Sunday, October 30, 2011

Charlotte, NC: Man stabbed and killed in domestic dispute

Posted: Oct 30, 2011 7:16 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 30, 2011 11:16 AM EDT
By Felicia Snider, Producer - email
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Man stabbed, wife in jail

Charlotte, NC (WBTV) - A man is dead and his wife is behind bars after a stabbing in northeast Charlotte.

Investigators say they got a call at 12:15 am Sunday in reference to a domestic dispute at the 4700 block of Cinderella Road in the Hidden Valley neighborhood.

When officers arrived, they located Francis Xavier Stewart, 55, suffering from a stab wound.

They say a woman stabbed her husband during the dispute.

Medic pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The couple's grandchildren were in the home at the time.

Police say they were unharmed. Those children are with family members.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Article: A Mother's Story: Raising Awareness for Domestic Violence

ARBOR VITAE - In October, the color pink often overshadows the color purple. And while raising awareness for breast cancer is important, a Northwoods mother wants more people to be aware of domestic violence.

Fourteen years ago her daughter’s fiance beat her to death with a baseball bat. This is her story...

“Kim was a lot like me, big hearted and thought she could cure the world,” describes Anna Marie Zersen.

And at 26-years-old, Kimberly Lange was a typical young woman. She had a good job, liked spending time with her friends and wanted to find a husband and settle down.

“He was good looking, dressed very well,” Zersen says.

Kimberly met Steven Trepanier near her apartment in Gurnee, Illinois. He was a man she thought was smart and successful. They moved in together and were engaged in six months.

“She says mom, after I get married and have children, I'm going to raise them just like you raised me,” Zersen says.

It seemed picture perfect, but not to Kim's mother, Anna Marie Zersen from Arbor Vitae.

“I wasn't hearing from Kim during the night time at home.”

And Kim's love for her fiance turned lethal.

“He took a baseball bat and beat her head in,” Zersen recalls.

In the early morning hours of January 11, 1997, Kim was out with her friends. After calling Kim several times, Steven convinced her to come home. She did, he was drunk, and he took his jealousy out on Kim.

“I cannot say my daughter died, I have to say my daugther was murdered,” Zersen says, through tears.

Gurnee Police Commander Jay Patrick tells us it was one of the worst scenes he has ever seen. Though Anna Marie never saw it, she'll never forget how she found out her only child was dead.

“I answered and I looked at his face and I said, 'Please don't tell me. Please don't tell me she's gone, please’," Zersen remembers.

And while Kim's death was 14 years ago, domestic violence homicides still happen. In Wisconsin alone last year, 51 people died. That's a number advocates here in the Northwoods say can be changed.

“Abusive nature is nothing that a person is born with, it is something that is learned somewhere along the way in a lifetime. It can be unlearned,” says Lynn Feldman, domestic violence counselor with the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

“I just want young women and women to realize that there is help and they should call for help,” Zersen says.

And because she doesn't want it to happen to anyone else's daughter.

“No one knows what you go through when that child is gone.”

“That is the ultimate injustice in the universe is to have to bury a child,” says Shellie Holmes, Executive Director of Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

“I have no guilt at all, I only have happy memories of her,” Zersen says.

Steven Trepanier shot himself after he killed Kim and, according to police reports, died 12 hours later.

Anna Marie says the only good she can find in her daughter’s death is preventing another with her story...and the color purple.

Boynton Beach, FL:Boynton Beach shooting suspect has history of domestic violence

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- There is new information about a possible motive for a shooting and chase that left one man dead in Boynton Beach on Wednesday.
We now know the victim was the gunman's boss. Paul Dabbs is accused of opening fire on 41-year-old Lawrence Modena junior as he sat in his black lexus in a parking lot near Home Depot.
According to court documents, Modena sent Dabbs to Buffalo on business so his wife could file a restraining order. Dabbs lived in a Delray Beach home with his wife of 21-years. Court records show Susan Dabbs had five restraining orders against her husband in the past six years. According to the most recent one filed just last month, Dabbs was addicted to crack cocaine and owned a 38-caliber handgun. She claims he was physically abusive and threatened to kill her numerous times.
EARLIER: Police ID victim killed in Boynton Beach parking lot

A neighbor of the couple says it wasn't uncommon to see police in front of their Delray Beach home.
"He was in the house with a gun and had himself locked in their house, they walked over and asked us to get in the house and lock the door," said the suspect's neighbor.
Dabbs now faces numerous charges including homicide and aggravated assault on a police officer.

Article: Violence begins at home for victims of domestic crimes

No one was ever hit or slapped in Betsy Warren's home.

But in July, she became a victim of domestic violence after her husband, Memphis police officer Timothy Warren, was killed during a domestic confrontation at a Downtown hotel.

"I'm a victim because they killed my husband," Warren said.

People knew about the brewing situation between suspect Alexander Haydel and his wife, Bobbie Warren (no relation). The outcome would have been different had someone stepped in before it exploded.

"They had several opportunities throughout the day. Had somebody approached him and calmed him down, none of this would have happened," she said.

Warren was a speaker on Thursday at the fourth annual Erase Domestic Violence rally at The Children's Museum of Memphis in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

It was sponsored by the Erase Domestic Crime Collaborative, a consortium of public and private partners in the fight against domestic violence.

"As was true four years ago and is true today we have an epidemic of domestic violence in this community and we believe in the Collaborative that it's real important that the whole community know the extent of the problem, but also that we're working on it," said organizer Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women's Council.

The Collaborative will open in spring 2012 in its Family Safety Center at 1750 Madison. It will be a place where families in trouble can go for police, prosecution, orders of protection, help with housing or whatever they need, she said.

On display during the rally were T-shirts crafted by children who have been impacted by domestic violence.

Many were cheerful and colorful, others had dark words, like survivor, mad, sad and, "When daddy hits mommy I feel parts of me black out."

Speakers on Thursday included representatives from law enforcement and victims like Miea Williams.

In 2005, Williams left her husband and sought counseling at the Exchange Club Family Center.

That path has taken her from being a victim to a master's degree in counseling and a seat on the Family Center's board of directors.

"Now I can see where I can make a change and help women in domestic violence," Williams said.

For Williams, it took an assault that left emergency room doctors surprised that she wasn't paralyzed or dead.

Her husband, an ordained minister with a drug problem, had hit her so hard he was in the emergency room as well with a broken hand.

"The day he hit me, I never turned back," Williams said. "I couldn't hide it anymore, I had to do something to save my life."

Avondale, AZ: Man shot and killed by Avondale police

Avondale police shot a man late Friday afternoon, who was later pronounced dead, authorities said.

Authorities said an Avondale officer responding to a domestic-violence call was met by a man armed with a knife at a home near 117th Avenue and Buckeye Road.

Police said the armed man became confrontational, and at some point, the officer fired multiple rounds.

The shooter, whose name was not released, was struck twice and flown to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Detective Reuben Gonzales, an Avondale police spokesman, said the shooting is under investigation and has been turned over to the Glendale Police Department.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 11:11 pm and is filed under Arizona Republic News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Article:$420,000 awarded to domestic violence programs

RICHMOND — Grants totaling $420,000 for local domestic violence programs were announced Thursday and Friday.

U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Sixth District, came Friday to the Madison County Courthouse to announce a $400,000 grant that will aid the Richmond Police Department and other first responders, as well as the Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Program, in protecting victims and prosecuting offenders.

A grant of $20,000 from the Mary Kay Foundation will allow Hope’s Wings to re-open two rooms of its domestic violence shelter known as the Marilyn Isaacs House, according to Robyn Moreland, Hope’s Wings director.

The shelter has been closed since the end of February 2010, even as Hope’s Wings provided other services.

The Mary Kay grant was announced Thursday evening during a “These Hands Don’t Hurt” rally and march.

“This grant is such a blessing to Hope’s Wings in a variety of ways,” said Dr. Linda Fagan, Hope’s Wings board chair. “Not only does it make up for a deficit in funding this year but also gives us hope and strength to continue what we do. Domestic violence is not going away and deserves very serious attention. Programs to help battered women and their children require a lot of resources.”

Moreland and Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes were on hand Friday to thank Chandler.

With governments at all levels struggling financially, Chandler said grants such as he was announcing are not easily obtained.

“This grant is a testimony to what you have done and what you proposed to do in your grant application,” Chandler said. “Your mission of mercy is so important.”

When he was Kentucky attorney general, Chandler said his office was involved in the fight against domestic violence and he knew the extent and magnitude of the program.

The grant will enable the police department to hire a person to work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, Moreland said. It also will provide funding to create a local team that will coordinate efforts among agencies in their efforts to combat domestic violence, from enforcing emergency protective orders to counseling victims and assisting prosecutors, she said.

RPD Chief Larry Brock said his officers responded to more than 600 domestic violence calls last year.

“We also know that many cases go unreported,” he said.

Brock thanked Hope’s Wings, the county sheriff’s office and the Kentucky State Police, who work to assist and protect domestic violence victims. Domestic violence is a countywide problem and requires a coordinated, countywide response, he said.

A woman who said she probably would not be alive without the help of Hope’s Wings also spoke at the announcement. A college-educated corporate executive reared in a non-violent family, she was subjected to domestic violence as an adult.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen to me,” she said.

Without the safety and advocacy provided by Hope’s Wings, “I would be a dead woman today,” she said, calling herself a survivor and not a victim.

Domestic abuse claimed 54 lives in Kentucky last year, three of them in Madison County, she said.

With the resources of the grants, the county can work to reduce that number to zero, she said.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@ or at 624-6622.

Sparta, GA: Jury: Sparta man guilty of killing ex-girlfriend

A 56-year-old Sparta man was sentenced to life in prison Friday after Hancock County jurors found him guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend.
Jurors deliberated for seven hours before finding Robert Moss guilty of fatally shooting 51-year-old Rosa Mae Brown just over a year ago, said Fred Bright, district attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit.

The trial began in Hancock County Superior Court on Tuesday.
Testimony during the trial described the relationship Moss and Brown shared for about 10 years and how it ended a couple of months before Brown was killed. Moss was angry about the breakup, Bright said.
Moss and Brown lived in two trailers on Cobb Road, located about 14 feet apart.
On the afternoon of Oct. 19, 2010, Brown had gone outside to retrieve sheets and clothes she’d hung up to dry. She dropped the laundry she’d been carrying when the gunshot struck her head, killing her, Bright said.
He said the shot was fired at close range. A .22-caliber shell casing recovered near Brown’s body matched three other casings found close to Moss’s back door.
Neighbors said they heard Moss fire shots into the air a few days before the killing after expressing anger toward Brown, Bright said.
Later, authorities found Moss’s .22-caliber rifle in a ditch within two miles of the trailers.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

Palo Alto, CA: Zumot Sentenced to 33 Years for Murdering Girlfriend

Minutes before he was sentenced today to 33 years in prison, Bulos ‘Paul' Zumot shouted over and over "I'm innocent" and made every effort to convince a packed courtroom that he did not strangle his girlfriend and then set her body on fire at their Palo Alto cottage two years ago.

When Judge David Cena finally handed down the sentence around 3 p.m., Zumot -- the 38-year-old owner of Da Hookah Spot in Palo Alto who in February was convicted of first-degree murder and arson in the Oct. 15, 2009 death of 29-year-old real estate agent Jennifer Schipsi -- could not bear to sit through it.

"I did not kill Jennifer! I am innocent and I refuse to be here," Zumot yelled, interrupting a speech by Schipsi's father, Jim, who carried on reading from his letter and raised his voice over Zumot's into a microphone that a bailiff handed him.

The two men got into a brief shouting match and at one point Jim Schipsi called Zumot a "monster" and Zumot retorted, "You're the monster."

“Shame on all of you," Zumot yelled as bailiffs escorted him out of the courtroom per his own request following a 20-minute outburst that moved many of Schipsi's family and friends to tears and shocked mostly everyone in the courtroom, including Cena.

Zumot and his mother, who was also thrown out for speaking out, refused to return for the sentencing.

"That was a unique experience, but I'm not altogether surprised that he would react that way," prosecutor Chuck Gillingham told reporters afterward. "That was all gamesmanship -- to have him be in charge. But he didn't have the control, the judge did."

Zumot made a last-ditch effort to postpone the sentencing, telling Cena that he fired his high-profile attorney Mark Geragos last month for failing to prove his innocence and requested that the court appoint him a new attorney. Cena told him he had time to hire a new attorney and that his reasons were not good enough to delay his sentencing.

Tina Glandian, an attorney who is part of Geragos' defense team, affirmed that her team is no longer representing Zumot and told Cena that they have prepared a motion for a new trial but that Zumot's family requested that they not file it.

Today's sentencing was the culmination of a case that began two years ago at a cottage on Addison Avenue in Palo Alto. That's where prosecutors said Zumot killed Schipsi and then set their home on fire with her body inside to hide the evidence.

During the four-and-a-half-week trial, Gillingham relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, such as heated text message exchanges between the couple, to show that Zumot was emotionally and physically abusive toward Schipsi.

Geragos attempted unsuccessfully to discredit many key aspects of the prosecution's case, including the detection of accelerant on Zumot's clothes by a trained dog named Rosie, a fight between the couple on the night before Schipsi's death, and cell phone data that, according to expert witnesses, showed Zumot and Schipsi's phones traveled together on the day of
her death.

Zumot was sentenced to 25 years to life for first-degree murder and eight years for aggravated arson. He is eligible for parole.

Jim Schipsi said today was a step back in the healing process for the family. "

I'm just glad that this is finally over," he said. "I'm glad that he's going to pay for his crime."

Article: Killing of woman, her son reveals flaws in protection of domestic-violence victims

When Kywanda Butcher asked a Civil District Court judge for a protective order against her ex-boyfriend, Keith Tate, in April, she outlined in chilling detail why she believed he posed a danger.

Just a few weeks earlier, Butcher wrote, Tate had broken into her house. He hid in her bedroom and then attacked -- choking her, forcing her to have sex and then to accompany him to the hospital to treat an arm he cut while breaking one of her windows, Butcher wrote in her petition.
It wasn't the first time he'd hurt her or stalked her, she explained. Previously, he'd threatened "that he'll take it to the next step," she wrote. "Threatening to kill me, to take my life."
New Orleans police believe Tate made good on those threats on Oct. 10, when he allegedly broke into her home and fatally shot her and her 13-year-old son, Au'Sha Butcher. They arrested Tate, 45, on Saturday, booking him with two counts of first-degree murder. Kerry Cuccia, Tate's attorney, said it would be inappropriate for him to comment before he has fully investigated the matter.
The case raises troubling questions about the criminal justice system's ability to manage a suspect with a history of domestic-violence arrests before he takes a life -- or to take basic measures to safeguard a victim who sought help, if fleetingly. Butcher sought assistance not only from the civil court but from the New Orleans Police Department, although the nature of her interaction with police is not clear.

View full size
Keith Tate was booked in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her son.
During the past of couple years, New Orleans police have tried to work more closely with other parts of the justice systems to help domestic-violence victims. For example, the four detectives who specialize in such cases work closely with the New Orleans Family Justice Center, which brings together service providers with law enforcement to coordinate assistance.
Still, the U.S. Department of Justice in its March 2011 report about the NOPD found significant flaws in the agency's response to domestic violence. While the NOPD hasn't increased the number of detectives assigned to the domestic-violence unit, as suggested by the Justice Department, Superintendent Ronal Serpas in a statement said the unit is now focusing on felony cases, such as those that include strangulation. The NOPD has also beefed up training, he said.
'We've missed the boat'
Mary Claire Landry, executive director of the Family Justice Center, said her organization is trying to figure out why Butcher's case wasn't flagged for more attention after she filed for a protective order.
Because she mentioned choking -- which, according to research, signals heightened danger -- Butcher should have received extra attention, Landry said. However, the justice center has no record of working with her.
"That is the whole goal, to prevent exactly these kind of situations and identify those most in danger," Landry said.
Landry said she believes the new, coordinated system is saving lives. But deaths like Butcher's show that it's still far from perfect, she said.
Butcher was granted a temporary restraining order by Judge Paula Brown in April. That order, however, was never successfully served on Tate, and Butcher didn't return to court on April 25 to make the order permanent, so Brown dismissed the case.

Butcher, 36, also reached out to police last spring. In her request for a protective order, Butcher said the attack occurred on March 12, and she alerted police. But she suggested she was brushed off.
"I told police after, and the officer told me I should have called at the house. I told him I couldn't. My life was being threatened," she wrote.
Municipal Court records indicate Butcher spoke to NOPD officer Terry Thomas on March 13. That night, a warrant was put out for Tate's arrest on a charge of criminal damage to property, as Butcher and her friend Clifton McBride reported that Tate poured paint on McBride's car.
Homicide Detective Orlando Matthews, who investigated Butcher's murder, said Thomas' March 13 report doesn't mention an assault.
Tate was later arrested for the vandalism charge on April 17 at Butcher's house, although what brought police to the home on Annette Street is not clear from court records. Because he was never served with the restraining order, Tate was not booked with having violated it. The vandalism case was dismissed in May, court records show.
"In this situation, what is showing up in the criminal justice system is the simple criminal damage to property," Landry said. "Somehow, we've missed the boat on what was the serious case."
After Tate's arrest on Saturday, Serpas said in a news release that the criminal justice system had failed to adequately punish Tate, despite a history of arrests. "Criminals are not specialists, they're generalists. Yesterday's armed robber can be tomorrow's murderer," Serpas said in the statement.
History of domestic violence
But a closer look at Tate's criminal history shows that he is more specialist than generalist, and his specialty is domestic violence. For example, Tate was arrested twice in 2000 for batteries, including a simple battery flagged as "domestic" in the Orleans Parish sheriff's online system. In the other case, a more serious second-degree battery charge, Tate was also booked with violating a protective order, plus battery of a police officer and simple escape. After Tate was arrested for forcible rape in April 2005, the court issued a "domestic stay-away order."
In a case that presaged the attack in March of this year, Tate was arrested in 2009 in St. Bernard Parish for aggravated burglary and kidnapping. Col. John Doran, chief of detectives for the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office, said Tate broke into Butcher's Arabi home, took one of her kitchen knives, and hid in her son's bedroom. When she came home, he threatened her with the knife, including poking her with it, but didn't break the skin. She told Tate she had to pick up her son at her sister's house in Terrytown. She said he could come if he put away the knife.
When they arrived, she called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. Tate, meanwhile, took off with her car and other belongings. The St. Bernard Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for aggravated burglary and second-degree kidnapping, Doran said. Tate was arrested a week later, when a deputy spotted him near Butcher's house.
The case was dropped after Butcher appeared in court in November of that year and apparently said she didn't want to pursue the charges.
DA refuses charges
Doran said a St. Bernard deputy recognized Butcher's name when news of her murder broke, and the file on her and Tate was turned over to New Orleans police.
In the New Orleans cases, the rape and most of the battery charges were refused by the Orleans Parish district attorney's office. The only cases pursued were for battery of a police officer and simple escape. Tate pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of resisting an officer and was acquitted of the battery.
"Batterers use violence because it gets them what they want, and because they know that terrorizing the women they date will almost never land them in jail," said Tania Tetlow, director of Tulane Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic.
People who knew Butcher said harassment from Tate was a part of her life. Butcher's 15-year-old daughter said her mother sometimes spoke of her fear and Tate's abuse.
A friend from her French Quarter waitressing job said she believed Butcher was "terrified" of Tate, saying he'd once kicked in her door and broke her nose. Another friend said Tate would often bother Butcher at work. Weeks before she was killed, Butcher said she took Tate's key away and wanted to part ways, said Nikki Wells, one of the friends.
"She wasn't talking to him," Wells said. "She didn't want to be with him anymore."

Article: Predicting and preventing murder

IN 2009, ONE-FOURTH of the District’s 144 homicides were linked to abusive relationships. The following year, according to the advocacy group D.C. Safe, the number of domestic-violence homicides fell by half.

In Maryland, there has been a 41 percent drop in the number of homicides linked to domestic violence over the past three years.

The rate of violent crime overall has been declining, but not that fast. The dramatic drop in domestic-violence deaths in Maryland and the District is due largely to a simple but effective tool that helps identify women most at risk of being killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It is a tool that, if used nationwide, could save hundreds of the approximately 1,200 women killed every year by partners or former partners.

According to the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, the approach consists of a “user-friendly, 11-question screening tool” used by law enforcement officers and others who come into contact with victims of domestic violence.

Some of the questions are what you might expect: Has your husband or boyfriend ever used or threatened to use a weapon against you? Has he ever tried to choke you? (Although men are also victims of domestic violence, women are the victims in at least 85 percent of the cases.) Other questions, perhaps less obvious, include whether the man is unemployed and whether there is a child in the household who is not the biological offspring of the potential perpetrator.

As important as identifying women at heightened risk is offering immediate help, including counseling and emergency housing.

Fourteen states and the District use some form of the lethality assessment. Given the program’s success, that’s 36 states too few. Congress has a chance to help the program be adopted more widely when it reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was passed in 1994 to raise awareness of and combat domestic violence and to provide federal support to state and local communities to assist victims. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who is shepherding the reauthorization, is considering adding the lethality assessment to the list of programs that state and local entities may fund with VAWA dollars. Extending the life-saving benefits of the program to all of the nation’s at-risk women should be a priority.

St. Clair, AL: Boyfriend arrested for murder of girlfriend in Steele Read more: St. Clair Times - Boyfriend arrested for murder of girlfriend in Steele

A woman is dead and her boyfriend was arrested for her murder.

St. Clair County Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Joe Sweatt said Roger Gladney, 39, of 6767 Chandler Mountain Road, is being held in the St. Clair County Jail in Ashville and charged with murder after he alledgedly shot and killed his girlfriend, Betty Jean Cannon, 43, of Rainbow City, early Friday morning.

Sweatt said the shooting occurred at Gladney’s residence and alcohol was involved.

“They apparently were drinking and got into a domestic argument,” Sweatt said. “She was in the bed when he shot her with a .40-caliber handgun one time in the head. She had been living with him for about three years.”

Sweatt said Gladney called 911 shortly after the shooting. Central Dispatch received the call at 1:02 a.m.

“As soon as officers arrived, he admitted to shooting her,” Sweatt said. “He was taken into custody for questioning not long after the shooting.”

St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell said Cannon was transported to Gadsden Regional Hospital and was pronounced dead at 2:20 a.m. by the emergency room doctor.

“The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head,” Russell said. “She was transported to the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office in Pell City where she was then transported to the Alabama Department of Forensics Sciences in Huntsville for an autopsy.”

Red Bluff, CA:Red Bluff Woman Dies The Day After Domestic Dispute

One day she is talking to police after allegedly being beaten up by her husband.

The next day she is found dead in her home.

So what happened? Her husband was in jail at the time of her death.

Now police are sorting out what right now is being called a suspicious death.

Puzzling is the best way to describe this case... Red Bluff Police are not sure what caused the death of Barbara Acevedo but because of the domestic violence incident the day before...They are calling this a suspicious death.

Red Bluff Police first responded to this house on Aloha street on Sunday just before 9 pm.

"On Sunday we had a report of a domestic violence regarding a male and a female at that residence," said Sgt. Daniel Flowerdew of the Red Bluff Police Department.

39 year old Carmelo Acevedo-Gutierrez is accused of false imprisonment and causing corporal injury to his wife, 41 year old Barbara Acevedo.

"Officers responded, they investigated the domestic violence and they determined at that time there was probable cause to make an arrest against the male subject," said Flowerdew.

This would have been a normal domestic violence call hat the victim not died the next day.

Officers say Barbara Acevedo had visible injuries during a domestic violence call on Sunday evening. Her husband was taken into custody at the Tehama County Jail where he was still in custody at the time of her death on Monday.

"That would be just clear speculation at this point because of her body found within a very short time afterwards within just the next afternoon, that, and being involved in a domestic violence just the day prior we are ruling this as a suspicious death until an autopsy is performed," said Flowerdew.

Carmelo Acevedo-Guitierrez is being held on $65,000 bail but has not been charged for his wife’s death, officers just don't know if he caused it at this point.

"There was no obvious cause of death so the next step is to have an autopsy performed and at that time hopefully we will get some answers," said Flowerdew.

Action News spoke with the Tehama County Coroner's Office today.

They say they hope to conduct an autopsy on Acevedo tomorrow.

Benton, KY: Kentucky Man Wanted For Attempted Murder Kills Himself Following I-57 Traffic Stop Near Benton

A 39-year-old Sturgis, Kentucky man is dead after shooting himself after State Troopers stopped his vehicle on Interstate 57 north of Benton.

State Police Spokesman David Sneed says Timothy Johnson was wanted on a warrant for attempted murder. He reportedly was involved in a domestic dispute at his home in Kentucky around eight Friday morning where his wife was shot in the leg.

Police were looking for Johnson's pickup after receiving a tip that Johnson may be in the Mt. Vernon area. The truck was initially spotted near mile post 90 south of Mt. Vernon. The trooper followed the vehicle until more police units were in place. The vehicle was eventually stopped at 12:45 Friday afternoon by officers from several police agencies.

As police were exiting their vehicles, they heard what was believed to be a gunshot coming from inside Johnson's pickup. Officers then found Johnson had shot himself. They broke out a window to render first aide. Johnson was taken to Franklin County Hospital in Benton, where he later died.

Lake Placid, FL: Highlands woman, 87, charged in stabbing death of husband, 93

Eighty-seven-year-old Doris Smith has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of her husband, 93-year-old Chester Smith, Highlands County sheriff's spokeswoman Nell Hays said Friday.

On Wednesday Deputies found Chester Smith "suffering from multiple stab wounds" when they responded to a 911 call from 42 Hickory Hills Circle in Lake Placid, Hays wrote in a media release. The address is actually just north of Lake Placid and Lake June in the Lake Henry Homes subdivision.

Emergency workers took Smith to Florida Hospital Lake Placid where he was pronounced dead.

"While on scene deputies found Mr. Smith's spouse, Doris, to be distraught and disoriented. They also had her transported to the hospital for medical evaluation. Over the next few days information developed which resulted in the arrest of Mrs. Smith," Hays added. "She remains hospitalized under the supervision of Highlands County Detention personnel."

Doris Smith booked on the murder charge at 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to information in the Highlands County jail section of the sheriff's website.

She is one of the oldest Florida residents to be charged with murder.

On Sept. 26, authorities in St. Augustine charged 96-year-old Amanda Rice Stevenson with shooting to death her nephew, 53-year-old Johnny Rice. Stevenson is the oldest person ever charged with murder in the Sunshine State, multiple media outlets reported.

Anyone with information about Smith's death can contact the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Unit at 402-7250.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Indianapolis, IN: Indy woman held in strangulation death of boyfriend

A 38-year-old Indianapolis woman faces preliminary murder charges in the strangulation death of her boyfriend early this morning, Indianapolis metropolitan police say.

Yanita Kittrell was arrested about 12:20 a.m. after officers were called to a house in the 3100 block of Thayer St., where they found Marcus Motley, 29, Indianapolis, lying facedown and unresponsive on the floor in the back bedroom, according to a news release from IMPD spokesman Anthony Schneider.

Kittrell told police that her boyfriend was passed out and not breathing, the release said.
Attempts to revive Motley were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead by Indianapolis EMS medics.

According to a report by responding IMPD Officer Justin Toussing, Kittrell was asked several times what was wrong with Motley before she admitted to grabbing a rope and putting it around Motley’s neck. An argument began when Kittrell was on the phone and Motley began “cussing her out,” Toussing said.

Article: A voice for the dead

By Sanne Specht
Mail Tribune
One Ashland woman is leading a rally Saturday hoping to end what some are calling "open season on women and children in the Rogue Valley."

Seven homicides have been attributed to domestic violence in 2011 in our community, said Caitlin Fears. The crisis is impacting everyone — but not everyone is taking an equal share of the responsibility in effecting change, said the 27-year-old.

"It is our responsibility to stand up," Fears said.

Fears said while women tend to "pow-wow together" about the problem of domestic violence, men tend to avoid dealing with it whenever possible.

"We have a passion to help," Fears said. "But the problem is men. They don't say anything because it makes them uncomfortable. And that's cowardly, basically."

If the issue sounds deeply personal for Fears, that's because it is. A domestic violence survivor, Fears was a close friend of Jessica Bethany — one of the seven victims killed this year. The others were Tabasha Criado and her four children on July 18 in west Medford, allegedly at the hands of her husband, Jordan Criado; and Bonnie Sue Payne, whose boyfriend, Mitchell Alan Below, is accused of strangling her to death in their west Medford apartment on March 4.

Bethany's ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Wheeler, 36, is accused of stabbing her to death and setting her apartment on fire while their 10-month-old daughter was inside on Sept. 4. Wheeler faces charges of murder, arson and abuse of a corpse for stabbing Bethany multiple times in the neck, partially burning her body, then leaving the natural gas on and setting a fire in her East Pine Street apartment after Bethany had a date with another man. A Jackson County grand jury later indicted Wheeler on additional charges of two counts of criminal mistreatment and one count of reckless endangering because the acts were committed while their child was in the apartment, authorities said.

Fears said while some walked away from the "drama" surrounding Bethany's relationship with Wheeler, she did not.

"It's a long journey," said Fears. "And it's painful — watching that vortex that happens to women."

Fears said Wheeler followed the classic abuser pattern. First he destroyed Bethany's self-esteem, then he put the 32-year-old mother in fear for her life, Fears said.

"She got very isolated," Fears said. "But because I'd been there before, I didn't leave. I pestered her. And I stood up to Jeff."

Court records show neither Bethany nor Wheeler took out restraining orders against each other.

Bethany began to find herself again after the birth of her daughter, Fears said. She distanced herself from Wheeler, and tried to get a restraining order. Wheeler's travels between California and Oregon made it difficult for Bethany to supply the court with an address so he could be served, she said.

Fears said Bethany called her the day Wheeler was headed back to Central Point.

"I heard a fear in her voice that I'd never heard before," Fears said, adding she was out of town at the time.

"She told me her plan, who was going to watch out for her. That was the last time I spoke to her."

When Fears heard Bethany had been killed, she was devastated and angry.

"She was so close to getting away," Fears said, adding those who blame socioeconomic levels or allegations of drug and alcohol abuse should realize they're not relevant to the issue.

"We can have funerals and we can have fundraisers," said Fears. "But we need to end this. There are children being left behind."

People trusted Wheeler because he was a peer counselor at OnTrack, or they felt sorry for him because he was an addict, Fears said.

"This is not about money and it's not about addiction," she said. "This is about men who are abusive and have a misogynistic way of thinking."

While Bethany's family and close friends still are trying to absorb their loss, the shock waves from this latest fatal domestic violence incident have reverberated across the county, said Gerry Sea, coordinator for the Jackson County Council Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Statistics show that the risk of death for a woman, or suicide for a man, are highest in the first three months after a woman leaves a domestic violence relationship, Sea said.

A scenario like the one described between Wheeler and Bethany can be a deadly one, particularly when the man has a history of being abusive, and the woman is taking back control of her life, Sea said.

Most people are naive about the facts of domestic violence, Sea said.

"People think it's easy to leave. But the abuser is using power and control tactics. They might hide it from their friends and their colleagues, but it's going on all the time," Sea said.

None of the victims are to blame, Fears said, adding she knows this tragedy is bigger than even the loss of Jessica Bethany.

"This (rally) is for the seven people who have been murdered in the Rogue Valley," Fears said. "These are not crimes of passion. They were killings done by men who had hate in their heart."

Dee Anne Everson, director of United Way of Jackson County, said she hopes to see Rogue Valley men take a more active role in turning the tide on domestic violence.

"We live in an incredible community," Everson said. "But this has been a devastating year of violence against women and children. And it's going to take every single one of us to stop what feels like open season on women and children in our community."

Some men are speaking out. But more are needed, said Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau. While the vast majority of abusers are men, their nonoffending brethren tend to stay quiet even when they suspect.

They decide it's a "family problem" and to "let things work out at home," he said.

That decision can have lethal consequences, he said.

"We men need to man-up on this issue," said Budreau. "We men need to be able to provide help."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Royal City, WA: Domestic Violence Call Turned Deadly In Royal City

ROYAL CITY, Wash. -- Grant County authorities have revealed that an officer responding to a domestic violence call led to a deadly officer-involved shooting Monday in Royal City.
The shooting happened late Monday afternoon at 200 Hemlock Avenue NW. At 5:10 p.m. Monday, Royal City Police Officer Ray Rodriguez answered a domestic violence call at that location.
During the call, Officer Rodriguez developed probable cause to arrest Pedro Salgado Ceja, 45, for second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment. As Rodriguez went to place Seja under arrest, Seja refused to comply, grabbed a shovel and started moving towards Rodriguez.
Ceja proceeded to chase Rodriguez on foot for about 150 feet, while the officer, who was unable to use several less-than-lethal options as the incident escalated, continued to order Ceja to drop the shovel.
As Ceja was closing in on Rodriguez, the officer drew his weapon and fired six shots at Ceja. Grant County Coroner Craig Morrison confirmed Wednesday that Ceja died from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso.
Officer Rodriguez called for help at 5:18, eight minutes after responding to the domestic violence call. Multiple agencies dispatched deputies, firefighters and EMTs to the scene to assist Rodriguez. When EMTs arrived to provide Ceja medical attention they determined he was dead at the scene.
Rodriguez, a two-year veteran of the Royal City Police Department, was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. He will remain on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting conducted by the Columbia Basin Investigative Team.
Once the investigation is completed by CBIT, their findings will be turned over to the Grant County Prosecutor's Office for determination on the legality of the shooting.

Article: Domestic Violence Laws Still Need More Teeth To Save More Lives

The accused murderer of Tiana Notice is on trial in New Britain. Notice is dead, despite her rigorous utilization of a system meant to protect her.

Notice, a University of Hartford student, was a semester away from her master's degree in communication. She was stabbed to death outside her Plainville apartment on Valentine's Day 2009 — just five weeks after obtaining a civil restraining order against the ongoing trial's defendant, James Carter II, Notice's former boyfriend. In fact, hours before she was attacked, Notice had talked to police about emails she suspected were sent by Carter.

According to reports, Notice, who'd considered a career in law, also carried pepper spray, and, after her car tires were slashed, installed a surveillance camera at her home. Yet she became one of 12 domestic violence victims murdered in Connecticut that year.

So far this year, there have been 11, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

So what are we doing wrong?

Roughly 30,000 protective orders and 7,500 restraining orders are issued annually in Connecticut, says the coalition. A protective order is issued in criminal court after a family violence arrest. A restraining order is issued by the civil court, and can last for six months. A judge must sign the order and it can last up to six months — at which time a victim can reapply for another order. A civil restraining order, in general, makes criminal any contact by an abuser, be it by phone, in person, or via email or texting. The order may include family members, as well.

Common wisdom says the orders are worth nothing more than the paper they're printed on. Law enforcement agencies do not necessarily share information with one another, and the punishment for violating such orders is negligible. When the state Office of the Victim Advocate looked at Notice's death, among other recommendations was the suggestion that violations draw swift response from law enforcement.

"You will have different departments with different methods of handling situations," said Karen M. Jarmoc, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence interim executive director. "There's no consistent response."

Jarmoc is co-chair of a legislative task force that's discussing how to strengthen law enforcement's response to domestic violence. They're looking at strengthening protective and restraining orders, as well as examining Connecticut's high rate of dual arrests in domestic violence cases.

"One of the major problems with dual arrests is the ramifications toward the victim," said Cecile Enrico, Interval House executive director. "They're not calling the police because they're afraid they're going to get arrested. Then when you add custody issues, they're also afraid that DCF [Department of Children and Families] will get involved and they'll lose custody of their children."

In fact, no such rule exists — not for dual arrests, nor for the automatic involvement of DCF, says Penni Micca, Interval House advocate, and also a member of the legislative task force.

"The reality is that self-defense was always understood," said Micca, but the language was put into law in '04. "There's a lot of misnomers out there. Often times, victims get their information from the person who is abusing them."

Arrest laws vary from state-to-state, according to a recent American Bar Association report. In Connecticut, if an officer determines domestic violence has occurred, there will be an arrest, said Micca.

In Connecticut, domestic violence laws have evolved over time, starting three decades ago with the case of Tracey Thurman, a Torrington housewife who was severely abused by her then-estranged husband, and who later successfully sued the local police for their negligence in helping to protect her. As part of the evolution, the task force is also examining the role of technology in potential abuse and harassment, said Micca.

"It shouldn't have to be such a fight for the victim," said Jarmoc. "They are fighting for their lives, and it still doesn't work sometimes. The system should be consistent, and it should work across the board, the same wherever you live in the state of Connecticut, always."

In Notice's trial, closing arguments are scheduled for Friday morning; the jury could begin deliberating later in the day.

Article: Domestic Violence Survivor Shares Story With Local Teens

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A domestic violence victim shared her story of survival with Albuquerque teens.
On February 2010, Michelle Garcia said her husband left her for dead after stabbing her, slashing her throat and then setting their home on fire.
She said she is now teaching high schoolers how to learn from her dangerous mistake.
"There are a lot of people who do not survive. I'm very lucky to be here today. I shouldn't be, but I am," Garcia said.
She said she is reaching out to Cibola High School students to teach them that it's critical to report domestic violence.
"Do not wait, because it can escalate to something that's happened to me. We don't know what would happen," Garcia said. "If someone threatens you, hits you or harasses you, it's not going to stop."
Garcia said it is her third time talking to students at Cibola since the incident. Teachers said her story has gotten through to a lot of students.
"It doesn't have to knock you down. You can (still) become still what you were supposed to be in life and move forward," Garcia said.
She said she wants teens to know that getting over abuse is possible. Garcia is starting a nonprofit organization to help victims of domestic violence. She is handing out information on where to go if they need help.
"I feel like this happened for a reason, and if I can use that to better anyone else's life, I'm going to try and do that," Garcia said.
Garcia's husband is still on the run, but investigators said they think he's still in Mexico.

Fort Wayne, IN: Man, woman died in murder-suicide, Allen County Coroner's Office rules

Fort Wayne police and the Allen County Coroner’s Office are investigating the deaths of a man and woman Wednesday afternoon in what appears to have been a murder-suicide.

The coroner’s office said Thursday that Tanya Armour, 54, and a man reported to be her companion, Grady T. Edwards, 56, were found inside a house in the 3200 block of Beaver Avenue. Police arrived there after a report of shots fired.

Autopsies Thursday revealed that Edwards died of a gunshot wound to his neck and was a homicide victim. The coroner’s office said that Armour died as a result of a gunshot wound to her head in a suicide.

Edwards is the 17th homicide victim in Fort Wayne and Allen County so far this year.

Ventura County, CA: Jurors hear opening arguments in murder trial of Port Hueneme man

Jurors were told Thursday that a Port Hueneme man killed his girlfriend by stabbing her multiple times in a slaying the prosecutor called a "slaughter."

Prosecutor Bill Haney said Jonathan Aaron, 29, is guilty of premeditated first-degree murder while lying in wait in the death of Victoria Ankerstrom of West Hills.

But Aaron's lawyer, Russell Baker, told jurors in Ventura County Superior Court that his client is guilty of voluntary manslaughter because he never planned to kill Ankerstrom.

Baker said Ankerstrom and Aaron had a tug-of-war over a steak knife inside Aaron's bedroom on Oct. 16, 2009. Aaron took the knife away and stabbed Ankerstrom, Baker said.

"She was trying to save Jonathan. She was trying to save him from himself," Aaron told jurors Thursday during opening statements in Aaron's murder trial.

After killing Ankerstrom, Aaron, who has mental problems, tried to take his own life by stabbing himself, Baker said. He ended up spending a week in the hospital.

However, Haney said a small puncture wound in the back of Ankerstrom's neck shows the knife was being held there before Aaron inflicted deep stab wounds to her back. Haney said she was still alive after the stabbing, so he cut her throat with a large steak knife.

Jurors saw photographs of the crime scene and Ankerstrom's body.

The jury also heard about the couple's relationship. Aaron was very controlling, critical and manipulative, Haney said. Ankerstrom "vacillated emotionally back and forth" with Aaron, whom she loved.

Aaron had threatened to kill himself several times if Ankerstrom left him, Haney said.

She tired of his controlling behavior and went to his house to end their relationship, Haney said. She arrived at the home with three friends, and Aaron's mother was in the house.

Ankerstrom told her friends to wait outside for her to go inside, get her things and say goodbye, according to Haney.

After 30 minutes, the friends knocked on the door and demanded to go inside. Ankerstrom said from behind a closed bedroom door: "It's cool. I'll get my things. I'll be right out," Haney said.

A short time later, there was a "death" scream, Haney said. Ankerstrom then yelled, "No, Jonathan, no."

The two female friends tried to break down the bedroom door. Aaron's mother went outside with a hammer and broke the bedroom window, Haney said.

Aaron was found sitting on the bed next to Ankerstrom with a steak knife sticking out of his stomach, Haney said. His mother took out the knife and tended to his wound while Ankerstrom's friends tried to stop Ankerstrom's bleeding.

Baker told jurors Aaron had never threatened to harm Ankerstrom.

"Each of them thought they were each other's soul mates," Baker said. "He loved Victoria Ankerstrom and never wanted to see her hurt or kill her."

Baker said Aaron and Ankerstrom had sex in the bedroom just before Aaron was "provoked" when she tried to take the knife away. He said Ankerstrom did nothing wrong and didn't deserve to die.

While the knife was sticking out of Aaron's stomach, he said, "Mom, just please let me die," Baker said.

In the hospital, Aaron never asked for a lawyer and answered all the questions from detectives, who, Baker said, thanked him for being honest. Aaron told them he never intended to harm Ankerstrom, Baker said.

Aaron told detectives he couldn't buy a gun to kill himself because he had been in a psychiatric facility, Baker said, adding that Aaron has tried to kill himself five times.

When Baker played a recording of Aaron talking to detectives, Aaron, who stared at the table through most of the opening statements, began weeping.

Aaron also is being tried for a crime that occurred in 2008. He is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, criminal threats and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

The complainant in that incident, along with a third female who had Aaron's child, will testify in the trial.

Tucson, AZ: Tucson man arrested in August stabbing death of his teenage girlfriend

Tucson, Ariz.-A 19-year-old Tucson man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of his girlfriend in august.

Tucson police say 17-year-old Ignacia Aranda was found dead of apparent stab wounds on Aug. 9 and Carlos Juaquin Torres Jr. was in the apartment with her body.

Police did not immediately arrest Torres, but conducted an investigation because his girlfriend's death was deemed suspicious.

An autopsy showed she was the victim of a homicide. Tucson police then presented the case to the Pima County Attorney, which obtained an arrest warrant.

Torres was arrested without incident Wednesday afternoon on the warrant, which charges him with first-degree murder.

Athens, GA: Athens man pleads guilty, but mentally ill to murdering wife

A Clarke County Superior Court judge sentenced a mentally ill man to life in prison Wednesday for stabbing his wife to death at their home in Southeast Athens-Clarke County two years ago.

William Darwin Studstill, 32, who had been set to go on trial Nov. 7 for killing Stephanie Ann Mansfield Studstill, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

A prosecutor last month filed notice that if Studstill were to be found guilty at trial, he would ask the judge to sentence him to life without parole.

It appeared as though Studstill was prepared for trial, and Tuesday morning he even filed notice that he planned to call an Athens psychologist as a defense witness, according to court records.

But later that day, defense attorney Edward Tolley and prosecutors hammered out an agreement in which Studstill would plead guilty to murdering his wife and be sentenced to life in prison — with the possibility of parole after 30 years — where he would receive treatment for his mental illness.

Western Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Lawton Stephens approved the agreement during Wednesday’s hearing.

Studstill tried to express remorse for killing his wife, but was overcome with emotion and unable to continue speaking after telling the judge that he was sorry.

His parents sat in the gallery behind the defense table, while Stephanie Studstill’s family members sat across the aisle from them.

Before the judge passed sentence, District Attorney Ken Mauldin described Stephanie Studstill’s death as “very tragic, very violent.”

The victim’s sister, Christina Mansfield-Ivey, said in an interview soon after the murder that her family decided to have Stephanie’s body cremated because it was so badly mutilated.

William Studstill stabbed his wife to death the morning of Nov. 17, 2009, in the couple’s apartment at Clarke Gardens off Barnett Shoals Road, then drove to his mother’s house in Decatur, where he called 911 to report that he had “just killed his whole family.”

He surrendered after a local police SWAT team surrounded the home.

Studstill had a long history of hospitalizations for mental illness, and two months before he killed his wife he suffered an apparent breakdown and was hospitalized, police said.

Stephanie Studstill told officers at the time that her husband had tried to blow up the microwave oven by loading it with aerosol cans and a lamp, and later tried to break her neck while she was in bed, according to police.

People who lived near the Studstills at Clarke Gardens said in interviews that Stephanie was friendly and outgoing; she treated children to cookies she baked and invited neighbors when the couple hosted meetings with fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

They also saw William Studstill act strangely, like when he practiced karate outside in the pouring rain, the neighbors said.

When he took on the case, Tolley asked for a civil court jury to decide whether Studstill was competent to assist in his own defense, but Tolley withdrew the request in June, after medication helped improve Studstill’s understanding of the criminal charges and court process.

If Studstill had gone to trial and was found guilty, Assistant District Attorney James Chafin had planned to seek life in prison without parole because, the prosecutor argued in court filings, Studstill was a recidivist.

In two separate cases 10 years ago in Pennsylvania, Studstill was convicted of robbery, burglary, conspiracy, theft and several other felonies, according to the prosecutor’s notice.

Studstill will now be taken to a Georgia Department of Corrections diagnostic facility, where doctors will determine the severity of his mental illness and place him in the appropriate prison where he can be treated, Tolley said.

“His release from prison, if ever, will depend on successfully treating his mental health issues,” the attorney said.

Huntsville, TX: San Antonio police officer's killer to be executed tonight

HUNTSVILLE -- A San Antonio street gang member set for execution this evening told police that he knew officers often wore bulletproof vests so when one responded to a domestic violence call at his home, he shot him in the head.
Frank Garcia, 39, was sentenced to die for killing police Sgt. Hector Garza, 48.
Garcia killed his wife, Jessica, in the same outburst. She was shot three times -- one bullet to her forehead and two others lower on her face.
"I just turned and went: 'Pow, pow.' And I shot the officer," Garcia later told detectives. He said he didn't notice whether Garza had pulled a gun but "just went crazy."
Garcia's attorneys asked a San Antonio judge last week to halt his execution, contending that Garcia was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under Supreme Court rulings. The court refused the request.
Garcia, who belonged to the gang Angels of Sin, had been married about seven years and lived with his wife, their two children and his parents, court records show. He and his wife married when she was 15 and he was 21 and still in high school.
He dropped out a year later at age 22.
Their relationship was marked by domestic abuse, and testimony at his trial showed that Jessica Garcia sought help from a women's shelter at least once.
She called her stepmother on March 29, 2001, to say she was leaving and needed help with her children. Her stepmother sent her sister-in-law and her husband, John Luna, to help her.
When they arrived, Jessica Garcia was on the phone with her husband, telling him that she and the children were clearing out. Luna called police.
Garcia soon drove up, left his truck in the middle of the street, brushed aside Luna's attempt to grab him and ran to the house.
Luna flagged down Garza, who was approaching, and the sergeant went into the house, where Garcia was in a bedroom with his wife. He had a machine pistol.
"I know officers wear bulletproof vests, and when I shot, I aimed for his head, and that's where I hit him," Garcia told detectives after his arrest.
Garza, who had been on the San Antonio force for 25 years and had five children, was shot four times in all.
Evidence showed that any one of the shots would have been fatal. Then, Garcia told investigators, "My mind just went blank and I turned towards my wife and I shot her, too."
Garcia declined to speak with reporters as his execution neared.
The San Antonio Police Officers Association has chartered buses and expects at least 50 people representing the department to be outside the Huntsville prison tonight, association President Mike Helle said.

Lakeside, CA: Man admits to killing wife in Lakeside

LAKESIDE — A Lakeside man was arrested Wednesday after he walked into the Santee sheriff’s substation and told deputies that he had killed his wife, authorities said.

The man led deputies to his home on El Nopal, off Riverford Drive, about 1 p.m., and a woman’s body was found inside, said sheriff’s homicide Lt. Larry Nesbit.

Authorities backed out of the house and were seeking a search warrant to investigate further.

Investigators later booked Andrew R. Welch, 45, on suspicion of murder. They did not release his wife's name or details on how she died.

Nesbit said they lived at the end of a long driveway in one of two or three houses on the property. The house at the rear is nestled at the foot of some rocky hills. Across the street, emus and ostriches roam several pens at Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs.

Public records show that Welch lives at the rear house. His family has owned the property in the Eucalyptus Hills neighborhood for several years.

Neighbors offered varying opinions about the couple, and some expressed shock at the incident.

Joe Kahler, who lives next door, said Welch and his wife celebrated their first anniversary a few months ago.

“He’s a good-natured guy,” Kahler said. “I’ve known Andy since he was in diapers. It’s awful to hear.”

He said he sometimes overheard the couple when “they got into a few little spats,” but that he hadn’t talked to either of them for nearly a year. He said Welch’s wife also grew up in Lakeside and had a prior marriage.

Kahler said Welch races trucks at off-road desert courses.

Another neighbor, 14-year-old Nathan Heximer, said Welch often helps him and other children with their dirt bikes, and that he works at a local transmission shop.

“They’ve never been a fighting couple,” Heximer said. “He’s more of a loving, caring person from what I know.”

Rockaway, NJ: Conviction of Mine Hill man who killed wife in Rockaway mall parking lot is upheld

ROCKAWAY — A state appeals court today upheld the murder conviction and life sentence given to a Mine Hill man who gunned down his estranged wife in a minivan while parked at the Rockaway Townsquare mall on Oct. 9, 2003.
A jury in Superior Court in Morristown returned the guilty verdict in 2008 against George Melendez, now 64, who was a landscaper. His wife, Barbara Melendez, 49, was a teacher’s assistant who helped disabled and autistic children.
The appeals court said the main question raised by Melendez in his appeal challenged the admissibility of incriminating statements he gave in response to a police officer's questions, while he was in custody and after he had invoked his right to counsel. These statements led police to the wooded area where he had discarded the handgun used to kill his wife, the court said.
Melendez “voluntarily and knowingly waived his right to counsel at the time he decided to answer questions posed to him by different officers” from the Rockaway Township Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the court ruled.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fort Dodge, CA: Prosecution begins case against Richter

Both sides agree on one thing; Tracey Richter shot and killed Dustin Wehde in her home in Early.

Richter, 45, who was initially believed to be the victim of a home invasion in December 2001, has been charged with first-degree murder in Wehde's shooting death. She is on trial in Fort Dodge after defense attorneys argued she couldn't get a fair trial in Sac County.

During opening statements Wednesday, prosecutor Doug Hammerand said a pink notebook found in Wehde's car will prove he was murdered. Hammerand said Richter told Wehde, 20, what to write so it would appear her ex-husband, Dr. John Pittman, with whom she had child custody issues, had hired Wehde to kill her. Prosecutors said they'll also argue Richter killed Wehde so he wouldn't come forward to police and tell them what happened.

Defense attorney Scott Bandstra, of Des Moines, said Wehde and an accomplice had broken into Richter's home, and she shot and killed Wehde in self-defense. Bandstra, in his opening statement, said Wehde had problems acting out, and at one point caused his younger sister to end up in the hospital because of injuries he allegedly caused.

Following opening statements, the prosecution began calling witnesses, including Marie and Ray Friedman. He worked for Richter's second husband, Michael Roberts, with whom she lived at the time.

Ray Friedman, who received a large bonus and raise, testified he was not being paid off by Michael Roberts for any knowledge he might have about the shooting, but that he had earned the money as a "glorifed salesman" who closed big deals.

Marie Friedman testified she was supposed to stay overnight at the Roberts' home on Dec. 13, 2001 while their husbands were on a business trip, but that Richter changed the plan, saying she had to take her son by Pittman to and from a basketball game in Storm Lake. When asked by defense attorneys if she had determined on her own that she couldn't stay at the house after packing her bags for the trip, Marie Friedman said she was "surprised" by the change in plans.

Sac County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Bruscher, the first law enforcement official to respond to the scene, took the stand. He testified that he arrived at the crime scene, in uniform, driving a marked patrol car with its emergency lights on and because of a dispatch call indicating there were at least two intruders on the scene, identified himself as a Sac County Sheriff's Deputy and asked Tracey Richter to come outside with her children.

"She refused," Bruscher said and he repeated the request.

According to Bruscher, Richter told him two suspects had fled the scene, and she said a third suspect had been shot upstairs. At the time, Bruscher said, Richter said didn't know it was Wehde, although he said, her 11-year-old son, Bert Pittman, tried telling Richter it was Wehde she had shot.

"She said she didn't know for sure, and she tried to quiet him down," Bruscher said. "It was like a parent would scold a kid for interrupting them."

He said at one point, she asked if she had shot her husband.

He also testified that, at the scene, an emergency medical technician had stepped in blood. Bruscher then reminded them they were at a crime scene, and to not touch Wehde's body.

Bruscher testimony will continue when court resumes at 1 p.m.

Contact Peter Kaspari at (515) 573-2141 or

Washington, DC: Victims identified in Chillum-area murder suicide

Police have identified the woman and man killed in an apparent murder-suicide in the Chillum area earlier this month as 29-year-old Tekabech Taye and 43-year-old Girma Berhe, authorities said Wednesday.

Prince George’s County police said Berhe shot Taye inside a vehicle in the 700 block of Ray Road, then shot himself, authorities said. The incident, which occurred about 2:40 p.m. on October 7, is believed to have stemmed from an “ongoing domestic dispute,” police said.

Police had said previously that the two people involved in the incident were in some type of relationship. Taye was pronounced dead inside the vehicle, and Berhe, who was found lying on the street, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead there, police said..

Farmington Hills, MI: Ex-wife: Dad in Farmington Hills murder-suicide seemed OK, but he wasn't

The ex-wife of a man authorities said shot his young son before killing himself Sunday described her former husband as emotionally distant but not violent.

Carissa Fleming, 32, of Ft. McCoy, Fla., said she was shocked to learn of the incident from her former mother-in-law. Authorities said Bruce Serven, 34, shot and killed his 22-month-old son, Lucas, in a Farmington Hills apartment early Sunday.

"I'm dumbfounded," Fleming said. "Why did he have to take the innocent child? ...

"(There are ) so many questions running through my mind, and it's like: why, why, why, why?"

Serven died of a perforating gunshot wound to the head, and Lucas died of a shotgun wound to the chest, according to the Oakland County Medial Examiner's Office. Serven's death is classified as a suicide, and his son's, as a homicide. Police have said that officers responded to a 911 call from Serven's wife, Dawn Serven, at 12:11 a.m. Sunday -- she told them she fled after her husband assaulted her. Dawn Serven is Lucas' mother. Authorities said the couple were going through a divorce.

Police Chief Chuck Nebus said officers began to enter the home, but withdrew when they heard three gunshots. The officers set up a perimeter while waiting for a special response team to arrive. The bodies were discovered after police entered the apartment off 9 Mile west of Drake about three and a half hours later, Nebus said.

Fleming, who said she and Serven had three children ages 10-13, said she wants to reach out to Serven's wife. "As a mother, I'm here for her if she wants to talk," Fleming said.

Fleming and Serven were married in Genesee County in 1998 and divorced in 2002. She said they moved between Florida and Michigan several times, and that Serven was involved with numerous jobs -- from an Internet company to being a mall security guard -- during that time.

Serven's various social media sites tout him as someone pursuing a wide range of interests and offering expertise in a variety of fields, everything from food service to Internet businesses and entrepreneurship.

She said the various smiling images of Serven on those sites are "his way of telling people, 'I'm fine,' but he's really not."

Fleming said she believed that Serven's life had become more difficult since last year because he had issues paying child support. She said he had basically shut her children out of his life.

Article: Murder, suicide top medical deaths in pregnancy

By Kerry Grens
NEW YORK | Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:17pm EDT
(Reuters Health) - Expectant mothers are more likely to die from murder or suicide than several of the most common pregnancy-related medical problems, U.S. researchers have found.

Roughly half of those women who died violently had had some sort of conflict with their current or former partners leading up to the death, causing experts to call for more thorough screening and follow up for domestic problems during pregnancy check-ups.

"I think that there's still an under-appreciation of the risk (for murder and suicide) and probably less screening than should be done," said Dr. Linda Chambliss, director of maternal fetal medicine at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, who did not participate in the new work.

The study shows that about three out of every 100,000 women who are pregnant or have a child less than one year old are murdered, and two out of every 100,000 kill themselves.

Those numbers remained fairly constant from 2003 to 2007, the years that the researchers examined.

They pulled their data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System, which includes 17 states.

Murder and suicide were more common causes of death than medical conditions related to the pregnancy, according to a different set of data.

For instance, fewer than two out of every 100,000 women died from either pregnancy-related bleeding, improper development of the placenta, or preeclampsia, a complication of high blood pressure that can occur during pregnancy.

Dr. Christie Palladino, the lead author of the study, told Reuters Health that deaths from medical problems during pregnancy have dropped in recent decades.

"We've seen improvements in the more traditional causes of death, likely due to advances in medical care and public health practices. But the rate of injury seems to remain constant," said Palladino, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta.

This finding is especially troubling, she said, because violent deaths can be stopped.

"Even if the numbers are relatively small, you're talking about something that's preventable. It doesn't have to be there at all," agreed Chambliss.

Some groups of women were at a greater risk of violent death.

Women who died by suicide, for example, were more likely to be white or Native American, unmarried and over 40. Older women and those under 24 were at greater risk of being murdered, as were African Americans and unmarried women.

Palladino said her study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, likely underestimated the number of violent deaths among pregnant women.

The National Violent Death Reporting System includes all records of violent deaths in the participating states, but in some cases the pregnancy status of the victim was unknown, and Palladino and her colleagues excluded those records from the study.

Palladino said pregnancy is a prime opportunity for working to prevent suicides and murders, particularly those related to domestic violence, because women regularly see health care providers.

"We want to make sure we intervene before we get to these really disastrous consequences," she said.

Article: Domestic violence statistics

State: From July 2009 to June 2010, 38 people were killed in domestic violence incidents in Maryland, including seven in Anne Arundel County, two in Prince George's County, two in Montgomery County, and one in Howard County. Eighteen of the 38 were females: 10 were killed by boyfriends, seven by ex-boyfriends and one by a relative. Eighteen of the 38 were males: Five were killed by an intimate partner or ex-girlfriend; five committed suicide after killing or attempting to murder a girlfriend; three were killed by wives or ex-wives; two were killed by police after murdering or attempting to murder a girlfriend; one was killed by a girlfriend; one was killed by an ex-girlfriend; one was killed by a relative. Two of the 38 were children; both were killed by their fathers. Twenty-five of the 38 were killed by a firearm.

Prince George's County: Domestic violence deaths dropped from 13 in 2005 to eight in 2009 and two in 2010; 5,141 peace order cases were filed in fiscal year 2010; 3,296 temporary orders were granted; 1,499 protective orders were granted; 300 cases were transferred to Circuit Court.

Nation: Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States. Every day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, higher than muggings, car accidents and rapes combined. Domestic violence costs $4.1 billion annually in health-care costs and $1.8 billion in lost productivity. Domestic violence victims lose 8 million hours of work annually, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs. Ten million children witness some form of domestic violence.

Sources: Domestic Violence Statistics, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence and Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office

Colorado Springs, CO: Affidavit: Victim Lured To Home, Shot, Robbed

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A woman charged in the murder of an ex-boyfriend admitted to police that she met him in a bar the day before and called him 16 times, inviting him to her home so he could be killed.
The accusations are contained in a six-page arrest warrant filed prior to the arrests of the woman and her new boyfriend by El Paso County Sheriff's investigators.
Robert Miles, 55, was shot in the abdomen Saturday night at the Calhan home of his ex-girlfriend, Traci Adams, and her new boyfriend, Mark Manyik, El Paso County sheriff's officials said.

Miles was airlifted from the shooting and pronounced dead at a Colorado Springs hospital. The coroner ruled the death a homicide on Monday.

Manyik, 48, and Adams, 47, who originally reported the incident as a home invasion and burglary, were arrested on investigation of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and tampering with physical evidence, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Mike Schaller said.
Adams admitted under questioning that she had lured Miles to her home in a way that would make it appear Miles entered the home without permission so that he could be shot and killed by Manyik, according to an arrest affidavit. She told the victim in a final phone call, four minutes before he was shot, to just walk in the front door, the affidavit stated.
Manyik told investigators he was waiting with a 12-gauge shotgun and that Adams pleaded with him not to shoot before he pulled the trigger, the affidavit said.
Adams told investigators that the front door to the home was left intentionally unlocked so that Miles could enter and be shot, the arrest affidavit stated. Adams admitted taking a cell phone from Miles after he was shot, still alive and moving on the floor, the same affidavit stated.
Manyik corroborated Adam's version of what happened, according to the affidavit.
Both denied taking money from the victim after he was shot. Friends said Miles had $700 in cash just prior to the shooting but the money has not been found.
Manyik and Adams said they disposed of Miles' cell phone by taking it apart and throwing it out on a highway the day after the slaying.
Investigators said they recovered a voicemail from Manyik that was made the day before the slaying in which Manyik said he was going to shoot the victim in the "belly" with a 12-gauge.
Miles died from a shotgun wound in the lower torso.

Corunna, MI: Deputies say scene of death didn’t look like suicide

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 10:29 am, Wed Oct 26, 2011.
By SALLY YORK, Argus-Press Staff Writer | 0 comments
CORUNNA — The prosecution in the murder trial for Donald Ray Porter turned its attention Tuesday to what happened after police were summoned to the home of Lauri Jo Pilot, 50, who was killed by a single shot to her lower chest Dec. 15, 2010.
The second day in the murder trial in 35th Circuit Court of Pilot’s longtime boyfriend and housemate, Porter, 47, featured testimony by Shiawassee Sheriff’s Office personnel, paramedics and a Shiawassee County medical examiner investigator — all of whom arrived at the scene within hours of Pilot’s death.
Prosecutors built on a chronology of events begun Thursday, when the trial — presided over by Judge Gerald D. Lostracco — kicked off with Pilot and Porter’s friends, a neighbor, Pilot’s coworker and the victim’s father, Loyd Horn, describing the couple’s rocky relationship and the hours leading up to the shooting of Pilot with a single-shot, 20-gauge shotgun.
Porter, charged with open murder and felony firearm, claims the fatal shooting was a suicide or an accident. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. The trial was set to resume this morning.
Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Richardson, the first witness Tuesday, said he and Deputy Ryan Hall were the first to arrive at Pilot’s home, with Sgt. Douglas Chapman and Deputy Nadine Crowl arriving moments later.
Standing in the doorway, Porter told the officers his “girlfriend” had “killed herself” and was dead in the couple’s bedroom, Richardson said.
Asked about Porter’s demeanor by Daniel Nees, co-prosecutor on the case with Deana Finnegan, Richardson said: “He appeared calm. He did not appear upset. He was not crying. He seemed somewhat intoxicated.”
Porter, who appeared impassive in the courtroom Thursday and at his preliminary examination last February, made his first public display of emotion Tuesday when a photograph of Pilot’s body was shown in the courtroom. He lowered his head and shielded his eyes, dabbing them with a tissue.
Richardson said he observed several “red flags” pointing in a direction other than suicide. One was a lack of blood spatter. Another was that the gun lay next to Pilot’s body on the bed, when — given the recoil of a shotgun — he would have expected it to have wound up “toward the foot of the bed.” A broken plate on the living room floor and hamburger meat on Porter’s recliner in the same room indicated a “domestic dispute” to Richardson.
The deputy testified Porter was wearing jeans, a dark shirt and black jacket. Hall, Chapman and Crowl also testified Porter was wearing dark clothing when they arrived at the house. Earlier on the evening of the shooting, Porter was wearing coveralls, according to testimony by Porter’s nephew Dave Adams and his fiancee, Sherry Ebright.
Hall testified he asked Porter if anyone had disturbed the scene in the bedroom. Porter replied he “moved the gun, picked (Pilot) up and gave her a hug and then replaced the gun where he had found it,” Hall said.
While Hall and Richardson were in the bedroom, Crowl testified she stayed in the living room with Chapman and Porter. She asked Porter if he had heard shots and he said no. She asked him where he had been in the couple’s home — a small ranch — and he told her he was watching “Survivor” on TV in the living room. She asked if he’d fallen asleep and he said no.
When Crowl asked Porter about the broken plate and hamburger on the chair, she said he responded, “Lauri threw the plate at me. It happens all the time.”
If he didn’t hear the gun go off, Crowl asked, then how did he discover Pilot was shot? “He stated he was going to bed and saw she had shot herself,” Crowl testified.
Chapman said in other suicides by gun he has investigated, spots of blood, fabric or human tissue are “normally” found on the barrel, but “I did not see any” on the shotgun next to Pilot. He said he observed signs Pilot had been dead for some time: redness or “lividity” at the tip of her fingers and palms, and “she was cold to the touch.”
Photographs of Pilot’s body, projected on a screen in the courtroom, showed the woman lying on her back in her bed wearing blue jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt, her eyes and mouth partially open and head tilted to the left, a shotgun laying on the bed parallel to her body.
Paramedics Ryan Acre and John Rose, from Shiawassee Mobile Medical Response, testified that when they arrived at the house shortly after midnight, Pilot had no pulse and was cold to the touch. Pilot’s body was already undergoing rigor mortis, a stiffening process that generally starts two to four hours after death. Adams had earlier testified he called 911 at about 11 p.m.
Defense attorney Don Cataldo, assisting Porter’s court-appointed lawyer, Michelle Shannon, questioned why deputies did not check Porter’s hands for gun powder or his chest for red marks consistent with firing a gun. He also questioned why deputies did not perform sobriety tests that are considered more reliable than the preliminary breath test given to Porter as he sat in the back seat of a squad car.
Out of the presence of the jury, Cataldo also moved for a mistrial on the basis that prosecutors in opening statements and through witness testimony had established .203 as Porter’s alcohol level, thereby precluding the defense from arguing it was even higher. He said the results of a preliminary breath test were not admissible.
Prosecutors responded that the shooting was not a drunken driving case, which would require a blood test. Lostracco ruled against the defense motion, saying “if it is an error” it could be cured through jury instruction.
Several deputies testified they believed Porter was intoxicated, citing his “glassy,” “bloodshot” eyes and slightly slurred speech. But they said he was able to respond to questions coherently. Cataldo elicited testimony that Porter might have had watery, red eyes from crying, not drinking.
Deputy Matthew Davis, an evidence technician who took photographs throughout the house, testified to finding a hamburger dinner on the patio. He said he also saw a cellphone on the recliner next to Porter’s recliner, raising a question in his mind as to why Porter didn’t make the call to 911 himself, instead of walking a quarter mile to the home of his nephew, who called the police.
Davis discovered a spent shell casing at the foot of Pilot’s bed, the only one found in the home. He said it suggested the shooting was not a suicide.
“Once they commit suicide, they can’t eject the casing on the ground,” the deputy said.
Registered nurse Kathleen Wahl, a medical examiner investigator for Shiawassee County, said she arrived at about 8:15 a.m. Dec. 16. She measured the temperature of the house at 68.7 degrees. She and a forensic pathologist tagged the body. Turning it over, they saw no exit wound. Pilot’s body was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing at 10:30 a.m. for an autopsy, Wahl said.

Pembroke Park, FL:Sandro Michel Hit His Wife While She Drove; She Lost Control and Crashed in a Lake; He Died

A domestic-violence dispute early yesterday morning in Pembroke Park ended with a car plunging into a lake, one man dying, and sheriff's deputies jumping in to rescue his wife and 3-year-old daughter.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, someone phoned in a report about a couple fighting around 12:30 a.m. yesterday in the 3800 block of SW 20th Street, but when deputies arrived, they couldn't find anyone.

That's because 27-year-old Sandro Michel was hitting his wife (he had three prior domestic-violence arrests) while she was driving, causing her to lose control of the car and plunge into a lake.

A BSO corporal then heard "cries for help" coming from somewhere in the darkness, when she noticed it was a woman struggling to stay afloat in the lake.

Deputies Casimiro Navarro and Michael Francis hopped in the water, and Navarro was able to pull Michel's wife to safety -- although she was screaming that her 3-year-old daughter was still stuck in the car.

Navarro swam back out and noticed the girl's limp body float to the surface.

The girl was taken to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, and as of yesterday evening, she was in critical but stable condition, according to the sheriff's office.

Michel's wife was taken to the hospital but has since been released, and Michel himself was found dead inside the car in the lake.

Michel's body was taken to the medical examiner's office, and the BSO homicide investigation unit will continue looking into what happened, the sheriff's office says.

According to the Broward Clerk's Office, Michel has been arrested three times on domestic-violence charges, the most recent one ending with his being sentenced in May to probation.

Criminal traffic charges were also filed yesterday against Michel by the Pembroke Pines Police Department -- due to an unrelated incident -- which was the fifth criminal traffic case brought up against him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Columbia, SC: Police: South Carolina woman killed 2 sons, ex-husband and stepmother in staged suicide

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Police say a South Carolina woman shot and killed her two sons, her ex-husband and stepmother to collect life insurance and tried to make it look like one son killed them all.

Prosecutors say 48-year-old Susan Hendricks is charged with four counts of murder for the deaths in two neighboring homes Oct. 14.

Investigators said Hendricks was in one of the homes that night. She told deputies her youngest son had been using drugs and was suicidal. Officers found a gun by his body, and Hendricks said he left her a note.

But investigators said it was all staged and her statements were inconsistent with the evidence.

The homes are about five miles outside Liberty, in an area of mixed farms and suburban residences in the state’s west.

St. Landry Parish, LA: UPDATE: Police release new details surrounding murder-suicide

Police released the names of the two people involved in what they believe was murder-suicide Tuesday, saying the incident stemmed from a domestic disturbance.

According to St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, 44-year-old Russell Clark died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an Opelousas hospital Monday after he fatally shot 40-year-old Kathleen Clark on La. 103.

The SLPSO said they first learned of the incident after they received a complaint of a domestic disturbance with a firearm on Sonny Street in Opelousas. Police said Russell Clark used a shotgun to force his way into the residence, where he then took Kathleen Clark to the intersection of La. 103 and Arlington Rd. near Washington.

According to the investigators, it was at that intersection where Kathleen Clark jumped out of his moving vehicle.

After she jumped out of the vehicle, Russell Clark then exited the vehicle with a handgun and fired one shot hitting Kathleen Clark in the head and fatally wounding her. The SLPSO said Russell Clark then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the jaw.

The shooting happened around 1:30 p.m., and investigators said the shooting was witnessed by three people in the area. The SLPSO said when deputies arrived on scene they found Kathleen Clark’s body and a still responsive Russell Clark. He was transported to Opelousas General Hospital for treatment by emergency medical personnel, but police said he died that evening as a direct result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Fulton County, GA: Husband convicted of shooting wife to death

By Angel K. Brooks
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A man who authorities said tried to use his daughter for an alibi was convicted Friday of fatally shooting his wife.

A jury found 41-year-old Orlando Smith guilty of felony murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office announced Monday. Smith was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years.

Authorities said Orlando Smith shot Demetria Smith, 47, in the back of the head on May 25, 2010 at the couple's southwest Atlanta home. Friends testified that Demetria Smith was planning to leave her husband the next day, the news release said.

Orlando Smith triggered the alarm in the home to try to draw police to the scene to find his wife's body, then went to his teenage daughter's house to establish an alibi, authorities said.

While driving back home the next day, he told his daughter to throw his bloody clothes out of the window, the teen later admitted to police.

Smith pretended to find his wife's body and called police, authorities said. Police later found the clothes.

Pryor, OK: Pryor woman convicted of murder in husband's death

PRYOR -- A Mayes County jury on Tuesday convicted a Pryor woman in the slaying of her husband more than two years ago, Court Clerk Lori Parsons said.

The panel deliberated about three and a half hours before finding Wendy Cobb, 46, guilty of first-degree murder in the April 2009 death of Michael Cobb, who reportedly was beaten with a baseball bat and set on fire.

After a weeklong trial, the jury recommended a sentence of life with the possibility of parole, Parsons said. District Judge Terry McBride scheduled her sentencing for Dec. 21.

Prosecutors alleged that Wendy Cobb helped her alleged boyfriend, Nicholas Lee Shires, 26, carry out a plan to kill Michael Cobb, an Osage firefighter.

Court records allege that Wendy Cobb transported Shires to Michael Cobb’s residence and allowed him inside where he waited with a baseball bat.

Wendy Cobb provided the baseball bat as well as the gasoline Shires used to set Michael Cobb’s body and the residence on fire, records show.

Cobb’s cause of death was blunt head trauma with smoke inhalation as a secondary factor, according to the state Medical Examiner’s Office. Records indicate the skull fracture happened before the body was burned.

Shires, charged with first-degree murder, faces an arraignment Nov. 16, Parsons said.

Las Vegas, NV: Las Vegas man killed in domestic dispute identified

A man who was killed during a domestic dispute Monday was identified by authorities on Tuesday.

Gustavo Guzman was shot and killed by his girlfriend, Elisa Martinez, 47, according to her arrest report. Guzman's age was not immediately released.

Las Vegas police said Martinez shot Guzman after an argument about 10 a.m. at 4450 Karen Ave., near Sahara Avenue and Lamb Boulevard.

Martinez's adult daughter told police Martinez shot Guzman once in their bedroom during the fight and then chased him into another room, shooting him several more times.

The suspect later said, "I told him not to touch me," the daughter told police.

Because Guzman did not have a weapon and Martinez was "not in fear of imminent bodily harm" when she shot him, police arrested her on a murder charge, the report said.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at or 702-383-0283.

Oakland, CA: Hayward parolee accused of killing ex-girlfriend

(10-24) 15:29 PDT OAKLAND -- A parolee has been charged with murder in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in West Oakland, authorities said.

Cecil Kuuipo Sagapolu, 29, of Hayward allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old Giselle Ortiz at a home on the 800 block of 31st Street early July 31. Ortiz was dropped off at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, where she died.

The shooting occurred at the home of John Anthony Guerrero, 37, who has been charged with being an accessory to murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Both men have previous drug-related arrests or convictions, authorities said.

Las Vegas, NV: Couple in Vegas murder-suicide identified

Posted: Oct 25, 2011 12:39 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 25, 2011 2:40 PM EDT
Posted By Matt Guillermo, Web Producer - email

A Las Vegas woman who was fatally shot also had her throat slit by her boyfriend before he shot himself, investigators revealed Tuesday.

The Clark County Coroner said Yaniri Rosales-Gamboa, 23, died from a gunshot wound to the head Sunday.

The Coroner also said her throat had been slashed shortly after she had died.

Police believe her homicide was at the hands of her boyfriend, Ilian Mizodearmas, also of Las Vegas. The Coroner also reported Tuesday he died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Officers had responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home in the 5300 block of Regal Avenue Sunday night when they found the two

Rosales-Gamboa was pronounced dead at the scene while Mizodearmas was transported to a local medical facility, where he later died.

Chesapeake, VA: Kitten allegedly killed in rage

CHESAPEAKE— A single mother witnesses the senseless beating and killing of a kitten after she says her boyfriend boiled over in rage.

"He twisted its head around and then threw it in the woods," she says.

The woman, who asked we not show her face and change her voice in fear of retaliation, says her ex-boyfriend was loading up his truck to go home last week. He put his kitten inside, and went back in the home to grab a pair of shoes.

When he returned, the truck was locked, and the kitten instantly became the scapegoat.

"Started talking about how he was going to kill it, how he was going to snap its neck and how he wanted the cat to unlock the vehicle for him. So he would be yelling into the car, unlock it, come unlock it," she says.

AAA unlocked the truck, and the woman thought everything would be okay, but says the man took the kitten into the backyard.

Through a crack in the fence, the woman says saw every horrific blow against the cat.

"He stomped on it because it was jerking. Reached out and twisted its head around all the way and then he threw it in the woods," she said.

"He had about a half hour to think about what he was going to do so he knew what he was going to do and he was doing it on purpose and that was shocking," she says.

The woman rushed inside her home, shaking, and locked every door.

"If he's obviously snapped over the edge to kill an animal what's he going to do to me. So I locked all my doors and tried to keep him as far away from me as possible."

Pineville, NC: Arguing couple struck, killed Sunday on I-485

A woman and her boyfriend were hit by separate cars and killed on Interstate 485 late Sunday near Pineville after they got out of a vehicle during an argument.

The N.C. Highway Patrol identified the woman as Terri Lynn Stevey, 30, of Sherrills Ford.

Troopers have not released the name of the man, who they say was Stevey's boyfriend. They say he is Nicaraguan and wasn't carrying any identification.

The incident happened about 9:45 p.m. near the South Boulevard interchange, troopers say. They say Stevey was driving on the inner loop with her mother and her boyfriend, when she got into a fight with her boyfriend. Stevey's mother, who was not identified by troopers, was also in the car, but uninjured.

Stevey's mother told troopers that Stevey pulled the car onto the right shoulder, jumped out and ran into the roadway. Her boyfriend ran after her.

Stevey and her boyfriend were hit by separate cars. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness told the Observer's news partner, WCNC-TV, that the two appeared "out of nowhere" as she drove past them. Moments later, the two were hit. It was unclear Monday why they were arguing.

Troopers said they don't expect charges to be filed against the drivers who struck the couple.

Wootson : 704-358-5046

Dallas, TX: East Dallas couple found dead in apparent murder-suicide seemed happy, neighbors say

Staff Writer

Authorities have identified the shooter in an apparent murder-suicide at a Far East Dallas home this past weekend.

Police say James Michael Newby, 40, shot a 43-year-old woman about 7 p.m. Saturday in the home they shared in the 10500 block of Ferguson Road. He then turned the gun on himself.

The woman's name was withheld because her family had not yet been notified.

On Monday, pumpkins painted with the couple's names still decorated the front porch of their home.

Neighbors said it was hard to imagine that the quiet couple could be the victims of a murder-suicide. They appeared happy, residents said, and never caused a ruckus.
"I've never seen them fight," said Paulo Solez, who lives two houses down.

Neighbors also said the two were quiet and preferred to keep to themselves.

"They were always riding their motorcycle together," Solez said. "It's a sad, sad thing."