the daughter of another girlfriend.

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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2018, 04:24:41 pm »
Wednesday, 19th December 2018
Man wrongly convicted in doppelganger case to receive $1 million under new Kansas law

by Joe Robertson

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) - The state of Kansas will pay more than $1 million dollars to compensate Richard Anthony Jones for the 17 years he spent in prison for a crime that was committed by someone who looked like him, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Tuesday.

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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2019, 07:26:34 pm »
Friday 4th January 2019
'Stupidity and selfishness' led to deaths of two patients who drowned in van

by Erik Ortiz

The mother of a woman who drowned in floodwaters while riding in the back of a South Carolina sheriff's office van blamed her death on the "stupidity and selfishness" of the two deputies entrusted with her care, and told a judge Friday that "no amount of justice" would heal her heart.

The family members of Nicolette Green, 43, as well as a second woman who drowned in the van, Wendy Newton, 45, spoke through tears while addressing the court during a bond hearing for the former Horry County deputies.

Linda Green, Nicolette's mother, said she is haunted daily by "the horror" of her daughter gasping for air as the rising waters trapped her last September in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Cheryl Graham, the associate chief magistrate in Marion County, later responded that "to say that this is a tragedy is an understatement … May God help us all."

Graham set bond at $30,000 for Stephen Flood, who was charged with two counts each of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, and at $10,000 for Joshua Bishop, who was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The next hearing date was set for Feb. 26.

Both men were fired following the deaths of Green and Newton. While Horry County officials said Flood went around a barrier meant to prevent vehicles from entering hazardous areas, he had been waved through by National Guardsmen.

Meanwhile, the women were locked in the back of the van. The deputies said neither could be reached once they realized they were surrounded by floodwaters. Amid the chaos, the van ended up on its side and rested against a guardrail, and the deputies said they were unable to unlock the back door.

They waited on the roof of the van until they could be rescued, authorities said.

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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2019, 10:10:50 am »
Friday 4th December 2019
Tossed cigarette butt leads to arrest in 26-year-old cold case murder
by Elizabeth Llorente

Looks like the smoking finally did him in.

Suspected killer Lee Robert Miller, 54, probably didn't think twice when he tossed a cigarette butt as he went about his business one day in February last year.

But unbeknownst to him, police who had been following him were watching - and saw the opportunity to grab a sample of his DNA.

For more than 20 years, police in Washington state and neighboring Idaho tried to solve two murder cases connected to Miller. But conclusive evidence eluded them.

No one in their databases came up as a match to the DNA samples they put through the system.

But the sample from the murders of 57-year-old Marilyn Hickey in Washington in 1992, and of 49-year-old Cheryle Barratt in Idaho in 1994 were a match.

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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2019, 09:20:14 am »
Wednesday, 9th December 2019
DNA test clears Golden State Killer suspect of 1 murder... only 12 more to go!

by Gabriella Borter

DNA evidence has cleared a former policeman accused of being the "Golden State Killer," who terrified a swath of California with dozens of rapes and murders in the 1970s and 1980s, in one murder case from 1975 in which he was a suspect, prosecutors said.

More than three decades after the spate of killings and home invasions ended, investigators last year tracked down and arrested former police officer Joseph DeAngelo, 73, after comparing DNA found at crime scenes to data on commercial genealogy websites. So far they have charged him with 13 counts of murder and kidnapping from 1975 through 1986.

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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2019, 10:12:59 am »
Wednesday, 9th December 2019
Five-0 Said Freez!!!
by Associated Press

A popular Pennsylvania DJ has pleaded guilty to raping and strangling a schoolteacher in 1992 after being tied to the decades-old crime when his relative submitted her DNA to use a popular genealogy database.

Raymond Charles Rowe apologized in court Tuesday for killing 25-year-old elementary school teacher Christy Mirack at her apartment in Lancaster. He was sentenced to life without parole.

The case had stymied investigators until authorities used a genealogical database to identify a half-sister of the then-unknown suspect, leading them to the 50-year-old Rowe, who lived just miles from where the murder occurred.

Undercover detectives obtained DNA from Rowe by collecting his used water bottle and chewing gum at a school where he was DJing last year. It matched DNA found at the murder scene.

Rowe, known as 'DJ Freez', was arrested last June.

Mirack was brutally murdered in her home as she prepared to head to work teaching a sixth-grade class.
She had suffered a broken jaw in addition to the strangulation and evidence of a violent sexual assault.
A wooden cutting board, believed to have been used to attack her, was found by her body. An autopsy found wounds to her neck, back, upper chest and face.

The principal of her elementary school, concerned Mirack had not shown up for work four days before Christmas and was not answering calls, discovered the body on her living room floor and called 911.

'We never let this case go,' but investigators had run out of suspects, said Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman.

'This has not been easy. But one of the reasons we've stuck with it and never forgotten it is it's so disturbing.'

The DNA left at the crime scene by the assailant never triggered a match, and Rowe had not been a suspect during years of investigation, Stedman said.

In December 1992, Rowe lived about 4 miles from the apartment Mirack shared with a roommate, but it is unclear if they knew each other.

Stedman hired a private company to use the DNA to search for relatives of the suspect, and that process identified Rowe.
'This killer was at liberty from this crime, this brutal crime, for longer than Christy Mirack was on this earth alive,' Stedman said at a news conference.

'And they steered us in the path of holding him finally accountable.'

After the suspect's DNA was found to be a close match of one of Rowe's relatives who had registered on the website, detectives launched an undercover operation at an elementary school where Rowe was performing on May 31.

This produced a water bottle and gum he had used, and state police subsequently established an alleged genetic match.

Genealogy databases are being used to catch suspects who have managed to evade capture for decades.

The man believed to be the Golden State Killer evaded authorities for more than 40 years was found.
Finally in early 2018 investigators used DNA and a genealogical website to identify and arrest Joseph DeAngelo as the alleged killer. He has not entered a plea.

Since the statute of limitations has passed on bringing rape cases, prosecutors charged him with 13 kidnapping-related charges. He is suspected of committing 13 murders and more than 50 rapes.

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« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2019, 07:19:22 pm »
Thursday, 14th February 2019
Dying witness breaks open 1973 cold-case murder of Tennessee trucker

by Ryan Gaydos

A dying witness, in his final moments, gave authorities investigating a 1973 cold case murder the break they'd been hoping for, a Tennessee prosecutor said.

The tip that led to Max Benson Calhoun’s indictment came from a witness who was suffering from a terminal illness “and wanted to tell what they knew before they passed,” prosecutor Stephen Crump said Tuesday without specifying any details of what the person told authorities.

Calhoun, who was indicted by a Monroe County grand jury and arrested last week, is being held without bond. His lawyer said Calhoun will plead not guilty in the case.

John Constant Jr’s body was found slumped over in the cab of his truck in Vonore in 1973. Investigators said he had been shot 17 times.

The 43-year-old man had been working as a trucker and told his family he’d been keeping notes on his business dealings, which police suspected included running untaxed cigarettes and stolen merchandise for the so-called “Dixie Mafia.”

“He wasn't a sterling character by any means, but he didn't deserve to die,” Richard Fisher, the prosecutor at the time of Constant’s murder, told the Knoxville Sentinel.

“You never know when you start walking on that dark side where it's going to take you.”

Fisher said he always believed multiple people had a hand in Constant’s murder.

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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2019, 03:10:08 am »
Monday, 8th April 2019
Tipster helps Florida cold case detectives crack a woman's murder 21 years ago

by Robert Gearty

Florida cold case detectives say a tip has led to the arrest of a homeless man in the unsolved murder of a woman 21 years ago.

Luis Nieves, 52, was booked into the Lee County Jail Friday night on a charge of murder in the death of 35-year-old Thelma Storrs in 1998.

A tipster recently told detectives the identity of a possible suspect, according to a news release from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, announcing Nieves' arrest.

An investigation ensued and led to Nieves’ arrest.

“This arrest also serves as a reminder that it is never too late to come forward with information,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.

“Cold-blooded killers will not walk free in Lee County.”

Nieves has four prior arrests for domestic violence in 2007, 2014 and 2016, online court records show.

The records show him living at a Fort Myers address at the time of the arrests.

Investigators said Storrs’ body was found in a pasture near Fort Myers on March 17, 1998.

She had been reported missing two weeks earlier.

Her fingerprints taken from a prostitution arrest three months before her murder helped authorities identify the body, the Fort Myers News-Press reported at the time.

Friends at that time told the paper Storrs drifted into prostitution after becoming a crack addict.

"She really got going down the wrong track a few years ago," one friend was quoted as saying.

"It was really hard to watch.”

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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2019, 06:55:57 pm »
Tuesday, 9th April 2019
Man charged in 1973 double murder cold case that took place in Virginia Beach
by ABC News (local affiliate)

Virginia Beach police told 13News Now that officers in New York arrested a man who was wanted for the murders of two women that took place more than 45 years ago.

Court documents show that the New York Police Department's Cold Case Apprehension Squad took 80-year-old Ernest Broadnax into custody on Monday.

The New York Post said Broadnax has been living in Jamaica, Queens.

A spokeswoman for Virginia Beach Police Department said the arrest was for the murders of Lynn Seethaler and Janice Pietropola. 

Both women were 19 years old when they were murdered brutally.

The Virginia Beach Police's Cold Case Homicide Unit said Seethaler and Pietropola were vacationing from the Pittsburgh area in June of 1973.

Someone found their bodies in a motel cottage located along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

Their deaths remained a cold case ever since.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said Broadnax is charged with Second Degree Murder (2 counts) and Rape.

He's awaiting extradition to Virginia.

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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2019, 02:57:31 am »
Thursday, 28th March 2019
A 1998 slaying went cold for 20 years -- until suspect in killing applied for a job

by Michelle Lou & Brandon Griggs

The person who stabbed and bludgeoned Sondra Better to death 20 years ago seemed to vanish without a trace.

Better was working alone at Lu Shay's Consignment Shop in Delray Beach, Florida, on Aug. 24, 1998, when a man came into the store and killed her.
Although a witness saw him and the killer left behind a trail of his own blood and fingerprints, police weren't able to catch a suspect -- until he applied for a job last December.

"We had the physical evidence ... but the person responsible for this heinous case seemed to just disappear," Delray Beach Police Chief Javaro Sims said at a Wednesday press conference.

Police entered the fingerprints, which were lifted off a decorative ball from the crime scene, into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) database.
Two decades passed without any matches. DNA samples from 36 men came up empty.

Police finally got a hit when Todd Barket, 51, of Brandon, Florida, submitted his fingerprints in December 2018 as part an application for a nursing assistant job.

Barket lived about 8 miles from the consignment shop at the time of the 1998 killing.

His fingerprints and blood matched the samples found at the crime scene, and he fit the description that an eyewitness provided, authorities said.
Barket was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning and is being held in Hillsborough County Jail without bond until he's extradited to Palm Beach County, according to police.

Barket faces first-degree murder charges.
CNN could not determine Thursday whether Barket has retained an attorney.

Better was 68 when she was killed. She was about to retire from her job at the consignment shop before heading to New York with her husband to renew their vows.

"She was violently killed by an unknown assailant," Sims said. "She was stabbed, she was bludgeoned and no one deserves to die in that manner."

The lead detective assigned to the case, Robert Stevens, retired in 2007. But he said the cold case, which he worked on for 10 years, stayed with him.

"Anybody that works homicides ... will attest that once you get a case where there's a true innocent victim, it's hard to let it go," Stevens said.

After his wife's death, Better's husband Seymour volunteered for the Delray Beach Police for almost 15 years.

Although Seymour Better has since died, other family members are "very happy" that the case has been solved, Stevens said.

"Twenty years is a long time to want and ask for justice," Sims said.

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