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-- April 16, 2011, Statement by New York City Police Officer Michael Daragjati, boasting of his false arrest of another African-American male.
Top News Story!
Posted on March 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM - Updated: March 24, 2013 at 12:17 AM PDT
Baby Daddy Rage!
SANTA FE, Texas - A woman who was angry with her boyfriend after an argument took out her frustrations on his 4-year-old daughter and killed her early Saturday, according to Santa Fe police. Laura Lea Kolb lived with her boyfriend, Kevin Moore, and his two young daughters from a previous relationship. The family lived at the Santa Fe Courtyard apartments. The couple had gotten into an argument in their upstairs unit and Moore walked outside around 3 a.m. His neighbor, Jody Herrington, says he came downstairs to talk with him and cool off.
Police said that while he was outside, Kolb came out and fell down some stairs. When she went back in, she allegedly took out her anger on his daughter, Taylor. “She kept hollering ‘Kevin,’” Herrington said. “Kevin’s like ‘I’ll be up there in a minute, I’ll be up there in a minute.’ And it was like an hour later, all the sirens come up.” When Moore came back outside, he was seen holding his daughter’s limp body. A neighbor tried to revive her, but it was too late. “We’re still coping with it today and it’s tough,” Herrington said.
Police said Kolb admitted to shoving the girl to the floor and then throwing her on a bed. She has been charged with first degree felony injury to a child and more charges are likely. Bond has been set at $250,000. The news took many neighbors by surprise. Herrington said he never even saw the couple argue.
Posted: 6:46 AM EDT, Wed March 20, 2013 - Updated 10:02 PM PDT, Wed March 24, 2013
Ohio -- Ohio school shooter T.J. Lane entered the courtroom and removed his blue button-down shirt while the judge and those in attendance took their seats. Lane, now 18, revealed a white T-shirt with the word "killer" written on it. The attire was similar to what he was wearing when arrested by police shortly after the February 27, 2012, killings at Chardon High School in northeastern Ohio. According to the Geauga County Prosecutor, Jim Flaiz, Common Pleas Judge David L. Fuhry was unaware that Lane had the lettered T-shirt. "I think everyone felt the effect of that shirt at the same time," said one defense attorney. The attorney said he, too, had no advance knowledge of the T-shirt.
Upon learning Lane was going to make a statement in court Tuesday, Prosecutor Flaiz told relatives of his victims to be prepared for something inflammatory. Given the opportunity to speak a few minutes later, Lane made an obscene gesture at the victims' families and spoke to them briefly, using explicit language. Lane smiled and smirked during much of the hearing, laughing when Flaiz described him as an "evil person." Lane's own lawyer told the court he urged his client not to make the type of statement that the attorney expected to be delivered.
No one could have fully foreseen the actions and words of Lane. "What he did was beyond anything I could envision seeing in a courtroom," Flaiz told media sources a few hours after a judge ordered Lane to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole. "I was shocked and disgusted at how the defendant conducted himself."
Lane pleaded guilty last month to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and weapons-related charges. Authorities allege that Lane walked up to a table in the Chardon High School cafeteria and started firing. When the violence ended, six students had been shot. After the shooting, an assistant football coach chased Lane out of Chardon High, and police arrested him nearby a short time later. In the following days, three students died: Daniel Parmertor, 16; Demetrius Hewlin; and Russell King Jr., 17.The death penalty was off the table because of Lane's age at the time of the crimes, according to prosecutors.
For their part, victims' relatives kept calm and made their own statements, describing the pain they felt and the profound loss to both themselves and the community. They also cited the contributions of their killed or wounded loved ones. "I was very proud of the family members in the courtroom," said Flaiz, adding he was not sure he could have kept his composure if he were in their shoes.
The mother of a wounded student now confined to a wheelchair looked directly at Lane as she told him he was fortunate so many officers were in the small courtroom. "Because of you, our town will never be same," Holly Walczak said. "Why? Why did you do it? Why?" Walczak said she has watched her son, Nick, suffer daily in the year since he was shot in the school cafeteria and in the hallway when he was pursued by Lane. "You are evil. I will have to eventually forgive, otherwise you will haunt me," she told Lane. Hewlin's brother, Philip Carter, read a statement in court on behalf of mother Phyllis Ferguson. "In our humanity, we still cannot understand why his life was taken in such a violent manner," said Carter.
T.J. Lane was known by many around Chardon High, 30 miles east of Cleveland. But at the time of the shooting, he was there to be transported to Lake Academy Alternative School in nearby Willoughby. Lake Academy describes itself as a school for "at-risk" students who are "reluctant learners" struggling with problems such as substance abuse and mental health issues.
Parmertor's mother, Dina, last year told media sources her son was a jokester "everyone wanted to be around." Daniel had just started a job at a local bowling alley. "My heart is broken. It is torn apart. .. I want people to know him," said Dina Parmertor. "They did not know the joy of knowing him." Tuesday, she looked at Lane and called him a "weak, pathetic vile coward."
"If I had my choice you would die an extremely slow, torturous death," the mother said. King's sister, Crystal, called Lane a "monster." Her brother was a compassionate blood donor who tried to become a friend of Lane because "he felt sorry for him."
Before he sentenced Lane to consecutive sentences of life without parole and additional sentences totaling 37 years, Fuhry said the former student showed no remorse, feigned mental illness and seemed determined to make "front-page news." "A school is a place where a student should feel safe," the judge said, adding Lane took advantage of unsuspecting students. "These juveniles were ambushed." Fuhry said Lane would be a danger if he were ever released.
After the sentencing, one defense attorney said Lane's comment to the families was a "very difficult statement to hear." Lane's sister, Sadie Lane, pleaded for compassion and prayers for her family a well as for those of the victims. She, too, was in the school cafeteria when the rampage began. "Many families were damaged that day. Our family was, too," she said.
While the judge indicated Tuesday there was no known motive for the attacks, Flaiz said his office has a theory it would have presented if the case had gone to trial. He declined to elaborate, saying he will meet with victims' family members in the next week. "I got a sense from the families they wanted to hear why he did it and they wanted to hear remorse," Flaiz said. Residents have come together since the shootings, the prosecutor said. "Sometimes it takes a tragedy for everyone to realize how close-knit a community we have."
"In the end, everyone is sad. It is an incredibly sad situation."
Posted at: 6:14 pm, March 27, 2012 - Updated at: 11:52 am PDT, March 28, 2012
CHARDON, Ohio — The hearing to transfer the 17-year old gunman in the shootings at Chardon High School has been postponed. A "bind over" hearing for T.J. Lane (pictured right) was originally scheduled for April 3, 2012. On Tuesday, Judge Timothy Grendell ordered the hearing delayed so Lane could undergo testing for mental competency. Chardon police said the teenager confessed to taking a gun and a knife into the school’s cafeteria and shooting five students. Three were killed, two others are now recovering. A Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Professor, told media sources a competency hearing does not mean Lane won’t eventually be bound over as an adult.
Ohio law indicates that where there is probable cause to believe a juvenile offender committed a serious crime, like murder or aggravated murder, he must be bound over as an adult if he is 16 or 17 years old. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of aggravated assault. The law professor said the newly ordered competency hearing simply means the bind over hearing could be delayed until the court can determine that Lane is capable of understanding the proceedings and assist in his own defense.
February 27, 2012
CHARDON, Ohio -- On Monday morning a gunman (pictured above, center) opened fire inside Chardon High School's cafeteria, killing one student and wounding four others, authorities said. The suspect, believed to be a student, was taken into custody near his car a half-mile from the suburban Cleveland school, the FBI said. FBI agent Scott Wilson would not comment on a possible motive for the attack.
The gunshot fatality victim has been was identified by the MetroHealth Medical Center as Daniel Parmertor. Five students, including Parmertor, were taken to local hospitals. Parmertor later died. Sheriff Daniel McClelland said the shooter had already fled when officers arrived at the school. Two other victims are in critical condition, a third is in serious condition and a fourth is listed as stable. McClelland did not release the names of the injured because they are minors.
Posted: 04/30/2012 03:12:43 PM PDT - Updated: 04/30/2012 03:59:56 PM PDT
One Goh, 7 Dead!
Oakland, CA -- The man accused of killing seven people and wounding three others in a shooting rampage at Oakland's Oikos University earlier this month pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and other charges in Alameda County Superior Court this afternoon. One Goh, 43 (pictured left) entered his not-guilty pleas at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland at a 2 p.m. hearing. Goh appeared in court dressed in red jail clothes, accompanied by his attorney, Deputy Public Defender David Klaus, and a Korean interpreter. Goh, a Korean national who lived in Oakland, is being held in custody without bail and has been charged with seven counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and 10 special-circumstance allegations, including committing murder during a carjacking.
According to a probable cause statement filed in court by Oakland police Officer Robert Trevino, Goh has admitted that he carried out the shootings. Officials believe Goh may have been targeting an administrator who was not present the day of the shooting. Police said that Goh fled the campus after the April 2 shootings in a car belonging to one of the victims. He was arrested in Alameda a short time later after he confessed to a Safeway security guard that he had just shot several people, according to police.
Those killed were students Lydia Sim, 21, Sonam Choedon, 33, Grace Kim, 23, Doris Chibuko, 40, Judith Seymour, 53, and Tshering Bhutia, 38, and Katleen Ping, 24, who worked at the school. Goh is a former student who had left the school voluntarily. Prosecutors have said he appears to have wanted a refund of his tuition.
Goh had stopped eating when he was first booked into jail, but he began eating again on Saturday, Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said today. Goh will return to court on June 25 for a pretrial hearing.
March 31, 2012
Dungeons & Truckers!
Illinois - Texas -- A serial killer (pictured left) who set up a torture chamber in his truck and kidnapped mostly female hitchhikers across the United States has admitted murdering a newlywed couple in Texas, according to reports. Robert Ben Rhoades -- already serving a life sentence for the death of a 14-year-old girl in Illinois -- this week pleaded guilty in West Texas to killing Patricia Candace Walsh and her husband Scott Zyskowski, both in their 20s, media sources reported. Prosecutors had agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for the pleas and Rhoades, 65, was given two life sentences, the source said. The source said Rhoades, a long-haul truck driver, has been the subject of a book regarding his crimes. In his cab was "a type of dungeon with handcuffs on the ceiling," the source reported! In 1996, media sources, citing officials, said it was believed that Rhoades had been killing an average of three women a month by the early 1990s. The media reported the couple, from Seattle, were hitchhiking to Georgia to preach the Christian gospel, when they took a ride from Rhoades near El Paso, Texas in early 1990. FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said investigations concerning Rhoades were continuing.
Posted: 03/26/2012 06:21:47 AM PDT - Updated: 03/26/2012 09:15:39 AM PDT
California's Model Minorities!
San Francisco, CA -- San Francisco police announced Sunday they had arrested a man suspected of killing five people Friday in the city's Ingleside District. Binh Thai Luc, 35 (pictured left) of San Francisco, was arrested early Sunday morning. Police also arrested Luc's brother, Brian, 32, on drug, ammunition and probation-violation charges. Officers did not say if the brother was involved in the killings or if they were searching for other suspects.
Police said they served search warrants in San Francisco and San Mateo County but have yet to recover weapons involved in the homicides. A woman with keys to the bright orange house at 16 Howth St. walked in on the bodies at 7:45 a.m. Friday, officers said. Police have said one body was at the threshold of the front door, another in the rear of the house, another upstairs and two in the garage. The victims had blunt-force injuries and cuts, Suhr said. "The investigation is ongoing," San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said repeatedly when asked for more details. Authorities also declined to provide details on the arrests, such as where they took place, or what the possible motives were for the homicides near City College of San Francisco.
The victims, whom police have not identified, and the suspect had "prior gang ties," Suhr said, but authorities do not believe the killings were gang-related. Four of the victims have been identified, a deputy medical examiner said Sunday, but authorities will not release their identities until they confirm the fifth victim's name and notify relatives. More than 40 officers have investigated the case, Suhr said. Suhr also said without elaborating, that Binh Luc has been convicted of crimes in the past and "there was a relationship between the suspect and the victims."
Posted March 23, 2012 - Updated at: 12:47 pm PDT, March 28, 2012
Gang Vang, Yang & Meng!
(Left to right: Vang Vue, Vanchai Xiong, Mang Yang, Mitchell Yang, Kong Meng Vang)
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Prosecutors have charged nine people in connection with an alleged gang rape in St. Paul last November. A criminal complaint issued Friday says the defendants, five adults and four juveniles, are reported members of the TB 22′s street gang. Prosecutors say the 14-year-old victim and a friend went to a party hosted by the gang members the night of November 17. Eventually the gathering moved to an abandoned house on the 200 block of White Bear Avenue in St. Paul. The victim told investigators that when she and her friend decided to go home the defendants forced them back into the house. She says the men carried her into a bedroom and held her down while a number of the defendants took turns sexually assaulting her.
“This crime was every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “A young girl was lured to a party, given alcohol, then forcibly abducted when she tried to leave and raped by a group of gang members. Crimes like these shock the conscience of our community.” Prosecutors say police have been aware of the TB 22′s for at least five years, and say the alleged gang rape is typical of their behavior.
The adults charged in the assault are 37-year-old Kong Meng Vang, 19-year-old Vang Tou Ger Vue, 18-year-old Vanchai Xoing, 23-year-old Mang Yang, and 22-year-old Mitchell Teng Yang. The men are all charged with aiding and abetting one count of first degree criminal sexual conduct, conspiracy to commit first degree sexual conduct, kidnapping of a victim under the age of 16, and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang. All but one of those charged in the incident are currently in custody. Choi’s office will ask that the juveniles arrested in the attack be waived into adult court.
HOUSTON (WCJB) -- Houston police say a so-called 'black widow' killer has struck again. This time police say she killed her boyfriend. The man's body was found in the woman's home over the weekend. Linda Dorsey, 55, appeared before a judge Monday morning and police say this isn't the first time she's been in trouble for killing the man in her life. Dorsey has a colorful past. She admitted to fatally shooting her husband in 1987 and prosecutors say she's committed the exact same crime again. This time they say the victim was her 64-year-old boyfriend, Harold Bacon.
According to court documents, Dorsey shot Bacon at about 1am Saturday, but didn't call 911 until nine hours later, after cleaning up the crime scene. She at first claimed he collapsed, but detectives say she later admitted to shooting Bacon, who investigators say had been bound with duct tape around his arms and feet. Prosecutors say Dorsey shot Bacon when he came over, angry that she hadn't answered his phone calls. But when she finally did call 911, prosecutors say she told the operator her boyfriend had collapsed. It wasn't until hours later that they say she confessed to killing him.
In 1987, Dorsey, who was then Linda Cardenas, fatally shot her husband, 28-year-old Alfidio Cardenas, twice in the chest, telling investigators, "I meant to kill him this time, not last time." When asked why she fired twice she said, "To make sure I got him." She then added, "I'll be on probation soon, everything will be OK." Dorsey served 15 years for that murder back in 1987 and is now being held without bond in this case. She goes before a judge again on Tuesday.
Updated: Monday, 27 Feb 2012, 12:06 PM PST - Published : Thursday, 23 Feb 2012, 7:51 AM EST
(Savannah Hardin, Jessica Mae Hardin and Joyce Hardin Garrard.)
ATTALLA, Ala. - Roger Simpson said he looked down the road and saw a little girl running outside her home but didn't give it another thought. Police, however, said the man witnessed a murder in progress. Authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin died after being forced to run for three hours. Deputies were told the girl was made to run after lying to her grandmother, 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, about having eaten the candy, sheriff's office spokeswoman Natalie Barton said. Severely dehydrated, the girl had a seizure and died days later. Now, her grandmother and stepmother who police say meted out the punishment were taken to jail Wednesday and face murder charges. Witnesses told deputies Savannah was told to run and not allowed to stop for three hours on Friday, an Etowah County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said. The girl's stepmother, 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, called police at 6:45 p.m., telling them Savannah was having a seizure and was unresponsive. Simpson said he saw a little girl running at around 4 p.m., but didn't see anybody chasing or coercing her. "I saw her running down there, that's what I told the detectives," Simpson said from his home on a hill overlooking the Hardins. "But I don't see how that would kill her."
Posted: 03/08/2012 10:52:31 AM PST - Updated: 03/08/2012 12:02:44 PM PST
SACRAMENTO, CA -- Convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine wrote a letter to media sources from San Quentin's death row. In the letter, dated March 1, Shermantine says that fellow "Speed Freak Killer" Loren Herzog trained an apprentice and taught him how to kill and get away with it. Shermantine says that apprentice is "Jason Jones" and that he's warned Jones to leave the country before any more sites in San Joaquin or Calaveras counties are excavated.
The letter also says Herzog killed a pregnant black woman and dumped her body with the help of the Hells Angels. Shermantine also links Herzog to the 1994 shooting death of a hunter in Utah.
Shermantine says he is revealing burial sites now because he was promised $33,000 by bounty hunter Leonard Padilla. He also mentioned that he has yet to see any money from Padilla yet, though he believes Padilla will come through with it. In the final page of the letter, Shermantine directs heavy criticism toward San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore saying, "That Stockton Sheriff office just crushed, busted the bones all to (sic) pieces." Shermantine says he's not sure if he'll help Moore find more burial sites -- even if it means a one day pass off of death row.
Posted: 02/22/2012 07:22:19 AM PST - Updated: 02/22/2012 09:11:37 AM PST
Posted: 3:26 p.m. (PST) Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | Updated: 3:45 p.m. (PST) Friday, February 17, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The childhood friends, Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog killed for the first time within three months of their 1984 high school graduation. They seemingly killed with impunity for the next 15 years, even barroom boasting about their ability to make people disappear. The two terrorized California's rural Central Valley. Some of their victims were left at the scene. Most were never seen again, especially their female victims. After they were arrested in 1999, investigators say the notorious "Speed Freak Killers" (as they were dubbed) had killed as many as 20 people during a 15-year killing spree.
Even after their convictions in 2001, both Shermantine (who was sentenced to death) and Herzog steadfastly refused to divulge any of their victims burial sites. Now, motivated by Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla's promise to pay $33,000 for the location of the missing, Shermantine is breaking a long silence. He now wishes to purchase small luxuries in the prison commissary (candy bars, a private television set, etc.) with portions of the money. Shermantine complains that he can't purchase these things at present, because every penny he receives now is used to pay down a $15,000,00 restitution debt. Padilla hopes to claim rewards offered by the state of California for information about missing persons thought to be the victims of Shermantine and Herzog.
Two victims have already been identified and hundreds of human remains have been recovered over the last several days. "It is a happy occasion," said Paula Wheeler, mother of 16-year-old Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler, who disappeared in 1985 and whose remains were tentatively identified Friday. Joan Shelley's hopes that her 16-year-old daughter JoAnn Hobson will be found. "I feel they are going to find her," a tearful Shelley told media sources in a phone interview from her Manteca home. JoAnn disappeared in 1985, and investigators have long suspected Shermantine and Herzog in the girl's abduction and murder. But they never had enough evidence to charge them.
Using crude maps Shermantine hand-drew in his Death Row cell, investigators have dug up three sites since Thursday that have yielded human remains. The site of the biggest find is an abandoned well outside the city of Stockton, near the town of Linden, that produced hundreds of human bones, purses, shoes, jewelry and other evidence over the weekend. Shermantine calls the well "Herzog's boneyard," and pins all the bodies that will be found there on Herzog. In addition to both Shermantine and Herzog steadfastly refusing to disclose the location of bodies, the childhood friends have steadfastly maintained that the other single-handedly did all the killings.
Searchers found a skull identified as Cyndi Vanderheiden's at a Calaveras County site, near property Shermantine's parents once owned. She disappeared in 1998. The day after the skull was found, about a quarter-mile away, searchers found a blanket containing a partial skull and other remains believed to belong to Wheeler. Shermantine was convicted of both women's murders in 2001. He was arrested in 1999 after his car was repossessed and investigators found Vanderheiden's blood in the trunk. Using a new collection technique not available in 1985, they also found Wheeler's DNA in a remote Calaveras County cabin owned by Shermantine. The cabin was near where Wheeler's body was found.
John Vanderheiden, Cyndi's father, owns a Clement bar the deadly duo frequented. Vanderheiden said Shermantine boasted loudly on several occasions that he was a killer. Vanderheiden said he chalked it up to drunken nonsense — until his daughter disappeared. Shermantine was also convicted of robbing and killing two drifters as they sat in a car in a rural area about two miles west of Stockton. Tire tracks left at the scene matched those of a red pickup Shermantine drove at the time. Shermantine has only been convicted of four murders to date.
Herzog (pictured below, left) hanged himself on Jan. 16, 2012 outside the Susanville trailer he was paroled to after an appeals court tossed out his confession as illegally coerced. He committed suicide hours after Padilla told him Shermantine was prepared to tell authorities about the missing. "I could hear him catch his breath when I mentioned the well," Padilla said of his conversation with Herzog on Jan. 16. "He thanked me, and didn't say anything more, but I could hear him catch his breath."
January 18, 2012
Susanville, CA -- A man once convicted in a string of killings that terrorized San Joaquin County for more than a decade was found hanged in his residence on the grounds of a state prison in northeastern California, officials said Tuesday. Loren Herzog, 46, apparently committed suicide in his trailer on the grounds of the High Desert State Prison near Susanville (Lassen County), where his body was found around 11:45 p.m. Monday, said Luis Patino, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Herzog was required to live in a trailer outside the prison while on parole for the 1998 killing of 25-year-old Cyndi Vanderheiden in Linden (San Joaquin County).
Herzog was convicted in 2001 of the methamphetamine-fueled rape and murder of Vanderheiden and the killings of two other people in the mid-1980s. His trial and the case against a co-defendant, childhood friend Wesley Shermantine, were moved to Santa Clara County from San Joaquin County because of extensive pretrial publicity over what were dubbed the "speed freak killers."
Herzog was sentenced to 78 years to life, but an appeals court threw out his conviction in 2004, saying investigators had illegally forced a confession from him. Unable to use the statement at a new trial, prosecutors agreed to a deal under which Herzog pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for killing Vanderheiden. Herzog received a 14-year sentence and was released on parole in 2010. The terms of his parole required that he live in a trailer near the High Desert State Prison, meet a strict curfew and wear a GPS-tracking bracelet. Herzog was free to come and go during the day. Shermantine remains on Death Row for four murders dating from 1984.
Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 - 14:28 PST
(Josh, Susan, Braden and Charlie Powell.)
OLYMPIA, Wash. (WCJB) — In a folder on his work computer labeled "Personal Pics," Steve Powell maintained a peculiar collection of photos: 55 depicting his daughter-in-law Susan but few if any showing his son. Thousands of images and emails on his Washington state government-issued laptop provide a small glimpse into his increasingly scrutinized world. Authorities said this week that he is a person of interest in her 2009 disappearance in Utah. The files, obtained by The media as part of a public records request, portray Steve Powell as a meticulous worker who gathered photos by the thousands and had his life upended by the constant inquiries that ensued after Susan vanished. He is now in jail on voyeurism and child pornography charges — and on suicide watch. An attorney for Steve Powell did not return a call seeking comment.
Powell's work computer has a batch of photos of Susan Powell, though none appear to be sexual. They depict her and the kids opening Christmas presents and out during Halloween. A few show Susan Powell and the kids more formally dressed. It's not clear who the photographer is. Steve Powell said last year that he had a flirtatious and somewhat sexual relationship with Susan Powell. Her parents said she thought he was a creep and moved to Utah in part to get away from him.
In a search of Steve Powell's Washington state home last year, authorities found explicit images on his computers and images of people being photographed without their knowledge. Among them were pictures of Susan Powell. Those findings led to the charges of voyeurism and child porn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Last year, authorities searched Steve Powell's home, computer and cars for evidence in Susan Powell's disappearance — and instead said they found thousands of voyeuristic pictures and videos, including child pornography recorded by Steve Powell. The state took custody of Josh Powell's boys and turned them over to Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox. A school district contact that he was scheduled to meet with during the first week of December 2011, said she never had any problems with Steve Powell and never realized he was Josh Powell's father until seeing him later on television. "He was always professional and did what he was supposed to do," Susan Garthwaite said.
(FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2011 file photo, Josh Powell, husband of missing Utah woman Susan Cox Powell, walks to a court hearing in Tacoma, Wash. Emergency call logs show that nearly eight minutes elapsed between when a social worker called 911 to report that Josh Powell's children were in danger and when sheriff's deputies were dispatched. By the time officers were on their way, the home was exploding in a gas-fueled inferno, with Powell and his two young boys inside.) Powell's son and Susan's husband, Josh, killed himself and the couple's two young sons in a gas-fueled inferno Sunday that a prosecutor considers an admission that he killed his wife.
Until this week, authorities have only publicly discussed Steve Powell in relation to the charges he now faces. But a warrant and emails indicate that he has been dragged deeply into the Utah investigation surrounding his son, and police say they want to interview him to see if he knows anything about his daughter-in-law's disappearance. "He may or may not have information that may be beneficial to us," said Sgt. Mike Powell in West Valley City, Utah, where Josh and Susan Powell lived at the time of her disappearance. Sgt. Powell is not related to the family.
The September warrant sought details specifically from Steve Powell's laptop, which he used in his job helping coordinate purchase and placement of school furniture. It also requested a search of state-owned vehicles that Powell may have driven.
Before his murder-suicide, Josh Powell was trying to win back custody of his children in Washington state. However, state authorities received materials from Utah police that had been discovered on a computer in Josh Powell's home two years ago. Authorities say the images depicted "incestuous" sex and were disconcerting enough that they prompted a psychologist to recommend that Powell undergo an intensive psycho-sexual evaluation. A lawyer for Powell's in-laws, who had custody of the boys, wasn't invited to see the materials before the custody hearing — even though a Utah judge had specified in a sealed court order that he was one of the few people allowed to see them.
Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer told media sources on Thursday night that the images collected by investigators from Powell's home computer in Utah two years ago were realistic computer-generated depictions of "incestuous" parent-child relations. "It's family-oriented in nature," Troyer said. "It is incestuous." Troyer said the images couldn't be legally defined as pornography because they don't involve real people. Troyer said the judge in last week's custody hearing was apprised of the images at the proceeding.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who is overseeing the voyeurism prosecution, said it's his understanding from the images collected that Susan Powell is the subject of much of Steve Powell's (pictured above, center-booking photo) photographic attention. He said the many images of Susan Powell might be of some interest to Utah authorities, but he has seen no evidence connecting Steve Powell to what he calls Susan Powell's murder. Emails show that Powell was actively working in the days around when Susan Powell disappeared on Dec. 6, 2009. He responded to emails the next morning, even drawing praise from a manager for pointing out an oversight related to holiday cards.
Josh Powell was the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan, from their home in West Valley City, Utah, in 2009. He was never arrested or charged in the case, and a month after she vanished, he moved with his boys back to his father Steve's home in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle. A couple weeks later, on Dec. 21, Steve wrote to a colleague about how Josh and the boys had moved back to live with him and that the children were traumatized by the bright lights of the media and "the searches."
"Even with Josh and the boys here, I am so numb much of each day that I have to put myself on auto-pilot to get things done," he wrote. "I know there are people with worse problems, but when it's yourself experiencing the suffering, you can't just tune it out." He then added: "I still need to send a card to Susan's folks." Her parents said no such card ever arrived.
Powell later described to a colleague in 2011 how he and Josh were baffled by the ongoing investigation in Utah. The case appeared to take an increasing toll on him. He requested time off around the time of the search warrants and then later complained of harassing phone calls from Utah that accused him of "harboring a criminal, accusing my son of murder." In the search warrant used to examine Powell's belongings, authorities said, they were investigating a murder in West Valley City, Utah, though nobody has ever been charged with a crime. Utah investigators say the case remains open and they are still publicly calling it a "missing persons" matter.
Published on Jan 30, 2012
Canada -- A jury found an Afghan father, his wife and son guilty of killing three teenage sisters and a co-wife in what the judge described as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honor" in a case that shocked Canadians. (Jan. 30)
First Posted: 1/25/12 - Updated: 01/26/2012 11:18:16 AM PST
Canada -- Prosecutors are trying what they say is a chilling honor murder that led to the massacre of half of the Shafia family.
Atlanta, GA (WCJB) -- The day after little Jorelys Rivera's mangled body was found in a suburban Atlanta trash compactor, Ryan Brunn sat in a stark room for a police interview. He began with confidence, but ended with trouble. Keith Sitton, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, hooked up the jeans-clad Brunn to a polygraph machine. Then, he fired off a series of questions to the 20-year-old maintenance man. A videotape of Brunn's polygraph test was released Thursday.
•» Sitton: "Regarding that girl, do you intend to answer these questions truthfully?"
•» Brunn: "Yes."
•» Sitton: "Did you participate in any way in causing the death of that girl?"
•» Brunn: "No."
•» Sitton: "Did you cause the death of that girl?"
•» Brunn: "No."
•» Sitton: "Do you know for sure who caused the death of that girl?"
•» Brunn: "No."
Sitton asked the questions three times. Each time, Brunn said he had nothing to do with Jorelys' killing. By the end of the interview, Sitton knew better. Brunn had turned into a prime suspect. In the videotape, he tells Brunn that he did poorly on the questions regarding his alleged participation in Jorelys' death and the disposal of her body.
•» Sitton: "I can see you're not doing good on this test."
•» Brunn: "Those two questions are really bothering me. I'm not holding back. I promise you. I'll take the test again."
But that was not an option for Brunn. The next day, on December 7, he was arrested. Eventually, he pleaded guilty and, standing before a judge in a Cherokee County courthouse, he described in detail how he enticed, molested and killed Jorelys, 7, in Canton, 40 miles north of Atlanta. After he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Brunn hanged himself with his sweathshirt in a prison cell.
It was that polygraph test that was started Brunn's unraveling. "I've been doing this for a long time," Sitton tells Brunn at the start of the session. But Brunn seems not at all concerned about the questions he is about to face.
Some people think they can beat a polygraph test, said Dr. Peter Ash, a forensic psychiatrist at Emory University in Atlanta. "The fact is that most of them can't do it," he said. "You can control how you look. You can't control how you sweat." Besides, said Ash, criminals are not known for good judgment.
His shirt sleeve rolled up to his shoulders, Brunn begins by telling Sitton that on a scale of one to 10, he is a 7.5 on the truth meter. That he had lied the day before when police asked him whether he'd run the trash compactor at the River Ridge Apartments in Canton, where Jorelys's body was found. "I should have just told the truth straight up," Brunn says. "But I didn't. I was scared."
Brunn tells Sitton that his family was originally from New York but he had been living in Dahlonega, Georgia. He moved to the Canton complex in November, where he was living at a discount and working in maintenance. He'd finished 10th grade but no more. Sitton tells him it's never too late to graduate. Brunn went to Honduras a few years back on a church mission to help rebuild houses for the needy. Sutton asks him if he smoked marijuana. Brunn admits to smoking the night before. He answers Sitton's questions with apparent ease, not as a man who had committed a heinous crime. By the end of the polygraph test, Brunn's voice is slight. He appears more nervous and goes outside to smoke a cigarette.
When he returns, Sitton confronts him about his lies. "There's something on this that you're not telling us. Something that you are keeping to yourself," he says. "What is it you're holding back? Because we're trying to solve this thing." Brunn fiddles with his cell phone. Sitton tells him not to worry about his calls, that he's got more important things to worry about.
•» Sitton: "It's just written all over you. Something's bothering you."
•» Brunn: "I am not bothered at all."
•» Sitton: "You haven't told the complete truth about everything."
•» Brunn: "I have."
It turns out Brunn lied about smoking pot, as well. He had smoked that morning, not the night before, as he said previously. Sitton tells him that he is concerned about Brunn's marijuana habit. Brunn says he gets high but "it doesn't make me crazy. I promise you that." Before the video cuts off, Sitton asks Brunn about allegations he faced in Virginia before his move to Georgia. He had been accused of sexually fondling another girl.
•» Sitton: "You know what I'm talking about."
•» Brunn: "I don't."
•» Sitton: "Remember I said you had to be 100% truthful? I asked you if anyone made accusations. So what you done is told me a lie. You also lied about the trash compactor."
•» Brunn: "They put things in that child's head," Brunn says. I'm a good person. I didn't do nothing to that little Spanish girl and I didn't do nothing to (the other) girl."
There is little remorse in Brunn's words. Later in court, he would describe how he used a roller skate to lure Jorelys into a vacant apartment. He told the judge he made the girl undress and wanted to take her for "sexual purposes." He said he got scared that she would go home and tell her parents what had happened. So he struck her with the skate, slit her throat and tossed her body into the compactor. He even taped a handwritten note telling investigators that Jorelys was in there, almost as though he wanted his crime to be discovered. In court, he would tell Jorelys' family that he was sorry. "Lo siento," he said in Spanish. But in front on Jorelys' sobbing mother, Brunn's apology fell far short. Two days later, he, too, was dead.
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Guilty As Sin!
GA -- Ryan Brunn's plea deal means he will avoid the death penalty for molesting and murdering 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. Jorelys' mangled body was found in a trash compactor three days after she went missing on December 2 from an apartment complex in Canton, Georgia, about 40 miles north of Atlanta. According to the indictment, Jorelys was severely beaten and stabbed repeatedly in the face, neck and chest.
Last week, Brunn was indicted on 13 counts including murder, aggravated assault, cruelty to children, aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, false imprisonment, abandonment of a dead body, making a false statement and sexual exploitation of children. According to court testimony, Brunn took Jorelys to an empty apartment and instructed her to pull down her pants. He then put tape over her face and cut her throat with a razor. At this point, she was still alive, he told the court. He said that he then took Jorelys to the bathroom and beat her to death with the skate. He said he did not have sex with the girl. Brunn told the court, he grew concerned about what he had done. So he took a receipt, wrote on the back of it, "She is in the trash can," and taped it to the compactor.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Atlanta, Ga. (WCJB) -- Ryan Brunn, the man who this week was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering a Georgia girl, apparently killed himself in his prison cell Thursday, a corrections spokeswoman said. Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kristen Stancil said that Brunn was found unresponsive at 4:15 p.m. in his cell at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. Brunn was pronounced dead at a hospital at 5:37 p.m. due to an apparent suicide, she said. The case since has been referred to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, according to Stancil.
December 9, 2011
Canton, Georgia (WCJB) -- The suspect in the slaying of a 7-year-old Georgia girl worked in the apartment complex where she lived, investigators said Wednesday. Authorities arrested maintenance worker Ryan Brunn, 20, Wednesday afternoon. He is charged with killing 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera, who was last seen alive Friday near a playground at the apartment complex in Canton. Investigators found her body in a trash compactor there three days later.
"We believe that this horrendous crime was planned and calculated," Vernon Keenan, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told media sources. One resident said she told investigators about a recent conversation she had with Brunn, who mentioned that someone could break into one of the many vacant apartments in the complex and harm a child. Jorelys was abducted "in the immediate vicinity" of the apartment complex's playground, then taken to an empty apartment nearby, Keenan said.
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Movie Intermission! Aileen Wuornos:
Life and Death of a Serial Killer
Life and Death of a Serial Killer
Description: Florida -- Aileen Carol Wuornos, a highway prostitute and serial killer who was executed in 2002 for killing seven men in the state of Florida.