Saturday, October 31, 2009

Macon, GA: Macon man charged with murder in girlfriend’s death

A 45-year-old man has been charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend who was found dead at their Newberg Avenue home early Friday morning.
Alphonzo McNear was being held without bond at the Bibb County jail Friday, according to jail records.
An autopsy revealed 53-year-old Sandra Joann Stell was strangled, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.
McNear called police at about 4 a.m. When officers arrived at 896 Newberg Ave., they found Stell dead with bruises on her face, neck and body, according to a Macon police report.
The officers talked with McNear, who said he and Stell drank an alcoholic beverage at about 8 p.m.
A little later, Stell played with her kitten.
At some point, McNear fell asleep.
When he awoke, he found Stell lying on their bedroom floor at the foot of the bed, according to the report.
He tried to wake her up. He called 911 when she didn’t respond, according to the report.
McNear was arrested Friday after the autopsy was complete, police Sgt. Zac Self said.
Stell’s death marks the 13th homicide in Macon in 2009.
Five homicides have been reported in Bibb County this year, Jones said.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

Santa Cruz, CA: Santa Cruz man sentenced in wife's murder

Friday, October 30, 2009
(10-30) 19:24 PDT Santa Cruz, Calif. (AP) --

A Santa Cruz man who claimed he lost his memory around the time his wife was murdered has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for her death.

Forty-four-year-old Marshall Doud maintained before his sentencing Friday that he could not remember what happened when his wife died. But he added he was sorry for whatever he may have done and always loved her.

A jury this summer convicted Doud of first-degree murder in the suffocation death of his wife, 42-year-old Morgana, in September 2007.

Two of the couple's children testified that they awoke to the sound of their mother screaming and were told by their father that she had experienced a nightmare and everything was OK.

Doud's attorney says he plans to appeal the case.

Suffolk County, NY: Police: Attorney stabbed, killed by his wife in affluent suburb

October 31, 1:07 PMLong Island Legal News ExaminerMichael Nardolillo

An affluent Suffolk County woman was charged in the stabbing death of her husband Friday during a domestic dispute, according to Suffolk County police. Kathleen Prisco, 48, of Bob O Link Lane in Fort Salonga, was charged with second degree murder after homicide detectives say she stabbed her husband Ralph, 54, in their home yesterday morning.
The eldest son of the couple, 22, heard a struggle and then his father screaming for help. The Prisco’s son was the only other person home at the time of the incident. Upon their arrival, police found Mr. Prisco on the floor of his foyer, bleeding from multiple stab wounds. He was rushed to Stony Brook University Medical Center, but pronounced dead upon arrival at 9:31 a.m.
Police also found Mrs. Prisco in her bedroom, where she told them she had taken over-the-counter medication. She was subsequently treated at Huntington Hospital and released into custody. Mrs. Prisco’s arraignment is scheduled for today at First District Court in Central Islip.
Detectives said motivation for the alleged murder is unclear at this time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Providence, RI: Suspect in teen mom's death in court

Victor Arciliares ordered to undergo evaluation

Updated: Friday, 30 Oct 2009, 1:13 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 30 Oct 2009, 1:13 PM EDT

Nancy Krause
Reporting By: Danielle North
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The Providence man accused of shooting to death his girlfriend appeared in District Court Friday morning. But instead of being arraigned on manslaughter charges as planned, Victor Arciliares, 20, was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation at the state mental hospital.

Police arrested Arciliares in connection with the shooting death of 18-year-old Dayvelliz Cotto, the mother of the couple's young daughter.

Police were called to a home on Montgomery Ave. for a disturbance Thursday afternoon. While heading to the scene, another call came in that someone may have been shot. When officers arrived, they said they found Cotto on the ground in the rear of the property, bleeding.

Emergency crews rushed Cotto to Rhode Island Hospital , where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Police said Arciliares claimed responsibility for the shooting and told them it was an accident.

During the court proceeding Friday morning, Arciliares repeatedly muttered the victim's name and their daughter's name. Fearing Arciliares could be at risk for suicide, the judge the judge ordered him held for two weeks for psychological evaluation.

Providence police said the investigation is still continuing.

Norfolk, VA: Norfolk man will serve 2 years in prison for girlfriend's death



11:50 AM EDT, October 30, 2009


A Norfolk man will serve two years in prison, with another eight years suspended, after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his girlfriend earlier this year.

Terrance Wright, who turned 25 this week, was sentenced today in Norfolk Circuit Court. He had entered the guilty plea in July.

He was charged in the shooting death of his girlfriend, 24-year-old Latonya Dickens, in her Norfolk apartment on March 8.

Amanda Howie, spokeswoman for the commonwealth's attorney, said prosecutors had the support of Dickens' mother in agreeing to the plea deal offered to Wright.

Columbus, KS: Rural Columbus man guilty in wife's death

Associated Press - October 30, 2009 7:54 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) - A rural Columbus man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife.

A Cherokee County jury on Thursday found 46-year-old Robert Jarman guilty in the Aug. 22, 2007, death of Suzanne Jarman.

Law enforcement officers found Suzanne Jarman dead from a shotgun wound at the couple's home outside Columbus. Jarman, who did not testify at his trial, told investigators that he was handing his wife a shotgun while cleaning out a gun safe when it discharged and hit her.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Jarman's attorney, Sam Marsh, says he will appeal and seek a new trial.

Madison, WI: Special Assignment: Domestic Violence, A Family's Loss

Domestic violence is often called the silent crime. But it was the cause of one particular murder this summer that still shocks one family.
Reporter: Leigh Mills
Email Address:

It's often called the silent crime. One-third of all arrests in Dane County are domestic violence-related. Just this summer, three high profile murders rocked the community.

This story shows one family's loss and why experts believe domestic violence continues to escalate.

"How dare anybody take her when she wasn't ready," said Letitia Jowosimi, as a tear streaked down her cheek. "I saw some guy with a gun firing a couple and the victim going to the ground."

On Saturday, May 16, 2009, Francie Weber was shot by her ex-husband, Steven, in front of her apartment complex. It was just one day after a restraining order against Steven was lifted.

A manhunt quickly ensued. Officers zeroed in on Madison's Hoyt Park area. Schools were locked down, roads were closed and the public was told to stay away.

Steven shot himself, leaving behind two orphaned teenagers and shocking an entire community.

"I miss [Francie] and it's such a waste that she's not here," said Jowosimi, Francie's niece. She holds on tightly to Francie's memory. They were only eight years apart.

"When I was young, Francie used to always say that I was the little sister she never had."

Francie's relationship with Steven started when they were teenagers. Letitia says Steven abused Francie for years, but she kept it a secret.

"It wasn't shared when it would come to any abuse emotionally, mentally, verbally, physically. It wasn't shared with us as a family," Jowosimi said. "We didn't realize the abuse to the degree."

After more than 30 years with Steven, Francie had had enough and filed for divorce.

"She was very, very nervous and worried," Jowosimi said.

Months later, Steven was charged with four felonies: strangulation, suffocation, physical abuse of a child and disarming a peace officer.
That case never moved forward, when Steven killed Francie and then himself.

"A lot of Francie Weber's case is typical for domestic violence homicides," said Shannon Barry, Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, or DAIS. "She had separated from the abuser, which is often a time when abusers will escalate. He had made death threats against her both to her and to other people."

The newly released domestic violence homicide report shows 46 people died in Wisconsin in 2008 and 2009 is expected to be even worse with 33 deaths in just the first seven months.

"It's very alarming," Barry said. "I think that across the social services here in Dane County we've all been feeling the pressure. "We're busier than we've ever been and we're getting to the point of wondering how much more we can do."

One thing the community can do is promise to never forget the victims of domestic violence. Every October, community members read the names of those killed in the past year, hoping to keep their memory alive.

"The pain doesn't go away, I just learn to cope," Jowosimi said.

It's been five and a half months and there's not a day that goes by that Letitia doesn't wonder why or what could have been.

"I miss her. I really miss her," Jowosimi said with a tear stained face as she shook her head. "There's not an hour in the day I don't think of her, not an hour."

Deciding to leave the abuser is one of the most dangerous times for domestic violence victims. If you find yourself in that position, DAIS can meet with you, let you know about the risks and help you improve your safety.

And it's important to point out that domestic violence doesn't just impact women, it happens to men, too.

As for the community, there is a lot that can be done to help. First, know what resources are available to help someone. DAIS staffs a crisis line for victims, family members and friends 24-7. That number is (608) 251-4445.

Also, talk about the issue -- and if you witness a death threat, take it seriously and report it. Who knows, that could have saved Francie's life.

There is an event on Saturday in Francie's name to benefit DAIS. The run/walk for Francie will take place on Saturday, October 31 at 10:00am as part of UFO Day in Belleville.

Proceeds will be donated to DAIS in Francie's name.

For more information, go to:

San Diego, CA: Man Convicted of Trying to Cover-Up Murder

SAN DIEGO - A man who lied to police about his friend's whereabouts when a woman and her son were strangled, and also helped fake a DNA test to hide the infant's paternity, was convicted Friday of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Maxwell Corn, 25, faces up to three years in state prison when he is sentenced Dec. 11 by Judge Bernard Revak, who heard the case without a jury.

Corn was best friends with Dennis Potts, who last month was convicted of the July 26, 2006, murders of Tori Vienneau and her 10-month-old son, Dean Springstube.

Corn told police that Potts -- who faces life in prison without parole when he's sentenced next week -- was with him continuously from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. the day of the murders, the judge said. Cell phone records and a security camera at a fast-food restaurant showed that was not the case, he said.

Being wrong about Potts' whereabouts would be understandable, but Corn also lied about a DNA test Vienneau sought to learn the identity of her son's father, in which he substituted a sample of his DNA for Potts.

It's believed that the woman's request for a re-test under court supervision provided the motive for the murder, and Potts was eventually proved to be the father.

"If Mr. Corn had just told police the truth about the DNA, he wouldn't be here," Revak said.

There was no argument that some of the overt acts called for under the conspiracy law took place, and there was enough circumstantial evidence that Corn and Potts had at least a tacit agreement to hide information from police, the judge said.

"What impresses me most about these two young men is not only the nature of their relationship, but their stories are in lockstep," Revak said. "That is very unusual."

Deputy District Attorney Per Hellstrom told jurors in Potts' trial that the defendant deleted his text messages and altered his cell phone records. He had dinner plans with Vienneau the night she was killed, he said.

Hellstrom told the jury Potts surprised Vienneau in her apartment, knocked her unconscious, strangled her with the cord of a hair-straightening iron and ripped her blouse to make it appear to be a sexual assault.

Potts then hung the baby in his crib with a cell phone charger cord, the prosecutor said.

Vienneau's mother said after Corn's conviction that the "senseless" loss of her daughter "stripped me of all my identity."

Dayna Herroz said she "honors her daughter and grandson" by counseling family members who've lost loved ones to homicide or other sudden causes.

Corn was allowed to remain free on bond pending sentencing.
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Bradenton, FL: Bradenton man shoots woman, then self, police say

A Bradenton man shot the mother of his child twice during an argument Thursday night, then turned the gun on himself, Manatee County sheriff's deputies say.

Maria de Leon DeJesus, 43, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where she is listed this morning in critical but stable condition.

Jose Ramirez, 49, was found dead by SWAT members in the home the couple shared in the 4000 block of 62nd Street in Bradenton.

Deputies give this account of what happened shortly before midnight on Thursday:

DeJesus wanted Ramirez to move out of their house. While the couple was arguing, Ramirez, who was drinking, got his gun and loaded it. DeJesus and her two children, ages 19 and 12, ran out of the house and across the street.

Ramirez chased them and shot DeJesus twice, police said. He then returned to the home and barricaded himself inside. Deputies and SWAT team members surrounded the property and a short time later, authorities found Ramirez dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The investigation is ongoing.

Long Beach, CA: Man Gets Death for Murdering Two Girlfriends

11:05 AM PDT, October 30, 2009
in court in 2008 (Photo Courtesy Long Beach Press Telegram)
LONG BEACH -- A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend because she refused to dispose of his previous girlfriend's body has been condemned to death.

It took jurors only 30 minutes Thursday to reach the unanimous verdict in the case against 28 year old Santiago Martinez, Jr.

Martinez was first convicted in 2005 of killing one girlfriend, then convicted last year of killing a second girlfriend when she refused to help Martinez dispose of the first victim's remains.

The first murder victim, Christina Wilkerson, 28, of Long Beach, was stabbed 20 times in the face, neck and body, then shot point blank with a .22 rifle on March 18, 2003. Martinez was sentenced to more than 50 years to life in prison for her death.

He was convicted last November for the murder of Myra Orozco, 24, of Long Beach.

Prosecutors say Orozco was stabbed and slashed close to 30 times in the face, neck and body before Martinez pushed the mortally wounded woman from the car they were sitting in, then ran over her on March 30, 2003.

The jury in that case convicted Martinez of first degree murder and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders, paving the way for the possibility of the death penalty.

Philipsburg, PA: Boyfriend: Shooting an accident: Couple were hunting at night when woman was fatally shot

PHILIPSBURG -- The boyfriend of 21-year-old Racheal Lynn Perryman told police they were hunting after dark Saturday in a remote area in Union Township when he mistook his girlfriend for a deer and "accidentally" shot her.

This was revealed Wednesday in search warrants filed by Philipsburg state police wanting to search the car the couple drove and the home they shared in Port Matilda.

Court papers filed in another case identify Perryman’s boyfriend as Troy Tierney, and her social networking site says they were living together and engaged.

Police say the boyfriend called police for help about 8:30 p.m., according to the search warrant, saying Perryman was shot in a grassy road off Governor’s Road, about a half mile from Rattlesnake Pike. The coroner pronounced Perryman dead of a shot to the chest fired by a muzzleloader. It was the last day of hunting season for that rifle.

Police said they searched Perryman’s Ford Taurus parked near the scene and the couple’s Front Street home to verify her boyfriend’s story that the pair were using spotlights to hunt deer at night.

The warrant, filed at District Judge Allen Sinclair’s Philipsburg office, states police also wanted to "prove or disprove that a disturbance/ fight/assault" happened either in the car or their home before the couple left to go hunting around 5 p.m.

"Investigators learned from additional interviews that there may have been a history of domestic violence between Perryman and that 25-year-old male," police wrote in the search warrant.

According to the paperwork, police recovered a Varmint hunting light kit from the vehicle, along with a plastic garbage bag, 14 prescriptions, two blood-soaked tissues, two bloody pages of the Centre Daily Times, and a small green notebook.

Nothing was recovered from the apartment.

Perryman’s boyfriend told police the shooting happened "sometime" after dark, which District Attorney Michael Madeira -- who is otherwise tight lipped about this investigation -- says is against state law.

"It is against the game laws in Pennsylvania to hunt after dark, and obviously for safety reasons, you can’t do that," Madeira said. "Anybody that’s a hunter knows that ... if you’ve heard the expression ’deer in the headlights look,’ that’s because the deer will stop and pause to see what’s going on. And when people hunt with lights at night or when they hunt at night it’s because deer are less leery of human presence."

Madeira said he won’t comment on suspects or leads because the investigation is ongoing. He said Wednesday that he reached out to investigators and has spoken to them at least twice.

Perryman’s boyfriend told police he had taken some medications that Saturday but denied drinking any alcohol.

Court papers say he told police he’d obtained the gun he used at about 3 p.m. that day. They do not say how he obtained the weapon.

In their search, police said they were looking for receipts or other materials that may help retrace the couple’s steps that day, or any writings that "may show the state of mind for either the man or Perryman," police wrote.

Based on the court paperwork, it appeared none were found.

To see more of the Centre Daily Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Chicago, IL: Husband charged in murder of woman found in shot trunk

October 29, 2009
The husband of a woman found shot multiple times in the trunk of a car in the Northwest Side Hermosa neighborhood Monday night was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Thursday.

Darron Brewer, 22, of the 3700 block of West Belden Avenue, allegedly conspired with another person to murder his wife, 22-year-old Kenatae Collier, police said.

At 10:50 p.m. Monday, Collier was found in the trunk of a vehicle in an alley in the 2200 block of North Tripp Avenue, according to police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

A law enforcement source indicated the woman was shot in the head and found in her vehicle. Alfaro said she had trauma to her head.

Brewer allegedly called police Monday night and said he spotted his wife’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the Tripp Avenue alley, and told them he had not seen his wife since early that morning, police said.

When police arrived, they found the woman fatally shot.

Grand Central Area detectives gathered evidence and conducted interviews that led them to Brewer, according to a release from police News Affairs.

Brewer allegedly killed his wife to collect on her life insurance policy and to prevent her from reporting another crime—but it was not clear what crime he was attempting to hide.

Police continue to search for a second suspect who allegedly conspired with Brewer in Collier’s murder, the release said.

An autopsy Tuesday found that Collier died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Brewer is due in bond court Friday.

Los Angelos, CA: Crime History - Actress Dominique Dunne strangled by ex

Examiner Staff Writer
October 30, 2009
On this day, Oct. 30, in 1982, young actress Dominique Dunne, daughter of celebrity crime writer Dominick Dunne, was strangled by her ex-boyfriend. She died five days later.
Dominique, 22, was best known for her role as the oldest daughter, Dana, in the 1982 Academy Award-nominated horror film "Poltergeist." After filming wrapped up, Dunne moved in with her boyfriend, Los Angeles chef John Thomas Sweeney.
But the relationship became stormy. Sweeney was so abusive that Dunne needed little makeup when she played a battered woman on television's "Hill Street Blues." Dunne moved out. Sweeney showed up at her new home and they argued in the driveway. Sweeney choked her. She fell into a coma and died on Nov. 4.
Sweeney was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years.
The "Poltergeist" series is said to be cursed partly because of the deaths of four of the cast members, including one who died during production of the second film. Dunne is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, close to co-star Heather O'Rourke, who died at age 12 after a medical misdiagnosis.
- Scott McCabe

Sebring, FL: Possible murder-suicide in Sebring being investigated


SEBRING -- Highlands County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a 911 call at 4401 Shamrock St. just after 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning after two dead bodies were apparently discovered at the residence.

Located just east off of Thunderbird Road, records from the Highlands County Tax Appraiser's Office show that the house is owned by James (Jim) L. Guy. According to one witness at the scene, there was a possible murder-suicide inside the 1,200-square foot, gray, ranch-style house.

A press release from the Highlands County Sheriff's Office late Thursday afternoon confirmed that there were two victims in the house. Investigators are not releasing the cause of death, but did "assure the public that they do not believe that there is a suspect at large."

When contacted at 1:15 p.m., Capt. Randy Labelle of the HCSO would say nothing other than that there was a death investigation under way at the house and that deputies were awaiting a search warrant so they could begin their investigation.

Sheriff Susan Benton said that standard practice after a scene is secured for the safety of deputies and victims is for everyone to back off until a search warrant is obtained before any evidence is gathered.

Ralph Levingston told the News-Sun he saw the bodies of Guy and his girlfriend on the screened-in back porch of the house. Levingston also reported seeing a small pistol on the floor near Guy, who had a wound to the head.

Levingston also reported seeing the unidentified girlfriend on her knees with her face in the chair on across the room, and blood on the floor.

Levingston told the News-Sun that he had known Guy for 15 to 20 years, and was heading over to the house to see why Guy had missed an 8 a.m. meeting to go get a sailboat in Okeechobee.

"We were going to bring his sailboat back to his house so he could sell it," Levingston said.

"I didn't go into the house. I just saw them from outside the screen porch, about eight feet from the door," he added.

Levingston had no idea why the deputies were seeking a search warrant.

For further updates, check the News-Sun Web site at

Thursday, October 29, 2009 -

Baton R0uge, LA: Man indicted in pregnant ex-girlfriend's death

Posted: Oct 29, 2009 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 29, 2009 1:26 PM EDT

Percy Cage (Source: Baton Rouge Police Department)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A 40-year-old Baton Rouge man was indicted Wednesday in the deaths of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, her unborn child and her younger brother.

Baton Rouge police said an East Baton Rouge grand jury indicted Percy Cage on multiple charges, including the murders of Tonya Smith, 31, her fetus and Renna Boreaux, Smith's 15-year-old brother. He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree feticide, two counts of aggravated criminal damage to property, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of aggravated criminal damage to property.

Cage allegedly fired shots into the home where Smith and Boreaux were. The shooting happened on Aug. 14 in the 9500 block of Syble Drive. He allegedly fired shots into a home in the 5600 block of Truman in Baker that same day. According to sheriff's deputies, people were also inside that home but no one was hit. Baton Rouge police said Cage was found hiding in Ascension Parish and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on unrelated battery charges.

He remained in jail on the battery charges while the shootings were investigated. Both the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office filed additional charges against Cage Thursday morning, following the indictment.

Washington, DC: Sniper’s ex-wife says his real aim was to kill her

Published: October 29, 2009

In October 2002, the shots came from out of nowhere, as seemingly random as they were cold-blooded, leaving 10 dead, three wounded, and millions of people frightened.
John Allen Muhammad, now at the Greensville Correctional Center awaiting a scheduled Nov. 10 execution, remains an enigma who might take the motives behind the attacks with him to the grave.
In 2003, a jury agreed with prosecutors that the Muhammad-led sniper shootings were terrorist acts that sowed fear from suburban Maryland to the Richmond area in an effort to extort $10 million from the government.
Now, a memoir released this month by Muhammad's ex-wife says his crimes were a smokescreen -- that his real aim was to kill her, make the slaying appear random, and then win back their three children he once had abducted.
Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and the expert hired by the state to conduct a pretrial psychiatric evaluation of Muhammad, agrees with the motive theory outlined in "Scared Silent" by Mildred Muhammad.
"My theory about Muhammad was that his intent was to kill his wife to gain cus tody of his children, and that the other shootings were designed to provide him cover so that he wouldn't be suspected when she became one of the sniper victims," Dietz said in a recent telephone interview.
Dietz had access to information about the case that never was made public, but he did not testify. Because Muhammad refused to let Dietz interview him, the judge did not permit Muhammad to introduce evidence from psychiatric experts, either.
Papers filed in a federal appeals court this year raise the question of whether Muhammad had any coherent plan. A defense psychiatrist who met Muhammad in 2003 concluded that while he could "show a superficial brightness," she believed he was not competent to stand trial because of his delusional and paranoid statements.
An MRI brain scan and other test results submitted with the same appeal -- which Muhammad lost -- purportedly show he has brain damage and neurological deficits.
Muhammad and his young protégé, Lee Boyd Malvo, are the only people convicted of capital murder under Virginia's anti-terrorism law enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Malvo, just 17 when the shootings took place, was sentenced to four life terms and is being held in Red Onion State Prison in Wise County.
Muhammad was sentenced to die for the Oct. 9, 2002, slaying of Dean Meyers, 53, shot to death at a gas station near Manassas.
. . .
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert, who won the death sentence against Muhammad, said this week that Muhammad "probably had a lot of different motives, but nobody'll ever know except for him."
Ebert said Muhammad well may have planned eventually to kill his ex-wife.
"I think he certainly was capable of killing her and, of course . . . he said he was going to kill her." Ebert said Muhammad might have headed to the Washington, D.C., area from Washington state, where he was living at the time, because she was in Maryland.
Mildred Muhammad moved to Maryland after John Muhammad abducted the couple's children from her home in Tacoma, Wash., in March 2000. He kept them for 17 months and at one point took them to Antigua, where they met Malvo.
In August 2001, Muhammad and the children were found in Washington state. Mildred Muhammad won custody of the children and, with the blessing of the court, she fled back to Clinton, Md., with the children on Sept. 5, 2001.
Still in Washington state, Muhammad was able to find them. He and Malvo traveled across the country, and by September 2002, they were in Clinton, where authorities believe Malvo wounded a restaurateur during a robbery. In October, they launched the sniper attacks in Maryland, Washington and Virginia.
But after the wounding of a Florida motorist in Ashland by Malvo and Muhammad, police recovered a note thumb-tacked to a tree that included a demand for $10 million to stop the shootings.
Ebert's theory is that Muhammad and Malvo began by robbing people -- a restaurant owner in Clinton and a beauty shop manager in Baton Rouge, La., in September 2002. After they saw all the terror they were creating, they decided to try to make money with the extortion scheme.
. . .
Dietz, president of Park Dietz & Associates in California, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and a former professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, has worked with the FBI Forensic Science Unit for 30 years.
"A very large focus of my work has been mass murder, serial murder and what is sometimes called 'spree killings,' and, I also happened to be the government's psychiatric expert on the Muhammad case," he said.
Dietz believes Muhammad is a rare type of serial killer.
"Only a few cases are known in which the serial killing was primarily designed as a cover for one targeted homicide in the cluster," he said.
One of them occurred in the Seattle area in 1986, when Stella Nickell killed her husband with cyanide-laced Excedrin capsules to collect $176,000 in life insurance.
In an attempt to make it appear that a serial killer was loose in the community, Nickell tampered with other Excedrin bottles, which she placed in a store. One woman died because of the tampering.
In 1988, Nickell became the first person convicted under federal product-tampering laws enacted after the 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders. She was sentenced to 90 years.
"To this day I believe that Muhammad's crimes were leading up to the murder of his wife to gain custody of his children," Dietz said.
Richmond lawyer Craig S. Cooley, who represented Malvo, also believes Muhammad's real motive was to kill his ex-wife.
"I think that is clearly what was intended, but that was never made known to Lee [Malvo]," said Cooley, who added that Muhammad told Malvo that the killings were part of an implausible plan to extort the $10 million and found a utopian society in Canada.
Muhammad was a mentor and father figure to Malvo, whom he met in Antigua in 2001 when Malvo was 15.
The pair were spotted seven times near the house where Mildred Muhammad lived during the time the sniper shootings were taking place that October, Cooley said.
Cooley said the sniper victims represented almost every demographic group -- except for African-American females. If Mildred Muhammad were killed, John Muhammad believed he would not be a suspect because it would appear she was just another random victim of the sniper, Cooley argues.
"That way, he would have gotten his children back and the children would have never known that he had hurt their mother," Cooley said.
Both Cooley and Ebert said Malvo maintained that Muhammad never told him that Mildred Muhammad was an intended victim.
"I think, frankly, after he killed Mildred he'd kill Lee," Cooley said. "Lee would have been the only person that could have ever spilled the beans to the kids."

Contact Frank Green at (804) 649-6340 or .

Waco, TX: Man gets 30 years in ex-wife's stabbing death

By Tommy Witherspoon Tribune-Herald staff writer
Friday, October 30, 2009

A former restaurant manager from Louisiana was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Thursday in the June stabbing death of his ex-wife, an Army sergeant at Fort Hood.

Donovan Darcell Lair, 36, faced up to life in federal prison after he pleaded guilty last month in Waco’s federal court to killing Shameka Nicole Jones, the mother of his child and two other children, 11 days after their divorce.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. also fined Lair $5,000.

“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to Ms. Jones’ death that night,” said Lair’s attorney, Brian Howell. “I feel sorry for the Lair family and the Jones family as they work through her death. Mr. Lair has taken full responsibility for his actions that night.”

Before sentencing, Lair apologized to the Jones family, to the court and to law enforcement.

According to federal court records, Lair went to Jones’ house at Fort Hood in the early-morning hours of June 22. They argued, and Lair picked up a knife from a bedroom table and stabbed Jones once in the chest, records show.

Lair called for help about 10 to 20 minutes after he stabbed Jones, and military police and medical personnel found her alive but bleeding profusely in the bedroom, according to court records. She died later at Darnell Army Medical Center.


Alfred, ME: Wells woman jailed for life for killing husband by setting him on fire

Wells woman sentenced in killing of husband

By Steve Bodnar
October 30, 2009 2:00 AM
ALFRED, Maine — Kimberly Spampinato gave little reaction Thursday in York County Superior Court when she was sentenced to life in prison for killing her husband, but a tearful sorrow was seen among family members of the murder victim.

Spampinato, 42, who pleaded guilty in August to killing 39-year-old Christopher Spampinato by setting him on fire while he slept, also was sentenced Thursday afternoon to a concurrent 30-year sentence for one count of arson. She has the right to appeal.

"There is only one sentence that can be imposed," said Justice Paul Fritzsche after reiterating the reasons for the sentences.

Both sentences, he said, were the maximum the state of Maine could issue, although "there is nothing we could do that is meaningful to assist the (family of Christopher)."

On Jan. 8, while Christopher slept, Kimberly Spampinato doused him and rolled up newspapers in gasoline, setting the paper and her husband on fire in his Wells apartment, said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, a state prosecutor in the case.

Christopher ran out of the apartment and was found by police badly burned and sitting in a snow bank that night, she said.

He died nine days later on Jan. 17 in the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to court records.

Spampinato set her husband on fire because he wanted a divorce and was having a phone relationship with a Texas woman, Nicki Lowhorn, according to Marchese.

Though her attorney, Amy McGarry, was arguing for a lesser sentence, Kimberly Spampinato told the court she'd be "relieved" to get life in prison. Sarah Churchill is Spampinato's other defense attorney.

Fritzsche said that although it was Kimberly Spampinato's right not to apologize or show remorse for her actions, the lack of such during the sentencing showed that a life sentence without parole was applicable.

The York County judge also noted that from letters written from Kimberly Spampinato to Christopher's family, it appeared that she "enjoyed" or "reveled" in his death, which was a certain rarity among murders.

During the courtroom sentence hearing, members of Christopher's family gave emotional statements encouraging that she has a history of violence and should be sentenced to life.

"Sometimes I can wake up and smell the burn unit where I watched him die slowly," said Christopher's sister, Jennifer Cabot, reading from a statement.

Cabot said she wanted to be able to remember her brother for the "amazing person that he was."

Kimberly Spampinato's attorneys said she had a terrible childhood, mental illness and did positive things in her working life, where she was a nurse's assistant.

McGarry said her youth included sexual abuse and that she was working through her struggles with counseling and medication.

Fritzsche acknowledged those circumstances, but said by Spaminato setting her husband on fire, the situation became "extreme cruelty," which was due cause for the sentence.

He also noted that public safety also was a major concern by Maine courts.

While a few people, including Spampinato's ex-husband, gave statements that she should get life in prison, no one spoke on Spampinato's behalf.

She was quickly ushered out of the courtroom after the sentencing, while the victim's family gave each other hugs.

Outside the Alfred courthouse, Christopher's mother, Ann Cabot, convened with other family members. She was wearing her son's ashes around her neck. Jennifer Cabot was, too.

"It's all done; everything is done," Ann Cabot said, pausing to look up at the nearly cloudless sky. "She wanted life. She got it."

Loveland, CO: Loveland man: Wife's shooting was an accident


A Loveland man accused of fatally shooting his wife earlier this month told police they both grabbed what he thought was an unloaded rifle while sitting in their garage and it went off.

Branden Burgess, 33, who is facing manslaughter and weapons charges in connection with the shooting death of his wife, Kelly, was in court Thursday for an initial hearing.

Wearing a red jail jumpsuit that marks him as a high-risk inmate, Burgess appeared with his court-appointed attorney who asked a judge to set a date for a potential plea bargain and a bond-reduction hearing.

Burgess, who is being held on $150,000 bond, faces charges of manslaughter, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and prohibited use of a weapon.

Burgess did not speak during the appearance. He will be in court again Thursday.

Although investigators have released few details about what led to Kelly Burgess' death, an arrest affidavit sworn out by Loveland police says Branden Burgess told officers he and his wife, who reportedly was pregnant, grabbed what he thought was an unloaded rifle while they were talking about hunting and shooting.

Branden Burgess told police the rifle discharged at an upward angle, hitting his wife in the head, according to the affidavit.

Investigating officers, however, noted that Kelly Burgess was killed by a "contact wound" on her left temple, meaning the weapon had been pressed against her head.

Further, police said the bullet traveled in a path parallel to the floor, not at an angle.

Police then re-enacted the scene described by Branden Burgess and concluded he had to have been standing, not sitting, when the rifle discharged.

Police, in the affidavit, said Branden Burgess' blood-alcohol level was 0.196 about 45 minutes after they found Kelly Burgess' body.

The Larimer County Coroner's Office on Thursday declined to release any information about Burgess' death, referring questions to the Loveland Police Department or prosecutors.

Following Kelly Burgess' death, her family established a fund in the name of her son, Christopher Burgess.

Donations may be made at any Bank of the West branch; checks should be made payable to Bank of the West or Parry Davison, with a reference to Christopher Burgess in the memo line.

Donations also may be mailed to Bank of the West, 801 Pine Ave., Kemmerer, WY 83101.

Wells County, IN: Wells County Man Charged in Wife's Death

WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A Wells County man appeared in court Wednesday morning on charges that he shot and killed his estranged wife.

27-year-old Tyler White is charged with murder, and is tentatively scheduled to stand trial on April 20thl.

Police arrested him Tuesday morning after they say they found him next to his wife's body at their Wells County home on County Road 100 South.

They claim he confessed.

Officials say he shot and killed 28-year-old Amy Meyer White while they were exchanging custody of their toddler.

The couple had been going through a divorce.

The child is now in the custody of relatives.

Amy Meyer White was the Assistant Cross-Country Coach at South Adams High School, and had been an Assistant Basketball Coach at the University of Saint Francis, where she had also played.

Mike Pries, Athletic Director for South Adams says Amy White has a big impact.

"She was a very positive and encouraging coach," explained Pries. " She was a good person. She was one of the best athletes that ever graduated from South Adams."

Meyer-White graduated from South Adams in 1999, and still remains the school's all-time leading scorer in basketball.

The results of an autopsy conducted on Tuesday are expected next week.

Stay tuned to Indiana's NewsCenter for further updates.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Minneapolis, MN: Man sentenced to nearly 12 years in girlfriend's '08 murder

Last update: October 28, 2009 - 9:18 PM

A man has been sentenced to 11¾ years in prison for the 2008 murder of his girlfriend, a death first thought to be a suicide.

John Michael King, 51, was sentenced Monday in Hennepin County District Court after pleading guilty to unintentional second-degree murder in the death of Pam Silver, 51.

The body of Silver, who went by Pam Sjogren before a divorce, was found in October 2008 hanging from a rope in the garage of her Minneapolis duplex.

In January, King called police from Texas to confess to Silver's death, saying he wanted her children to know she didn't kill herself.

King told police that Silver tried to poke him in the eye and that he choked her, but didn't mean to kill her, according to the criminal complaint.


Louisville, KY: Discovery documents detail murder charges filed against EMT

Posted: Oct 28, 2009 7:06 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 28, 2009 7:06 PM EDT
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Court documents detail investigation into murder charges against EMT

Ashley Whitehead (Source: Family photo)

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By Connie Leonard - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville EMT is accused of playing doctor and causing his the death of his chronically ill wife. New court documents are shedding a revealing light on what led investigators to file murder charges.

What stands out in almost 250 pages of discovery is Michael Whitehead's admission to police that he stole IV fluids from his employer and used them on his wife Ashley, that Michael Whitehead had choked Ashley in the past, and even admitted that he told co-workers he "would kill his wife."

On March 26, 2009, Whitehead called 911 from his apartment at 1726 Bonnyville Boulevard about the possible accidental overdose of his 24-year-old wife. When help arrived, Ashley Whitehead was in cardiac arrest and was taken to St. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital where she later died. According to court documents, Whitehead told LMPD Detective Scott Russ that his wife had Crohn's disease and was on pain medication.

In the couple’s residence, police found a prescription bottle for Dilaudid for Ashley, but all 120 pills were gone. The coroner discovered needle marks on Ashley Whitehead’s feet and arms and said she died from a lethal combination of Phenegran and Hydrocodone.

Russ, a former EMT himself, began interviewing several of Whitehead's co-workers at Yellow Ambulance. One stated to Russ, that Whitehead pulled out a knife at work and told people his wife "didn't love him anymore and he should go kill his wife or kill himself." An employee who filed sexual harassment claims against Whitehead said there was a known concern about his mental status. She told police Whitehead would come up from behind, grab her breasts and say "he would kill his wife to be with her." Another employee said the harassment included Whitehead sending her a picture of his penis.

On April 22, Russ interviewed Whitehead again. According to court records, it was during that interview when Whitehead allegedly admitted that he had been using IV’s on his wife for six months prior to her death, stole everything he used, and had even choked his wife in the past. On July 29, a friend of Whitehead's told police that Whitehead confided in her that he could get charged with murder. According to the police documents, when she asked him why, she claims Whitehead said he had given his wife medications in the IV, including crushed pills, but said it was evidence police would never find it because he hid it.

The woman stated she saved a file on her laptop about their chat. She also said Whitehead asked her to delete the files off his computer hard drive, but she refused. In August, search warrants were served at Whitehead's grandmother's home in Jeffersonville, Indiana to get his computer.

Ashley Whitehead’s father tells WAVE 3 that all the medication Ashley was willingly on was "prescription only" and says the evidence in this case “speaks for itself."

Copyright 2009 WAVE-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Fresh Meadowa, NY: Manhattan diamond dealer kills wife, then himself


Thursday, October 29th 2009, 4:00 AM

A Manhattan diamond dealer, reeling from money woes and poor health, shot his wife in the head Wednesday and then took his own life, police said.

Cops arrived at the Queens home of Morris and Charlotte Green shortly after noon Wednesday and found the bodies of the husband and wife in their bed, along with a .38-caliber revolver, police sources said.

Morris Green, 76, shot his wife, 78, then pointed the gun at his chest and pulled the trigger, the sources said.

Morris Green, who owned a Fifth Avenue jewelry store called Green Brothers, had recently had bypass surgery on his heart, said a longtime neighbor and friend who did not want to be identified.

Amid the economic downturn, money had also become very tight at the business, the police sources said.

Cops went to the couple's Fresh Meadows home after they were notified that Morris Green, who normally opens the business, failed to show for work yesterday, said the neighbor, who spoke to cops shortly before they discovered the tragedy.

A woman who answered the phone at the couple's home last night declined to comment.

"It's sad what happened," said longtime neighbor Joe Khan.

"They were very nice people," added neighbor Wen Zhu, a neighbor who has known the Greens for about 10 years. "They were always together. I'm surprised."

Autopsies will be performed on the husband and wife to confirm the murder-suicide determination, but investigators are not searching for any suspects, sources said.

With Michael J. Feeney

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Vernon, LA: Vernon deputies kill ex-husband after dispute

Town Talk staff

Louisiana State Police Troop E is investigating the shooting death of a man by Vernon Parish Sheriff's deputies responding to a domestic violence call on Tuesday night in Anacoco.

The sheriff's office received a 911 call around 8 p.m. from a residence in the 100 block of McElveen Road in Anacoco, state police said. The caller requested assistance with a domestic situation involving her ex-husband, who she identified as Mark Odom Self, 38, of 109 McElveen Road in Anacoco.

Deputies arrived at the residence to find the caller outside and an irate Self at the front door, according to a release.

Deputies moved the caller and the couple's 17-year-old daughter to a safer location. The caller also told deputies that Self had been drinking heavily all day, and that he struck her several times before deputies arrived, according to the release.

The deputies tried talking to Self, but he continued to be belligerent and refused to exit the residence or relinquish the rifle. Eventually, Self pointed the weapon at the deputies. Two deputies fired their weapons and hit him. Self was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the release.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Atlanta, GA: Husband Kills Paraplegic Wife

ATLANTA (AP) -- Police say a 68-year-old paraplegic Atlanta woman has been shot and killed by her husband and another person is in critical condition.

Atlanta police homicide Det. Lt. Keith Meadows said Rochelle Phillips, who was wheelchair-bound, died at the scene. He said her 79-year-old husband is also suspected of shooting his stepson in the back of the neck when the younger man came home and tried to wrestle the gun away.

The man reportedly confessed to police and was taken into custody. The stepson is in stable condition at Grady Hospital.

Suffolk, NC: Suffolk family remembers slain mother of three


SUFFOLK - Perhaps jealousy led to the murder of Cathy Moseley, but to her mother Betty, there is no way to explain what Darren Moseley did after authorities say he killed Cathy, his wife of 10-years.

"He act like nothing ever happened, came here and stayed two nights, ate my food, slept in my son's bed, took baths and then to find out he killed my baby. It was just devastating.

Devastation. It was a feeling that started with confusion last Friday. Cathy called her mom to say she was breaking up with Darren. She was tired of his jealous rants.

So she packed up and headed home. Cathy never showed but a few hours later Darren did.

"He done killed my baby and took her away. He acted like nothing ever happened. Like everything was peaches and cream."

Darren explained he indeed argued with Cathy, left their home on Causey Avenue to get cigarettes and that Cathy was gone when he got back.

"She was not someone that would not call."

Suffolk police became suspicious. A mother of three was missing and her husband's story wasn't making much sense.

"That alarmed investigators. We were able to find the victim's body in Isle Of Wight County."

Within hours, Moseley was arrested. Police say he stabbed Cathy to death at home, loaded her into a rental car and left her in the woods. Then he went to spend the weekend with his in-laws.

"... It's hard, it's hard…she was the most beautiful person inside and out...he had nerve, he had nerve."

Cathy Moseley's 3 kids, all under the age of 13, are in the care of her mother tonight. On Friday there will be a vigil for Cathy. Family will walk from her house to her mother's house. Again, where Cathy planned on going before she was killed.

Pittsburgh, PA: W.Pa. woman sentenced to life for killing husband

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - A western Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for fatally shooting her husband while he slept.

Forty-three-year-old Barbra Ann Peck, of Emworth, was sentenced Tuesday in Allegheny County Court. A jury convicted her in August of shooting 42-year-old Russell Peck in the head on Sept. 15, 2006.

Peck then fled to the home of friends near Coudersport, and police were called after she overdosed on prescription medication.

Peck told police she waited for her husband to fall asleep before loading a pistol and shooting him. Police say the couple had marital problems.

Peck told Judge John Reilly she was sorry.

Mobile, AL: Burglar shot and killed Tuesday night by ex-girlfriend, police say

By Jillian Kramer
October 28, 2009, 10:03AM

MOBILE, Ala. - A woman shot and killed her ex-boyfriend Tuesday night after the 29-year-old man hid in the woman's bedroom closet then attacked her when she arrived home, according to Mobile police.

Police spokesman Officer Christopher Levy said today that the couple, who broke up nearly four years ago, had a history of domestic violence.

No charges have been filed in the shooting, which happened inside the home in the 700 block of West Louise Drive, near Cottage Hill Road and Interstate 65.

Police have not released the man's name because his family has not been notified, Levy said.

Two children, ages 9 and 15, were also inside the home at the time of the shooting and were not injured.

Fort Collins, CO: Moore's grandmother reported Gendernalik death as possible suicide


A 911 recording of Justin Levi Moore's grandmother's call to authorities played for jurors this afternoon during the Fort Collins man's murder trial indicates Moore told family members his girlfriend, Valerie Gendernalik, had shot herself.

Jan Schneider, who was called by prosecutors to testify about the morning of May 25 when Moore was arrested at her Windsor home, is heard saying on the 911 recording that, "I just got a phone call from my grandson that she had a gun and that she shot herself or some damn thing and he's hysterical."

When asked by a dispatcher if she was reporting a suicide attempt, Schneider said, "I don't know. My grandson is just absolutely way crazy." She testified today that when she said crazy, she didn't mean Moore is a lunatic, but rather that he was stressed and hysterical.

Police and prosecutors say Moore shot Gendernalik, his live-in girlfriend, at his west Fort Collins apartment after the two were intoxicated following a night at an Old Town bar. Moore is on trial for second-degree murder.

After the shooting, police say Moore drove to his grandmother's home in Windsor where Schneider said he was suicidal and went into her back yard and fired a shot into the air.

Defense attorneys told jurors this morning their theory about the events that led to Gendernalik's death culminated when she and Moore were playing with a gun they thought was not loaded and Gendernalik was accidentally shot.

According to a police report, Schneider told investigators that the shooting happened when Moore and Gendernalik were drunk and trying to clean a gun, but Schneider said today she never heard those details directly from her grandson. She said she was just speculating about what might have happened to cause the gun to fire a bullet.

Schneider testified that her grandson's biggest concern was to get Gendernalik help, although Moore never called 911 himself. Instead, he called his uncle, Frank Moore, who had Schneider call 911.

Article:PSA: Confessions of a wife beater

By Casey Lyons in News, The More You KnowWed., Oct. 28 2009 @ 6:00AM

The victims of domestic violence live in a silent state of fear, isolation and intimidation until they get help. Here in Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the City Prosecutor's office wants the victims of abuse to reclaim their lives.

In an event Monday night at the Screenland Theater, about 75 people gathered for a public premiere of the city prosecutor's new anti-domestic violence video titled "Your Right. Your Life." Here's the abbreviated version:

Your Right Your Life (PSA) from Eddie Lorenzo on Vimeo.

Your Right Your Life (PSA) from Eddie Lorenzo on Vimeo.

The video's content was mostly what you'd expect, but with one new addition: the confessions of a recovered abuser.

In the video, an ex-convict identified as C.W. Riley detailed how he controlled and abused his domestic partner: "I put time and effort into thinking about how to control the other person so you know what works and what don't work," he said. "I thought it was my right to do that."

Riley described how jealousy and perceived slights escalated his behavior from pushing and shoving to outright hitting and beating and eventually a jail sentence. "I ain't proud," he admitted.

The path Riley took to prison is well worn. According to a 2005 study by the Department of Justice, female spouses account for 84 percent of domestic violence victims, and men accounted for 83 percent of spousal murderers. Fifty percent of spousal abuse offenders in state prison had killed their victims. A fact sheet from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Despite the prevalence of justice programs, some women feel too ashamed or threatened to report the abuse against them. Said one woman in the video: "He would have been more accountable if I hadn't dropped the charges."

Assistant City Prosecutor Martha Means said the victims of domestic violence should report abuse at 816-468-5463.

Trenton, NJ: Trenton man indicted in girlfriend's death

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Lisa Coryell

TRENTON -- A city man has been indicted for the brutal stabbing death of his girlfriend in March.

Brian Carlos Oliver, 40, is charged with murder, theft and a weapons offense in the death of 38-year-old Lisa Glennon, the mother of his daughter. Prosecutors say Oliver brutally beat and stabbed Glenn 23 times before stashing her body under the basement steps of a Melrose Avenue home.

Oliver fled to New York and was arrested hours later at a Bronx hotel. Police found Glennon's body after a relative of Oliver reported that Oliver had said he killed her. Prosecutors said two children, one 15 years old and the other 7 years old, were asleep upstairs during the murder. Neither child was harmed.

Prosecutors said an autopsy showed that Glennon had no defensive wounds on her body and appeared to have been dragged under the basement stairs.

Columbus, OH: Man says he killed ex-flame's mother

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 3:09 AM

The minimum sentence that Casey Pigge, of Chillicothe, could receive is 20 years to life.

A Ross County man pleaded guilty yesterday to aggravated murder and other charges in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend's mother in Chillicothe last year.
Casey Pigge, 21, could be sentenced to life in prison without parole, said Ross County Prosecutor Michael M. Ater.

Pigge, of Chillicothe, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder, as well as aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, arson, tampering with evidence, escape and possession of a deadly weapon while under detention, Ater said.

Pigge admitted his role in the slaying of Rhonda Sommers, 52, who was stabbed to death on Sept. 5, 2008.

Authorities say he then set fire to Sommers' apartment on W. 2nd Street, with her body inside, to cover up her death.

Ater said that Pigge killed Sommers because he wanted to run away with her daughter to Texas. The robbery charge involved Pigge stealing money from Sommers, as well as her car.

Ater said the daughter wasn't involved in the slaying.

Pigge is to be sentenced Nov. 6.

Ater said the minimum sentence Pigge could receive is 20 years to life, and the maximum is life without parole.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Edinburg, TX: Ex-port official in Texas admits killing wife

EDINBURG, Texas — A plea agreement means a 25-year prison term for a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry director who killed his wife.
Joseph Mongiello III pleaded guilty to murder in the Jan. 13 shooting death of his 45-year-old wife, Lindsay Parker Tall. She was found slain at the couple's home in Mission.
Mongiello, 49, was charged after calling emergency responders following a domestic dispute.
The plea agreement and sentencing were Monday.
Mongiello in 2003 was named port director at the Rio Grande City-Camargo International Bridge.

Travis County, TX: Deputies investigating murder-suicide

By Isadora Vail | Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 03:42 PM
Travis County Sheriff’s deputies said today that man and a woman were found shot to death in a murder-suicide Monday evening in the 10000 block of McAngus Road in southern Travis County near the Austin-Bergstrom Airport.

Somebody found 30-year-old Victor Colombo and 29-year-old Rita Marie Granados dead inside the trailer where Granados lived about 5:21 p.m. Monday and called 911, said Roger Wade, a spokesman with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation and medical examiner’s reports show that Colombo shot Granados and then shot himself, Wade said. Colombo was an estranged ex-boyfriend of Granados’, he said.

Just a few weeks ago, Wade said, deputies had been called out to the residence on a criminal trespassing call when Colombo was trying to get into Granados’ trailer. He was released on a warning after Granados and deputies told him never to come back, Wade said.

Fairfield, OH: Police: Man Abducted, Killed Ex-Wife

Woman Abducted From Job In West Chester

POSTED: 5:33 pm EDT October 27, 2009
UPDATED: 6:43 pm EDT October 27, 2009
FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- Butler County's coroner said it appears that a shooting that left a former couple dead Monday was a murder-suicide that may have started at a West Chester business.

Police said the bodies of a man and a woman were found in a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot of Jellybean Junction at the intersection of Mack and Winton roads just before 10 a.m.
Images: Fairfield Day Care Shooting
The 911 caller from the center said that lawn care workers had spotted Francisco Restituyo, 47, in the SUV with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head. Responding officers found the woman, Evelyn Restituyo, 46, in the back seat.
The coroner's office said it appears that Francisco Restituyo shot Evelyn, then himself. The coroner said that Evelyn Restituyo's hands and feet were bound with zip ties and she had been shot in the leg and in the head.
Francisco Restituyo died from a head wound, the coroner's office said.
Fairfield police said late Tuesday that it appears that Francisco Restituyo may have confronted Evelyn Restituyo at the totes Isotoner plant in West Chester, where she worked, then shot her in the leg and abducted her. Francisco Restituyo then shot the woman in the head while in the Jellybean Junction parking lot before shooting himself, police said. No children were near the incident when it occurred.
Family members said the couple had been married previously, but Francisco Restituyo was involved with someone else now and lived in Liberty Township. Evelyn Restituyo lived in Colerain Township.
Evelyn Restituyo was an employee of Belcan and worked as a temporary worker at totes Isotoner in West Chester for the last four months. Totes released a statement Tuesday evening that said, “We were deeply saddened by the death of our employee, Evelyn Restituyo ... She will be missed, and our thoughts go out to her children, immediate family, and friends.”

Santa CLara, CA: Appeals court upholds Santa Clara murder conviction

By Howard Mintz
Posted: 10/27/2009 02:13:25 PM PDT
Updated: 10/27/2009 02:47:27 PM PDT

A state appeals court today upheld the conviction and prison sentence of a Santa Clara man who killed his girlfriend and then dismembered her body in June 2005.
In a unanimous decision, the San Jose-based 6th District Court of Appeal rejected the legal arguments of Alexandre Hochstraser, a former admissions and records assistant for De Anza College's international students program.
A Santa Clara County jury found Hochstraser, 49, guilty of the fatal beating death of his 43-year-old girlfriend, Dolores Gonzales, as she slept in their Santa Clara apartment.
Hochstraser dismembered the body, placed it in bags and inside plastic bins that were in the back seat and trunk of his car when police responded to concerns that Gonzales was missing.
The appeals court rejected arguments that police discovered the woman's body without obtaining a search warrant. Hochstraser is serving a 25-years-to-life prison term.
Dolores "Dee" Gonzales worked in the human relations department at Mission College. She and Hochstraser had a son, who was 2 years old and staying overnight with Hochstraser's mother the day of the murder.

Orlando, FL: Woman accused of killing boyfriend ordered held without bond

Rosalinda Vargas, 51, is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her boyfriend

Bianca Prieto

Sentinel Staff Writer

3:36 PM EDT, October 27, 2009

The woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death early Monday will be held without bond a the Orange County Jail, a judge ruled this afternoon.

Orlando police arrested and charged Rosalinda Vargas, 51, with second-degree murder in the death of Jozel Laster. Vargas also goes by the name of Rosalinda Boyd.

Vargas and Laster, 51, were live-in boyfriend and girlfriend during the last three years, according to police. It remains unclear why Vargas allegedly stabbed Laster.

Officers tried twice to revive Laster at the apartment complex near Orange Center Boulevard and Tampa Street were he was stabbed. He died later at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Leesburg, VA: Leesburg man shoots 2 at wife's home, then himself

By Josh White and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Leesburg man entered a Loudoun County home early Tuesday and shot his estranged wife and another man, authorities said, then barricaded himself inside the residence for several hours before taking his own life.

Barry L. Gates, 45, entered his wife's home about 2 a.m. and fired several shots, hitting her and the other man, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday afternoon. Authorities did not identify the victims.

The injured man and woman were taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Kraig Troxell. The man was described as in guarded condition, but Troxell said he and the woman did not appear to have life-threatening injuries.

The incident unfolded in the pre-dawn hours at a house in the 3900 block of Irish Corner Road, a rural part of Loudoun near Lovettsville.

The victims fled to different houses in the neighborhood after being shot, and then sheriff's deputies were called. The gunman locked himself inside the home. A team of negotiators tried to persuade him to surrender, Troxell said.

About 6 a.m., after the man stopped responding to their entreaties, deputies entered the house and found the man dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Troxell said.

Pulaski, TN: Fatal Fire Involved Dispute Over Girl, Says Teen

Teen Says Two Other Victims Simply In Wrong Place At Wrong Time
Reported by Sara Dorsey
POSTED: 3:58 pm CDT October 26, 2009
UPDATED: 9:44 pm CDT October 26, 2009
PULASKI, Tenn. -- A teen said on Monday that a male suspect injured committing a fatal fire in Giles County on Friday was jealous because his ex-girlfriend might have been dating one of the victims.
Watch This Story
Tessia Tibbs said she dated one of the victim's, Jerrod Thornton, 16, on-and-off for two years.
"The last text message I got from Jerrod said, 'I love you,'" said Tibbs.
Tibbs said on Monday that a boy currently in Vanderbilt's Burn Center was jealous because he thought his ex-girlfriend was dating Thornton. Tibbs said the boy even asked her about the situation at school on Thursday.
"He just asked if they were fooling around, if they had anything, if I thought they would ever. I told him, 'No,' because me and Jarrod were dating, but I guess he didn't believe me," said Tibbs.
Tibbs said she thinks that Thornton's mother, Desere, and 9-year-old brother, Anthony, were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The arrest warrant for William Charles Angel Jr., 18, seems to confirm that notion, saying that Desere and Anthony Thornton were killed as an act committed in the killing of Jerrod Thornton.
Authorities arrested Angel on Friday and charged him with three counts of murder in connection with the fatal fire. A hearing for Angel is scheduled for Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. at the Giles County Courthouse.
The name of the boy currently at Vanderbilt Medical Center has not been released because he has not been formally charged. Police in Giles County have said they expect a second arrest to be made in the case.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shawano, WI: Police investigate Shawano murder-suicide

SHAWANO (WKOW) -- The deaths of a man and woman in their eighties is being investigated as a murder-suicide by Shawano Police.

Investigators say they received a call around 4 P.M. Monday that lead to the discovery of the 87-year-old man and 82-year-old woman's bodies.

Chief of Police Ed Whealon says a relative discovered their bodies after being unable to reach them for days.

Police are in the process of notifying the family.

An autopsy is planned for Tuesday.

Tecumseh, KS: Domestic violence preceded shooting


The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department was still on the scene at 2835 S.E. Shawnee Heights Rd. as of 2 p.m. Monday where Gerald S. Eberhardt, 51, was killed on Sunday.

Four charged in slaying
Suspect, victim had violent past
Deputies dispatched 14 times this year to home where man was shot

October 26, 2009 - 3:57pm
TECUMSEH -- Shawnee County Sheriff's deputies were searching Monday at an undisclosed location for the weapon used in the shooting death of a 51-year-old Topeka business owner.

Gerald S. Eberhardt, who owns Wizz By Auto Sales in North Topeka, was pronounced dead at his home, 2538 S.E. Shawnee Heights Road, in southeast Topeka on Sunday morning, said Sheriff Richard Barta. Two of his family members -- his wife, Michelle L. Eberhardt, 43, and her son Scott M. Mosher, 19, who lived with Gerald Eberhardt -- and Stephanie A. Menard, 21, of Topeka, were arrested Sunday evening.

On Monday, a fourth person, 20-year-old Derrick Dewayne Haase, of Topeka, was arrested. All four on Monday were charged with premeditated murder in the first degree, an off-grid person felony, and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in the first degree, a severity-level 2 person felony.

"On the surface, it appears to be a domestic problem," Barta said Monday afternoon at a news conference.

Since January 2009, deputies have responded to the Eberhardt's house 14 times, Barta said, including five times for domestic reasons.

"We have responded to that residence numerous times," he said.

A neighbor said she has noticed several sheriff's vehicles at the residence in the past month, but she also said the area is usually fairly quiet.

The house remained a crime scene Monday and wasn't scheduled to be released until Monday night, Barta said.

On Monday afternoon, a deputy patrolled the perimeter of the home on foot and a crime scene investigation van was sitting in front. Yellow crime scene tape was stretched around the residence.

"Our investigation from top to bottom is very thorough," Barta said.

Michelle Eberhardt made a 911 call Sunday shortly before 3 a.m., the sheriff said, but he wouldn't elaborate. He did say deputies knew something was wrong at the scene when they discovered "it was not a suicide."

Gerald Eberhardt was pronounced dead at the scene.

A search warrant was obtained for the house, which sits north of a Shawnee Heights Fire District station, and an investigation began.

"Numerous interviews have been conducted," Barta said. "These people have been interviewed extensively. The individuals, at this time, have been cooperative."

Dakota Loomis, a spokesman for the Shawnee County District Attorney's office, told a judge Monday that Mosher confessed to shooting Eberhardt. Mosher was being held on $750,000 bond.

Michelle Eberhardt and Haase were being held on $300,000 bond, while Menard was held on $200,000 bond.

Barta said Haase and Mosher were acquaintances and were known gang members. The defendants did not have legal representation when they appeared before a judge via a live secure video feed from the jail.

Loomis said Mosher and Haase were members of a Topeka gang affiliated with the Folks Nation, a larger collection of gangs that operate throughout the Midwest. However, Barta said investigators see no reason that the shooting was "gang related."

Mosher has a history of violence, including a conviction in September for domestic battery, court records show. In that case, Eberhardt paid $114 in court and probation fees for her son.

Haase was sentenced in June to 90 days in jail for a domestic battery charge and was given credit for time served. He remained on probation.

A six-month period in 2005 highlights a tumultuous relationship between Gerald Eberhardt and his wife, court records show.

A peek at court records shows a history of violence for Gerald Eberhardt -- at least 15 criminal cases filed against him in the last 17 years. Many of them were for battery against a law enforcement officer. Many others were for domestic battery.

In July 2005, he was arrested for domestic violence and witness intimidation of Michelle Eberhardt. One month later, in August 2005, she filed for divorce. In September, he was formally charged with the crimes.

But by December of that year, Michelle Eberhardt had changed her mind about divorce, and she withdrew her petition. One month later, in January 2006, Gerald Eberhardt was convicted of the domestic battery charge.

They weren't the first domestic battery convictions for the man. In 1998, he pleaded no contest to the charge, and in 1999, he was found guilty by a jury of domestic battery and criminal restraint. That all led to the 2006 conviction, which netted him one year in county jail.

Gerald Eberhardt is the owner of Wizz By Auto Sales, 1316 N.W. Topeka Blvd. Monday afternoon, a white piece of paper was taped in the window of the business notifying customers that the business was closed because of a death in the family.

Chattanooga, TN: Dimery Must Serve 23 Years For Bludgeoning Death Of Girlfriend

posted October 26, 2009

Oscar Dimery was sentenced Monday to serve 23 years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend.

Dimery, who was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, had a sentencing range of 15-25 years.

Judge Don Poole set the sentence.

Dimery did not put on any proof at the sentencing hearing. He had declined to give a statement to a probation officer.

Evangela Kinlen, sister of victim Jaquesta Ballew, said she was on her honeymoon on Signal Mountain when she got a call at 4 a.m. telling her that her sister had been killed. Ms. Ballew died of multiple blunt force blows to the head on Sept. 17, 2007.

The sister said she had invited Ms. Ballew to be a bridesmaid at her wedding two days earlier and had bought her a dress and shoes. But she said she did not show up for the wedding in Cleveland, Tn. She said she believes that Dimery kept her from going.

Ms. Ballew, who was 34, had children ages 15 and 18, though they were mainly raised by their fathers, it was testified.

Dimery, who turns 33 next month, had been convicted of domestic assault against Ms. Ballew in May 2007. He was given a six-month sentence, but got out early.

His record includes four prior felonies and five misdemeanors, though defense attorney Dan Ripper said none of those involved violence. They mainly occurred in Bladen County, N.C.

The state had sought a first-degree murder conviction at the trial.

Dimery has been in custody since his arrest shortly after the incident.

The defendant did not take the witness stand at the trial, but his brother claimed he was with him at the time of the slaying. Prosecutors pointed out that the brother had not given that alibi testimony in an earlier statement.

Medical Examiner Dr. Frank King told the jury that the victim had wounds of two different patterns. He said some appeared to come from an elongated roundish object and other wounds that fractured the victim's skull from a two-pronged instrument of some kind.

A neighbor testified that she heard cries for help from Ms. Ballew before police arrived and found her lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

Frances Westfield of 3700 Fagan St. said Ms. Ballew had asked her for help against Dimery earlier that day.

She said Dimery returned around 5 p.m. and a few hours later she heard screams coming from Apt. C. She said she went over and found the door open, but Dimery blocked the door and would not let her in. She said after Dimery locked the door, she called police.

Prosecutors Lance Pope and Cameron Williams said officers arrived within minutes, but Ms. Ballew was already dead from blunt force injuries and stab wounds.

Kansas City, MO: Bodies found in east KC home may be from murder-suicide, police say

Deaths Of Mother, Son May Be Murder-Suicide

Police Called To Home Sunday To Check On Woman, Son

POSTED: 7:16 am CDT October 26, 2009
UPDATED: 11:08 am CDT October 26, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police said they are investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide at a home in the 5400 block of Ridgeway Avenue.

Officers were called to the home at 12:30 p.m. Sunday to check on the people who live there. After going inside, police found a woman in her 70s and man in his 50s dead.
Investigators suspect the man killed his mother and then himself. Police identified the victims as Patricia A. Kuder, 73, and her son, Michael Roscher, 53.
A relative told police he had not talked to either one for almost two weeks.
Heather McCoy said she was acquainted with Kuder.
"She's always outside in the summer time, working in the yard. When it gets cooler, she stays inside. But she's always outside," McCoy said.
KMBC's Marcus Moore reported that investigators removed what appeared to be a number of guns or gun cases from the home.

Bell Gardens, CA: Mother Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide Attempt by Son

3:56 AM PDT, October 26, 2009
BELL GARDENS-- A woman was found dead of blunt force trauma and her son was found with suspected self-inflicted knife wounds in what police believe was a failed murder-suicide.

Agnes Bratton, 79, was found brutally beaten in her home around 10:15 a.m. Sunday in the 6300 block of Gotham Street in Bell Gardens, said sheriff's Deputy Lilliam Peck.

The woman's son, who lived with her, was found bleeding of apparent self-inflicted wounds, police said.

The son, a 53 year old man, is believed to have beaten his mother to death before slitting his wrists.

Authorities are investigating whether it was a murder-suicide attempt by the son.

"It is tragic circumstances, obviously," Lt. Patrick Nelson of the sheriff's department said. "And if there were mental health issues, it's very unfortunate that whatever treatment he may have received apparently wasn't sufficient."

The son was treated at an area hospital and is expected to survive.

Camden, NJ: Police: Father kills 2-year-old, himself

Monday, October 26, 2009 | 12:44 AM

CAMDEN - October 25, 2009 (WPVI) -- The Camden City fire department, police, and SWAT teams were called out to the report of a fire and a possible barricaded man at the North Gate Apartments on the 400 block of North 7th Street at around 9:00 p.m. Sunday night.

When authorities arrived, they went up to the 7th floor where the fire was reported.

There, the fire department found an 2-year-old child dead in the hallway.

They then made their way into the apartment of the fire location and found the body of the adult man.

Police have confirmed to Action News that the deceased were father and daughter.

No cause of death has been reported yet, but police have declared this a murder-suicide.

Some residents were evacuated as a precaution.

No other injuries were reported.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office is investigating.

Gadsen County, FL: Chattahoochee Lt. Shoots Ex-Girlfriend, Turns Gun on Himself

People in Gadsden County are mourning the loss of two well-known people in the community.
Posted: 8:24 PM Oct 25, 2009
Reporter: Candace Sweat/ WCTV
Search For Woman's Body In Chattahoochee 10 PM Friday
Woman's Body Recoevred In Policeman's Back Yard 10 PM Saturday

People in Gadsden County are mourning the loss of two well-known people in the community.

This just days after the body found in a shallow grave was identified as Antoinette Ross.

Investigators say Ross was shot to death last week by her ex boyfriend Lt. Barry Moore of the Chattahoochee Police Department.

They say Moore placed Ross's body in a shallow grave near his backyard.

Moore shot himself and died on Friday. It was the same day the body was later found.

People in Gadsden County say it's still surreal.

"It just makes me sad that this could happen in our community, and I never really thought anything like this could happen and i just feel sad for the family," says Tammy Hodges.

"To me it's just a horrible tragedy that her life has to end the way it did," says Marsha Walsh.

Lt. Corder of the Gadsden County Sheriff's Department says the investigation is still open and they have not ruled out the possibility that someone else was involved in her death.

Ross had three children and most people we spoke with say those kids are their main concern.

It seemed a lot of people in the area knew both Moore's family and Ross's family, but many did not want to speak on camera.

An autopsy this weekend confirms the body found in a shallow grave behind a police officer's home was Antoinette Ross.The autopsy results are giving us a better idea of how she died... and it's putting neighbors on edge.

Glenna Parramore thinks about what has taken place in her neighborhood over the past week. She says maybe had she acted sooner, some of it could have been avoided

"I feel that maybe I could have probably prevented her death if I somehow could've helped her in some way or at least going and calling 911."

A medical examiner has confirmed that it is Antoinette Ross's body that was found in a shallow grave. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest. The weapon...a 45 caliber handgun. Neighbors led me into the woods to the spot where they say police found her body.

Parramore says on Thursday, she heard screams coming from the woods..and she'll never forget what they sounded like.

Glenna: "Someone was getting seriously hurt or someone was dying pretty much and that's the kind of scream it was."

Ross was last seen alive Wednesday night when she got into a car with her ex boyfriend Lt. Barry Moore of the Chattahoochee Police Department.

On Friday, officers searched Moore's property and found Ross's body buried in the freshly dug grave.

Authorities are now examining the 45 caliber handgun issued to Lt. Moore by the Chattahoochee Police Department. The say they're not sure if it's the murder weapon, but they're sure Ross was killed by a 45 caliber handgun.

Parramore says she's saddened and concerned that something like this happened so close to where she lives with her three children. Glenna: "It scares me."

Authorities with the Gadsden County Sheriff's Department say the investigation is still ongoing and they haven't ruled out the possibility that another person is involved in Antoinette Ross's death.

During the search for Ross's body on Friday,10-23 Barry Moore shot himself in the chest at his home, and later died.
Officials have uncovered a female's body on the property of a Chattahoochee Police Officer who allegedly shot himself.

The woman's body was found Friday night in a shallow grave that was allegedly dug behind Lt. Barry Moore's home. The Gadsden County Sheriff's Office says the autopsy results identify the body as Antoinette Ross.

The results show Ross died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Ross was last seen on Wednesday night getting into the car of Lt. Barry Moore.

Although, he was married to another woman, Moore was the father of Ross's youngest child. Before finding her body and while authorities were still searching his property Friday afternoon, Lt. Moore shot himself in the chest and died.

Officers say it wasn't until he took his own life they realized they would likely not find Ross alive. Lt. Moore's neighbors say they heard a woman running through the woods early Thursday morning screaming "help me."

Marion, OH: Wife's ex-boyfriend charged in fatal shooting of husband

Monday, October 26, 2009 4:16 AM

A man was shot to death last night in Marion, and police have charged his wife's ex-boyfriend with murder.
Kevin McMurray, 47, was shot several times at a home at 283 Oak St. shortly after 9 p.m. McMurray was transported to Marion General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police arrested Terry L. Taylor at the Wood Valley trailer park in Caledonia and initially charged Taylor with murder. Police described Taylor as the ex-boyfriend of McMurray's wife, and they said she was present during the shooting.

Taylor was being held early today in the Multi-County Correctional Center in Marion. The Marion County prosecutor's office is expected to issue formal charges later today.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wilmington, DE: Police: Man Kills 1 In Attack On Family

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) ― Wilmington police say a man shot his ex-girlfriend and her two sons, killing one of the young men, before surrendering to police after a five-hour standoff.

Thirty-eight-year-old Parris Hamilton of Newark is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and other offenses.

Police say Hamilton entered the victims' home Friday night and shot each of them several times. He held the victims hostage until surrendering around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Twenty-one-year-old Tyrone Moody was killed. His mother, 39-year-old Crystal Moody, and his brother, 15-year-old Christopher Moody, were wounded.

Police say Hamilton and Crystal Moody had been in a relationship. A 40-year-old man hid upstairs during the ordeal and was uninjured.

Danville, IL: Nelk lived in fear for months

DANVILLE October 25, 2009 01:26 am

— Cerebral palsy might have hampered Jessica Nelk’s legs and her mobility, but as a 32-year-old mother of two, she refused to let it run her life.
Unfortunately, something else dominated the last nine months of her life — fear, both of her boyfriend and what he could and ultimately did do to her.
Police say Nelk was killed on Oct. 10 by her boyfriend, Johnnie Web II, in an apartment on North Franklin Street. He stabbed her multiple times in the back, chest and arms before committing suicide by stabbing himself.
Jerry Nelk of Paris said his daughter had always been “a fighter, very independent.”
“All through her years, she was a very stubborn person,” he said. “She didn’t want anything ever done for her, except for being protected from this guy.”
Court records indicate Jessica Nelk filed for an emergency order of protection against Webb in January. But her father said she still moved around frequently, trying to avoid Webb and any harm to her children — Izayiah, 8, and Rhiannon, 10.
Izayiah was in the apartment the night of the murder-suicide, according to Jerry Nelk. Jessica Nelk told her son to get out of the apartment and the boy caught only a glimpse of Webb grabbing his mother and a knife before running to a neighboring apartment, Nelk said.
Jerry Nelk first met Webb almost two years ago when his daughter and Webb moved to Paris. A job was set up for Webb, but tensions mounted when he allegedly did not show up for work.
Jerry Nelk described Webb as “going ballistic” after being confronted to find a job. He eventually left and moved back to Danville, allegedly threatening Jerry Nelk over the phone after leaving. Jessica Nelk soon moved back to Danville, allegedly after Webb threatened her.
It was not until April of this year that Jessica Nelk revealed to her father accounts of mental and physical abuse by Webb, including being punched, choked and threatened. She told her father that Webb threatened her by saying “she was going to be the next thing on the news” back in March.
Despite the abuse, Jessica Nelk had an attitude of trying to handle the situation regarding Webb on her own.
“She was so scared of him that she didn’t want other people to be involved,” Nelk said. “She was afraid of what he’d do to them.”
Stubbornness also played a role.
“I believe she felt like if she told anyone else exactly what was going on, then they would judge her, try to tell her what to do,” Jerry Nelk said.
“All she ever wanted was to be loved. I just don’t know the effect the whole situation had on her.”
Cheryl Taylor, Jessica’s mother, declined to comment on her daughter, citing the potential for legal action stemming from the incident. Nelk said he also is considering some kind of legal action at this time, although the terms were not released.

Titusville, FL: Brevard woman's death brings domestic violence issue into focus


olanda Garvin-Williams' workplace seemed like her one safe zone -- safe from abuse at home and from her estranged husband, Jeremiah Williams, who is now charged with her murder.

It was not safe on June 8, the Monday morning when the 30-year-old certified nursing assistant was fatally shot in the parking lot at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville. Workers and Parrish executives wanted to know why.">" TARGET="_new">SPECIAL REPORT: Domestic violence in Brevard |">" TARGET="_new">VIDEO: Death prompts new look at domestic violence

"This is a really close-knit department," said Kathy Myer, Garvin-Williams' supervisor and the director of women's services at Parrish, who knew her employee to be cheerful, caring and quiet. "It was devastating when it happened because everybody sat back and said, 'Boy, what did we miss?' "

"Yolanda never expressed, never discussed, never even revealed in her mannerisms that she was a victim of domestic violence," said George Mikitarian, Parrish president and CEO.

The shocking death inspired Parrish to implement mandatory domestic violence education for its employees, offer financial help and emergency transportation and aspire to become a haven for victims. A public forum on the topic will take place there at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The case also prompted outrage among victims' groups, partly because of questions raised about Garvin-Williams, who had left her husband but did not follow through on an injunction she had filed against him.

"Whenever the conversation started to turn toward looking at her fault in the whole thing, it sort of made me more angry than I could remember ever being about the issue," said Melody Keeth, executive director of Serene Harbor, a Brevard County shelter that helps victims start a new life.

"I want to raise the awareness, and I want to change people's thinking in the community, because the community is the only place that can support a victim."

As advocates know, and as survivors learn, the violence is not their fault.

"There's always hope," said Cindy Mitchell, executive director of the Salvation Army's domestic violence program in Brevard. "There's always a way out."

The barriers may seem overwhelming: threats, finances, worries about children. But the many survivors FLORIDA TODAY interviewed -- who have been nurses, political activists and business owners -- had a common message for people suffering under an abuser: Don't wait too long.

Recognizing signs

Control lies at the heart of domestic abuse, which affects 22.1 percent of women and 7.4 percent of men at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Florida in 2007, there were 115,150 reported cases of domestic violence, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Experts say the actual number is likely much higher because victims are ashamed or afraid to come forward.

The signs of control may appear early in a relationship.

"I thought they were love signs," said Vicki Seidel of Viera, now happily married for more than 35 years to her second husband. "The jealousy was wonderful because, I thought, 'He really loves me.' "

Right out of high school in New York, Seidel met her first husband. It was the 1960s, and people didn't talk about domestic violence. "It escalated once we were really alone," she said.

When her fiance hit her during an argument at a drive-in movie, she broke it off. He cried. He apologized. She agreed to get back together.

"After that, it was just very little, subtle things," Seidel recalled. "If we were at a party or something and he didn't like what I was doing, he'd pinch me on my leg, like 'knock it off' . . . to control how my personality was."

Once they were married, they moved to Georgia. He was in the military and further isolated her by selling her car and buying one only he could use. He moved them to a remote trailer park. He controlled the money and played mind games with her, hiding her rings, then berating her for losing them. He collected guns, and in front of friends -- his friends, because she wasn't allowed to have any -- played Russian roulette with her life.

She asked the base chaplain for help, but he said that making a fuss would be bad for her husband's career.

"You are really brainwashed," Seidel said, "where you are so frightened to leave. . . . First, they terrorize you, and they promise you they're going to get your family, and you know from what they do to you that they can hurt your family. So you're not going to leave. You stay there and take it."

She began to pray that he would die. She even thought about killing him. Then, when her husband wasn't home, a neighbor knocked on the door.

"He said, 'I know what's going on,' " Seidel recalled. " 'If you would like to pack a bag, I'll take you to the airport, and I'll get you on a plane.' "

With $20 in her pocket and dressed in her honeymoon suit, the only decent outfit she had, she flew home to New York. Later, she divorced her husband.

Safety and support

Domestic violence hotlines and shelters help victims create a personalized safety plan for their escape, teaching them to gather important papers and leave quietly.

"If she's been in this relationship, she's probably been hearing how worthless she is, how she's never going to make it and that she could be injured or killed if she leaves," said Cassandra Schalkham, family and outreach case manager at Serene Harbor. "That first step of leaving is going to be scary but ultimately empowering for her."

The shelter provides a stable place for women and their children, offers initial counseling and helps connect victims with jobs.

The Women's Center in Melbourne is not a shelter, but it offers victims practical help and legal advice, along with free counseling and some billed sessions that are based on income.

For many, getting past the abuser's "brainwashing" takes years.

"There's so many common themes, and that's why our domestic violence support group helps people so much," said Sue Kiley, director of victims' services and clinical director at the Women's Center.

Wanda Puig's husband moved their family to Brevard from Puerto Rico. Isolated from her relatives and threatened with knives and death, she tried to leave a few times but always went back.

"When I lived here, that was my jail because he didn't want me to go outside," Puig said. "He didn't want me to have a friend."

She tried to get help from the Women's Center, but her husband found out and discouraged her. When she left for the last time, he found her again. But this time, she didn't go back. The Women's Center helped her with food and rent and also helped connect her with other services she needed.

Puig is still in therapy. She quotes Eleanor Roosevelt: "A woman is like a tea bag: You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water."

Learning to be free

Roberta Sampere teaches English at Brevard Community College in Palm Bay. She's remarried and confident after escaping her abuser many years ago. She married him at 23, after her first marriage broke up.

Her description of him is typical: "He treated me like I was special and a princess or whatever. He was just great, and we got married really quickly."

Within about three months of their marriage, he hit her.

"He became a very controlling, very demanding drunk, and it's hard to explain how it happens, but somehow, you get to understand, or I got to understand, that there was nothing I could do about it because if I did, he would hunt me down and find me," she said.

They lived on an isolated farm in the Great Plains. He shot the dog, she said: The implied threat was that he would shoot her, too. She was with him for 13 years, but when she saw how he abused a visiting relative, she realized that "it was him and not me."

She decided to leave with the help of a friend and went to a shelter. She got therapy through a veteran benefit, got a divorce, quickly wrapped up a master's degree and moved to Florida without a forwarding address.

Though he located her and called her, she eventually realized that she was free.

"Once they're free of them and those chains aren't on them, they can just soar," she said of survivors. "If they do nothing else, though, they have to get counseling to make them see how strong they are inside."

Early intervention

Many survivors have tragic stories, not just about themselves, but about their children, who were abused or became victims or abusers. Some victims became victims in childhood and learned a pattern they duplicated as adults.

The Women's Center offers counseling to children to try to break the cycle.

Serene Harbor and the Salvation Army have begun a seven-session program for third-graders that's going into two schools this year, said Nancy Peltonen, Serene Harbor operations director. Instead of talking about abuse directly, it aims to prevent violence by talking about healthy relationships.

The Titusville Police Department also does classroom presentations aimed at teens.

"It's amazing, No. 1, what's going on at this age," said Amelia Bray, who was the department's domestic violence officer for more than four years. She'd like to see the training made a regular part of ninth-grade orientation.

"They don't realize that their boyfriend picking up their phone and going through their call logs and telling them what a piece of crap they are because they've talked to all these people is a red flag," she said.

Increase in cases

Domestic violence may be getting worse. Serene Harbor's Keeth noted a 37 percent increase in the number of victims who have sought shelter in Florida this year.

"I think the economic times are causing more stress," added Kiley of the Women's Center. "We're having an increase in numbers, too."

Parrish Medical Center's effort to educate employees could foster a support network for victims and a greater willingness to talk about the problem. It also could serve as a model for other companies.

"If our vision is healing families, healing communities," Parrish's Mikitarian said, "this all of a sudden is put in the context of, 'This is what we need to learn.' "

Parrish and other local agencies are adamant that their support networks could make a difference for victims.

"I think the most important thing you can do is encourage them to get help and help them to understand that they're not jumping off a cliff into the abyss and the unknown," Keeth said. "People have come before them -- many, many people. We provide about 6,000 nights of shelter a year. That's a lot of people reaching out to us. Those people have all reached out and moved on."

Contact Kridler at 242-3633 or Coming Monday: The bad economy may be increasing domestic violence.

Additional Facts
Warning signs
If you notice this behavior in your partner, you might be in an abusive relationship:

Calls you names or insults you

Criticizes or humiliates you in front of others

Prevents you from going to work or school

Tries to control what you wear, where you go and your contact with other people

Controls your finances and restricts your money

Acts jealous and accuses you of being unfaithful

Forces you into sexual acts against your will

Threatens you with violence or a weapon

Hits, chokes or otherwise hurts you, children or pets

Tells you that you deserve the abuse

Makes you feel stupid or crazy

Makes you nervous or feel as if you are "walking on eggshells"

Blames violence on alcohol or drugs