Saturday, December 31, 2011

Orlando, FL: Margate man shoots self during domestic dispute

A man, in his early 20s, was pronounced dead at North Broward Medical Center after shooting himself in the head during a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, according to Margate Police.

It started around 4 p.m. on Friday in a house on the 6800 block of Northwest 12th Street. He was pronounced dead by 6 p.m., police said.

While two officers talked with the girlfriend down the street, her boyfriend came out of his grandmother's house where he lived and fired "at least two shots" at one of the officers who was driving up the street, Lt. Andy Zetteck said.

"The boyfriend then walked into the driveway and apparently turned the gun on himself," Zetteck said. "No other persons were hurt. The officer was not injured."

This was not the first time police had been called that address for domestic violence, he said.

The identities of the boyfriend and girlfriend were being withheld Friday night.

Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fort Bend County, TX: Couple found dead in possible murder-suicide in Fort Bend County

At about 10:40 p.m. Thursday deputies were called to a home located in the 2000 block of Cordelia Place. Deputies arrived at the scene and discovered two bodies in a bathroom, both deceased from what appeared to be gunshot wounds.

Deputies found the bodies of Paula Simpson, 47, the resident of the home, and Jim Phillips, 46, of Houston, who was Paula Simpson’s boyfriend.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office is to perform autopsies on the two, according to Instant News.

Lauderhill, FL: Lauderhill double shooting was murder-suicide, police say

Lauderhill police have ruled a fatal double shooting a murder-suicide.

The dead man and woman, discovered in a single-family home Wednesday, have been identified as Paul Freeman, 52, of Lauderdale Lakes, and Tonia Patterson, 34, of Lauderhill, Capt. Rick Rocco said.

"He killed her and then he killed himself," Rocco said. "It was a domestic fight that went really, really bad."

The couple was found around 6 p.m. in a room at a boarding house in the 3300 block of Northwest 17th Street, police said.

Boarders in three neighboring bedrooms heard the gunshots and called police and fire rescue. Detectives found a "small-caliber pistol" at the scene but no suicide note, Rocco said.

It was not known what the couple had been arguing about, he said.

A neighbor from across the street claimed the couple had lived in the home for only two months but fought all the time and that the man had just gotten out of prison.

Freeman was released from the Everglades Correctional Institution on Sept. 3, after being sentenced to more than three years for cocaine convictions. He also served time for burglary, robbery and weapons convictions in Broward dating to 1988, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Patterson also was sentenced to a year in jail for cocaine possession and was released in 2009, court records show.

San Antonio, TX: Authorities: Man who killed 2 later shot himself

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Authorities say a man accused of killing his ex-wife and her brother at a relative's San Antonio-area house later went home and fatally shot himself.

Bexar County sheriff's Detective Louis Antu said 47-year-old William McKendrick died at a San Antonio hospital Thursday, a day after the attack.

Family members told the San Antonio Express-News ( that the suspect and 48-year-old Sonya McKendrick had recently divorced and he was angry she was trying to move on.

Officials say the two began arguing outside her parents' home, where William McKendrick went to pick up their 7-year-old son Wednesday night.

Deputies said the man chased his ex-wife inside, fired several times at her and gunned down Melton Lozano Jr., her 57-year-old brother, when he tried to help.

Klamath Falls, OR: Klamath Falls man sentenced to 10 years in killing of wife

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — A Klamath Falls man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and been sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting and killing his wife.

The Herald and News reported Thursday ( ) that the prosecution decided to press a manslaughter charge rather than accuse 38-year-old Dana Patrick Coburn of murder.

District Attorney Ed Caleb told the paper a murder conviction would require showing that Coburn shot his wife intentionally rather than recklessly, and that couldn't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The sentence was imposed Tuesday.

Authorities say the shooting in May followed a disturbance in the home. Karla Coburn was shot in the face. Three children, all younger than 10 at the time, were in the house.

Gwinnett County, GA: 1 killed at Gwinnett house party


Gunfire erupted inside a Snellville home early Thursday morning, leaving one person dead.

Dozens of college students were attending a party on Trotters Way Drive when the shooting happened just after 1 a.m. Police said they’ve been called to the home several times this year for various complaints.

Homicide detectives and crime scene investigators from the Gwinnett County Police Department were at the scene after a house party got out of control.

“(There was) some kind of argument that broke out. One suspect produced a handgun and shot another man,” said Gwinnett police Cpl. Jake Smith.

Friends said 20-year-old Corey Johnson was shot trying to help someone else.

“Corey was a very good kid,” Tichina Powers told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.

Powers’ son was Johnson’s best friend. She said her son was with him at the party when a fight broke out around 10:30 p.m.

"They were just trying to help someone, a young lady or something that might have had something going on with a boyfriend," Powers said.

She said the boyfriend started shooting, and Johnson was struck and killed in the backyard.

Police said witnesses are cooperating and gave detectives some good information about the killer. Police said they have suspects, but it’s unclear if any charges have been filed.

“Others just don’t value life,” Powers said.

Pinole, CA: Arrest made in 1999 slaying of young Pinole mother

(12-29) 18:17 PST Pinole -- A dozen years ago, the body of a young mother and college student from Pinole was found off a remote dirt road in Nevada. Alice Sin, 21, had been abducted, shot four times and adorned with monopoly money marked to suggest a racially-motivated slaying.

But police always suspected domestic violence rather than a hate crime against a Chinese-American woman.

And on Thursday, Contra Costa County prosecutors finally decided there was enough evidence to file a murder charge against Sin's onetime boyfriend, Raymond Wong, a registered sex offender who married another woman soon after Sin's death.

Wong, who is now 40, was arraigned in court in Martinez, and could face the death penalty because he is charged with the special circumstance of killing for financial gain.

Police said he had been living comfortably in Beijing in recent years, working as a computer company executive under an assumed name.

"We've been waiting for 12 years," said Sin's father, Wah Sin of Oakland, who with his wife, Ling, is raising his grandson, who is now 14. He said the couple was relieved but added, "It doesn't end until the court proves it."

Wong was arrested in Pinole on Christmas Eve, marking a new chapter in a long investigation that was handed down from detective to detective over the years. It relied on circumstantial evidence and was bogged down by the question of whether California or Nevada authorities had jurisdiction.

Sin, a student at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, vanished from her Pinole home in November 1999. Motorists looking for mining claims found her body two months later off Interstate 80 in Churchill County, Nev.

Authorities quickly focused on Wong, who shared a home with Sin in Pinole and had reported her missing. According to police affidavits, he failed a lie detector test and was listed as the beneficiary on a $2 million life insurance policy that was applied for shortly before Sin disappeared.

Detectives believe that after Sin was found dead, Wong visited a cybercafe in Calgary, Alberta - where he was on a business trip - and sent an e-mail to four news reporters about Sin's killing.

The e-mail message, claiming to be from a white supremacist group that was taking credit for the killing, was laced with racial slurs and said, in part, that Sin was killed "because our demans (sic) were not meet (sic) within the time frame." Police said witnesses placed Wong in the cybercafe.

At around the same time, Wong married another girlfriend in Calgary named Jessica Tang, records show.

While Wong has not faced a murder charge until now, he has been in trouble. Police who served search warrants at his house after the slaying found stores of child pornography on his computers, leading to a 27-month prison sentence.

Wong moved back to Pinole after the sentence, but failed to properly register as a sex offender and at one point assumed a new identity in order to land a job at a nearby Kaiser hospital, said Pinole police Commander Matthew Messier.

In 2009, Wong fled to China, where Messier said he invented another alias. But he returned earlier this month, on Dec. 19, and was arrested at San Francisco International Airport for failing register as a sex offender. He made bail four days later.

By Christmas Eve, three Pinole detectives - Sgt. Tim Cauwels, Matthew Wallace and Essex Combong - had discovered new physical evidence, Messier said. They arrested Wong at the police department, where he had gone believing he had paperwork to fill out.

Messier declined to say what the new evidence was or whether the gun used to kill Sin had been found.

"Justice had to be served for this victim," Messier said.

Marion County, FL: Top local story of 2011: Teen murdered, mutilated and burned

It was among the most shocking Marion County murder cases ever.

A 15-year-old boy was lured by two girls to a friend's home. He was shot to death, his body was mutilated and the corpse was set ablaze. In the end, six people ages 15 to 20 were arrested in connection with horrible case.

The murder of Seath Jackson of Summerfield was the Star-Banner staff's pick for the No. 1 local story of 2011. In 2010, the top pick was a house fire that killed five children from the Jordan family.

Authorities say Michael Shane Bargo, 19, was the ringleader in Seath's slaying. He allegedly beat and shot Seath multiple times with a .22-caliber gun.

After Seath's kneecaps were shattered, the body was placed in a sleeping bag and dumped into a burning fire pit. The remains were later scooped into five-gallon paint cans and dropped into a remote water-filled limerock pit.

Bargo allegedly wanted to settle a score over the victim's past relationship with Amber E. Wright, 15, a former girlfriend of both men. Charlie Kay Ely, 19, and Wright allegedly lured Jackson to the murder scene — Ely's home.

Ely was convicted of first-degree murder in September. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Justin Edward Soto, 20, and Kyle Lonnie-Duan Hooper allegedly beat Seath and restrained him while Bargo shot him, documents state. The sixth defendant, James Young Havens III, is accused of driving Bargo to Starke after the crime.

The other criminal cases remain pending.

San Bernadino, CA: Yucca Valley man killed by girlfriend

A 63-year-old woman shot her boyfriend to death in Yucca Valley, sheriff's officials said.
Jeanne Marie Rosser of Yucca Valley had been having ongoing domestic violence issues with her boyfriend, David Allen Wenzel.

The situation culminated in Rosser shooting 52-year-old Wenzel at a home in the 6800 block of Palm Avenue on Tuesday.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies came to the home and found Wenzel dead from a gunshot wound.

Deputies arrested Rosser and booked her into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of homicide.

Anyone with information may call Detective Martin Landaeta or Sgt. Jim Cornell, 909-387-3589, sheriff's dispatch at 387-8313 or WeTip, 800-78-CRIME.

Las Vegas, NV: Woman tells police she killed boyfriend in Vegas

Police in Las Vegas say a 29-year-old woman admitted stabbing her boyfriend during a fatal argument about him staying out late.

A police report made public Wednesday identifies the dead man as Johnny Dewayne Sheffield and says he died at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. He was found about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in a nearby apartment with a single stab wound to the chest.

Police say Chamel Monique Smith told investigators that Sheffield kicked in their apartment door and she stabbed Sheffield during a physical argument about him staying out late just days after Smith suffered a miscarriage of their baby.

Smith is being held at the Clark County jail pending an initial court appearance on a felony murder charge.

Seattle, WA: Police: Boyfriend who killed Woodinville teacher 'controlling,' had 'roid rage'

The Seattle felon accused of killing his girlfriend – a Woodinville teacher – on Christmas Eve has been charged with second-degree murder.

Filing charges Thursday, King County prosecutors claim Johnnie Lee Wiggins viciously beat teacher Prudence Hockley as the woman’s teen daughter listened.

Hockley, 55, was rushed from her Greenwood neighborhood home to Harborview Medical Center, and died there Christmas Day. Wiggins was arrested earlier this week and is now charged with second-degree murder

Prosecutors plan to seek an exceptional sentence against Wiggins, a 48-year-old man with a history of violence against women. If prosecutors succeed, Wiggins could be sentenced to life in prison.

Just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, Seattle police were called to Hockley’s home after her daughter found her unconscious on the home’s driveway. Moments before she had stepped out to speak with Wiggin, who had just arrived.

First responders arriving at the scene found Hockley bleeding heavily from the head with obvious bruises on her neck. She was unresponsive.

According to witnesses, Wiggins arrived at the home to find another man leaving the residence. He became irate, according to court documents, and began yelling at Hockley, her daughter and the other man.

Prosecutors contend Wiggins and Hockley were alone in front of the house when he accosted her. The woman’s daughter stepped outside immediately after the apparent attack to find her mother on the ground and Wiggins walking away.

Contacted by police, Wiggins initially denied he was involved in any fight with Hockley, according to charging documents.

He later changed his story, Detective James Cooper told the court, and admitted he was at the home when things “went bad.”

An autopsy later revealed Hockley died of “numerous extremely forceful blows to her face and head.”

Wiggins turned himself in Wednesday.

Others interviewed by detectives told police Wiggins had hit Hockley in the face on at least one prior occasion, giving her a black eye. One woman told police Hockley had described Wiggins as “controlling, jealous and short-tempered,” and said he had steroid “rage.”

Hockley started at Woodinville in the fall of 1997 and taught both regular and advanced placement English classes. She emigrated to the U.S. from New Zealand in 1978 and had three children, according to the school’s website.

”Ms. Hockley was an extraordinary teacher who was passionate about learning, reading and writing,” Woodinville Principal Kurt Criscione wrote to school families. “Known for her high expectations, she developed strong relationships with students and pushed them outside of their comfort zones to expanding their learning.

“She will forever be remembered for her dynamic personality and teaching style.”

Wiggins remains jailed on $5 million bail. He is expected to be arraigned Jan. 12 at the King County Courthouse.

Article: Hampton Roads' homicides included several domestic, murder-suicide cases in 2011

Homicides hit close to home on the Peninsula and in the Hampton Roads region in 2011.

While the number of homicides continued to decline in the area, the year was noteworthy for a high number of deaths that resulted from domestic incidents, murder-suicides and child abuse/neglect.
Through the week of Christmas, Newport News police had investigated 17 homicides, two of which involved police officers killing armed suspects during confrontations. The city had 24 homicides in 2009 and 23 in 2010. Hampton had nine homicides, including one police shooting; that figure is down from 11 in 2009 and 16 in 2010.

However, the city of Williamsburg and the counties of York, Gloucester and James City combined for eight homicides this year after just one in 2009 and one in 2010.

In all, there were 109 homicides in the region this year, including South Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. That figure is down from 116 in 2010 and 136 in 2009.

This year's homicide data in Hampton Roads includes nine instances of murder-suicide, including a recent incident on the Eastern Shore in which a man killed his two children and their mother, apparently over a custody dispute. There also were at least a dozen other homicides that were believed to be domestic in nature.

"Sometimes the public sees the domestic incidents differently, but we investigate every case absolutely the same way," said Sgt. Dave Altman, who heads the homicide division of the Newport News Police Department. "We have procedures we go by. Everyone has cases that develop certain emotional attachments at some point, depending on the details of the case, but we proceed exactly the same way with the investigations."

The one exception, he noted, is any case involving the death of a child under the age of 14, which goes to the special victims unit rather than the homicide division.

Children at risk

There were at least five reported cases in Hampton Roads this year in which young children are suspected to have died at the hands of relatives or caregivers.

The most noteworthy domestic incident occurred in Newport News on Aug. 19, when police found 32-year-old Crystal Ragin dead in her home on Old Courthouse Way, along with three of her children – 15-year-old Sierra, 10-year-old Rasheed and 6-year-old Lakwan. Police believe her husband, 36-year-old John Moses Ragin, stabbed all four to death and then set fire to the home.

John Ragin and the couple's 5-year-old son were located the next day in Manning, S.C. He was charged with four counts of murder and extradited to Newport News, where he awaits trial.

Ragin has said he and his son went to South Carolina to visit relatives, and that his wife and the three children were alive when he left their home. In a jailhouse interview with the Daily Press in October, he accused the police of "railroading" him, stating: "I know I'm innocent. It doesn't matter what's in everyone else's head. I know where I was. I know I didn't do anything."

Marion Oaks, FL: Boyfriend arrested in deaths of three Chihuahua puppies

Marion Oaks, Florida - In what appears to have been a domestic dispute yesterday at a residence at 14600 block Southwest 41st Avenue, three Chihuahua puppies are now dead.

Tayon L. Alexander, 20 was arrested for three counts of suspected animal cruelty.

According to Alexander and the owner of the Chihuahua mother and her six puppies were involved in an argument when Alexander threw one puppy to the floor and killed it. Two other puppies, approximately eight weeks old were found dead under a kitchen counter and under the couch.

The three surviving puppies were discovered walking around or cowering in a bathroom.

The mother of the puppies was found in the backyard of the home picking through a garbage bag in search of food.

Alexander is currently in the Marion County jail in lieu of $6,000 bail.

Article: Homicides increase in 2011

Originally Published Dec 29, 2011 15:56
Staff Writer
Three lives were taken here this year in domestic violence confrontations between men and women — the leading motive for local homicides.
In all, police have investigated nine homicides in Lancaster County over the past 12 months.
That number jumped from the six homicides here in 2010. Still, the total is below the county average of about 12 a year.
In the only double homicide, Matthew Becker shot his pregnant girlfriend, Allison Walsh, killing her and the couple's unborn child, police allege. The Mastersonville couple were in a dispute Aug. 12 over plans for the evening, according to court testimony.
In the other domestic killing, Patricia Crouse, 39, was strangled July 8 in Lancaster city. Pablo Sanchez, 26, was charged with homicide. Their relationship hasn't been explained, but investigators said they were acquaintances.
Three people — all men — also were killed in verbal confrontations that turned physical. Motives in those killings varied.
Mark McLaughlin was beaten and drowned April 4 at a West Hempfield Township homeless camp along the Susquehanna River. Another man from the camp, Tyrick Walker, pleaded guilty this month to third-degree murder.
According to charging documents, Walker became annoyed by McLaughlin's talking. He repeatedly punched McLaughlin, then drowned him in the river.
On Aug. 31, Robert Hampton, 28, was shot on a Lancaster city street after he got into arguments with a few men. One of those men, Robert Baron Brown, was charged last month with homicide.
In a bizarre case, a Cochranville man died in March while under local hospice care. R. Tommy Stanley was fatally injured, police said, after a Valentine's Day fight in Chester County.
Stanley, 40, and Dorian Pennington fought after Stanley accidentally opened his car door on Pennington, who was walking by. Pennington punched Stanley, and Stanley fell to the ground, striking his head, police said.
The men didn't know each other, police said.
Pennington is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Bullets were to blame in the county's three other homicides, including one that remains unsolved.

Bismarck, AR: Shooting in Bismarck, One Dead

BISMARCK - A domestic dispute turned deadly Thursday afternoon after a gun discharged while a husband and wife argued over it.

The long gun ended up hitting both individuals, according to the Hot Spring County Sheriff Department, however, only the husband was killed. The wife left in handcuffs with non-life threatening injuries and may possibly face criminal charges when she recovers.

Local authorities arrived at the scene at 12:45 on Thursday afternoon to respond to a call of domestic disturbance involving a weapon on the 1400 block of Antioch Road. Three officers surrounded the house, armed with M4 automatic rifles.

Before the officers moved in, the couple's gun went off. Police say no officers fired any shots.

The coroner transported the body from the driveway at 4:12 this afternoon.

Names of the individuals involved are not being released at this time. Three children are believed to live in the residence where the incident took place but they were not home at the time.

Neighbors say police have been called to the house several times in the past to respond to domestic disturbance complaints.

The case remains under investigation by Arkansas State Police.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wilkes-Barre, PA: NE Pa. man sentenced to 12½ to 40 years in stabbing death of former girlfriend 2 years ago

A northeastern Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to 12½ to 40 years in prison in the stabbing death of his former girlfriend two years ago.

A Luzerne County jury convicted 46-year-old Robert Zola of Mountain Top of third-degree murder in the December 2009 death of 35-year-old Rosemarie Cave.

Prosecutors said Zola waited for Cave to return to her Plymouth Township home and then stabbed her eight times.

Zola apologized Wednesday and said he loved the victim and misses her.

Defense attorneys argued at trial that their client was intoxicated and went to the home for closure, not to kill the victim.

Judge Joseph Cosgrove said he believed the defendant has become a different person and urged him to enter a 12-step rehabilitation program and get mental health treatment.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Article: Domestic Violence rises during holidays

A woman is stabbed several times in her trailer home. She told police her husband; Michael Graham did it before setting the home, with her inside, on fire.

Tulsa Police say the incident happened just before 2:30 Tuesday morning.

Police told us just after ten Tuesday night they arrested Graham.

Her children told FOX23, she suffered a broken nose and could’ve died if she had not pretended to be dead.

Domestic Violence cases are known to spike during the holidays.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services Executive Director Tracey Lyall doesn’t know what triggered Graham to assault his wife but she said the stress of the holidays increases the risk for abuse.

"Anytime you introduce financial stress, work stress or any type of stress in a relationship where there is already propensity for violence,” she said. “There’s going to be an increased risk for violence."

Lyall has seen how things can get so bad that they can spiral out of hand.

In fact, statistics show during the holiday’s domestic violence can increase by nearly three times.

"If they feel like tension is building at home and they know and onslaught of violence that’s possible they give us a call," said Lyall.

Lyall said the three biggest contributing factors for abuse are substance abuse, unemployment, and having access to weapons to harm their partners.

"Friends and family can also call and talk to an advocate and get some options on how to help,” Lyall told FOX23.

She said domestic abuse has been consistently high all year.

If you are in a situation like this there people that can help you get out in a safe way.

You can call DVIS at (918) 585-3163.

Sacramento, CA: South Sacramento area man sentenced to 16 years to life for killing wife

A south area man who stabbed his wife to death in what his lawyer described as a psychotic break spawned by post traumatic stress disorder was sentenced today to 16 years to life.
Sy Choy Saeteurn, 66, had pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the fatal Dec. 8, 2010 attack on his wife of 40 years, Muang Saeteurn, 60.
Saeteurn also was found not guilty by reason of insanity to endangering his then-10-year-old daughter who escaped the family's Pinot Noir Way residence and reported to authorities her father's knife assault on her mother.

As a result of Saeteurn's dual plea, he will spend at least the first seven years of his term in Napa State Hospital, under the sentencing handed down by Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn. If Saeteurn recovers his sanity, he will be transferred to the state prison system.
A son and a daughter of the couple asked the judge for leniency for their father. They both said that Saeteurn had never displayed any violence and had no criminal record prior the killing of their mother.
Saeteurn's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Sue Karlton, said in an interview that her client fought in the wars that had wracked his native Laos 45 years ago and that he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.
Karlton said her client had never displayed any PTSD symptoms until just before the killing. She said he was upset the day of his attack on his wife by a mailman who Saeteurn mistakenly thought was a soldier engaging in battle. She said Saeteurn believed his wife was part of an attack that was being launched against him.

San Diego, CA: 10News: Shooting victim feared ex's drug use

Debra Meltzer, who was shot to death Friday night in Alpine, feared for the safety of her two children with ex-husband Justin Meltzer, according to divorce documents obtained Tuesday by 10News.

Justin Meltzer was arrested Friday night on suspicion of murder following a SWAT standoff at a home they once shared on Larkspur Drive. He was shot in the leg and remained in a hospital Tuesday.

Debra Meltzer, 40, was found dead after SWAT members entered the home in an attempt to rescue her. She died of multiple gunshot wounds, the county Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The Meltzers had a troubled marriage since 2007, had attempts at reconciliation and eventually divorced, 10News reported Tuesday.

The court records show Justin Meltzer was injured while working as a labor foreman at an Oceanside construction firm, and that he took prescription medicine for back pain and was unable to work. In a document filed in July 2011, Debra Meltzer said that his drug usage put their two young sons in danger when they were in his care.

Doug Diaz of El Cajon, a longtime family friend of Debra Meltzer, told the Union-Tribune on Friday night that she had financially supported the family in her work as a nurse, and that she had become increasingly concerned about what she described as her ex-husband’s bizarre drug-induced behavior.

Debra Meltzer had taken the couple’s two young sons to the house to see their father Friday, Diaz said. He said the boys were at a neighbor’s home during the standoff.

Justin Meltzer was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, possibly from his hospital bed, the District Attorney’s Office told 10News.

Rome, GA: Man charged with murdering wife in front of juvenile son

A Livingston Road man killed his wife then turned the gun on himself Tuesday night but survived the self-inflicted wound, said Sgt. Dan Bickers, a detective with the Floyd County Police Department, and the shooter was charged with murder while still in the hospital.

According to police:

Michael Woodrow Terry, 61, of 1436 Livingston Road, killed Juanita Marie Terry, 45, with a .22 rifle after an argument that happened in front of their 13-year-old son.

“We know he fired three shots,” Bickers said. “One of those shots was fatal.”

The fatal shot was to the facial area, Bickers said.

Terry then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the mouth area.

The son called 911 and then ran to a neighbor’s house for safety. He will be staying with family members.

The shootings occurred not in the home, but in a camper next to the home where the family was staying while the home was being repaired, Bickers said.

An adult daughter who was also living with them was not at home when the shootings occurred.

Terry was alert and talking to medical personnel at Floyd Medical Center before being flown to Atlanta for treatment, Bickers said. In addition to the murder charge, Terry is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and cruelty to children.

Bickers said police were familiar with Terry and had been called to the home before.

According to a story published on the Rome News-Tribune website on Dec. 15, 2007, SWAT team members were called to the Livingstone Road residence when Terry beat his girlfriend, who was not identified, and threatened her with a handgun.

According to the report, the girlfriend had injuries to her face and head. She told police that Terry had numerous weapons at the residence.

Terry kept SWAT team members at bay until they sent in tear gas. He surrendered without incident and was charged with battery under the Family Violence Act and terroristic threats and acts.

Read more: - Man charged with murdering wife in front of juvenile son

Hudson, FL: Report: Man killed by Pasco deputy had history of violence

Brian Keith Naab, the 49-year-old man shot and killed by a Pasco County sheriff's deputy on Christmas Day, had a history of domestic violence, according to reports released today by the sheriff's office.

One of the most chilling moments happened in February. During an argument with his live-in girlfriend, Candi Schoneman, Naab retrieved a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his gun safe and held it to his head, an incident report said.

Schoneman told a deputy she and Naab had this exchange:

"Should I do me first or you?" he asked.

"Shoot me," she replied. "It would be easier than living with you."

"I will blow my brains all over this room so you can clean it up," he said, then smiled and laughed.

Naab denied that conversation ever took place, but he was taken in for an evaluation that day under the state's Baker Act, which allows law enforcement to take people into custody temporarily when they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.

That was the third time since July 2009 that deputies had been called to the home of Naab and Schoneman in domestic dispute cases.

The couple remained together, though, and just before 6 p.m. on Christmas Day a deputy once again headed to 6921 Southwind Drive after neighbors reported hearing shots fired and said that several houses had been struck.

When Cpl. Jose Valenzuela arrived at the address he saw Naab and Schoneman struggling over a shotgun in the front lawn, the sheriff's office reported.

Valenzuela ordered them to drop the weapon. Instead, Naab pulled a handgun from his waistband and aimed it at Valenzuela, a report said. Valenzuela fired multiple times, killing Naab, the report said.

Valenzuela was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, which is routine when law enforcement officers use deadly force.

Sheriff's reports paint a picture of a heated situation that escalated over a two-year period on Southwind Drive.

On July 9, 2009, a deputy arrived at the couple's home about 11 p.m. to investigate a domestic dispute report. Naab and Schoneman said they had been drinking and were arguing loudly, but both said nothing physical had happened, a report said.

Naab had a cut on his hand, but told the deputy he had accidentally cut himself on his workbench in the garage, the report said. No one was arrested, but the deputy drove Schoneman to the corner of U.S. 19 and Hudson Avenue where a friend picked her up, the report said. Schoneman told the deputy she would not return home until morning.

A year later, on July 1, 2010, Naab was arrested on a domestic violence charge after Schoneman said he picked her up by the throat during an argument, a report said.

Then came the February faceoff in which Naab reportedly suggested he would shoot himself, Schoneman or both.

As Naab continued to hold the handgun that day, Schoneman dialed 911, a report said. Naab realized what she had done and ran to the garage where he left his pistol on the seat of his truck while he opened the garage door, the report said.

That gave Schoneman the opportunity to snatch the pistol without him noticing and he drove away, the report said. A deputy later located Naab in his truck and he was taken to Morton Plant North Bay Recovery Center for evaluation.

Parker, CO: Mother shot and killed in parking lot, ex-husband later found dead

PARKER - Police say a woman was shot and killed in a fast-food parking lot on Tuesday night, and her ex-husband was found dead a short time later.

Parker Police say the incident happened in the McDonald's parking lot at South Parker Road and Main Street in Parker at 5:06 p.m. They say the woman had been shot and was taken to a local hospital where she died of her injuries. Her name has not been released.

Christina Castello, 15, was with her boyfriend when she heard the gunshots. She ran to help the woman but knew it was too late.

"I was holding her head. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to do. This woman is laying there. I can't help her. I held her head as she was like dying and her three kids came out and saw it," Castello said.

Police were looking for Mark Royer, the ex-husband of the victim, as a person of interest in this case. Royer, 53, was last seen driving a brown 2005 Ford F-150 extended cab with dark tinted windows.

The truck was found in a field near South Parker Road and Bayou Gulch in unincorporated Douglas County a short time later. Royer's body was found in the open space near his truck. Police believe he died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Court records show Royer divorced his wife Donna Marie Royer in 2010, and she filed a restraining order for domestic violence against him in April 2011. A Facebook page has been created in memory of Donna Royer. Police have not confirmed the identity of the victim.

Mark Royer is also listed as president of a local church at a home he shared with his wife.

Sgt. Doreen Jokerst says the victim's two daughters were inside the McDonald's when the shooting happened outside in the parking lot near a snow bank. The children were not injured and are in police custody.

Police originally reported there were three children.

"The kids were not outside when the shooting took place," Jokerst said. "This is such a tragic incident to happen at any time, especially during the holiday season, especially when kids are involved."

Manhattan, NY: Shele Danishefsky Covlin's Estranged Husband Sued for Wrongful Death

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Close to two years after Upper West Side mom and UBS banker Shele Danishefsky Covlin was found strangled to death in her bathtub, her estranged husband has been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit even though he has yet to face criminal charges.

Roderick Covlin, 38, who was embroiled in a bitter divorce with his wife and had allegedly threatened to kill her prior to her death in Dec. 2009, was named in a lawsuit filed last week by the public administrator, an independent office that handles estates that are in dispute.

An attorney for the office said the lawsuit had to be filed prior to the two-year statute of limitations deadline.

While Roderick Covlin has not been criminally charged with his wife's murder, the Manhattan District Attorney's office continues to maintain an open investigation into her death and it has no other suspects. An office spokesman declined to comment further.

Covlin was served with the civil lawsuit papers Wednesday morning at his home in Scarsdale, N.Y., according to Mitchell Studley, the attorney appointed by the public administrator's office to oversee the estate of the deceased UBS wealth manager.

Danishefsky Covlin was discovered dead by her then 9-year-old daughter Anna inside their 155 West 68th Street apartment on Dec. 31, 2009. The couple also had a son, Myles, who was 3-years-old at the time of the incident. Her estranged husband lived down the hall.

According to Studley, the couple's children remain with Covlin and his family in their Westchester home, although the victim's brother has been trying to get custody of them since her death.

Police initially ruled Danishefsky Covlin's death was "accidental" because her Orthodox Jewish family initially declined to have them conduct an autopsy for religious reasons. But after the family eventually agreed to allow her body to be exhumed for an autopsy, the city's medical examiner ruled that she was strangled.

The lawsuit says Covlin strangled his wife after the two became "embroiled in contentious divorce proceedings" and the wife "expressed fears" that her husband "intended to kill her."

Her husband was named in her will as the executor of her estate, but Covlin planned to meet with a lawyer to revise it to remove him from the will prior to her death, court documents show. Her family quickly moved to take control of the estate and an administrator was appointed by Surrogate's Court. A divorce and custody proceeding is also still pending.

Studley said if Covlin is ever convicted of murdering Danishefsky Covlin, he will automatically lose any future share of her estate.

"If he is ultimately indicted and he's convicted, under New York law he does not share in any aspect of her estate," Studley said.

Attempts to contact Covlin were unsuccessful.

Lemoore, CA: Murder-suicide investigation in Lemoore

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Lemoore Police are investigating the city's second homicide of the year. They say an 88-year-old man killed his 85-year-old wife, before turning the gun on himself.

Neighbors have identified the couple as Martin and Maria McKinnie. The shooting took place inside their home. It happened just before ten o'clock Monday morning, on Cambridge Drive near Olive in Lemoore.

Friends of the couple say they both had severe health problems. Based on conversations they had with Martin just days before the shooting, they tell us he likely killed Maria because he didn't want her to be alone.

The Lemoore home Martin and Maria McKinnie shared for the past forty years, is the same place where both their lives ended Monday morning. That's when police received a call from a family member, asking them to check on the couple's welfare.

Commander Steve Rossi said, "The reporting party called to have the officers check on them because she was on the phone with the female at the residence and the female told her over the phone her husband had a gun and was going to kill her."

By the time officers arrived, it was too late. Inside, they found Maria and Martin's bodies in separate rooms of the house. Investigators tell Action News Martin used a shotgun to kill Maria, before turning the gun on himself.

Scott Goodrich said, "To be real honest with you, for anyone that knew em, it really wasn't unexpected or shocking."

Goodrich lives next door, and has known the couple for 21 years. He says 85-year-old Maria suffered from Alzheimer's. And that 88-year-old Martin had Parkinson's disease, which prevented him doing the things he loved.

Goodrich said, "He was very much an outdoors person, and he had lost his ability to garden or walk the neighborhood or drive and they suggested that he move into a retirement home, and he just couldn't see being split up from her."

Just two days before the shooting, Goodrich says Martin had expressed concerns about leaving Maria. Concerns, he feels came from a loving place... not a malicious one. "I feel that the quality of his life was essentially over and he knew that no one could take care of her, so they went together."

Neighbors say the couple has a daughter. She lives outside the area, and will travel back to the Valley soon to make funeral arrangements.

Stillwater, MN: Stillwater man sentenced to jail for killing pet snake

Stillwater man accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home, killing her pet snake and scrawling a note in its blood has been sentenced on one count of burglary.

Jonathan Paul Utecht, 22, was charged in July with felony counts of burglary, terroristic threats and animal torture. In October he pleaded guilty to burglary, and as part of a plea deal the other charges were dismissed at his Dec. 22 sentencing.

Utecht was sentenced to 120 days in jail, with credit for 80 days served, plus five years' probation. He was also ordered to have no contact with the ex-girlfriend, to undergo a psychological evaluation and to pay restitution.

According to a criminal complaint, police were contacted by the ex-girlfriend, who said she feared Utecht had broken into her Stillwater apartment and ransacked it. When officers arrived, Utecht was standing outside with blood on his hands and warned the woman, who was with police, that she might not want to go inside and see what he'd done.

Inside the apartment, officers found things in disarray. Items were broken and coffee grounds were scattered in the kitchen. Someone had written "I will kill you" and "(expletive) cheater" in black marker, the complaint said.

Police also found the woman's snake on the kitchen floor, a knife "sticking in the midsection," the complaint said. The words "I loved you," which were on the floor next to the snake, appeared to have been written in the animal's blood.

Elizabeth Mohr can be
reached at 651-228-5162. Follow her at

Charlotte, NC: Charlotte DJ, video host charged with murdering his wife

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Homicide detectives are investigating after a woman, who had been attacked in the past, was found dead inside a west Charlotte home.

Tuesday night police identified the victim as 34-year-old Catherine Elizabeth Ahern Blakeney, who is a past victim of domestic violence while living with the suspect.

Her husband Brandon Blakeney, 34, who is featured on various YouTube videos and works at Solstice Tavern on N. Davidson St. is charged with her murder.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police were called to the 2000 block of Pheasant Glen Road around 9:18 a.m. on Tuesday for a welfare check.

According to police, Brandon Blakeney greeted officers when they arrived at his home and he let them in to search for Catherine Blakeney.

Catherine, who had not been seen in weeks, was found dead in the home and Brandon was taken into custody, police said.

Brandon Blakeney has the persona of Brandon Beanz Blakeney on Facebook and various YouTube videos, a close friend confirmed to WBTV.

He works on an endeavor called SkyMind Entertainment and appears to promote a special entertainment feature called "The Platform."

His Facebook page shows him at the 2010 National Poetry Slam and his videos are called Rooftop Sessions -- an interview program that talks with various musical artists.

A person named Brandon Beanz Blakeney also wrote an essay on about the "Sanctity of Marriage" where he talked about the ups and downs of married life.

"Many of us have been exposed to, and taught various opinions about marriage, that we don't know which way to turn," the author wrote. "The (life my wife and I) were exposed to as children and young adults lead to us clashing, and bumping heads on numerous occasions. We both had serious trust issues!"

Several neighbors told WBTV that the couple lived at the home and that police were called on a regular basis due to the couple fighting.

WBTV checked court records and found charges against Brandon of assault on a female and resisting arrest, both related to Catherine, whose maiden name is Catherine Elizabeth Ahern.

In mid-December 2010 police came to home on Pheasant Glen Rd and Blakeney charged out the door at police, documents say. His wife and sister initially called cops saying he threw an ironing board down the stairs and was yelling and cursing, police say.

In that incident, he refused arrest and was tackled to the ground by police, police say.

In Feb. of 2010 he allegedly assaulted Catherine with the police report saying that he kicked, punched, hit her, and pulled her hair. She suffered a bruised her face.

Benewah County, WA: Suspect: Killing accidental

A St. Maries man accused of murdering an 18-year-old woman told police he accidentally shot her in the face while checking to see if his gun was unloaded, officials say.

Joseph Duane Herrera, 28, is in jail on $200,000 bond after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder in Benewah County District Court.

He was arrested Sunday for the shooting death of Stefanie Comack.

Benewah County Prosecutor Douglas Payne said Tuesday that “there was some kind of argument” Sunday between the two and the gun was fired “in close proximity” to Comack’s head, which he said amounts to malice on Herrera’s part.

“You can have death which is accidental but the act that caused it is malicious – that’s the issue in the case,” Payne said. “A person can do something so reckless that, even if they don’t intend to kill someone, murder can result.”

Comack’s family members have said they don’t believe the Christmas Day shooting was accidental. Herrera ran from the home after the shooting and was later arrested by police.

The shooting occurred at a home on 14th Street in St. Maries. Neither Herrera nor Comack lives there. Friends described Herrera as Comack’s boyfriend and said they both worked at Valley Vista Care Center in St. Maries, where Comack was a certified nursing assistant. Comack graduated this year from the Kootenai Bridge Academy.

Previous arrests for Herrera include misdemeanor domestic violence battery in Benewah County in 2009, which was dismissed after he completed a deferred prosecution program. He was convicted of misdemeanor battery in 2008. He also was convicted in Kootenai County in 2007 of frequenting a place where controlled substances are used.

Payne said Herrera told investigators the firearm was present in the room because he was “making sure it was unloaded.”

“Obviously, it wasn’t,” Payne said. Other people were in the home when the shooting occurred, but no one else was in the room, Payne said.

Payne said more details will be released at Herrera’s preliminary hearing, which is to be held within two weeks.

The homicide is Benewah County’s third this year.

In April, a Spokane man allegedly stabbed another man to death in Plummer, Idaho. In May, a 26-year-old St. Maries woman allegedly shot her uncle to death, then tried to burn his body. Previously, the county had seen just one – the 2006 death of 76-year-old woman – in 17 years.

“Things come in threes,” Payne said. “I hope this is the end of it.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Taos, NM: Identity of man gunned down on Christmas Day released

The name of a man police say was shot and killed in a jealous rage on Christmas day in Taos has been released.

Court records show Dylan Breternitz, 21, was shot and killed over a girlfriend dispute on Sunday.

Taos Police charged 19-year-old Charles Suskiewich with an open count of murder.

Investigators say Suskiewich shot and killed Breternitz because Suskiewich believed he had an affair with his ex-girlfriend.

Suskiewich, from Arroyo Hondo, is being held without bond.

Hampshire County, WV: W.Va. man charged with murder in girlfriend's death

A Morgan County, W.Va., man has been charged with murder after admitting he woke up from a blackout earlier this month to find his girlfriend strangled in their apartment, according to the Morgan County (W.Va.) Sheriff’s Department.

James T. Zell Jr. was charged with murder, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.

His girlfriend, Kelly Elizabeth Butler, 29, was found dead Friday in a cabin in a remote part of Hampshire County, W.Va., where Zell told police he had taken her body, the sheriff’s department said.

The investigation began Thursday after a deputy from the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office contacted Morgan County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Stapleton with information that a murder might have occurred in Morgan County.

Stapleton and Chief Deputy Wade Shambaugh met with Zell at his home in Tri Lake Park in southern Morgan County, where they asked about Butler’s whereabouts and well-being, the sheriff’s department said.
AdvertisementZell told the investigators that he and Butler had been in a fight about two weeks before and that she had left. He said he thought she might have killed herself, because she had been depressed and had left her belongings and dog with him, the sheriff’s department said.

“When asked about rumors in Virginia circulating that he had killed his girlfriend, Zell replied that he had said that, but only as a joke,” the release said.

Stapleton and Shambaugh searched Zell’s home and found nothing noteworthy, the sheriff’s department said.

Later Thursday night, Stapleton received information that Zell was contacting family members and telling them he had killed his girlfriend and intended to take his own life, the sheriff’s department said.

Zell was arrested in Chambersburg, Pa., for driving under the influence. At about 2:15 a.m. Friday, Stapleton and Shambaugh went to Chambersburg and interviewed Zell again, the sheriff’s department said.

“A this point, James T. Zell Jr. gave a full confession admitting that about two weeks ago, he and his girlfriend had gotten into a fight after being out at a bar and returning home,” the sheriff’s department said in the release. “Zell stated that his girlfriend had punched him in the face several times (and) at some point he states he blacked out and that when he came to, his girlfriend was lying dead on the floor with fingerprints around her throat.

“Zell maintains in his statement that he does not remember strangling her but knows that he did because there was a tear on her cheek indicating that she had just died, and there was no one else in the home at that time,” the sheriff’s department said. “Zell then states that he loaded her body into his Chevy Blazer and transported her to a cabin in a remote portion of Hampshire County.”

An autopsy on the body is pending, police said.

As of Friday, the extradition process had been started to transport Zell from Pennsylvania to West Virginia, the release said.

Fayetteville, NC: Little girl found in Va.; NC police searching for man suspected of killing her mother

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A little girl has been found safe in Virginia, but police are still looking for her father, who they suspect of killing her mother in North Carolina.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna says the 1-year-old girl was found Tuesday morning at a Food Lion in Newport News, Va.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna says the body of 22-year-old Marianna Reyes was found early Tuesday morning outside her Fayetteville home.
Tanna says the girl was dropped off by her father, 23-year-old Alexander Zelaya.

Police plan to charge Zelaya with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Marianna Reyes, the little girl's mother. Her body was found early Tuesday in front of her Fayetteville home. She had been shot multiple times.

Investigators say Zelaya fled the scene with the little girl in tow after stealing a neighbor's car at gunpoint.

Tanna says police in Virginia are helping with the investigation.

Article: Woman recovering from violent abuse urges victims to seek help

HERRIMAN — AshLee Bambrough, who admits she likes to take pictures of her friends and family, got a new camera for Christmas.

But the biggest present AshLee and her family got this year was AshLee herself.

"That's the best gift we could have gotten is to have AshLee with us," her father, Jon Bambrough, said Monday.

A little less than six months ago, AshLee found herself in a hospital bed for six days with a skull fracture and other severe injuries to her face and back after prosecutors say her boyfriend pushed her out of a moving vehicle traveling 65 mph.

AshLee suffered brain damage and today still suffers spells of short-term memory loss, dizziness and headaches. She has at least two more surgeries ahead of her, including one with a plastic surgeon to fix the scars on her face as well as removing pieces of gravel still embedded in her head from impacting the asphalt road. She already has had pea and corn-sized rocks removed from her face.

Looking at the 23-year-old today, however, her recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. Her long hair covers most of the scarring on her face and forehead. She uses long sleeves to cover her badly broken left hand, which is still covered with bruises and will require another surgery.

Emotionally, AshLee and her family are also making strides to move forward. Part of that healing has been through becoming advocates in the fight against domestic violence.

Because her case is still pending in Davis County's 2nd District Court, AshLee and her father were advised not to speak specifically about the incident that almost killed her.

But according to charging documents and a victim impact statement she filed with the court on July 2, AshLee's boyfriend, Brandon Sloper, 25, was driving her to work in Layton when he decided he didn't want her working there anymore.

Sloper "did not want to let the victim go to work at her job because she would be working around and serving racial minorities," the charges state.

While they were driving, Sloper allegedly assaulted AshLee inside the vehicle, including breaking her finger. She tried to get out of the truck several times at safe locations but he wouldn't let her, according to the charges.

Finally, Sloper pushed her out of the vehicle on state Route 193, investigators say.

"I sustained significant injuries including skull fractures, hemorrhage in my brain, a broken hand, and multiple abrasions, lacerations and road rash that resulted in significant blood loss and brain damage," AshLee said in her victim impact statement.

Other motorists and bystanders who saw AshLee hit the ground called 911 as Sloper drove off.

"To this day, I am unable to concentrate, which prevents me from finding a job and participating in many social activities, much less take pleasure in the simple activities, such as reading a book — something that I used to enjoy as an avid reader. I have also lost my sense of smell. I cannot taste anything. Eating is no longer pleasurable," she wrote.

Sloper was charged Sept. 30 with kidnapping and aggravated assault, both second-degree felonies with domestic violence enhancers. Prosecutors say Sloper also had a prior domestic-related incident. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6.

AshLee took out a protective order against Sloper about a week after the incident.

As a way of helping to deal with what happened, AshLee's younger sister started a Facebook page called "Team AshLee." Together with her sister, AshLee has sold T-shirts on the page. On the back of each shirt is a picture of ribbon and the words, "Real men don't hit women."

All of the money collected through the sale of the shirts — about $1,300 — was donated to the Davis County Safe Harbor women's shelter.

It was after the incident that other women started coming up to AshLee to tell her how they, too, have been victims of domestic violence.

"Before it happened to me, I don't remember paying attention to it as much," she said.

But after the recent beating death of a 45-year-old woman in Murray, allegedly by her live-in her boyfriend, AshLee said she decided she couldn't wait for her case to be finished in court before he spoke up to help others trapped in abusive relationships.

"It just makes me sick to think someone could do that to someone. And after being through it, it just makes me, like, hurt for her family, cause I knew what her family went through. I'm very grateful to be alive but I can't imagine being in that situation. I feel so bad for her family," she said.

Nine times in 2011, police in Utah investigated a homicide in which the alleged attacker was a spouse or significant other, according to statistics compiled by the Deseret News. Of the five homicides the Unified Police Department investigated this year, all but one were the result of domestic violence committed by either a spouse, family member or roommate.

Police in Utah also investigated six domestic-violence related murder-suicides during 2011.

In AshLee's situation, she said her boyfriend was very possessive and controlling for three years. But at the time, she didn't see it.

"Now that I look back, the weirdest things would set him off," she said.

"He tried to control what I wore, where I worked, how I looked, who my friends were, and he attempted to cut me off from my family. I now realize that these are actions of an abusive man," she said in court documents.

But after each incident of abuse, he would come back the next day asking for forgiveness.

"When he'd start playing the nice guy again, I'd think, 'Maybe I did do something wrong. Maybe he was just trying to protect me. Maybe this, maybe that.' Honestly, now that I look back, I don't know what made me stay," she said.

Jon Bambrough said he was unaware of the abuse that was happening to his daughter.

"When he was around us, he was Mr. Nice Guy all the time. He would avoid us and keep her from us. He'd make up excuses not be around us," he said.

Now, AshLee hopes her story will help others who are trapped in abusive relationships, or may be in an abusive relationship and not even recognize it, to seek help.

"If you have any doubt in your mind that he is not treating you perfectly like you should be treated, maybe take a step back, maybe talk to people around you and see what they think. Maybe take a step back and take a look at the situation, and maybe see if you would put yourself through that," she said.

If a woman is afraid to seek help, AshLee said there are women's shelters across the state ready to help.

"It's been hard on the whole family. I don't know if we'll trust anybody again," her father admitted. "We'll try to forgive and forget, but I don't know if we can."

For those who are afraid of a former or estranged spouse or fear there may be violence, there are several hotlines available, including the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

New Orleans, LA: Detectives: Girlfriend Admits Killing New Orleans Man

NEW ORLEANS -- Detectives have arrested the live-in girlfriend of a man shot and killed the day after Christmas.

New Orleans police said 25-year-old Antoinette Fortune will be charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Brandon Butler.

The incident happened at Butler's home, in the 2100 block of Hope Street.

Investigators believe the couple had been arguing when Fortune got hold of Butler's gun, which he kept hidden in a sofa. They said Fortune has confessed to shooting her 24-year-old boyfriend.

"Detectives were quick to notice discrepancies in this suspect's story, and made the arrest just hours after fatal shots were fired," NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said in a statement. "This was great team work by both our crime scene experts as well as homicide detectives, and as a result, a suspect confessed and now awaits trial."

Fortune is on probation in Texas following a conviction on charges of aggravated assault, resisting an officer, domestic battery and other crimes. Her record indicates arrests on additional charges, including public intoxication, criminal trespass and marijuana possession.

Bronx, NY: 3-month-old baby dead in Bronx after dad is busted in assault on mom, grandma

A three-month-old baby girl died during an incident in which her father assaulted her mother and grandmother, police said Tuesday.

Kevin Palmer, 20, attacked his 19-year-old girlfriend and her 43-year-old mother inside his home on Strafford Ave, in Soundview, Monday morning, police said.

At one point during the dispute, Palmer picked the child up and then “dropped the baby from a fairly high level onto the bed,” NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday.

The baby, Anetta Taylor-Palmer, died at St. Barnabas Hospital at 12:50 p.m. Monday.

Palmer was charged with misdemeanor assault. But Kelly said he could face additional charges after investigators get autopsy results.

Anetta may have been ill, police said, and the medical examiner will determine whether she died from a pre-existing medical condition or if she was hurt during the incident.

A police source said there was no history of domestic violence involving the parents or the grandmother.

Syracuse, NY: NY man charged with killing woman on Christmas Eve

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Police say a 38-year-old Syracuse man has been charged with beating his live-in girlfriend to death on Christmas Eve.

Craig Owens faces second-degree murder charges in the death of 18-year-old Latisha Hayes. The couple lived in a room of the house that Owens shared with another relative.

Police were called to the house shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday for an unconscious person and found Hayes severely beaten. She was pronounced dead at Upstate Medical University.

Owens was arraigned Sunday morning in Syracuse City Court and sent to Onondaga County jail without bail. Police did not know if he has a lawyer.

Long Island, NY: Long Island man arrested in killing of young mom and her 2-year-old son

A Long Island man has been arrested for killing his one-time love interest and her 2-year-old son, whose little body was found in a freezer, police said.

Jerry Lewis, 24, repeatedly stabbed Shakeela Planter, 21, on the morning of Dec. 18 inside the North Bay Shore apartment they had been sharing, police said.

Lewis did not spare Planter’s son, Jaiden Planter, police said. He beat the toddler, stuffed his body into a plastic bag and stashed him in his mother’s freezer, police said.

“The baby was viciously beaten,” said Suffolk County Police Detective Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky. “No one reported hearing anything at all.”

Lewis fled the residence in Planter’s SUV and visited his sister in New Jersey, police said.

He eventually abandoned the vehicle at a mall in Riverhead, L.I., and took a train to his mother’s home in Laurel, Md., police said.

Five days after the killings, after Planter had failed to show up for her job as a dietician at Huntington Hospital, her landlord found her bound and wrapped body on her bed.

Police arrested Lewis, who does not have a criminal record, in Maryland on Christmas. He was expected to be extradited to Suffolk County to face murder charges, police said.

Planter and Lewis, who was not Jaiden’s father, were once a couple, police said. He had been staying with her since September, but it was not clear if they had resumed

a romantic relationship.

“He was helping out in the house,” Pelkofsky said. “He was baby-sitting for Jaiden.”

Pelkofsky said the level of violence in the case shocked authorities. “People in the morgue had tears in their eyes — and they deal with death all the time,” he said.

Anaheim, CA: Anaheim man accused of killing wife on Christmas Day

A 30-year-old Anaheim man has been arrested in connection with the Christmas Day slaying of his wife, police said.

William Wallace was arrested on suspicion of murder late Sunday and booked into the Orange County jail, said Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department.

Dunn declined to release the name of the victim or say how she was killed. He said investigators were awaiting the results of an autopsy, which they hope to have within the next few days.

Police were called to the 200 block of Laxore Street in Anaheim about 9:20 a.m. Sunday regarding a woman in need of medical attention, Dunn said.

He declined to say who called 911 or whether there were any witnesses to the alleged crime. Dunn said the victim was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at a local hospital.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa Cruz, CA: Husband, Wife In Santa Cruz Murder-Suicide ID'd

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- An elderly husband and wife who were both shot in the head in a suspected murder-suicide in Santa Cruz were identified Monday.

Ray Wiens, 90, of Santa Cruz, and his wife, Kathryn Wiens, 88, of Santa Cruz, lived together on the 100 block of Sims Road in northern Santa Cruz County, sheriff's deputies said.

Investigators suspect the couple's worsening health motivated them to kill themselves Friday afternoon.

"Deputies believe that the deteriorating health of the elderly couple was the main factor in this incident," Santa Cruz Sgt. Mark Yanez said.

Ray Wiens shot his wife in the head with a handgun moments before committing suicide inside their home which sits in a quiet wooded neighborhood down the street from Brook Knoll Elementary School, deputies said.

Unfortunately, Kathryn Wiens somehow survived taking a bullet to the head. She was still alive when a family friend found her and her husband, who was dead on the floor, just before 4 p.m. Friday. She was unconscious and paramedics airlifted her in a helicopter to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Kathryn Wiens died on Christmas morning in the hospital, deputies said.

Read more:

Hernando County, FL: Deputies: Spring Hill man shot, killed by wife

By Hernando Today
Published: December 24, 2011
Updated: December 25, 2011 - 12:13 AM
A Spring Hill woman intentionally shot and killed her husband Saturday, Hernando County deputies said.

Karen Lyn Biraghi, 39, called 911 at 12:44 p.m. and said she had shot her husband, 31-year-old Alan Biraghi, a Hernando County Sheriff’s Office release states.

He was pronounced dead inside their home, 3219 Greynolds Ave.

She has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.

Her first appearance is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday at the Citrus County Jail in front of Judge Mark Yerman.

Alan Biraghi is the fourth homicide victim this month in Hernando County.

Article: Parolees ‘slipping through the net’

More than one in three of violent career cons turned loose in 2010 — freed by the same disgraced Parole Board that sprang a lifer who killed a Woburn cop a year ago today — have violated their parole terms, according to shocking statistics that suggest it could be a matter of when and not if tragedy strikes again.

A Herald review found parolee violence, drug use and drunken driving that stunned families of murder victims, who say a 37 percent violation rate — 17 of 42 freed lifers rearrested — leaves them worried about hundreds of other murderers and rapists still free today. Even after two Dec. 26 murders by parolees in the last two years, a new, tougher Parole Board already is processing 11 lifers for release, under new measures officials hope will prevent further violence.

“Ring the alarm bell, please,” said David Flood of Ipswich, a member of Parents of Murdered Children, whose brother was murdered in 1979. “Get the message out there that these people are slipping through the net as we speak.”

Of a total of 336 lifers currently on parole, 25 are wanted, the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety said. Details of violations behind those warrants were not immediately available.

The rearrested 2010 parolees include Robert Cantell, who was convicted of kidnapping and raping a nurse at knifepoint. He was locked up after his parole officer caught him with a knife and pornography in February, records show.

Another 2010 parolee was charged with assault and battery after a fight with his girlfriend. Others have been picked up for crimes such as drunken driving. One parolee, convicted of murdering his live-in girlfriend, is back behind bars and awaiting a revocation hearing decision after his wife alleged he was having an affair, raising his parole officer’s fears for the wife’s safety, records show.

Parole came to an abrupt halt Dec. 26, 2010, the day ex-con Dominic Cinelli killed Woburn police officer John “Jack” Maguire, prompting Gov. Deval Patrick to oust five Parole Board members and name Josh Wall, a former prosecutor, as chairman. Maguire died exactly a year after the 2009 murder of store clerk Surendra Dangol by paroled killer Edward Corliss, which failed to raise the same kind of alarm.

No lifers have been freed yet under Wall. But the new board heard pleas from 104 lifers this year and voted to parole 11, who face a year or more in transition programs before they’re freed.

Wall points to measures he hopes will make parole a safer bet. Hearings that once took an hour now take three, with more information demanded. Board members now put their names on their votes. They have attended 25 training sessions on everything from psychology to drug abuse and the law. Supervision of parole officers has increased. Wall personally conducts an annual review of every paroled lifer.

“There’s never been a particular goal to crack down,” he said. “The goal was ... let’s just do it right.”

Wall said he can’t help worrying about the potential for another murder.

“It’s my job to worry, and so I do worry,” Wall said. “But it’s also my job to reduce that possibility.

“Our focus is on evaluating inmates to make sure they work their way out of prison through meaningful programs,” he said. “We’re on the lookout for the inmate who thinks he can talk his way out. A lot of people who looked at the Cinelli case were concerned Cinelli had talked his way out.”

Wall said most parolees who fail fall down before they hurt somebody, by failing alcohol tests, lying to parole officers or skipping work. Of 2010’s 17 violators, Wall said, “That rate of revocation is something we’re trying to address ... we’re trying to be more careful, more methodical about who we’re releasing.”

Kasota, MN: Top 10 stories of 2011, No. 10: Wicklund sentenced for ex-girlfriend’s murder

In the predawn hours of an October day in 2010, Tyler Wicklund followed his former girlfriend into the bathroom of her Kasota apartment.

There he cut her throat with a knife and placed her in the bathtub.

One year later he sat in a Le Sueur County courtroom and heard a judge pronounce punishment: Life in prison for the murder of 20-year-old Jessica Buboltz.

Moments earlier Wicklund, a 24-year-old from Elk River who had been arrested soon after the killing, stood to address the court. His voice cracked as he fought back tears.

“I sit here in my jail cell thinking how in the world I could take someone out of this world that I live in. There’s nothing I can say to tell you how I feel.”

According to court records, Wicklund, Buboltz and others had been drinking at the Kasota apartment complex where Buboltz lived. Wicklund told investigators he and Buboltz went to her apartment about 3:30 a.m.

After discussing their tenuous relationship and having sex, he followed her into the bathroom, slit her throat and fled with the 14-month-old daughter he’d fathered with Buboltz.

He was arrested at his grandmother’s house near Elk River. She had called 911 to report he was suicidal and left her house with a shotgun. She told investigators Wicklund admitted to her that he killed Buboltz.

A grand jury charged him with multiple felony-level crimes, two of which carried maximum penalties of life in prison without parole.

In a September plea agreement, Wicklund pleaded guilty to one first-degree murder count and one felony charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

He received a 60-month sentence for the latter. For the murder plea he was sentenced to life with eligibility for parole in 30 years. He is in the state prison at St. Cloud.

On the day he was sentenced Wicklund, clad in orange jail garb, dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief as he listened to crime-impact statements from Buboltz’s family and friends, who repeatedly touched on themes of anger, depression and the sorrow they felt for a little girl who had lost both parents — one to murder, the other to long atonement in a cell.

“Every day I feel my emotions eating me up inside,” Wicklund told the court. “And they probably will for the rest of my life.”

Atlanta, GA: Man charged with murder in Christmas shooting of girlfriend

An Atlanta man told police he accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend early Christmas morning. Orsley Walker, 69, has been charged with murder, said Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones Sunday.

Police dispatched to the 900 block of Hank Aaron drive just after midnight found the victim, Constance Cox, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the face. She was unresponsive and later pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.

During questioning, Walker told police he was struggling with Cox when his revolver accidentally discharged. He was transported to the Fulton County Jail without incident.

Dover, NH: Woman Accused Of Shooting, Killing Boyfriend On Christmas

Investigators in Dover spent the bulk of their Christmas day looking into a homicide where they said a woman is accused of shooting and killing her boyfriend.
Police said it happened at the couple’s apartment on Knox Marsh Road, near the Dover-Madbury town line.
Sunday night, investigators were still tight-lipped about the case, saying their investigation was in its early stages and was ongoing.
Meantime, 24-year-old Jessica Rivera Padilla of Dover has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.
Her arrest comes after 2:30 a.m. Sunday when Dover Police received a 911 call and were dispatched to an apartment at a residence in the 200 block of Knox Marsh Road.
Officers said they arrived to find Padilla, who they said lives at the apartment, and was the person who called 911.
“When they searched the apartment they found her boyfriend, an adult 25-year-old male, Shaheen Michaels, dead in the apartment from an apparent gunshot wound," said Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin Sunday.
Strelzin is the Chief of the Attorney General’s Homicide Unit.
Investigators said Michaels also lived at the apartment.
They said Padilla shot and killed Michaels and has been charged with manslaughter, but they're not saying why, or what appears to have led to the shooting.
“We do have a working theory of what happened, but because it’s been such a short period of time it’s not something we're prepared to release yet,” said Strelzin.
Investigators spent most of their Sunday searching for evidence and processing the crime scene, as well as interviewing "a variety of different people," trying to learn as much as possible about what happened.
“You know these cases are always difficult for everyone involved. Obviously the holidays don't make it any easier, but certainly everybody who is out there is thinking about the victim's family and how difficult it is for his family on this day, so everyone's keeping that in mind as they work hard on this case," said Strelzin.
We asked whether it appeared the couple had been arguing or fighting.
“Well police are talking to people in the area, but I can tell you that based on the location of this apartment, it’s unlikely that neighbors would have been able to hear anything," said Strelzin.
An autopsy on the victim is set for Monday.
Padilla is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Dover.

Grapevine, TX: Grapevine massacre victim sought divorce from gunman

GRAPEVINE — We're learning more about the Christmas Day massacre in Grapevine that left seven people dead.

Police Monday revealed that the gunman was dressed in a Santa Claus outfit and waited until the presents were opened to kill the victims and then himself.

Neighbors confirmed to News 8 the identities of at least four of the victims in the tragedy.

Grapevine police say it was an apparent murder-suicide that took place right after a Christmas celebration, and say the shooter was wearing a Santa suit when he got out of his Toyota 4-Runner. A neighbor confirms the vehicle belongs to Aziz Yazdanpanah, the alleged shooter, who lived in nearby Colleyville.

"Just a really nice guy, and whenever I saw him with his kids he was all about his kids," said neighbor Terri Baum. "He was the perfect neighbor."

Neighbors said Yazdanpanah and his wife, Fatemeh Rahmadi, separated months ago when she moved into the Grapevine apartment where the shooting took place.

The couple's oldest daughter — 19-year-old Nona Yazdanpanah — was a Tarrant County College student who had just graduated from Colleyville Heritage High School along with her best friend, Allison Baum.

"It was just family issues, just typical family issues," Baum said. "The mom and dad didn't get along. The dad was never violent, never did anything to hurt them. He loved his kids and he was a good dad."

Dozens of friends posted messages of condolence on Nona's Facebook page.

"I've written on her Facebook wall as kind of a memorial thing, but my immediate reaction was to text her — even though I knew she wouldn't answer," Allison Baum said.

At Coldwater Creek Spa in Southlake, employees told News 8 Fatemeh Rahmadi had not shown up for work, causing alarm, because she had never once been late in the four years she worked there. They feared the worst.

Meanwhile, family friends say they will never understand what caused Yazdanpanah to kill his entire family.

"I don't honestly believe that the dad could have done this because he was a good person," Allison Baum said.

The Colleyville home where Aziz Yazdanpanah lived had been foreclosed on more than a year ago.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monroe, MI: Strangled woman once married to suspect in her murder

Nancy Lake was divorced from the man who is accused of strangling her to death earlier this week.
Richard Achauer, 68, of Frenchtown Township is being held without bond in the murder of Ms. Lake, 64, of Monroe. An arraignment hearing was held out of the public’s view Friday afternoon in front of Monroe County Magistrate Kenneth Wassus. It is not known how Mr. Achauer pled to the charge of homicide/open murder.
On Wednesday, Ms. Lake went to her ex-husband’s home in the 1400 block of Meadow Dr. to help care for him. She was one of Mr. Achauer’s multiple caretakers.
@body copy-standard (justified):Preliminary investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office revealed the couple apparently argued over living conditions when the dispute became physical and Ms. Lake was strangled.
Soon after, Mr. Achauer called Monroe County Central Dispatch and requested medical attention at his home.
The couple was married years ago and divorced. Ms. Lake remarried and moved out of the area. Her husband died, and Ms. Lake moved back into Monroe, said Detective Heath Velliquette of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Achauer, who is a retired General Motors worker, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which is a disorder that affects the nervous system.
Detective Velliquette said Mr. Achauer uses a wheelchair but also is able to walk.
“He’s fully capable of walking,” he said, adding that the suspect will sometimes use a cane to assist in walking.

Vancouver, WA: Dog killed after thrown into traffic during couple's argument

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington state police say a woman tossed her boyfriend's dog into traffic on Interstate 205 during an argument. The dog was hit and killed by a car.

Shellie Lynn Hubbard, 45, appeared in court Friday morning to face charges of first-degree animal cruelty, second-degree assault and possession of methamphetamines.

Police said Hubbard and her boyfriend, Darwin Von Schirmer, were driving south on Interstate 205 around 7 p.m. Thursday when they began fighting in his car. She apparently cut his hands with a broken coffee mug handle.

The cut was deep enough that Schirmer pulled over on the shoulder of the freeway near Padden Parkway. That's when police say she picked up his dog and tossed it into traffic.

State troopers said it is the first time they've had to deal with this kind of crime.

"This is just a really, really bad situation," said Trooper Ryan Tanner with Washington State Patrol. "It shocked me just to hear about it. It was one of those things (where) you wonder what's going through somebody's mind there."

State police said the dog tried to make it back to the freeway shoulder before it was hit.

Shortly after that, Hubbard took off on foot. Clark County sheriff's deputies later arrested her two miles away near Fourth Plain Boulevard. Police said she had meth in her pocket and a glass smoking pipe.

Hubbard's bail is $20,000. She's in the Clark County Jail and will be arraigned on Jan. 4.

Schirmer said he rescued the catahoula leopard hound dog named Peanut Butter last year from the side of the freeway.

He said he was breaking up with Hubbard when she flipped out and threw Peanut Butter out into the path of an oncoming car.

He said he was surprised to hear that police said they found meth and a glass smoking pipe on her.

Ypsilanti, MI: Deputies identify couple killed in Thursday murder-suicide

The two Ypsilanti Township residents who were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide Thursday were identified as Tammy Cole and Walter Cole by police Friday.
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derrick Jackson confirmed that Tammy and Walter Cole were found dead in their home at about 3:15 p.m. Thursday in the 800 block of Lamay Street. Jackson said Thursday that investigators believed Walter Cole, 53, had shot Tammy Cole, 47, before turning the gun on himself.
Jackson said a friend of the family had tried to call the couple and wasn’t able to reach them. The friend then drove to the home to check on them and saw that both cars were in the driveway, but no one was answering the door, Jackson said. The friend looked into a window and saw one of them lying on the floor, he said.
The friend and a neighbor broke down the door to the home and discovered the Coles inside, Jackson said. A family member last spoke with the couple at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jackson said.
The investigation into the incident is on going, according to Jackson.
Family members and neighbors approached by at the scene on Thursday declined to comment.

Friday, December 23, 2011

San Jose, CA: Gun find prompts murder charge in San Jose

(12-22) 19:39 PST SAN JOSE -- With the alleged weapon finally in hand, Santa Clara County prosecutors charged a 23-year-old man with the murder of his estranged wife, whose body was found in October in East San Jose.

Marcus Casillas of San Jose, who was already in custody for allegedly violating his probation, was charged Wednesday in the slaying of 29-year-old Valerie Calderon Casillas.

Valerie Casillas - who had three children ages 1, 5, and 6 - was last seen Oct. 2 after family members reported that she reluctantly stepped outside of the home where she was staying to speak with her husband. They had split a month earlier after a year of marriage.

Police arrested Marcus Casillas a day later for a parole violation. On Oct. 5, a road worker found his wife's body in a remote area of East San Jose, near Sierra and Skyview drives.

"We believe that (Marcus Casillas) drove her up to the east foothills and shot and killed her," said San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer. "We believe this is a domestic violence incident, and we believe there was a history of domestic violence."

Police, though, had no weapon. Then, on Dec. 15, officers were conducting routine gang suppression patrols when they saw a man drinking beer as he walked down the street. As police approached, the man took off running, Dwyer said.

Officers followed the man into a house on Inman Way, where he reportedly pulled a gun and tossed it away. Dwyer said another man in the house picked up the gun and aimed it at Officer Lee Tassio, who fired his pistol once. That suspect, Valente Galindo, later died.

Ballistics tests showed that the semiautomatic pistol Galindo aimed at Tassio was the same gun used to kill Valerie Casillas, said Dwyer. He said detectives believe Galindo and Marcus Casillas are connected, but would not provide details.

Jackson, TN: Murder, arson suspect to get requested mental evaluation; fire department changes search procedure

An Arkansas man charged with stabbing a Jackson man to death and setting his house on fire will undergo a mental evaluation before he returns to court.

Randall Edward Secrease, of Harrisburg, Ark., appeared before Judge Blake Anderson in City Court for a preliminary hearing Thursday. Secrease's attorney asked that he be sent for a forensic evaluation, and Anderson agreed.

Jackson police have charged Secrease, 45, in the Dec. 7 slaying of James Blaine Divine III, 36. He was arraigned last Friday on charges of first-degree murder, arson, tampering with evidence and theft of property.

"We cannot set a future court date because we do not yet know when the court will receive the results of the forensic evaluation," Anderson told Divine's family in court.

Attorneys met with the family in private to discuss these developments.

An affidavit said Secrease admitted to striking Divine with a stick, stabbing him in the upper chest, setting his house on fire after dousing it with gasoline and stealing his van, which he took to Memphis and burned.

The affidavit said authorities have concluded Divine was killed while trying to protect Brandy Delgratta, Secrease's girlfriend, after Secrease assaulted her.

Divine was found dead in the bathroom of his partially burned home at 166 Chickering Road in North Jackson.

On Saturday, Divine's mother, Claudia Divine, raised questions about how firefighters searched the house. Although the fire happened Dec. 7, a fire investigator did not find Divine's body until Dec. 12. Claudia Divine said she wanted to know the results of the department's review of its search procedures.

Jackson Fire Chief Max Stewart has said the fire department performed two searches of the house Dec. 7, but that firefighters didn't know there was a body in the house because of the conditions inside.

In a phone interview Thursday, Stewart said the department has finished its internal investigation and established a new standard operating procedure that went into effect Monday.

"From this point on, firefighters will do a preliminary investigation on the day or night of a fire, and will then return the next morning after the sun comes up," he said. "You can't do a proper investigation when a house is still full of smoke and when debris is in the air. The morning after a fire, after 8 a.m., the new crew will go to the scene of a structure fire and do another investigation. The light of day allows you to see what you could not see the night before.

"There were many factors involved in this case," Stewart said. He said there was an attic fire that caused sheetrock to collapse everywhere and that neighbors told firefighters they did not think anybody was in the house. He said mail had not been collected from the mailbox for some time.

Stewart said it is regrettable what happened Dec. 7 and that firefighters extend their deepest sympathies to the family.

— Jordan Buie, 425-9782

Brooklyn, NY: Ex-Girlfriend Arrested In Brutal Brooklyn Stabbing

Police have arrested an ex-girlfriend of a 53-year-old man found brutally stabbed to death on the bathroom floor in his Lefferts Gardens apartment yesterday. The body of Melvin Vargas was found by his building superintendent and his brother Thursday morning. "When they opened the door, we saw everything broken and there was blood on the wall," Sal Vargas told CBS.

Police quickly arrested Esmerilda Morales, who Vargas reportedly broke up with last year, and charged her with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. NYPD says that she can be seen leaving Vargas' building with a box Wednesday night, shortly after he is thought to have been killed. Police have not given a motive for the murder, but witnesses say that an air conditioner "along with several other items from the apartment" had been pushed from the apartment's window "as if there was a fierce struggle."

Friends and family are understandably in shock, "Everybody loved this guy. He was the heart of the family," nephew Vinny Ortiz said. Reportedly when Vargas' mother was told the news she collapsed in grief and had to be hospitalized. She is said to now be doing much better.

Aurora, IL: Aurora murder suspect identified

The 31-year-old live-in boyfriend of Rennee Ann Perry, who was found strangled and stabbed to death in her apartment Wednesday, has been charged in her murder, police announced Thursday evening.

Police apprehended Delbert K. Cooper about 7 p.m. Wednesday at an Aurora hospital where he was being treated for a cut to his finger, according to police.

Police said Cooper called 9-1-1 from a neighboring unit at the Maple Terrace Apartments and told a dispatcher he tried to commit suicide by cutting off one of his fingers, according to police. An ambulance transported Cooper about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to police.

Cooper told officers he was homeless and gave a fictitious name, police said. After receiving treatment for his finger, he was arrested at a second facility where he was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, according to police.

Perry, 21, was found dead in her near east-side apartment about nine hours before the arrest was made.

The apartment's property manager let police into the unit Wednesday morning after Perry's family requested a well-being check. The family had not heard from her since Monday. Responding officers found the 21-year-old mother of two unconscious, not breathing and suffering from apparent stab wounds.

An autopsy performed Thursday morning revealed the cause of death to be strangulation.

Cooper, who has had a history of domestic violence with Perry, has been charged with first-degree murder and concealment of homicidal death, according to authorities.

Police said Cooper was established as a suspect early on in the investigation after they reviewed video from the apartment complex's security system and conducted numerous witness interviews. Investigators originally thought Cooper fled to Chicago, where he has relatives, but a check of his phone records between Monday and the time Perry's body was found revealed that he had been taken to the hospital, police said.

Officers met Perry outside the apartment complex early Tuesday morning when he called 9-1-1 and ran the fictitious name through their records system, which did not show any results, according to police.

Officers recovered a knife that may have been used in the attack from the apartment, police said.

Cooper was also charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle in an unrelated matter, police said.

He is expected to appear in bond court Friday.

Little Rock, AR: Woman, 30, arrested in LR stabbing death

Little Rock authorities have arrested a woman after a man was found stabbed in a residence.
Officers with the Little Rock Police Department responding to an assault call found 42-year-old Willy Peair of Little Rock lying on the floor of the home's bathroom with blood on his face and shirt. Peair was transported to Baptist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Officers took statements from several underage witnesses who were at the house at the time.
Carol Denice Burton, 30, was charged with first-degree murder.
According to a police report, Burton admitted to stabbing Peair, the father of at least one of her five children, in the chest during an argument.
Department of Human Services has taken the children at the home into custody.

Burke County, NC: Elderly woman accused of killing husband

Posted: 3:58 pm EST December 20, 2011
Updated: 5:10 pm EST December 20, 2011

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. -- An elderly woman was charged with homicide after investigators say she shot and killed her 88-year-old husband.

Burke County sheriff’s deputies said Janey Brittain, 85, called 911 on Tuesday after the shooting, which happened at the couple’s home near Connnelly Springs.

“I have killed someone. Please send someone to my house,” the caller said to Burke County 911.

In a recording, you can hear the caller, who deputies said was Janey Brittain, tell the 911 operator more than once she killed her husband.

“What do you mean you killed somebody? What happened?” the operator asked.

“I mean I killed somebody,” she replied.

“Tell me what happened, ma’am,” the operator said.

“I just shot him,” she said.

Sheriff’s deputies said they had been to the home 24 hours earlier for a domestic abuse call.

“She had alleged that there had been some domestic violence. Not physical -- more mental,” Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said.

Deputies said they spent three hours with Janey Brittain but did not find any signs of physical abuse. As a precaution, they took her to a domestic violence shelter in Morganton but she left and returned home on Monday night.

Deputies said they found her husband dead on the floor in their bedroom.

“It’s very difficult because the holiday season and you see a husband dead and wife in custody,” Whisenant said. “(It’s) very sad all the way around.”

Brittain is scheduled to appear before a judge on Wednesday in Morganton.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gladstone, OR: Police fire sergeant linked to Gladstone killing

A Gladstone police sergeant accused of paying a woman to kill his estranged wife has been fired.

Lynn Benton had been on administrative leave since the shooting death of Debbie Higbee-Benton in May.

Officers say they began investigating two "serious allegations" against Benton four months ago, but the accusations were not related to the murder investigation.

Benton has not been arrested in Higbee-Benton's death, though a detective testified earlier this month that Benton was behind the plan to kill his wife and offered a woman named Susan Campbell $2,000 to carry out the killing at Higbee-Benton's salon.

Detectives also said calls were placed between Benton and Campbell every day before the murder, the day of the murder and after.

Neighbors previously told FOX 12 that Campbell had provided hospice-type care for Benton's relatives. Earlier in the investigation, police described Campbell and Higbee-Benton as acquaintances, but didn't elaborate.

Benton hired an attorney in June after police searched her sister's Troutdale home. Officers didn't provide details about what, if anything, they found.

Benton was born a woman but, after an on-going gender reassignment process, is living as a man.

Benton and Higbee-Benton were partners for several years but became estranged last spring.

Holland Township, MI: Holland Township man sentenced to state prison for wife’s death

Holland Township —
On Thursday morning, as his stepfather was shipped from the Ottawa County Jail to state prison in Jackson, Joe Mattson said he felt only pain at the close of a year that has torn his family apart.

Mattson’s mother, Lola Slagh, is dead, a victim of domestic violence, and Dennis Slagh will spend anywhere from two to 15 years behind bars for his role in her death.

“She was, like, my family. I’m her only child,” said Mattson, who grew up in Michigan but moved to Los Angeles several years ago to pursue a writing career.

An Ottawa County jury in early November found Dennis Slagh, 57, guilty of involuntary manslaughter following a May 27 assault. Circuit Court Judge Edward Post delivered the prison sentence this week.

Slagh originally was jailed on a charge of domestic violence shortly after the assault that led to his wife’s death a week later. More than two months passed before prosecutors amended the charge to homicide, so the case never got much attention.

According to Ottawa County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Bennett, deputies responded to the couple’s Holland Township home after a 911 call came from Dennis Slagh at 8:44 p.m. on May 27 — the start of Memorial Day weekend — indicating his wife was lying unresponsive on the floor.

Medical workers provided first aid and transported Lola Slagh, 57, to Holland Hospital for treatment. She was transferred to Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids shortly after and remained on life support for seven days before her death on June 3, court records show.

According to Bennett, Dennis Slagh provided several varying accounts of what happened that day. Authorities ultimately ruled his wife died after he pushed her and she fell, hitting her head hard against the linoleum floor in the couple’s kitchen.

Slagh returned home from work sometime between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. that day and an argument developed between the two over Lola Slagh’s drinking habits, Bennett said.

She fell to the ground after the shove and then sat up, even talking with Dennis Slagh, he told police.

Dennis Slagh then went to a Family Fare store to pick up groceries — as evidenced by video surveillance footage — and returned an hour or so after to find his wife tending to household chores, he said.

Later, Lola Slagh sat down again on the floor and began to lose consciousness. Some time passed before her husband alerted authorities, just before 9 p.m., of his wife’s condition.

Testimony by forensic pathologist Dr. Stephen Cohle fit with Dennis Slagh’s account.

Cohle said the Holland Township woman suffered from brain hemorrhaging, which resulted in a gradual loss of her abilities.

He performed an autopsy shortly after her death and found about 3 1/2 ounces of blood pooled on her brain. Bruises covered her body, he testified.

Cohle ruled her death the result of cranial cerebral trauma, or a closed head injury. The manner of death, he determined, was homicide.

“By technical definition, this is a homicide, but it rolled out a little different because she lived for a week or a little more after the event,” Bennett said. “We did treat it during the investigation as we would a serious assault or homicide.”

According to Bennett, records show Lola Slagh called 911 “several times” in recent years reporting assaults, but each time, she recanted her worries after deputies arrived, as is often the case in instances of domestic abuse, he said.

Slagh’s son, Mattson, said he received a call from his mother about two weeks before that May 27 day. She shared worries about injuries she suffered in an assault, he said, but minutes later called back to tell him everything was OK.

He made plans to travel to Michigan in early June from his home in California, after graduating college there.

He arrived a day after the graduation to find her hooked up to machines in a hospital bed.

Dennis Slagh bonded out of jail on a domestic violence charge that week and remained free until his trial in November. Prosecutors amended that charge Aug. 5 to involuntary manslaughter.

According to Assistant Ottawa County Prosecutor Craig Bunce, the two-year minimum sentence is on the highest side of the sentencing guidelines, given Dennis Slagh has no criminal history in Ottawa County.

Prosecutors faced an added complication because toxicology reports found Lola Slagh’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the assault to be 0.328 percent, four times the legal definition of intoxication.

She had struggled with alcoholism for years, her son said.

“Proving cases of domestic violence can be very difficult because oftentimes it’s just the suspect and the victim present,” Bunce said. “They are very tough cases.”

Mattson said he has lost his job in California because of months spent in Michigan sorting through his mother’s death. He suffers from “panic attacks” now and nightmares about his mother’s life, he said.

Though the two talked on the phone weekly, he said, she mentioned nothing wrong up until May. He wishes he had known sooner, and says he’ll forever live with that guilt.

“Nothing is going to bring my mom back,” he said. “My life has been forever altered by it.”