Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Article: Domestic violence: 'They don't realize the danger from intimate partners'

Last week’s stabbing and bludgeoning murders of two estranged spouses in Nockamixon caught the attention of Donna Byrne for reasons beyond the gruesomeness.
The deadly incident marked the sixth time in seven months in Bucks County where one spouse allegedly killed another. In five cases, the spouse also committed suicide, and with three, the person killed others, as well.
As executive director of Bucks County’s domestic violence services agency, Byrne said she hasn’t seen such a rash of murders since a six-month period in 2005 when four Bucks County women died at the hands of their husbands.
“It’s just as bad now, and people don’t realize that,” Byrne said. “They don’t realize the danger from intimate partners.”
In the most recent killings, Lloyd Hill, 41, of Haycock, is facing two first-degree murder charges in the deaths of his wife, Stefanie Hill, 36, and her live-in boyfriend, Frederick Tarantino, 43.
The Hills, who married in 2000, met Tarantino and his wife, Tara, through church and became friends. At some point, Stefanie Hill and Frederick Tarantino became lovers, left their spouses and moved in together, police said. Lloyd Hill and Tara Tarantino also lived together, but that started years after their spouses got together. Neither couple is divorced from their spouses.
Court records show that in 2004, Lloyd Hill beat his wife and threatened to kill her after she told him she wanted to end their marriage. Lloyd later pleaded guilty to simple assault, a charge he has faced before in Bucks and Philadelphia counties, according to court records.
Stefanie Hill and Fred Tarantino did not seek a protection from abuse order against Lloyd Hill, authorities said.
But many other Bucks County residents are filing for PFAs through A Woman’s Place, which has seen a dramatic increase in protection order filings since 2007, said Carol Gaughan, manager of legal advocacy for A Woman’s Place.
In 2009 and 2010, A Woman’s Place saw an 18 percent increase in protection from abuse filings over the previous fiscal year. The agency typically sees 600 to 700 PFA filings a year.
Byrne said the agency’s counselors say the sputtering national economy has made it more difficult for an abused partner to leave a situation. Women are less inclined to leave an abuser during a recession because fewer outside resources are available and jobs are harder to find. Women who do leave often find themselves homeless.
One counselor told Byrne that she has clients who are living in cars with their children.
Another recent common and disturbing thread the agency sees is a greater level of violence against abused women, advocates said. Where years ago a woman would enter the shelter with a black eye, today women have a black eye, cigarette burns and missing teeth.
Some advocates suspect the weak economy, and the increased stress levels it causes, might explain both a rise in the level of violence and the number of cases in which criminal charges are filed along with legal protection orders in Bucks County.
What particularly worries Byrne is that many people don’t recognize abusive behavior patterns before they become dangerous, and by the time they do, it can be too late.
Following the four murder-suicides in 2005, the Bucks County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission was formed to review the deaths and identify system gaps as a way of preventing further domestic violence homicides in Bucks County.
Among the outcomes of the commission’s 2008 report was a new lethality risk assessment tool for law enforcement that was implemented last year, Byrne said.
When responding to domestic calls, police are told to look for a cluster of non-criminal behaviors that could be indicators of abuse and, where they see this pattern, make a greater effort to encourage a partner to seek outside domestic violence services.
But leaving an abusive situation itself doesn’t guarantee safety, domestic violence experts say.
People are at the highest risk for harm after they leave an abuser, even if its weeks, months or years later. It doesn’t matter if the abuser has moved on, started another relationship or filed for divorce, Byrne and others emphasized.
Often the triggering event occurs when a partner exercises independence, such as starting a new relationship, moving into a new home, securing a new job or seeking child custody.
“He could be married and have a new family, but there is still that control,” Gaughan said. “It’s still a pattern of control. It’s like that quote, ‘If I can’t have you, no one will.’”

Mechanicsville, VA: UPDATE: Mechanicsville Deaths Ruled Murder-Suicide

Hanover County authorities have officially ruled the deaths of a Mechanicsville man and his twin three-year-old daughters a murder-suicide.

Authorities said in a release Monday afternoon that Robert King, 40, and his twin daughters, Caroline and Madison King, all had lacerations to their neck as well as carbon monoxide poisoning.

The medical examiner said all three died from either one or a combination of those factors.

"I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased as they mourn the loss of their loved ones, said Hanover Sheriff Col. David R. Hines. "No words can fully describe the pain they must be experiencing during this incredibly difficult time."

Saturday, officers responded to a home in the 7900 block of Wynbrook Lane, just off of Mechanicsville Turnpike and not far from Interstate 295, at about 3:30 p.m. Inside, officers discovered the bodies of , both three years old.

Robert King lived at the Wynbrook Lane home. The twin girls resided with their mother, Kristina Hooper, in the 5000 block of Pole Green Road.

Monday, Hooper spoke out about the incident exclusively to 8News. She said the leading up to Saturday, she and King were recently separated, and were going through a battle for custody of the twin girls. She also said she was the one who found all three dead inside the home.

"It is the worst possible thing you can ever, ever go through," said Hooper. "ever."

Hooper said the twin girls were staying with King this weekend at the Wynbrook Lane residence. Hooper told 8News she called to check on them, but King's phone was not working. She sensed something was wrong and drove to the house.

"I heard the carbon monoxide beeper going off and realized that the van was against the door," she said. "There was drying tubing connecting all the way to their bedroom."

Court records released Monday confirmed the van's exhaust was linked to a room in the home via tubing.

Neighbors, family and friends have set up a memorial outside of the home with flowers and stuffed animals. A vigil for Caroline and Madison has been set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 7986 Wynbrook Lane.

Sycamore, IL: Defense focuses on intimacy link in Greenwell trial

SYCAMORE – Those who testified Monday during the trial of a DeKalb man charged with murder said the victim believed his girlfriend and Michael Greenwell were intimately involved and had made comments about killing Greenwell if that were the case.

Greenwell, 29, is accused of killing Brent Petrakovitz, 44, during Labor Day weekend in 2009. Petrakovitz’s body was found beside Greenwell’s truck in a remote area north of Pleasant Street and west of Peace Road in DeKalb.

Police said the truck and body were burned. Petrakovitz died from head trauma, according to the county coroner. Greenwell pleaded not guilty in December 2010 to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of concealing a homicidal death.

Greenwell’s attorneys have said their client acted in self-defense, saying Petrakovitz told others he wanted to kill Greenwell because he was having sex with Petrakovitz’s girlfriend, Amy Kennedy.

Prosecutors say on Sept. 5, 2009, Greenwell and Petrakovitz were partying in the backyard of Walter and Yvette Zick’s home – drinking beer and snorting cocaine while they sat around a fire pit – when Greenwell retrieved an ax handle from Zick’s garage and beat Petrakovitz to death.

Greenwell, who chose not to testify during the trial, said during a videotaped interview with police from 2010 that was shown in court last week that he was acting in self-defense because Petrakovitz approached him with the ax handle.

Yvette Zick testified that Petrakovitz told her the afternoon of Sept. 5, 2009, that he thought Kennedy had had sex with Greenwell. Petrakovitz was upset, Zick said, and said he would “[expletive]” Greenwell up. An ex-girlfriend of Greenwell’s also testified that Petrakovitz showed up at her house a couple of times in the days prior to his death and made similar comments.

Kennedy testified that while they dated, she and Petrakovitz
often drank and used drugs, which could affect his mood. She said she and Petrakovitz split amicably in the days prior to his death. She admitted to having sex with Greenwell two or three times before Petrakovitz died.

Prosecutors contend that after beating him with the ax handle, Greenwell loaded Petrakovitz’s body into his pickup truck and drove to a grassy area near Peace Road and Pleasant Street, where he dumped the body.

When Greenwell’s pickup became stuck and he couldn’t drive away, he took gasoline and weed killer from a nearby garage and set the truck and Petrakovitz’s body on fire before walking back to the Zicks’ home.

Authorities say Greenwell used the Zicks’ garden hose to wash his hands and received a change of clothes there, and Greenwell burned his soiled clothes in the fire pit. The next day, he called police to tell them Petrakovitz took his truck and he couldn’t find it, authorities said.

Prosecutor Phil Montgomery with the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office asked Kennedy whether she had sex with Greenwell in a tent in the Zicks’ backyard after Petrakovitz had been killed. She said that could be correct, but she did not remember.

Jennifer Hetchler, who said she has known Greenwell his entire life, testified that she was in a relationship with Petrakovitz for 12-13 years and they lived together during that time. While they were dating, Petrakovitz punched her in the face on three separate occasions, once breaking her nose.

At the time of his death, the two were not living together although they spoke daily, Hetchler said. She last saw him Sept. 4, 2009, when he told her he was upset because he thought Greenwell and Kennedy were having sex. She said Petrakovitz wanted to go to the Zicks’ home, but she told him not to do it.

Public defender Regina Harris, representing Greenwell, presented the court with a certified copy of Petrakovitz’s conviction for domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, on Dec. 14, 2005, in DeKalb County.

David Darby, who lives a block away from the Zick home and knew both Petrakovitz and Greenwell, said Walter Zick told him Sept. 7, 2009, that he helped Greenwell load Petrakovitz’s body into the truck. Greenwell’s ex-girlfriend also said that after Petrakovitz’s death, Walter Zick told her the same thing and acknowledged he should have shared that information with police.

Zick, charged with concealment of a homicidal death in connection to the crime, has an agreement for a lesser sentence in exchange for his testimony, Harris said.

The trial, which began last week, continues today with closing arguments.

Pacific, MO: Pacific Man’s Murder Trial Continuing

The trial of a Pacific man accused in the grisly murder of his girlfriend was in its second day Tuesday.
Vernell J. Loggins Jr., 39, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Stephanie M. Fields, Pacific, whose body was discovered Nov. 3, 2009.
Authorities allege that Loggins attacked and killed Fields, stabbing her multiple times, at the man's apartment in the Monroe Woods complex at Pacific.
Loggins, authorities allege, then dismembered the body and placed it in a trash can packed with ice, leaving it near a dumpster.
A maintenance worker at the apartment complex testified to finding the body in the trash can.
State's witness Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mary Case, who conducted the autopsy of Fields' body, testified Monday that Fields was stabbed 25 times during the attack.
She said the cause of death was "stab wounds of the neck and chest."
Case added that she suspects that Fields was conscious during the entire attack.
"There were no wounds that would create a loss of consciousness," she said. "I don't believe she would faint in the midst of severe pain."
Case explained that she suspected Fields was alive for "several minutes" during the attack.
"There was nothing to cause instantaneous death," Case added. "It would take some period of time to die."
After reviewing evidence and testimony, the jury of 11 women and one man will first render a guilty or innocent verdict. If the defendant is found guilty of first-degree murder, the panel will then decide if he should receive the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Loggins deliberated before killing Fields. Deliberation must be proven in capital offenses.
The St. Louis Area Major Case Squad was called in the day the body was found and by that evening, members of the county sheriff's department's Emergency Response Team served a search warrant at an apartment and took Loggins into custody without incident.
Authorities said Loggins purchased a toter trash can at the Eureka Wal-Mart and was caught on tape leaving the store with the item while wearing the same "unique" St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap he was arrested in.
Authorities believe the murder occurred Sunday, Nov. 1, or Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.
Loggins has been held in the county jail on a $1 million cash-only bond since his arrest.
This is the first time in more than 18 years that a jury will decide a capital murder case in Franklin County.

Minot, ND: Minot Murder Trial Date Set

A date has been set for a trial of a man arrested for murder in Minot last year. Omar Mohammed Kalmio has been charged with the death of 19 year old Sabrina Zephier, with whom he had a child.

Police say Kalmio killed Zephier while their daughter was in the house.

Hours after Zephier`s body was discovered, police were called to a home across town where her mother, brother, and her mother`s boyfriend had been killed. Kalmio has only been charged with Sabrina`s death.

The trial has been set to begin the first week of June.

Article: Domestic violence deaths: At least 34 in Minnesota last year, report says

At least 34 Minnesotans, including four children, were murdered in 2011 as a result of domestic violence, according to a report released this afternoon by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women.

The total also includes 23 women and one man killed by an intimate partner, and six people who were friends, relatives or someone who intervened. It compares with at least 29 murdered in 2010 and 25 in 2009.

"We document these brutal murders to direct attention to the dangerous reality of domestic violence and the urgency to do more to protect the victims of domestic violence," said Liz Richards of the coalition, which has published the Femicide Report every year since 1989.

Richards, other victims' advocates, law enforcement and victims gathered at the Best Western Kelly Inn this afternoon to announce the release of the report.

Leigh Olson lost her daughter Mikayla in 2004 when her ex-husband, John Tester, killed the 5-year-old and then himself during visitation time. Olson, formerly of St. Paul, had filed for orders of protection against Tester and told Ramsey County court officials that he should not be granted unsupervised visitation.

"I thought if I left my abusive marriage, life would improve," Olson told the hotel gathering. "I was wrong."

"If people understood the manipulation and control that is part of domestic violence, if everyone took domestic violence seriously, if everyone made safety a priority, safety would improve," Olson said. "Please

get involved."
While it is impossible to predict which batterers will end up killing their partners, the Femicide Report cited several "red flags" that researchers have identified:

Separation; extended history of domestic or other violence; pregnancy; threats of homicide or suicide; access to a gun; stalking; attempted strangulation; forced sex; extreme jealousy and control of daily activities.

Of the 23 women killed, 11 were separated from their abuser or attempting to leave.

"While conventional wisdom persists that leaving an abuser will always make a battered woman safer, separation often increases the risk of further harm, as batterers 'step up' their efforts to control or intimidate the victim," the report said.

Twelve of the 23 women were shot; six were stabbed, two were strangled, two were beaten and one was killed by an as-yet-undisclosed cause.

Among those killed:

-- Katherine Pohjonen, 19, Vadnais Heights. Murdered by her husband, Kalen Pohjonen, who then shot and killed himself.

-- Nicole Meier, 26, Blaine. Shot by her ex-boyfriend, Jesse Oakley, after she moved out of their townhouse. Oakley's ex-wife had obtained a protective order against him. It required that he give up his guns. He had not done so.

-- Tabitha Belmonte, 16, Amor. Shot by her boyfriend, Dylan Cox, who then shot himself. They were living with their 7-month-old daughter and Cox's parents.

-- Kimberly Grew, 51, Virginia. Shot four times by her estranged husband, Brian Grew, the evening he got notice that she had filed for divorce. He then shot himself.

-- Cintia Ornelas Bustos, 28, Oakdale. Shot by her boyfriend, Jamie Velasquez, who took his own life after also shooting their live-in babysitter, Angela Uscanga Gonzalez, 43. The couple's 3-year-old son was home at the time and their 6-year-old daughter found the bodies when she got home from school.

-- Megan Neely, 27, St. Paul. Found dead in a cubbyhole of her home. Her estranged boyfriend was arrested in Miami and named a suspect. He has not been charged.

-- Lori Christine Baker, 39, Oakdale. Stabbed in her home. Her boyfriend, Thomas James Fox, had fled from a halfway house while on a work release and is the only suspect. He has not been charged.

-- Susan Marie Courteau, 44, Coon Rapids. Called police on the day of her death to say that her boyfriend, Patrick Benton, had been drinking and was scaring her. Police escorted him off the property. Later that day, Courteau was stabbed to death. Benton has been charged in her murder.

The children killed were Aiden Hoyer, 4 months, of Rochester; Alexis VanHoutan, 5 months, Coon Rapids; Devin Drake, 3 years, Anoka; and Mario Ruiz Meja, 5 months, Pelican City.

Shawn Schneider died when he tried to help. The Lake City police officer was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence call Dec. 19. His intervention helped shooter Alan Sylte Jr.'s former girlfriend to escape unharmed. Sylte then shot himself.

Bob Jacobson, chief of public safety in New Brighton, said that over the 28 years he has worked in law enforcement there have been positive changes in how domestic situations are handled by police.

No longer do officers simply leave the scene after telling abusers to "calm down" or "cool off," Jacobson said.

They try to respond quickly, assess situations for how likely they are to be potentially lethal, and connect the victims with resources, he said. They also work with schools and community groups.

Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522.

Oak Lawn, IL: Couple killed in Oak Lawn murder-suicide

A man and woman were pronounced dead today in what investigators suspect was a murder-suicide in South Suburban Oak Lawn home this morning, police said.

Police were called to the home on the 9400 block of South Tulley Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. after family members asked for a well being check on the couple who lived there, said Oak Lawn Police Chief Bill Villanova.

Inside the home police found Mary Mauger, 47, dead of an apparent gunshot wound to her neck in what appears to be a homicide, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Along with Mauger, police also found the body of Kenneth Borkowski, 53, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chin, officials said.

Police suspect the man killed the woman before shooting himself but autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday, officials said.

The couple had been in a long-time relationship and according to public records purchased the home in 2005. Family members indicated that the two may have recently gotten married but police did not have any proof of the marriage, said Villanova.

While the couple did not have any children Borkowski had children from a previous marriage, Villanova said.

No one else was at the home when the shootings took place, Villanova said.Neighbors told police that they had seen Borkowski outside of the home and the woman inside the home this morning before they were found, Villanova said. Neighbors did not hear the gunshots in the quiet residential area, police said.

There was no evidence that they had a fight leading to the shootings. Police did not find a note, Villanova said.

The man worked as an electrician and Mauger worked in a law firm in Burr Ridge, officials said.

Kenneth Borkowski grew up in Oak Lawn, the youngest of eight children.

Relatives described him as a hardworking family man who was so devoted to his two grandsons, he named his electrical business “Roleo,” which is a combination of both their names.

Borkowski also is survived by an adult daughter and son. Their aunt said his children are “numb” from the shock of losing their father but also at the violence that police said unfolded.

“It had to be a psychotic episode of some sort,” said Monica Brandt, whose older sister was Borkowski’s first wife. “It doesn’t remotely fit his character.”

Brandt said Borkowski had been struggling with epilepsy in recent years and he was scheduled for surgery. She said Borkowski blacked out while behind the wheel during a recent epileptic seizure and, after getting into an accident, awoke uncharacteristically combative and unaware of his surroundings.

He did not have a history of violence, court records showed.

“We believe this had to be a reaction to his medication because he was not a violent man,” Brandt said. “Ken was very smart and funny. He had a quick wit and an easy smile.”

Porter Corners, NY: Elderly couple called generous

PORTER CORNERS — Kenneth and Anna Sherman were the kind of neighbors who mowed your lawn if yours lawnmower was broken, a neighbor said Tuesday.
David Wright lives with his girlfriend and their toddler son next to the tidy mobile home where the Shermans lived and were found dead Sunday in an apparent murder-suicide.
He said the couple, both in their 80s, kept a garden and would trade vegetables with Wright for the brown trout he caught out of a nearby stream.
"They gave me zucchini because they knew I liked to make zucchini bread," Wright said. "They were wonderful, sweet people and I'm going to miss them dearly."
Wright said the Shermans kept a garden near their home and tended to a larger plot at the home of one of their children. Wright said when he came home from a tour in Iraq two years ago, the Shermans came over to celebrate his return. He said the couple occasionally went on outings designed for senior citizens.
Wright said he didn't know what could have driven Sherman, 86, to kill his 83-year-old wife and then himself.
The elderly couple was found dead in their home on Sunday.
A 911 call alerted the Saratoga County Sheriff's office of a shooting at lot 36 of the North Creek Mobile Village in Porters Corner.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was performed at Saratoga Hospital, and according to the sheriff's office it was determined that Sherman shot his wife and then shot himself.

Torrance, CA: Family friend says naked man 'snapped,' killed girlfriend

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- A violent rampage in Torrance left a mother and daughter dead on Sunday. The man accused in the murders was arrested naked after an hour-long standoff.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were called to an apartment in the 21800 block of Vermont Avenue around 8:30 p.m. after reports of a man with a knife.

When they arrived, they found a man with multiple stab wounds outside the home. He told them the suspect, 30-year-old Virgil Tyrone Tate, and two women were inside. The man, who was renting a room in the apartment, was rushed to a hospital in stable condition.

Investigators said they found one of the female victims on the floor of the residence. Tate barricaded himself in a room with the other female victim.

Tate held authorities at bay for about an hour. They eventually forced their way in and took Tate into custody.

"It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He snapped, I guess, I don't know what happened," said family friend Debra Kelly in tears.

Authorities said the three victims and the suspect lived at the home.

The motive remains under investigation.

A relative told Eyewitness News that Tate had recently lost his job and was trying to get his children from a previous marriage out of foster care. She said there had been a lot of fighting recently.

Neighbor Angel Fundora said Tate moved in about a year and a half ago and was always cordial. She said the family was having financial problems.

Relatives said the daughter had just graduated from nursing school and was hoping to get a job soon.

Tate is being held on $1 million bail.

Rochester, NY: Grand jury: Rochester stabbing death was justified

A Rochester defense attorney says a grand jury has refused to indict his client for manslaughter in a fatal stabbing, determining it was self-defense.

Paul Kubrich was charged with first-degree manslaughter for fatally stabbing 29-year-old Richard Sullivan of Walworth in Wayne County. Police say Sullivan, the ex-boyfriend of a woman Kubrich was dating, showed up at the woman’s apartment on Nov. 11 and got into a fight with Kubrich.

Sullivan died of stab wounds to the upper torso hours later.

Kubrich’s lawyer, James Nobles, says the grand jury determined the killing was a justifiable act.

Kubrich had faced a prison term ranging from five years to 25 years if convicted.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pima County, AZ: Domestic violence call turns fatal in the Foothills District

Pima County Sheriff's detectives continue to investigate a domestic violence call that left one woman dead, and another charged with homicide.
Deputies in the Foothill District responded to an emergency call around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning at the 6100 blk. of North Ginger Avenue in reference to a physical domestic violence call.
Upon arrival, deputies found Armando Lopez, 37, outside the residence covered in blood. Inside the residence, they found Marie Antoinette Mesa, 42, bleeding from multiple stab wounds.
Mesa was transported to the Trauma Center at the University Medical Center where she succumbed to her injuries.
Mesa's 16-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old cousin were inside the home at the time of the incident and called 911.
Pima County Sheriff's Homicide Unit detectives responded for further investigation.
Lopez has been booked into the Pima County Adult Detention on charges of First Degree Murder.

East Spencer, NC: Ex-boyfriend made repeated threats to murder victim

EAST SPENCER — The baseball bat Joan Marie Lark kept next to her bed for protection was probably the weapon used to murder her Friday in her East Spencer home, her boyfriend said.

Kerry Wooden, Lark’s boyfriend and co-worker at the VA Medical Center, said Lark, 49, always slept with the bat near her bed. He said he believes Gary Cureton, an estranged ex-boyfriend, used a key to enter Lark’s 110 W. Spencer St. home and then wielded the bat.

Six of Lark’s grandchildren were sleeping upstairs during the attack. They found her body when they woke up for school.

Cureton, who had been hospitalized at Rowan Regional Medical Center for chest pains since his arrest Friday, was discharged Sunday afternoon and served with warrants for murder, first-degree burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond.

Authorities found Cureton Friday afternoon at a house in Kannapolis wearing Lark’s jacket, with her jewelry in his pockets and dried blood on his clothing, said Detective. A.D. Loflin with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

Family members tried to convince Lark to take out a domestic violence protective order against Cureton, who they said threatened her repeatedly since she kicked him out Jan. 1.

For weeks, Lark brushed off the threats.

“Neither one of us took him very serious,” Wooden said.

But recently, Lark started to consider telling authorities and had saved 33 recordings of Cureton’s threats on her voice mail, Wooden said.

“She wasn’t sure if she had enough evidence,” he said. “She said she wanted it to build up to have a good case.”

Cureton has a history of domestic violence. In 2008, he was convicted of two counts of communicating threats. In 2000, he was convicted of two counts of domestic criminal trespassing and assault on a female.

“I told her to take a warrant out against him, said he’s no good,” said Kathleen Chambers, Lark’s mother. “She said, ‘Oh mama, he wouldn’t do anything.’

“She didn’t have no idea.”

Lark felt sorry for Cureton, her mother and boyfriend said. Lark and Cureton dated for more than a year but broke up in February 2011.

She allowed Cureton to continue living in her house because he was recovering from a serious illness and several surgeries, Wooden and Chambers said.

“She had a very kind heart,” Wooden said.

Lark suspected Cureton of stealing from her and doing drugs, Wooden said, but hesitated to kick him out because he had no place to go and no money.

When Cureton received his first disability check, she finally told him to leave, Wooden said. East Spencer police removed his belongings from her house Jan. 2.

“It got bad then,” Chambers said.

Cureton began calling Lark’s cell phone and home phone over and over, leaving threatening messages, she said. Wooden said Cureton also threatened him on the phone.

Among other threats, Wooden said Cureton told him last weekend he was watching him, Lark and the house.

Since January, Wooden had stayed over at Lark’s house most Thursday nights. He studies biomedical technology at Stanly County Community College during the week and works weekends in environmental services at the VA, where he met Lark last year. She was a front-desk assistant.

But last Thursday, Wooden went home to Charlotte to do his laundry and slept there. Lark had offered to wash his clothes, but Wooden said she already had six grandchildren to take care of.

Wooden said he’d been warning her not to sleep with the TV on — an old habit — for fear she would not hear if someone tried to break in.

When deputies responded to the house early Friday morning, the TV was on, they said.

Authorities said Cureton took $1,000 worth of jewelry, clothes and money from the house.

Lark had 13 grandchildren and custody of the six who lived with her. Lark had two daughters — one with three children and another with 10, including three sets of twins.

Lark was Chambers’ younger of two daughters.

“Joan was my baby,” she said. “I’m in shock. It hurt worse than anything in my life. It would have been all right if God had taken her, but she got killed for no reason.”

Chambers, 65, said she awoke at 2 a.m. Friday with a pounding headache. She was dizzy as she walked down the hall in her East Spencer home and fell several times.

She said now, she feels she was sensing Lark’s death.

Chambers said when she would see news items on TV about a woman dying at the hand of an abuser, she would tell her daughter.

“Joannie, listen to the news. How do you know it ain’t going to happen to you?” Chambers said she told Lark. “Joannie, please take out a warrant. I can’t do it but you can.”

But Lark didn’t see herself as a victim, Chambers said.

“She said ‘Mom, he ain’t going to bother me.’ ” Chambers said, and she would try to believe her daughter. “He proved us all wrong.”

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Silver Spring, MD: Man, 68, charged in wife’s death; victim was found dead in Silver Spring apartment bedroom

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A Silver Spring man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife.

Montgomery County police charged 68-year-old Henry Hutchins early Sunday morning with killing his wife, 62-year-old Carol Carter.

Carter was found dead Saturday afternoon in the bedroom of the couple’s apartment in the White Oak area of Silver Spring. She had suffered trauma to the upper body. Police have not released details about the nature of her injuries.

Police say Hutchins called police to report that his wife was dead. He was immediately taken into custody for questioning.

Now that he’s been charged, he’s being held without bond. A bond review hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Johnstown, OH: Police: Lab results will complete investigation of murder-suicide

Neighbors and the family of Wallace and Clover Walls apparently weren’t fully aware of the difficulties they were experiencing prior to the Jan. 20 murder-suicide of the couple, according to Police Chief Don Corbin.

Johnstown police said 74-year-old Wallace Walls shot and killed his wife, 70, before killing himself on Jan. 20.

Corbin said officers arrived at the Walls’ home on East Maple Avenue shortly after 1 p.m. that day and found Wallace and Clover dead in the mudroom next to the kitchen.

He said officers recovered a handgun and a suicide note written by Wallace at the scene.

Chief Corbin said Clover Walls had been in a nursing home and was recently released under the care of her husband.

“It’s my understanding that Mrs. Walls, approximately two months ago, had a stroke and was in a nursing home and was released last Tuesday (Jan. 16) to come home because É of insurance purposes,” said. “So Mr. Walls had total care for Mrs. Walls from that time on.”

The Wallses lived alone, but their son lived next door, Corbin said. He said neighbors did not hear any gunshots.

“If you know there are problems, sometimes you can get people help,” he said, “but no one had any idea that this type of problem would have occurred — at least those we talked with, including the family.”

Corbin said the investigation is not yet complete, as police are still waiting on autopsy and toxicology reports.

“It’s always good to know in a toxicology report the frame of mind of people that’s involved, and outside of that the forensic part É the part of the firearm and different things the firearm tells us about the shots,” Corbin said.

He said it could take four to six weeks before toxicology reports come back. Police will then complete a report for the prosecutor’s office.

This is not unusual, Corbin said, as the prosecutor’s office makes sure the investigation is correct and that no charges need to be filed.

This is Johnstown’s first homicide in five years, Corbin said

Article: FSU takes stand against domestic violence

FITCHBURG -- In September 2009, 22-year-old Alexander Skowran, a Maryland man who had transferred to Fitchburg State University, killed his ex-girlfriend, Giselle Rodriguez, 23, of Clinton.

Days later, he was found dead in a Virginia hotel room after an apparent suicide.

It was just around that time that Allison Myrick, 19, of Groton, then a first-year student at FSU, began dating Robert Gulla, 19, of Shirley.

In January 2010, Gulla was charged with first-degree murder and violating a restraining order in connection with the fatal stabbing of Myrick, who had broken off their brief yet tumultuous relationship about a month earlier after two occasions in which he'd been arrested on charges he assaulted her. Gulla attempted suicide but survived.
Myrick had taken the restraining order out against Gulla four days before she was killed.

In light of these events, FSU officials decided it was necessary to take a proactive approach in making the college community safer and raising awareness about dating violence, the signs that someone may be in an abusive relationship and how to appropriately address such issues.

Fitchburg Anti-Violence Education, or FAVE, was officially launched in October 2010 and became mandatory for all incoming freshmen and transfer students as of January 2011.

Since then, other groups, such as athletic teams, have also completed the training, which focuses on issues of interpersonal and relationship violence, sexual assault and stalking. So far, according to Matthew Bruun, director of public relations for FSU and a FAVE trainer, 1,262 students have completed the training.
According to co-director Jannette McMenamy, a professor of psychological science at FSU, the program is based on one at the University of New Hampshire but modified to make it relevant to students here. Similar programs exist at schools all over the country and there are many different models that work, McMenamy said, but what makes FAVE so special is that nearly every department on campus is represented among the trainers involved.

"The most novel aspect of our program is our way of coordinating it," McMenamy said. "Our 51 trainers represent all the different aspects of our campus community, from art to math to business to athletics to the different administrative offices to maintenance staff."
"When I approached the different departments about getting involved, the response was overwhelmingly positive," said Erin Travia, assistant director of FAVE and a university counselor. "It's exciting to see that kind of response. It iterated that we have a community that wants to support and take care of each other."

"We all play a role in keeping our community safe," McMenamy said.

FAVE training consists of a play titled "Drawing the Shades," which tells the true stories of four students at Virginia Commonwealth University, played by current FSU students, each story unique and told from the perspective of the survivor. It highlights sexual-assault scenarios between both heterosexual and same-sex couples, featuring both men and women as the aggressors.
According to Travia, the rates between heterosexual and same-sex couples are nearly equal, and women can be the aggressors in heterosexual relationships more often than most people would tend to expect.

The play also presents some rather sobering national statistics. According to a 2000 special report from the Bureau of Justice:

* Women ages 16 to 24 experienced the highest per-capita rates of intimate violence -- nearly 20 per 1,000 women.

* 20 to 25 percent of college women experienced attempted or completed rape during their college careers. In 90 percent of those cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim.

A 2008 study by UNH professors determined that 25 to 30 percent of men and women in college dating relationships experience violence.

Another aspect of the training that tends to surprise people is when the students are asked to stand if they or anyone they know has ever been affected by dating violence, according to senior psychology student Saralyn Byler, 21, of Belleville, Pa., who works as McMenamy's research assistant.

"A lot more people stood up than I thought would," Byler said. "It was nearly everyone."

Intervention training

Students also participate in a 75-minute bystander training to help them recognize various forms of violence and abuse and to develop the skills to effectively and safely intervene, Travia said.

They are given different scenarios, and discuss what to do in situations ranging from the drunk girl at a party whom you're sure is going to make a bad decision to noticing a friend has bruises after the friend has seen his or her significant other.

FAVE also tackles what Travia called lower level, more frequently seen disrespectful behavior such as sexist jokes and making fun of others' body types.

"We also teach students how to intervene in these situations, so that these lower level things don't create a culture that allows more tolerance of these situations, so we ultimately have a safer campus where people are respected and violence is not tolerated as a whole," Travia said.

So far, the FAVE initiatives seem to be working, those involved say.

McMenamy said she hears the word "bystander" more often than she ever did prior to FAVE's existence and overall hears more discussion of related matters among students and staff, who in general seem interested in taking the proper actions to keep one another safe.

All of the students who complete the training are given FAVE keychains and ribbons, which are being proudly displayed on backpacks all over campus, according to junior political science major Matthew Costello of Raynham, an orientation leader for FSU.

Byler said she has seen some of her friends make jokes about others' bodies less frequently or they've stopped doing so altogether, and she herself is more conscious of friends' behavior at parties, especially if they are intoxicated and talking to strangers.

Byler also tabulates the surveys given to students after FAVE training, and said many take the open-ended questions seriously, and she said she thinks they are getting something positive out of it.

Though the 2011 crime statistics report from Campus Police showed only a single forcible sex offense on campus from 2008 to 2010, Bruun said this only includes reported incidents on campus and does not account for any that were not reported or happened off campus.

Though the effects of FAVE are largely anecdotal as of now, when numbers do come in for the current school year, however, McMenamy said to not be surprised if they have actually increased, because raising awareness of an issue tends to lead to increased incident reporting.

"In that situation, the numbers tend to spike shortly after awareness is raised, so the goal is to ultimately have them go back down afterward," she said.

Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Iraq War vet gets life in prison for killing girlfriend Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/28/arkansas-iraq-war-vet-gets-life-in-prison-for-killing-girlfriend/?test=latestnews#ixzz1krTaaIQT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Iraq War veteran who sought acquittal on a capital murder charge in the death of his girlfriend has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
A Pulaski County jury of six men and six women deliberated about 90 minutes Thursday and eight hours on Friday before finding Steven Russell Jr. guilty.

Russell called police in November 2009 and told them had had shot Joy Owen, 24, a North Little Rock High School teacher, to death after an argument at the apartment the two shared, records show. He told officers where to find the gun he used, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported in a story for Saturday's editions.
At the time of Owens' death, Russell was on probation for a 2008 domestic battery conviction. Prosecutors alluded to the conviction in Russell's trial, but gave no details. The assault was included in Russell's mental health records and forensic reports submitted to the jury.
Russell's defense team admitted he killed Owens, but blamed the shooting on post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by his war service in the Middle East. Owen served in the Iraq War in 2003.
Prosecutors agreed that Russell suffered from the condition, but disputed the claim that Russell was insane when he killed Owens. They pointed to Russell's actions before and after the gunfire, and said the descriptions he gave doctors about the circumstances showed he had deliberately killed her.
The legal and medical process to assess Russell's mental health took almost two years.
Two psychologists, Ron Faupel and James Moneypenny, diagnosed Russell as insane when he killed Owens. Dr. Brad Diner, a psychiatrist, agreed that Russell was mentally ill, but said his claim of shooting Owens during a flashback was dubious because the actions of post-traumatic stress sufferers are usually re-enactments of their reaction to the trauma that induced the condition.
Cocking the gun and firing it four times at Owens did not reflect the kind of trauma -- seeing friends, fellow soldiers and children killed and maimed -- that Russell reported, Diner said.
"You would have to believe she did something that reminded him of his Iraqi war experience ... and I can't make that jump," Diner said. "To me, it was too convenient, and there was too much purposeful action."
Russell's attorney, Rickey Hicks, didn't immediately return a phone message that The Associated Press left at his office Saturday for comment.
Russell has 30 days to appeal the verdict.

Article: Kentucky releases records in five child death cases

FRANKFORT, KY. — FRANKFORT, Ky. On the night he killed his two-year-old son before turning the gun on himself, Ralph Michael Utley first violently attacked the boy's mother, punching her, kicking her and tearing out a handful of hair.

The child, Owen Utley, pleaded for him to stop, prompting his father to reply that he was not going to stop "until I kill her."

When the mother escaped the Gallatin County home to call police, Ralph Utley fatally shot Owen, then himself.

Owen's is one of five violent child deaths in 2009 detailed in records released Friday by the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services — the first of about 180 cases involving child abuse deaths or serious injuries that the cabinet has agreed to release in coming weeks to satisfy records requests by The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader.

While a legal dispute continues over what information the cabinet may redact, or withhold, officials have agreed to release files as they review and copy them.

The Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader waged a lengthy legal battle to get the documents under the state open records law. Previously, the cabinet had released only one batch of records, about 90 internal review of child abuse deaths and serious injuries.

The files released Friday — while not heavily redacted — do omit information beyond what Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said was permissible in ordering them to be made public.

He directed the cabinet to limit redactions to names of children seriously injured by abuse, private citizens who report suspected abuse, siblings mentioned only because of their relationship to a victim and minors who perpetrate abuse.

For example, files released Friday omit the name of the 17-year-old mother of one child victim because she was a minor. The records also omit other names, including adult relatives of victims, a babysitter of one victim and a mother's boyfriend who was not involved in the abuse.

Cabinet officials, arguing they should be able to redact far more information, on Thursday took the legal dispute to the state Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court has assigned the matter to a three judge panel, which will hear the matter Feb. 7.

Domestic violence was a factor in four of the five cases released Friday and continues to be a danger sign for troubled families, said Sherry Currens, executive director of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.

But it's not the only factor, she said.

"Yes, there's domestic violence," Currens said. "There's also substance abuse, unemployment, mental health issues — there may be all kinds of issues in a family."

She said the state has too few resources to help women escape violence and find a safe place for themselves and their children.

"All the shelters are full," she said of the state's 15 regional centers. "We do the best we can, but it's hard, especially in this economy."

Teresa James, Kentucky's acting commissioner of social services, recently made an impassioned plea at a Kentucky Press Association meeting for people to be more aware of domestic violence and its destructive effect on families.

While the files released Friday represent just a few of the cases the cabinet investigates involving child deaths and serious injuries, James said domestic violence is a growing problem for families involved in the state social service system.

Other cases released Friday that involved domestic violence include:

Cole Frazier of Nelson County, 21 months, who was fatally shot by his father, Timothy Frazier, 28, who then killed himself. Cole's mother, who had moved out of the home and was seeking custody, said Timothy Frazier had threatened her — causing her to take out a protective order — and talked about killing himself.

Kiara Smith, age 1, fatally beaten by her 17-year-old mother's boyfriend, Brandon Barnhill, 24, who was convicted of murder. The teenage mother, who was staying at the boyfriend's apartment in Grant County, said he had pushed and grabbed and yelled at her, once tried to kick the baby's crib to pieces and dumped the baby's formula down the toilet.

Kayden Stewart, age 1, fatally beaten by his stepfather, Allan Rolley of Muhlenberg County. Kayden's mother reported that four months before the child's death, Rolley had pushed her down, choked her and threatened to kill her while she was holding another child. Rolley is serving a 10-year prison sentence for manslaughter.

The fifth case involved the beating death of Chloe Senseman, a two-month-old Boone County infant, whose father, Benjamin Senseman, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Kenton Commonwealth's attorney Rob Sanders, whose office prosecuted the case, said the family had no previous reports of violence or suspected child abuse. But he said the investigation showed the infant had suffered previous injuries, including a healing arm fracture and rib fractures as well as the head injury that caused her death.

And that should be a warning sign to friends, relatives or others who notice frequent or unusual injuries to a child, he said.

"Rarely does child abuse go from zero to death," said Sanders, whose office had prosecuted a number of adults for killing or seriously injuring kids. "There are almost always healing wounds."

Sometimes professionals may miss warning signs.

In the case of Kiara Smith — the Grant County toddler beaten by her mother's boyfriend — the cause of death was severe blunt force injuries to the head. An abrasion to the child's scalp matched a ring that her abuser was wearing while he was babysitting, the cabinet records said.

Barnhill was sentenced to life in prison for Kiara's Jan. 4, 2009, death.

But the autopsy revealed evidence of previous head injuries, and the child's medical records showed she had been taken twice to a local emergency room for head injuries in the three months before her death.

On the first occasion, she was treated for bruises to both sides of her head — injuries the girl's mother and Barnhill said came from a fall. She was treated just six days later at the same emergency room for a head laceration that required stitches, also reported as being caused by a fall.

In both cases, the medical records cited "no concerns of abuse or neglect," and no report was made to state social services officials, the cabinet records said.

Speaking at a recent child abuse death conference in Louisville, Dr. Melissa Currie, a forensic specialist with the University of Louisville pediatrics department, said medical professionals sometimes miss obvious signs of abuse. Currie said better training is needed for physicians who encounter children in such situations, including emergency rooms, urgent care centers and primary care clinics.

Sanders, the prosecutor, said he's surprised at what appears to be a lack of awareness — or outright denial — in some cases of child abuse.

Two-month-old Chloe Senseman suffered horrific injuries while her father was watching her, Sanders said. A state medical examiner said the infant's injuries were consistent with being "thrown out a window," the cabinet files said.

But Benjamin Senseman's supporters — including his wife, Laura Senseman, who was acquitted of charges in Chloe's death — wrote letters asking the judge for leniency. They are included in records the cabinet released.

"Ben has been the kindest, most loving and caring person that I have ever known," said Laura Senseman's letter.

"I have great difficulty believing that this kind and gentle man acted in any intentional way to harm his daughter," said a letter from a family pastor, Dana Bruce Stout, with First Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Ind.

Sanders said he found such letters perplexing.

"Dealing with these cases is just baffling sometimes," he said.

The cabinet is scheduled to continue releasing records of its cases involving child abuse deaths and serious injuries, acting under Shepherd's order.

Augusta, SC: Man to be charged in slayings of girlfriend, officer

A 26-year-old man with a history of trouble with au­thorities was arrested in con­nection with the killing of an Aiken police officer Sat­urday, just hours after, police say, he fatally shot his girlfriend in Augusta.

Joshua Tremaine Jones is being held in the Aiken County Detention Center. He was arrested at 11:35 a.m. on Youman Street in Bates­burg, S.C., said Kathryn Richardson, a spokeswoman for South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Four hours earlier, police say Jones shot Master Cpl. Sandra Rogers, a 27-year veteran of Aiken Public Safety, who later died at Aiken Re­gional Medical Centers.
While authorities in South Carolina were searching for Jones, deputies in Richmond County discovered the body of his 21-year-old girlfriend, Cayce Vice, in her apart­ment on Washington Road. She had been shot in the head.
Jones will be charged in Vice’s slaying, said Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles. The sheriff’s office obtained warrants for murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, he said.
At 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Rogers, 48, responded to a call of suspicious activity at Eustis Park on Edgefield Avenue in Aiken. Almost immediately, she was shot by the driver of a metallic blue BMW, which was spotted leaving the scene by other officers responding to the call.
Sonya Drummings, who lives on the corner of the park, said her daughter heard three gunshots and woke her up. When she ran to the door, she saw chaos in the park.
“It is usually a quiet neighborhood. I actually felt pretty safe here,” she said. “No one deserves to die do­ing their job.”
Authorities found Jones about 30 miles away on the north side of Batesburg, and he was taken into custody without incident.
Another tragedy
Rogers’ death comes just a little more than a month after Aiken Officer Scotty Richardson was shot and killed while on a traffic call at the entrance of Pace’s Run apartments on Brandt Court in Aiken. Three months ago, Richmond County Deputy J.D. Paugh was killed in the line of duty.
“It’s like a horrible nightmare playing over in front of us,” Sgt. Aaron Dowdy said in Eustis Park. “I’m still wearing a Richardson band on my wrist.”
With tears in his eyes, new Aiken Public Safety Director Charles Bar­ranco asked for the city of Aiken’s support as his office faces another tragedy.
“Thanks to the community for standing next to us again, and always,” he said at a news conference Saturday evening to announce that Rogers had died and Jones would be charged.
Attending the news conference was Jones’ father, James, who said the BMW was his and that his son had taken it Friday night.
“My heart goes out to officer Rogers’ family,” James Jones said. “There is great pain for all of us.”
Joshua Jones was born in North Augusta and attended North Au­gusta High School, although he did not graduate, his father said.
James Jones said his son had been “going through a lot of mental issues.”
“My condolences for Rogers and Cayce,” he said. “This is not in character of my family. I have to leave it in the hands of God.”
Rogers had been a part of Aiken Public Safety since 1984.
She received a distinguished ser­vice award and a lifesaving award in 2003 and a Certificate of Commendation in 2011.
“Master Cpl. Rogers was an invaluable street cop who exemplified the model of a Public Safety Officer,” Sgt. Jake Mahoney said.
Worst fears realized
On Friday night, the blue BMW was spotted outside the apartment building where Vice lived at The Greens on Washington, a complex on Washington Road in Augusta. Peebles said investigators are still working on the details of Vice’s kill­ing, but it likely occurred late Friday night or early Saturday.
Downstairs neighbor Harry Parker said Jones was unfriendly and didn’t interact with others in the apartment complex.
“If you spoke to him he didn’t speak,” Parker said.
Parker said he heard a loud thud and rumbling noises in the upstairs apartment Friday night that sounded like someone was running, or “hurrying to pack up and go.”
Donna Rigdon knew something was wrong when Vice didn’t show up for her 10 a.m. shift at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Vice had worked at Five Guys for about two years and was never late.
“She was a great worker,” said Rigdon, the general manager at the Washington Road restaurant.
When she got no answer from Vice’s phone she was immediately concerned. Vice had missed almost two weeks of work recently after she said she was beaten by her boyfriend. Peebles confirmed that Vice had sworn a complaint against Jones for the assault around Jan. 8.
“He punched her in the face repeatedly,” Peebles said. A warrant for simple battery was taken out for his arrest, but deputies had not caught up with him, Peebles said.
Rigdon said Vice had recently let Jones back into her life because she was pregnant. She said she had counseled her against the idea, but Vice wouldn’t listen.
Not long after 10 a.m., Rigdon was on her way to Vice’s apartment, a little more than a mile away. Rigdon said she called the sheriff’s office to help her check on her employee.
“I just wanted to make sure she was OK,” she said.
Just after 10:40 a.m., Rigdon waited outside the apartment while the manager opened the door for a sheriff’s deputy.
“He came back and said, ‘This is now a crime scene,’ ” she said. “I was devastated.”
Peebles said Jones was a suspect in the slaying “almost immediately.” He has a history of arrests in Georgia and South Carolina dating back at least to 2002. Reports show he was charged as a juvenile at the age of 16 in an assault on his father in their Belvedere home in January 2002. Officials said Jones stabbed his father twice in the back and was sent to a juvenile justice facility in South Carolina.
A family’s sorrow
On Saturday afternoon, Howard Vice sat on the floor drinking his last beer at his barren apartment, not far from his daughter’s in The Greens. He wondered what he could have done to stop what had occurred.
“The police told me he shot her in the head in bed,” he said, shaking his head.
Howard Vice said he had been living with his daughter and Jones until last month, when they had a falling out over her boyfriend. He said he didn’t get along with Jones, who had moved in Oct. 31.
“There’s something wrong with a man when he stays in his bedroom all day long and don’t come out,” Howard Vice said. “I knew there was something wrong.”
Vice said his daughter had just turned 21 on Wednesday and was a “few weeks” pregnant.
“He beat her up about two weeks ago,” he said, offering a photo of his daughter’s battered face that he still has on his cell phone. “She turned right around and let him back in.”
He said his daughter dropped out of Westside High School and obtained a GED. She had been working and attending Augusta Technical College to become a medical assistant.
Ginny Vice said she spoke to her sister on the phone almost every day, but she didn’t know Jones had returned to the apartment.
“She was lying to me. She didn’t want me to know,” Ginny Vice said. “She knew we did not want him around her.”
Howard Vice said he was frustrated that Jones had never been arrested in connection with the assault on his daughter. If he had, the killings might not have happened, he said.
“The police let it go and now one of their own is dead,” he said. “But I can’t be mad at the police, she let him come back.”
• Cayce Vice, 21, was found shot to death Saturday in her Augusta apartment. Vice worked at Five Guys Burgers and Fries and attended Augusta Technical College. Her father said she was “a few weeks” pregnant.

• Aiken Department of Public Safety Master Cpl. Sandra Rogers, 48, was shot Saturday morning while responding to a call in Eustis Park on Edgefield Avenue in Aiken. A 27-year veteran of the department, Rogers later died at a hospital.


Joshua Tremaine Jones, 26, is suspected of fatally shooting Vice and Rogers in separate incidents. Vice, Jones’ girlfriend, had sworn a complaint against Jones, a North Augusta native, for assault earlier this month. Jones’ father offered his condolences to both women during a news conference Saturday.

Article: Domestic abuse: Lori Yeager didn’t think she’d die last week - know your risks

MOUNT AYR, Iowa (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- Intimate Partner Violence Specialist Susan Murphy Milano says women who are in abusive, unhealthy, destructive relationships with men should not only know their risks but should plan their escape so they can protect themselves from possibly losing their lives – something that’s too late for Lori Yeager whose boyfriend murdered her last week.

Lori is the 45-year-old Iowa mother of a 9-year-old daughter whose long-term boyfriend, Robert Daren Taylor, 40, reportedly abused her in 2001 and killed her last week following a domestic dispute.

Police responded to a call made by a child reporting a domestic altercation in their home. Melinda Mackey of KSIB reports the child was their 9-year-old daugther.

Upon arrival they found Lori’s lifeless body, the child was not physically injured. One can only imagine the emotional scars this little girl will now be forced to live with.

Taylor went missing for several days as he evaded a statewide manhunt. An active arrest warrant had been issued for Taylor on a first-degree murder charge.

The manhunt ended when he was approached by police. The sheriff said when his deputy approached the vehicle the man inside opened his car door, faced the deputy, and shot himself.

An autopy will confirm what police already know - that the man who killed himself is the coward who shot and killed Lori while their little girl was home.

Did he consider, for one nanosecond, what his little girl would be forced to live with for the rest of her life? At least he didn't kill her, too.

A woman who said she knew Lori and Taylor told media she was “shocked and saddened” and said Lori was a “wonderful person, very kind-hearted.” Her kind heart is likely what got her killed.

But people who knew Lori best said while they were shocked over the deaths, they weren't surprised. They said they knew Taylor was dangerous and had tried for years to help Lori our of her abusive relationship. Jodi Wurster said she tried about 10 years ago and Jackie Mcvey said she tried the day before Lori’s death.

Jackie Mcvey told ABC 5 that when she told Lori she should leave the relationship last week, Lori's response was, “He’s doing better, it’s gonna be okay.”

Jackie said, “She just really loved him. She was really baffled, and she just couldn’t see what we seen. She was just so much in love that she couldn’t see past it.”

She said Lori was a great mother to her two daughters. It was not reported if Lori's other daughter was home at the time of the shooting. These little girls, like Murphy Milano, are now faced with coping with a lifetime of anguish over the loss of their mother.

Jackie has a message for anyone going through a situation like Lori’s: Just get out. But as Murphy Milano knows, and as we’ve seen time and time again, it’s not always that easy. There are critical steps that should be taken for a woman to protect herself. In some cases, the threat of a woman leaving an abusive relationship has been enough to cost her her life.

This wasn’t Taylor’s first offense, it usually never is. He’d been arrested and convicted of domestic abuse in 2001, online court records show, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail – of which 28 were suspended. Lori was the victim in that case.

Court records reflect a judge lifted the no-contact order related to the case on the condition Taylor complete a Batterers’ Education Program. He initially failed to attend but eventually completed the classes.

God Can’t Stop the Bullet

On Monday Murphy Milano wrote God Can’t Stop the Bullet. She knows all too well how a person is willing to remain in an unhealthy and destructive relationship – she witnessed this with her own parents on January 16, 1989 - 23 years ago today.

What she experienced was dreadful, something more horrifying than most people could even imagine they’d have to cope with in their lifetime. She found both parents dead in her family home. Her mother had been shot and killed by her father who then shot and killed himself.

Murphy Milano explains that as a child she knew the verbal and physical abuse between her parents wasn’t good but she was helpless to do anything about it. She knew how much her mother loved her father, and how her mother thought God would always protect her from her abusive husband.

She says that looking back on it now she understands her mother did not have the strength, nor did she love herself enough to get out before it was too late. “She was naïve in thinking her love for my father was enough. But, you can’t love the devil,” she wrote.

Murphy Milano shared Lori’s story on her blog and talks about how some victims of domestic abuse feel helpless to move away from their relationships. She’s spent years developing strategies and steps women can take to successfully leave abusive and potentially deadly relationships with men.

Murphy Milano warns women: Understand, when you are in an abusive relationship, God is not going to stop the bullet.

Victims, she said, must cease with the excuses “he or she will change.” She understands leaving is difficult when you “think” you love someone too much to be apart. Some women, she said, believe they know the person’s heart or that they would never carry out their threats. We have seen all to often when they do.

She said if the person in your relationship has to resort to threatening words and physical violence, "they are not worthy of the very air you breathe." She's right.

Murphy Milano says excuses you're telling yourself that it's just because he's angry, or he makes you believe that somehow you're responsible, is nothing but pure "bullshit!"

She adds, "Pick yourself up, have a plan, and get out!"

But, she says, don’t try to get out without a well orchestrated plan. Don’t let your abuser know of your plans to leave – at all cost.

Visit the Murphy Milano Journal for a checklist that will help you determine if you're in a lethal relationship (developed by the National Institute of Justice), help you understand your risks, and help you learn how to get out safely.

The DocumenttheAbuse.com website contains the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA). The EAA is described by ImaginePublicity as “the mastermind process of violence expert Susan Murphy Milano that combines videotaping of an abuse victim’s own words attesting the abuse, with witnessed and notarized legal documents that successfully satisfy legal hurdles often faced in intimate partner violence and stalking case." Read more here.

It’s beyond comprehension how a person can cope with an incident so tragic as finding both parents deceased. Rather than bury herself in her distress, mourning, and pain, Murphy Milano chose to advocate for those at risk of losing their lives to intimate partner abuse.

Mackey wrote, "This is a very difficult time in Mt. Ayr and the surrounding areas. Lori was a very well loved person, very well thought of, and was a substitute teacher that has touched many lives.

"I did not know Lori myself, but I have several friend who did and I can say without a doubt that the community is deeply saddened by this loss of a wonderful woman. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

San Leandro, CA: Girl, 15, killed in San Leandro stabbing, police looking for boyfriend

By Chris De Benedetti
Posted: 01/28/2012 06:55:10 AM PST
Updated: 01/28/2012 09:45:20 AM PST

SAN LEANDRO -- A 15-year-old girl died from multiple stab wounds Friday evening and police are asking the public for help in finding her assailant.
Police said Henry Leon, 19, of Oakland, is the primary suspect in the homicide that occurred in the 1900 block of Pacific Avenue, near Castro Street.
Leon is driving a dark blue 2004 Cadillac Escalade with black rims and a California license plate number of 5SBE608, Lt. Jeff Tudor said.
Leon was involved in a relationship with the victim and is the father of their 9-month-old baby, Tudor said.
Officers responded to a 6:21 p.m. report of the attack and found the girl on Pacific Avenue with multiple stab wounds in her torso, authorities said.
Police said an officer performed CPR on the girl until the arrival of paramedics, who continued performing life-saving measures until she died from her injuries.
The victim is not being named because her family has not been notified.
It was San Leandro's first homicide of 2012.
Anyone with information about the homicide or Leon's whereabouts can call police at 510-577-3237 or the anonymous hotline at 510-577-3278.
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Richmond, VA: Woman, 61, arrested after husband's suspicious death: IHIT

RICHMOND (NEWS1130) - A 61-year-old woman has been arrested after the suspicious death of her husband in Richmond yesterday.

Police aren't saying how he was killed but say when they got to the home on Aztec Street they found the husband dead and the wife conscious but completely incoherent.

Sgt. Jennifer Pound with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says they have spoken to neighbours to find out if anyone heard anything.

"At this point we haven't confirmed that it is a homicide," she says. "It appears to be a suspicious death. There are still a lot of answers that we are looking for as well."

She adds the man had an extensive medical history, but won't speculate if that played a role in the incident. An autopsy has been scheduled to confirm his cause of death.

The woman remains in hospital.

Grosse Point, MI: Police: Husband of Grosse Pointe Park woman strangled to death is a suspect

The husband of a Grosse Pointe Park woman, who was strangled to death and left in her SUV in an eastside Detroit alley, is considered a suspect, police said.

According to Detroit police, Bob Bashara has taken a polygraph test and a search warrant was executed on the couple's home on Middlesex in Grosse Pointe Park.

Jane Bashara, 56, was strangled to death. She went missing Tuesday night and was found Wednesday morning in the backseat of her Mercedes-Benz SUV, which had been dumped in an alley near Pinewood and Annott.

On Thursday, Bob Bashara told the Free Press that police have given him little information about his wife's death, saying that police are "treating me kind of at arm's length."

"As far as they're concerned and what not, they have to consider me a suspect," he said on Thursday.

Bob Bashara said he spoke with police for about an hour and a half on Thursday.

Tonight, police pulled a car into the driveway of the Bashara home on Middlesex in Grosse Pointe Park shortly before 9 p.m.

Officers loaded what appeared to be two computers and a small box into a dark-colored car. Officers from both Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit have been on the scene, along with a dog, which went through the home with police.

Most of the lights in the two-story home have been on and police could be seen through the windows going through the home with flashlights.

Patti Matthews, who said she is Jane Bashara's best friend since high school, said today that even loved ones have been given little information from police.

Police have said Jane Bashara is believed to have returned home from work, but when her husband came home at about 8 p.m., she was gone.

Bob Bashara, Jane Bashara's husband, said he spoke to his wife Tuesday as she drove home from work. He said he was working on a rental property, and when he returned home at 8 p.m., she wasn't there.

Bob Bashara, who has been interviewed by police, reportedly called friends looking for his wife, but police said that by 11:30 p.m. he called authorities in Grosse Pointe Park to reporter her missing.

Matthews said that, Jane Bashara arrived home from work Tuesday, she was on the phone with her daughter.

She said her friend's briefcase and work ID was at the home and Bob Bashara believed his wife "changed into her comfy clothes."

But police have given friends and family little information, including what clothes Jane Bashara was wearing when she was found in her SUV Wednesday morning by a tow truck driver.

"We don't know anything," Matthews said.

Crime Stoppers of Michigan is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest in the case, John Broad, president of the organization, said today.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-773-2587 (800-SPEAK-UP).

Ferndale, PA: Police: Pa. man kills estranged wife, boyfriend

FERNDALE, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say a man killed his estranged wife and her boyfriend in an early-morning ambush at their apartment building.

Police say Lloyd Hill of Quakertown fatally beat 43-year-old Frederick Tarantino around 5:30 a.m. Friday outside the complex in Nockamixon Township.

Police say Hill then went inside the apartment and stabbed his estranged wife, 36-year-old Stefanie Hill. She died at a hospital.

Authorities say Lloyd Hill was later found driving around the neighborhood. A police statement indicates he was taken into custody without incident.

Lloyd Hill was scheduled for arraignment Friday night in Ottsville district court on two counts of homicide. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Moody, AL: Man charged with the murder of his girlfriend Read more: The Daily Home - Man charged with the murder of his girlfriend

MOODY — A Moody man is in custody today after a shooting occurred Wednesday night.

Moody police on Thursday confirmed they arrested 39-year-old Jeffrey Morris Hamby, of Scott Drive in Moody, Wednesday at around 8:30 p.m. Hamby is charged with the murder of 41-year-old Karen Nicole McNair, his girlfriend, after what is believed to be a domestic dispute.

County coroner Dennis Russell said he pronounced McNair dead from a gunshot wound at the scene at around 8:45 p.m.

According to the police report, officers responded to the area when a neighbor called to report the shooting. Upon entering the residence, they found McNair and placed Hamby under arrest. The report notes that Hamby was armed with a handgun.

Hamby is currently in custody at the St. Clair County jail in Pell City. Russell said McNair’s body was taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science in Huntsville, for an autopsy. District Attorney Richard Minor said Thursday afternoon that he did not know when Hamby will first appear in court.

Read more: The Daily Home - Man charged with the murder of his girlfriend

South Bend, IN: Indiana Homicide Suspect May be in Chicago Area

Police on Thursday continued their search for a man they believe was involved in the stabbing death of a South Bend woman a day earlier.
The body of DaShone Caradine, a 42-year-old mother, was found in her apartment on the 100 block of North Eddy Street with stab wounds, officials said.
The prime suspect in the case: 44-year-old Manuel Clemon, who also goes by the name Manuel Scott. Clemon is the father of one of Caradine's children.
Caradine's green Ford Focus was found by authorities, abandoned, in a drive-through ATM lane at the Highland Community Bank at 87th and Wood streets, South Bend police said.
A short time later, officers raided a house near the 8700 block of South Winchester Avenue with guns drawn. They found no one.
They later moved in on the Hogan's Motel, on the 8900 block of South Ashland Avenue. There they found the keys to Caradine's car, officials said, and a bloody set of clothes.
Clemon, however, was no where to be found.
Investigators said he was last seen with Caradine and may have been recorded on surveillance cameras at the bank behind the wheel of her car.
Caradine's death is the first homicide of the year in St. Joseph County, Ind., officials said.


Port Royal, SC: Port Royal police search for Georgia man wanted in connection with fatal shooting, abduction

Port Royal police are looking for a 26-year-old Georgia man investigators say fatally shot his ex-girlfriend then abducted the couple's 3-year-old child Thursday night. Officers were called at about 9 p.m. to an apartment on Battery Lane in Port Royal to perform a health and welfare check after receiving word the resident might have been shot during an argument with Leo Deandre Scott of Columbus, Ga., her ex-boyfriend and the father of her child.
Upon entering the apartment, officers found the woman fatally shot in the head, said Capt. Alan Beach, Port Royal Police spokesman. Investigators said Scott fled fled the scene in the woman's car after abducting the child, Beach said. An Amber Alert was immediately issued, and the child was located unharmed in Columbus, GA, according to authorities.

For the latest on this story as it develops, check back on our site tonight.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simi Valley, CA: Simi Valley murder victim was mother of 2 kids

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- More details were released in the Simi Valley murder investigation on Thursday. The victim was a mother of two, and the man in custody was her boyfriend.

A medical examiner was scheduled to perform an autopsy on 33-year-old Claudia Menjivar later in the day.

Yellow tape still cordons off the home in the 2100 block of Lupin Street where Menjivar was killed on Wednesday.

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STORY: Body of woman found in Simi Valley house
Simi Valley police say 35-year-old Jose Monteroso, the father of Menjivar's youngest child, is the sole suspect.
"There are obvious indications of blunt force trauma injury," said Lt. Stephanie Shannon of the Simi Valley Police Department.

Police say Menjivar lived in the house with her boyfriend and two children. Investigators reached Monteroso by phone and discovered he was driving around Simi Valley on Wednesday night. A negotiator was on the phone trying to get him to surrender at the police department, but to everyone's surprise, he returned to the crime scene.

Police moved onlookers out of the way and told them to take cover. Officers had their guns drawn as Monteroso was placed under arrest.

One neighbor shouted, "Let's hear it for Simi Valley police," and they cheered and clapped.

Frank Real, who lives across the street, said he was home when Menjivar's teenage daughter found her mother's body.

"I called 911 for the little girl that came out. She came out screaming," Real said.

Real said the couple had lived on Lupin Street for several years.

"I know the dad loved that kid a lot. It's kind of surprising to see it come to this," he said.

The last homicide in Simi Valley was just over a year ago. Neighbors say it's a quiet and safe street, and losing a neighbor in this way has stunned longtime residents.

"We were all really shocked actually," said neighbor Lupe Rico. "It's been years since something like this happened here, especially in Simi, so it's been really hard for all of us and for the kids."

Detectives plan to collect more evidence at the house and are awaiting a search warrant.

Menjivar's children are being cared for by family members.

Brush, CO: Domestic violence suspect Jasper Carter shoots, kills himself Wednesday night

A domestic violence suspect shot and killed himself when confronted by law enforcement late Wednesday afternoon outside the East Morgan County Hospital in Brush.
Jasper Carter, age 57, was pronounced dead at Colorado Plains Medical Center about 40 minutes after the 5:05 p.m. shooting, Sheriff Jim Crone reported.

Deputies were dispatched to the hospital Wednesday afternoon to meet with a local woman who was being treated for injuries sustained in a violent assault at a residence in the 22000 Blk of Rd 25.

EMCH had gone into lockdown when the woman reported Carter told her he would kill her and himself and was armed with a handgun, Crone said. It was also learned Carter was a retired law enforcement officer from the Denver metro area with SWAT experience.

Other deputies began searching around the residence for Carter and at 5:02 p.m. he was discovered sitting in his pickup on Harvard Street alongside the main parking lot of EMCH, Crone said. Due to the circumstances, plus the victim still being inside the hospital building, Carter was confronted immediately with hope of taking him by surprise and preventing a possible vehicle pursuit and/or armed confrontation, the sheriff added.

However, upon being confronted, Carter refused commands to surrender and stepped out of the pickup with a handgun, Crone said. Despite numerous commands to drop the gun and surrender, Carter shot himself under the chin and was immediately incapacitated.

Carter was transported to CPMC by ambulance where he died a short time later.

This incident is being investigated by the sheriff's office, Brush Police Department, 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office and Morgan County Coroner's Office, with assistance from the Fort Morgan Police Department.

The victim's name is not being released due to privacy laws.

Auburndale, FL: Man Dead, Woman Injured in Apparent Shooting, Suicide

AUBURNDALE | An early-morning shooting in an Auburndale motel left one man dead and a woman critically injured following a domestic fight between a young couple, authorities said.

Officers with the Auburndale Police Department drove to the Lake Forest Motel at 1702 U.S. 92 W. about 2:20 a.m. today, finding the aftermath of the chaotic scene outside room 25.

Officers said Eviana Inez Rosa, 23, of Lakeland, sat outside the room, suffering from three gunshot wounds. The woman — who celebrated her birthday about two weeks before — was conscious and able to talk to police.

Around the corner and inside the room, police said they found the body of Edward O. Pecci, a 22-year-old man with a Tampa address. Pecci had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

Rosa explained to officers that she and her boyfriend had been living at the motel for about two weeks. They were arguing until about 2 a.m., when Pecci grabbed a gun.

Lt. Thrasey Tucker said Rosa’s survival was nothing short of miraculous. One of the bullets hit one of her biceps, the other two were head shots, Tucker said.

Neither of the bullets that penetrated her head went through her skull, he said.

As she fled the room and into the parking lot to find help, authorities said she heard the sound of a single gunshot behind her.

Authorities said they found a gun with Pecci’s body on the floor of the motel room.

Tucker said the pair — both employees of Buckhead Beef in Auburndale — had been together for about four months.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, a representative of Buckhead Beef said Rosa had been working there for about a year. No memorial had been planned, pending an official outcome of the case by police.

Rosa was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where she remains in critical but stable condition, police said.

The case still under investigation. Detectives are preliminarily calling the incident an attempted murder-suicide.

[ Chase Purdy can be reached at chase.purdy@theledger.com or 863-802-7516. Follow him on Twitter: @chasepurdy ]

Livingston County, MI: Testimony: Kiss Was Motive For Brutal Green Oak Murder

1/26/12 - Two men charged with murdering and mutilating a Lyon Township man appeared in court today and testimony indicated that the motive for the killing was a kiss. Brian Stafford and George Tanner, both 27, are charged with open murder and disinterment/mutilation of a body in the death of 40-year-old Christopher Townsend, who lived across the street from them in the Kensington Place manufactured home community. The prosecution presented three witnesses including two police officers and Tanner's then-girlfriend. She testified that Stafford and Tanner killed Townsend after he kissed her, burned his body out in the woods, showed her the victim’s car and admitted to the crime. Stafford and Tanner are alleged to have beaten Townsend with a pipe wrench and strangled him with a car seat belt before burning his remains and scattering them in Green Oak Township. The exam began this morning in 53rd District Court and continued until just before 5pm. The defense will present its witnesses when the hearing is continued next month. (JM/JK)

Crawford County, WI: Man pleads no contest to killing girlfriend

WEAU) - An Iowa man pleaded no contest to killing his girlfriend in western Wisconsin back in 2010.

Online records show Michael Burroughs, 27, of Marquette, Iowa made the no contest plea to 1st degree reckless homicide, domestic abuse in Crawford County. Officers say in October of 2010, Burroughs turned himself in and told Prairie du Chien police that he killed his girlfriend Shannon Fischer, 23.

The criminal complaint says he strangled her in a choke hold and kept her body in his closet for three days before wrapping her in garbage bags and putting her in a dumpster outside his apartment.

He's set to be sentenced in April.

Dallas, TX: Man Stabbed Estranged Wife and Her Parents to Death, Police Say

DALLAS - Dallas police say a man stabbed his estranged wife to death Thursday morning, then killed her father and mother as they rushed to their daughter's defense.
Fifty-year-old William Palmer of Sachse is charged with capital murder for the deaths of his wife, 47-year-old Donya Palmer, and her parents, 69-year-old Raymond Davis and 67-year-old Mary Davis.
The victims were killed at the Davis' East Dallas home shortly after 6 a.m., according to Dallas police Lt. David Pughes.
The Palmers had separated less than a week ago and Donya was staying with her parents, Pughes said in a news conference.
"We don't know the motive, but we know the attack had something to do with the separation," he said.
Also staying at the home was Donya Palmer's sister, who was slashed in the arm. She managed to run upstairs to a bedroom where her 6-year-old daughter was sleeping and barricade herself inside, where she called 911.
The child was not hurt and did not see what happened, Pughes said.
After the bloody attack, Palmer drove to his Sachse home. Undercover Dallas police in an unmarked car happened to be in the area, and contacted Sachse police when Palmer drove to a nearby Taco Bueno and ordered food at the drive-thru.
When Palmer received his food order, Sachse police swooped in and arrested him.
Palmer was transferred to the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in downtown Dallas and charged with capital murder. He will go before a judge to be arraigned.
Stay with FOX 4 News and myfoxdfw.com for further updates.

Menifee, CA: Menifee woman killed in shooting identified

Coroner’s officials have identified the 38-year-old Menifee woman killed Tuesday night as Jennifer Bowers.
Sheriff’s officials have said Bowers’ boyfriend, Adam Starkey, 31, fatally shot her in their Bundy Canyon Road home about 10:15 p.m. then called 911 to report the shooting.
Deputies detained Starkey in the front yard and later arrested him on suspicion of murder, a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department news release said. They found Bowers dead inside the home, sheriff’s officials said.
No motive for the killing has been disclosed but sheriff’s officials said an argument preceded the shooting.
Starkey is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside in lieu of $1 million.

Mounds View, MN: Mounds View couple's death likely murder-suicide

Police tentatively identified the man and woman found dead in a Mounds View home Wednesday as Mark Schnor, 47, and his wife, Christine Schnor, 39.

Each of them suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, according to Mounds View Police Chief Thomas Kinney. A handgun was recovered at the scene.

Authorities did not officially identify the deaths as a murder-suicide because a final medical examiner's report won't be completed for several weeks due to pending toxicology tests. However, Kinney said, "It is consistent with that scenario."

Evidence suggests that Mark Schnor was the shooter, Kinney said. No note was found at the scene, so it's unclear if Christine Schnor was a willing participant, the chief said.

"We are unable to determine that at this stage, and maybe we'll never know for sure," he said.

Police are investigating whether any electronic notes or messages may have been left behind.

The couple were found lying in their bed, which was located in the living room. Shades were drawn, so when relatives went to check on the couple's welfare Wednesday they had to call police about 2:30 p.m. to gain entry into the home in the 2900 block of County Road 10.

Relatives had not heard from the couple in about a week. It's unclear how long they may have been dead.

Kinney said relatives reported that both Mark and Christine Schnor had health issues, including depression, and that they had been struggling financially.

There was no history of police calls to the address aside from a medical call last year, Kinney said.

Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes-Barre man will stand trial for shooting girlfriend

Stanley A. Davis Jr., accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend in front of her 18-year-old son, will face an open count of homicide in commonwealth court, Magisterial District Judge Richard J. Cronauer ruled today.

Prosecutors say Davis, 45, shot and killed 37-year-old Carlotta Springer-Howard with a sawed-off shotgun at their Sterling Street home in Wilkes-Barre. Springer-Howard's son, Fred Lassiter, testified that Davis and his mother were "arguing back and forth" on Dec. 16 before Davis went upstairs, grabbed the shotgun and shot Springer-Howard in the chest.

"He brought (the shotgun) around, kicked her, and shot her," Lassiter said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jackson County, AL: Jackson County, Ala., man arrested in girlfriend's shooting death

A Jackson County, Ala., man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of his 53-year-old girlfriend in Henagar, Ala.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said Sherry Cruthirds Necaise, 53, was shot to death in at 1620 County Road 88 on Monday.

Necaise was from Saucier, Miss., Jackson County officials say.

On Tuesday, sheriff’s officials arrested Necaise’s boyfriend, Eddie Chandler, 52, in connection with Necaise’s slaying.

Chandler had already been arrested Monday on an unrelated gun charge, sheriff’s officials said

He remains in custody at the Jackson County Jail. No bond had been set as of Tuesday evening.

Watertown, NY: Watertown woman allegedly admitted fatal stabbing to responding officers


A Watertown woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death in 2010 allegedly admitted the act to the first police officer at the scene.

The question for jurors in the Jefferson County Court murder trial of Krista M. Goley will be whether she acted in self-defense when she stabbed Timothy C. Rolland near his heart with a butcher knife Sept. 1, 2010, at their residence at 111 E. Lynde St., Apt. 3.

City police Officer Dennis P. O’Brien testified Tuesday that he responded to the apartment for a report of a stabbing and found Goley, 26, leaning over Mr. Rolland, 21, who lay in “a very large pool of blood.”

“I asked her who stabbed him and she stated, ‘I did,’” Mr. O’Brien said. “She made the statement that he had come after her, that she didn’t mean to do it.”


Mr. O’Brien said there were two other adults sleeping in the apartment at the time, but both said they had seen nothing. He said Goley’s 5-year-old son was present and apparently witnessed the domestic dispute that led to Mr. Rolland’s stabbing. Goley led Mr. O’Brien to the kitchen sink, where the knife used was found.

Officer Joshua P. Moran, who knew Goley from an investigation into a May 2010 domestic incident that led to several charges against Mr. Rolland, said he was asked to escort her to his patrol car.

“She made several statements at that time that, ‘I didn’t mean to hurt him. I just wanted to get him away from me,’” Mr. Moran said. “She did say that her son witnessed the incident, he was probably going to be messed up for the rest of his life from what he saw.”

The officer said Goley told him that she pulled the knife on Mr. Rolland to “scare” him and that when he raised his hand as though to hit her, “she went to block it,” resulting in his wounds. Mr. Moran accompanied Goley to the hospital for treatment of a cut on her head. While at the hospital, she asked Mr. Moran, “Am I a murderer now?” according to his testimony.

Jurors also watched several hours of a recorded interview Detective James A. Romano conducted with Goley at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building. In that video, Goley describes how, before the stabbing, an intoxicated Mr. Rolland threw a wooden stool and small table at her and struck her in the head with a beer bottle. She also told the detective Mr. Rolland had punched her up to eight times.

Goley, a Fort Drum soldier, said she initially was “slashing at him, to keep him away from me because he was coming at me.” She said when he came closer and “swiped in front of my face” with his fist, she “jabbed” him in the chest with the knife. When he raised his left hand as though to strike at her again, she told the detective, she swung the knife “overhand” into his chest near his heart.

“He said, ‘You cut my main artery,’ while I ran for my phone,” she told the detective.

Jurors will continue to watch the video of Goley’s statement this morning. Mr. Romano said he interviewed her for about 10 hours, but jurors are expected to watch about six hours of video.

Englewood, IL: Woman charged with stabbing husband to death in Englewood

January 25, 2012 -- A woman has been charged with stabbing her husband to death during a domestic dispute in their South Side Englewood home on Monday.

Michela L. Johnson, 24, of the 6400 block of South Hermitage is charged with first-degree murder, according to police.

Johnson allegedly stabbed her husband Untre Johnson during a domestic altercation at about noon on Monday, police said.

Johnson, 26, died at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County at 1:16 p.m. Monday. An autopsy on Wednesday found he died from a stab wound to the back and his death was ruled a homicide, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said.

Michaela Johnson will appear for a bond hearing Thursday, police said.

Aiken County, SC: Warrenville Woman May Be Charged With Murder In Death Of Her Husband

Aiken County, SC --
Aiken County Sheriff's Office investigators say a Warrenville woman could be charged with murder in the death of her husband.

Tammy Smathers is currently out on bond on attempted murder charges. She is accused of shooting her husband, Donald Smathers, one year ago.

Donald Smathers died last week in a nursing home as a result of those injuries.

Authorities say they're waiting on autopsy results before they decide on any new charges against Tammy Smathers.

Amissville, VA: Amissville woman charged with first-degree murder in estranged husband's shooting death

In a strange twist of fate, the 57-year-old Amissville woman, who was charged Monday in the shooting death of her estranged husband in November, is expected to appear in Fauquier County Circuit Court on Valentine’s Day.

According to Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Fisher, a Fauquier County grand jury indicted Judy Kay Deal for felony first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony for reportedly killing 60-year-old John Michael Deal, of Hume.

Mrs. Deal, who is being held on $25,000 secured bond at Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester, is due to return to circuit court on Feb. 14 at 1 p.m.

Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call to a home in the 17000 block of Crest Hill Road on Nov. 20 around 4:30 p.m. where they found the body of John Michael Deal. He had suffered gunshot wounds to his torso, according to FCSO spokesman Lt. James Hartman.

Meanwhile, Judy Kay Deal, who was responsive to emergency medical personnel, was also found at the scene suffering from a "self-inflicted" gunshot wound. Judy Kay Deal, who was transported to Fairfax Hospital for emergency surgery, was released on Dec. 20, according to Fisher.

“The defendant shot and killed her husband and then turned the gun on herself sending a bullet though her brain,” said Fisher, during Monday’s hearing in circuit court. “She survived the attempted suicide, but the result of the wound left her with a traumatic brain injury from which she has progressed enough to be release from the hospital.”

Fisher added that Mrs. Deal is also scheduled to receive a competency assessment.

“We are now at the point where we need to have a professional conduct evaluation to determine if she has regained enough cognitive ability to be deemed competent to stand trial for the murder of her husband,” Fisher explained.

Based on Virginia law, a suspect is presumed “to be fully sane and competent to stand trial unless they show that they are not sane by legitimate psychological evidence.”

“Most cases include an examination concerning mental health disorders, but the Deal case will involve a medical aspect due to extensive brain damage that occurred from her self-inflicted gunshot wound,” explained Fisher in court Monday. “Based on the progression of her recovery, we are at the point where the case had to be pursued within the court system. We will now try to find an appropriate medical expert who can determine whether she is competent to stand trial. The legal standard for such a determination is simply whether she understands the charges against her and can assist her attorney in her defense.”

If released, Fisher said, Mrs. Deal will be “fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet to track her whereabouts.”