Monday, December 30, 2013

Big Mistake in Tupelo, Miss.!

Big mistake! It is one thing to rob a bank.  It is quite another thing to kill a police officer.  Look out idiot, you are now on the most wanted list. The FBI is going all out to catch the idiot who shot officer Gale Stauffer.   Tupelo, Miss., police officer   Stauffer was only 38 when he was slain by a bank robber trying to flee the scene. Another officer, Joseph Maher, 26, was also critically wounded.
gale stauffer
Officer Gale Stauffer
A suspect seen in a surveillance video from BancorpSouth bank in Tupelo was wearing khaki or cargo-style pants. His white Converse tennis shoes, a long-sleeved jacket and a blue ski mask stand out on video.  The get-away vehicle appears to be a charcoal-colored, medium-sized sedan. The suspect is pictured above in the mask.

$160.000 in reward money was offered by authorities for information leading to the killer's arrest I suspect bounty hunters and relatives in need of some cash will be happy to join in the hunt!

Update:   Mario Edward Garnett, 40, once threatened the president in 2010.  He was suspected of carrying out the deadly  Mississippi bank robbery.  He was killed in a shootout with police during a Phoenix bank robbery at a Compass Bank branch Saturday morning.

In 2010, Garnett was sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to threatening to kill the president. A judge later ruled Garnett violated the terms of his supervised release and sentenced him to 24 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Garnett was released from federal custody about five months ago. Garnett has been connected to a Dec. 23 bank robbery attempt in Atlanta, a bank robbery later that same day in Tupelo, Miss.which resulted in the death of officer Stauffer. (Cellphone records are consistent with Garnett being in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tupelo at the time of each incident.

Apparently Garnett was wearing a black ski mask and black gloves and carrying a handgun. After failing to get any money from a teller, he apparently demanded and received an undisclosed amount of money from someone at an ATM.It is believed that Garnett left in a light gray sedan without a license plate.Later that day, someone stole an undisclosed amount of money from the BancorpSouth in Tupelo before fleeing in a gray sedan.  The two responding officers were shot.

On Saturday in Phoenix, someone called 911 to report seeing a man run into the bank while wearing a mask. The first officer to arrive saw the man leave the bank with a bag and a handgun. The suspect then began firing and a detective shot Garnett dead.  No officers or bank employees were injured.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In California for Holidays? Maybe You Better Take a Taxi! ~by Legal Pub

Take the bus and leave the driving to us!  Perhaps not so good advice these days in California.  A tour bus heading back from a Southern California casino crashed east of L.A.injuring 13 people. The bus drove off the shoulder of an Interstate 10 ramp near Baldwin Park early Monday morning. Apparently the bus tried to get on the ramp to exit, but was traveling too fast according to passenger Eduardo Magana. Thirteen were inured, 11 with minor injuries and one with a broken arm.  It is unclear the extent of injury to the other person injured.  
 40 occupants were returning from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio when the incident occurred. Rescuers freed the occupants from the blocked door. This accident occurred four days after last weeks three bus crashes that claimed the lives of two people and injured dozen others.

Khang Tieu, 91, died Thursday night, eight hours after a bus returning from a San Diego County casino overturned on Interstate 15 near Corona.The road was slick and the bus was allegedly driving too fast for the rainy conditions. Nearly 50 miles away, another bus heading to a San Diego County casino also overturned.  In that accident, Tayde Murguia, 64, was killed and 19 others injured.

14 occupants were injured Thursday morning near Perris when a Riverside Transit Agency bus slid sideways on State Route 74  and hit a car traveling in the opposite direction.

So if you are headed out to the Rose Bowl and wish to see the sights, perhaps you might want to take a taxi. Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 16, 2013

William Riley Knight's Act of Kindness ~by Legal Pub

We could talk about the latest Colorado shooting, but why continue to give publicity to bad acts. Rewarding such conduct by making selfish idiots famous only seems to aggravate the situation. Instead let's instead discuss a real hero.  William "Riley" Knight, 49 of Crown Point, Indiana was such a real hero.  Knight was married for less than seven hours when he stopped to help a stranded motorist in the snow coming back from his wedding reception.  As he was helping the stranded motorist, Knight and the woman were struck and killed by several vehicles.  

Knight's bride, Nikki, was still in the car Saturday evening when her new husband lost his life.  Nikki told the Chicago Sun-Times that they saw a woman slide off the road.  Her groom said, "We've got to stop, it's late and they need help.'" So Knight pulled his truck into a nearby driveway and Nikki Knight waited for her husband to help Linda Darlington, 42, of Crown Point. Knight and Darlington were standing by the side of the road when they were struck by a vehicle, and then by two more.

Nikki Knight, a registered nurse, said Knight nor Darlington were dead at the scene."I went from a being a newlywed to a widow in less than 48 hours - the highest high to the lowest low," Nikki Knight told the paper.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Spirit Saves Lives?

Terri Fontanez, a mother in Rochester, N.Y, is counting her blessings. She can't even thank the two good Samaritans who saved her four children from a burning minivan. Terri was driving home from a birthday party when another driver T-boned her minivan.  According to WROC 8 News the van immediately burst into flames. Christine Wilson, an off-duty Rochester police officer, saw the accident and rushed to rescue a nine-year-old, six-month-old and one of the two-year-old twin boys from the van. Wilson was overcome by heat and smoke and had to be pulled from the an by her own mother according to  WHAM 13.  One child remained in the burning van.  Certain death but for the brave actions of an unknown man who snatched the child from the burning vehicle. There were no serious injuries reported.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Good Samaritans who make this world a better place.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Is Everything For Sale For The Right Price?

Talk about a script, this one has it all.  Enter a main character nicknamed "Fat Leonard" a gregarious Malaysian businessman is well known by U.S. Navy commanders and "The Commander" a top naval officer. Fat Leonard's company has serviced warships for 25 years. To say he is connected may be a bit of an understatement  As the other main characters consist of prosecutors who accuse Leonard Francis of obtaining secret military information in exchange for hookers, Lady Gaga tickets and other bribes.

Surely, it has all the makings for a great drama. Accusations in a federal court in San Diego paint a scene dominated by serious national security breaches and corruption.  High ranking officials could end up being sucked into the drama.  A Colombo type prosecutor shakes his finger at Navy commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and accuses him of passing confidential information on ship routes to Fat Leonard's Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA. Fat Leonard and the commander counter the accusations of moving battle ships and aircraft carriers as if they are matchbook cars with denying looks of innocence.  Were the moves legitimate or designed to fatten profits by inflating costs?

Misiewicz did in fact move Navy vessels, but after all he is a commander.  He may not own the toys, but he certainly controls their movement as part of his job function.   Did Fat Leonard illegally overcharge for fuel, food and other services his company provided the navy or was he just buying into the concept of capitalism?  Questionable  tariffs and port authorities, isn't that expected in the world of foreign trade?

"It's pretty big when you have one person who can dictate where ships are going to go and being influenced by a contractor," said retired Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, who states the obvious to the AP even  though he has no involvement in the investigation.  Alex Wisidagama; and a senior Navy investigator, John Beliveau II do have some information about what is going on.  Perhaps too much information as Beliveau is accused of keeping Francis informed about the investigation and advising him on how to respond to allegations.  (Sounds like practicing law without a license?)   All characters in this alleged ploy pleaded not guilty. Defense attorneys, as expected, have declined to publicly comment concerning the allegations.

It's too early to tell how much interest will be generated by this investigation and whether it will ever crack the top revenue block buster stories in Hollywood. Prostitute stories sell but merely getting gifts from venders tends not to generate too much curb appeal in Hollywood. While Fat Leonard is an interesting sort known for great parties held in his modest 70,000 square foot home in Singapore, Leonard is expected to testify that all of the business transactions were legitimate.  Navy Criminal Investigative Service agents have been investigating Leonard since 2010, but it didn't take much undercover work because probably every captain of every ship knows Fat Leonard.

The question is whether the commander was offered prostitution services in exchange for providing  ship movement schedules. The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and other ships are at issue. So did Fat Leonard cheat the Navy out of $10 million in just one year in Thailand or was he just a good capitalist businessman?  Perhaps the answer won't be known until the court drama and the movie rights are all settled.  In the mean time, the federal government has suspended its contracts with Francis. The defendants face up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery. But of course, all defendants are to be presumed innocent!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nevada Middle School Terror

Sparks Mayor Geno Martini called it a "tragic day. Without knowing any of the specifics, I call it just a cowardly isolated incident involving selfishness and cruelty. Two boys were shot.  One is doing well and the other is entering surgery. One school staff member is dead.  The suspected shooter, who was a student, is also dead. Renown Regional Hospital lists both minors to be in critical condition.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the shooter took his own life.  As of this time, Police have yet to confirm the identity of the shooter; nevertheless, the Sparks Middle School in northern Nevada will never be the same.The shooting occurred outside on the school grounds. The middle school and next door Agnes Risley Elementary School were evacuated. 

Gov. Brian Sandoval summed it up for many:  "I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Christopher Jackson Charged But The Dog Goes Free?

Christopher Jackson may have a legal problem that not even the legal eagles can resolve.  This "confused" man was accused of branding his initials into his girlfriend's vagina.   While Jackson professed his innocence, the charging information alleged that he drugged his girlfriend and branded his initials into her vagina while she was unconscious. Christopher Lynn Jackson, the owner of Lawn Tamers, allegedly told his now-ex-girlfriend that he had done this to one or more girlfriends in the past according to the  New Times. Now, all accused are presumed innocent.  Allegedly, Jackson took his girlfriend to a baseball game. After the game, the woman was tired so Jackson allegedly offered her a pill to energize her.   She woke up in Jackson's bed in severe pain, and discovered the presence of branding tools. With the aid of a warrant, a butane torch and branding equipment were subsequently discovered by the police.

In Jackson's defense, the incident allegedly occurred in May, but it apparently was not reported to police until at least a month later. Furthermore, the evidence strongly suggested that the letters "C" and "J" were branded to her vagina; however, that does not necessarily constitute an abbreviation for Christopher Jackson.It could stand for many things, including "Cool Jeans." Alternatively, the J may have been a sloppy I.  Furthermore, the evidence does not necessarily prove the act was done without consent. Nevertheless, Jackson, 49, was charged with aggravated assault with serious physical injury.
Again, Jackson is to be presumed innocent.

Even if guilty, this could have been an isolated misunderstanding.  Unfortunately for C.J., er.. Christopher Jackson, he has been arrested again.  He is now charged with allegedly having sex with a dog. Now, this too could be untrue or perhaps consensual.  Much will depend upon what the video police recovered shows.  (Yes, the police recovered videos that allegedly show Jackson and two women performing sex acts with a German Shepherd.) The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office apparently learned about the alleged bestiality while investigating the branding incident according to the
New Times. Allegedly a 61 year old woman portrayed in the video as orally copulating and having intercourse with the dog has been arrested. A 48 year old woman has also been arrested.

The German Shepherd, which is Jackson's pet, has not been charged. Jackson's bond was set at $30,000 on the bestiality charge.

All suspects are to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Takes a Siesta!

Has a political stalemate between congressional republicans and democrats led to the first partial government shutdown in 17 years?  It appears to be so.

As of midnight, the shutdown commenced.  The critical move came after the Senate rejected a House bill that would have temporarily funded the federal government but delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) by one year.Almost immediately, President Obama assured the men and women of the nation's armed forces that they would be paid as usual.  However, more than 800,000 federal employees may be affected by the shutdown.  More importantly, the shutdown may cost the U.S. economy about one billion dollars a week. Surprisingly: however, the stock market remained flat and unimpressed as of the time of this writing. Will the bears appear on the market?  Random interviews on the street showed mostly apathy.

The first effects will be seen at the national parks which will be shut down.  The post office; however, will not be affected as it does not receive federal funds. If it gets bad enough to effect the federal penitentiary system, then public interest may perk up a bit.  In the meantime, there is a lot of hot air being exchanged between Congress and the White House which may negate any progress our nation has made toward reducing global warming. 

The insurance exchange system opened today as planned and those favoring Obama Care seem to not be discouraged by the on line glitches. For those in federal positions, they have a little extra time to play on the computer today any way.

In sum, while the federal employees may take a siesta today, the rest of the nation seems to be conducting business as usual. Unfortunately, neither the rhetoric of Congress nor the warnings of the President are being taken too seriously by the public at this point.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Court Grants William Ruto a Recess But It Won't Be Fun and Games

So International Judges do have common sense.  They recognized that a Kenyan leader needs a recess.  While recess brings back fun childhood memories, this recess is not likely to be enjoyable.  For those of you not following the news, Kenya has a little more problem at the mall these days than just skateboarders.  Their major mall is under a third day of armed conflict with terrorists who have taken hostages.  Rightfully so, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osujjudges of the International Criminal Court, has excused Kenya's deputy president from his trial for a week.  Unfortunately, when he returns from dealing with this crisis, William Ruto will still have to face the allegations that he personally committed crimes against humanity.

When Ruto returns to the trial in The Hague, he will have to face allegations that he committed crimes against humanity by allegedly orchestrating violence in the aftermath of Kenya's 2007 presidential election. Ruto has pleaded not guilty; however, it may be easier to face the terrorists than the court.

The hostage crisis began Saturday at Nairobi's upscale Westgate Mall and is a crisis in its third day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Washington D.C. Experiences Senseless Rage

Our nation's capital has experienced the senseless loss of lives associated with a bizarre deranged lunatic.On Monday, Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reserve from 2007 to 2011, entered a building at the Washington Navy Yard and killed 12 people and wounded three others before dieing.  It appears the raging lunatic was the only gunman. No motive for the murders have been established.  Mayor Vincent Gray said: “We don’t have any reason to think" that it was terrorism. But, of course, the possibility will not be ruled out for several months.

The shooting is reminiscent of Maj. Nidal Hasan killing 13 people and wounded 30 others in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas. (Hasan was convicted in August and sentenced to death.) Ironically, Alexis, 34, is also from Texas.  Alexis died in a gunbattle with police.  It is theorized that Alexis entered the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card.Alexis was a petty officer third class when he left the Naval reserves. Alexis was working for a fleet logistics support squadron in Fort Worth, Texas.There is more that can be said about this senseless murder; however, the lunatics all blend together and at some point, its all repetitive adjectives that lead to one conclusion.  These killers are nuts.

However,  Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Howard Schultz wants to do something about it. In an open letter to customers, Schultz requested that customers leave their firearms at home, shifting company policy concerning gun rights. Schultz wrote: "Our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life."

Starbucks has nearly 7,000 company-operated stores in the U.S.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is It Time To Start Building With Flame Retardant Materials?

Funtown and Casino PiersThe boardwalk was battered last October by Hurricane Sandy.  It was rebuilt five months ago. One of the top tourist attractions was Funtown Pier.  Funtown had not reopened since the October Hurricane and now it won't be reopening anytime soon.  Funtown Pier burned with at least 30 more buildings in Thursday fire. Unfortunately, Funtown Pier in Seaside Park may serve as an example for things to come if better building practices aren't followed. Funtown Pier collapsed after being engulfed in flames by a fire that had been burning for several hours. After the building collapsed, a construction vehicle parked near the site exploded. A log flume housing structure apparently burned for hours. Four blocks of bars, pizza shops and T-shirt stands on the Jersey shore boardwalk were destroyed. The fire sported flames that shot fireballs 50 feet into the air before crews got it under control. As many as 50 business owners suffered losses in Thursday's fire.

Governor Chris Christie said it would be "irresponsible for any of us to speculate" what caused the fire; however, since when has that ever stopped the media?  So here goes, sources suggest that the fire started in or under a frozen custard stand because of an electrical problem and the reason it spread so fast is because the building and boardwalk are not built with flame retardant materials.

Funtown Pier has been closed since it was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.  Unfortunately, now it won't be reopening for a long time.  Perhaps when the boardwalk is rebuilt, they will use flame retardant material when reconstructing the Pier and buildings.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Marriage, You Just Have to Smile at True Love

Is the institution of marriage strong or do the marriage strike advocates have another powerful arrow in their quiver? Let's ask Cody Lee Johnson's family and see what they think.  Cody Lee Johnson, 25, married Jordan Linn Graham, 22, because he was "in love." They had dated for two years and certainly he must have thought she was the one.  On July 7, 2013, just eight days into his marriage, Cody's new bride allegedly pushed him face-first off a cliff in Glacier National Park.  Jordan initially told authorities that Cody had left with friends but later supposedly confessed to the crime. Cody Lee Johnson's body was found five days later in an area of the park so steep and rugged that a helicopter had to be used to retrieve his body.

According to charging information, Jordan allegedly admitted to authorities that she had initially lied.  She supposedly said that she and Johnson had an argument, were upset and decided to go to the Loop Trail.They continued arguing on the trail until a point when Johnson allegedly grabbed her arm.  This allegedly caused Jordan to push Cody " the back, and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff."

Jordan Linn Graham has been charged in federal court with second-degree murder. charge in Johnson's July 7 death. So far, Jordan's public defender, Andrew Nelson, has no comment.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NFL Mediated Settlement A Win Win Solution?

National Football League is a huge player in the entertainment industry. The NFL sucks nearly 10 billion dollars annually from the economy while too many actual players sacrifice their long-term health and livelihoods for the profitability of the game. Mounting medical evidence suggests that concussions and repeated blows to the head can lead to serious long-term health problems.  A growing number of retired players now suffer from dementia, reduced mental capacity, mental illness, and other serious  problems.  Were players adequately informed of the potential health risks before they signed their employment contracts?

A Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy study suggests evidence that a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a severe degenerative brain disease, had been found in the brains of 14 of 15 deceased former NFL® players. During their playing career, these players suffered repeated concussions, sub-concussive blows to the head, or both.  CTE is manifested by progressive deterioration in mental capabilities, starting with mild memory loss, decreased concentration, and typically progress into Parkinson's disease and complete dementia.

Similarly, Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago researches concluded that mild, repeated blows to the head may predispose people to dementia. These findings are consistent with a 2005 study that suggested that ex-football players may be at a higher risk for Alzheimer's. Consequently, it should be no surprise that the recent players lawsuit against the NFL was compromised.So what is the effect of the compromise? The NFL will pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by more than 4,500 players and their families in order to settle the lawsuit accusing the league of concealing from the players what it knew about the dangers of repeated hits to the head. (The settlement provides $675 million for players or the families of players who sustained cognitive injury. Up to $75 million will be set aside for baseline medical exams. $10 million will be paid by the NFL for research. The NFL also agreed to pay legal fees for the plaintiffs’ lawyers. The settlement allows the NFL to avoid the huge cost of discovery associated with this type of litigation and put an end to some of the negative publicity..

To be clear, the settlement is not an admission of guilt on the part of the NFL. Furthermore, the settlement is relatively low when one considers the number of claimants and the severity of their damages. But given the uncertainty of litigation and the families who need help now, the players had little choice but to compromise their position.Christopher Seeger, was a lawyer for the plaintiff players. The settlement which was reached with the help of a court-appointed mediator needs to be formally approved by Judge Anita B. Brody of United States District Court in Philadelphia.

For related information, see:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Miley Cyrus Makes A Father Proud?

Childhood stars... do they ever fail to disappoint us as adults? Miley Cyrus recently reinforced the stereo type of childhood actors and actresses gone bad. At the recent MTV Video Music Awards performance Sunday night, Miley shocked and disappointed most of her audience.Cyrus performed  "We Can't Stop."   Miley then remained on stage to perform "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke. Miley employed giant teddy bears, wild twerking, latex underwear and lots of tongue to the disgust of many. At times, Miley grinded on Thicke (who is a 36-year-old husband and father) and pretended to lick his chest.   While the camera panned to the crowd, both stars and lay folks appeared to be disgusted with Miley's transition from childhood star to promiscuous adult.

     Speaking of young adults with bad judgment, consider this Oberlin College student who posted anti-Islam fliers and racist cards around the campus.  The student said he meant them as a "joke" to provoke a reaction. Well it worked, the reaction is that it was not funny! The same student may also have displayed a large Nazi flag, which he also meant as a "joke."  Again, not funny.  He may also have transposed the face of the current Oberlin College president onto a picture of Adolf Hitler. 

The student, who shall remain unnamed, denied being racist and thinks people have overreacted to the fliers and posters. Apparently the young man was just looking for attention.  While his methods are disgustingly disappointing, as are Miley's, there is at least a silver lining.  Both attention seeking narcists apparently used nonviolent means to satisfy their need for attention.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blade Runner (Oscar Pistorius) Indicted for Murder

Oscar Pistorius was indicted on charges of murder and illegal possession of ammunition in connection with the death of the double-amputee Olympian's girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  A bench trial will determine the former hero on March 3, 2014.   Pistorius claims he shot Reeva Steenkamp by mistake.  But the prosecution does not apparently accept Pistorius' claim that he thought she was an intruder. Prosecutors, theorize that Reeva was murdered after an argument.

Pistorius, 26, will be tried in the High Court in Pretoria, the South African capital.  South Africa does not have trial by jury so his fate will be in the hands of a judge. The mandatory sentence for premeditated murder is life with a minimum of 25 years in prison.  There is no death penalty in South Africa.

The strongest evidence in the case may be contained in cellphone records found at Pistorius' home. It is also anticipated that ballistic evidence will confirm that Pistorius shot four bullets through the toilet door. Steenkamp was apparently hit three times by bullets.  The trajectory of the bullets may show if Pistorius was standing on his stumps or if he was on his prosthetics, as the prosecution maintains.

No matter what the result of the trial, a beautiful person, Reeva Steenkamp, is dead.  Reeva's life was taken and it appears that no amount of evidence will ever satisfactorily explain why.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Filner Begins Therapy To Control His Nasty Behavior?

San Diego Mayor, Bob Filner, a first-term mayor and former congressman starts two weeks of intensive therapy Monday while facing a sexual harassment lawsuit.  Therapy appears to be a response to the calls for his resignation.  It is a different defense than denying the allegations that he groped several women over the last few years. Therapy, however; will not prevent lawyers deposing him this week in the lawsuit brought by his former communications director who claims he asked her to work without panties, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her around in a headlock while whispering in her ear.

One might express skepticism that any two-week program is going to remedy years of inappropriate behavior toward women. However, success may depend on how far the 70-year-old Filner goes in acknowledging his problems. Filner announced his plans for behavioral counseling on July 26  to "begin the process of addressing my behavior. I must become a better person ... I must demonstrate that my behavior has changed," Filner said. 

Ten women, including a university dean and a retired Navy rear admiral, have publicly accused Filner of making unwanted passes. Some contend that he made sexual advances that included groping and unwanted kisses. At least five have demanded that he resign. Former Filner communications director Irene McCormack Jackson, has filed a harassment lawsuit against him.

The lawsuit is about money. Therapy is about finding out what triggers the behavior so Filner can develop a coping mechanism, build a support network and find other ways to control it. Therapy
requires hard work over a lifetime. Two weeks may only be Filner's political life time and thus not enough time to effectuate change. Only time will tell.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicago Area Police Open Fire (Bean Bag Bullet) On 95 Year- Old?

Chicago area police are not new to the concept of bad publicity.  Who could forget the Sylvia Broadway incident? LINK  So why should we be surprised when the Oak Park officers once again step in a pile of dung? It is hard to sugar coat the news when a 95 year-old at a Chicago senior living community is shot to death with a bean-bag gun for refusing medical treatment.  (You can't make this stuff up.  So you don't think you need medical help?  Bam.  Now that your shot, you sure as hell do.)  

Police were called in when the 95 year-old, John Warna, refused medical help. They ended up killing Warna with a bean-bag gun.  Chicago Tribune  On Friday night, officers were called to the nursing home to help a private ambulance crew deal with a "combative" resident being "involuntarily" sent for medical treatment.In the officer's defense, John Warna allegedly threatened them with a metal cane and a 2-foot metal shoehorn.  When the 95 year-old allegedly refused to drop these deadly weapons, police shot Warna with a Taser.  When the electrical jolt allegedly failed to knock him down, the officers opened fire with a bean-bag round. Warna, who previously refused medical attention, was now in need of treatment.  He was still conscious when he was taken to the hospital; however, he later died of internal bleeding due to blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, caused by the bean-bag.

Look for a law suit!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cuts Like A Knife, But It Sure Feels Right ~by Dr. B.

It is not your ordinary knife but a life saving tool.  No, not switch blades which are surprisingly legal in many states. LINK. This is a knife that surgeons may be able to use to avoid removing noncancerous tissue.  Stated differently, this English surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they have removed all cancerous tissue without harming normal tissue. Specifically, the knife heats tissue as the surgeon excises the diseased area producing a sharp-smelling smoke. The English surgical knife analyzes the smoke and indicates whether the tissue is cancerous or healthy. This knife may avoid the 30 minute delay typically associated with a surgeon having to send the tissue to a lab and waiting for the results.

Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London designed the English ‘‘smart’’ knife hooked up to a refrigerator-sized mass spectrometry device on wheels that analyzes the smoke as he cauterizes tissue.
The smoke is then compared to a library of smoke ‘‘signatures’’ from cancerous and noncancerous tissue. A computer monitor displays green for healthy tissue and red for cancerous.  The new knife and its monitoring equipment cost about $380,000 U.S.D. The new tool resembles a fat white pen. It will likely be submitted for regulatory approval after more studies are concluded.

If this knife can definitively tell doctors whether they've removed all the cancerous tissue, patients all over the world may benefit. Only additional tests will provide the answer. In the meantime, expect smart knives to join the ranks of smart phones as a part of everyday life.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Past Catholic Practice Of Turning A Blind Eye To Abuse Coming Back To Haunt The Church?

The Church has had its rocky moments in the past.  LINK.  But the most recent release of information in Wisconsin is likely to fuel additional mistrust.  The Archdiocese of Milwaukee released thousands of pages of documents related to allegations of alleged sex abuse by members of the clergy.  Included in the material were personnel files of more than three dozen priests.  Included in the production was the deposition of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the former archbishop of Milwaukee.The production was not exactly voluntary.  Rather, it was a product of a deal reached in federal bankruptcy court between the archdiocese and victims suing it for fraud.   Victims claimed that the archdiocese transferred problem priests to new churches without warning parishioners as part of a general covered up.

Files released by other Roman Catholic dioceses have detailed how leaders allegedly tried to shield priests by not reporting child sex abuse to authorities. The Associated Press in 2010 alleged that the future Pope Benedict XVI had ignored requests in the 1980s to defrock a California priest who had allegedly molested children. 

Alleged abuse victims have spoken out against the payments and pushed for the archdiocese to release its records.  Alleged victims have sought to hold the church accountable.  Yet most alleged victims did not come forward until adulthood.  (Many missed the statute of limitations to file a civil suit under Wisconsin law for negligence in supervising priests.  However, a 2007 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision allowed a six-year limit to file a fraud case after the deception was uncovered.) The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011 in order to avoid defending numerous lawsuits based on fraud.  As of June 30, 2012, the archdiocese had spent over $30 million on litigation, therapy and assistance for victims.  Over 500 people have filed claims against the archdiocese.
Most of the allegations arise out of events that occurred many years ago.  However, at least one priest on the list of 45 may currently be under police investigation.  The files suggest that over the time period in question 22 priests may have been reassigned after allegations of abuse.  A handful of the reassigned clery may have abused again. If true, that seems inexcusable.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Did Aaron Hernandez Execute Odin Lloyd?

Fireworks lit up the Attleboro District Court when the prosecutor claimed that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez executed his friend, Odin Lloyd.  The former tight end, Aaron Hernandez, was arraigned on a charge of murder and five assorted counts of firearm possession. Hernandez pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Hernandez "orchestrated the execution," the prosecutor said while arguing that Hernandez should be held without bail. Lloyd was shot three times soon after getting out of the car, then two fatal shots were fired through his chest while he was lying on the ground. Keys to a rental vehicle belonging to Hernandez were allegedly found on Lloyd. 45 caliber shells from a semi-automatic weapon were recovered.

Surveillance footage from 14 cameras in and around Hernandez's home may show critical evidence. However, 6-8 hours of footage from around the time of the murder are allegedly missing. Allegedly there are text messages from Hernandez to Lloyd and to two other persons of interest on the night Lloyd was killed. The prosecutor claims he has a tape of Hernandez, with a firearm, saying "You can't trust anyone anymore" before driving to pick up Lloyd. The couple allegedly stopped at a gas station to pick up "blue cotton candy Bubblicious gum and Black & Mild cigars, which can be used as rolling papers for marijuana. Apparently Hernandez and another man returned to Hernandez's house. Surveillance cameras allegedly show someone carrying a gun into the house.
The judge has ordered Hernandez jailed without bail until his next court date on July 24.  Hernandez is to be presumed innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Can All In the Staudte Family Include Murder?

Diane Staudte, 51, of Springfield, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of armed criminal action. Diane's daughter, Rachel Staudte, 22, was also charged with the same counts.  Does the family that poisions together stay together?

Allegedly both women confessed to fatally poisoning two relatives with antifreeze and attempting to kill a third over a 14-month period.  Needless to say, both women are jailed without bond. Why such inappropriate conduct?

According to probable cause affidavits and local police, Diane Staudte initially told law enforcement that her husband, Mark Staudte, 61, hadn't been feeling well before his April 2012 death.  Not so coincidnetally, Diane's son, Shawn Staudte, 26, allegedly also had flu-like symptoms before his death in September.  Initially the Greene County medical examiner said Mark died of natural causes and Shawn as a result of prior medical issues.  However, after an anonymous tip, a re-examination led to a different conclusion.

Another daughter, Sarah Staudte, was hospitalized with a potentially fatal condition; however, Diane Staudte only visited a couple of times and did not stay long for any one visit.  Diane Staudte also allegedly joked and laughed with hospital personnel during her visit. Diane Staudte allegedly told a nurse that she planned to go on an upcoming vacation to Florida regardless of her daughter's condition.

Diane Staudte has allegedly admitted to poisoning her family by putting antifreeze in their soda and Gatorade.  She allegedly told a detective that she killed her husband because she "hated him" and her son because he was "worse than a pest." Diane allegedly wanted to kill her daughter, Sarah, because the young woman "would not get a job and had student loans that had to be paid."
 Rachel Staudte allegedly has also admitted to taking part in the poisionings. 

All suspects are to be presumed to be innocent! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pedophile Professor Nabbed In Mexico?

Former University of Southern California professor, Walter Lee Williams, 64,  who was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list was apparently living a luxurious life in the resort city of Playa del Carmen.  While former professors are entitled to retirement, Williams is wanted on charges of sexual exploitation of children and traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with children.  Williams was captured Tuesday in a park in the Caribbean beach town.

The fugitive, Williams, also had an address in nearby Cancun.  It is unknown whether Williams is suspected of committing any crimes in Mexico.  The federal arrest warrant was issued in April. It alleges that Williams traveled from Los Angeles to the Philippines in January 2011 to engage in sex acts with two 14-year-old boys.  Allegedly, Williams met both boys online in 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  Williams allegedly engaged in sex acts with both boys and sent sexually explicit photos of one of the boys. Williams left the Los Angeles area approximately one week after returning from the Philippines. It is believed that he has been in Mexico ever since departing California.
Allegedly, Williams' computers and a camera contain child pornography. If the allegations are true, Williams taking advantage of vulnerable children should be punished to the full extent of the law.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Edward Snowden Hero or Self Centered Criminal?

"The whistle blew so loud that the CIA's ears hurt," joked the comedian. But it is no joke!  Edward Snowden was the whistleblower who kissed and told The Guardian about top-secret documents that revealed the National Security Agency's secret surveillance programs. Not only is Snowden a blabber mouth, he is also delusional.  "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," Snowden told the press.  Guess again, Edward.
Snowden is a 29-year-old former CIA technical assistant and current employee of Booz Allen Hamilton. Like Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning, Snowden has publicized material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA and the CIA. Snowden justified his actions from Hong Kong where he is staying by stating, "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."

Snowden is believed to be the source about NSA secretly collecting phone data from millions of Verizon customers mentioned in the Washington Post.  Specifically, Prism, a NASA program that allows the agency to collect data from some of the country's largest Internet companies. Snowden claims he went public because he couldn't  "... in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."  While this may sound noble, it seems to be a selfish, criminal act designed on obtaining ten minutes of fame. Champion of privacy or self centered criminal seeking refuge in Hong Kong?

Expect charges to be filed against Snowden for violating the Espionage Act.

Update 6-19-13:  Put President Obama in the group of people not ready to call Snowden a patriot or a hero.  Our President says lives have been saved by the surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. Specifically, President Obama claims that at least 50 threats in the U.S. and overseas have been averted because of phone records and Internet information the agency has gathered. These programs are limited in scope and subject to judicial scrutiny according to the Executive Office.

Is the U.S. striking the right balance between national security and civil liberties?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Major League Baseball is at it Again!

A while back, Major League Baseball attacked and basically ended the career of Barry Bonds.  LINK.  We certainly know that Major League Baseball will act upon the allegations despite the Players Union's position.   LINK.  Now Major League Baseball appears to be targeting Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and several other players for their alleged connections to a performance-enhancing drugs.  The allegations arise from the Biogenesis investigation.  T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish have prepared a report for ESPN's "Outside The Lines" stating that MLB will seek to suspend approximately 20 players, including Rodriguez and Braun, because of their involvement with the performance-enhancing drugs scandal.

Will this be the end of the long ball?  Perhaps it will merely be the return to dink and dunk baseball where slappers rule.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Anthony Alvarez Demonstrates Family Cruelty?

The cruelty is almost too much to imagine.  Anthony Alvarez, 63, shot and killed his adult daughter, Jennifer Kimble, 37,  in a Central California home with her three young children inside. Alvaraz also shot and wounding another daughter, Valerie Alvarez, 33, before apparently killing himself.  Tulare County deputies found bodies after a call from Jennifer's 8-year-old daughter. Jennifer's two sons, ages 13 and 11, were found uninjured in the house.

Jennifer Kimble worked in the cafeteria of an elementary school in her neighborhood.  Anthony Alvarez was a Vietnam veteran who received a purple heart. No information has been released explaining a possible motive.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From Tornado Disaster to Murder

Recent headlines concern the 24 people who died in the large tornado in More, Oklahoma.  Our prayers exend to their family and friends. Insurance and legal issues may arise from this disaster, but quite frankly it appears only nature is at fault and that entity enjoys immunity from prosecution no matter how outrageous the crime.

Other recent news tends to support the proposition that Nichole Cable, the 15-year-old girl found dead in woods north of Bangor, Maine apparently knew the man charged with killing her. It appears that Kyle Dube, 20, of Orono, had been Facebook friends with Nichole Cable, for a couple of months.  Nichole had apparently made plans to see him the weekend that she disappeared according to Nicole's friend, Tyler-Ann Harris, 16. Dube had worked for The Getchell Agency, an organization that cares for people with disabilities.

Dube is charged with Nichole's murder.  Dube was already in jail for fleeing police on a motorcycle. He is being defended by attorney, Stephen Smith.

Dube is to be considered innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law.   

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Orleans Mothers Day Shooting

What a way to ruin a great day.  New Orleans police are trying to identify a possible suspect in the Mother's Day gunfire that wounded 19 people during a neighborhood parade in the Big Easy. The Original Big 7 organized Sunday's event. The Original Big 7 was founded in 1996 at the Saint Bernard housing projects.

Surveillance video shows a man wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants that may be responsible for the stupidity. Police believe more than one gun was fired. At least three of the victims were seriously wounded. 10 men, seven women, a boy and a girl were wounded by the spineless coward. The FBI is a bit more kind in labeling this as "street violence." The crime scene occurred 1.5 miles from the French Quarter and near the Treme neighborhood, the subject of the HBO show.

The reward for information leading to arrests and indictments of this idiot is $10,000, according to police.
Police are looking for possibly three suspects that appear to have run from the scene.

Update 5-22-2013: Two suspects, Akein and Shawn Scott, have been apprehended on suspicion of committing a gang hit on people present at the New Orleans parade.  The suspects are to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Is Ariel Castro a Beast? ~by Legal Pub

Ariel Castro, a 52 year-old former school bus driver, is accused of imprisoning three women for about a decade.  His arrest raises many questions for which there are not always politically correct answers.  Castro was charged with three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping. 

Typically victims names are not shared.  So why are the names Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight on the lips of most reporters across the nation?  In short these three victims all vanished between 2002 and 2004. The disappearances were national news back at the time of their disappearance so finding the women alive in 2013 was big news. Berry was on all of the national networks after the 27 year-old told police that she escaped when Castro forgot to lock the "big inside door" of the home when he left to go to McDonald's. Berry's screams for help were answered by a neighbor who came to her rescue. Berry's 911 call has been played hundreds of times on TV and radio networks.

Castro has also been charged with kidnapping Amanda Berry's 6-year-old daughter (Jocelyn); however, if Castro fathered the child is it really kidnapping? Perhaps no one other than legal scholars will question the wisdom of such a charge; however, the charging information on this count seems technically flawed. Since Jocelyn is the daughter of Castro and there is no custody order to the contrary, it would appear that kidnapping is an erroneous charge.  Child abuse, child neglect etc are perhaps more appropriate charges.

What went on behind closed doors in this Seymour Avenue home? The media describes beatings, chained confinement, starvation and death threats. If true, Castro is either a beast or he is mentally ill.  In either case, he is not likely to ever be on the street again. Castro also allegedly impregnated Knight five times and then allegedly starved her until she miscarried. Castro also allegedly forced Knight to deliver Berry's baby in a plastic kiddie pool.  Castro allegedly threatened Knight if the newborn died. (Seems a bit inconsistent that Castro wanted Berry's offspring but not Knight's.)

Did Castro act alone?  Castro's brothers were originally detained by police but have not been charged with any crime associated with the victims. Victor Perez, chief deputy prosecutor for Cleveland, said there is no evidence that either brother were involved in any crimes against the women.  Consequently, so far all accounts seem to indicate that Castro acted alone when he lured the victims into his car on separate occasions ten years ago.  Castro apparently secretly kept the girls in his west Cleveland home. At one time or another, all three females were chained up in the basement.  In later years, all three were allowed to live on the second floor without restraints. Nevertheless, the women exited Castro's home just twice since their kidnapping.

So how are they doing now?  Knight, 32, remains in a Cleveland hospital. Berry, 27, and DeJesus, 23, are home reunited with friends and family.

What do we know of Ariel Castro?  Grimilda Figueroa is the mother of four of his children. In 2005, Figueroa obtained a protective order against Castro after he allegedly broke her nose, ribs, and dislocated her shoulder. Since 1997, Figueroa had sole custody of Castro's children. The protective order barred Castro from coming near Figueroa or the children. A judge dissolved the protective order on November 21, 2005.

While Castro is to be presumed innocent, it is unlikely he will avoid life in prison or a mental institute. While he appears to be a beast, he is likely a sick mentally ill bully who needs a permanent vacation from society.

Update September 4, 2013: Ariel Castro apparently hung himself last night while in jail.

Update July 30, 2014:  A year ago Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus escaped the torture of Ariel Castro when Berry and her then 6-year old daughter escaped to a neighbor's home .  While one might expect such torture in a foreign land, this nightmare occurred in Cleveland, Ohio.  Michelle was treated different than her fellow captives. She was physically and mentally tormented by Castro from August 2002, when Castro lured Knight, then 21, into his home with the promise of a puppy, to May 6, 2013.
Michelle Knight Pictured here. 

Michelle was starved, chained, raped and physically brutalized and humiliated by Castro.  Over the course of her captivity, Michelle grew stronger and more defiant. She even delivered Amanda Berry's baby during captivity. Michelle has been open and very public about the ordeal. Knight even wrote a book, "Finding Me." On the other hand, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have avoided the public. 

We may never know how Castro's mind raced since he killed himself in custody last September.
Castro has been described as many things, even a nice guy who would share ribs with neighbors on his porch.  Castro at one time even drove a school bus. He was a salsa musicians who even played in public.
How did Castro hide his dark side from so many people? Castro abducted Knight first after she accepted a ride from a Family Dollar store.  Nine months later Berry fell subject to his prey as she walked home from her job at Burger King.  Berry was just 17 when her captivity began. 

Castro apparently treated Berry better than Knight, providing Berry with better food, blankets, and privileges. According to Knight's interview with Anderson Cooper, "He had a fascination with her, more than me," Knight recalled. "She was the wife-type person. I was the punching bag."
In April 2004, Castro added DeJesus to his makeshift prison.  DeJesus was only 14 at the time of her kidnapping.  Knight was often chained to DeJesus and as a result, the two apparently became dependent upon each other for emotional support. In the end, a common hope became reality and the trio became free. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

West Fertilizer Co. Illustrates A Good Reason To Have Adequate Liability Insurance

West Fertilizer Co. blew up and caused a lot of damage in West Texas on April 17, 2013.  It also killed 14 people. More than 200 others were injured.  There was over twenty million dollars in damage to the surrounding area.  A trial lawyer's dream turned nightmare as the company had only $1 million in liability coverage! Attorneys such as Randy C. Roberts who have filed lawsuits against West Fertilizer's owners were told Thursday of the $1 million in liability insurance. Brook Laskey, has been hired to defend the plant.  Laskey confirmed the small amount of insurance in an email to The Associated Press.
"The bottom line is, this lack of insurance coverage is just consistent with the overall lack of responsibility we've seen from the fertilizer plant, starting from the fact that from day one they have yet to acknowledge responsibility," Roberts said. Roberts anticipates that the plant will file for bankruptcy.

State and federal investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire and explosion. It was unknown as to the amount of ammonium nitrate present at the time of the fire."The law allows courts to presume negligence when something happens that would not ordinarily occur but for negligence... A fire might be an unavoidable accident, but an explosion of this magnitude resulting from a fire is not an unavoidable accident," explained Roberts.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Senseless Violence Can Occur Anywhere...

Lawrence Capener, a 24-year-old maniac, allegedly jumped over several pews at St Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church  and stabbed four people. (A photo of the church appears here courtesy of the A.P.) Such an act of utter senseless violence is not something one would expect to see at a Catholic church in Albuquerque during Sunday mass. What makes even less sense is that Lawrence Capener allegedly targeted the choir area.
Among those injured were church choir director Adam Alvarez and flutist Gerald Madrid. (Madrid was actually stabbed five times.) Fortunately, all four victims were treated at a local hospitals and they did not have life threatening injuries. An off-duty police officer and others at the church stopped Capener before he could do too much damage.

Capener will likely be charged with several felonies. However, the motive for Capener's bizarre behavior is still unknown. The Archbishop of Santa Fe Michael Sheehan released a statement that he was "saddened by the attack... I pray for all who have been harmed, their families, the parishioners and that nothing like this will ever happen again."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi Needs Education

The biggest problem with being stupid is that "it's dumb." Perhaps not an elegant statement but truer words have perhaps never been spoken. Abdella Ahmad Tounisi of Aurora, Illinois is 18-year-old and he is stupid if what authorities say is true. Specifically,  Abdella Ahmad Tounisi is accused of trying to join an al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria.  This is a big mistake given our FBI's position on terrorism. Tounisi was arrested Friday as he prepared to board a plane bound for Turkey. (Not exactly a tourist destination.)

Tounisi is allegedly an acquaintance of Adel Daoud, an American accused of trying to bomb a Chicago bar last year. (If nothing else, Tounisi proves his stupidity by association.  What is it that you learn in school about birds of a feather?)  Tounisi faces one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The criminal complaint alleges that Tounisi made online contact in March with a person he thought was a recruiter for Jabhat al-Nusrah, the militant Islamist Syrian group which is thought to be a subdivision of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Tounisi was actually sending emails to an FBI employee instead of the terrorist group.  Tounisi is represented by a public defender.  He faces a maximum of 15 years if convicted.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Patriot Day Spoiled by Senseless Bomb Which Kills and Maims of Innocent People in Boston

The Pakistani Taliban, an insurgent group, says they didn't do it.   (They did admit to a failed bomb attack in New York nearly three years ago and terror attacks that have wreaked havoc on this South Asian nation for years. However, they say this was not their brainy idea.) In fact, their leader Ehsan told the media, "Certainly, America is our target and we will attack the U.S. and its allies whenever the [Pakistani Taliban] finds the opportunity, but we are not involved in this attack."  Taking this low life at his word, then we must ask who is responsible for the cowardly bombings that took three lives and injured over a hundred more?
At this time, no one has claimed responsibility for the bombs, and the fact that no firearms were used in the attack so we can't blame it on the pro-gun crowd. FBI are poring over video and photographs from the Boston Marathon for clues to determine who is responsible. Two bombs exploded near the finish line killing three people and injuring more than 140. A third incident, a fire at the Library, is believed to be coincidental.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Richard DesLauriers was very brief with the press because it "is a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation." The sequence of the blasts suggests theories involving Islamic militants or U.S. anti-government extremists but at this point, no one really knows.  There was no advance warning of the attack.  And like typical cowards, no one has claimed responsibility.  The Boston Marathon is an international event that belongs to the world.  Only a coward would target such a peaceful multinational group of people.

Inspire, an Internet publication spewing Yemen-based al Qaeda propaganda provides blue prints for such attacks.  But one doesn't have to be a terrorist to follow their insane plans. Jihadists are lunatics no matter where they are from.  It is hard to conceive how any God would endorse or approve of teaching people to build homemade explosive devices designed to kill 3 innocent people and would 140 more.

The explosive devices appears to be made from pressure cookers filled with metal nails and ball bearings. Photographs suggest that the devise near the finish line had been hid in a black backpack, according to law enforcement. Photographs of a damaged pressure-cooker container was being circulated to help track the source.
Let the authorities investigate this before we form a lynch mob. Start by finding the identity of what appears to be a man on the rooftop of a building near the finish line. (See above photo taken by Dan Lampariello.) If nothing else, he may have had a clear view of what transpired. And yes, interview the Middle Eastern Student whose apartment was searched hours after the bombing. But don't neglect investigating the idiotic lunatics native to our country. In the interim, let's not rush to judgment, lets have a fair inquisition.

4-17-13 Update:  Hey Coward:  An eight year old boy, Martin Richard, eight, and Krystle Campbell, 29, have needlessly died.  A twenty-seven year-old Chinese graduate student also lost her life. 176 others were injured. What did these innocent people do to you?  Are you so weak and so powerless that you have to kill a defenseless little boy than cower in fear? Don't you want your backpack and pressure cooker back?  If it is a fight that you want, why not admit your offense and openly challenge the Boston people to do something about it?  But before you do, you may first want to read a little about the Battle of Bunker Hill to size up your opponent.

4-17-13 Afternoon Update: Has the little weasel coward been spotted? A store video camera near the second bomb may have captured a suspicous persons image.  In addition, The Associated Press has a confidential informant that says a suspect has been detained and may be charged in federal court located in Boston. The coward is believed to be involved in placing the explosive device made from a kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other shrapnel. Officially, the FBI has said that no one has claimed responsibility for the murder. "Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack... Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."

Okay, we are going to be real cautious... Hopefully a suspect is in hand and hopefully will soon be introduced to the hand of justice.  (And if he had help, we are coming to get you too!)

Update 4-21-13: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the oldest shooter, was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Hospital Deaconess Medical Center Friday morning after a shoot out.  The fatal blow to Tamerlan was likely being run over by a vehicle.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in serious but stable condition at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where 11 victims of the bombing were still being treated. The most serious federal charge available would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction which typically does not carry a death sentence.  State charges, including that of murder, could also be brought. State causes could trigger a death sentence.

Update 4-24-13: Tsarnaev is represented by an experienced public defender, Miriam Conrad.

Conrad heads the Federal Public Defender Office in Boston.  She defended "shoe bomber" Richard Reid in 2001.

Update 5-22-13:  27-year-old,  Ibragim Todashevan, is believed to have been interviewed by the FBI after the Boston Marathon bombing.  It is now suspected that an FBI agent shot and killed Todashevan after he became violent while being questioned. Ibragim Todashev, reportedly knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older, deceased Boston suspect through mixed martial arts. At some point during the interview process, he allegedly attacked an officer, who apparently killed him.  The incident is allegedly under investigation.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Is Christopher Knight the Legendary North Pond Hermit?

Christopher Knight, 47, does not appear to be the brightest crayon in the box. Mr. Knight was arrested last week while stealing food from a camp for people with special needs in Rome, Maine.  Knight lived like a hermit for decades in a makeshift camp in the woods.  While normally such men are ignored by the press and society as a whole, Knight is different because he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries for food and other staples.  Knight seemed to get away with his thievery until he was apparently caught on surveillance.

Knight is known as "the North Pond Hermit" for the past 27 years. He was so well known to some summer cottage owners that they voluntarily left food out for him.   Knight is currently residing in Kennebec County Jail until he can be tried for his alleged offenses. Jail may be an improvement over the unheated tarp covered tent which he has been living in for many years.
At the time of his arrest, Knight was clean-shaven with short hair. He has only been charged with the Pine Tree Camp burglary, in which $238 worth of goods were taken.  His bail is set at $5,000.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Has Intimidation and Murder Threatening to Destroy the Right To Trial in Texas?

Why even criminals should be concerned...

Be careful what you do, for mob mentality may destroy our fundamental principles of justice.  The consequences may be severe and contrary to the vary principles you claim to support.  So ask yourself, do you really want to destroy the legal system to the point that suspects are imprisoned without any right to trial?  Because if the legal system won't work because of murder and intimidation, the end result may be an immediate transition directly from suspect to prisoner without the benefit of our constitutional rights.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were recently murdered.  McLelland belonged to a multi-agency task force investigating the Aryan Brotherhood.  McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death Saturday just outside of Forney, Texas.  Investigators speculate that the white supremacist group may be responsible.  In addition, Jay Hileman, an assistant U.S. attorney in Houston has allegedly withdrawn from a large racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas presumably out of fear for his life. These unthinkable events have occurred  two months after one of the county's assistant district attorneys, Mark Hasse, was killed near his courthouse office. (Hasse died on Jan. 31 came the same day as the first guilty pleas were entered in a criminal indictment involving a white supremist group. No arrests have been made with regard to the Hasse murder.)

Richard O. Ely II, a Houston defense attorney for one of the defendants, told The Dallas Morning News that Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman recently informed him that he was withdrawing from the case. "I understand why someone would want to step back.... "It makes sense to me, especially people that have families,"  Ely told Houston television station KTRK-TV. In the mean time, another Justice Department prosecutor, from Washington, D.C., will replace Hileman. David Karpel, a lawyer with the Justice Department's gang unit is also assigned to the case.
56-year-old Nick Morale has been arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat; however, there is no evidence that his arrest is connected to any death. Morale allegedly called a tip line the killings of McLelland and his wife Cynthia.  He allegedly threaten a specific county official; however, nothing links Morale to the McLellands' deaths or the killing of Hasse. Morale is not a suspect in either case.

According to the Times, an unknown person wrote on a social networking site that the killings were "acts of revenge against the tyrannical, unjust, Pit Bull style treatment of every poor soul damned to do business in the Kaufman County courthouse."  The writer also inferred that another Kaufman prosecutor "...will soon perish, bringing closure to an era of unacceptable practices and allowing Kaufman County residents to move forward with liberty and justice."

FBI out of Dallas has publicized few leads.  However, it is believed that tire tracks and cigarette butts near the McLelland home may lead to the apprehension of suspects in the shooting. The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has been in the prison system for a long time. The group is believed to have over 4,000 members and is accused of violence and retribution both inside and outside of the penal system.  The gang has a military like structure with a chain of command.  Four top leaders and 26 other alleged members were indicted in October for various crimes.  Law enforcement subsequently warned that the gang members might retaliate against law enforcement. However, to be clear, law enforcement has not publicly accused the Aryan Brotherhood as being involved with the killings.  However, a Texas Department of Public Safety bulletin has warned of "mass casualties or death" to law enforcement officials involved in the recent case.
To date, there has been little word from the Aryan Brotherhood; however, even law enforcement representatives admit it would be uncharacteristic of the group to kill public officials.  The group is thought to operate on the outside of prison in the shadows of drug trafficking and prostitution. Consequently, murder of law enforcement and open intimidation would not be typical of the group. Yet an 18-count indictment previously filed accused certain gang members of being involved with murders or rival gang members, kidnappings, assaults and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.

Keep in mind, these are unproven allegations at this point in time. As always all suspects and persons of interest are to be presumed innocent. Furthermore, in the past the Aryan Brotherhood has been an advocate of the right to trial by jury and many of their accused have benefited from the legal system.  Consequently, one must question why suddenly the gang's top leadership would take action to destroy the vary system of justice which has protected them in the past?  Perhaps the leadership has lost control of its members as the gang has recently been linked to perhaps as many as 100 killings.

In the meantime, Mike McLelland and his wife have been laid to rest.  Many have criticized the inadequate $200,000 reward that has been offered for information about these murders. While retribution by criminals, victims and family members has always been a risk to law enforcement and prosecutors, this has gone outside the realm of expectations.  These murders threaten the core of our vary legal system.  Interim District Attorney Brandi Fernandez, is under 24-hour protection. She has assured the public that "...we're gonna get this job done." Hopefully she is right.  If not, the legal system of justice which has served this country well for over 220 years could be in jeopardy and that will be a tragedy for all.

4-17-13 Update:  Our sources appear to be right again!  This does not appear to be the work of the Aryan Brotherhood. (This group is usually smart enough not to make threats on the computer.) Kim Williams, 46, has been arrested on suspicion of pulling the trigger in the three homicides. Her husband, Eric Williams, may also be charged in the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, as well as Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.  The motive appears to be clear.  Williams lost his elected position of justice of the peace after he was convicted of stealing three computer monitors.  McLelland and Hasse prosecuted the case against Williams.

Keep in mind all suspects are innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Was Kyle Myers Himself a Target? The Second Amendment (1791) In Jeopardy?

Kyle Myers is best known as the Youtube phenom who shows Internet users how to shoot advanced weapons at targets.  In an ironic twist, it seems Kyle Myers himself may have become a target of the Obama administration.  Without taking shots at either side, consider what appears to be known.  Kyle Myers' residence was raided by 40 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on Tuesday. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also participated in the search. Myers is the principal behind a popular weapons and explosives YouTube series called FPSRussia. What is not; however, known is whether Meyers captured any of the event on video.
Myers's FPSRussia series features him demonstrating machine guns, tanks and drones. It may be watched by over a half of a million people. The raid was not a stunt.  So what was the reason for the raid? ATF spokesman Richard Coes told the Banner-Herald: "The claim is that [Myers] was using explosives and getting paid for it via YouTube."  Tannerite is allegedly used in his videos. While tannerite is legal in the U.S., but it's apparently illegal to manufacture it without a federal license. So, did Meyers get paid? YouTube's partner program gives amateur video producers an opportunity to earn money if their videos are watched by enough people. If Myers's YouTube channel was truly watched by more than a half a billion views, he may have indeed been compensated.  However, herein lies the real issue.  With spam and computer programs, how will the prosecutor prove the viewership.  Unless it is clear why he recieved compensation from Youtube, it may be harder to prove than the State thinks. (I wonder if the link to the above Video will increase Myers revenue?)

Furthermore, Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas allegedly told WHLR that Tuesday's raids were in connection with a murder investigation involving the death of Myers's former business partner, Keith Ratliff. Ratliff was found dead from a single gunshot to the head in January. The body was found at FPS Industries.  Nevertheless, Myers has never been named as a suspect or person of interest. Myers was believed to be compliant with current gun laws. Furthermore it is unclear what if anything was seized.

So is this a case of the Government targeting a vocal progun supporter? Was there true probable cause for the raid or was this a warning shot fired over the bow to warn advocates of second amendment rights to back off? *   Perhaps only time will tell.

*The Second Amendment (1791) protects the right to keep and bear arms, a right that dates back to England before the Magna Carta. The English Bill of Rights protected the right of Protestants to own and carry weapons, but denied that right to Catholics. During the colonial era, the Virginia Declaration of Rights asserted that a well-regulated militia is the natural defense of a free state. The Supreme Court has ruled that owning firearms is not an absolute right: it has upheld both federal attempts to regulate certain weapons and states’ power to enact gun control measures. In 2008, the Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protected the individual right to keep suitable firearms at home for self-defense.

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