Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hardin County, TX: Update: Grand jury indicts boyfriend in woman's death

HARDIN COUNTY - The Hardin County grand jury took up another high profile case Tuesday: the death of a woman and a new charge against her boyfriend.

Clinton West, 29, of Lumberton, was in court with his attorney, Bruce Smith, asking a judge to reduce his bond for a Manslaughter indictment.

At the same time the hearing was taking place before Judge Steve Thomas, the grand jury was meeting and indicting West on a murder charge for the death of Nicole Janca.

West told investigators his girlfriend jumped from his car while they were arguing last November. She died.

Janca's family has always disputed West's version of what happened.

The D.A. believes the facts and evidence presented to the grand jury show it was murder.

"Testimony that's been received in which two witnesses stated Mr. West intentionally shoved Ms. Janca from a moving vehicle which killed her, that was an intentional act as opposed to a reckless act," said District Attorney David Sheffield.

"I want the truth of what happened to her, and if anyone else is involved or if it was intentional, for justice to be served," said Frances Janca, Nicole's mother.

KFDM News spoke with Clinton West's attorney before the grand jury indictment for murder.

Bruce Smith said the grand jury shouldn't indict his client for murder because Smith believes there's not sufficient evidence to indicate the offense was anything but a case of recklessness.

Bossier City, LA: Haltom lay in wait for his wife in car she didn't recognize

BOSSIER CITY -- Angela Haltom, the woman killed by her estranged husband outside the Bossier City church where she worked, spent the last three months in fear of her estranged husband, seeking a variety of legal channels to try to keep him away from her, court documents show.
Hours after she had gone to court on Tuesday to renew a protective order against her estranged husband, Mrs. Haltom, 44, was killed by a shotgun blast as she walked toward her car outside Bossier City's First Baptist Church, where she worked in the daycare.
Before she left the church, Mrs. Haltom had looked out the window to make sure her husband was not outside. But he was -- crouched down in a leased car she wouldn't recognize.
Allan Haltom, 45, then turned the gun on himself.
Court records show that over the past 12 weeks, Mrs. Haltom was threatened by her husband, filed for divorce, got two protective orders and asked sheriff's deputies to check on her:
-- Haltom, 45, was arrested for threatening his wife this past June after the couple separated. Bossier Parish sheriff's deputies said he lured her to their home in Dogwood on June 5 under the pretense she could get some personal belongings while he was at work. Haltom, who was hiding inside an armoire, burst out and held her, their teenage daughter, her boyfriend and another person at gunpoint, deputies said. He eventually released the others but kept his estranged wife inside the locked home with him. Haltom was arrested June 9 for assault and kidnapping, with bond set at $155,000.
-- Mrs. Haltom filed for divorce on June 6, citing the incident at their home and another one this past April in which she found a copy of a printout showing he had bought a handgun. She contacted the Sheriff's Department, which sent a deputy to check on her.
-- On June 9, she sought the protective order, which ordered Haltom to stay away from his estranged wife and their daughter. Attorneys for the couple later went to court and the protective order was extended to Aug. 30.
-- On June 10, Haltom's lawyer, Jarred Franklin of Bossier City, asked for a bond reduction, saying Haltom had ties to the community and was not a flight risk. Bossier District Judge Bruce Bolin granted it, setting bond at $20,000 with the conditions Haltom, who was retired from the Air Force, seek psychiatric evaluation at the VA Medical Center and also stay away from his wife. He was released from jail that day and went to the hospital.
The judge would not comment on his reasons for granting the bond reduction, which was done after a motion filed by the defense but without a hearing, court records indicate. Franklin did not return a call for comment.
Court records show the district attorney's office took no position on the bond reduction. D.A. Schuyler Marvin said Wednesday he had not been aware of the request to reduce bond.
-- Divorce papers were served on Haltom at the VA Medical Center on June 14. He was later released from the hospital. After his release he complied with orders to report to the sheriff's probation office, which was checking to make sure he obeyed conditions of his release. His last visit to a probation officer was this past Friday.
-- On Aug. 2, Haltom appeared in court in connection with the June 5 incident at their home. The D.A.'s office formally charged him with one count of aggravated assault, deciding not to prosecute him for kidnapping or assault on the other three people in the house.
-- On Tuesday, Mrs. Haltom went back to court to get a renewal of the protective order. It was extended until Nov. 15.
As Mrs. Haltom dealt with all those issues, friends said, she also was dealing with health problems affecting her mother, daughter and herself.

Ridgecrest, CA: Evening shooting on Norma Street leaves one dead; suspect apprehended

Ridgecrest, Calif. — Ridgecrest Police officers arrested a Ridgecrest man in connection with an alleged shooting Monday evening at trailer park in the 1500 block of North Norma Street.
Officers arrested Alexander Aguilera in the front lobby of the Ridgecrest Police Department shortly after 8 p.m. when he turned himself in.
He is charged with first-degree murder.
Officers responded to the scene shortly after 6 p.m. and found the deceased outside the trailer.
The victim was not identified as of press time.
Sgt. Justin Dampier said Aguilera was a resident of the trailer.
The shooting is believed to be a result of a domestic dispute between Aguilera, the deceased and a female. The female reportedly once resided at the trailer.
The vehicle, a Toyota pickup, which belonged to the female at the scene, was found in the desert area near Highway 395.
The investigation is ongoing, Dampier said.
Aguilera was booked into the Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield.
This was the third murder in the Indian Wells Valley in less than a year, dating back to a murder-suicide last October.
The second homicide occurred in Inyokern.

Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix man arrested in girlfriend's violent death

PHOENIX (AP) — A 20-year-old Phoenix man has been arrested on suspicion of beating and stabbing his girlfriend to death.

Phoenix police said they responded to an east Phoenix apartment to investigate unknown trouble on Tuesday morning.

When they arrived, a man identified as 20-year-old Jesus Ricardo Murrieta told them he got into a fight with his girlfriend and that she was dead inside the apartment.

Officers then found the 32-year-old woman's body. She had been stabbed and beaten to death.

Police say Murrieta admitted to killing her and was booked into Maricopa County jail on a first-degree murder charge.

Murrieta does not yet have an attorney.

Police did not know how long the two had been dating.

Orlando, FL: Deltona fatal stabbing victim had foreseen her fate; estranged husband charged

Investigators believe a Deltona woman found dead in a Longwood parking lot was murdered by her estranged husband, a Seminole County sheriff's official said Tuesday night.

Seminole County sheriff's investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Dwayne White, 40, of Orlando, charging him with first-degree murder, Seminole sheriff's Lt. James Clark said.

He was being held Tuesday night with no bail allowed at the Volusia County Branch Jail, a booking officer said.

Volusia deputies had arrested White on Monday in Orlando on several charges, including intimidating a witness, battery, robbery, strong-arm robbery and throwing a deadly missle. The Seminole charge was added Tuesday.

The body of Sarah Yvonne Rucker, 42, of Wellington Drive in Deltona was discovered in the parking lot of a Miami Subs at 2035 W. State Road 434 in Longwood at 5:38 a.m. Monday, said Seminole sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Cannaday.

Deputies responding to a suspicious-person call found Rucker, a surgical technician at Florida Hospital Altamonte, unresponsive in the parking lot about three miles from the hospital where she worked, officials said. Rucker was pronounced dead at the scene, Cannaday said.

Rucker died of several stab wounds to the neck and face, Clark said.

"There were many of them, so it was a very violent death with a sharp-edged weapon like a knife," Clark said.

White is the prime suspect because a couple hours before the killing he had been to Rucker's Wellington Drive home and attacked her, Clark said.

White fled from Rucker's home and investigators believe Rucker was in Seminole County for reasons yet unknown and ran into White. White then took Rucker to the Miami Subs, where the homicide was carried out, Clark said.

According to Volusia County Sheriff's Office reports, deputies have been to the Wellington Drive home in Deltona several times for domestic abuse incidents.

In February, Rucker pressed felony domestic battery charges against White. In that incident, Rucker became very scared White was going to kill her the next time he saw her after he head-butted her and tried to strangle her, investigators said.

"I'm as good as dead," Rucker told Volusia sheriff's investigators.

Rucker had redness and swelling to her wrist, neckline and cheek area where White head-butted her, investigators said.

On Monday, Volusia deputies said White came to Rucker's home at 1:57 a.m. and attacked her.

According to the report, White pushed Rucker to the ground and tried to hit her with a beer bottle but missed. White then fled from the home, Volusia deputies said.

A few hours later Rucker was found dead on State Road 434 in the parking lot of the sub shop, Seminole sheriff's investigators said.

Rucker had worked for more than 10 years at Florida Hospital Altamonte, said Ashley White, hospital spokeswoman.

"She was a member of our surgical team," White said.

Hospital officials issued a statement on Tuesday about Rucker's death.

"The Florida Hospital Altamonte family is grieving the unexpected and tragic loss of Sarah Rucker, a valued member of our surgical team. Sarah will be deeply missed as our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends during this difficult time," the statement reads.

No one was at Rucker's Wellington Drive home in Deltona on Tuesday and family members could not be reached.

A neighbor who did not want to give her name said Rucker was a very nice woman who always said hello.

"I was the first to go welcome her when she moved into her house she bought in 2004," the neighbor said.

Rucker was a hard worker and could be seen walking down the street at times in her hospital scrubs, the neighbor said.

She had two girls and two boys. Her oldest had just graduated high school and a second child had just started high school, the neighbor said.

"She was a very industrious lady who did well for kids," the neighbor said.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summerfield, NC: Sheriff: Summerfield Shooting Was Attempted Murder, Suicide

Summerfield, NC -- Investigators determined a shooting in Summerfield Saturday night was an attempted murder, suicide.

Rockingham County deputies responded to a house on Hunters Glen Road just before 9pm. When they arrived they found a man and woman both with gunshot wounds.

The woman, Tara Stratton Marshall, 40, told deputies that she woke up when she was shot. She said she then saw her husband, Gerald Scott Marshall, 42, turn the handgun on himself.

Deputies found Gerald Marshall dead with gunshot wounds to his upper body.

Tara Marshall was able to call 911 after the shooting. She had been shot in the lower body and arm. She is expected to survive.

Carbon County, UT: Identities released in alleged Carbon County murder-suicide

By bob mims

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published 1 hour ago
Updated 18 minutes ago Updated Aug 30, 2011 02:33PM
The Carbon County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday identified the victim and alleged perpetrator in an apparent murder-suicide that left the son of a prominent central Utah ranching family dead.

Sheriff James Cordova issued a statement identifying the victim of the Sunday night shooting as Tate Jensen, 31. His purported killer, believed to have shot himself to death, was identified as Jacob Milchak, 24.

The incident occurred at 10:57 p.m. Sunday at a residence on Wood Hill Road in Price. Deputies responding to a “shots fired” call found Jensen dead inside the home. Outside, a short distance away from the residence, deputies located Milchak, also dead, “with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Cordova said.

A woman inside the home apparently at the time of the initial shooting was able to flee to a nearby parking lot, where deputies found her uninjured. Cordova did not identify her.

The sheriff did not return phone calls Tuesday seeking comment beyond his prepared statement, which did not further detail the nature of the injuries sustained by Jensen and Milchak.

“The incident remains under investigation by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, although at this time the evidence indicates this incident is a murder-suicide,” the sheriff stated.

Jensen’s parents, Butch and Jeanie Jensen, own Tavaputs Ranch, a popular 10,000-acre working cattle operation and tourist attraction 50 miles east of Price. Tate Jensen worked at the ranch.

The family did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

Chapel Hill, NC: Authorities suspect murder-suicide in Chatham couple's deaths

Chapel Hill, N.C. — Chatham County authorities said Tuesday that they suspect a local man committed suicide Monday after killing his wife of more than 40 years.

Family members were concerned when they went to visit Earl Lee and Minnie Edwards at about 1:30 p.m. Monday and no one came to the door, authorities said. The couple was last seen on Sunday afternoon at church.

Paramedics were called to the house, at 370 Joe's Drive in northern Chatham County near Chapel Hill, and they found Earl Edwards, 65, dead in a bedroom, authorities said. Deputies then arrived and found Minnie Edwards, 67, dead in another room of the house.

“It appears Mr. Edwards took his own life with a firearm after ending the life of his wife,” Maj. Gary Blankenship of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “At this point, we have no reason to believe this case is anything but a murder-suicide.”

The bodies were transported UNC Hospitals for autopsies.

Mataire, LA: Couple killed in Metairie murder/suicide identified

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office has released the names of the husband and wife killed in a murder/suicide at a Metairie apartment complex Monday afternoon. The couple was identified as Yosaria and Francisco Fernandez, according to Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the department.

Deputies were called to the Windmill Creek Apartment Homes at 3501 Apollo Drive just before 3 p.m. after receiving reports of two people shot.

Investigators later determined that Francisco Fernandez, 32, approached his wife, Yosaria, 31, in the back parking lot of the complex where they both lived and shot her several times. He then turned the gun on himself.

Yosaria Fernandez was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Francisco Fernandez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Riverside, CA: Riverside police: Wife killed in front of 3 children


Past incidents of domestic violence preceded this weekend's fatal stabbing of a 38-year-old Riverside woman in front of her three children, a crime that led to the arrest of her husband, homicide detectives say.

Bernardino Leyva Mendez was arrested at 7:53 a.m. Saturday at the family home in the 6600 block of Chadbourne Avenue and booked for investigation of murder and the personal use of a weapon, jail records show. Mendez's bail is set at $1,005,000.

"He had made threats to kills his wife if she ever left him," Sgt. David Amador said Monday. "And she was in the process of leaving him, according to the kids."

Coroner's officials have not released the name of the victim, who died at Parkview Community Hospital less than an hour after the 7:45 a.m. attack in the city's La Sierra Acres area.

The couple's children are ages 15, 13 and 6.

Riverside County, CA: Police: RivCo Man Kills Girlfriend, Barricades Self in Home

A Jurupa Valley man who allegedly killed his girlfriend and barricaded himself inside his apartment for hours before authorities talked him out was behind bars Tuesday.

Roberto Rodriguez, 50, was taken into custody around noon Monday at his residence at 4041 Pedley Road, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

One of the suspect's neighbors called deputies to the location around 2 a.m., expressing concern for the welfare of the suspect's live-in girlfriend, said sheriff's Sgt. Todd Torrenti.

He said Rodriguez refused to speak to the deputies and bolted himself inside his apartment, at which point a SWAT unit was called in and began preparing to force its way into the residence.

"After a brief standoff, (Rodriguez) exited the residence peacefully and was taken into custody without further incident," the sergeant said.

During a search of the location, SWAT members found the victim "with several stab wounds and obviously deceased," he said.

The 42-year-old Mira Loma woman's identity was withheld pending notification of her family.

Rodriguez was booked into the downtown Riverside jail on suspicion of murder, according to jail records. He's being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Memphis, TN: CRIME REPORT: Memphis police charge 19-year-old man in girlfriend's murder

Memphis police have charged a 19-year-old man in the murder of a woman who was beaten, strangled and run over before police found her body in a car officers pursued on Sunday, according to a court affidavit.

Police charged Dimitrie W. Colbert, of Memphis, with first-degree murder. Colbert was held in Shelby County Jail without bond.

About 3:15 a.m. on Sunday, a Memphis police dispatcher received a call reporting that Colbert had killed his girlfriend, Janette Corria, 19, and put her body in the back of his 2007 Ford 500 at 262 Chelsea, according to the court document.

Police spotted the car driven by Colbert and a pursuit ended when the Ford wrecked at Winchester and North Lauderdale. Corria's body was in the rear passenger area of the car.

Colbert, according to the affidavit filed by a detective, described the woman's murder.

He said he had begun assaulting her in Shelby County and then drove across the Mississippi River to West Memphis, Ark., where she attempted to get out of the car and run.

Colbert recaptured her and drove to a remote area near Mound City Road and Interstate 55. After several attempts to kill her, he ran over her several times with the car, according to the affidavit. He placed her body in the car and drove back to 262 Chelsea, where the police pursuit began.

The Shelby County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that Corria died of blunt force trauma and strangulation.

Charlotte, NC: Man wanted for murder killed

A man believed to be a suspect in his girlfriend's murder Sunday night was killed in a gunfight early Monday morning in a trailer park in York county. The woman was shot lat Sunday night at 129 Midwood Lane south of Belmont. Christina McCall was found in her driveway suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Police was looking for Franklin Jamell White, McCall's boyfriend, whom they consdiered a person of interest in connection with her murder. Police reported that after the shhoting, White fled the scene and may have gone to the Rock Hill area.

Gaston County authorities reported White was in a gunfight with York County Sheriff's deputies on Drakeford Road in Lesslie SC around 11:25 Monday morning and was shot and killed. The York County Sheriff's office was asked to assist the Gaston County officers on a 'high risk arrest warrant'. York Couty SWAT officers were called to the scene to assist in the arrest before the shooting. A witness reported that she heard wha sounded like fireworks, and when she looked outside, she saw a deputy chasing someone. She then heard seven gunshots. The officers name has not been released.

Harbinger, NC: Currituck sheriff: Man aiming for dog shoots, kills girlfriend

A Currituck woman was shot and killed Monday in her home after her dog bit her boyfriend.

Thomas Paul O’Malley, 31, was charged with second-degree murder after Morgan Mackey, 26, was found dead at the Harbinger home the pair shared, said Lindsay Voorhees, spokeswoman for the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office. Mackey had been shot in the chest.

O’Malley was arrested outside the residence about 2 a.m. Monday without incident, Voorhees said.

O’Malley and Mackey were arguing when the dog, a German shepherd-Doberman mix, bit O’Malley on the arm. O’Malley aimed a gun at the dog, according to witnesses interviewed by police. Mackey was shot in the chest when she tried to keep the dog from getting shot, Voorhees said. The dog was not injured.

O’Malley is in custody under a $260,000 bond. His first court appearance is Wednesday.

Chester, PA: Chester shooting leaves 1 dead, 2 injured

Chesterfield County police say an apparent domestic dispute in Chester resulted in a shooting that left two women injured and a man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting occurred just before 11 a.m. Sunday at a home in the 2700 block of Executive Drive, immediately southwest of John Tyler Community College.

Officers found an 18-year-old woman with a gunshot wound coming out of the house. She was taken to VCU Medical Center, where she was in critical but stable condition today.

A 41-year-old woman who was found inside the house was also taken to VCU Medical Center, where she was in stable condition today.

Near the second victim, police found her husband, Abdul A. Evans, 43, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot. Police said the 18-year-old victim is Evans' daughter.

Police said they were continuing to investigate the matter today.

Columbia, SC: Man arrested for stabbing USC associate professor to death

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Police have arrested a man they believe murdered a University of South Carolina associate professor inside her home over the weekend.

Columbia police said Jennifer Lee Wilson, 36, was stabbed multiple times at her home on Monroe Street sometime between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Police were first called to the 3700 block of Monroe St. Saturday afternoon to investigate an argument. When officers arrived, they did not hear or see anything out of the ordinary, so they left.

On Sunday morning, police went back to the home around 11:00 a.m. after receiving another call from a concerned neighbor.

This time, police discovered Wilson's body and signs of a struggle. Investigators say Wilson was stabbed multiple times.

Police arrested Hank Hawes, 37, at the hospital on Sunday and charged him with murdering Wilson. Police said Hawes and Wilson were once a couple, but the relationship had ended and they did not live together.

"You don't expect that type of stuff to go one in your neighborhood," said one neighbor on Sunday. "It's scary"

Police said Wilson an associate professor of education at the University of South Carolina. According to her curriculum vitae, she had been employed there since 2005, and had just become tenured after only five years at USC

"Wilson was admired by colleagues and students for the difference that she made in the lives of children and teachers around the world," said College of Education Dead Lemuel Watson. "Although her life was cut short tragically, her contributions to literacy and teaching will live on in the achievements of the many students whose lives she touched."

"I've lost not only a great colleague, but a good person," commented Dr. Gloria Boutte, who said Wilson was full of life and loved her job.

"Her life's work was to try to figure out how to help people who want to be teachers to do so in a way that keeps them in the profession and a make a difference," added Dr. Ed Dickey.

Hawes is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. The incident remains under investigation.

Springfield, MO: Update: Man Charged in Springfield MO Stabbing Death

(Springfield, MO) -- A Springfield man is charged with murder following a stabbing Sunday afternoon.

Clarence L. Smith is charged with Second Degree Murder, two counts of Armed Criminal Action, and two counts of Assault.

The death happened just before 4 p.m. Sunday at 1331 W. Mount Vernon. That's where officers say they heard screams for help and located two injured females outside the home -- Misty Smith and Rhonda Cruse, who is Clarence's ex-girlfriend.

According to court documents, Misty had been stabbed severely in the leg.

When officers went inside, they found the body of Terry Brake, 39, on the kitchen floor. He was stabbed in the head, upper torso, and left shoulder.

Court documents (see below) allege Cruse told Clarence earlier in the day that she was in a relationship with Brake and that Clarence would need to move out move out by Monday or she'd be getting an ex-parte order of protection against him.

Clarence Smith was arrested following a brief interview with witnesses. He's held in Greene County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bond.

Police say he told them he "snapped" and stabbed Brake two times in the stomach area, but couldn't remember details about the incident. He then allegedly walked to a friend's house who lived across the street.

Police were at the home much of Sunday evening processing the crime scene and interviewing neighbors.

Article: Why Aren’t News Stories About “The Hurricane Killer” Calling It Domestic Violence?

While reading news reports this weekend about the hurricane that swept the East Coast, the phrase “the Hurricane Killer” caught my eye. With a moniker like that, I imagined some Jack The Ripper-esque figure killing people who were stuck in their flooded homes during or after Irene. But reading just one news story about Leonard John Egland, 37, who killed four people this weekend, I learned he wasn’t some random murderer at all but someone who knew his victims. Leonard John Egland killed his ex-wife, Carrie Egland, 36, of Chester, VA; her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s son, and his ex-mother-in-law, Barbara Ruehl, 66, of Doylestown, PA. That’s not a random act of violence; that’s domestic violence. Why, then, does news report after news report simply say “four people” were killed instead of acknowledging the specific nature of the crime?

I checked several news stories and each one reported the Hurricane Killer the same way: as if he were some random killer. USA Today didn’t mention the words “domestic violence,” “intimate partner violence,” or “domestic abuse”; neither did the Associated Press or the Philadelphia Inquirer. It boggles my mind that those words weren’t used anywhere in those articles, let alone in the headline.

Egland led police on a manhunt — supposedly hiding in people’s backyards — and fired at two officers, injuring them. People in parts of Bucks Country, Pennsylvania, were told to stay indoors until he was caught. I don’t disagree with those directives; that’s not what I’m criticizing. I’m criticizing the fact that the only people Egland killed were people he knew — not people at random — and yet news stories are reporting this like he was some sort of serial killer. Domestic violence needs to be labeled for what it is so people are aware of its pervasiveness. The Department of Justice has the facts: a woman is most likely to be injured a killed by someone she knows, not a stranger. According to the web site of the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women will be a victim of intimate partner violence in her lifetime and on average, more than three women and one man are killed by an intimate partner each day. That’s why semantics are important.

It’s terribly sad that four innocent people lost their lives this weekend, including a young boy. It’s also distressing that Egland had just returned from his third deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and may have needed a better support system in his life. (We will likely never know exactly what his problems were, because he committed suicide yesterday.)

But as we mourn the tragedy of this situation, let’s not forget to call it what it was: intimate partner violence.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Houston, TX: Husband, 81, arrested in wife's shooting death

An 81-year-old man has been accused in the shooting death of his 74-year-old wife who was found dead at a home in south Houston last night.

Johnny Walter Bass has been charged with murder in the death of his wife whose body was discovered at the home in the 3600 block of Willowood near Griggs about 9 p.m. Sunday, according to the Houston Police Department.

Police said the woman, whose name has not been released, died at the scene. She had been shot in the head. No other injuries were reported.

Police said officers were dispatched to the home on an emergency call about a welfare check after a family member said she had not heard from the couple in a while.

When officers knocked on the door, the man answered and told them everything was fine at the home, police said. Police said the officers asked him where his wife was and he told them she was in the bedroom in the bed because he had shot her Friday morning.

Officers found the woman's body lying on the bed. She had been shot.

Bass was taken into custody.

Lake Mack, FL: Lake County deputies shoot, kill suspect

LAKE MACK, Fla. -- Lake County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed a man following a domestic disturbance call.

Authorities say they first responded to a call from the wife of 46-year-old William Paul Hill on Saturday afternoon. Hill was not there where deputies arrived, but his wife invited them into their home, where they found seven firearms and 400 rounds of ammunition.

On Sunday, a neighbor called authorities to say Hill was at their home. Deputies arrived and ordered Hill, a convicted felon, to come out of the home.

Deputies say Hill came onto the porch and put a gun to his head. Sheriff spokesman John Herrell says Hill threatened deputies and they opened fire.

Hill was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

Dayton, OH: Neighbors Speak Out About Slain Wife

DAYTON -- According to police, a man had a history of domestic violence before he allegedly admitted to investigators that he killed his wife. However, Neighbors told News Center 7 that they did not know the couple had problems.

William Strickland, 73, is in the Montgomery County Jail on murder charges. Officers said Strickland told them that he stabbed his wife, 62-year-old Carolyn Strickland, to death with a large kitchen knife Saturday night after an argument at their home on Angier Drive in Dayton.

"I don't know what to say cause I was really surprised. Because, you know, I thought they had a good relationship. I was just surprised and shocked," said Ora Robinson. Robinson lives near the Strickland's home and said she use to bowl with Carolyn.

Police said they had been out to that home several times in the past. In fact, they had responded to a domestic call about a week ago. They said they arrested William and confiscated a handgun from him, but Carolyn chose not to press charges.

William Strickland is expected to go before a judge on Monday to answer to charges. An autopsy is scheduled to determine an exact cause of death.

Springfield, MO: Fatal stabbing investigated

A man was being questioned as a "person of interest" following the stabbing death of another man Sunday afternoon, police officials said.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, police were called to a two-story frame house in the 1300 block of West Mount Vernon Street, just east of Newton Avenue.

Springfield Police Cpl. Matt Brown said the man -- whose name was not released Sunday -- was being questioned about the incident, which is being investigated as a suspicious death.

"It's a possibility it could be upgraded to a homicide at some point," he said.

Officers who responded to the house right after the incident quickly started looking for a man wearing a dirty multi-colored top and camouflage pants. A person matching that description was found nearby a half-hour later.

Brown said because the investigation was in its early stages, he couldn't say much about what led to the man's death. The name, age and other information about the man weren't released Sunday.

But people who said they were inside the two-story frame house told the News-Leader that three people were stabbed during what they called a domestic dispute.

Ronda Cruse said she was in the house with her boyfriend when another man confronted the couple.

"He snapped," she said.

Cruse said her boyfriend was killed, and she and another person were also stabbed with a long knife.

By Sunday evening, members of the department's Criminal Investigation Division had taken over the crime scene from patrol officers.

For much of the late afternoon, a two-block stretch of Mount Vernon was closed to traffic as officers responded to the stabbing report and set up a perimeter around the house where the incident occurred.

Brown said he had information that at least one other person had suffered stab wounds, but he had no further information.

At one point, paramedics treated a woman who later emerged from an ambulance with bandages on her left leg.

As she sat in a chair, officers interviewed her.

Chesterfield, PA: UPDATE: Fort Lee captain kills 4 in Va., Pa., police say

An Army captain from Fort Lee apparently shot dead four people, including his former wife, in a weekend killing rampage in Chesterfield County and suburban Philadelphia followed by a manhunt during which two Pennsylvania officers were injured.

The soldier later committed suicide, authorities said.

Leonard John Egland, 37, a logistics officer at the sprawling military base south of Richmond, is believed to have killed his former wife, her boyfriend and his young son at a house in Chesterfield as well as his former mother-in-law, Barbara Reuhl, 66, in Bucks County, Pa., police said Sunday.

The Virginia victims were not immediately identified.

Egland had been in the Army nearly 20 years had been deployed to Afghanistan and possibly Iraq, said Lt. Randy Horowitz of the Chesterfield Police Department.

The three people found dead by police in a house in the 13100 block of Stockleigh Drive had been shot with a handgun, said Horowitz. He declined to provide details about the weapon or the number of times the victims had been shot.

On a tip from authorities in Pennsylvania, Chesterfield police went to the house Sunday shortly before 1 a.m. to "check the welfare of anyone at the Stockleigh Drive address," a written statement said. At the time, the Richmond area was reeling from Hurricane Irene.

"They had a crime scene up there that led back to our location," said Horowitz, referring to Pennsylvania police.

Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said Reuhl is believed to have been killed Saturday night.

Police discovered Egland's body in Jamison, Pa., along with a rifle, pistol and ammunition, Sunday about 3:40 p.m., more than 10 hours after the second of Egland's two armed encounters with officers. His body was turned over to the Bucks County coroner for final identification.

Also on Saturday night, police said, Egland flashed a handgun at a nurse or orderly at St. Luke's Hospital in Quakertown, Pa., after leaving behind his daughter - who is believed to be about 6 and was with him on the frantic drive from Virginia - along with a note. The hospital worker then called police, providing a description of Egland and his vehicle.

Around midnight, the vehicle was stopped by state and local police in Doylestown Township, Pa., Egland allegedly fired shots from a semi-automatic rifle, hitting a Doylestown officer in the arm, police said. A shot shattered a windshield, spraying glass in the face of another officer.

Egland's vehicle was seen again Sunday in Warwick Township, Pa. Officers took fire, but no one was hit, police said. At that point, police warned residents to stay in their homes and mobilized two SWAT teams. "I know just from the way the phones were ringing in the police station that it was causing a great deal of anxiety among our people, and for us as well," said Mark Goldberg, Warwick Township police chief. (804) 649-6814

Muskegon, MI: Muskegon murder-suicide under investigation; Woman's Facebook page carried frantic message moments before shooting

It was the red and blue lights flashing outside their Muskegon house about 4 a.m. Sunday that woke Melissa Hill and Oscar Tippins. They live just two houses from where Jesus Flores, 36, allegedly shot his wife, Jennifer Flores, 35, to death and then turned the gun on himself early Sunday morning, police say.

Hill and Tippins both said they did not hear gunfire, though they were asleep when the shooting occurred, which police said was about 3 a.m.

Officers were dispatched to the home at that time on a report of a shooting. Upon arriving, they were met by a 33-year-old witness who said he was at the home when his sister, Jennifer Flores, and her husband began arguing.

He told officers that during the argument, Jesus produced a handgun and shot Jennifer. The brother said that when his sister was shot, he turned to run from the house and heard more gunshots but he was not hit.

Based on that information, officers believed Jesus Flores was still in the home, armed and possibly barricaded. The Michigan State Police Emergency Services Team was called in to assist.

Hill, who has lived in her home on South Getty Street for 16 years, said she saw officers in SWAT gear walking around the Floreses' house as well as officers with police dogs in the area.

When she stepped out her front door to see what was happening, officers instructed her to go back into her house immediately.

Police continued to try and make contact with Jesus Flores, and after numerous attempts, the State Police Emergency Services Team entered the home and found the husband and wife dead from gunshot wounds.

"The circumstances leading up to the apparent murder/suicide are unknown at this time, and the investigation is continuing," according to a press release from Capt. Andy Olson.

Another neighbor, Michael Jenkins, said he had heard Jennifer and Jesus arguing recently, but "nothing violent" — "just typical married couple stuff."

A comment that has since been removed from Jennifer Flores' Facebook page showed a seemingly frantic post written by her from her cell phone about 2:50 a.m. Sunday — within minutes of when police said the shooting occurred.

It stated, "I tried I swear I [sic] just don't get it!!! God help me!! Cuz I swear o [sic] am gonna hurt this man....he is trying to send me to prison!!! I need my friends right now....please come get me out this guys have no idea where I'm at!!!"

A state of Michigan online database lists Jesus Flores as a Michigan Department of Corrections employee assigned to the Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon.

More than two hours after police arrived, about 6:15 a.m, Hill said she saw Jennifer Flores' mother crying and walking down the sidewalk away from the house where her daughter and son-in-law were killed.

"That's when I knew it was over," said Hill.

Jenkins said Jennifer and Jesus married about three months ago after a yearslong relationship. The newlyweds rented their home from Jennifer's parents, who bought the home and made repairs to it a few years ago.

"These are good people. We have always looked after each other," Jenkins said.

"I just don't understand this."

He said he has known the Flores family for 21 years, since he moved to S. Getty Street.

"This is not a bad neighborhood. Most of us have lived here for years," Jenkins said. "It's such a shame."

Orlando, FL: Cops: Man Found Dead After Barricading Self Inside Home

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A man accused of stabbing a woman was found dead after barricading himself inside a home with a gun during a standoff in Orlando, according to police.

The standoff ended early Monday morning after a SWAT team entered the home on Beacon Street and found the man dead inside.

Police said the incident started after a woman showed up at Orlando Regional Medical Center, suffering from a stab wound.

Police said they then went to the home on Beacon Street where the suspect in the stabbing was located. They said they tried to get the man to come outside, but after no response, several canisters of tear gas were thrown into the home. A SWAT team entered and found the man dead.

Police said they believe he killed himself.

"Unfortunately, they did find a male deceased inside," said Lt. Barb Jones, of the Orlando Police Department. "Most likely self-inflicted."

Police did not give any details about the relationship between the man and the woman, but neighbors told WFTV that they think they were a couple. Neighbors also said they believe the man had children.

"I'm very shocked at all of it. Very surprised because he just doesn't strike me of being this type of person," said Joyce Pugh.

Neighbors were told to stay inside their homes during the standoff.

The woman is still being treated at ORMC, according to police. Her name and condition have not been released.

Police have not released the name of the man. No further details are available at this time.

Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis man dies after stabbing

A man died after he was stabbed early Sunday at a north Minneapolis home, and a woman stabbed at the same residence was taken into custody, authorities said.

The bloodshed was reported to police at about 2:40 a.m. at a home in the 2200 block of Girard Avenue N., according to police.

The man and woman were both taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where he died, police said. His death marked the city's 20th homicide of the year and the first of two on Sunday.

The woman, 32, a resident of the home where the stabbings occurred, was booked into the Hennepin County jail late Sunday and held without bail on suspicion of murder.

Neighbor Shanell Stanback said that the woman had knocked on her door early Sunday asking for help. "He's over here beating on me, and I stabbed him," the woman told Stanback.

The woman's shirt was torn, part of her face was swollen and she had blood on her clothes, Stanback said.

On Sunday afternoon, a trail of blood still remained on Stanback's front steps.

Stanback said her children and the woman's kids often played together. "She's a nice lady," Stanback said.

A police incident report identified the man who was fatally stabbed as Devric D. Hughes, 36, of Minneapolis, who lived about 2 miles north of where he was wounded.

Hughes was "found ... bleeding from the back and kneeling next to a vehicle parked in the driveway," the police report read.

Police Sgt. Stephen McCarty said that it appears that the stabbings were the result of a relationship dispute, although nothing official has been determined.

Anaheim, CA: Boyfriend arrested after woman shot dead

ANAHEIM – The boyfriend of the woman shot to death in a home on Saturday has been arrested on suspicion of killing her and anyone with information on the case is asked to call authorities, Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said Sunday.

Officers responded to reports of gunfire at a residence in the 2100 block of East Banyan Street in Anaheim at about 2:29 p.m. and arrived to find Nicole Gutierrez, 20, with at least one gunshot wound.

Emergency personnel pronounced her dead at the scene.

The initial investigation indicated that Gutierrez's boyfriend, Samuel Oscar Montes, 20, had been at the scene at the time of the shooting but fled before emergency personnel arrived, Dunn said.

Officers later contacted, interviewed, arrested and booked Montes on suspicion of murdering Gutierrez, Dunn said.

Montes remains in custody at Central Jail in Santa Ana in lieu of $1 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, online records show.

Full details of the incident are still under investigation, Dunn said.

Anyone with additional information regarding the death is asked to call detectives at 714-765-1944.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

San Jose, CA: Police seek transient in connection with murder case

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose police are searching today for a transient suspected of killing a woman found dead in a Whitton Avenue home on Friday.

The woman, who has been identified as Irma Campos, a 52-year-old San Jose resident, was found dead in a home on the 1200 block of Whitton Avenue just after 11 a.m. on Friday. She was found there by another woman, who reported the death to a nearby fire station.

Police now believe Campos was killed in a domestic-violence related incident, and are searching for 55-year-old Juan Osornio Martinez in connection with her death, according to Sgt. Jason Dwyer. Martinez is homeless, and known to frequent the downtown San Jose area.

Campos is San Jose's 29th homicide victim this year.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call Detective Sgt. Merlin Newtin or Detective Juan Vallejo at (408) 277-5283. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867) or visit

Article: Murder-suicide reflects rise in domestic abuse

The Wichita Eagle
A murder-suicide that left a 6-year-old girl dead is part of a trend of increasing domestic violence in Wichita, a police official says.
Reimy Rivera had been asleep at home early Thursday when her mother's ex-boyfriend kicked in a door and started going from room to room shooting, killing the girl. The man wounded three other people in the house before killing himself.
With Reimy's death, Wichita now has six domestic-violence homicides this year, matching the total number for all of last year, police Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said. Domestic-violence deaths account for about one-third of the 19 homicides this year.
Domestic violence already has increased this year in three other categories of crimes that police track, Stolz said.
* Through mid-August, domestic violence aggravated batteries stood at 157, compared with 118 for the same period last year.
* Domestic violence aggravated assaults are at 113 through mid-August, compared with 98 last year.
* Domestic violence simple assaults — involving less serious injuries — are at 4,161 through July, compared with 3,672 at the same point last year.
The trend makes Wichita police wonder if the pressure that comes with a troubled economy is a factor in some of the domestic violence, Stolz said.
Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, puts it this way: "A bad economy doesn't cause domestic violence, but... it's like throwing gasoline on a fire."
The coalition doesn't have recent statewide statistics to cite but is hearing of rising domestic-violence numbers and a worsening degree of violence around the state, Grover said.
The most recent state data, from 2008 and 2009, indicates that domestic violence was worsening. In 2008, the state recorded 19 domestic violence homicides; the number nearly doubled — to 35 such homicides — in 2009. And that number didn't include child homicides related to domestic violence.
There also was a significant increase in the number of domestic-violence-related incidents reported to police statewide — from 21,500 in 2008 to 23,864 in 2009. Domestic violence is an underreported crime, Grover said.
Assessing a threat
Thursday's shooting rampage in southwest Wichita is a reminder of the toll that domestic violence can take.
Police said that Joel Humberto Corrales-Vega, 37, kicked in the door of the house in the 2300 block of South Stoney Point and began shooting with a semi-automatic handgun.
It appears that Corrales-Vega shot the girls' 56-year-old grandmother, then their mother, then the girls, said Wichita police Lt. Ken Landwehr. The children had been in bed.
Corrales-Vega then shot himself once in the head.
All of the victims except the mother, who was shot in the leg, had multiple wounds. Morales' younger daughter — 6-year-old Reimy Rivera — and Corrales-Vega died at the scene. Morales' 9-year-old daughter, Dayanara Rivera, was severely wounded, but her condition appeared to be improving, police said. The two women were in better condition than the girl.
According to police and a federal court document, Corrales-Vega, from Mexico, was convicted in 2006 of felony aggravated assault in Maricopa County, Ariz., and had been deported twice from the United States.
In Wichita, he had been involved for about two months with 30-year-old Gloria Morales, police said. Corrales-Vega, Morales and her two daughters, ages 9 and 6, recently went to Disneyland in California. At some point, the couple broke up.
The couple had argued, and he threatened the family by phone a little more than four hours before the shooting. The threat was not reported to police.
Stolz, the deputy chief, said police want people to report threats, adding, "we like to intervene from the front end."
But even if a threat is reported, it doesn't guarantee that police can take action, especially immediate action, against a suspect, he said.
And in Thursday's murder-suicide, it's not clear whether police would have had grounds to arrest Corrales-Vega if they had known of the threat, Stolz said. Although Corrales-Vega had talked to officers about an hour to two hours before making the threat, that contact with police involved an apparently unrelated matter. And at the time, he was on the move, having checked into a motel.
It would have been the "luck of the draw whether police run into him" again, Stolz said.
"The bottom line," he said, "is let's not try to blame anyone else for this crime but" the person firing the gun.
"He is 100 percent responsible. This woman and her children ... are in no way to blame for this," Stolz said.
Far too often, people second-guess the actions or inactions of victims, and it's not fair, said Stacey Mann, executive director of YWCA Wichita.
Leaving abusive relationships
It's not unusual for children to be targeted in domestic violence, Mann said.
The abuser "will often target the children because it is a direct tie to mom," Mann said.
The children become leverage.
In the worst attacks, Mann said, it's "not uncommon for children to be murdered first or in front of mom" — the attacker's way to hurt the mother in the worst way.
It's not clear whether the economy had anything to do with the most recent attack, but in general, economic woes are having a pronounced effect, Mann said.
The demand for help is constant. The YWCA shelter in Wichita has 27 beds, "and it's full all the time," Mann said. "We unfortunately have to turn women away from our shelter," she said, although the YWCA tries to assist them in finding safe, affordable housing.
But all programs, including churches and food pantries, have fewer resources to help abused women, she said.
It all combines to make some women feel trapped in their abusive relationships.
The abuser, she said, feels empowered to tell the woman: "I can do whatever I want, because you have no place to go."
As much as women might need to leave abusive relationships, they have to use some caution and planning in breaking off the relationship, because the risk to them skyrockets when they are trying to leave, Mann said.
The YWCA urges women to get help from programs so they can safely make the transition to a new living arrangement.
The message, she said, is "Call us ... . Please reach out for help so you have a better idea of what might be available."

Port Orange, FL: : Police: Port Orange Man Shoots Wife, Kills Self

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- A man shot his wife and then shot and killed himself in Port Orange late Friday night, police said.
Investigators said Will Spencer shot Karen Hopson in the leg before shooting himself at about 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Hopson was taken to Halifax Medical Center. Her injuries were not life-threatening, police said.
Spencer was pronounced dead at the couple's home at 121 Wimbledon Court.
The incident was under investigation, police said.

Reno, NV: Doctor who kidnapped ex-wife charged with murder

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A former Carson City emergency room doctor sentenced for drugging and kidnapping his ex-wife from her Utah home is now facing murder charges in Arkansas in the death of the woman's previous husband and an associate.

The Reno Gazette-Journal ( first reported on its website Friday that authorities in Conway, Ark., will seek extradition of Richard Conte to face murder charges in the May 2002 deaths Carter Elliott, 49, and his employee, Timothy Robertson, 25.

It wasn't immediately clear if a court hearing was scheduled.

Conte, 61, is scheduled to be released from a Nevada prison Sunday, the newspaper reported. He pleaded guilty in Nevada and was sentenced to 15 years for kidnapping Lark Gathright-Elliott at her Salt Lake City home in 2002.

As part of a plea agreement, Conte agreed to forfeit more than 100 weapons and other items, including handguns, rifles, knives, Taser guns, a grenade and grenade launcher, court documents show.

Authorities say he drugged and bound her in the back of his pickup truck and drove to his home in northern Douglas County, where he held her hostage until she was rescued by sheriff's deputies after they were notified by Elliott's relatives in Utah.

Conte and Gathright-Elliott were married in Dec. 2001, but the marriage lasted only a few months.

The kidnapping happened about a month after authorities said Carter Elliott and Robertson were killed.

Cody Hiland, prosecuting attorney in Arkansas' 12th Judicial District that includes Conway, told the Gazette-Journal that capital murder charges were filed Friday.

"This is an extensive file and obviously a serious issue. We had to examine it to determine whether prosecution was warranted," Hiland told the newspaper.

Orrville, OH: Blunt impact, strangulation, wound Coroner reports on cause of death in suspected murder of Orrville woman

ORRVILLE -- An Orrville woman found dead in her home at 520 McGill St. on May 5 died of strangulation, blunt impacts to the head and sharp injury to the upper body, according to the Wayne County coroner's report.

According to the written report of Dr. Amy Jolliff, coroner, Jamie Hout's primary cause of death was strangulation. Although the report notes weapons were used, the Orrville Police Department declined to comment about the weapons used and collected at the crime scene.

Hout was found on the far side of the living room, face down, wearing a tank top and socks. A large amount of dried blood was found beneath her head. There was a 14-hour delay before the body was removed from the scene due to the collection of trace evidence. The body was continuously guarded by the Orrville Police Department and the Coroner's office throughout that time.

The report notes Hout had a medical history of drug abuse, and cocaine and Benzoylecgonine were found in her system.

Lonnie Troy Brown Jr., 48, of 7421 Back Orrville Road, Orrville, was arrested May 16 and charged in the death of Hout. Brown is the man who reported finding Hout dead to Orrville Police.

Brown pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and murder. If convicted, Brown faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life without parole.

Brown remains in the custody at the Wayne County jail. Common Pleas Judge Corey Spitler set bond at 10 percent of $500,000. Brown is being represented by attorney Wayne Graham.

According to Orrville Police reports, Brown said he went to Hout's home because he was concerned when he hadn't heard from her for a few days. He told police, according to reports, he found her dead body and went to a neighbor's home to ask that the police be called.

Orrville Police Chief Dino Carozza said previously police believe Brown may have remained inside the house after killing Hout, whose time of death is believed to be about 1 a.m. May 5, according to the Wayne County Coroner's report. Brown contacted authorities at about 7:20 p.m.

Carozza said previously that evidence recovered from Brown's residence, along with that gathered at the crime scene, link Brown to the killing.

Currently, Brown's case is set for a jury trial Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. in Spitler's courtroom.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Merced County, CA: Victim, suspect identified in Tuesday's murder-suicide

The suspect and victim in Tuesday’s murder-suicide have been identified as 23-year-old Jenny Moua and 22-year-old Shue Xiong, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies responded to the 400 block of East Gerard Avenue and found the victim dead from several gunshot wounds.
Sheriff deputies said the victim and suspect had a dispute in the street. The suspect drove away and returned and shot the victim over the shoulder of a witness, then drove off. Sheriff Mark Pazin said a neighbor tried to intercede before the shooting happened, but was unsuccessful.

The suspect fled the scene after the shooting, and turned up in Fresno in the area of Sierra Vista and Shields. The suspect informed a family member of what he’d done. Although the family member tried to negotiate with him, the suspect fatally shot himself in the head, Pazin said.
They would break up and get back together, according to a neighbor at the scene, who was a friend of the victim’s family and asked to remain anonymous. Moua and Xiong have two children together.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call the Merced County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit at (209) 385-7472. Tips are kept confidential, and callers can remain anonymous.

Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville man charged in wife's death

The estranged husband of a Fruit Cove woman who was shot to death nearly three months ago has been charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Sean A. Bush, 42, of 5142 Attleboro St., Jacksonville, was arrested at his home Friday, charged with killing Nicole Elise Bush, 35, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office described Bush as having been a "person of interest" all along.

A press releases said officers got an arrest warrant late Friday afternoon "following the execution of several search warrants and the results of DNA testing."

The arrest was made by St. Johns County Robbery/Homicide detectives, investigators with the State Attorney's Office Homicide Investigations Unit (HIU) and the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Bush reportedly was brought to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for questioning.

He was being booked into the Duval County jail Friday evening, since that is the jurisdiction where he was arrested.

He will be brought to St. Johns County later.

Deputies responded to a 911 call shortly before 7 a.m. on May 31. The caller said officers should check on a woman at a townhome in the 800 block of Southern Creek Drive.

When deputies arrived, they found the victim had been shot several times and had other trauma, which has not been identified.

She was treated at the scene by County Rescue Personnel and then taken by air ambulance to Shands/Jacksonville, where she later died.

A Sheriff's Office spokesman at the time said the 911 call had not been made inside the home and described it as "suspicious."

An autopsy was conducted at the District 4 Medical Examiner's Office in Jacksonville, according to the SJCSO press release.

Death was determined to be severe blood loss resulting from multiple injuries that included gunshots, blunt force and stab wounds.

"I am especially relieved to get the suspect of this brutal homicide off the streets and to finally give the family of Nicole Bush some closure to this horrific crime," St. Johns Sheriff David Shoar said Friday.

Goffstown, NH: Goffstown police: Man killed self after trying to kill wife

GOFFSTOWN – A local man killed himself early Friday after trying to kill his wife, Goffstown police said.

Police said Marcel Lavoie, 59, of Goldfinch Road, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. They said they responded to his home at 12:22 a.m. Friday after receiving a report of a victim with a gunshot wound.

Lavoie's wife, whose name was not provided by police, was found in the house with a gunshot wound to her shoulder and a cut to her neck. The woman, who was taken to Elliot Hospital in Manchester for treatment, told police that Lavoie was armed with a shotgun when he entered the bedroom.

Police said they were told that Lavoie “was still in the house and armed.” They entered the home and found him dead, according to a release.

Grants Pass, OR: Man gets life for stabbing girlfriend

GRANTS PASS — A 26-year-old Grants Pass man has been sentenced to life in prison on an aggravated murder charge for stabbing his 17-year-old girlfriend 220 times.

Nathaniel Geith pleaded guilty Thursday but didn’t explain why he killed Savanna Albertson.

Police said he apparently had used methamphetamine. He told investigators after the June 2010 killing that Albertson came at him with a knife, and he snapped and “went psycho.”

At first, authorities said that Albertson was stabbed 33 times, but prosecutor Lisa Turner said an autopsy showed the much higher number of wounds.

Portland, OR: Dispute led to stabbing death of Northwest Portland man, another man charged with murder

A dispute that led to the stabbing death of a 40-year-old Northwest Portland man happened as his girlfriend was moving out of his apartment, according to a probable cause affidavit released earlier this month.

Mark Edward Olson was found suffering from stab wounds just after 6 a.m. on Aug. 7 in his apartment at 2151 N.W. Johnson St., in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Northwest Portland. Olson died a week later.
In the time leading up to the stabbing, Olson’s girlfriend Heather Billington packed her belongings in the apartment the couple shared and planned to move out, according to the affidavit. She told police problems had arisen in their relationship, prompting her to move out.
Billington asked David Arnold Black, 26, and Michael Alfred McCord, 39, to assist her with moving boxes out of the apartment in exchange for $30. The three then went to the apartment, and Olson arrived there at the same time.
Olson and the other three reportedly exchanged words, and McCord and Black followed Olson into the kitchen. Billington then reported hearing loud noises and scuffling coming from the kitchen. A short time later, McCord and Black fled out a living room window and down a fire escape.
When Billington went to find Olson, she said his chest was bleeding, he was holding a butcher knife, and told her, "Babe, they hurt me real bad." Olson then called 9-1-1 for help and reported he had been stabbed by "them."
Olson then lost consciousness and was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. He died a week later, after the affidavit was written.
McCord and Black were arrested two days after Olson was stabbed as they rode bicycles past a Portland Police Bureau officer patrolling Jantzen Beach. The officer recognized the two as suspects in the stabbing and arrested them.
When they were arrested, McCord and Black were both charged with attempted murder, first degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of methamphetamine. When they were arrested, police reportedly found several bags of methamphetamine on both McCord and Black.
However, after Olson died, those charges were dropped. Black is now charged with first degree murder, possession of methamphetamine, tampering with physical evidence, unlawful use of a weapon and with being a felon in possession of a weapon. He is being held in the Multnomah County jail without bail.
McCord is now charged with tampering with physical evidence and two counts of possession of methamphetamine. He is also in the Multnomah County jail with his total bail set at $51,944.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wichita, KS: Police say gunman in murder-suicide may have been on meth

WICHITA — Valentin Vega-Soto may have been under the influence of methamphetamine — or other drugs — when he kicked in the door to his ex-girlfriend's house early Thursday morning in southwest Wichita and shot her, her two young girls and her mother-in-law, police said today.

Vega-Soto, 36, then turned the gun on himself in the hallway next to the girls' bedroom door at 2314 S. Stoney Point, south of Kellogg and west of Maize Road, Lt. Ken Landwehr said.

Reimy Rivera, 6, was killed by multiple shots from Vega-Soto's large caliber handgun, Landwehr said. Her older sister, 9-year-old Dayanara Rivera, is in "very guarded" condition and on a ventilator at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, he said.

"She has improved," Landwehr said of the wounded child, who has occasionally awakened and been responsive in the hospital.

Her mother and grandmother, identified in police records as Gloria Morales, 30, and Elana Demeritus, 56, are both expected to survive their injuries, he said.

Vega-Soto fired at least nine shots during his rampage, Landwehr said, which began just after 3:20 a.m. He had called Morales at about 11 p.m. the previous night and threatened to come over and kill them all, police have said.

He arrived a little more than four hours later in his beige Cadillac Escalade, blocking the driveway of the house.

Demeritus was his first target, Landwehr said. She was shot several times, including at least once in her chest.

Vega-Soto then shot Morales once in the leg. He then went to the bedroom shared by the young girls and shot each of them several times in their beds, before turning the gun on himself.

Morales' 38-year-old brother was asleep in the basement when Vega-Soto arrived. By the time he came upstairs to see what had happened, Landwehr said, it was all over.

Investigators aren't sure yet of Vega-Soto's motive, Landwehr said.

Morales and Vega-Soto met about two months ago and began dating — including going to Disneyland with Reimy and Dayanara — but the relationship ended soon after their return, police have said.

Vega-Soto, who worked in construction, stayed for a while at a house at 832 S. Richmond owned by Morales, Landwehr said today. At the time of the shooting, however, he was living in a hotel on North Broadway.

Investigators found about an ounce of meth in Vega-Soto's SUV after the shooting, Landwehr said. A toxicology screen is being conducted to see if he was under the influence of meth or other substances at the time of the shooting.

He did not appear to be impaired when he spoke to police officers in the parking lot of St. Francis shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, Landwehr said. He had called 911 to report that he thought two men were following him, and at least one of them was armed.

Officers found him and talked to him in the hospital parking lot, Landwehr said, but found no evidence to support his claim.

Investigators hope to talk to the grandmother today to learn more about the events surrounding the shooting, he said.

San Diego, CA: Identities confirmed in El Cajon murder-suicide

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Authorities confirmed Friday the identities of three people killed in last weekend's violence in El Cajon, where a police officer was shot and wounded and a house was burned to the ground.

The deceased were identified as 32-year-old Kevin Collier, his 14-month- old daughter, Rhilee Jean Collier, and his 51-year-old mother-in-law, Beverli Rakov.

All three died from gunshot wounds to the head, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office reported. Rakov and Rhilee's deaths were confirmed as homicides and Collier's death was ruled a suicide.

Collier texted friends that he had killed the child and his mother- in- law, El Cajon police said.

According to court records, Collier's wife, Alyssa, filed paperwork recently to end their year-and-a-half-long marriage and asked for custody of their daughter.

Police were called to a house in the 1000 block of Prince Street Sunday to investigate a report that a gunman had set the house on fire.

The gunman fired several shots at responding officers, striking Officer Jarred Slocum in the head, according to an El Cajon Police Department statement. The wounded officer's partner pulled him out of the line of fire with the help of a resident. Slocum remains hospitalized.

The residence became fully engulfed. Two bodies were later found in the debris. A child's body was found in a pickup truck.

The house burned to the ground despite water drops from helicopters, and neighboring homes were evacuated.

Monterey, CA: Man gets 15 years to life for helping plan murder

Francisco Agaton-Hernandez was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after being convicted of helping plan the strangulation of his former boss' girlfriend.

Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney for Agaton-Hernandez say Victor Cabrera strangled Roshni Singh, his 43-year-old girlfriend, between midnight and 2 a.m. Sept. 28, 2008. Cabrera is a fugitive, believed to be in Mexico. Agaton-Hernandez helped plan the slaying, solicited the help of a third man, abandoned the victim's body in her car at a Monterey apartment building, then bragged about the killing to a taxi driver, according to testimony and evidence presented in the case.

Agaton-Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder for financial gain, a special circumstance that could have put him in prison for life without parole. The father of three, however, waived his right to a jury in May on the condition that he would be convicted of no greater than second-degree murder.

Spartanburg, SC: Man once on death row for killing ex-girlfriend in Spartanburg now gets life in her slaying

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A man once put on death row for killing his ex-girlfriend will now serve a life sentence instead for the slaying.

Prosecutors said a judge decided Thursday that 39-year-old Jimmy Locklair should spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing Tammy Bridges in April 1995.

Locklair is already serving a life sentence for killing Christopher Jones, the father of Bridges' baby. He was out on bond in Jones' death when he killed Bridges.

Bridges' family says they accepted the life sentence because they wanted to resolve the case.

Locklair's death sentence was overturned in 2006 after a judge ruled his defense attorney hurt him by failing to reveal one of the trial witnesses was also one of his clients.

Palm Harbor, FL: Detectives: Estranged Girlfriend Shot Man

Pinellas County sheriff's detectives say an argument between a Palm Harbor man and his estranged girlfriend came to a deadly end after the man pulled out a gun during the confrontation.

About 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call about an armed person at 4002 Poinciana Court and found Eduardo Quesada, 66, had been shot in the upper body.

Quesada was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:14 p.m.

Detectives say Raquel Pagan, 58, was at the home when they arrived. She told them she shot Quesada after he pulled out a gun during an argument. Deputies say they recovered a .357 magnum revolver at the home.

Investigators say the pair had dated off and on for the past seven years and Pagan had recently moved out of the home. They say the argument may have been related to Quesada wanting Pagan to move back into his home.

No charges have been filed at this time. Detectives are continuing to investigate the shooting.

Jefferson, TX: Man Convicted Of Killing Daughter's Estranged Boyfriend

JEFFERSON, Texas -- An East Texas jury Thursday afternoon found a man guilty of murdering his daughter's estranged boyfriend, concluding the shooting was not done in self-defense.

The Marion County jury deliberated more than two hours before convicting 49-year-old Troy Long in the slaying of Donte Mitchell, who was shot with a shotgun this past May during a confrontation at Long's home.

The penalty phase of the trial is next and begins at 9 a.m. Friday. The jury will decide Long's sentence.

Prosecutors said Long intended to kill the 24-year-old Mitchell. In a statement to Marion County investigators, Long said he "had to do something" because black people were always in his house, prosecutors said. Long is white and the victim was black.

The defense said Mitchell had threatened Long with a gun the night before the fatal shooting. Mitchell did not have a gun the night he was killed, the defense conceded, but Long feared he did.

Marion County sheriff's investigators said Mitchell had been at Long's house earlier and had taken a rifle from the house.

Okanogan, WA: Two dead, one injured in Okanogan shooting

OKANOGAN - Two women are dead and another hospitalized at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane after an apparent murder-suicide Thursday, Aug. 25.
The Okanogan County Sheriff's Office was notified shortly after 5 p.m. of three shots fired at 522 N. Second Ave. One female victim was found alive at the scene along with the bodies of two other women.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers declined to confirm the names of the shooter and victims, pending notification of next of kin. But neighbors identified the three women as housemates Shelly Payton and Rene Minard, and friend Catrina Fling of Riverside.
Neighbors said Payton's teenage son, Anthony, was at football practice at the time of the shooting.
Friends of those involved say Fling was the lone survivor.
Payton and Fling worked at Wal-Mart, neighbors said. Minard was the manager at Caso's grocery store and provided karaoke entertainment in the area.
A few neighbors near the crime scene were crying and others hugging. A lot were on the telephone telling friends and relatives of what they've seen and heard.
According to those neighbors, Minard and Payton had a tenuous romantic relationship that had ended some time ago. Minard wanted to move out, and told Payton so that afternoon.
Fling, a good friend of the couple, apparently attempted to intervene when Payton, who has a military background, allegedly shot Fling in the abdomen, neighbors said. Payton then allegedly shot Minard before turning the gun on herself.
Rogers declined to confirm statements made by neighbors and the shooting remained under investigation Thursday night.
Rogers did confirm that one victim was found dead at the scene. The second victim and suspect were transported to Mid-Valley Hospital.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the hospital and the second victim airlifted out of the area, he said.
Minard's friends at The Cariboo Inn were in shock.
"I passed the ambulance on my way out and I was, like, 'What in the world?'" said Mike Kostic, manager of The Cariboo Inn, where Minard spun karaoke records.
"I came back here and told them to shut the bar down," he said. "We closed down early because nobody really wanted to work."
The Cariboo turned into a makeshift memorial Thursday night as friends and family gathered to reflect on the day's events.
"She was the nicest person I ever met," Kostic said. "She just had a big heart. It's really a shame. We were in shock. Nobody here really expected it."
Neighbors said Payton's son is staying with family friends for the time being.

Salt Lake City, UT: Appeals court reverses murder conviction in 1996 murder

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals ordered Thursday that a man convicted of murder in the 1996 slaying of his fiancĂ©e should be given a new trial.

A jury found Billy Justin Charles, 35, guilty in 2009 — almost 13 years after Jamie Ellen Weiss, 18, was found dead in the bathtub of the couple's mobile home.

The couple was to have been married the next day.

Police were called out to the home on a report of a drowning, but an autopsy later showed Weiss died as a result of blunt-force trauma and asphyxiation.

Weiss' death was deemed a homicide in 1996 but no arrests were made until the case was reopened in 2007 and Charles was charged with murder, a first-degree felony.

But the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and remanded the case for a new trial.

"We see no due process violation here based on either the state’s delay in charging defendant or its methods of investigation," the court ruling states. "However, considering the circumstantial nature of the evidence upon which defendant was convicted and the cumulative effect of defense counsel’s errors, we think there is a reasonable probability that, absent the errors, the jury would have had a reasonable doubt about his guilt."

The ruling, penned by Judge Gregory Orme, pointed to evidence of the ineffective assistance of counsel claim because attorneys apparently failed to present witnesses and evidence that could have corroborated Charles' story — that Weiss had been alive when he left for work the day she was killed and had helped him start his truck, which at times required two people to start.

"Although each piece of evidence described above is not, by itself, overwhelmingly suggestive of defendant’s innocence, taken together this evidence undermines our confidence in the jury’s verdict," Orme wrote.

He went on to say that the delay in filing the case also pointed to weak evidence. "Looking at the big picture, the 11-year delay in bringing charges against defendant indicates that the state was trying to find more evidence against him which, in turn, indicates that it believed the case was not particularly strong."

Assistant attorney general Ryan Tenney disagreed with the court, saying it simply took longer to get the "very solid" evidence prosecutors presented at trial, including a jailhouse confession from a distant relative.

"The witnesses that they're talking about in the opinion had decidedly ambiguous testimony," Tenney said. "When you look at that ambiguity and put in the context of all the evidence against the defendant … it wouldn’t have mattered.

The Utah Attorney General's Office will consider an appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.

"We're very disappointed in the ruling," Tenney said. "We think that the court of appeals got it wrong. We think the conviction was a good one and should have stood."

Troy Booher, who handled the appeals for Charles, said his client was "very happy" with the court's ruling and looked forward to presenting his case to a new jury.

"I think (the court of appeals) reached the right result in the case," Booher said. "The evidence is thin enough that you really need to have a trial where all of the evidence is presented and trial counsel does exactly the right job."

Wewahitchka, FL: Gulf County Sheriff's investigators identify the two people killed in apparent murder-suicide

Wewahitchka - Gulf County Sheriff's investigators have now identified two people found dead in a Wewahitchka home this afternoon. They believe it is a murder-suicide case, brought on by a domestic dispute. Gulf County Sheriff's investigators say the 2 dead people are 40-year-old Oscar David Redd Jr. and his 40-year-old wife Patricia Redd.

Gulf County Sheriff's investigators believe the shootings happened sometime between noon and 1:00 Thursday afternoon at this home about 2 miles south of Wewahitchka on Highway 71. They believe David Redd, Jr. and his wife Patricia got into an argument. They say he pulled a gun, shot and killed her, then shot and killed himself.

A family friend, who was planning to pick up David Redd to help with some odd jobs, arrived at their house about an hour and a half after the shooting. "Some friends had come by the house, they had walked in the back door and found the wife apparently deceased in the kitchen area. They left and called us and when we arrived the husband was found deceased in the living room area," said Gulf County Sheriff Joe Nugent. Investigators say they found a gun under David Redd's body.

News of the shootings shocked the normally quiet town of Wewahitchka. "It's really tragic what happened. I can't believe it. I mean it's just terrible, who would do something like that? It's just terrible. Down here in Wewa, you just don't here of stories like that," said Patricia Hidle.

Gulf County Sheriff's investigators haven't said what sparked Thursday's deadly shootings, but neighbors say the couple was having marital problems.

Colonie, NY: Man indicted in girlfriend’s stabbing death at Colonie motel

A man who is charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death in a Central Avenue motel was indicted Thursday on a count of second-degree murder.Colonie Police began their investigation of Sunday’s incident when they found Mary J. Fyvie, 23, with two fatal stab wounds and Rupert Alberga, 29, with non-life-threatening knife wounds in room 243 of the Super 8 Motel.

An Albany County grand jury indicted Alberga on the murder charge following his arrest Monday by Colonie Police on the same charge, said District Attorney David Soares.

Fyvie’s relatives said the two had an on-and-off relationship and met at the motel over the weekend trying to work out a recent breakup.

Alberga, who is in the Albany County Jail without bail, will be arraigned next week.

Special Victims Unit Bureau Chief Shannon Sarfoh is handling the prosecution of this case.

Haverstraw, NY: Arrest in suburban NY stabbing death

HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. — The family of a suburban New York man learned his ex-girlfriend had been arrested on a murder charge while they were preparing for his funeral.

Haverstraw (HAV'-ur-straw) police say 23-year-old Jody-Ann Hemmings of New York City was arrested Thursday on second-degree murder and arson charges.

Jason Ognenoff was found dead in his burning apartment on Aug. 18.

Hemmings' mother, Desrine Messam, tells the Journal News ( ) that that she doesn't think her daughter is capable of such a crime.

Authorities allege that Hemmings hit Ognenoff with a figurine, stabbed him with a steak knife, and then put lighted candles on the floor and closed the door.

The funeral was scheduled Thursday for Ognenoff, who worked as a pharmacy clerk.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marion, AR: Marion, Ark., woman charged with killing her husband released on $5,000 bond

A woman arrested and charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of her husband in Marion, Ark., has been released on bond that was set at $5,000.

The killing marks the first homicide by gunfire in Marion since at least 1972, said Asst. Marion Police Chief Gerald Martin.

Authorities said Kristin Andrews, 30, called police about 9 p.m. Tuesday to inform them she shot her husband. When police arrived at the home on Morningside Drive, they found Stanley Andrews, 29, dead.

"Apparently there was some type of domestic disturbance, which escalated and as a result caused the death," Martin said.

Kristin Andrews is the daughter of George Blair, chief of the uniform patrol division of the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department.

Her $5,000 bond was set by West Memphis Judge William Rainey. She posted bond sometime Wednesday night and informed the court she’d be hiring her own lawyer. She is scheduled to appear before Marion Circuit Court on Aug. 30.

A representative of A-1 Bail Bond Co. in Marion, Ark. said he doesn’t know the average bond set for manslaughter and said it depends on the circumstances of the case and is up to the discretion of the judge.

Judge Rainey could not be reached for comment.

Martin said Wednesday that Marion's records list only four other homicides since the police department’s founding in 1972, but none was recent and none involved a shooting.

Marion, the county seat of Crittenden County, has a population of about 11,000 and is about 10 miles from Downtown Memphis.

Clay County, KY: Police Say Body Found In Clay County Is Missing Woman; Husband Charged With Murder

Investigators say a decomposing body found in Clay County Wednesday night is a woman missing since earlier this summer, and that her husband has been charged in her death.

The discovery happened at about 7 p.m. Authorities say the body is that of Stephanie Roark. Roark's relatives say Roark's husband, Walter, has been taken into custody. They say they believer her body had been in a cooler for several weeks, then was buried under her own mobile home, though the sheriff's department says they have no proof of that at this time.

The sheriff's office has charged Walter Roark, 45, with murder and abuse of a corpse. He's being held in the Clay County Detention Center.

Article: Domestic violence and our bystander culture

By Qudsia Jafree, August 24, 2011

Last August, a woman was gunned down outside my agency’s headquarters in New Jersey. She was shot 16 times through the back, in front of her two young children. Inevitably, it was established that she was a victim of domestic violence. At the time, she had attempted to do all the right things to leave her violent home for a place of safety – she had a restraining order against her abuser, was in the process of obtaining a divorce and even enrolled in nursing school to ensure financial independence. However, all this was ultimately not enough to save her life.

The bullet holes that remain on our front door serve as a grim reminder that one in three women globally are victims of domestic violence and sometimes, as in this case, such abuse can be fatal.

We can examine this woman’s story through the lens of individual institutional failures – failures of the justice system, failures of law enforcement or the shortcomings of social service and child protective services. But at the end of the day each of these institutions failed this woman. They failed her children. And they failed every other victim of domestic violence who will consider this woman’s murder, despite her numerous attempts to seek safety, as evidence of a failed system and reason enough to remain silent and endure an abusive relationship.

Perhaps the most overlooked institutional failure, however, is our bystander culture, which accepts silence towards gender-based violence. As is often seen in cases of domestic violence or sexual assault, there is a general fixation on the victim’s character and judgment. For example, a woman is often considered weak if she stays in an abusive situation or blamed for ‘encouraging’ a perpetrator to rape her in cases of sexual assault because of her choice of clothing or demeanor. Neither assumption can be regarded as truth, and both highlight our insistence as a society to focus on the victims instead of the perpetrators. We avoid holding perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions by constantly focusing on what the victim could have done to avoid being harmed. What we fail to realize is that by doing so we end up becoming bystanders to abuse. Instead of criticizing women for the decisions they make to essentially negotiate their personal safety and the safety of their children, we should take a closer look at whether we hold our respective communities accountable as healthy systems of support in order to connect victims with education and resources on domestic violence.

Recently, Naazish Noorani, a 27-year-old mother of two children, was murdered in her hometown of Boonton, New Jersey, blocks away from her sister’s home. The most recent reports of the murder allege that her husband is being held for her murder. Reports indicate that her husband was abusive. Neighbors recalled instances of the police frequenting the couple’s Boston apartment for domestic disturbance calls as a result of heated exchanges between the couple. In an affidavit released last week, Noorani’s family revealed that they were aware of several instances of physical abuse, as well as Pervaiz’s extramarital affairs. Another report reveals that another woman filed assault charges against Pervaiz in February after he allegedly pushed and smacked her. The charges were later dropped because the victim failed to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office – an occurrence that is actually quite common for victims of domestic violence.

A month ago, Noorani sent a chilling text message to her brother:

“Can’t talk to him cuz he abuses me ... I’m so tired of this. ... Someday U will find me dead, but it’s cuz of Kashi ... he wants to kill me.”

If Noorani’s life could be played back, how many additional telltale signs would we be able to identify as warning signs of abuse? How many times did she reach out to someone for help? How many red flag instances would we be able to spot where friends, neighbors and family members considered intervening because of something her husband said or did, but then stepped back after convincing them that it was a matter between a man and his wife? How many Naazish Noorani’s have we come across in our lives – and how often do we opt to rationalize violent behavior by convincing ourselves that the sanctity of marriage is far more important than the physical well being of our daughters, sisters, and mothers?

It is important to note here that some women will never seek out support or additional services. In fact, some may even turn down support from community or family members, which seems to be what many relatives of Noorani claim was the case when they tried to help. What is critical to understand is that in order to provide adequate support to victims of abuse, we must: 1) be educated on the complex dynamics of domestic violence, 2) learn to become active and empathetic listeners and 3) be able to connect victims with local social service agencies that can provide them with professional assistance as they navigate the social service, legal, and justice systems to seek safety.

Before we can do any of that we have to be able to own up, as a community, to the fact that domestic violence is a problem that gravely impacts our community just as any other. Domestic violence, by definition, is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that includes physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can entail intimidation and manipulation that manifests itself in many ways aside from physical abuse – by threatening to take away children, threatening to have a woman deported or ‘shamed’ by being sent back home to her parents or isolating her from her family and friends to strategically cut her off from her support networks. As abusers often engage in a pattern of behavior, also called the cycle of violence, many women mistake apologies or peaceful times at home as indications that things will get better at home. This lack of awareness about what domestic violence, as well as the cyclical and often escalating dynamics of domestic violence, lead many women to feel trapped and unsure of what to do. Without adequate intervention some of these women, as in the case of Noorani, end up paying with their lives.

As mentioned earlier, one in three women will face some form of abuse in her lifetime. Statistically, these women will consider leaving their abusive partners seven to fourteen times before actually leaving – if they even try. The reasons for this seeming indecision is not what is generally perceived as a woman’s inability to make decisions sans emotion – it is actually just the opposite. Financial dependence, a lack of awareness about resources and laws that protect them, the desire to provide a two-parent home for their children and a lack of awareness about the cyclical dynamics of abuse all end up being reasons women often internally negotiate with themselves to stay in their abusive situations.

A fear of homelessness is another factor that many women consider when choosing to stay. The fear is very real considering a recent survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Homeless revealed that sixty-three percent of women in homeless situations are actually victims of domestic violence. This not only illustrates the grim reality of the consequences of leaving abusive homes, but also the inability of social service and government housing programs to provide adequate alternatives for women fleeing violent partners.

Now consider compounding the process of a woman constantly negotiating her safety in a domestic violence situation with cultural and religious stigmas prevalent in many Muslim and immigrant communities. The lack of awareness about the dynamics of abuse, silence and indifference from community members, friends and family can be detrimental to a woman’s decision to seek help. If a woman is unable to find adequate support to leave her abuser, she is unlikely to leave at all.

Domestic violence is not an issue where you can afford to be a neutral and uniformed bystander. The lives of our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends are far too precious to gamble away by such indifference. So what can you do?

Become informed. The best kind of bystander is an informed one. Find your local domestic violence agency and sign up to become a volunteer. Learn about the dynamics of domestic violence and about the resources available for victims in your local area.

Listen. 1 in 3 women are subject to some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. It is very likely that you have or will come across several women in similar situations. If you do come across such a woman in your life, listen to her. Validate her experience and serve as a source of non-judgmental support. Always present her with options and never with frustration over why she may not be ready to leave.

Be the resource. Connect her with local domestic violence agencies so that she may receive additional support and much needed services ranging from 24 hour hotlines, emergency shelter, crisis counseling, child care, job readiness, legal advocacy and transitional housing.

(Photo Credit:

Qudsia Jafree is a domestic violence counselor at the YWCA-Eastern Union County, NJ. For more information on getting involved with the YWCA, contact:

If you suspect that you are in an abusive relationship and would like to learn more about seeking help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Farmington, NM: Farmington police arrest husband in wife's death

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Farmington police say a husband has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Police responded to a local motel Wednesday where they found the man's wife with severe injuries. Paramedics were called and later determined 22-year-old Stacey Anna Peshlakai was dead.

Police detained and arrested 23-year-old Judge Aspaas.

He was booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

Attempts were being made Thursday to determine if Aspaas has a lawyer.

Article: Domestic violence advocates promote new iPhone app for parents

MONROE, OH (FOX19) - A new iPhone app is giving parents the tools to teach their kids about dating violence.

Jim and Elsa Croucher of Monroe are using the app to educate other parents about dating abuse.

"If we had, had that 17 years ago, maybe we would have known," said Jim Croucher.

Their daughter, Tina Croucher, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1992 when she was just 18.

"We had no idea what domestic violence was," Croucher said.

Since then, the couple has made it their mission to promote dating abuse awareness in local schools.

"It will make them more aware of what goes on between the teenagers," said Tina Croucher.

The free app launched by Liz Claiborne Inc. is called "Love is not Abuse." It has a digital dating abuse simulator that sends menacing text message and emails, allowing parents to experience abusive behavior for themselves, it also provides tips from top experts.

"This is information that parents have right on their iPhone," Croucher said.

"Hopefully they will begin to discuss these situations, just like they discuss alcohol and drug abuse," said Tina Croucher.

They're pushing for parents to download the free app on the heels of the recent death of Amanda Borsos who was shot and killed by her ex boyfriend before he turned the gun on himself.

You can download the Love is not Abuse app on iTunes or the iPhone app store.

Riverside, CA: 3 convicted for love triangle ambush killing

RIVERSIDE, Calif.—A Southern California brother, sister and her ex-boyfriend have been convicted of first-degree murder for the 2007 love triangle ambush killing of a Riverside County man.
Prosecutors say 28-year-old Ricardo Lagunas, 24-year-old Vanessa Lagunas and 26-year-old Denetric Adams lured Mark Enoch to a remote intersection in Perris where he was shot to death

Vanessa Lagunas was pregnant with Enoch's child when he was killed.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise ( says the 24-year-old victim called 911 on his cell phone and said he had been shot and his girlfriend had set him up for the ambush. He died hours later at a hospital.

There were separate juries for each defendant. Lagunas and his sister were convicted Tuesday and Adams was convicted Wednesday.

Yakima, WA: Woman Killed, Boyfriend Arrested

A 39-year-old Yakima woman is dead and her 54-year old boyfriend is under arrested for investigation of murder. Now the victim's family thinks her death is a result of domestic violence.

Eli Salazar brings flowers to the front door of Felicia Brooks' Walnut Avenue apartment where police believe she died this morning allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend.

"I don't know what caused this, I don't know if it was money or whatever it was, it should have happened," says Salazar.

Her cousin can't believe Brooks is dead.

"It just hurts me to know that she has to be gone like this," says Barbara Ayala.

The victim's boyfriend, 54 year old Richard Robeson called 9-1-1 at 4:30 a.m. to report Brooks unconsious on the floor. Paramedics couldn't revive the victim, and she died at the scene from severe injuries to her head.

"We do believe in this point and time, that the trauma to the head is primarily from fists," says Lt. Mike Merryman.

Robeson was taken to the hospital for treatment-- after further questioning officers arrested him to face charges relating to Brooks' death.

The victim's cousin believes Robeson was extremely abusive.

"He kept my cousin held up in fear all the time," says Ayala.

But one friend says he never saw the violent side of the suspect.

"I know in front of us he never did nothing," says Salazar.

Police say Brooks' death may serve as a textbook example of what can happen when an abusive relationship gets out of hand.

"This may again be a case that illustrates the risk of being involved in relationships that have assaultive behavior," says Lt. Merryman.

As for Barbara Ayala, she'll always wonder if there was more she could do to help her cousin.

"You know what, I should have went back last night, I should have went back," says Ayala.

An autopsy on Felicia Brooks is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Richard Robeson could appear in court as early as tomorrow to face murder charges.

This is Yakima's fifth homicide of the year.