Tuesday, February 28, 2012

T.J. Lane, Profile of A Psycho Killer or Just A Bullied Tormented Sole? Update 2-29-2012

Profile of a psycho or just another mixed up teen? That seems to be a question that the FBI thinks is important in these post Columbine days. T. J. Lane was described as a quiet kid at school. A few describe him as quiet loner. But despite being a loner, some said he was witty and quick to share his humor. No one suspected the 17 year old would shoot and kill two of his fellow high school students. Most said Lane was quiet and never had fights or arguments. He never talked about guns. Russel King Jr. (17) and Daniel Parmertor both died as a result of the senseless rampage. Parmertor was shot while waiting for the bus. Demetrius Hewlin has also died, bringing the total deaths to three. (Two others were also wounded in the Ohio shooting, including Nate Mueller who called 911.)

Thomas "T.J." Lane will be arraigned today for the Chardon High School shooting. Investigators have discovered that T.J. came from a family with a history of violence. His father has a record of being arrested several times for abusing women. (Lane's mother was one of the alleged victims.) The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Investigators have discovered that Lane was considered shy and was sometimes the target of bullies. While the shooting took place at 7:30 a.m. in the Chardon High cafeteria, Lane was actually enrolled at Lake Academy Alternative School. He was attending the Alternative School because he was considered an "at risk" student. CNN. Lane's December Facebook foreshadowed possible problems when he authored the following poem: "In a quaint lonely town, sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out. Lost and alone. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees. 'Stay back!' The Guards screamed as they were thrown to their knees. 'Oh God, have mercy, please!'" The Daily Beast.

Meanwhile, FBI agents search for a motive they may never truly understand. Police searched his home and confiscated computer files, phone records and other possible evidence. In the past, T. J.'s dad had been warned by police or the court to stay away from T.J. and his mother. While the evidence may help us to understand more about this young man, the lingering question of why will likely never be answered. Attack.

The domestic abuse angle is hard to ignore. Lane's parents are divorced. T.J. lived with his grandparents. In the mid-1990s, his mom and dad were arrested for domestic violence. (Apparently fighting with each other. ) Thomas Lane Jr., his father, has a long record. TV station WEWS. In 2002, Thomas Lane was charged with attempted murder, assault and kidnapping. The murder charge was dismissed and the kidnapping count reduced. Under a plea, he was sentenced to four years in prison. His female victim subsequently asked for authorities to let him out early from prison.

What role did domestic violence and not seeing his dad have on T.J.'s mental health? LINK

Will it take more jury verdicts against those tolerating student bullying to end this madness? LINK.

Lawyer Bob Farinacci represents T.J. Lane and of course we caution, T.J. is presumed innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law.

Update 2-29-12: Yesterdays court appearance of T.J. Lane held no surprises. When Judge Timothy J. Grendell asked T.J. if he understood his right to remain silent, T.J. responded, "Yes, I do." T.J.'s face was not allowed to be photographed or filmed pursuant to the judge's instructions to the media. TJ Lane speaks

Recent remarks by the prosecutor may indicate that Lane is suffering from mental illness. T.J. apparently admitted to taking a .22-caliber pistol to Chardon High and firing 10 shots in the cafeteria. A prosecutor said Lane was " not well" and that he didn't know the victims but chose them randomly. (This seems to contradict Nate Muellers statements.) The judge has ordered Lane held for at least 15 days.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Foul Play In Cardinal's Death?

It is hard not to engage in speculation concerning the child-molestation scandal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Especially when everyone knows there will be a 1000 pound gorilla (or perhaps Godzilla) in the courtroom. Furthermore, the fever seems to be highly contagious, even within the intellectual legal community. Consequently, there was little surprise when prosecutors recently asked a coroner to examine the body of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua to make sure he died of natural causes. Publicly, Risa Vetri Ferman, district attorney, states that she wants to lay to rest speculation about Bevilacqua's death. Privately, one has to wonder what the heck she is thinking.

True, the 88-year-old cardinal died just a day after a judge ruled him competent to testify at the trial of his longtime aide, Monsignor William Lynn. Furthermore, Bevilacqua did in fact die Jan. 31 at a seminary well within the control of the archdiocese. And it is further true that he was in fact buried without the benefit of an autopsy. However, the Cardinal was suffering from dementia and cancer so should it really be any surprise that he died from natural causes? Logic suggest no; however, the question still lingers whether anything sped up his demise.

Toxicology tests on fluid and tissue taken after Bevilacqua's body was embalmed should be able to answer the central question. Bevilacqua was not healthy and his medical records document his cancer and dementia. His death came prior to the upcoming trial of Monsignor William Lynn, who is accused of suppressing information about priests suspected of molesting children by sending them to unwitting parishes from 1992 to 2004. In a grand jury report, prosecutors apparently accused Bevilacqua himself of presiding over the alleged cover-up of sexual abuse by priests. However, Bevilacqua was not charged with any crime.

Should anyone be suspicious of the passing of Bevilacqua? The Cardinal was sick, frail, and under extreme stress. At age 88, didn't he have a right to die, even in the eyes of the Catholic Church?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gabe Watson Aquitted!

An Alabama judge acquitted Gabe Watson who was accused of drowning his newlywed wife during a honeymoon diving trip to Australia eight years ago. The judge felt that prosecutors did not prove the man intentionally killed his wife to collect life insurance proceeds. Circuit Judge Tommy Nail issued his ruling after the prosecution rested during the two-week-long trial. Consequently, the jurors were never asked to deliberate. Prosecutor Don Valeska, seemed surprised at the directed verdict.

The 34 year-old Watson faced life in prison without parole if convicted. Tina Thomas Watson drowned in 2003. Watson served 18 months in an Australian prison after pleading guilty there to a manslaughter charge involving negligence. However, the instant case was alleging murder. Judge Nail ruled that prosecutors failed to show Watson intentionally killed his bride. The only eyewitness testified he thought Watson was trying to save the woman.

Defense attorneys correctly argued that Watson didn't stand to gain any money from her death because Tina Watson's father was the beneficiary of her life insurance policy. The defendant always claimed that he loved his wife and that her death was an accident.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Missing Person Case Solved... Dara Watson Found

Another missing person case was resolved. Unfortunately, it was resolved in an unsatisfactory way. Saturday, the Charleston County Coroner, Rae Wooten, confirmed that a body found in the Francis Marion National Forest belonged to Dara Lee Watson. Dara Lee Watson. It was reported that Dara died of a single gunshot wound to the head. It appears that her death was a homicide.

Dara, age 30, was found in South Carolina not far from where her abandoned and burned GMC Envoy SUV had been found. Her 34 year-old fiance reportedly committed suicide a few days after her disappearance. As you may recall, prior to his suicide, David Hedrick, had told police that the couple had gotten into an argument and that she left. Apparently, Hedrick shot Dara and buried her in the forest. Now, they are both gone and that is an unsatisfactory resolution to any domestic dispute.

Update 2-22-12: Because the suspect died, he will never have a chance to experience jail or write a book behind bars. Here is an article by Jay Smith about authors writing behind bars: LINK.

Sports Update 2-23-12: In an unrelated case of violence, a jury has recommended that former University of Virginia lacrosse player, George Huguely, serve 25 years for the murder of Yeardley Love. In addition, it was also recommended that Huguely serve a 1 year sentence for grand larceny. The jury made their recommendation after the guilty verdict. The defence failed to call any character witnesses during the sentencing phase.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Cougar Teacher With A Defense?

Lauren Redfern is an attractive, 25 year-old physical education teacher at Basalt High School in Colorado. Thursday she was arrested based upon a suspicion that she had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. The official charge is sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. Fox31.

But it may be hard to convict this teacher. Redfern is a graduated from Basalt High School in 2004. Just six years later in 2010, the high school hired her to coach the girl's basketball team and to teach gym class. Westword. The Eagle County Sheriff's office is being rather quiet about potential weaknesses in the prosecution's case. The Sheriff's press release read: "The sexual acts between Redfern and the student are believed to have taken place over the duration of approximately 4 months. These sexual encounters took place at the residence of both Redfern and the victim in El Jebel."

Here in lies the controversy. The so called victim was allegedly 17 when the sexual contact began. He is now 18, which is of legal age. Consequently, it may be difficult to prove sexual activity prior to his 18th birthday. Furthermore, the relationship was consensual so why waste precious tax dollars prosecuting this case? Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Colorado law allows for a 17 year-old to engage in consensual sex as long as the partner does not hold a position of trust, such as a teacher. Furthermore, an 18-year-old can have sexual relations with any adult, even his teacher. So in order to win, the prosecution must prove that the sexual acts started before the victim was 18 and that the defendant was in a "position of trust." This will be a tall task for a prosecutor given that the defendant was a female gym teacher.

Look for this case to never see a courtroom.

Update 2-20-12: Want to follow this thread on twitter? http://twitter.com/#!/Legal_Pub

Update 2-23-12: A substitute teacher in west suburban Chicago was terminated after she allegedly told a 10-year-old student to duct tape his wrists together. The incident occurred at Naperville's Graham Elementary School (Indian Prairie School District 204). However no charges will be filed. Police. Daily Harold. The teacher has not been publicly identified.

Update 3-3-2012: Another teacher, Stephanie Cobb, is accused of inappropriate relationships with a student. Orange City, Florida police say the 26-year-old teacher allegedly had sex with a 16 year-old student in her car. Student.

The charges are unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The Orlando Sentinel . Apparently, Cobb and the alleged victim exchanged 12,000 text messages over the course of four months. Prosecutors plan to prove that the victim admitted to having a sexual relationship with Cobb and that the relationship started when the two were discussing his college plans. WJXT-TV.
Cobb denies any wrongdoing. Daytona Beach News Journal. "It's fabricated, all lies," Cobb apparently said. Affidavit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Umar Patek: Another Trial Of The Century? Speed Freak Killers Victims Found?


Will this go down as another trial of the century or will it be viewed as a kangaroo court? Umar Patek, a.k.a. "Demolition Man," is the Muslim militant accused of building the bombs used in the 2002 Bali attack. His trial for "terrorism" is under way. Patek was captured in the same Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was found. (Can we charge the local government in Abbottabad for harboring a known terrorist?)

Patek is the top suspect in the Bali nightclub bombings, which killed 202 people in 2002. Patek openly took credit for publicizing al-Qaida-linked terrorism in Southeast Asia. So far, three others have been tried and executed. The local terrorist chapter, Jemaah Islamiyah, has been stripped of its local leaders. However, Patek escaped Indonesian investigators and alluded authorities for nine years. Patek was finally captured in January of 2011. Patek had a $1 million bounty on his head at the time of his capture.

Patek is also suspected in several Christmas Eve bombings at churches in 2000 that claimed 19 lives. This guy is worse than Bin Laden. At least Bin Laden advised his children not to follow in his shoes. LINK.

The trial is being held in West Jakarta District Court.


California: Before one concludes that all the nuts are overseas, consider the local findings in California. A prisoner led authorities to what appears to be a mass grave used by the "Speed Freak Killers." These two men were thought to have killed 10 people in the 1980's and 1990's. Approximately 300 bones were found near an old well close to Linden. Wesley Shermantine, who is on death row, led authorities to the grave. Besides bones, clothes, a purse and jewelrywere also found in the abandoned well.

Anyone who suspects that their relative may be among the victims may call 209-468-5087. DNA will be used to confirm the identity of the remains. Loren Herzog and Shermantine were labeled the "Speed Freak Killers" after their arrests in 1999. Burial locations are apparently in San Joaquin and Calaveras counties.

Shermantine was convicted of four murders and sentenced to death. Herzog was convicted of three murders and sentenced to 77 years to life in prison. Herzog's sentence, was subsequently been reduced to 14 years because his first-degree murder convictions were overturned because of flaws in obtaining his confession. Herzog was paroled in 2010. However, he subsequently committed suicide.

So far, 25-year-old Cyndi Vanderheiden, who disappeared in 1998 has been confirmed as one of the victims. 16-year-old Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler, who disappeared in 1985, is also believed to be one of the victims.

Massachusetts: Allen Stilkey, a 40 year-old arm wrestling champ, is accused of killing his wife, Lisa Stilkey. Did she jump or was she pushed out a two-story window? Does it matter? Allen was charged with manslaughter and assault. The Boston Globe.

Update on Allen Stilkey 2-16-12: Allen Stilkey was arraigned Monday in Uxbridge District Court. It is alleged that Stilkey and his wife, Lisa, were involved in an argument. Lisa Stilkey may have thrown a pillow out a second-floor window of their Douglas home before jumping out herself in an attempt to get away from her husband. She suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead early Friday at the hospital. Allen Stilkey was arrested and is held on $500,000 bail. Stilkey is to be presumed innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law. LINK.

2-14-12 Valentines Day Special:

Don't date within the law office. If tempted, reread the prior sentence. If you are still not deterred, enjoy this link: http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecareerist/2012/02/valentine-.html

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brain Freezes Are Becoming Way Too Common `by Legal Pub

Human Interest
: Brain Freezes...

Brain freezes are a human phenomena. Nobody knows why a fast drink of an icy beverage makes you feel like a vice is crushing your skull. Folks refer to it as a "brain freeze." The crushing sensation felt around the temples and the mask of the face hurts but the brain itself has no pain receptors. One may opine that the cold shocks the trigeminal nerve. The brain's hypothalamus dilates vessels around the nerve to heat the area. This sudden dilation causes pressure and a stunning wave of pain. Mystery solved. But why do people like Josh Powell have brain freezes? Certainly something must happen for a father to take his two son's lives. LINK.

Sports: Giants win Superbowl; Colorado Football Player is an Idiot.

The Giants defeated the patriots 21 to 17 . Eli Manning was the MVP. The Patriots coach apparently let the Giants score so that their offense would have more time to try to win the game. Brain freeze? Will Pericak, a Colorado football player allegedly set a fire in a bar and refused to leave when asked to do so. LINK. Another brain freeze?

National News: Syria At it Again!

The Syrian government has stepped up its brutal crackdown after the U.N. Security Council failed Saturday to pass a resolution condemning the regime. LINK.