Monday, January 31, 2011

Medford, MA: Medford woman accused of killing husband

By Colneth Smiley Jr.
Monday, January 31, 2011

A Medford woman has been arrested for an alleged domestic dispute turned fatal after authorities say she stabbed her husband to death last night.

According to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, Shawntina Burston, 39, of Medford, was arrested at 108 Exchange Avenue around 10:45 p.m. The suspect’s husband, Troy Burston, 34, was suffering from an apparent stab wound, authorities said.

Burston was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead, authorities added.

“This is another troubling incident of domestic violence turned fatal,” said Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone. “We allege that the victim was fatally stabbed by his wife during an argument, sadly leaving two young children behind.”

An investigation is ongoing.

Olive Branch, MS: Olive Branch Man Charged With Girlfriend's Murder

Natasha Chen

8:21 PM CST, January 30, 2011


32-year-old Jelani Greene is charged with murdering his girlfriend.
Her body was discovered in their home.
Neighbors first alerted police because Greene was walking naked in the neighborhood.
Twitter - natashanews3
(Olive Branch, MS 1/30/11) - A 33-year-old woman was found dead Saturday morning in the home she shares with her boyfriend in Olive Branch.

Police were initially called to the 10600 block of Pecan View Drive at around 8:45 Saturday morning, when neighbors spotted Jelani Greene walking completely naked in the street.

Mary Walls, who lives across the street, was one of the neighbors who saw Greene and called the police.

"He was just walking down the street. And me and some other neighbors called the police. And when they pulled into the subdivision over there, he just laid down in front of the cop car. That was kind of shocking to see him lay down right in front of the cop car," she said.

Officers took Greene back to his home. Upon arrival, they found 33-year-old China Lashella Jones dead inside.

"Everything was fine until yesterday. We didn't know exactly what was going on until the police showed up. That's when we found out she was dead," Walls said.

Walls knows Jones's sister, who owns the home the couple lived in. Walls also said her son and Jones's son often play together.

A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Greene is being held at the DeSoto County Jail on a $1,111,111 bond.

Wilkes County, NC: Witness Sought in Fatal Shooting

Written by Steve Frank
Monday, 31 January 2011 06:21 AM

Wilkes County Authorities are looking for a witness to a shooting that killed a man shortly after noon Friday at a store on Champion-Mount Pleasant Road in Ferguson. Wilkes Sheriff Chris Shew said Melissa Hartley, 37, Wilkesboro, fatally shot James Phillip Church Jr., also 37, of Beaver Creek Road, Boomer, that as Church reportedly tried to grab money from the register of Yadkin River Grocery and Hardware store where Hartley was working. Shew said Ms. Hartley told investigators that Church entered the store and was attempting to get money from the cash register when Ms. Hartley shot Church after he grabbed her as she tried to stop him. The matter is more complicated according to Sheriff Shew as Ms. Hartley and Church had a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship until they broke up a few days earlier. Ms. Hartley has not been charged in the case. The sheriff said investigators are trying to find a white male who apparently was in the store when the shooting occurred, a man witnesses described as being in his 60s and about 5’4” to 5’7” tall. Ms. Hartley said she left the store after the shooting and that this man was gone when she returned. Shew said, “We need this man to come forward.”
Shew said authorities were told Church was in a vehicle driven by someone else when he was dropped off at the store. The initial call was an armed robbery involving a shooting at 12:07 p.m. Friday.

Lake City, PA: NW Pa. coroner says girlfriend strangled, cut

Monday January 31, 2011 07:31 AM

The Erie County Coroner says a woman allegedly killed by her live-in boyfriend died of strangulation and a stab wound to her neck, making the case the northwestern Pennsylvania county's first homicide of 2011.

Twenty-four-year-old Anthony Hales, of Lake City, remained jailed Monday. He was arrested about 11 p.m. Friday in and charged with criminal homicide and other charges in the death of 47-year-old Christina Hulsinger..

State police say a kitchen knife with a 10-inch blade was found near the body and was believed to be used in the attack. Police say Hales told them he decided to kill Hulsinger after they two smoked crack cocaine together. He's also charged with theft because police say Hales also stole $300 using Hulsinger's debit card in order to buy more drugs.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Hales, who faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 8.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

French Valley, CA: Ca. man pleads not guilty to strangling girlfriend

Posted: 01/29/2011 06:53:09 PM PST
Updated: 01/29/2011 06:53:09 PM PST

FRENCH VALLEY, Calif.—A registered sex offender charged with strangling his girlfriend and driving to a Southern California sheriff's station with her body in his trunk has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Thirty-year-old Jason Richard Budrow entered the plea in a Riverside County court on Friday.
Budrow is charged with murder and a special circumstance of lying in wait, making him eligible for the death penalty.
Authorities say Budrow appeared at the Lake Elsinore sheriff's station on Oct. 22 with the body of the woman he had been dating—48-year-old Margret Dalton of Perris—in the trunk.
In a jailhouse interview with the Riverside Press-Enterprise shortly after his arrest, Budrow said he had to kill Dalton because he feared she was a police informant.
He is being held without bail.

Wilkes-Barre, PA: One dead in Wilkes-Barre, police hunt for accused murderer


WILKES-BARRE - City police are seeking 32-year-old Evaristo Tapia of Parrish Street on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault and burglary in the death of Evaristo Tlatenchi, 40, and the wounding of his girlfriend, Maria Tapia, 30, Mr. Tapia's ex-wife.

Mr. Tlatenchi, of Wilkes-Barre, was killed Saturday morning at his 245 Dana St. home - allegedly by a man authorities believe formerly worked for his contracting company.

"I think it appears to be a classic motive of jealousy and perhaps a love triangle, with an ex-husband, and his ex-wife is dating someone else currently," Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll said.

Mr. Tlatenchi was pronounced dead at his home Saturday morning from multiple stab wounds to the chest and back. Ms. Musto Carroll said an autopsy is scheduled to be performed this morning by Dr. Gary Ross at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Ms. Tapia was in stable but serious condition at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Twp. on Saturday evening after surgery for knife wounds in her back and arm, Ms. Musto Carroll said. She said Ms. Tapia named her ex-husband as the suspect.

"She helped us, cooperated, and as a result, we are going to have this arrest warrant issued," Ms. Musto Carroll said.

Police were called to Mr. Tlatenchi's house at 5:15 a.m. by Ms. Tapia. When they arrived, they found Mr. Tlatenchi in a second-floor bedroom with obvious stab wounds to his chest and back, Ms. Musto Carroll said.

Ms. Tapia told investigators her ex-husband had called her Friday afternoon and asked to have the children stay over that evening. Mr. Tapia's brother, George, picked them up, since Ms. Tapia had filed a protection-from-abuse order against her former spouse.

Ms. Tapia went dancing at Bentley's nightclub in Ashley with Mr. Tlatenchi. They left around closing time, stopped at Walmart in Wilkes-Barre Twp., went to Mr. Tlatenchi's house around 3 or 4 a.m. and went directly to bed.

Ms. Tapia told police she was awakened by screaming and cursing and saw her ex-husband fighting with her boyfriend in the doorway of the bedroom. She said she saw Mr. Tapia stabbing Mr. Tlatenchi with an open fold-up knife. She yelled at him to stop and calm down. Mr. Tlatenchi fell on the floor, and Ms. Tapia told police she tried to pull her ex-husband off him, but Mr. Tapia cut her on her right forearm and stabbed her in the back.

Mr. Tapia then closed the knife, pocketed it and ran downstairs and out the front door, police said. Ms. Tapia immediately locked the door, and when she ran back upstairs she found Mr. Tlatenchi lying in a pool of blood and having a hard time breathing.

Authorities say Mr. Tapia was once an employee of Mr. Tlatenchi's.

Law enforcement authorities are asking the public for help in locating Mr. Tapia. He's considered dangerous. Wilkes-Barre police may be reached at 208-4200.

Contact the writers:,

Oakland, CA: Oakland Police shoot, kill man in Rockridge

January 29, 2011 | 4:07 PM | By Ali Winston

An Oakland Police officer directs pedestrians away from the scene of an officer-involved shooting In Rockridge on January 29, 2011.
Oakland police shot and killed a disgruntled boyfriend in Rockridge Saturday morning after the man allegedly threatened his girlfriend and officers with a knife and a replica assault rifle. Around 9:35 AM, 911 dispatchers received frantic calls of a man dressed in camouflage and armed with a knife and a rifle in the 5500 block of Taft Avenue.

According to police, at one point the man stood outside his former girlfriend’s home and demanded she come outside. The man apparently threatened to shoot his girlfriend. Neighbors reported seeing the man jump a fence into the property when officers showed up on the scene. Her relatives ran outside, and officers could hear the woman inside screaming for help.

A neighbor who requested not to be identified said he and his family were lying on their kitchen floor after seeing officers approach the house with assault rifles. They were on the ground when they heard five to seven shots.

OPD claims the man was shot after he pointed what appeared to be an assault rifle at officers. It was later determined that the weapon was a replica gun. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The identity of the dead man has not been released. The three officers involved in the shooting have not yet been identified by OPD. They have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting. The incident is being investigated by OPD’s Homicide and Internal Affairs units, as well as by the Alameda District Attorney.

Saturday morning’s shooting was the third officer-involved shooting in Oakland within a week. Last Saturday, 20-year-old Raheim Brown was shot and killed by an Oakland schools police officer outside Skyline High’s winter ball in the Oakland Hills: police say Brown tried to stab the officer with a screwdriver.

On Thursday, OPD officers shot and killed 19-year-old Martin Flenaugh after a drive-by shooting and high-speed chase that roiled East Oakland. Flenaugh reportedly had two guns in his hands when he was shot and killed by police.

None of the officers in this week’s shootings have been identified.


Irmo, SC: Irmo man charged with murder in wife's death

The Associated Press
IRMO, S.C. — Police in Irmo have charged a 38-year-old man with murder in the death of his estranged wife.

Police Chief Brian Buck said 37-year-old Stacy Edward Wade was charged Saturday after officers found the body of 25-year-old Charnel Redden at a construction site.
Redden had been last seen Jan. 24 at Wade's house in Irmo. Buck says police think Wade killed her that night during a fight and took her body to the construction site.

Redden's family reported her missing when she didn't return their phone calls.

Wade was listed Saturday afternoon as an inmate in the Lexington County jail. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carson, CA: Film documents life of Carson woman imprisoned for murder of abusive boyfriend

By Erin Richards Staff Writer
Posted: 01/28/2011 07:47:50 PM PST

Carson council disputes D.A.'s claims that mute button hindered free speech
In a small green house in a quiet Carson neighborhood, Deborah Peagler lived out the last few months of her life.

Before that, she spent more than 26 years in prison for the murder of her abusive boyfriend.

And now, seven months after her death in June, Peagler is the star of a new documentary that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this week to much critical acclaim and widespread support.

"Crime After Crime" follows her controversial case. Peagler spent more than two decades in prison for luring her boyfriend, Oliver Wilson, to a park in Lawndale, where two men beat and strangled him.

In prison, Peagler dedicated herself to others: She taught illiterate inmates how to read, became choir director

Angela Harris sits in her sister Deborah Peagler's room, which is exactly as how she left it. Peagler died recently from lung cancer, but her life story is the subject of a documentary film at Sundance film festival that is receiving acclaim. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)
and earned two associate college degrees.
"She touched so many people's lives," Harris said. "On a daily basis, I get people calling and sending cards and stopping by to tell me how much she meant to them. Once you met her, she was like a light bulb, you could never forget her."

Sitting in her sister's old room, Harris pulled out a frayed red box, full of mementos, decorations and pictures given to her sister. Reading a birthday card that Peagler gave her last year brought tears to her eyes.

"I can never get closure," Harris said softly. "But I know that she wanted her story told so that it could help other women get help."

At the time of her 1983 conviction, it was not known that Wilson had repeatedly


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beaten Peagler, forced her into prostitution and molested her young daughter. In 2002, California passed a law that allowed for the reopening of cases of incarcerated women who suffered abuse.
In 2009, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Peagler was freed on a compassionate release. She spent her last nine months with her younger sister, Angela Harris, in Carson.

When released, Peagler spent her time helping other abuse victims and visiting women's shelters.

"She did

Deborah Peagler sings in the choir.
so many speaking events, going to battered women's shelters and speaking to at-risk women," Harris said. "She always looked so happy no one could ever tell she was even sick."
Harris said the documentary takes a very true look at her sister's life, including her time before and after her incarceration.

Yoav Potash, the film's director, felt strongly about portraying Peagler's achievements in prison as well as her appeals case.

"What impressed me was that she was able to reveal her past and all the pain of her circumstances in a way that was honest," Potash said. "She really blossomed during her incarceration and in the present was making the most of her life behind bars."

The film also raised some eyebrows

Angela Harris has a photo of her sister Deborah Peagler on her cell phone taken the day she was released from prison; the first thing she wanted to do was go to the beach. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)
at how Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley handled the case.
According to Peagler's appeal lawyers and public documents, Cooley's office filed a memo that admitted a key witness lied on the stand. Additionally, Cooley supported a decision to offer Peagler a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, which would have resulted in her release.

Cooley later changed his mind and filed papers in 2006 to keep her in prison.

"Steve Cooley was supposed to be a good guy. He had just written a deal to set her free, and then flip-flopped," Potash said. "I never set out to make him a villain or a bad guy. He himself decided to change his own stance and has still not admitted to a mistake. I can't see how someone can do that."

Cooley's office still insists it did everything it could to pursue justice.

"Deborah Peagler intentionally orchestrated the murder-for-hire of her estranged boyfriend," said Cooley's spokeswoman, Sandi Gibbons. "She lured him to the spot where he was killed. She witnessed the murder and drove the killers away. She profited by receiving money from the victim's insurance. Her claims have been discredited over and over again."

"Crime After Crime" also highlights the plight of abuse victims. Potash hopes it will help other women in similar situations.

Harris agrees, knowing that her sister's passion was helping other victims avoid a fate like hers.

"That was her main point, she wanted to make sure that no other woman went through what she did," Harris said. "She felt that if her story got one other woman out of prison, then it was worth it."

Find out more

To learn more about "Crime After Crime," visit

Reno, NV: Woman Sentenced For Killing Boyfriend With Screw Driver

A Hutchinson woman is sentenced to ten years in prison for killing stabbing her boyfriend to death with a screw driver.
Reporter: KAKE News
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Valerie Gonzales admits to using a screw driver to stab her boyfriend, 67-year-old Eugene Lewis, to death. Friday, a Reno County Judge sentenced her to ten years in prison as part of a plea agreement. Gonzales has pleaded 'no contest' to second degree reckless murder.

Hutchinson Police found Lewis' body in a used car lot in January 2007.

"When the defendant agreed to accept responsibility for the death of Eugene Lewis and take a sentence that's a decade in jail, we agreed to follow that. It's in the interest of justice, and that's what we did," said Senior Assistant Reno County District Attorney Stephen Maxwell.

Gonzales claims she believed Lewis was molesting her grandchildren the night she killed him, which is why she stabbed him to death. Investigators say Lewis wasn't guilty of the accusations, but both parties still brought that fact before the Judge as he determined Gonzales' sentence.

"Although it's not an excuse for murder, it is one factor to consider when you determine someone's sentence," said Maxwell.

"That's no excuse, but these are the facts and circumstances that surrounded this event," said Gonzales' Attorney, Alice Osburn.

Other circumstances include alleged drug and alcohol use by everyone involved the night of the murder.

"Her judgment was affected by abuse of alcohol and drugs that night," said Osburn.

Prosecutors say they're also happy to finally nail down a sentence, as a critical witness in the case is still missing after fleeing to Mexico months after the killing. The case was dismissed in 2007 when it was discovered that the witness was gone, before prosecutors decided to file the charges again.

"We had a lot of difficulty in prosecuting this case, and the state is satisfied that justice was done that the defendant is now in prison for a decade, and that she is paying the price for killing Mr. Lewis," said Maxwell.

Gonzales will receive credit for the time she has already served in prison, meaning she is only sentenced to serve about eight more years behind bars.


A Hutchinson woman has been sentenced to ten years in prison in the death of her boyfriend. A Reno County judge sentenced Valerie Gonzales this morning.

Gonzales pleaded no contest to second degree murder in the January, 2007 death of Eugene Lewis. Investigators said Gonzales stabbed Lewis several times with a screwdriver, then left his body at a used car lot.

Prosecutors asked for the 10-year sentence. With the time she's already served, Gonzales faces another eight years in prison.

Trenton, NJ: 4 indicted in woman’s 2005 killing

Published: Friday, January 28, 2011, 10:59 PM Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011, 11:01 PM
By Lisa Coryell/The Times
TRENTON — Nearly six years after Kendra DeGrasse was killed execution style, allegedly for testifying against her ex-boyfriend in a gang trial, four men have been indicted for her murder, prosecutors announced yesterday.
Anthony Kidd, 38, who allegedly ordered the hit on his ex-girlfriend from behind bars, and his cousin, Darrell Scott, 40, who allegedly was paid to pull the trigger, face life in prison without parole if convicted.
The men are the first in Mercer County to be prosecuted for aggravated murder, a charge that carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole. It was created when New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007.

The charge covers the most heinous crimes, including elimination of a witness and murder for hire.
DeGrasse, a mother of two, was killed in March 2005 not only because her testimony 20 months earlier had helped put Kidd behind bars for shooting a cop, but to eliminate her as a witness if his case were overturned on appeal and he was retried.
“This case cries out to be prosecuted,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini. “Whenever you have witnesses who are being taken out for their testimony, the people who perpetrate these crimes need to be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Also indicted in DeGrasse’s murder were Henry Kidd, 40, and Antonio Merritt, 31. Merritt supplied the gun Scott used to kill DeGrasse, prosecutors said. Both men were indicted on weapons offenses.
Henry Kidd allegedly helped hatch the plot to kill his younger brother’s ex-girlfriend.
“Here you have a mother of two children who was senselessly taken,” Bocchini said. “Her children will be deprived of growing up knowing their mother.”
Prosecutors say Anthony Kidd, while incarcerated at Northern State Prison in Newark in 2005, used a smuggled cell phone to place calls to his brother and Scott to orchestrate DeGrasse’s murder.
Scott traveled from Alabama to the Trenton area in March 2005 for the sole purpose of killing DeGrasse, prosecutors said. In addition to giving Scott the order to kill DeGrasse, Anthony Kidd used the cell phone to call DeGrasse and lure her to the location of the hit, prosecutors said.
DeGrasse was shot three times in the head as she sat in her car on White Street near Passaic Street waiting to meet with Scott, who she believed was coming to give her money to deliver to Kidd in prison.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Lew Korngut, who presented the case to a grand jury this week, detectives used the locations of the cell phone towers that transmitted Scott’s phone calls to track his journey from Alabama, up Interstate 95, into Trenton and finally to the block where DeGrasse was shot. Cell tower “hits” then show Scott traveled back to Alabama the day after the murder, Korngut said.
At the time of the shooting, Anthony Kidd was serving a 35-year sentence for attempted murder on a police officer in a 2001 shooting. At the time of his trial, Kidd had threatened to kill DeGrasse if she testified against him. Intimidated, DeGrasse took the stand and recanted what she had told police in 2001 — that Kidd had arrived at her apartment and told her he had been in a shootout and crashed his car. But it was too late. DeGrasse’s statement to police was enough to help persuade jurors that Kidd was guilty.
In explaining the aggravated murder charges against Anthony Kidd and Scott, Korngut said crimes against witnesses shake the criminal justice system to its core.
“The whole system breaks down if witnesses are not willing to come forward and cooperate,” Korngut said.
In addition to murder and conspiracy charges, the four men were also indicted on charges of felony murder, robbery, retaliation against a witness and hindering apprehension and prosecution.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ridgeland, MS: Two dead in domestic murder-suicide in Ridgeland office parking lot

RIDGELAND - A Pearl man shot his estranged wife and then turned a high-powered rifle on himself in the parking lot of her workplace Friday morning, the authorities said. The woman died about three hours later at a Jackson hospital.The gunman was identified as Billy Willard, 52, of Pearl who shot his wife, Stefanie Willard, 44, also of Pearl in a murder-suicide, said Lt. John Neal of the Ridgeland Police Department.Billy Willard was pronounced dead at the scene in the shooting just before noon, Neal said.Stefanie Willard was transported to University Medical Center by ambulance where she was pronounced dead Friday afternoon.The incident stemmed from a dispute, Neal said.The shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Exam One office at 996 Northpark Drive in Ridgeland.Billy Willard arrived at his estranged wife's office about 11:30 a.m., according to the initial investigation.Upon seeing him in the parking lot, Stefanie Willard went to meet her husband.Billy Willard produced a high-powered rifle and fired multiple rounds at her and she was struck several times, though the exact number of times remains unknown, police said.Billy Willard turned the rifle on himself and fired a single round.

Oceanside, CA: O'side husband gets 20 years in love triangle slaying

THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2011 AT 4:32 P.M.

VISTA — An Oceanside man who killed his wife in 2008 over an apparent love triangle was sentenced in Vista Superior Court Thursday to 20 years in prison.

Jose Luis Orozco, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and several other charges in the stabbing death of Beatrice Orozco, 24.

Authorities said the woman had apparently been having an affair with another man and had spoken to him on the phone hours before the June 24, 2008, slaying.

The boyfriend showed up at the home on Alabar Way about 1 a.m. and called 911 to report an assault in progress, Oceanside police said.

Officers who entered through a sliding-glass door found her body on the kitchen floor. She had been stabbed 56 times with various weapons, including knives and a cleaver, said Deputy District Attorney Marnie McGee.

Jose Orozco was found injured near his wife. Their 3-year-old son was also nearby, unharmed, police said. • (619) 542-4591 • Twitter @kristinadavis

Carlsbad, NM: Husband's Dead Body Found in Freezer for a Decade in Barbara Sharpe's Bedroom!

January 27, 2011 04:35 PM EST

Barbara Sharpe allegedly hid her husband’s dead body in a freezer in her Texas home. The decomposing body of her husband was found by the woman’s daughter and son-in-law as they were cleaning out their deceased mother’s home in Carlsbad.

The dead body of James Sharpe was located at 7:50 pm on Monday in a chest-type freezer in the woman’s bedroom. The shocked couple loaded up the remains of Sharpe into the back of their pickup truck and drove the dead body and the freezer to the Carlsbad Police Department.

Sharpe had been suffering from a terminal health condition, when he went missing back in 1997. It is being assumed that the husband died at the time he went missing. In November of 2010, Barbara Sharpe, 63, died from health complications.

Even more bizarre, Barbara Sharpe changed her name to Barbara Campbell after she assumed the last name of a boyfriend that she had been seeing for a few years after her husband’s death.

Wouldn’t Mr. Campbell have been freaked out to learn his girlfriend was keeping a dead body in the freezer in her bedroom? It would be even more weird to find out the dead body was her decomposing husband. Police say that Mr. Campbell did not know about the decomposing body in the freezer. Creepy!

Captain Zuniga of the Carlsbad Police Deparment stated, “Barbara had mentioned to a health care worker prior to her death that she had stored her late husband in a freezer. The health care worker dismissed the statement due to Barbara Sharpe's grave condition.”

So, the health care worker ignored the wife’s statement, because she was dying. Why wouldn’t she call police to have them check out the alleged dead body in the freezer? At this time, the health care worker is the only one that had prior knowledge about the husband’s dead body in the freezer.

At this time, it is speculation that the decomposing body in the freezer was that of James Sharpe. The ECSO Special Investigations Unit will continue to investigate and discover the “official identity of the decedent as well as the cause and manner of death.”

Even if they do find out that Sharpe’s wife killed him, she is dead and can serve no time. Can you imagine being the daughter who found your dad dead in a freezer? She must have been traumatized.

© Bella Rose 2011

Van Buren County, MI: Suspect arrested in Van Buren County death investigation

What started as a search for a missing Hartford woman has turned into a death investigation of two bodies and landed a Van Buren County man behind bars.

Police confirm they've found the body of Amy Henslee, 30, along with the body of another woman.

Henslee was last seen on Monday. Police began a thorough search for the mother of two after her husband reported her missing.

During their search, two bodies were found buried at a Bangor Township home on County Road 687. Police say Junior Lee Beebe, 34, lives at that home. Beebe is the cousin of Amy's husband, James.

Police say along with the Henslee's body, the body of Tonya Howarth was found. Howarth is said to be the girlfriend of Beebe.

Both bodies were buried and had to be unearthed by investigators. Officials say Henslee and Howarth died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police say Henslee left her home voluntarily with Beebe Monday morning. It's believed Henslee and Howarth died shortly after that. There were no missing persons reported filed for Howarth.

Beebe was arrested Thursday night in connection with the killings. He faces two counts of open murder and two counts of possession of a firearm. He is expected to be formally charged and arraigned sometime Friday.

Police say at this time the motive is unknown, but they believe Beebe acted alone and there are no other bodies. Beebe does have a criminal record, although police would not elaborate.

To read all the previously reported stories on this case, click on the links below.

Chimayo, NM: Looking Back at the Chimayó Massacre

20 years later, officers, Chimayó residents reflect on infamous Abeyta killings
By Lou Mattei
SUN News Editor

Thursday, January 27, 2011 10:06 AM MST
Exactly 20 years ago Wednesday (1/26), Chimayó witnessed one of the deadliest days in modern Rio Arriba County history when then-29-year-old Ricky Abeyta shot and killed seven people, including two law enforcement officers and a 5-month-old baby.

The passing of two decades has done little to dim the memory, or the significance, of that day for many of those involved.

Court records and previous SUN reports tell the following story of the killings:

On Jan. 26, 1991, Abeyta’s girlfriend Ignacita Vasquez Sandoval and several of her relatives went to the Chimayó trailer that she and Abeyta had once shared and began moving her things into a U-Haul trailer and three vehicles parked outside. Abeyta arrived and shot his girlfriend in the head while she was kneeling, as if in prayer, then shot her son Eloy Sandoval, who survived.

Meanwhile, Ignacita’s daughter, Maryellen, grabbed her 5-month-old baby and tried to flee. Both were found shot dead, as was Ignacita’s sister, Cheryl Rendon.

Macario “Mickey” Gonzales, Maryellen’s boyfriend and the father of the 5-month-old, had been dropping off a load of Ignacita’s belongings in the U-Haul. He was found in the truck shot in the spine.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputy Jerry Martinez arrived at the Abeyta home at about 4:30 p.m. to try to serve a restraining order on Abeyta that Ignacita Sandoval had filed just three days earlier. Abeyta shot him twice in the head.

State Police officer Glen Huber, nearby on an unrelated stolen vehicle case, heard the gunfire and drove to the trailer. He was found shot in the head still seated in his police car with one leg out the door.

State Police Sgt. Chris Valdez, then a patrolman who had been on the force for about two years, said he was finishing up a shift when he got a call of shots fired in Chimayó. Valdez said he’d transferred to the State Police office in Española from the office in Dulce just two or three weeks earlier.

“I got the call, and I knew Jerry (Martinez) and Glen (Huber) were out there, but I had no idea they’d been shot,” Valdez said. “I showed up there and this kid (Eloy Sandoval) came running toward me with a gunshot wound in his chest. I grabbed a sleeping bag I had in my car and wrapped him up. He was freezing cold.”

Valdez said Eloy Sandoval told him the two officers had been shot.

“The first thing I see was this young kid with his chest bleeding,” Valdez said. “It was sort of like chaos. I was calling to Glen (Huber) to tell me where to go, and we didn’t know if Ricky (Abeyta) was still in the house.”

County Magistrate Court Judge Joe Madrid, then a State Police officer, said he, like Valdez, was basically at the end of his shift that day before the shootings. He said State Police got a call from Martinez to assist in the stolen vehicle report. Madrid said he, Huber and another officer responded to the call, then Huber asked Madrid if he would be OK on his own, so that Huber could go check on Martinez, who had left to serve papers on Ricky Abeyta. Madrid said that was fine and said he didn’t know anything was wrong until he heard Valdez’s cruiser zoom by.

“That’s the last time I saw (Huber) alive,” Madrid said. “It was a rough deal, bro. It was awful.”

For nearly 24 hours, as many as 60 police officers searched the area for Abeyta, who turned himself in at the State Police office in Albuquerque around 10 p.m. the following day, according to previous SUN reports.

Valdez said he’s still haunted by the sight of the dead 5-month-old, who was found shot through the head underneath a Chevrolet truck.

“They prepare you in the (state Law Enforcement Training) Academy to see one of your own dead,” Valdez said. “They tell you, ‘You’re going to see a New Mexico State Police officer dead,’ and so you learn to deal with that. But not a 5-month-old baby.”

For Valdez, the massacre remains an important reminder of the extremes to which domestic violence incidents can build.

“Domestic violence escalates,” Valdez said. “Studies show that once violence happens in a relationship, it just escalates and gets worse, and it becomes a vicious cycle, especially when kids are involved. This senseless killing was brought on by domestic violence.”

State Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Española), who at that time was the magistrate judge who arraigned Abeyta and his two sisters when they initially faced charges related to the massacre, also pointed to domestic violence as the root cause.

“These are the types of situations that arise from domestic violence, the types of situations that happen when people get to arguing over petty things such as furniture and personal effects,” Richard Martinez said. “It’s just unfortunate. Somebody just loses it, and it becomes a big old tragedy.”

Valdez said there’s little in police policy or procedure that could have changed to prevent the officers’ deaths.

“They were both ambushed,” Valdez said. “That happens every day, officers are in volatile situations. Statistics show officers are killed more often at a domestic violence call. The parties are already angry by the time they show up.”

Madrid, who is also the godfather of Huber’s daughter, said he learned an existential lesson from the harrowing event.

“The lesson I learned most was after you go to work, it’s like a basketball player — you better have the right mentality and have your game face on because there’s a chance you might not come home,” Madrid said.

In the wake of the Jan. 8 Tuscon, Ariz., shooting that claimed eight lives and wounded 14, the killings remain for some a disturbing reminder of man’s capacity for violence.

“I hadn’t thought about it in a while until that happened in Tuscon a couple of weeks ago,” said Robert Ortega, owner of Ortega’s Weaving in Chimayó.

Ortega said what he remembers most is watching police flood the quiet town.

“I was standing right here watching all the cop cars go by,” Ortega said standing in his store. “I’m used to the silver Santa Fe (County Sheriff’s Department) cars, the gold Rio Arriba (County Sheriff’s Department) cars, and the black and white staters. But there were all these police cars from other districts.”

Information about the shootings came slowly, Ortega said.

“I didn’t really know what was happening,” he said. “I remember throughout the night we were getting bits and pieces of information. It wasn’t like today with instant news.”

Mike Kaemper, now a lawyer in Albuquerque, covered the story for the SUN.

“I was down in Albuquerque at my sister’s house, and they broke in and said there’s been this shooting and a manhunt,” Kaemper said. “I got in my car and drove up straight to the scene.”

Kaemper said he arrived in Chimayó after dark. It was freezing cold and no one knew where Abeyta was, he said.

“Everyone was talking about how (Abeyta) was this incredible sharpshooter,” Kaemper said. “The lore was he could knock the bell off a goat from 100 yards.”

Police later found butts from Abeyta’s brand of cigarettes on a bluff overlooking the scene, which Kaemper described as “crawling” with police and reporters.

“They found like six butts in the dirt up on the bluff, like he was there watching us,” Kaemper said.

Kaemper said reporters from other media made use of early cell phones, a luxury he lacked.

“It was just me, and I couldn’t communicate with anybody,” Kaemper said. “I had police scanner, so I was glued to scanner to hear what was going on. But ultimately I don’t think the heater worked in my car, so I sat in Robert Seeds’ truck.”

Seeds, then and now an Española city councilor, said he was a close friend of Huber’s

“I had talked to Glen (Huber) earlier that afternoon, and we were going to have a few burgers and a barbecue,” Seeds said. “As soon as I heard what was going on, I went out there. I’ll never forget that.”

SUN photographs show Seeds was a pallbearer at Huber’s funeral.

“Glen (Huber) was a true leader in that he had the respect of all the officers he worked with,” Seeds said. “He’s the type of guy who would stay out there until you were safe before he shut down his shift for the day. Glen epitomized leadership.”

At the trial, prosecutors sought the death penalty for Abeyta, who was found guilty on four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. A jury deliberated for 11 days before deciding to give him life in prison, according to previous SUN reports.

“The attorney for Ricky Abeyta, his big thing was to keep (Abeyta) from getting the death penalty,” Kaemper said. “(Getting the death penalty) was a long shot because it was Santa Fe, but if anybody was going to get it, it was going to be him because he killed a baby and two (law enforcement officers). That’s about as bad as it gets.”

The lawyer, Gary Mitchell, whose practice is based in Ruidoso, tried to humanize Abeyta, rubbing his shoulders, and chatting and joking with him, Kaemper said.

“He had to get the jury to see (Abeyta) as a human being rather than a monster,” Kaemper said.

Mitchell did not return a call for this story.

First Judicial District Attorney Angela Pacheco, who helped then-district attorney Chester Walter and former chief deputy district attorney Henry Valdez try the case, could not be reached for this article.

Abeyta remains in state prison in Amarillo, Tex., serving a 146-year sentence with no parole, according to an online inmate database.

Panama City, FL: Prosecutors will pursue death penalty in 2 cases

2011-01-27 21:24:32
PANAMA CITY -- Prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case of a former Parker police officer accused of killing his former girlfriend

The case against Mark Allen Bomia was one of two in which Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford filed notices of intent Thursday to pursue the death penalty.

Bomia was a Parker police officer when his former girlfriend Anna Beach was killed in her home in September, 2010.

The other death penalty case involved John Wayne Lincoln, who is charged with the slaying of 62-year-old Vivian Ford during a botched burglary in her Jackson County home in November.

Blountville, TN: Murder defendant testifies he 'blacked out' during incident

By Kacie Breeding

Published January 28th, 2011 | Added January 28th, 2011 4:11 am

BLOUNTVILLE — A Bristol man on trial in a Blountville court this week for allegedly stabbing his estranged wife and killing her boyfriend testified Thursday that he “blacked out” and does not recall much about the incident.

Howard Brackson Carrier, 47, 1014 Vermont Ave., Bristol, Va., is charged with premeditated and felony first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated burglary.

The charges allege that on Dec. 10, 2008, he broke into his wife’s apartment at 133 Hilltop St., Bristol, Tenn., then killed Jeffrey Washburn, 41, of Gray, and stabbed Brenda Carrier when the couple arrived about 5:30 a.m.

According to testimony from retired forensic pathologist Dr. William McCormick, the Buck knife recovered from the road in front of the apartment would be consistent with the type of knife that caused 10 cut or stab wounds to Washburn’s body.

McCormick said the worst of Washburn’s injuries involved a single stab wound that indicated a knife passed first through his ninth thoracic vertebra and then into approximately 80 percent of his aorta. Washburn would have died within minutes, if not seconds, of receiving these injuries, he said.

Howard Carrier testified Thursday that he went to his wife’s apartment to talk to her about their eldest son, Cordell Carrier, then 22. He said he had called her while sitting in his truck in his own driveway at 4:56 a.m., and she told him she was home.

Earlier this week, Brenda Carrier testified she did not tell her husband that she was home that morning.

When he arrived at her apartment, Howard Carrier said he parked his Ford F-150 pickup in front of his wife’s car, which he said was parked “40 or 50 feet” from the front door. He denied parking in an adjacent field where, according to testimony, the pocketknife he allegedly used to stab Brenda Carrier was later recovered.

Cordell Carrier testified that in the months prior to the incident, his father repeatedly pressed him for information about where his mother was living and whether she was seeing anybody else.

On Thursday, Howard Carrier denied doing — or needing to do — either of those things. He said he knew where she lived and had visited there before, and that he had taken her at her word when she said she was not seeing anyone.

He denied going to her apartment on Dec. 10, 2008, because he thought she was with a man, although he admitted that was why he had barged into her apartment uninvited on Nov. 25, 2008. An aggravated assault charge for that alleged offense is still pending.

When he arrived and she did not answer the door, Howard Carrier said he kicked in the door and went in to look for her.

“I thought something was wrong with my wife,” he testified.

He said he used a cigarette lighter to look around inside because he did not know where the light switch was.

He denied sweeping the broken glass and door frame pieces into the corner behind the door, moving a heater from the bathroom to the kitchen, sitting and waiting in a kitchen chair, or hiding the sheath to his Buck knife in a kitchen drawer. He also denied ever having seen a knife sharpener that was later found in a storage ottoman.

Howard Carrier said he was on his way out of the apartment when he heard someone on the porch.

“I saw it was my wife and some man,” he said.

“First, my wife said, ‘That’s my husband, we need to go.’ I said, ‘What’s going on here?’ He (Washburn) said, ‘I don’t have time for this, I gotta go to work.’ I said, ‘That’s not what I asked you. I asked if you were the one that’s f...... my wife.’ He said, ‘Every chance I get.’ ”

That’s when he started to fight with Washburn, Howard Carrier said.

“I just remember starting to fight. I don’t remember much ’cause I blacked out, kinda like, I guess.”

Carrier attributed his lack of memory to a possible blood pressure spike, advising he had been on medication for hypertension for the past 15 years. He also admitted having smoked crack cocaine just hours before the incident.

“The next thing I remember is when the girl screamed out for me to ‘Get the f... out of the apartment,’ ” Carrier said.

Patsy Kendrick, a neighbor, testified previously that she dragged a bleeding Brenda Carrier from the apartment after hearing her screams and running to her aid.

Two of the state’s three rebuttal witnesses were Bristol Tennessee Police Department officers who guarded Howard Carrier while he was at Holston Valley Medical Center.

Lt. Jerry Smelser testified about a conversation he overheard between Howard Carrier and a nurse. First, the nurse asked Howard Carrier about his injuries, and he told her he had “done these to himself,” Smelser said.

Howard Carrier also told the nurse about stabbing another man, Smelser said.

“He said he was pretty sure that he’d killed him because he bled buckets and buckets.”

Smelser said the nurse then asked Carrier “something about the wife and did he mean or try to kill her.”

“He said, ‘I must’ve, I stabbed her four or five times.’ ”

Smelser admitted he had no way of knowing what medication Howard Carrier might have received prior to making those statements.

Officer Mike Steele’s testimony concerned statements Howard Carrier allegedly made to him while he was guarding him at HVMC after the incident.

“I asked him if his, how bad he was injured, and he told me that his injuries were self-inflicted, and he’d stabbed himself in the heart four times, cut his wrists, and cut his neck because he thought that he’d killed them both. He told me that he’d stuck — and he didn’t say who it was, he just said he stuck him — and he was bleeding like a stuck pig,” Steele said.

Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Gene Perrin asked him if Howard Carrier said anything about taking care of a problem, and Steele responded, “Well he said he’d taken care of his problem earlier that day.”

When questioned by Sullivan County Public Defender Steve Wallace, Steele acknowledged he heard Howard Carrier make three additional statements when Wallace asked him, “Did he not tell you ‘We were married for 25 years and I told her to wait until we weren’t married’?”

Then, “Did he tell you, ‘I guess she didn’t feel that way’?”

And finally, “ ‘You shouldn’t sleep with another man’s wife’?”

The trial will resume with closing arguments this morning.

Bryan, TX: Texan gets 25 years for killing common-law spouse

© 2011 The Associated Press
Jan. 27, 2011, 12:18PM

BRYAN, Texas — A Bryan woman whose common-law husband was found fatally shot in their home has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Courtney Keefer pleaded guilty to murder as part of a plea agreement.
The victim was 24-year-old Marco Anthony Sifuentez-Carillo. His body was found last January.
Keefer on Wednesday expressed regret for the killing. She told the judge that she and her common-law spouse had been having problems and she shot him because she "thought that was the way out."
Keefer told police that Sifuentez-Carillo had been abusive to her and to their 2-year-old daughter. The girl has been placed with relatives.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

McDuffie County, GA: Bench trial of murder suspect begins Feb. 7

By Billy W. Hobbs
Staff Writer

Bryant Williams, the man accused in the shooting deaths of his girlfriend, who had just found out that she was expecting a child, and her pregnant sister on April 30, 2008, will be tried in McDuffie County Superior Court in Thomson next month.

The 26-year-old Thomson man will not be tried by a 12-person jury. He has waived a jury trial and will have a bench trial, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 7.

It is expected to last at least two days, court officials say. Superior Court Judge Harold A. Hinesley will hear the case of the State of Georgia vs. Bryant Williams, who is represented by Toombs Judicial Circuit Public Defender Harold W. Wallace III. Chief Assistant District Attorney Durwood R. Davis will prosecute.

Mr. Williams is charged with the slayings of his girlfriend, Linda Mathis, and her sister, Marlo Mathis, who was six months pregnant at the time. The sisters were shot multiple times inside a Cherry Street apartment in Thomson where Mr. Williams and Miss Mathis lived. Miss Mathis' sister, of Warrenton, had been visiting with the couple.

Authorities have never revealed a motive for the killings.

After the shooting, Mr. Williams fled in a vehicle. He later was apprehended in Washington County by Trooper First Class Mark Cabe, who was assigned to the Milledgeville Georgia State Patrol post. Trooper Cabe is one of several witnesses expected to testify.

Mr. Williams, who remains jailed without bond in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center, is charged with two counts of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of feticide, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes and three counts of statutory aggravating circumstances.

Neshoba, MS: Girlfriend charged with man's murder

Victim shot in head dies day later at UMC after domestic quarrel
Managing Editor

Michael Deangelo Moore was remembered this week as having a special love for horses and dogs.

Moore, 23, was shot in the head early Sunday morning in what the authorities are calling a domestic dispute.

Tironza Jones, 28, of 10601 Road 632, Moore's girlfriend, was charged with murder Tuesday morning after Moore died a day earlier at University Medical Center.

Jones pulled a .38 pistol from her purse and shot him in the head while he was sitting in his S10 Chevrolet truck as it was parked beside the carport with the driver's door open at the house where they lived in the Forerstdale community, the authorities said.

Neshoba County Medical Examiner Allen Collins said Moore died shortly before noon on Monday.

Moore was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after being shot one time in the head about 8:30 a.m. outside the house, said Neshoba County Sheriff Donnie Adkins.

Investigator Kevin Baysinger said Jones and Moore had a dispute inside the residence moments before the shooting occurred.

"She got her gun out of her purse and fired at his direction and struck him in the head," Baysinger said. "Moore fell over in the truck."

Jones then helped Moore get into her car and she drove to the vicinity of Bobby's Country Store on Mississippi 16 east where she met an ambulance which transported Moore to the county hospital, officials said.

The ambulance had been dispatched following a 911 call reporting that a shooting victim was being taken to the hospital by private vehicle from a residence on Road 632, Adkins said.

Moore, the son of Connie and Michael Moore, graduated from Philadelphia High School where classmates remembered him as always having a smile on his face.

Former Philadelphia resident Marcus Dupree said that Moore was a friend of his sons.

"Back when I was in Philadelphia and my kids in high school, we used to ride horses together with Mike," Dupree said. "We were around each other all the time. He had a love for horses and would go with me to horse shows and I got to be fond of him."

Dupree, too, recalled that Moore always had a smile on his face.

"He was just a good kid, a good kid to be around. He always helped my mom when I wasn't around. It hurts me that something like this has happened. I hadn't seen him in over a year."

Kenny Spencer recalled playing baseball with Moore at Westside Park when they were growing up.

He said Moore grew up on Evergreen Street.

"I've been knowing him since he was a kid," Spencer said. "We played baseball together at the park. He was a good guy who liked to play sports. He was a pretty good baseball player back then."

Spencer said he had lost track of Moore in recent years.

Moore's body was taken to the state Crime Lab where an autopsy will be performed, the medical examiner said.

Friend Jeremi Malone said Moore had a special love for dogs and horses.

"He raised pit bulls," Malone said. "Mike was a real nice person. He had a lot of friends."

Clarksville, TN: Husband Convicted In Wife's '07 Death

Wife Crashes, Dies After High-Speed Chase In Montgomery County

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- A Montgomery County jury convicted a man Thursday after his wife died in a 2007 high-speed car chase and wreck.
Jamey Christy was convicted on five counts, including vehicular homicide and aggravated child neglect.
Christy had been charged with running his wife, Elizabeth Christy, off Highway 79 in her sport-utility vehicle after a chase reached speeds of 100 mph.
Jamey Christy had his 11-year-old son riding with him when Elizabeth Christy was run off the road in November 2007. Jamey Christy will be sentenced on March 1.

Dekalb, GA: DeKalb man suspected in wife's death kills himself after police chase

By Lisa Rogers
Times Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 8:26 p.m.
A DeKalb County volunteer firefighter accused of killing his wife and then covering up her death by setting their home on fire shot and killed himself this morning after a police chase in Jackson County.

Johnny Daniel Carden, 28, was facing a capital murder charge in his wife’s death.

Jennifer Carden, 24, was believed to have died in a house fire on Dec. 26, but an autopsy showed she was dead before the fire started, Ray Cumby, a deputy state fire marshal, said.

Johnny Daniel Carden was a volunteer with the Hammondville Fire Department.

A warrant for capital murder was obtained for Carden this morning. Authorities were looking for him when Jackson County sheriff’s deputies spotted his vehicle near the Tennessee River Bridge on Alabama Highway 35 in Scottsboro and tried to pull him over, Cumby said. Carden would not stop and when he reached the intersection of U.S. Highway 72 and Jackson County Road 113 in Hollywood, he pulled into the median and shot himself before deputies could reach his truck.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris at the time of Jennifer Carden’s death said her husband told investigators he went to the kitchen to get their young son something to drink and noticed smoke. He told investigators he called to his wife, but could not get to the bedroom she was in because the smoke was so thick. He said he got their son and they left through the back door of the house.

The 3-year-old boy was in the truck with his father when he shot himself, Cumby said.

Ashe County, NC: Death of Ashe Couple Under Investigation

Written by Steve Frank
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 02:52 PM

Ashe County investigators are looking into the death of a husband and wife in what might have been either a murder-suicide or a suicide pact.
Sheriff James Williams said a landlord was concerned that no one had been seen at the 466 Rustic Acres Road property off of NC 163 for at least several days, lights on day and night, and an Ashe deputy was dispatched for a welfare check on the couple. There the officer found the dog in distress, unfed, and he called for back-up to make entry. Inside, the bodies of 49-year old Robert Parise and his wife, Linda Ann, 58, were found. Fire department air packs were needed to work inside the residence due to the level of decay, and the SBI was called to the scene. Sheriff Williams said there was no sign of trauma, no evidence of theft or forced entry, leading investigators to believe a double suicide or murder-suicide might be the cause. The sheriff said that the couple was known to have some financial troubles and there were reports of prescription drug abuse. Pills were found in the house—pills that might have been the cause of death. The bodies were sent to Chapel Hill for autopsy and toxicology reports, the latter to take several weeks. Sheriff Williams said that the probe will remain open pending those reports.

Tacoma, WA: Tacoma woman denied protection order found murdered

Posted on January 24, 2011 at 6:11 PM
TACOMA, Wash. – Friends of a woman stabbed to death over the weekend say the system failed after her request for a protection order against her ex-boyfriend was denied. Now, that man is charged with her murder.Georgia Gunzer, 33, was stabbed to death late Friday night in her apartment. She wasn't alone. There were five girls, age 10, there for a slumber party. The girls found Gunzer's body Saturday morning."(Georgia's daughter) screamed and all the little girls came running into the room," said friend Rachel Riddley."My daughter's been crying all weekend since it happened," said another parent.Friends say Gunzer knew her ex-boyfriend and father of her child, Alphonso Bell, was about to get out of prison. She told friends that he hit her and threatened her. That's why she had requested the protection order.Gunzer worked at Sound Family Medicine and her fear of Bell was no secret to co-workers."She was very much afraid of this man. He had hurt her before. He was harassing her before he got out of jail. But, yet, he was the father of her daughter," said co-worker Cynde Marckmann.Friends say the restraining order, although just a piece of paper, could have given her some legal protection."I think the system failed her and I think the system is broken," said Marckmann.Police say Gunzer brought Bell back to her house on Friday night. Gunzer's friends say that without the protection order, she felt she had to be nice to Bell, which might explain why they were together.Bell's friends say Gunzer came to visit Bell in prison and they had talked about reconciling.Bell pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $2 million bail.There has been no response yet from the judge who denied Gunzer's protection order.

Fayetteville, AR: Fayetteville police investigate apparent murder-suicide

Fayetteville Chief of Police Greg Tabor announced today the Fayetteville Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding an apparent murder-suicide at a residence in Fayetteville.
On Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at approximately 11:17 a.m., the Fayetteville Police Department responded to 5657 Reliance Street to investigate a possible suicide. Officers made entry to the residence and located Richard E. Guthrie and Elizabeth S. Guthrie, both ninety years old. Both had gunshot wounds and both were deceased. Mr. Guthrie’s injury appeared to be self-inflicted. Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie will be transported to the state medical examiner’s office for autopsy.
This investigation is continuing and more information is expected to follow as the case progresses.

Rainsville, AL: Two Dead in Rainsville Murder Suicide

By: Mike Brown
Rainsville, AL - DeKalb County investigators are looking in to what appears to be a murder suicide in the Rainsville community.According to Sheriff Jimmy Harris, preliminary evidence from the scene indicates that Danny Graham shot and killed his wife, Karen Collins Graham at the couple's home on Whisner Street.The bodies have been sent for an autopsy to confirm or reject the investigator's suspicions.

Pelion, SC: Pelion murder-suicide: Investigators searching for answers

Lexington County Sheriff’s investigators are trying to figure out what led a Pelion man to kill his wife Wednesday morning and then turn the shotgun on himself.
Victoria Williamson Tindall, 28, died from a 12-gauge shotgun wound to the head, Lexington County Coroner Harry Harman said. Brian Christopher Tindall, 33, died from a self-inflicted wound to his head, Harman said.
Brian Tindall had moved out of the couple’s Track Road home about three weeks ago but had spent the night at the house before the shooting, said Maj. John Allard, a sheriff’s department spokesman. Investigators are continuing to search for answers on why he moved out of the house.
Preliminary evidence indicates Brian Tindall had planned to shoot his estranged wife Wednesday morning although Allard would not release information about what led police to that conclusion.
The couple had five children, who lived at the home. Four of the children, ages 7 to 11, had been taken to school and were not home, Allard said.
A 3-year-old girl was in another room watching television and eating cereal when the shootings took place and did not witness them, Allard said.
Shortly before 8 a.m., Brian Tindall called his mother and told her he had killed his estranged wife, Allard said. He then told his mother he planned to kill himself and asked her to come get the 3-year-old child.
"He was very matter of fact with her," Allard said.
It was a brief conversation, and his mother tried to talk him out of it, Allard said. The mother arrived at the house within minutes after the call, but it was too late. She and her husband removed the 3-year-old, who was still watching television, from the house and waited for police, he said.
When police arrived, they found Brian Tindall lying in a doorway near the kitchen with a 12-gauge shotgun near his body. His wife's body was on the kitchen floor.
The shotgun belonged to Tindall, who had received it as a gift a number of years ago, Allard said.
Since the shooting, the children have been taken in by various relatives.The 3-year-old and 7-year-old were the Tindalls’ children together, Allard said. Ten-year-old twins and an 11-year-old were from previous relationships, but Allard did not know which of the Tindalls were the parents for those children.
Brian Tindall worked at Shumpert’s IGA grocery store in Pelion, Allard said.
Victoria Tindall was a stay-at-home mother who designed and sewed children’s clothes to earn extra money, according to her postings on Facebook and MySpace.
At Shumpert’s store, employees were saddened and confused by the shooting, said Stephen Simmons, the store manager. Tindall was an assistant manager and had worked at the store for more than five years, he said.
"I still don’t understand quite what happened," Simmons said. "We’re still in shock right here right now."
The Tindalls’ case is the second murder-suicide in a week in the Midlands.
Friday, Alysha Ziolkowski, 31, shot Oppie Lee Jackson, 33, in the head and then shot herself while sitting in a car at a Percival Road gas station. Both Gilbert residents died from their wounds at a local hospital.

St. Paul, MN: Motive unknown in Vadnais Heights murder-suicide

January 27, 2011
St. Paul, Minn. — No motive has been determined in the murder-suicide deaths of a Minnesota National Guard soldier and his wife, authorities said Thursday.
The bodies of Kalen Pohjonen and his wife Katherine were found in their Vadnais Heights townhouse on Tuesday morning. Authorities found a handgun next to Kalen Pohjonen's body and said he shot her before shooting himself.
"No notes were left. Unfortunately, whatever happened to this young couple kind of remains with them," said Randy Gustafson, a spokesman for the Ramsey County Sheriff's office.
Kalen Pohjonen was 21, and Katherine would have turned 20 years old on Thursday.
Minnesota National Guard Lt. Col. Kevin Olson said Pohjonen was a member of the East St. Paul-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment and was scheduled to deploy to Kuwait in May. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard on Aug. 21, 2007, but hadn't deployed with the Guard before, Olson said.
Gustafson said the Ramsey County Medical Examiner is still trying to determine the exact time of death.
Sheriff's deputies entered the home on Tuesday, after Katherine Pahjonen's co-workers reported she hadn't showed up for work in several days.
Gustafson said authorities waited until Wednesday to release details about the incident so that they could notify family members.

Sacramento, CA: Sacramento woman killed, burned; boyfriend arrested

Written for the web byPosted By: Nick Monacelli, Multimedia Journalist

SACRAMENTO, CA - Authorities in San Francisco have confirmed the body of a woman murdered and burned in a car there is that of 23-year-old Vanessa Herrera from Sacramento.

According to friends, Herrera was last seen Sunday night after she left her 7-month-old son with his uncle.

Family members become worried when she didn't show for work on Monday.

Friends used Facebook to alert as many people as possible that Herrera was missing. Then the postings spread that she had been murdered.

On Monday morning, firefighters responded to a burning car around 3:18 a.m. in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood.

Officer Albie Esparza said a woman's body was found in the car's passenger seat. The vehicle had been illegally parked on a one-way street.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco County coroner confirmed the body was Herrera's.

On Facebook, John Anderson wrote: "That is so sad to hear. I can't believe that happened to her. I grew up with the whole family. I can't imagine what her brothers and family are going through."

Rochelle Christine said: "Something so precious and can be taken in an instant over something so little & impersonal."

Less than 24 hours after the car was burned, Almon Johnson, 30, was arrested for murder, felony arson and destroying evidence.

Police investigators say they have reason to believe Herrera was murdered in Sacramento and Johnson drove with the victim's body in the car to San Francisco where he set the car on fire.

Johnson was Herrera's boyfriend and the father of their son.

According to Sacramento Court documents, Johnson has a lengthy record including assault, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

News10 spoke to Herrera's sister and mother Tuesday afternoon. They have decided not to make any comments yet.

Herrera is a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School in the Pocket area of Sacramento.

By Nick Monacelli,

Largo, FL: Largo police: Homeless man fulfilled threats to kill girlfriend, setting her on fire

By Rita Farlow, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Thursday, January 27, 2011

LARGO — A homeless man accused of murdering his girlfriend by lighting her on fire told two different people he planned to kill her in the hours before her death, according to court documents.

Jeffrey Robert Grant, 37, was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 9 death of Jennifer Guthrie.

Guthrie's body was found behind a burning trash bin at Wachovia Bank at 14147 Walsingham Road about 8 that night. Authorities had to identify her by her fingerprints because her body had been burned beyond recognition, according to an affidavit filed in Pinellas County court.

The homeless couple had recently been sleeping near the trash bin with another homeless man, the document said.

According to the affidavit:

A witness who bought the couple food told Largo police that Guthrie said Grant had tried to kill her on Oct. 7. The witness said Grant told him on Oct. 9 that "he was going to wind up killing" Guthrie because "she was making him mad all day, every day."

Sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. Oct. 9, Grant told another witness, an employee of a nearby Publix, that Guthrie "keeps pushing and pushing and that the day before he had choked her out until she urinated on herself."

Grant then told the employee, "I'm going to kill her." Thinking Grant was joking, the man laughed, to which Grant replied, "I'm serious."

Firefighters summoned to the fire a few hours later discovered Guthrie's body. The medical examiner found gasoline in her lungs and soot in her larynx and determined "thermal injuries" from the fire caused her death.

The other homeless man who had been staying in the parking lot with Grant and Guthrie tackled Grant when he saw the fire. The man didn't know at that time that Guthrie had been burned but was angry that Grant was ruining their encampment, he said. He told police that, as he held Grant down, Grant kept repeating, "I had to do it, man."

A woman who was getting money from an ATM at the bank told police she saw Grant throwing something at the fire that made the flames jump higher. She also said she heard screaming.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Grant on the murder charge.

On Tuesday afternoon, Largo police asked the public to help locate Grant, who had last been seen in St. Petersburg. A tipster called detectives and within a few hours, he was picked up at 555 31st St. S, said Largo police spokesman Lt. Mike Loux.

Detectives "attempted an interview; he didn't speak," Loux said.

Grant has been arrested dozens of times in Pinellas County since 2005, mostly for misdemeanors such as panhandling, trespassing and open container violations, court records show. He was sentenced to a year in prison in 2006 after twice violating his probation on a cocaine possession charge. In 2009, he was charged with aggravated assault, but the charge was later dropped.

On Wednesday, Grant was being held without bail in Pinellas County Jail.

Charleston, WV: Trial delayed for homeless man accused in girlfriend's murder

by Cheryl Caswell
Daily Mail staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A homeless man accused of murder in the death a girlfriend has had his trial delayed so attorneys and a judge can consider pre-trial issues.

Clayton Eugene "Gino" Rogers has been indicted for the murder of 35-year-old Laura Amos. The woman was also homeless at the time of her death in an abandoned St. Albans house last August.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster, who will preside over the trial, ruled Wednesday that Rogers' rights weren't violated when detectives didn't present him to a magistrate until five hours after his arrest.

Webster also ruled that statements Rogers made to those detectives, including his confession of the crime, can be admitted as evidence against him and considered by a jury.

His court-appointed public defender, Jason Parmer, argued those motions before Webster this week.

But Webster said Rogers willingly spoke with law enforcement officers after he was advised of his Miranda rights and detectives didn't delay his court arraignment simply to obtain a statement.

She noted that magistrate court is typically closed from 6 to 8 p.m. for dinner. Rogers was arrested about 3:15 p.m. Aug. 31 after he was found hiding in the woods in St. Albans.

He was brought to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department main office in Charleston for questioning, then returned to an area near St. Albans where he directed detectives where to find knives allegedly used in the crime.

At 8:05 p.m., he was arraigned before a magistrate.

Also under Webster's consideration this week are photographs of the victim at the crime scene and taken during her autopsy. Parmer objected to some of the images and said they were gruesome and prejudicial.

Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said there are five of "more than a hundred" photographs that he wants to show a jury. On Wednesday, attorneys and Webster deliberated over which will be allowed in the courtroom at trial.

Rogers was originally scheduled to go on trial late last year, but it was delayed while a psychological exam was completed. The trial was scheduled again to begin Monday, but Webster postponed it again until Feb. 18.

The trial is expected to take about a week.

Witnesses told detectives at the crime scene that Rogers and Amos had been "intimate partners." They also said the couple had fought prior to the discovery of her body.

Danville, PA: Pa. man charged in girlfriend's stabbing death

Authorities in central Pennsylvania have charged a man with stabbing his girlfriend to death in their house while their 2-year-old daughter was in the home.

Thirty-three-year-old Westley Wise was charged with criminal homicide in Monday night's death of 26-year-old Jessica Frederick in Danville. Her body was found Tuesday morning by the suspect's father when he arrived to pick her up.

The (Sunbury) Daily Item says arrest documents filed by police indicate that county coroner Scott Lynn reported seeing blood spatter on the suspect's clothes and body.

Wise was taken to Montour County Prison without bail pending a Feb. 2 preliminary hearing; it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Officials said the child appeared uninjured but was taken to Geisinger Medical Center as a precaution.

Reading, PA: Reading policeman shoots gunman dead after woman wounded in domestic violence

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 11:02 am | Updated: 11:09 am, Tue Jan 25, 2011.
By Steve Reinbrecht |
A Reading police officer shot and killed a man with a gun before police found a woman with a gunshot wound in a city home early Tuesday, Jan. 25.
According to the Reading Police Department and information from the Berks County coroner's office:
Police were dispatched to 1120 Buttonwood St. about 1:20 a.m. after a report that someone had been shot.
Victor Cataquet, 28, who lived at the address and also had a Blandon address, was in the street holding a handgun.
The first officer to arrive repeatedly ordered Cataquet to put down the gun.
After Cataquet refused, the officer fired several shots, fatally wounding Cataquet.
The department refused to immediately identify the officer. Police Capt. Fran Drexler said his name may be released Wednesday and that, following policy, he would be put on leave while the case is reviewed and referred to Berks County District Attorney John Adams' office.
He was the only officer at the site when he fired, but other officers quickly arrived, Drexler said.
Police found a woman with a gunshot wound to her upper torso on the living room floor.
The department refused to identify her. She is 27 years old and lives at the address, Drexler said.
The victim and a witness told police Cataquat had shot her in an upstairs bedroom after an argument.
The woman was treated in Reading Hospital. The wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.
Investigators were working at the site and conducting an autopsy Tuesday morning.
The latest time a Reading officer killed someone was July 17, when Officer James Kennedy killed Tyron L. Stevenson after Stevenson shot at Kennedy.
An investigation found that the shooting was justified.

Psadena, TX: Police: Man kills girlfriend, her daughter, then himself

Jan. 27, 2011, 5:20AM

A Pasadena man fatally shot his girlfriend and her teenage daughter before turning the gun on himself, Pasadena police said Wednesday.
Relatives of Eduardo Rod­riguez said the 49-year-old man was having relationship problems with his girlfriend, Claudia Pompa-Garza. Investigators said that after shooting the woman and her 17-year-old daughter, Tonia Pompa, Rod­riguez killed himself.
Officers were called to the home, in the 3000 block of Lafferty, shortly after midnight on Jan. 20.
Pompa-Garza's 8-year-old daughter also lived at the house, but it was unclear whether she was there at the time and saw the shootings.
Rodriguez had been living with Pompa-Garza, 41, for almost two years while separated from his wife, his family said.
"We knew that he was having problems with the lady he was living with, but we never thought he would do something crazy like this," said his niece, Mara Chapa.
Chapa said Rodriguez had been troubled in the days leading up to the shootings, often calling her father, Rod­riguez's brother.
Rodriguez's wife and four children, 14 to 26 years old, arrived from Mexico on Wednesday to give their father a proper burial, Chapa said.

Miami, FL: Police: Ex-boyfriend stabs, kills mother and son



A 39-year-old man has been charged with using a kitchen knife to viciously stab his ex-girlfriend and her two children at a South Miami-Dade home. He killed the mother and son and injured the daughter before wounding himself.
Maria Plasencia, 42, and her 19-year-old son Dayron Pastrana, died on the scene after the Jan. 19 attack, according to Miami-Dade police.
Plasencia's daughter, Cynthia Pastrana, was hurt but survived, police said. Two days later, on Friday, she turned 14.
Tomas Sicilia-Perez, 39, also survived and was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder. The attack happened shortly after 7 p.m. at 13315 SW 58th Ter., according to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday.
Sicilia-Perez went to Pastrana's home. At first, the pair had a civil conversation, the affidavit said. But it grew heated.
Sicilia-Perez grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Plasencia multiple times, the affidavit said. When the son and daughter ran to help their mother, Sicilia-Perez stabbed them, too, before stabbing himself in the chest.

Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fla. Man Claims "Rough Sex" Killed Girlfriend, Say Police

Posted by Edecio Martinez

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS/WFOR) Investigators in Florida say a man kept his girlfriend's body in his bed for two days while he tried to figure out how to dispose of it and later told police she had died during a night of rough sex, according to a report.

Doris Lopez's body was found inside a car parked at a Delray Beach parking lot on October 26th. Three months after that discovery, police arrested 40-year-old David Muringer and have charged him with manslaughter in her death.

According to CBS affiliate WFOR, Muringer allegedly told authorities he had been casually dating 48-year-old Lopez, who lived in West Palm Beach.

He told investigators he choked Lopez during sex, but said her death was accidental. He said she lost consciousness once before and she had awakened moments later.

However, on the night she died, he got angry when she lost consciousness and reportedly threw her off the bed, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Police say he left the apartment and when he returned he found her lying on the floor dead.

According to a police report, Muringer waited two days before allegedly stuffing her body in a plastic bag then pushing it into a barrel.

"He told us he sealed the barrel with duct tape, rolled the barrel out of his apartment and placed the barrel into the back seat of the victim's car," Delray Beach police Detective Jason Jabcuga wrote in the arrest report.

WFOR reports that Muringer became a suspect in the case after a cell phone receipt was found in the car with his name on it.

On top of manslaughter, Muringer has also been charged with unlawful disposal of human remains. He is being held without bond.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pompano Beach, FL: Couple dead in murder-suicide identified by Broward Sheriff's Office

POMPANO BEACH — A 3-year-old boy was orphaned Tuesday night after an argument between his parents escalated and left both adults dead from gunshot wounds, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.Nattalie Ann Cardona Nenadich, 25, and Abel Ferdinand, Jr., 29, were married in a religious ceremony in Florida in 2009, state records show. They did not have criminal records in Florida, and, according to BSO, there is no record of 911 calls for help from that address.Detectives do not know what the couple was arguing about in their Golden Square rental apartment at 1400 N.W. 18th Drive around 8 p.m., when Abel produced a weapon and Nattalie told her mother to flee, Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella said.As the mother asked a neighbor to call 911, she heard the gunshot that killed her daughter, Moschella said. Ferdinand then fled with the couple's son and drove toward his parents' Lauderdale Lakes home.
"As he is driving, he was calling family and friends and admits he killed Nattalie and that he is suicidal," Moschella said.At the 2900 block of Northwest 33rd Way in Lauderdale Lakes, Ferdinand handed off the toddler to his sister, who tried to talk him out of harming himself, Moschella said. That conversation prompted a neighbor to make a second call to 911 about Ferdinand, and a responding BSO deputy also tried to convince the man to give up his gun, Moschella said.The incident prompted a SWAT squad to respond to the Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood near Ferdinand's parents' home.The pleas to put down the gun were to no avail, and the sheriff's spokeswoman said Ferdinand also took his life, an hour after his wife died.The couple's son was not physically harmed and was left in the custody of his paternal grandparents, she said.

Macon, GA: Macon Murder Suspect Dies After Illness

A Macon man accused of shooting his wife to death two years ago, then shooting himself in the head, died Tuesday while awaiting trial.

The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says 71-year-old James Mullis died at the Medical Center of Central Georgia after a long-term illness.

Police said he killed his wife Betty Mullis in 2009, then turned the gun on himself.

He spent the last two years in jail, charged with felony murder.

The Bibb County Sheriff's Office said a court date was scheduled for next month.

Charleston, SC: Suspect wanted in shooting of mother-in-law believed to have killed himself after wounding wife, officials say

By David MacDougall

A West Ashley man wanted for murder in the shooting of his estranged mother-in-law is thought to have returned Tuesday to the scene of the slaying, where he shot and wounded his estranged wife before going up into the attic and was believed to have killed himself, authorities said.

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office SWAT team searches a van off Sol Legare Road for homicide suspect Ronald David Ratliff (at top) on Tuesday. Authorities said Ratliff was believed to have killed himself in a West Ashley home later Tuesday.

Richard Hayes, husband of homicide victim Linda Hayes, urges his son-in-law to surrender to authorities.

Slain woman's husband tells 911 dispatcher he fears for daughter's safety, published 01/25/11

Slain woman's husband urges suspect's surrender, published 01/25/11

Man sought in shooting death: Suspect's former mother-in-law slain, published 01/24/11

Police still after West Ashley shooting suspect, published 01/23/11

Ronald David Ratliff, 41, of Debbenshire Drive, was wanted for murder in the slaying Saturday of 65-year-old Linda K. Hayes, his mother-in-law.

On Monday, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon described Ratliff as armed and dangerous and asked the public to be on the lookout for Ratliff's white van. Photos of the van and its license plate were published.

Investigators thought Ratliff might have been headed to Florida, where he has relatives. But they learned that he had stayed in town when a

James Island man called 911 shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday and reported spotting the van on Sol Legare Road, said sheriff's Maj. John Clark, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

Dozens of sheriff's deputies, Charleston police officers and U.S. Marshals swarmed the Sol Legare Road area, closing it to through traffic while they took steps to determine if there was anyone inside the van.

A school bus that was dropping off students was not allowed to pass through, and people who lived beyond the blocked-off area were kept from getting to their homes.

Shortly after 3 p.m., a SWAT team carefully approached the van after having fired several rounds of tear gas. Finding no one inside, they moved down a dirt road leading to the marsh, where they searched a dredging crane for the suspect.

Finding no one, authorities began what was to have been a complete search of all of the homes in Mosquito Beach and the Sol Legare Road area.

About 4 p.m., while they were still searching house-to-house, deputies were summoned to a Debbenshire Drive home for a report that shots had been fired.

Blue lights flashing and sirens wailing, more than two dozen law enforcement vehicles beat a hasty path from James Island to West Ashley and Debbenshire Drive, which is off Raoul Wallenberg Boulevard.

Ratliff's estranged wife, Melissity Hayes, and her family had been under the watchful eyes of sheriff's deputies since Saturday, when officials said Ratliff went into the former marital home on Debbenshire Drive and shot and killed his mother-in-law.

The family had been staying in a nearby hotel since the slaying, Cannon said.

"They decided today that they wanted to come back home," he said.

The family returned to the house shortly after noon. Deputies searched the house from top to bottom before allowing them to go inside, the sheriff said.

Cannon said an armed man arrived at the house shortly after 4 p.m. and fired two shots through a window into the house.

One of those shots struck Hayes, Cannon said. She was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not thought to be life threatening.

A sheriff's deputy who was part of the protection detail assigned to the family was in front of the house in his cruiser when the shots were fired, Cannon said. The deputy ran inside and cleared the family members from the home.

Meanwhile, Hayes was being taken to a hospital by one of her relatives, Cannon said. A city police officer stopped the car for speeding, but when the officer realized a shooting victim was inside, the officer took her to a hospital.

After making sure all the relatives were safely outside of the house, deputies went back inside and saw blood dripping from the attic, Cannon said. They called for a SWAT team and additional support.

It was assumed that Ratliff entered the house while the family was being removed and had taken up a position in the attic, but authorities did not know for sure. They also did not know if the person in the attic was alive or dead.

About 6:15 p.m., SWAT team members fired tear gas grenades into the house. They lobbed six more of them into the house about 6:30, and at 7 p.m. they entered the house and found a deceased male in the attic, Cannon said.

Though the dead man in the attic was presumed to have been Ratliff, an official identification was to have been made by the Charleston County Coroner's Office, the sheriff said. The Coroner's Office did not return phone calls Tuesday night.

The family conflict began in September, when Hayes reported being attacked by Ratliff.

He originally was charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, but the charge was reduced to second-degree assault and battery as part of a plea bargain.

Ratliff was released from the Charleston County jail on Jan. 18 after getting a three-year prison sentence, of which all but 119 days was suspended. He had spent 119 days waiting for trial, so he was released with the condition of one year of probation with substance abuse counseling.

Andy Paras contributed to this report. Reach David W. MacDougall at 937-5655.

Powder Springs, GA: Man Charged with Wife's Death in Powder Springs Arson

Posted By - Michael King

Last Updated On: 1/25/2011 4:40:14 PM
POWDER SPRINGS, GA -- The Powder Springs Police Department has arrested Michael Rowe and charged him in the murder of his wife Kathy. They said he was responsible for an arson in Powder Springs that killed her.

Michael has been charged with malice murder, felony murder, arson in the first degree and aggravated assualt. He has been transported to the Cobb County Adult Detention Center and is being held there without bond.

Kathy's body was found in the remains of their Powder Springs home early Monday.

St. Joseph's County, IN : Suspect admits stabbing his ex-wife and killing another man

by Kristin Bien (

5:44 PM EST, January 25, 2011

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY -- A man is dead, a woman is recovering after being stabbed six times, and police say the suspect admits he did it.

According to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor, 51-year-old David Lubelski is charged with murder and attempted murder. Lubelski attacked his ex-wife and killed 33-year-old Michael Gensinger at a farmhouse in rural North Liberty.

Court documents say Jackie told police she was at Gensinger's farm house when Lubelski attacked them with a large kitchen knife. Jackie was able to call 911. By the time emergency responders arrived, they found Gensinger dead in the garage from multiple stab wounds and Jackie seriously injured inside the house.

The probable cause documents say after the attack police found Lubelski at his home. He told police he had been divorced from Jackie for several years but didn't think it was right for her to be seeing other men. He told police he was tired of her relationships and was angry about it. The documents say Lubelski took a large kitchen knife from him home and drove to Gensingers house. When police asked him about the stabbings, he said, "I'm Guilty." Police found the murder weapon, a large kitchen knife at his house, with blood stain residue on it.

Lubelski's Neighbors say he has snapped before.

According to WSBT archives, in 1992, Lubelski was charged with burning down his own home and barn on Quinn Road. He filled his car with gas, smashed it into the house and set the car on fire. At the time, it was reported he was despondent because his wife, Jackie Lubelski got a restraining order against him.

Dan Layman lives next door and remembers the fire.

"When you had no idea that someone was capable of doing what he had done to come home to that - that was quite a shocking deal," Layman said Tuesday.

Lubelski served three years for arson. Layman says, Lubelski had a lot of remorse about what he had done.

"He said, I had just pissed away everything I had ever wanted in life. And he did. He said, I snapped," Layman recalls.

Layman says, Lubelski and Jackie seemed to pull it back together and had been living together in their rebuilt home.

"You would think in a relationship like that you would hear something or see cops over there all the time. No, that is not the way it was," said Layman.

Back in November of 2009, the Lubelski's son died at the age of 27. Layman said that was especially hard for Lubelski.

"He had his issues," said Layman, "but I would never have thought it would have got to the point that it has gotten now. It is a shame."

Lubelski is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon. According to the St. Joseph County Clerks office, there is no bond for people charged with murder.

Bemidji, MN: Jury convicts Minn. woman of killing companion

Associated Press - January 25, 2011 11:04 PM ET

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) - Jurors have convicted a northern Minnesota woman of first- and second-degree murder for the 2009 shooting death of her partner.

The jury deliberated less than three hours before convicting 26-year-old Betsy Marie Hanks on Tuesday. She was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of release.

Hanks was convicted of killing 27-year-old Matthew Albert - the father of her four sons - at the home they shared near Kelliher.

Hanks testified Albert first handled the .22-caliber revolver while in bed, then asked her to put him in a better place.

Prosecutors disputed that Albert was awake before the shooting. They argued that Hanks wanted to be with another man she had met.

The Pioneer reports the defense said Hanks did not have a romantic relationship with the other man.

Information from: Pioneer,

Corbett, OR: Corbett Woman Sentenced In Husband's Killing

POSTED: 10:05 am PST January 25, 2011
UPDATED: 11:27 pm PST January 25, 2011
CORBETT, Ore. -- A Corbett woman convicted of killing her husband and burning his body learned her sentence today.
Hazelynn Stomps was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Multnomah County authorities say Stomps initially told an elaborate story about how her husband disappeared back in 2009. But authorities later found Jerry Stomps' blood on his own gun at the couple's Corbett home. They also say Jerry Stomps' bone fragments were found inside an incinerator.
The Stomps family spoke directly to the convicted killer in a Portland courtroom today.
"I am humiliated to be a Stomps and I shouldn't be," said Amy Stomps, Jerry's niece. "I shouldn't be embarrassed to be a part of the Stomps family but I am because of you."
"You took my dad from me. Someone I loved very much. Someone that meant a lot to me. And you stole him away," said Adam Stomps, Hazelynn Stomps' son. "For two years, you stayed with this story no matter how much we begged and pleaded with you to just tell us. And you have not once shown a shred of remorse. You are a monster."
Hazelynn Stomps arrived in the courtroom in a wheelchair. Deputies say she fell and hit her head in the jail holding tank.

Columbus, GA: Brother of slain Georgia woman rushes suspect in court

By Associated Press
For the AJC

11:09 p.m. Tuesday, January 25, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Security officers had to restrain the brother of a slain woman after he rushed the man accused of killing his sister in a Columbus courtroom.

The outburst happened Tuesday as defendant Zyderrious Platt appeared at a court hearing. Charged with murder, he's accused of shooting his pregnant wife, Jilani Platt, in the head.

Moments after sheriff's deputies brought Platt into the courtroom, a brother of the slain woman jumped over a barrier, grabbed a chair and threw it at the suspect. He screamed that he wanted to kill Platt.

A video from WTVM-TV shows security officers wrestling the man to the ground.

Platt did not appear injured and was escorted from the courtroom.

Venice, FL: UPDATE: Man arrested in Venice murder investigation

By Robert Eckhart

Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Looking for protection from her fiance, Traci Nabergall told sheriff's deputies he had accused her of having an affair with a neighbor, grabbed her by the throat and threatened to kill her.

Less than a week later, Nabergall, 39, and the neighbor, Jason Salter, 46, were found dead in Salter's home on Park Road outside of Venice. Their bodies were discovered about 8 p.m. Monday.

Tuesday afternoon, deputies arrested the fiancé, John A. Lee, and charged him with violating a court order.

Lee is also being questioned as a “person of interest" in the killings of Nabergalland Salter, said sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose.

Lee, 47, is a longtime resident of Charlotte and Sarasota counties whose last job was as a concrete finisher, court records show. He served 10 years in prison for dealing cocaine and was released in December 2009, state records show.

Lee started dating Nabergall last June, court records show. Neighbors say the two had recently moved into a rental house owned by one of his family members on Park Road.

Once in the neighborhood, they met Salter, a longtime resident of Venice and owner of the home at 2172 Park Road, about five doors down from the rental where Lee and Nabergall were staying.

Lee was arrested on a domestic violence charge on Jan. 19, when he reportedly went home and confronted Nabergall, then barged into Salter's house and punched him in the stomach.


Sarasota Sheriff's Office investigators were at a south Venice home late Monday night after two people were found dead.

The dead were identified as Jason Salter, 46, listed as resident of the home in the 2100 block of Park Road; and Traci Nabergall, 39, a neighbor.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said forensics officers were at the home after the bodies were reported found around 8:10 p.m. The crime scene is at a house in a subdivision of small homes near the Venice Groves neighborhood.

Rose said the deaths were labeled suspicious, but that no arrests had been made as of 10:45 p.m. No other information was available late Monday.

This story appeared in print on page BN1