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Topics - Granny B

Missing teacher, teen student found in W.Va. motel

By Vicki Smith, Associated Press Writer

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A Massachusetts schoolteacher was behind bars on a kidnapping charge in West Virginia on Tuesday after police found her at a motel with a 15-year-old boy whose parents had complained about the relationship.
Lisa Lavoie, 24, appeared before a Monongalia County magistrate by videoconference from the North Central Regional Jail near Flatwoods, in central West Virginia. She was ordered held without bond because kidnapping in West Virginia carries a possible life sentence, said State Police Cpl. T.W. Goodnight.

In Massachusetts, she faces a charge of enticing a child under 16, and authorities in West Virginia plan to charge her as a fugitive from justice, Goodnight said. Michael Sullivan, mayor of Holyoke, Mass., said the enticement charge includes statutory rape. Lavoie will likely be released to Massachusetts authorities, but those details have not been worked out.

The boy's mother had contacted Maurice Donahue Elementary School on Feb. 13, saying she was concerned about the relationship between her son and an eighth-grade teacher. The teen was reported missing Feb. 16.

Authorities had been tracking the teacher and boy for several days through credit card and cellphone use, Sullivan said. On Monday night, state police were informed she was at the Super 8 Motel in a Morgantown shopping center just off Interstate 68.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Massachusetts | West Virginia | Sullivan | Morgantown | Holyoke | Monongalia County | Goodnight | Flatwoods | North Central Regional Jail
A motel manager declined comment, but Goodnight said the staff had been in contact with Massachusetts authorities before his team arrived Tuesday morning. After confirming a vehicle in the parking lot belonged to Lavoie, troopers got a passkey and went to her room.

The door was deadbolted, and officers tried to kick it in before Lavoie and the boy opened it, Goodnight said. Lavoie surrendered quietly.

Goodnight would not reveal where the boy had been taken but said arrangements are being made to send him home. The eighth-grader will be interviewed by child welfare officials, then reunited with his family. The teen showed "no outward signs of physical abuse" when he was found, Sullivan said.

Lavoie has been a teacher in Holyoke for five months and has been placed on paid administrative leave.

"Her family and I are happy that she is safe and we'll see what develops over the next couple of days," said David Hoose, her Massachusetts attorney, before declining to comment further.

Sullivan said the city will review teacher training and student awareness programs. The Donahue principal has met with 7th and 8th grade students to advise them of counseling opportunities available, and some students are worried about their friend.

"We have to make sure students understand improper behavior and improper advances and we're going to make some changes in our professional development," he said.

Contributing: Associated Press writer Mark Pratt in Boston contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Infant, 6 others shot at Mardi Gras parade 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A Mardi Gras parade erupted into chaos on Fat Tuesday when a series of gunshots struck seven people, including a toddler. The child was not seriously injured and two suspects were in custody, police said.
The shootings happened near the Garden District about 1:40 p.m. after the last major parade of the celebration, Rex, had ended. A stream of truck floats that follow the parade were passing by when gunfire broke out.

PAST COVERAGE: Mardi Gras keeps marching on

"It sounded like a string of fireworks, so I knew it was more than one shooter," said Toni Labat, 29, a limousine company manager. She was with her two children, a 2-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl.

"Everybody was petrified. They hit the ground, the floats stopped, everybody on the floats ducked," Labat said.

Police spokesman Bob Young said the victims -- three men ages 50, 33 and 20, two young women ages 20 and 17 and a 15-year-old boy -- were taken to area hospitals. The conditions of all the victims were not immediately available, but Young said the 20-month-old baby was grazed by a bullet and not seriously hurt.

Dr. Jim Parry, 41, a surgeon who was with a gathering of doctors near the shooting site, ran over to tend to one man who he said had been shot in the abdomen. "He kept asking me, 'Was I shot? Was I shot?"'

Paramedics arrived and took over for the Air Force reservist.

"I'm off to Afghanistan this summer. Damn, this is more dangerous than Afghanistan," Parry said.

Two men, 19-year-old Mark Brooks and 18-year-old Louis Lazone, both of New Orleans, were each booked with seven counts of attempted first-degree murder. Brooks also faces a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Young said. It was not immediately known if the men had attorneys.

Three weapons believed used in the shooting were recovered, Young said. It was not immediately clear whether the gunfire was random or if the shooters were aiming for the victims or each other.

The violence along the oak-lined Uptown streetcar line marred what had been a generally peaceful day of revelry in which hundreds of thousands of people partied in the streets on the final day of Carnival. Another shooting was reported on Friday night after an argument, but otherwise, the event was generally problem-free.

Beau Beals, 45, said he was outside a house party on St. Charles Avenue when the shooting erupted. He said he and other revelers tossed children over a metal fence to get them to safety, but others kept waiting for beads and other trinkets being tossed from the floats as if nothing had happened.

"They had an ambulance out here picking the guy up off the street and people didn't stop vying for throws," Beals said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Appeals court asked for sex-offender law rehearing


Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Department of Justice on Monday asked a full appeals court to rule that the federal government has the power to hold sex offenders in custody indefinitely beyond the end of their prison terms.

The filing seeks the reversal of a three-judge panel's ruling last month that Congress overstepped its authority when it allowed civil commitment of "sexually dangerous" federal inmates. The panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the law intrudes on police powers that the Constitution reserves for states, many of which have their own similar statutes.

In asking the full 4th Circuit to rehear the case, the government argues that it assumes responsibility for inmates in federal custody and should be allowed to "create civil commitment procedures for such persons to protect the public safety."

Five inmates at the federal prison hospital in Butner, N.C., challenged the law after they were held beyond the end of their sentences. The federal public defender's office in Raleigh, which represented the inmates, declined to comment Monday.

In upholding a ruling by U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt of Raleigh, the 4th Circuit panel had become the first federal appeals court to rule on an issue that's divided courts nationwide. The Richmond court's decision is only binding only in the states in the 4th Circuit: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland.

Civil commitment was authorized by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which took effect in July 2006. The act, named after the son of "America's Most Wanted" television host John Walsh, also established a national sex-offender registry along with other provisions.


February 23, 2009 - 4:34 p.m. CST
Federal judge admits sex abuse, lying Prosecution drops sex charges as Kent pleads guilty to obstruction.

By Juan A. Lozano


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HOUSTON -- A federal judge pleaded guilty Monday to lying to investigators about sexually abusing his secretary, in exchange for prosecutors dropping five sex crime charges alleging that he groped the secretary and another female court employee.

As part of the plea agreement, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent admitted he tried to force his former case manager into unwanted sex acts in August 2003 and March 2007 and did the same with his secretary from 2004 through at least 2005.

Kent, the first federal judge charged with a sex crime, also retired, effective immediately.

But, because he was appointed for life, it was unclear whether the retirement would help him avoid possible impeachment by Congress or whether he would still collect a salary.

Kent's guilty plea to obstruction of justice came as jury selection for his trial was to begin Monday.

When Kent was arraigned last year, he vowed in his booming voice to bring a "horde of witnesses" to fight what he called "flagrant, scurrilous" charges.

But on Monday, with his head bowed, he barely spoke above a whisper, prompting presiding U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to ask him to speak up so the court reporter could hear.

"Judge Kent believes this compromise settlement was in the best interests of all involved," his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said in a brief statement. "A trial would have been long, embarrassing and difficult for all involved."

The Justice Department did not comment about the guilty plea, only issuing a news release on the facts of the case. A gag order remains in place.

Kent had been facing six charges -- five related to federal sex crimes and the obstruction charge.

The latter, a felony, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If he had been convicted of the most serious federal sex crime charges against him, Kent could have faced life in prison.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek no more than three years in prison when Kent is sentenced on May 11.

The two women, former case manager Cathy McBroom and secretary Donna Wilkerson, were in the courtroom as Kent entered his guilty plea.

"I'm very happy this part of the process is over,"

McBroom said afterward. "I feel extremely relieved, and I look forward to the sentencing."

Wilkerson "wanted to come forth today to be a beacon of hope for other people who may be in a situation she was in," said Terry Yates, her attorney.

Joseph St. Amant, a spokesman for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said that the court had not received any notice from Kent about his retirement and that his status was unclear. Retired federal judges are still paid their salaries.

But Arthur Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and an expert on federal courts, said federal law says judges must retire at 65 to continue to collect their salaries. Kent is 59.

"If he's retiring, he's still technically a judge, and he could still be technically impeached," Hellman said.

Authorities first investigated Kent when McBroom filed a complaint against him in May 2007 and the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals began an inquiry.

McBroom accused Kent of harassing and sexually abusing her during a four-year period.

She said it culminated in March 2007, when the judge pulled up her blouse and bra and tried to escalate contact until they were interrupted.

The judicial council suspended Kent in September 2007 for four months with pay but didn't detail the allegations against him.

It also transferred him from Galveston, where he had worked since his 1990 appointment, to Houston, 50 miles to the northwest, where he would not be the lone judge.

A Justice Department investigation of McBroom's claims led to Kent's indictment in August on three federal sex charges.

Last month, prosecutors added two more sex charges and the obstruction charge of lying to the judicial council.
 We are and always have been a Republic - not a Democracy.  Civics 101.  There is no mention of "democracy" in our Constitution.
Watch this video.  It reveals the intent our founders had and how insightful they really were.   

Too bad we do not teach this in our schools any more.  You like me may have forgotten the way government was taught.

Democracy or Republic 

Do you know the difference between Democracy and Republic?

Our Founding Fathers wanted a Republic not a Democracy, here's why, This is a good video.  Most of us couldn't come close to explaining this as well as it is done here, if at all.     

This is well worth watching.

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." - Ghandi

Oklahoma City police officer pulls man over for anti-Obama sign on vehicle

By Johnny Johnson - Staff Writer
Published: February 19, 2009

The police officers who stopped Oklahoma City motorist Chip Harrison and confiscated a sign from his car told him he has a right to his beliefs, but the U.S. Secret Service "could construe this as a threat against President Obama," according to the incident report released this morning.

Capt. Steve McCool of the Oklahoma City Police Department is seen in this video frame grab. McCool says an officer who wrongly pulled a man over last week and confiscated an anti-Barack Obama sign from his vehicle misinterpreted the sign as threatening.

Featured VideoMcCool addresses officer'

Feb 19 OCPD Capt. Steve McCool addresses an incident in which an officer confiscated an anti-Obama sign from a man's vehicle.

The sign, which read "Abort Obama Not the Unborn," was returned to Harrison later that day, the report said.

Police spokesman Steve McCool said this morning that the sign was taken in error, and Oklahoma City residents should not be worried that their First Amendment rights will be violated. He said a supervisor "intervened and quickly returned the sign" after Harrison called the police department.

"Obviously, it was not a good decision to confiscate the sign," McCool said.

Harrison, who could not be reached for comment this morning, told the officers that in his opinion the words "Abort Obama" meant to impeach him. He told the officers he does not believe in abortion because he is a Christian.

Harrison was stopped while driving a white truck on westbound Interstate 44 at SW 119th at 8:45 a.m. on Feb. 12, according to the police report.

While in Austin, this past week, our advocates from the Love of Christy Organization explained about Horses and Zebras to us.

In this world there are Horses and there are Zebras. 

We all start off as Horses.  We happily live our lives in blissful ignorance of what it really means to lose someone to murder.  Maybe we think we would know how it would feel, but we really don't.  Those people are Horses.

When you lose a loved one to murder and crime, then you quit being a Horse anymore.  Whether you want them or not, you have now been painted with your Zebra stripes. 

Zebras can't be Horses any more, no matter how hard they try to lose their stripes.  Zebras can't get rid of their stripes and they can't hide them for long.  Those stripes set us aside from the Horses.  We make the Horses nervous and uncomfortable to be around us, because they don't really know how to talk to us anymore and they really don't know how we feel.

Horse: Uhm, Hi, how ya doing. 
Zebra: Fine. Doing great!
Horse: Good! Glad to hear that.  See ya around. 

Then the Horses start to avoid the Zebras to keep from hearing about their pain at the loss of their loved one to crime.  And the Zebras hold it in and lie about how they are doing to keep from  making the horses uncomfortable around them.

But then there is one more type of Horse............................

The Jackass! 

They are the ones like nats who bray to  the Zebras:

"i hope cathy henderson does not die from the death penalty nobody deserves to die but fergie~these past few weeks have shown me one thing well several actually! the death penalty is wrong because nobody has the right to kill for revenge etc but what i have realy learned is by the victims families having the waiting game~it makes them into very bitter angry irrational people and they become the victims~which is a shame but hey they bring it on themselves whereas i feel that they need to just move on like others who suffer death in their family and maybe if the dp was abolished~all their bitterness and anger (these ppl remain bitter and maybe destroy the other childrens lives in their families~by focusing on it so many years later. anyway as i said i am bored and done with it however it has been an eye opener the who circus


But, hey, they brought it on themselves!
Aren't you over it yet? 
It's been 3 weeks, or 3 months, or 3 years or 15 years, or 20 years or........... 
For God's sake just get over it. 
Move on with your life. 
Why do you keep dwelling on it? 
You can't change the past!

But the worst Jackasses are the ones like the Poisonous Penguin Sister Helen Prejean, John G., Vincent/alanthony, or elma chop chop  who like to torment the murder victim's family.  They publicly call them bloodthirsty for wanting justice, or they deny the murder at all, saying that the murderer is the innocent victim.

Nope!  I'd rather not be a Zebra.  But I'll carry my stripes to my grave with the rest of the Zebras.  And I will honor my innocent little grandbaby victim by seeing to it that justice is done for him, no matter how many Jackasses there are in the world!
NY lawmaker sworn in amid assault investigation
Thursday, January 08, 2009

By MICHAEL GORMLEY and COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press Writers

ALBANY, N.Y. --  A former police officer and councilman was sworn in as a new state senator, despite facing charges that he slashed his girlfriend's face with a piece of broken glass in a jealous rage.

Hiram Monserrate was surrounded by a dozen applauding friends, relatives and staff, but his girlfriend was conspicuously absent Wednesday.

Some said the charges should have kept Monserrate from taking office, and one senator turned away before a photo could be taken with the new lawmaker.

"I guess they were wrong. I'm here, and I'm here for the long haul," Monserrate said of his critics. "Of course my colleagues are treating me nice," he said.

Monserrate was part of a new influx of lawmakers who helped Democrats gain control of the Senate for the first time in four decades.

Monserrate was charged with assault and weapon possession after Karla Giraldo's face was slashed on Dec. 19 at his New York City home. The gash over her eye required 25 stitches.

Both said the incident was an accident _ Monserrate told police that he tripped while holding a glass of water and that the glass accidentally hit her.

But authorities say evidence, including surveillance videos, paints a more violent picture of a heated argument and a frightened, bleeding woman in distress. Investigators say Monserrate purposely smashed her face with broken glass because he thought she was also dating a police officer.

According to the police report, Giraldo initially said she was assaulted, then changed her account after learning officers planned to arrest him. She later filed a statement with police saying she did not wish to press charges.

The Queens district attorney's office said the case is pending.

Brooklyn Republican Sen. Martin Golden, who earlier introduced a resolution to delay Monserrate's swearing in for a month until the issue is resolved, accepted Monserrate's handshake Wednesday but turned away before the press could take their picture together.,4670,NYSenatorAssault,00.html

He's a pretty nasty character to be sworn in as a state Senator.  He is someone who will be voting on state policy and laws that have to do with domestic violence and sexual assault.  Someone who has a stake in lowering the penalties or weakening those laws.  As it all unfolds, I wonder how he will vote on the issues? Pro  better domestic violence laws to prove he did not do it and was not such a bad guy after all?  Or.....To weaken and do away with penalties that he will face the next time he beats up his girlfriend or a wife? ???

It's Survival of the Weak and Scrawny

Researchers see 'evolution in reverse' as hunters kill off prized animals with the biggest antlers and pelts

Some of the most iconic photographs of Teddy Roosevelt, one of the first conservationists in American politics, show the president posing companionably with the prizes of his trophy hunts. An elephant felled in Africa in 1909 points its tusks skyward; a Cape buffalo, crowned with horns in the shape of a handlebar mustache, slumps in a Kenyan swamp. In North America, he stalked deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and elk, which he called "lordly game" for their majestic antlers. What's remarkable about these photographs is not that they depict a hunter who was also naturalist John Muir's staunchest political ally. It's that just 100 years after his expeditions, many of the kind of magnificent trophies he routinely captured are becoming rare.

Elk still range across parts of North America, but every hunting season brings a greater challenge to find the sought-after bull with a towering spread of antlers. Africa and Asia still have elephants, but Roosevelt would have regarded most of them as freaks, because they don't have tusks. Researchers describe what's happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting--picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide--works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers.

When hunting is severe enough to outstrip other threats to survival, the unsought, middling individuals make out better than the alpha animals, and the species changes. "Survival of the fittest" is still the rule, but the "fit" begin to look unlike what you might expect. And looks aren't the only things changing: behavior adapts too, from how hunted animals act to how they reproduce. There's nothing wrong with a species getting molded over time by new kinds of risk. But some experts believe problems arise when these changes make no evolutionary sense.

Ram Mountain in Alberta, Canada, is home to a population of bighorn sheep, whose most vulnerable individuals are males with thick, curving horns that give them a regal, Princess Leia look. In the course of 30 years of study, biologist Marco Festa-Bianchet of the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec found a roughly 25 percent decline in the size of these horns, and both male and female sheep getting smaller. There's no mystery on Ram Mountain: male sheep with big horns tend to be larger and produce larger offspring. During the fall rut, or breeding season, these alpha rams mate more than any other males, by winning fights or thwarting other males' access to their ewes. Their success, however, is contingent upon their surviving the two-month hunting season just before the rut, and in a strange way, they're competing against their horns. Around the age of 4, their horn size makes them legal game--several years before their reproductive peak. That means smaller-horned males get far more opportunity to mate.

Other species are shrinking, too. Australia's red kangaroo has become noticeably smaller as poachers target the largest animals for leather. The phenomenon has been most apparent in harvested fish: since fishing nets began capturing only fish of sufficient size in the 1980s, the Atlantic cod and salmon, several flounders and the northern pike have all propagated in miniature.

So what if fish or kangaroos are smaller? If being smaller is safer, this might be a successful adaptation for a hunted species. After all, " 'fitness' is relative and transitory," says Columbia University biologist Don Melnick, meaning that Darwinian natural selection has nothing to do with what's good or bad, or the way things should be. Tusks used to make elephants fitter, as a weapon or a tool in foraging--until ivory became a precious commodity and having tusks got you killed. Then tuskless elephants, products of a genetic fluke, became the more consistent breeders and grew from around 2 percent among African elephants to more than 38 percent in one Zambian population, and 98 percent in a South African one. In Asia, where female elephants don't have tusks to begin with, the proportion of tuskless elephants has more than doubled, to more than 90 percent in Sri Lanka. But there's a cost to not having tusks. Tusked elephants, like the old dominant males on Ram Mountain, were "genetically 'better' individuals," says Festa-Bianchet. "When you take them systematically out of the population for several years, you end up leaving essentially a bunch of losers doing the breeding."

"Losers" tend not to be very good breeders, meaning that this demographic shift ultimately threatens the viability of a species. Researchers also worry that the surviving animals are left with a narrower gene pool. In highly controlled environments, a species with frighteningly little genetic diversity can persist--think of the extremes of domesticated animals like thoroughbred horses or commercial chickens--but in real ecosystems changes are unpredictable. Artificially selecting animals in the wild--in effect, breeding them--is "a very risky game," says Columbia's Melnick. "It's highly likely to result in the end of a species."

At present, researchers' alarm about these trends are based on theories that are hard to prove. To make scientific claims about the effects of hunting on the evolution of a species, researchers like Melnick would need thorough data from animal populations that lived at least several decades ago, which rarely exist. Evolution, it turns out, is a difficult beast to study in real time because it is the product of so many factors--changes in climate, habitat and food supply, as well as gene frequencies--and because it occurs so slowly. Researchers began tracking sheep on Ram Mountain in the early 1970s, corralling the entire population every year to make measurements and trace genealogies. "You cannot really just go out and take data and look for a trend," says Festa-Bianchet. "Even if you find a trend it can be due to environmental changes, to changes in density. You're really trying to tease out the genetic part of the change."

The time scale is one reason that most wildlife departments managing hunting harvests simply count the heads each year and decide how many to let hunters bag without thinking about genes. The most popular method of regulating hunting--restricting legal game to males with a minimum antler size--results in populations overrun with females and inferior males, which is ultimately no service to hunters. "The hunters wish for animals with large antlers and large horns, and yet their actions are making that harder to achieve," says Richard Harris, a conservation biologist in Montana. As a hunter, Harris knows that the outcome of this trend will satisfy no one, the Teddy Roosevelts of the next generation least of all.
As I read the article I was thinking of the human race and how it is also devolving.  Then I happened to see this comment by olde yankee that put it into perspective for me.

Posted By: olde yankee @ 01/06/2009 2:04:36 PM

I think we should be more concerned with the reverse evolution taking place within the human race! Those who should be reproducing are not, and the ones who would normally have died off in the past are popping them out like rabbits.

PS: The removal of habitat by the yuppie speculators who just finished destroying our economy has cause more permanent reduction in wild life than hunters ever could. Built a summer home in the mountains lately? How about the new mall? Oh my goodness, animals can't live there! Oh my goodness evolution is being harmed!

School Shooter: 'I Didn't Realize' They Would Die

Authorities Ask Students to Report Their Suspicions About Classmates
ABC News Law & Justice Unit
June 11, 2008 

More than a decade and the breadth of a continent stand between Evan Ramsey and the carnage he inflicted on a Bethel, Alaska, high school, but the memories still play vividly through his mind.

Evan Ramsey, 20, in the yard at Spring Creek Correctional Center, tried as adult and given 210-year prison sentence (eligible for parole in 2066) for killing his school principal and a classmate in crime he committed at age 16.
( Rex Rystedt/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)It was Feb. 19, 1997. Twelve-gauge shotgun to his shoulder, Ramsey, then 16, traveled the halls and panicked his classmates as random shots filled the air. When it was over, when the police had Ramsey shackled in cuffs, and a basketball star and the school principal lay dead.

"I honestly believed that if you shoot somebody, that they would get back up," Ramsey told ABC News in a recent interview at the Arizona prison where he is serving a 210-year sentence. It's hard to accept, he admits, but Ramsey said his naivete left him unable to grasp that firing a gun in the real world is different from firing one in a video game: "I didn't realize that you shoot somebody, they die."

Ramsey Says Friends Taught Him About Guns
But two people did die, and what makes their deaths especially tragic is that they probably could have been prevented. In the days before he opened fire, Ramsey told at least two of his closest friends that he could no longer hold his anger. He asked one for a gun and the second for advice on how to use it.

The two told other students what Ramsey had in mind, but no one tried to talk him out of the killing spree. In fact, Ramsey said, they did the opposite.

They said "that while I'm at it, I might as well go shoot this person and that person and that person," Ramsey recalled. One friend "brought up the idea of bringing in a camera and taking pictures so he could save the memory, if you will."

The morbid encouragement by Ramsey's friends may be shocking, but their failure -- and that of everyone else -- to warn school officials or police, or to do anything else to stop his deadly plans is far from unusual.

According to a study sponsored by the Secret Service and the Department of Education and obtained exclusively by ABC News, only 4 percent of the people who knew that a student intended to shoot someone tried to dissuade him -- even though previous research found that 81 percent of school shooters told classmates or teachers of their plans.

The problem, concludes the study, is that America's schools have not made bystanders feel safe about reporting campus shooting threats.

"We found that those who didn't come forward either felt afraid about coming forward, they felt the school climate wouldn't support them, or they were afraid they'd be made fun of," said William Pollack, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the author of the study.

Ramsey said that in his case, a warning when he first thought about killing someone would have made all the difference.

"If somebody had said something," he insisted, "my crime wouldn't have happened."

The Bystander's Role
Researchers have long been puzzled by what provokes students to shoot their classmates and teachers dead, but a clearer picture has emerged from Secret Service and Education Department studies. Experts have discovered that:

Three-quarters of school shooters were bullied.

A similar proportion were severely depressed and suicidal.

About 93 percent were known by teachers and school officials to have had emotional problems before the shooting.

The shooters came from a range of economic backgrounds, from working class to upper-middle class.

Only recently, though, have researchers turned their attention to the bystanders, the ones who might have prevented the shootings but didn't. Students like Betina Lynn.

In May 1998, Lynn was a junior at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., and a teaching assistant for a freshman class. One day when the teacher was out of the room, Lynn overheard Kip Kinkel, a student in the class, mention that he wanted "to add this kid to his hit list," she told ABC News.

"I knew something was going to happen," she said. "I knew he was angry enough and he was getting tired of the bullying and the teasing, that there was going to be some sort of confrontation."

But Lynn said nothing about what she had heard.

Days later, after he shot and killed his parents at home, Kinkel went to school with a gun, killed two students and wounded 25 others. Asked why she hadn't shared her fears and Kinkel's disturbing words with school officials, Lynn responded with her own questions.

"Who knows if the principal would have taken it seriously? Who knows if the vice principal would have taken it seriously? Who knows if his parents would have taken it seriously? What if, what if, what if?" she asked. "One lesson you're taught at an early age is, it's OK to report but don't be a tattletale. Don't be your little brother's overseer and don't run to mommy every time little brother does something wrong."

Silence may be the most common response to suspicions of an impending school shooting, but it has not been the only one.

In November 2001, Craig Duquette, a student at New Bedford High School in Massachusetts, had just taken his seat in biology class when he turned to a student who looked as if she had been crying. She told him that she had heard that a group of students planned to chain shut the school's doors and "open fire on just about anybody that they could," he recalled.

Authorities Ask Students to Report Their Suspicions About Classmates

After the class, another student passed Duquette in the hallway. "When he walked by, he said, 'You might want to loosen your backpack before you die,'" Duquette said. As the morning wore on, he continued to hear about the elements of an impending massacre: backpacks, duffel bags, guns and bombs.

"It was after the Columbine [Colorado school shooting] incident ... and after the comment that had been made to me, I thought that it was real enough that maybe somebody should know about it," Duquette told ABC News. "I would have felt terrible if something actually did happen, and then, I could have gone forward and I never did."

He shared what he had heard with the school's headmaster and campus police. The tip led investigators to a group of students who called themselves the Trenchcoat Mafia, the name used by the killers at Columbine, and to a stash of ammunition, knives, Nazi photographs, bomb-making recipes and drug paraphernalia at their homes.

Eric McKeehan, a 17-year-old student at the school, confessed to planning a massacre that would surpass the death toll at Columbine but claimed he had abandoned the scheme after police got wind of it.

Duquette may have saved lives, but he brushes aside any suggestion that he is a hero.

"I just knew what I had to do, and I went and told somebody," he said. "It wasn't a matter of, you know, if they [the would-be shooters] find out, they're going to kill me or something like that. ... I didn't want something to happen to everybody in the school."

Persuading Students to Come Forward

Pollack, the author of the new school-shooting study, said Duquette's modesty is not unusual for students who blow the whistle on would-be shooters, and the New Bedford case is a perfect example of how police and school officials should respond to a student's warning.

"As you go along, you don't investigate to create a [criminal] case," he explained. "You gather more and more names, more and more data. You open up the circle and then get those in the circle to open up to you. And then -- poof! -- right away you know whose house to go to to find out what's going wrong. And then you get [the potential shooters] evaluated and into a safe space before something happens."

So how do schools persuade more students to come forward? Ramsey said he believes that it's just a matter of appealing to their better instincts.

"Explain to them the justice that they would be serving," he said. "They would be preventing somebody from committing something atrocious like murder."

Former Policeman, Teen Arrested After Ga. Standoff

Teen girl, former SC policeman in custody after standoff at Ga. motel ends

By KATE BRUMBACK Associated Press Writer
MADISON, Ga. January 5, 2009 (AP) The Associated Pre

A 13-hour hostage standoff at a Georgia motel ended peacefully Monday when a former South Carolina police officer and a teenage girl surrendered, freeing his estranged wife and infant son.

FBI spokesman Steve Lazarus said 25-year-old David Dietz surrendered around 9:15 a.m. at the Red Roof Inn off Interstate 20 about 60 miles east of Atlanta. Jamie Lynn Burgess, 17, was also taken into custody at the time.

The two had been holed up in a second floor room with the infant, Allim David Dietz, and Dietz's estranged wife, 29-year-old Eva Arce-Perez. Two shots were fired at law enforcement agents from the room Sunday night.

The next morning, Dietz stepped onto the walkway outside the motel room holding the baby in his arms as he surrendered. Burgess exited the room with her hands in the air.

Burgess helped Dietz in the kidnapping, West Columbia, S.C., Police Major Jackie Brothers said.

"It's our understanding they arrived together, they waited together and when the family and friends arrived home, she actively participated in the abduction," Brothers said.

Police said Burgess and Dietz were acquaintances but wouldn't elaborate on their relationship.

Burgess was set to return to South Carolina Monday night, where she would be charged with kidnapping, carjacking and assault with intent to kill, Brothers said. She won't face federal charges because she's a minor, Lazarus said.

Dietz, who wore a black uniform emblazoned with the word "police" during the abduction, was being held in federal custody in Macon and would face federal charges of kidnapping in South Carolina and federal charges of assaulting a federal officer in Georgia since shots were fired at FBI agents, Lazarus said. He said they hoped to bring Dietz before a federal magistrate on Tuesday.

He also faces state charges including kidnapping, assault with intent to kill and carjacking in South Carolina and five counts of aggravated assault in Georgia, authorities said.
Angry Ohio Boy, 4, Shoots Baby Sitter With Shotgun, Police Say
Monday, January 05, 2009

JACKSON, Ohio --  Police say an angry 4-year-old Ohio boy grabbed a gun from a closet and shot his baby sitter.

Eighteen-year-old Nathan Beavers was hospitalized Sunday with minor wounds to his arm and side after the shotgun attack. Police say another teen was also injured.

Witnesses told police the child was angry because Beavers accidentally stepped on his foot. Beavers was watching the child at a mobile home in Jackson with several other teenagers and several other children.

Jackson County Sheriff John Shashteen says authorities are investigating. The child has not been charged.,2933,476525,00.html
New video shows BART officer shooting Hayward man in the back

By Sean Maher
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 01/04/2009 10:10:58 PM PST

OAKLAND -- A BART police officer struggling to handcuff a 22-year-old man, stood up over the facedown Hayward resident and fired a single shot into his back while a handful of officers watched, a video taken by a train passenger apparently shows.

The attorney for the family of Oscar Grant III, fatally shot by an unidentified BART officer early New Year's Day, said Sunday he plans to file a $25 million lawsuit against the department and asked prosecutors to consider filing murder charges against the officer.

The shooting occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday after five officers responded to the Fruitvale station to reports of a fight on a train, officials said, though they have not confirmed whether Grant was involved in the fight.

The new video, obtained by television station KTVU, shows two officers restraining a struggling suspect. While the man is lying face down on the ground, one officer appears to be seen pulling out a gun and firing a single shot into his back.

Civil rights attorney John Burris, known for his work in several high-profile cases involving police abuse and corruption, said at a Sunday news conference that the shooting was "the most unconscionable shooting" he has ever seen. He said that the Alameda County district attorney should consider filing charges of second degree murder or manslaughter against the officer.

"I've drafted a notice of claim against BART for $25 million I plan to submit officially,"

Burris said, adding that the officer had violated Grant's civil rights and caused his wrongful death.

The Police Department is in the early stages of a thorough investigation, BART police Chief Gary Gee said Sunday at a news conference. He declined to discuss many details, as doing so "before all the facts are in could compromise individual recollections and do disservice to the truth and the answers we're all seeking."

BART police are cooperating fully with a parallel investigation by the Alameda County district attorney's office, Gee said.

Gee declined to identify the officer but said he is a two-year BART police veteran. The officer was given drug and alcohol tests before being sent home on administrative leave Thursday, Gee said.

The last BART officer-involved shooting occurred in May 2001, Gee said.

Mario Pangelina Jr., whose sister had a 4-year-old daughter with Grant, said he was on the same train as Grant that night, but on a different car. He said he saw Grant's interactions with police immediately before the shooting.

"First, an officer grabbed Oscar by the neck and pushed him against the wall," Pangelina said. "Oscar didn't fight him, but he didn't go down either. He was like, 'What did I do?' Then another officer came up with his Taser and held it right in his face. Oscar said, 'Please don't shoot me, please don't Taser me, I have a daughter,' over and over again, real fast, and he sat down."

Grant was the only man in a small group sitting against the wall who was not handcuffed, Burris said, so officers grabbed him away from the wall and pressed him belly-down onto the ground.

"One officer was kneeling over his neck and head, and another standing over him," Burris said. "He was not kicking, and one officer was pulling on his arm. The standing officer pulled out his weapon and, within moments, fired the gun into Mr. Grant's back."

Burris said the bullet went through Grant's lower back and ricocheted off the ground up into his lungs, killing him.

BART's 206 sworn officers attend the same academies and training programs as city police and sheriff's deputies. According to BART's Web site, its requirements go beyond state guidelines, as every officer applicant must have completed at least a year of college.

Police have one video of the incident in evidence, different from the video that local media have released, and the quality of that video makes it hard to reach a sure conclusion, Gee said.

"It's not clear to me why the officer felt he needed to shoot. I don't know, and from my perspective it doesn't matter," Burris said.

Two authorities on police use of deadly force, both former law enforcement officers, said the newly discovered tape leaves unanswered questions.

"Strictly on the basis of this video, it is impossible to determine whether the shooting was justified because the officer who fired the shot might have seen some imminent threat to his or others' lives that the camera does not detect at that distance, angle and resolution," said Michael Scott, a University of Wisconsin law professor, former police chief in Florida and co-author of "Deadly Force: What We Know."

Scott said he watched the video several times. If there was a threat, he wrote in an e-mail to the Times, it "would most likely have to be a firearm or other weapon in the possession of Mr. Grant. However, if it turns out that Mr. Grant had no such weapon, it is awfully difficult to imagine what might have justified the use of deadly force."

Curtis J. Cope agreed that the tape doesn't show enough to draw clear conclusions.

"There are so many things we don't know," said Cope, a former 30-year law enforcement officer who has conducted police training and provides expert testimony in police procedure cases. "We certainly don't know the reason why they decided to put him prone on the ground. We don't know what reactions were taking place, what orders were being given and whether or not he is then complying or not complying. ... You need to look at every possible angle of it. Those angles all take time."

Grant was a butcher at popular Oakland grocery store Farmer Joe's and a loving father, family members said Sunday.

"He was so happy with his daughter," said Lita Gomez, sister to the mother of Grant's child. "You could see he was just so happy when he looked at her. Now, he's not going to be there for kindergarten. He's not going to be there for her prom. He's not going to be there for her wedding. She was robbed of that."

Family members erected a memorial for Grant outside the Fruitvale BART station Saturday night, where they said they plan to continue honoring his memory for 10 days.

A public funeral service is planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Palma Ceia Baptist Church, 28605 Ruus Road in Hayward, family members said.

Gee asked anyone with information on the shooting to call BART investigators at 877-679-7000, ext. 7040, or the Alameda County district attorney's office at 510-272-6222.

Staff writer John Simerman contributed to this report.

Deadly force on BART
Officer David Betancourt, a 22-year law enforcement veteran, shot a naked Bruce Seward outside the Hayward BART station before dawn on Memorial Day in 2001. Seward, 42, was asleep on a bench and appeared unconscious. After calling for an ambulance, Betancourt approached when Seward woke up, grabbed the officer's nightstick and swung, smacking the patrol car, police said. Betancourt used pepper spray on Seward, but it had no effect, police said. Family members and mental health advocates decried the shooting, but a BART review cleared Betancourt of wrongdoing.
BART police Officer Fred Crabtree was cleared of wrongdoing after he shot an unarmed 19-year-old man, Jerrold Hall, from behind at the Hayward station in 1992. Crabtree died in 1996, apparently hanging himself. Hall's father, Cornelius Hall, sued the agency and won what he calls a small settlement.
Australia wife charged for setting husband on fire

The Associated Press
Posted: 01/05/2009 08:25:08 PM PST

ADELAIDE, Australia--An Australian woman has been charged with murder after allegedly setting her husband's genitals on fire because she thought he was having an affair.
Prosecutors told the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday that 44-year-old Rajini Narayan confessed to neighbors that she set her husband on fire on Dec. 8, 2008, after she saw him hug another woman.

She was initially charged with endangering life and arson but the charges were upgraded to murder after her 47-year-old husband, Satish Narayan, died from his injuries last week.

Prosecutor Lucy Boord said Narayan told neighbors she was a "jealous wife" but she hadn't meant to kill him when she doused the sleeping man's genitals with an alcohol-based solvent and then set him on fire.

Boord quoted Narayan allegedly saying: "I just wanted to burn his penis so it belongs to me and no one else ... I didn't mean this to happen."

The husband jumped out of bed and knocked over the bottle of alcohol, causing the fire to spread and resulting in 1 million Australian dollars ($715 million) of damage to their town house and an adjacent property, the Adelaide Advertiser reported.

Narayan was remanded in custody for psychological assessment and will reappear in court Friday. She has been charged with murder, arson and three counts of endangering life, as the couple's three children were at home during the incident.
Off Topic - Anything / Let's Talk Guns Here
December 30, 2008, 02:58:15 PM

I've noticed that nearly all the threads have gotten into talk of guns, AK47s, Smith and Wesson, Glocks, you name it. WE (including myself as I am also guilty of asking questions about guns on those threads) have gotten so far off base in those threads that I am reading nothing except gun talk in them now.  Nothing about the murderer or what is going on in the specific case.

How about we use this thread for the gun talk and get the other threads back on track?

Just a suggestion. :-*


CPS final report: Most children from FLDS ranch were abused or neglected
Sect leaders denounce report.
By Corrie MacLaggan


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Texas Child Protective Services investigation has found that of the 439 children removed from the Yearning for Zion ranch in West Texas earlier this year, 275 were abused or neglected.

The final report released Tuesday said that 12 girls were victims of sexual abuse because they entered "spiritual marriages" between the ages of 12 and 15. Seven of them have had children, the report said. It also said that 263 other children suffered neglect.

But the report does not include specific information on how investigators determined whether each child was abused or neglected, citing confidentiality requirements in state law.

The case "is about sexual abuse of girls and children who were taught that underage marriages are a way of life," said the report by the Department of Family and Protective Services, which oversees CPS. "It is about parents who condoned illegal underage marriages and adults who failed to protect young girls -- it has never been about religion."

As a result of the investigation, the report said, 170 parents have taken classes "on appropriate discipline and the psychosexual development of children" and 50 girls took classes on how to identify and report sexual abuse.

CPS is working with the families of 15 children, including two who remain in state custody, department spokesman Patrick Crimmins said. The rest of the children are entirely in their parents' care. He said CPS has exhausted the options state law provides.

The children had been removed from the ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on April 3 and were returned after the Texas Supreme Court ruled May 29 that the state overreached in removing them. Meanwhile, the CPS investigation -- which is separate from the criminal investigation -- continued, and the department presented the findings to Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins, who had requested the report.

"We do believe that their families are now protective of them, and that's different than before April 3," Crimmins said.

Publicly reporting the findings of an abuse or neglect allegation is unprecedented, he said.

Willie Jessop, a member of the breakaway Mormon sect that practices polygamy, said the report didn't prove that the allegations were true.

"We believe it's a desperate attempt to save face for the barbaric actions committed on April 3," Jessop said. "They have spent millions and millions of taxpayer dollars trying to justify what they did."

By June 4, the state had spent more than $12.4 million on the investigation, including costs to place children in shelters in San Angelo and bus them around the state to foster care, including in Austin. Those figures, the most recent available, do not include court costs, regular salaries of state workers and several other expenses.

The CPS investigation began after officials received a report of abuse at the ranch. The alleged victim was never found, and the report was later investigated as a hoax.

"The so-called hoax call is the reason that we initially went there, but the investigation results are only based on what we found at the ranch -- not on that call," Crimmins said.

State officials used DNA testing to determine which children belonged to which parents. Marriage records and a bishop's record found at the ranch were used to verify marriages, Crimmins said.

Scott McCown, a retired state district judge, said that in some ways, the specific evidence that was not cited in the report is irrelevant.

"The big issue that Texas has to grapple with is how does it respond to polygamy?" said McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which is an advocate for low- and middle-income Texans.

The report said that of the 146 families investigated, abuse or neglect was confirmed for 62 percent of them. CPS identified 124 perpetrators -- 30 of sexual abuse and the rest of neglect. In the neglect cases, the report said, parents "failed to remove their children from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child in their family or household."

James Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, criticized the report, saying that CPS's actions should have been reviewed by an independent auditor. "Having employees review their supervisors' decisions will only produce the result the superiors want," Harrington said.

State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, whose district includes Eldorado, where the ranch is located, said the report "validates many of the things (CPS) was criticized for doing," including going into the ranch in the first place.

He said he'll file a bill during the legislative session that begins Jan. 13 that would allow CPS to remove perpetrators rather than alleged victims in cases that involve large communities such as the ranch.

McCown said that state law already offers an option for removing perpetrators but that it may not be wise to do so.

"If you've got a 13-year-old girl forced to marry a 50-year-old man, and her mother made her wedding dress, then leaving her in the care of her mother and removing her father doesn't necessarily solve the problem," McCown said.

In the separate criminal investigation, 12 male residents of the ranch have been indicted on charges including sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault, tampering with evidence, bigamy and failure to report abuse. Among the indicted is sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Texas in 2005 raised the age of legal marriage from 14 to 16, in part to discourage Jeffs' group from settling in Texas, said Hilderbran, who worked to pass the legislation.

Cynthia Martinez of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which has represented several dozen women from the ranch, said that some of the mothers have moved away from the ranch because they say their children were traumatized by the raid and its aftermath.

"All the families are still taking it day by day and are still healing," she said.; 445-3548
Madoff scandal hurts Texas Innocence Project
Funding cut as big donor shuts doors.
By Andrea Ball


Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Bernard Madoff scandal is hitting home for the Innocence Project of Texas.

The JEHT Foundation -- a major financial supporter of the Innocence Project -- is shutting its doors in January because its prime donors invested with Madoff, a Wall Street financier accused of running a pyramid scheme that defrauded investors out of billions of dollars.

That means the foundation will no longer be able to fund the Innocence Project, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions.

JEHT provides $125,000 of the project's $200,000 annual budget, project Chief Counsel Jeff Blackburn said .

"This guy has now single-handedly destroyed the work of dozens of criminal justice organizations in the country," he said.

The funding cut will affect the nonprofit's ability to take on new cases, including those in Austin, Blackburn said. But for now, the financial blow won't affect the nonprofit's current work -- such as DNA testing in Dallas County cases -- because it still has its last JEHT donation.

JEHT's collapse also won't affect Austin cases such as that of Tim Cole, who was convicted and imprisoned for rape and died in prison before DNA testing excluded him as a suspect. The Innocence Project is seeking to exonerate Cole posthumously.

The nonprofit is scrambling to find new donations to stay alive, Blackburn said.

"We're talking to other foundations to see if they'll fund our operations," he said. "The Innocence Project is not going to shut down because of this."

Finding new money may not be easy considering the current economic climate. Nonprofits across the country are struggling to raise money this holiday season as people pull back on their donations.

Meanwhile, foundations are hurting. The Madoff mess affected many nonprofits; sinking foundation endowments as a result of the economy are another problem. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced it will give out fewer grants than it had planned to in 2009.

Even if the Innocence Project finds new support, the collapse of the JEHT Foundation is a blow to criminal justice groups, Blackburn said. The group supported many programs nationally that aimed to reduce levels of incarceration and barriers to voting.

The foundation was founded in 2000. Its name is an acronym for justice, equality, human dignity and tolerance. "There's no organization who can ever replace what the JEHT foundation did," Blackburn said.; 912-2506

If that cuts off some of the bitch's funding then handstands and hoorays.  These trips back and forth to Austin, eats and staying there are costing us out the wazoo.  And no one is helping with ours or Eryn's expenses in these junk science hearings.

Ex-trooper, suspected in highway shootings, dies of injuries
By Danny Robbins


Thursday, December 25, 2008

DALLAS -- A former Utah state trooper, suspected in several Dallas-area roadway shootings that killed at least one motorist, died on Christmas Eve, a hospital official said.

Brian Smith died at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, nursing supervisor Arthur Clarke said.

The 37-year-old had been in critical condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say he shot himself in the head after a brief standoff early Tuesday, more than six hours after the alleged shooting rampage ended.

Dallas police said they think Smith was responsible for at least one death that resulted from the shootings. They declined to comment on another death in neighboring Garland because it was outside their jurisdiction.

Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller earlier said authorities were working to confirm their belief that Smith was the gunman in separate shooting deaths minutes apart Monday on a street in the suburb of Garland and a Dallas interstate.

Earlier Wednesday, police shut down a portion of the LBJ Freeway to re-examine the scene of one of several of the shootings.

Miller and a Garland police official said both departments were waiting for ballistics tests to come back for possible matches of bullet casings.

Warrants for Smith's arrest had been issued in the Fort Worth suburb of Southlake, where authorities have obtained evidence linking him to two robberies in the past eight days.

Both incidents involved thefts in which purses were stolen from women in vehicles parked at businesses on Southlake Boulevard, the main artery connecting Southlake and Keller, where Smith lived.

Police have tied Smith to the incidents through witness identification and video of him using a credit card of one of the victims, Southlake police spokesman Mike Bedrich said.

One of the warrants seeks Smith's arrest on a charge of aggravated robbery for spraying an unknown substance in the victim's face, Bedrich said.

"Our portion of this is only a snippet of a larger unfortunate chain of events," he said.

Smith moved to Keller with his wife and children last spring, just months after his conduct came under scrutiny from the Utah Highway Patrol. His peace officer certification was revoked after he went on a drinking binge and threatened to kill himself.

The family moved to Keller in part because Smith's wife, Angela, has relatives in the area, according to Cindi Schut, a former neighbor in Utah.

In March, Tarrant County records show, Brian and Angela Smith obtained a $215,200 loan to buy a home, which has an appraised value of $276,100. The 3,300-square-foot home has five bedrooms and 3 Ĺ baths.

Friends, coworkers and neighbors of the former Utah state trooper struggled to make sense of the case.

In Utah, friends said they knew Smith as a good father who never lost his temper and coached youth soccer and basketball.

"This is a shock for everyone who knows Brian," said Michael Peterson, Smith's former bishop in the Mormon church. "Obviously, he was struggling with some things. But the Brian Smith that everyone around here knows would never have done any of these things."

A neighbor in Keller, Karen Baughman, said Smith and his family came to her door just last Sunday to offer Christmas cookies they'd brought from church -- an act she described as typical.

"He was just hanging Christmas lights two weeks ago," she said. "I mean, this is dumbfounding."

Smith made it known that he had left law enforcement in Utah to take a job in sales with IBM in the Dallas area, Baughman said.

But nobody would have suspected problems in his past, she said, because he was such a clean-cut person. "When my husband offered him (a beer), he declined it, even though his family was still back in Utah," she said.

The IBM media relations office did not return a call seeking information on Smith's employment.

The Garland shooting Monday happened when a driver pulled up alongside a Nissan and shot and killed the Nissan's driver, 20-year-old Jorge "George" Lopez of Rowlett, said Garland police spokesman Joe Harn.

Three semitrailer drivers were later shot at on Interstate 635, and one of those three died. William Scott Miller, a 42-year-old married father of two from Frankfort, Ky., was on his way to catch a flight home to see his family for the holidays.

Harn said Garland police are still waiting for tests to determine if the gun Smith used on himself is the same one used in Lopez's death.

"I can tell you this: There's nothing telling us so far that it's not him," Harn said.

Man who killed tot 'just wanted to hurt someone'; Cap Metro OKs more rail spending.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Man gets 50 years in girl's death

Timothy Moncebaiz, 28, pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to 50 years in prison for causing injuries that led to the death of a 3-year-old girl.

State District Judge Ken Anderson also found that Moncebaiz used his hand as a deadly weapon, which adds to the severity of the crime and means that Moncebaiz will have to serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.

On July 15, Moncebaiz was playing with his girlfriend's daughter, Angelica Ubillus. Under questioning by his attorney in court Wednesday, Moncebaiz said he swung Angelica and let her go because he "just wanted to hurt someone."

Moncebaiz said that when he let the girl go, she hit her head on a tree trunk, causing severe injuries. But he did not call for help or wake his girlfriend, he said. In the morning, Moncebaiz's girlfriend, Debora DaSilva, found the girl motionless but did not immediately call for help out of fear of losing her other three children, Moncebaiz testified. DaSilva eventually called police, but the child's injuries were so severe that doctors could not operate and she died, according to police.

DaSilva is in jail, charged with injury to a child by omission, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Bail is set at $500,000.
Fitzgerald: 'New low' in Illinois politics

December 9, 2008 at 12:08 PM

U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said today that federal authorities arrested Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich this morning because the governor went on "a political corruption crime spree" that needed to be stopped.

Fitzgerald said secret tape recordings showed Blagojevich was attempting "to sell the U.S. Senate seat" that President-elect Barack Obama recently vacated. Fitzgerald said, "We make no allegations" that Obama was aware of any alleged scheming by Blagojevich.

The governor has the sole power to pick Obama's replacement under the state constitution.

"The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave," Fitzgerald said, quoting Blagojevich as saying the Senate seat is "a bleeping valuable thing. You just don't give it away. ... I've got this thing and it's bleeping golden."

Fitzgerald called the corruption charges against Blagojevich "a truly new low."

Blagojevich wasn't against the corrupt deal for the Senate seat, he was against "being stiffed in the corrupt deal," Fitzgerald said.

The remarks came at a news conference to discuss charges against Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris. Blagojevich and Harris are scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan.

Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, characterized Illinois' place in the pantheon of political corruption.

"If it isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor," Grant said. "Even the most cynical agents in our office were shocked."

Grant said he called Blagojevich about 6 a.m. and told the governor two FBI agents were outside his door and that they had a warrant for his arrest.

After initially asking, "Is this a joke?" Grant said, Blagojevich was "very cooperative."

Grant said the arrest of Blagojevich should serve as notice that "business as usual will no longer be tolerated. That selling your office for personal gain is a thing of the past."

Fitzgerald said the investigation into Blagojevich continues, but authorities acted today to avoid further harm taking place.

"I was not going to wait until March or April or May to get it all nice and tidy" and bring charges, he said. "I think that would be irresponsible."

Fitzgerald thanked the Chicago Tribune, which had been reporting on the investigation, for honoring a rare request about eight weeks ago not to report on certain aspects of the investigation that he said could have been jeopardized.

Tribune Editor Gerould Kern said today that the newspaper delayed publishing some stories at the request of the U.S. attorney's office during the course of reporting on the accelerating investigation of Blagojevich.

"On occasion, prosecutors asked us to delay publication of stories, asserting that disclosure would jeopardize the criminal investigation," Kern said. "In isolated instances, we granted the requests, but other requests were refused."

In the criminal complaint, authorities allege that Blagojevich and Harris sought to pressure the Tribune to fire editorial writers who were critical of his administration. Tribune Co. had been negotiating with the Illinois Finance Authority to purchase Wrigley Field as part of the company's efforts to sell the Cubs baseball team.

Kern said today he never experienced any pressure over the Tribune editorials.

"There was never an instance where I was contacted or called, where any influence at all was placed against me. There were no instances of that."

Kern said he became editor July 18 and since then there's "never been any hint of that. I was as surprised as everyone else when I saw that."

Kern said nobody from the Blagojevich administration ever contacted him about the editorials.

"I never got a complaint. I never got any contact whatsoever from Blagojevich, no complaint--nothing from inside Tribune Co."

Kern pointed out there were no staff reductions in the editorial board. "The facts are what they are."

-- Staff report