Sunday, May 31, 2009

Police officer served attacker with PPO just hours before deadly incident

by Danielle Quisenberry | Jackson Citizen Patriot
Friday May 29, 2009, 7:48 AM

Terrance "Terry" Wheeler

Less than four hours before police said Terrance "Terry" Wheeler stabbed to death his former girlfriend, a Jackson police officer told him to gather his things, leave her house and stay away from her.

Lt. Christopher Simpson said the officer served Wheeler after 4 p.m. Wednesday with a personal protection order requested by Dorothy Holliday, who wrote in the May 20 order that Wheeler had threatened to take her life.

About 7:30 p.m., Sgt. Michael Gleeson shot and killed Wheeler, 58, after Wheeler refused to drop a knife he was using to stab Holliday, 43, in the chest area inside her home at 815 Maltby St., police said.

Both Holliday and Wheeler, boyfriend and girlfriend for about 11 years, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Autopsies were to be performed Thursday afternoon.

Neighbors, family members and friends of Holliday described Wheeler as an angry, violent man with a temper and a big voice.

Police said Wheeler also stabbed his brother, Daniel Wheeler, in the abdomen after Daniel Wheeler came to Holliday's aid. The brother was taken to Allegiance Health, where he was listed Thursday in fair condition, a hospital spokesman said.

"I call him a mad man for turning on his family," said Kathryne O'Dell, a neighbor.

Diane Mohney, a long-time friend of Holliday's, said she received a call from Holliday about 6 p.m. Wednesday. Holliday told her Wheeler had been at her house that afternoon, threatening to kill her.

"She was worried; he said he was going to kill her and him both," Mohney said.

Holliday told Mohney she was getting her locks changed that evening. Because Wheeler had threatened her before and Holliday said her son and his girlfriend were at the home, Mohney was not immediately alarmed. Calls and texts she made to Holliday at 7 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m. went unanswered and she began to worry.

Neighbor Jon Rowland said he was having a cigarette on his front porch Wednesday when he saw Daniel Wheeler stumble out of Holliday's house with blood coming from his side.

Daniel and Terrance Wheeler and Holliday had lived together in the house, which Holliday owned, Rowland said, but Holliday had recently kicked Terrance Wheeler out of the home.

Two officers, who police said were responding to a 911 call about a stabbing victim, soon arrived with guns drawn and entered the house, Rowland said as he stood looking toward the scene. Several cars were parked in Holliday's driveway, though the house was empty, and bird houses decorated the front lawn.

"I heard one cop yell, 'Please, sir, put down your weapon,' and shots were fired," Rowland said.

He said he heard at least eight shots. "It just sounded like it was one right after another."

Other neighbors said they heard as many as 10 shots.

Jackson County Undersheriff Tom Finco said "several shots" were fired as police officers are trained to do.

Detectives from the sheriff's office, Blackman Township and the state police on the Jackson County Major Crimes Task Force are investigating, but preliminarily it seems Gleeson's actions were justified, Finco said.

Gleeson, a 19-year veteran, was accompanied into the house by Officer Chad Dermyer, who has been a city officer for 1 1/2 years, according to a sheriff's office news release.

Earlier in the day, an officer was called to the Maltby Street home, where he took a report that Terrance Wheeler had assaulted a Horton man, who was born in 1963, Simpson said.

The man's name was not released.

When running Wheeler's name through the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network, the officer noted a personal protection order, signed by Circuit Judge John McBain, had not been served.

There was not cause to arrest Wheeler — the Horton man's injuries were not serious — but the officer advised Wheeler to get out of the house, Simpson said.

He watched Wheeler gather his things and leave, Simpson said.

O'Dell, the neighbor, said she saw Terrance Wheeler, Holliday and a police officer outside the house.

Later, she and her husband, Kristin, saw Terrance Wheeler jump the 4-foot chain-link fence behind their house, armed with a crow bar.

Kristin O'Dell said Wheeler got bit by a dog, fell on his face and then got up and headed between the O'Dells' house and garage to enter Holliday's home, which is adjacent to the O'Dells', from its front.

His green van was still parked Thursday morning on Irving Street behind Holliday's home, Kathryne O'Dell said.

Police said initially they received a report of a woman being struck in the head with a crow bar.

"Terry was very abusive. I knew him for years. He was like stalking her forever," said Monya Nace, who had worked with Holliday at Faith Haven Senior Care Center for about 14 years. Holliday had worked there for more than 20 years.

Nace wrote a letter to accompany Holliday's personal protection order request.

In it, she said Wheeler called Holliday at work, demanding to know her whereabouts.

"It is my house, I pay all the bills. He calls me at work. My boss told him not to call again," Holliday wrote in the order.

Craig Schuler, administrator at the care center, said Holliday used the word "stalk" in communicating with other workers about Wheeler.

"The conversations staff members had with him on the phone were usually kind of aggressive," he said.

Holliday had recently met a new man, said her niece, Kathy Ely of Jackson, who came to Maltby Street on Thursday morning looking for information.

The man had made Holliday "bubbly," the happiest she'd been in years, Mohney said.

"Even people that didn't know her that well would say, 'Dang, Dorothy. You're so happy.' "

"I know (Wheeler) was angry and hurt by her," said Rowland, who has lived next door to the couple for about seven years.

Rowland said Wheeler often yelled and cursed and Rowland had to ask him not to swear in front of Rowland's children.

"Dorothy was a great gal, a great woman," he said. "Terry was drunk, violent."

Arthur Holliday, Dorothy Holliday's brother, said he was not close to his sister because of Wheeler, whom he called "the domineering kind."

"We've had issues with Terry for a lot of years," he said. "He was not one of those people you wanted to hang around."

Arthur Holliday said Terrance Wheeler did some roofing and was good with tools. He is a father to at least one son, neighbors said.

Dorothy Holliday has a son and a daughter. Her son, who lives across the street from his mother's house, did not comment extensively Thursday as he stood barefoot on Maltby Street.

"It just hurts," said Jason Hall, 24, as his eyes welled up with tears.

Initially, Hall said he got along with Terrance Wheeler, but then he started "mouthing off and everything."

His sister introduced the pair, he said, and called his mother heartfelt and helpful.

"She died needlessly," Kathryne O'Dell said.

Holliday was a "good, caring person," Nace said. "I am kind of shocked. I can't believe this happened to her."

— Staff writer Heidi Fenton contributed to this report.

Birdville homicide victim had asked for protection

Friday, May 29, 2009
Staff Reporter

A Mobile woman who was one of two people killed early Wednesday in a Birdville home had recently sought a protection order against her estranged husband, online court records show.

The husband, Derrick Shawn Penn, 42, remained in Mobile County Metro Jail on Thursday, accused of both killings.

Penn is charged with three counts of capital murder — two counts because more than one person was killed, and a third count because it took place during a burglary, jail records show. Online court records show the charges were upgraded Thursday.

Hillsboro father who killed kids, self was upset over divorce

James Gumm had 'emotional issues,' family says

02:56 AM PDT on Sunday, May 31, 2009


HILLSBORO, Ore. -- James Gumm took his two young children to the Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve in Hillsboro on Friday morning and shot them at close range, killing them, before turning the gun on himself, police said on Saturday.

The bodies of Gumm and his two children, 7-year-old Tyler Gumm and 6-year-old Kylie Gumm, were discovered by a hiker near the Otter Marsh viewing area shortly before 1 p.m. Friday.

Father kills his children, self

A medical examiner confirmed Saturday that Gumm murdered the two children and then committed suicide with a 9mm handgun. A handgun was recovered from the area on Friday that was likely used in all three deaths, police said.

The investigation led detectives to believe the children had no idea they were about to be shot. They may have thought they were going on a dayhike, police said.

Lt. Michael Rouches, a spokesperson for the Hillsboro Police Department, called it the most heinous crime he'd seen in 16 years of law enforcement.

Detectives believe Gumm suffered from emotional issues associated with his divorce that may have culminated in his decision to murder the two children, according to interviews with the family, Rouches said.

Gumm divorced his wife between 12 and 18 months ago, Rouches said. However, a public records search indicates their marriage dissolution may have begun earlier.

An Oregon public records search indicates that divorce proceedings for James and Lisa Davis Gumm began in Tillamook County in 1992 but were never completed.

The Gumms returned to court for divorce in late 2007 and were granted one in early 2008.

"We believe Gumm suffered from emotional problems from the dissolution of his family, by divorce ... It's hard to know 'why' he did this. He took that with him," Rouches said. "He couldn't handle his family falling apart."

Gumm was unemployed and had no criminal record, police said.

Neighborhood in shock
On Saturday, the sprinklers outside Gumm's Hillsboro home were on, watering the well-manicured lawn, decorated with a welcome sign. On the outside, it was the picture of normalcy, but neighbors along NE Creeks Edge Drive looked upon it with sadness and disbelief.

"It was such shocking news," said neighbor Linda Liu.

Liu said she had been going through a divorce at the same time as Gumm and his ex-wife, Lisa, and had even attended a county-sponsored class for divorcing parents with them.

"It's a required class for divorced couples to go through, to make sure you do things in a mature way and not hurt the kids," Liu said. "I really don't understand why he shot the kids ... they were so lovely."

Neighbor Candace Achenbach said she was new to the area but remembered seeing Gumm playing with his kids and even approached him about setting up a play date.

"I said, 'I have a son that's your son's age and maybe it would be nice to get them together sometime,'" Achenbach recalled. "It's just a terrible thing to happen and I can't imagine feeling or thinking that way at all," she said.

Police doubt Gumm was motivated by Stott-Smith 
Based on the investigation, detectives had no reason to believe there was a correlation between the Gumm murder-suicide and the alleged murder of 4-year-old Eldon Smith and attempted murder of 7-year-old Trinity Smith by their mother, Amanda Jo Stott-Smith, on May 23. More:Children found in Willamette River

"We do not believe there is a correlation, no. Based on talking with the family we think this came about because of his emotional frailty -- he probably did not get the idea from what happened last week -- but it's hard to know for sure," Rouches said.

Even if there was no correlation, though, responding detectives and officers were acutely aware of the similarities between the two tragic crimes, both involving parents killing their own children.

"Certainly it's in the back of their minds because we all pay attention to what's going on. As public servants we all have an idea of how these cases play even when they're not our cases," Rouches said.

Nearby farmer heard gunshots
Stan Hayes was working on a nearby farm when he said he heard gunshots, around 11 a.m. Friday.

"It was just real fast -- pop, pop, pop," he said.

Hayes thought it was a nearby hunter. When he heard the news, his stomach dropped.

"It made me sick, yeah. Absolutely. That's horrifying to have something like that happen right here in your neighborhood," he added.

The shooting comes less than a week after two young children were allegedly forced from the Sellwood Bridge by their mother. One child died. One barely survived.

KGW Reporters Scott Burton and Katherine Cook contributed to this report.

Attempted Murder-Suicide in North Tonawanda

Originally printed at

An attempted murder-suicide sends a North Tonawanda woman to the hospital with eight gunshot wounds. Police later found her ex-boyfriend dead.

Buffalo Police found 48-year-old Richard Hance's body inside his car, which was parked in a parking lot off the I-190 near the Niagara River. North Tonawanda police tracked him down by triangulating his cell phone signal. They say he had shot himself after attempting to kill his ex-girlfriend.

A desperate 9-1-1 call from a woman at an apartment on Falconer Street in North Tonawanda came in early this morning. "She gave us the name of who her shooter was. When officers arrived we found her with multiple gunshot wounds to the torso," said North Tonawanda Police Chief Randy Szukala.

The victim had a prior order of protection against Hance, but it had recently expired. "What the relationship was currently I really don't know at this point. Even though he is deceased, it is still part of our investigation to determine what may have caused it," said Szukala.

This incident, however, is just the latest one in a strong of violent and deadly domestic violence attacks on women here in Western New York. "Since last July of 2008, we've had 13 murders in Erie and Niagara counties and now this latest attempted murder," said Linda Ray, Executive Director of the Family Justice Center in Erie County.

The situation is alarming victim's advocates who say there were over 7,000 domestic violence instances reported last year to law enforcement agencies in Erie County.

"What we know is that the economy, poverty, crisis doesn't cause domestic violence, it certainly can exacerbate it, which may be the case in these situations," said Ray.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence and Ray wants women to know that they are not alone, there are people out there who can help them. "Just trying to escape on your own, while courageous and admirable, may not be safe for you and your children. We want you to get safety planning with our advocates who know how to do that," said Ray.

The Family Justice Center's services are free and confidential. They offer child care and also translation into 161 languages so they can help all victims begin their safety plan to leave their abuser. The center's phone number is 558-SAFE.

They also have a crisis hotline that is available 24/7. That number is 834-3131. For more information, check out their website at:

The victim in the North Tonawanda shooting remains in critical condition tonight at ECMC.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Police say doctor killed wife while boating


A Harrodsburg doctor has been charged with the murder of his wife, who died after being run over by their pontoon boat and struck by its propeller as they spent Friday at Herrington Lake.

The incident happened about 4:30 p.m., sometime after witnesses saw the couple — Dr. Steven and Isabel Hall — arguing and physically fighting, said Trooper Chris Lanham of Kentucky State Police.

Lanham would not discuss what investigators think transpired between Steven Hall, 46, and his wife, except that she wound up in the water and was run over by their boat.

"It looks like the boat propeller hit her in the left side of her head," said Boyle County Coroner Dr. James Ramey. "It also hit her in the left forearm and upper arm, pretty deep cuts that caused instant death."

Lanham said Ramey commandeered a boat upon reaching the scene Friday and found Steven Hall in the boat with his 49-year-old wife in the water.

"He tied a rope around her arm to keep her from floating away," Lanham said.

"Based on what he told us and the witness statements, it gave us probable cause" for the arrest, Lanham said, declining to describe Steven Hall's statement.

Hall practices family medicine at 466 Linden Avenue in Harrodsburg, according to the state Board of Medical Licensure.

He is being held in the Boyle County Detention Center.

No one else is thought to have been involved in the incident, Lanham said.

An autopsy conducted in Frankfort on Saturday confirmed that massive trauma to the head killed Isabel Hall, according to Lanham.

He said police are investigating whether there are any incidents in the couple's past.

Her arrangements are being handled by Ransdell Funeral Chapel in Harrodsburg.

Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.

Man stabs, kills woman with screwdriver in Hayward

The Associated Press

HAYWARD, Calif.—Hayward police have arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of using a screwdriver to fatally stab the mother of his children.

Police say 46-year-old Rose Marie Goulart was stabbed Friday morning outside the medical office where she worked in Hayward as more than a dozen people watched.

Officers called to the scene arrested Luis Albert Hernandez of Castro Valley after witnesses pointed him out.

Hayward police Capt. Darryl McAllister says Goulart was taken to an Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley where she was pronounced dead.

McAllister says Hernandez and Goulart have two teenage children together, but are not married.

Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Jilted man kills ex, friend, himself


Police said the killer of two young women at a Plantation gas station is now dead and once had a relationship with one of the victims.


The victims: two women in their 20s, one a community college student with dreams of being a fashion designer, the other a recent arrival from Key West.

The killer: a jilted boyfriend with a history of domestic violence who within hours took his own life with a bullet to the head on the side of a road.

Under the harsh lights of an all-night gas station in suburban Plantation, Jillian Hauck, 27, and Brooke Pazo, 22, were gunned down early Friday by a man who had shadowed them in a black car. Both lived in Plantation. Pazo was less than a mile from her home.

Their killer, police said, was Robert J. Vaughan, 30, of Pembroke Pines, who had recently split up with Hauck. Plantation police spokesman Robert Rettig said Pazo was not specifically targeted, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

''It appears that the motive in the Chevron shooting was domestic violence related,'' Rettig said.

According to Rettig, at 1 a.m. a dark green, two-door Acura owned by Hauck turned into the Chevron station at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and Broward Boulevard and pulled up to pump six. Vaughan followed, parked, got out and fired several shots into the car.

One woman died at the scene. The other died later at Broward General Medical Center. Police would not identify who died where.

Two hours later, Vaughan was found dead in the 5600 block of Hawks Bluff Avenue in Davie. He had a gunshot wound to the head.


In September 2007, Hauck filed papers in Broward County Court seeking a temporary restraining order against Vaughan, citing domestic violence. She withdrew the petition two weeks later, and Vaughan was never served with the order, court records show.

Jeff Sternshein, of Fort Lauderdale, said his 23-year-old son witnessed the shooting at the station. The son said one woman was in the driver's seat and the other was preparing to pump gas when the killer approached and fired about nine shots from close range. He got back in his car and sped away.

Sternshein said his son ran from a vehicle about 15 feet away to the injured woman in the driver's seat. ''He held her hand, and he stayed with her'' until medics arrived.

Sternshein declined to identify his son by name.

The case was Plantation's second highly public domestic killing in 14 months.

Last April, Olidia Kerr Day, 45, sought refuge at the Plantation police station after being chased by Carlos Cevallos, 48, whom she had rebuffed. Cevallos killed Day outside the station and turned the gun on himself.


Hauck was identified in an online profile as an aspiring fashion designer who attended Broward College and American Intercontinental University. She attended Plantation High School, where she played soccer. Family and friends gathered throughout the day at Hauck's apartment to grieve and comfort her parents, who declined to comment.

Public records show Pazo moved to Plantation in 2007 from Key West, where she was a cheerleader at Key West High School and a member of the Beta Club.

In 2003, Pazo was among 42 Conch students certified by the Literacy Volunteers of America to be tutors in the English as a Second Language program, helping other students who had problems reading, writing and speaking English. Brooke's mother Carrie is a fourth-grade teacher at Poinciana Elementary School. Pazo's parents, Caridad and Louis, live in Key West along with her brother and older sister.

Caridad Pazo teaches fourth grade, and Louis works at Fausto's Grocery, where police notified him of his daughter's death.

Louis Pazo collapsed upon hearing the news. ''Tell me she's not dead, Tell me she's not dead,'' store manager and former Key West Mayor Jimmy Weekley recalled the father saying. His daughter was supposed to have visited this weekend.

Anyone with information, call Crime Stoppers, 954-493-TIPS. Sun-Sentinel Staff Writer Juan Ortega and Sun-Sentinel staff Researchers Gilbert Medina and Barbara Hijek, and Key West Keynoter reporter Sean Kinney contributed to this report.

SoCal man sentenced for wife's 1992 bathtub murder

The Associated Press

VICTORVILLE, Calif.—A San Bernardino County man who stabbed his wife 13 times and left her body in a bathtub nearly two decades ago has been sentenced.

A judge in Victorville Friday sentenced Gustavo Perez to 15 years to life in state prison.

Perez, 46, of Sugarloaf, was convicted last fall of second-degree murder in the August 1992 killing of his wife, Gina.

Perez had claimed to find her body after returning home. He was arrested after cold-case investigators reopened the case in 2006.

Perez's defense lawyer argued at trial that the wife's boyfriend may have been the killer. But that man testified that he loved her and had asked her to marry him.

Man kills wife, daughter, injures son

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Glendale police say 29-year-old Michael Miller killed his wife and 10-year-old daughter, and critically injured his son.

Police say Miller called 911 early Saturday morning and told police to come to his house near 77th Avenue and Camelback Road.

"When officers went inside the house, they discovered three victims," said Sergeant Jim Cunningham. "Two had been deceased, and the other one received serious but not life threatening injuries. That person was sent to the hospital and is in serious condition."

Miller's son is in the hospital and is expected to survive.

Miller was arrested without a struggle and charged with two counts of First Degree Murder.

Police have not released how the people were killed.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Man charged with beating toddler to death

VISTA, Calif., May 28 (UPI) -- A Guatemalan immigrant went on trial this week, charged with fatally beating his girlfriend's son when the toddler began crying while he was trying to sleep.

Jose Maurice Castenada could face the death penalty if he is convicted of the murder of Cesar Razo, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday.

During opening statements Wednesday, a prosecutor described Castenada as a brutal man who often assaulted Maria Razo and her children. Lucy Weismantel said the attack on Cesar, 2, in 2005 was carried out in front of the boy's mother and sister.

"This child was beaten, kicked, bitten, strangled and whipped at the hands of the defendant," she said.

Allen Bloom, Castenada's lawyer, argued that Razo was the real killer. She pleaded guilty in 2007 to voluntary manslaughter and child abuse and agreed to testify against Castenada

Winters Man Captured, Suspected in Wife's Murder

Written for the web byPosted By: Jason Kobely, Internet News Producer  

WINTERS, CA - A Winters man who local and federal authorities believe murdered his wife last month was captured Thursday night in Dixon with his 10-year-old daughter.

Felipe Cruz Hernandez, 39, was arrested at an AM-PM store in Dixon around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, just minutes after the Yolo County Sheriff's Department issued a full-scale search for Hernandez and his daughter Lisa Cruz-Barrales, Winters police Chief Bruce Muramoto said.

Investigators said Hernandez's wife Leticia Barrales Ramos was last seen April 12 after allegedly fighting with her husband.

"(Neighbors) could hear fighting and yelling, crying. Then they heard a car door slam," Ramos' co-worker Evangeline Matthews said. "That was the last time anybody's seen her."

When Ramos didn't report to work the next day at Dixon's Lester Farms Bakery, Matthews said the store's owner called her home and spoke to Hernandez.

According to Matthews, a distraught Hernandez said his wife was missing and he had no idea where she was. By the time police were contacted later that day, Matthews said Hernandez was telling friends and neighbors that his wife was called away to attend to a family emergency in Mexico.

"He just kept changing his story," Matthews said.

Muramoto said a joint investigation between Winters police, Yolo County sheriff's detectives and agents with the FBI determined there was no family emergency and a search warrant was served on the family's East Baker Way home Thursday.

The search turned up evidence that Ramos may have been murdered, prompting a search for Hernandez, Muramoto said.

Muramoto said Ramos is missing and presumed dead.

Hernandez was taken to the Yolo County Jail. The couple's daughter was unharmed and was in the custody of county child protective services officials.

Man ordered to stand trial in strangulation death of Ann Arbor mother

by Dave Gershman | The Ann Arbor News
Friday May 29, 2009, 11:39 AM

Kwame Burrell showed up looking scared - like he had seen a ghost, his brother testified Friday.

Under questioning by Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Dianna Collins, Nkrumah Burrell said his brother admitted he had killed his girlfriend, Kisha French, that day.

Kwame Burrell
"He said he got into it with Kisha," Nkrumah Burrell testified. "I guess he strangled her."

At the end of the preliminary hearing Friday, 15th District Court Judge Julie Creal ordered Burrell to stand trial on a charge of open murder.

Seated a few feet away, Burrell held his head in his hands and placed his forehead on the defense table as his brother testified. Nkrumah Burrell appeared under a court order wearing handcuffs and an orange jail jumpsuit.

In ordering Burrell to stand trial, Creal cited Nkrumah Burrell's testimony and the earlier testimony of an Ann Arbor police detective who said Kwame Burrell admitted after his arrest that he assaulted French, but denied killing her. Burrell told police she was alive when he left her apartment, and he saw another man enter it.

Burrell's attorney, Randall Roberts, argued the evidence showed the crime wasn't premeditated. At most, Roberts said, the court should consider whether the evidence supported a manslaughter charge.

"This was an accident, a horrible occurrence that never was intended," Roberts said.
A charge of open murder allows prosecutors to argue at trial that the defendant committed any type of murder, from first-degree to manslaughter.

Burrell, 31, is accused of killing French, 30, after she broke up with him and told him he couldn't stay with her anymore in her Allen Street home. Burrell was arrested two days after the Jan. 27 killing. Police found him in the apartment of his brother's girlfriend.

Also testifying Friday was Keith Malone, French's neighbor, who was jailed in April for violating bond conditions on a charge of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute. While in jail, Malone said he bumped into Burrell several times.

"Me being me, I said, 'Did you do it?'" Malone said he asked Burrell. "He said, 'Yeah, I did do it.'"

Malone agreed to testify against Burrell in exchange for a reduced sentence in the drug case.

Burrell is being held in the Washtenaw County Jail and is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on July 15.

Reporter Dave Gershman can be reached at 734-994-6818