Monday, July 30, 2012

Las Vegas, NV: Coroner Identifies Stabbing Victim

LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County Coroner's Office has identified the woman who was stabbed to death Saturday as 44-year-old Rosaura A. Banuet of North Las Vegas.

The fatal stabbing happened in a home on Blue Rose Street near Washburn Road and Lawrence Street.

According to the coroner, Banuet died of multiple sharp force injuries.

North Las Vegas Police say Alberto Gutierrez is wanted for questioning in connection with the stabbing. Gutierrez, 47, is the husband of the victim. He was last seen leaving the house on foot wearing a blue shirt, black shorts and black sandals

Goose Creek, SC: Woman found dead in Goose Creek following domestic dispute

GOOSE CREEK — The wail of sirens disrupted an otherwise quiet afternoon here Friday.

A 61-year-old woman had been stabbed to death, and her 77-year-old husband was in custody.

Lester Chung was arrested in connection with the killing, said Lt. William Schreurs of the Goose Creek Police Department. Charges have not been filed, pending further investigation, he said.

Police received a call around 4:30 p.m. about an apparent domestic dispute at 351 Huntsman Drive. It had apparently escalated, and officers found Xiuying Wang unresponsive; a few minutes later, EMS pronounced her dead.

Chung answered the door and was later arrested, Schreurs said.

Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said the death is being investigated as a homicide and that Wang had been stabbed multiple times.

Salisbury and Schreurs wouldn’t confirm that the two were married, but neighbors recalled that they were.

They were a quiet couple and kept to themselves, neighbors said. Their children were grown, and they had grandchildren. As the holidays approached, they would put up a big display of Christmas decorations.

The couple lived in a modest, single-story house, with yellow siding and a few rose bushes planted by their porch. The home is in Foxborough, a quiet subdivision mostly free of crime, save for a spate of break-ins on an adjacent street, neighbors said.

But the quiet was broken Friday as Wang’s daughter ran down the street to call police from a neighbor’s home. That neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the daughter had come to pick her mother up. She was planning to leave for a few nights.

Police have parted with few details regarding their investigation, and neighbors congregated down the taped-off street and shared speculation.

But hours later, around 8 p.m., as the evening drew to night, quiet seemed to return to the subdivision. Police rolled the covered body from the house and began to take down the crime scene tape that crossed the street.

Fresno, CA: Merced Co woman accused of killing boyfriend

It's been a deadly weekend at a North Valley trailer park, and now a Merced County woman is under arrest and accused of killing her boyfriend.

The Merced County Sheriff's Office says 27-year-old Roberto Acevedo was shot to death inside an El Nido Mobile Home Park around 10 p.m. Saturday night.

Acevedo's girlfriend, 19-year old Grace Acevedo, has been arrested for the shooting.

Sheriff Pazin says the couple spent all of Saturday arguing. Around 10 p.m. Saturday night a 911 call was made from inside the mobile home.

The sheriff says Grace Acevedo told the dispatcher she had just shot her boyfriend.

The crime scene inside the El Nido mobile home is sealed off. Investigators say that is where Acevedo shot her boyfriend Roberto.

"Evidently they had been arguing, brawling, barking at each other for most of the day. He left, came back and tried to get back into the mobile home," Sheriff Pazin said.

Sheriff Pazin says it's not clear how Roberto got back inside, but he says when that happened Grace shot him with a rifle. He died later at a Merced hospital.

Both investigators and neighbors tell Action News the couple had a troubled relationship. One man who did not want to talk on camera said one or both of the pair was on drugs.

He says he often heard the couple arguing, sometimes around 3 a.m., and he says he could hear loud screaming.

The sheriff says it's not clear yet whether Grace shot Roberto in self defense.

"After our case is completed then we will let the district attorney review it and he will determine what charges, if any, to pursue," Sheriff Pazin said.

Investigators say the unmarried couple was living together and the only call for service the Merced Sheriff's Office has on record for this home is a welfare check from last year.

The sheriff says Grace Acevedo is being held in the Merced County Jail on homicide charges. He says it's unclear whether drugs or alcohol were involved in this homicide.

Bennettsville, SC: Man admits to killing girlfriend

Vondell Malachi pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend, Tekeyia Easterling, Monday afternoon.

Malachi shot and killed her last April in Bennettsville. He then took her to Marlboro Park Hospital and left.

Prosecutors say Easterling was dead when she got to the hospital.

Malachi dropped the couple's then seven-month-old son out of the car and proceeded to lead police on a 20 mile chase. They arrested him nearly 18 hours later following a standoff.

Easterling's parents have custody of the baby. They say he's 22 months old and suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of being dropped from the car.

They say they're pleased with his conviction and that it has lifted a heavy burden off of them.

Malachi also pleaded guilty to Unlawful Neglect of a Child, Failure to Stop for a Blue Light and Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill. He has to serve 85 percent of his prison sentence before he's eligible for parole.

Vinita, OK: Crain County man shot and killed; wife being held without bond

A Craig County man was shot and killed in what police said was the result of a domestic altercation.

According to Craig County First Assistant District Attorney Bryce Lair, John W. Beisley, 65, of Vinita died as a result of the shooting and his wife, Glendora Beisley, 48, also of Vinita, is being held in the Craig County jail without bond.

Lair said the slaying happened at the couple's rural Craig County home northwest of Vinita.

Glendora Beisley is being held on a complaint of first-degree manslaughter, said Jessica Brown, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman. Brown said the charge could be amended.

OSBI agents received the call around 4:40 a.m. Saturday but believe John Beisley died before midnight, she said. Brown said after the shooting, Glendora Beisley drove herself to the Muskogee 911 Center where law enforcement agents called Craig County authorities.

John Beisley was charged in May 2005 with domestic assault and battery, a misdemeanor. That charge was dropped in December, court records show.

North Vernon, IN: Police: Man Kills Ex-Wife, Shoots Her Daughter

A Seymour man faces murder and attempted murder charges after police said he killed his ex-wife and shot her daughter in the head.

Officers were called to a home at 1965 Chatsworth Lane in North Vernon just before 9 p.m. Sunday on a report of a shooting.

Candice A. Sowder, 64, was found lying on the front porch of the home with a gunshot wound to the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her daughter, Regina D. Johnson 42, was found shot in the head inside the home. She was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital. Her condition was not released Monday.

As police were talking to witnesses, they spotted a car trying to leave the area.

When officers stopped the vehicle, they found Sowder's ex-husband, James "Darrell" Sowder, 62, driving with a handgun on the front seat, police said.

Sowder was arrested on preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder. Police said more charges are likely.

Reedsburg, WI: Red Wing woman killed in apparent murder-suicide

REEDSBURG - Reedsburg police are calling the death of a man and his girlfriend a murder-suicide. It happened Friday night.

Investigators think 24-year old George R. Snake shot 23-year old Cheyenne T. Fiddler to death, then killed himself. Fiddler was from Red Wing. The bodies were discovered by a friend who entered the home at about 7 p.m.

The two had been dating and Fiddler had moved into the Reedsburg home recently. Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the shooting, which apparently happened after an argument between the two.

Bat Cave, NC: Police investigate possible murder-suicide

The Henderson County Sheriff's Office is investigating a possible murder-suicide in Bat Cave, according to Capt. Frank Stout.

Investigators were called today to a home at 1571 Gerton Highway. Stout said David Karl Anderson, 54, and Paula Molinas, 55, were found dead by friends, who called 911.

A handgun was used, Stout said, and investigators can't say who was the shooter.

Anderson and Molinas were in a long-term relationship, Stout said. They had a history of domestic disputes, he added, and deputies are familiar with the address.

Stout said the friends hadn't seen Anderson in a few days and went to check on him at about 10 a.m. Monday morning. After talking with family and friends, investigators said the couple probably died five days ago.

The bodies have been sent to the medical examiner's office for autopsies.

Check back with for more details.

Oxford, MA: Community struggles to understand apparent murder, suicide in Oxford

OXFORD — There were signs of problems.

Daryl Benway told a neighbor that his wife had left and he had lost his job, but there were no apparent indications that Mr. Benway would commit a desperate act leading to the death of a daughter and himself and a son fighting for his life.

A few days ago, Mr. Benway spoke to his neighbor, Art Seale, about some of the issues going on in his life. Mr. Benway said his wife, Kelleen, had moved out. Authorities said that occurred three to four weeks ago.

“This was kind of unexpected,” Mr. Seale, 72, said at his home yesterday. “I knew they were having marital problems. I talked to Daryl earlier (last week) and he was telling me she got an apartment in Worcester and they had split up. He was hoping it was only temporary.”

Neighbors didn’t hear the couple argue. They did hear Mrs. Benway’s car leave the 128 Main St. home in a hurry Saturday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Benway had posted on her Facebook page: “It’s about time I took control of my own life.” That was at 11:45 a.m.

There were no records of police being called to the home previously; no restraining orders are on file, and Mr. Benway did not have a police record.

Oxford police received a 911 call about 5 p.m. Saturday. When they arrived at the home, authorities found Owen Benway, 9, wounded on the kitchen floor, and his sister, Abigail, 7, dead in the master bedroom. Mr. Benway, 41, was dead in the master bedroom.

Police believe Mr. Benway shot his two children and then himself. Owen is in the pediatric intensive care unit at UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus in Worcester. Authorities said the boy was shot in the head.

The home is owned by Mr. Benway and his brother Shawn, according to public records. The Benway family lived on the second floor of the two-story white home. Neighbors said Shawn Benway resides on the first floor with his wife and the brothers’ mother.

He was the one who called 911, possibly after hearing shots, authorities said. Neighbors said they didn’t hear gunshots.

Oxford Selectman Henry J. LaMountain said he knew his distant cousin, Daryl Benway, well.

“Speaking not as a selectman but as Daryl’s friend, I’d say he was a loving family man. He loved being a father. He loved his wife and children. He was not a monster, but a regular Joe who snapped for some reason we will never know. It’s so sad.”

Mr. LaMountain said Mr. Benway had always been family-oriented, and was crushed when his twin brother drowned in the French River when they were about 8 years old.

“When Daryl’s father died, he took care of his mother, who lived with him, along with his wife and kids and his brother and his wife. There were three generations in that house. Daryl loved and took care of his entire family. He was a great guy, then this happened. I don’t know why. We’ll never know what he was thinking. It was a snap. Some pain was overwhelming, and he ended it.”

Three candles were in front of a tree at the home yesterday morning. There was a sign on the door — “Please respect our privacy. No interviews will be given,” it read.

Family and friends posted messages of condolences on the Facebook pages of Mr. Benway and his wife. Many asked why the children had to be shot.

People posted messages saying they didn’t know he was in such a “bad place” that this could happen. They talked about Mr. Benway acting like himself in recent conversations they had had with him.

When Mr. Seale hadn’t noticed Mrs. Benway around, he talked to Mr. Benway about it.

“He opened up to me,” Mr. Seale said. “I never thought it would come to this. He’d have to have snapped. He was really kind of remorseful; he really loved her.”

Mr. Benway would plow Mr. Seale’s driveway and never took money for it. He said the children would play in the yard and in the pool. The parents were always watching the children.

“They really pampered the kids,” Mr. Seale said.

Mr. Benway told Mr. Seale in his recent conversation that he had a job at a bank in Providence but lost it a couple of months ago. Mr. Benway had also worked at TJX Companies. He attended Oxford High School.

Alan Gaumond, a cousin of Mr. Benway who lives in Connecticut, said he spoke to Mr. Benway a few weeks ago. His cousin sounded fine and was dealing with the marital separation.

“As far I was concerned, he boasted about his family; he was proud of his family,” Mr. Gaumond said. “It is a surprise to everyone. It had to be sheer desperation.”

Mr. Benway’s late father, Kenneth R. Benway, operated Benway Greenhouse in Oxford for more than 35 years. Mrs. Benway apparently was working in Worcester, Mr. Seale said. She arrived at the home after the incident and eventually was taken to the hospital to be with her son. Mr. Benway’s stepdaughter, Nickole, 25, also went there.

A neighbor, Amanda Jolie, said yesterday she had just gotten home from her daughter’s birthday party Saturday when she noticed the police cruisers across the street. She eventually learned what had happened.

“We never suspected anything,” Ms. Jolie said. “We saw them outside every once in a great while. The father was always working on his car. It was like a normal father outside with his children.”

Brenda A. Ennis, a member of the School Committee, said she knew Daryl Benway. “I didn’t know him well, but he was easy-going, funny and loved his kids. He was just a regular guy. This is unbelievable. How could he do this? How do parents tell their children about this?”

She said her daughter, Molly, 14, was praying for the Benway family. “I hope children, parents — any community member — will take advantage of the counseling we will have available at the Chaffee School that both children attended. The whole community is welcome to come together to talk.”

She said School Superintendent Allen W. Himmelberger asked elementary school principals Norman P. Yvon, principal of the Alfred M. Chaffee Elementary School, and Stephen Baroni, principal of the Clara Barton Elementary School, as well other staff members to join a grief counseling team at the Chaffee School, 9 Clover St., from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

“Oxford is a strong community. We will get through this tragedy. The Benway family is in our prayers,” he said.

Organizers are planning a vigil for the victims tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Oxford Bandstand on the Town Common.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stockton, CA: Woman accused of killing boyfriend

STOCKTON - A 20-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her child's father appeared in court Friday on a list of charges that included premeditated murder and street terrorism.

Police said Yadira Amaya-Cortez shot 37-year-old George Sinkfield in the back of the head at an apartment complex in the 5400 block of Carrington Circle on April 21.

Sinkfield, who was still conscious when police arrived, identified Amaya-Cortez as his girlfriend. He said she shot him inside the apartment.

Amaya-Cortez had fled the scene by the time police responded but also made a 911 report within minutes. She told her own version of the story in court documents.

Amaya-Cortez told a 911 operator she needed help because she shot someone in self-defense.

Court documents say the woman's sister then got on the phone and told the operator Amaya-Cortez had been kidnapped off the street, beaten and raped.

The sister said that, according to Amaya-Cortez, the man pulled out a gun and she took the weapon and shot him.

Amaya-Cortez was subsequently taken to the police station for an interview.

Sinkfield died two days later. He had been struck by bullets multiple times.

Amaya-Cortez and Sinkfield have a child together.

She appeared only briefly in court Friday. Her arraignment was continued until next Friday.

More details will surface at a preliminary hearing, where a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge will decide whether to try the defendant after hearing witness testimony.

Amaya-Cortez is being held at San Joaquin County Jail without bail.

San Antonio, TX: Teen mom gets 9 years for killing boyfriend

Jurors handed down a sentence of nine years in prison Friday for Tiffany James, the young mother who fatally stabbed her baby's father with a kitchen knife.

James, 20, was found guilty of manslaughter Thursday, avoiding a murder conviction and the potential for life in prison. She must serve at least half of her sentence before she is eligible for parole. She could have received up to 20 years.

By all accounts a promising student and dedicated mother, James had her life ahead of her on the afternoon of Nov. 20, 2009 when she killed Antwan Wolford, her live-in boyfriend.

Defense attorneys argued she was a domestic violence victim who feared for her life when she stabbed Wolford in the chest and back. But prosecutors painted James as a jealous girlfriend, angry that Wolford was preparing to obtain custody of a child he fathered with another woman.

“God help you for bringing his name through the mud today and through this whole trial. I don't want to see you again, ever,” Wolford's cousin and godmother La Tonya Ranson-Archer told James in a victim impact statement after the sentence was read.

“You got away with murder and you know you did,” she said.

Family and friends of James gasped at the sentence, and several quickly left the courtroom.

Defense attorney Robert Gebbia later said he was disappointed with the punishment and plans to appeal the manslaughter verdict. Probation would have been a better choice for James, who had no prior criminal history, he said.

James should have received the maximum sentence, Wolford's mother,Eashonne Wolford, said after the trial. Defense attorneys had argued during Friday's punishment hearing that sending James to prison would do nothing to ease the grief felt by Antwan Wolford's family and would simply ravage a second young life.

“We're just trying to help her move on,” attorney William Reece said.

But prosecutor Christopher Ramos told jurors that probation for James would be “a joke,” allowing her to spend time with the son Antwan Wolford will never see again.

“Yes, she is a good candidate for probation,” he said. “But does she deserve it?”

Earlier Friday, Ramos asked Eashonne Wolford to recall the day she learned her son died.

“I kept saying, ‘I don't believe this. I don't believe Tiffany did this. I don't believe Tiffany did that to me,'” she said.

As she described her emotions, several onlookers left the courtroom. Others cried openly.

“When that white van came they backed it right up to the porch and I said, ‘Please don't take him. Please don't take him.' ... I didn't want them to take my baby away,” she said.

Under Reece's cross-examination, Wolford described James as a respectful young woman with whom both she and her son shared a close bond.

“You loved her, didn't you?” Reece asked.

“I still do,” came the reply, but Wolford said she still wanted to see her go to prison, adding, “I'm just asking for justice so I can get on with my life.”

Lexington, NC: Man who claimed girlfriend killed herself gets life after Davidson County murder conviction

Lexington, N.C. — A man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his girlfriend even though he said the death was a suicide.

The Dispatch of Lexington ( reports that a Davidson County jury found Zachary Bowman guilty of murder Friday in the killing of Tosha Powers in September 2010.

Prosecutors say Bowman used a black cord necklace to choke the victim to death. They say Powers was trying to leave Bowman after he threatened her and her children.

Bowman says he found Powers hanging from the ceiling with an electric cord around her neck and pulled her down before calling 911.

But authorities say the marks on Powers' neck were too wide to match the electric cord.

Quincy Township, PA: Father 'shoots dead estranged wife and two others' during custody fight over daughter before fleeing with his four-year-old girl

A father allegedly shot dead his estranged wife and two others before fleeing with his four-year-old daughter taking her 250 miles away overnight.

Kevin Cleeves, 35, confronted his wife Brandi Cleeves about custody arrangements for their daughter, Leia, on Friday evening.

During the argument Cleeves gunned down his wife, Vincent Santucci and Rosemary Holma in Quincy Township, Pennsylvania, according to authorities.

He was arrested Saturday morning in Ohio, 250 miles away from the murder scene, where his daughter was with him, safe and unharmed, police said.

Police cancelled an Amber Alert issued for the four-year-old after the shooting saying that Cleeves was armed, dangerous and suicidal.

Cleeves was trying to contact his wife Friday to make arrangements to pick up his daughter but she didn't answer the phone, so he went to a home in Quincy Township, according to court records.

Police said Cleeves, 35, found his wife and Santucci sitting in a car and began arguing with them.

Santucci allegedly told Cleeves to get off his property, reported The Record Herald.

Cleeves then killed both of them and Rosemary Holma before escaping with his daughter, authorities alleged.

Police arrived at the scene shortly before 9pm and worked throughout the night, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses, said Pennsylvania state police Trooper Adam Reed.

An Amber Alert was cancelled shortly before 7am when police found the pair in Austintown in northeastern Ohio, outside Youngstown.

Cleeves was arrested in the three deaths in Quincy Township, confirmed Reed.

Court records Saturday did not list an attorney for Cleeves.

Winton, NC: Man kills wife, self, shoots daughter

WINTON, N.C. (WAVY) - Deputies are investigating a murder-suicide involving a husband and wife in Hertford County.

Their 5-year-old daughter was also shot and is recovering in an Ahoskie hospital, according to Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

911 dispatchers received a call at 9:42 a.m. Friday. A Department of Transportation worker reported hearing gunshots near Whitley Circle in the town of Winton, North Carolina.

When deputies arrived, they discovered three gunshot victims; two adults and a child. They were identified as James McCutcheon Jr., 56, Catherine McCutcheon, 40, and their daughter. The little girl is the only one who survived.

Investigators say James McCutcheon shot his wife first, then his daughter, then turned the gun on himself.

Catherine McCutcheon was in the process of moving out of the mobile home she and her daughter shared. Deputies say McCutcheon's uncle was helping her with the move Friday morning. Neighbors pointed to a U-Haul trailer attached to McCutcheon's minivan in the driveway.

During the moving process, deputies say Catherine's husband, who lived in a separate mobile home on the same plot, came over to talk. The sheriff says James returned to his house and came back to Catherine's with a .38 caliber pistol.

Catherine's uncle heard three distinct gunshots coming from a different room in the house. Sheriff Vaughan says McCutcheon shot his wife in the chest, his daughter in the side and then shot himself in the head.

Sheriff Vaughan said the couple had no previous history of domestic violence. He said Friday's incident was the first time deputies had been called to that location. The sheriff says James McCutcheon had a prior arrest in connection to a child support issue involving a different child in a different state.

The couple lived on Whitley Circle for several years. A neighbor confirms the couple rented the two mobile homes from him.

Warner, AZ: Double death in Warner possible murder-suicide Neighbors say couple had broken up earlier

WARNER — A woman who was killed in a possible murder-suicide Friday was described as a warm, devoted mother who will be greatly missed.

“She was almost like a daughter to me,” said Stella Jackson about her neighbor Melinda Shatto, 37, who was found dead in her home next to the body of Charles Donald Dickson, 48, also of Warner.

“I took care of her little girl while she worked,” Jackson said, shaking her head. “She asked me the other day if she can call me grandma.”

Muskogee County Sheriff’s Deputy Bert Poole said Shatto and Dickson died of gunshot wounds.

“We believe it was a murder-suicide,” he said.

Authorities said 911 dispatchers received a call about 4:35 a.m. from Shatto, who was wounded and asking for help. However, she was unable to keep talking after about a minute on the line, and her daughter, 7, took the phone from her.

The girl, still in the bedroom with Shatto, told dispatchers that her mother was hurt and needed help. She tried to give the name of her street, the apartment number and the phone number of her father.

A second dispatcher instructed the girl to get a neighbor for help, and she went next door to Jackson’s apartment, where she had to knock hard on the door twice.

“She came to me and said, ‘Stella, come help my momma, she’s been shot,” Jackson said. “I walked over there, and I saw them lying there and I knew it was bad.”

She said she was close with the mother and daughter.

“I saw her (Shatto) when she came home last night and we talked,” she said. “She said she was going to spend some special time with her daughter. She was just a wonderful person.”

Jackson also said she had warned Shatto about Dickson.

“I’d tell her, ‘Don’t even talk to him,’” Jackson said. “She’s changed her phone number, changed locks on the door.”

Poole said neighbors and witnesses said Dickson and Shatto had broken up about six months ago.

Shatto was seeing another man, who told investigators that he had been out of town, Poole said.

A key found inside the apartment fit the lock to the doorknob but not that of the deadbolt, and Dickson probably let himself in with that key, Poole said.

Deputies spoke briefly with the girl Friday morning, he said.

“I told her she did a great thing. She’s a sharp little girl,” he said. “She’s strong, I can tell. I think she’s held up real well. I told her she’s my hero.”

The girl is with her father and his family, Poole said. “Thank goodness she’s with a loving family,” he said. “I can tell they love her very much. They were broken up over the whole thing.”

Shatto’s parents were headed to Warner from Bixby after they received the call Friday morning, but they hit a deer on the way, Poole said.

Their Jeep stopped running shortly afterward, stranding them near the home of Muskogee Fire Marshal Ray Bob Daniels, between Haskell and Muskogee.

The couple told Daniels what happened, and he drove them to Warner and put their Jeep in his yard for now, Poole said.

“He’s a true Good Samaritan,” he said.

Shatto was a student at Connors State College, where she also held a part-time job.

Connors officials were notified of her death early Friday.

“I've been around for 22 years, and I can't think of anything like this,” said Dr. Ron Ramming, the college’s vice president of academic affairs. “You know, this stuff isn't supposed to happen around here.”

Ramming said Shatto had worked in a federal work study program in various departments on campus in areas under his administration.

She was a sophomore in general studies, he said.

“The real tragedy in this is her little girl,” Ramming said. “Everything, all indications to me, were that she was a devoted mother. She really loved that little girl.”

Reporter Alex Ewald contributed to this story.

Hampden, ME: Man, woman dead in Hampden murder-suicide, police say

HAMPDEN, Maine — Maine State Police have released the name of a woman who died early Friday in an apparent murder-suicide on Marina Road.

Katherine Hunt, 53, died in her home after she was shot by her 53-year-old boyfriend, (later identified as Lawrence Beaute) who had been living with her since he moved to Maine from Jacksonville, Fla., last July, Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Friday night.

The name of the alleged shooter was being withheld as police were still attempting to locate his relatives, McCausland said.

Hunt was a welder at General Electric in Bangor and the man was a medical technician at the Maine Veterans Home, also in Bangor, he said.

Detectives are calling Hunt’s death a domestic violence homicide, McCausland said. Hunt was in the process of breaking up with her boyfriend when he shot her and then used the gun to take his own life, he said.

According to detectives, Hunt left work early Friday morning to return home and likely was shot by the man a short time after she arrived at the house. The gunman called the Maine State Police dispatch center in Orono at 7 a.m. to say there had been a homicide at the house and he was intending to kill himself.

The two bodies were found on the kitchen floor by the state police tactical team when they entered the two-story house at noontime. The bodies later were taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta for examination.

Upon learning what police say happened, Julie Ratsakongsy, who lives next door to the scene of the slayings with her husband, Som, had strong words about the gunman.

“He’s a coward,” she said just minutes after the standoff ended and the couple were allowed to return home. “I don’t feel right coming home. It’s terrible.”

The murder-suicide caused a six-hour standoff that closed two miles of Main Road North and slowed business in the area, including at Rawcliffe’s Garage, which was used as a staging area by police who went to the scene.

“Police responded to the house after a 911 call was received about 7 a.m. saying there had been a homicide and the male caller said he planned to kill himself,” McCausland said in a press release. “Some neighborhood homes were evacuated and Route 1A was shut down as a precaution.”

Nearly two dozen vehicles — from local police, Maine State Police and Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office — went to the scene. Among them was an armored state police vehicle that had a battering ram.

The battering ram was used to gain access to the home at 10 Marina Road and left debris from the broken porch and front door, along with track marks, on the front lawn.

“The bodies were discovered by the State Police Tactical Team about noon when they entered [the house],” McCausland said in a news release issued Friday afternoon. “The bodies were found in the kitchen and both appear to have been shot.”

State police sent a crisis negotiation team and members of the Major Crimes Unit in addition to the tactical team.

“It’s the ninth homicide of the year and it’s not the first [involving] domestic violence,” McCausland said.

There were two vehicles parked in the driveway, a bright yellow Hummer that had no front plate and a 2008 Jeep Compass registered to Hunt.

“Florida is not a two-plate state,” Hampden police Sgt. Dan Stewart said while standing at the end of the driveway after the standoff.

Dr. Ed David, the state’s deputy chief medical examiner, was seen arriving on the scene about noon and could be seen through the front door taking photos of the inside of the house.

Hampden police arrived at the home within minutes of the initial 911 call.

A couple of minutes later, about 7:10 a.m., a Hampden officer knocked on Som and Julie Ratsakongsy’s door.

“He said they barricaded the house and there was a standoff,” Julie Ratsakongsy said. “They went down there with guns.”

At about the same time, John Foster arrived at his business, Foster Imaging, located across the street from the entrance to Marina Road.

A police officer parked at the end of the roadway “got into the back of his truck and loaded an AK-47. He pulled out that weapon, popped in the magazine and cocked it, and it was locked and loaded,” Foster said.

“She was a nice lady. I did a lot of faxing for her,” he said of Hunt.

Another neighbor who lives across the street said the man worked at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor.

“He’s a med tech and my girlfriend works with him,” said Robert Seeley, who lives on Main Road North. “She’s worked with him for a year and a half. He goes to Florida a lot. He’s from Florida.”

Seeley said he knew the man, and described him as “an awesome person.”

“It’s sad to see this happen,” he said.

A representative from the Maine Veterans’ Home declined Friday morning to verify whether the gunman was an employee.

Som Ratsakongsy said the man was more than 6 feet tall, spoke with an accent and moved in with his neighbor about a year ago.

He always waved at people as they drove down to Turtle Head Marina, several people said.

“She came and introduced herself when she moved in” about four years ago, Julie Ratsakongsy said. “Nowadays, people just don’t do that, it seems.”

Earlier this year, the neighbors said they heard the couple arguing and the man was screaming loud enough that they could hear it next door, but for the most part “they seemed happy,” Som Ratsakongsy said.

“She’s a sweet lady,” he said. “She was a real nice lady.”

BDN photographer Kevin Bennett and writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

San Jose, CA: San Jose: Man convicted in 2011 stabbing death of ex-girlfriend

SAN JOSE -- A jury didn't buy David Shackelford's story that it was an accident, a bump in the heat of an argument, that sent a filet knife plunging through his ex-girlfriend's throat last year, taking less than two hours to convict him of first-degree murder.

Santa Clara County prosecutors said Melanie Dunn and her family had tried to help Shackelford, a 27-year-old parolee from Virginia, get back on his feet and he had been living in their East San Jose home. But according to police reports, the night before she was killed on Feb. 10, 2011, Dunn ended a 10-month relationship with Shackelford and told him she was seeing someone new.

Prosecutor James Leonard said the popular 27-year-old, who had studied at UC Berkeley, wanted Shackelford out of the house.

After an evening that included a series of angry text messages between the two, Dunn returned from her job as a waitress at the tony Clift Hotel in San Francisco. Investigators believe Shackelford was waiting for her with the thin knife in hand and another blade stashed under her bed.

Dunn's parents and brother were sleeping in adjacent rooms when they were awakened by loud banging on the wall, Leonard said.

They rushed into Dunn's bedroom to find her fatally wounded and a bloody Shackelford lying in bed next to her.

Shackelford originally told police that Dunn had stabbed herself, then changed the story for the trial and said Dunn was holding the knife as they argued, and he accidentally struck her hand and the knife went into her throat, Leonard said.

However, a medical examiner testified that Dunn's injury was such that neither scenario was plausible.

The trial lasted two weeks. Shackelford faces 25 years to life in prison at his Sept. 14 sentencing.

"The tragedy of this is that this woman and her family tried to help this man, to get him a job and give him a place to stay," Leonard wrote in a news release Tuesday. "To thank them for their trouble, he killed her."

Manchester, CT: Manchester man accused of shooting girlfriend appears in court


There were some tense moments inside a Manchester courtroom as a suspect in a weekend killing appeared in court for the first time.

Steven Simpson, 23, is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, Annatassia Keise, 23, early Saturday morning.

In court, no less than 12 police officers were stationed inside so things didn't get out of hand in court.

Moments earlier they watched as the man accused of killing her stood before the judge.

Manchester police were called to an apartment complex on Falls View Road after receiving word a woman was shot and Simpson was shouting hysterically in the parking lot.

Keise was found suffering from at least three gunshot wounds.

According to court documents, Simpson admitted to shooting Keise.

He told police he was agitated after getting into an argument with a friend while going out, and when he came home he pulled out his gun.

She told him to put it away and pushed him away from her and, "the gun went off and he shot her."

Police said that inside the apartment there was a large quantity of marijuana that the two shared.

Simpson's bail was set at $2 million for the death of Keise, and $500,000 for operating a drug factory.

Lufkin, TX: Authorities looking for double murder suspect east of Lufkin

Law enforcement authorities are now searching in the area of state Highway 103 east and Harley Golden Road for the man suspected in the early morning murders of a Lufkin brother and sister.

Authorities originally believed the suspect, 31-year-old Terrance Barnes, had fled to Center, as he has family there. But they now have set up a command post near state Highway 103 east and Tom Holland Road and are combing the area, trying to find Barnes. They are expected to be bringing in dogs and possibly a helicopter to assist in the search.

The suspect has been said to have been wearing a black shirt and red basketball shorts.

The victims in the Thursday morning stabbing on John Kolb Road east of Lufkin have been identified as Rosa and Pepe Pina with their alleged killer, Terrance Barnes, 31, at large as of 10:45 a.m. Thursday, according to Angelina County Sheriff's Office Capt. Allen Hill.

Authorities were called to the home at 575 John Kolb Road around 1:45 a.m Thursday to the report of a disturbance in progress.

A deputy on another call two blocks away arrived to find Rosa Pina, 27, who was dating Barnes, dying in the driveway with multiple stab wounds. Her throat had also been cut, Hill said.

Her 28-year-old brother was already dead inside the laundry room, according to ACSO investigator Seth Stover.

Barnes, currently on probation out of Shelby County on a drug charge, lived at the home as he and Rosa Pina had been dating off and on for several years, Stover said.

The victims' sister, who witnessed the incident, told Hill Barnes and her sister had gotten into an argument earlier in the night. Rosa Pina was reportedly holding her sister's 3-month-old baby when things turned violent. Her sister told Hill she tried to stop Barnes but he pushed her to the ground. That's when Pepe Pina tried to intervene and was also attacked.

Four other children, ages 3 to 10, were taken from the home to the sheriff's office by Child Protective Services and picked up by family members, Stover said. He believes at least two of the children belonged to Rosa Pina.

A neighbor said he heard "fussing and fighting" coming from the home just before seeing deputies arrive on the scene.

"I heard fussing and fighting but I didn't think anything of it because that's the usual over there," WD Foreman said. "I came outside when I saw the red and blue lights. Her body was lying right there in the driveway."

From outside the home, blood was seen splashed across the bottom of the front door with a trail of drops leading to a puddle near the end of the driveway where Rosa Pina died.

ACSO Lt. Pete Cooper said they have passed along Barnes' information to authorities in neighboring counties.

Anyone with information on his location is urged to call the sheriff's office at 634-3332, Cooper said.

Brunswick County, NC: Bail reduced for woman charged with murder

Bail was reduced Monday for a Supply woman accused of running her boyfriend over with a car and killing him in May.

Julie Ann English, 47, has been held in the Brunswick County jail on a $1 million bail since her arrest May 28 in the killing of boyfriend Michael Anthony Pate, 52.

On Monday, a judge agreed to lower her bail to $200,000 if she is eligible for electronic monitoring. If she's not, her bail will be set at $300,000. The defense had requested her bail be set at $20,000.

According to the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, officers were called to 1913 Oxpen Road on May 27 at 10 p.m. for a report of a person hit by a car.

When they arrived, Pate was found dead underneath English's vehicle.

Officials said English sustained a cut on her face in an assault by Pate before killing him.

She was initially booked on a charge of vehicular manslaughter, but on June 1 she was indicated on a charge of second-degree murder, jail records indicate.

Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger told the judge Monday he was opposed to a reduction of bail.

In recounting the details of the death, Bollinger said English and Pate had a volatile relationship. On the day of the killing, he said, the two had been drinking heavily at Pate's birthday party. He said several calls had been made to 911 by both Pate and English because the two were fighting prior to the final call in which English reported a man hit by a car.

Bollinger said the last argument happened when English returned to the house after leaving with a much younger man to purchase drugs.

Bollinger said Pate questioned the nature of the relationship between English and the man.

As the argument increased, the other man got out of the car and began to walk away down the road, Bollinger said.

"He was thinking she would come pick him up," he said.

But instead, English got behind the wheel of her car and, from all indications, intentionally struck Pate with the vehicle as he sat on the steps, he said.

"She practically had to make a 90-degree turn," to hit him, Bollinger said.

He said because of the extensive injuries to Pate's body – among them fractured ribs, massive pelvic fracture, collapsed lungs and a broken ankle – the question remains as to whether Pate was hit more than once.

Bollinger said the prosecution is still trying to determine "if this individual was run over once or the injuries are incidental to her trying to back the car out" after.

The judge agreed because of English's long history in the community, her lack of criminal convictions and the promise that she could go back to work as a hairdresser at a salon in Shallotte, he'd agree to the bail reduction.

Newburgh, NY: Newburgh man killed girlfriend, police say

NEWBURGH, N.Y. – A 20-year-old Newburgh woman is dead and her boyfriend has been charged with killing her.

Newburgh City Police are calling it a domestic homicide that occurred around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

When police arrived at the scene at 68 West St., they found Alexis Harris dead inside. The cause of death has not been released by police pending an autopsy, but investigators said there were signs of a fight at the crime scene.

Police charged Harris’ boyfriend, Yannick Evina-Ze, 30, of the same address, with second-degree murder.

The investigation is continuing, police said.

Beltsville, MD: Beltsville man accused of killing ex-girlfriend

A Beltsville man slit his ex-girlfriend’s throat — leaving her dead in the basement of her Berwyn Heights home — then cut his wrists after police spotted him in the College Park area Monday, authorities said.

Police said Andrew Kugler was wanted in connection with the slaying of his ex-girlfriend, Amber Danielle Schinault, 36, when Prince George’s County police saw him in a car near Calvert Road and Bowdoin Avenue. The officers briefly followed Kugler, whose car rolled to a stop at the intersection, said Sgt. Sonya Rorls, a Prince George’s police spokeswoman.

Rorls said that when the officers approached on foot, they found Kugler, 36, with self-inflicted cuts on his wrists. He was taken to a hospital, where he remained in stable condition Monday afternoon, Rorls said. Court records indicate that he was charged with second-degree murder.

About 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Rorls said, officers had found Schinault dead inside her home in the 8600 block of 57th Avenue after someone called 911 to ask police to check on her. Schinault’s throat had been cut, Rorls said, and detectives quickly identified Kugler as a suspect.

Court records show that Schinault had taken out a protective order against Kugler last month, days after he was accused of assaulting her.

Rorls said witnesses had seen Schinault enter her home about 10 p.m. Saturday, so detectives think Kugler attacked her between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Rorls declined to say what evidence detectives had to link Kugler to the slaying and said they are still investigating how the suspect got into the house.

Rorls noted that police had charged Kugler with assaulting Schinault last month. In that incident, Rorls said, Schinault jumped onto the hood of Kugler’s car as he tried to drive away. Some of Schinault’s fingers were severed during the incident, Rorls said.

Online court records indicate that Kugler, who was charged with reckless endangerment in addition to first- and second-degree assault, posted bond and was released from jail the same day he was arrested. Schinault sought the protective order days later, and Kugler was ordered to stay away from her and her home, the records show.

Schinault’s family declined to comment Monday, and Kugler’s relatives could not be reached.

Houston, TX: Houston man charged with killing girlfriend on Coventry Square


Houston police filed charges against a man accused of shooting and killing a woman in southwest Houston.

According to investigators, Edwin Salinas, 23, killed Erica Venegas, 36 on Coventry Square near Bissonnet Street around 4 p.m. on Monday.

Investigators believe the two got into some kind of argument before the shooting. Salinas shot her in the head at close range, investigators said.

Witnesses said Salinas and Venegas were dating for the past five years.

Police said a man called his roommate and said he had shot a woman to death.

"The person of interest called his roommate and told him pretty much what happened, then he called the police," said Carlos Cardenas of the Houston Police Department. "Trying to see if we can find the possible suspect. We have someone in mind. Still trying to see if we can locate him."

Salinas is 5'3" and weighs around 130 pounds. He has tattoos on both arms and might have a tattoo of "Erica" on his chest, police said.

Miami, FL: Trial begins for Miami DJ accused of killing teen girlfriend

State prosecutors in the first-degree murder trial of a Hollywood man who confessed to beating and strangling his teen girlfriend, painted a portrait of a young girl on Thursday who was in a hurry to grow up, but never got the chance.

Jaclyn Elisse Torrealba went missing in the early hours of Oct. 11, 2009 after she was seen at a downtown club with a man with whom she had been romantically involved. The next day, Juan Carlos Portieles turned himself in to Miami-Dade police. He said his dead girlfriend was in the car.

Her face was pummeled and bitten. Strangulation marks could be seen on her neck.

Torrealba was 18.

The recent high school graduate was described as a girl who loved to dance. Her interest in music led her to the all-ages nightclub scene in Miami, where -- at the age of 15 -- she met a man 12 years her senior. Juan Carlos Portieles, now 33, was a popular DJ who went by the nickname “Seasunz.” Portieles won Torrealba’s affection with gestures like sending flowers cross-country for the girl’s 16th birthday.

Her parents frowned on the relationship and grounded the girl for three months. The disciplinary measure seemed to put distance between the two.

Her father Pablo Torrealba took the stand Thursday, remembering his only child as a sweet, well-rounded girl who had dreams of being a lawyer. She graduated among the top 10 percent of her class at Braddock High School.

“She was so ready for college,” Torrealba said, his voice cracking as he struggled to maintain his composure. Torrealba had just started taking courses at Florida International University at the time of her death. She was a popular girl with a large circle of friends, her father told the jury.

On Oct. 10, 2009, Torrealba was trying to find a ride for a night out of dancing. She called Portieles, with whom she had maintained a friendship without her parents’ knowledge. He was going to be at Club Space, a downtown hotspot for youth. She asked for a ride from her Kendall home. He agreed. Friends met up with Torrealba at the club, who was last seen at around 2 a.m. with “DJ Seasunz”.

Later that night, the two got into Portieles’ car. Torrealba never got out.

Prosecutors told the jury an argument inside the car escalated into a physical fight between the 100- pound Torrealba and the 220-pound Portieles. The struggle ended in a chokehold that lasted for as long as six minutes, prosecutors said.

“She didn’t have a prayer,” prosecutor Rachel Walters said during the first day of the trial.

Torrealba had already been reported as missing by the time Portieles made his confession. He drove with the corpse in his car for hours, from early morning to dusk the next day, visiting friends, confessing to the killing and seeking advice, according to prosecutors. Those witnesses are expected to testify in coming days.

Defense attorneys for Portieles told jurors that the issue wasn’t whether Portieles killed Torrealba; that confession was made. Defense attorney Madeline Acosta argued that he is guilty of manslaughter not premeditated murder because the act was done “in the heat of passion.”

Before the jury was dismissed for the day, they were shown juxtaposing photos of Torrealba. One was of a smiling long-haired brunette in her May 2009 senior high school portrait. The other was a series of forensic pictures of the teen as she was found in the passenger’s seat of Portieles’ car just a few months later.

The trial will continue Friday.

Read more here:

American Township, OH: Lima man kills self after fatally shooting wife, daughter

LIMA, Ohio — A Lima man shot and killed his estranged wife and 20-year-old daughter early today in American Township before turning the gun on himself, according to the Allen County Sheriff’s office.

It is the first homicide of the year in the township.

At 4 a.m., Randy Glenn, 45, entered the home of his estranged wife, Carlin Glenn, 46, at 9 Beaumont Place. The couple’s two children, Andrea, 20, and a son, 17, were spending the night at the house Wednesday night. Authorities said Mr. Glenn shot his daughter in her mother’s home, and Ms. Glenn in the driveway of 8 Beaumont Place, where she had fled to ask for help. Mr. Glenn then returned to his wife’s house, where he committed suicide.

All three victims were pronounced dead on the scene, said Chief Deputy Jim Everett, of the sheriff’s office. The victims’ bodies were transported to the Lucas County Coroner’s office, which is set to perform autopsies Friday.

The couple’s son, whose name was not released, was home at the time of the shootings but escaped unharmed. He was transported to St. Rita’s Medical Center by the American Township Fire Department.

The sheriff’s office had responded to domestic disputes at the home before. Chief Everett said the killings were likely the result of an argument.

The couple’s daughter was a 2010 graduate of Shawnee High School, where she was an accomplished track and field athlete. She was currently enrolled at Tiffin University, where she also was a member of the women’s track and field team.

While Chief Everett described the double homicide-suicide as an unusual crime anywhere, Lynn Mohler, an American Township trustee, said the crime was especially surprising in their normally quiet community.

“It’s devastating, a very sad affair,” Mr. Mohler said. “Our community being tight-knit, a real community, this is a very unusual situation.”

Gwinnett County, GA: Gwinnett County woman charged in husband's death


A Gwinnett County woman was arrested and charged with killing her husband.

Gwinnett County police charged Hannah M. Chung, 63, with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

On Sunday, police responded to a cardiac arrest call on Park Grove Drive in unincorporated Lawrenceville.

Upon arrival, EMS personnel discovered the victim, Young G. Chung, 64, was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators developed probable cause during the course of their investigation to charge Hannah Chung.

She is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.

Magnum, OK: Mangum man charged in connection with wife's death

MANGUM, Okla. (AP) - Greer County prosecutors have charged a 76-year-old Mangum man with first-degree manslaughter in the June death of his wife.

The Lawton Constitution reports ( that an arrest warrant has been issued for Sammie Wayne Cates for the death of Alice Cates.

Online court records do not list an attorney for Cates.

Prosecutors allege that Cates injured his wife during a June 1 argument and that those injuries led to her death.

Irmo, SC: Prosecutors: Parker stood to make $1.1 million in wife’s death

Double-murder defendant Brett Parker stood to receive about $1.1 million if his wife died, the prosecution disclosed Thursday in court.

That is the first public explanation of why Brett Parker would shoot Tammy Jo Parker in what authorities say was a faked robbery gone bad in the couple’s Irmo-area home last spring.

Judge DeAndrea Benjamin denied bond to Parker, despite pleas from his defense lawyers that he has no criminal record and posed no threat to flee before trial.

The 5th Circuit prosecutor said Parker stood to gain about $1 million in insurance and $200,000 from his dead wife's 401k plan.

The prosecutor also said Brett Parker was about $600,000 in debt.

Parker, 42, is charged with two counts of murder in the April 13 shooting deaths of Tammy Jo Parker,44, and family friend Bryan Capnerhurst, 46.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Capnerhurst worked for Brett Parker’s illicit sports gambling business.

Tammy Parker and Capnerhurst were shot at the Parker’s home in the upscale Ascot Estates subdivision near Irmo in what detectives say was a faked burglary that turned deadly.

Prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek the death penalty, which can be invoked in a case where two or more people are killed.

Capnerhurst arrived at the house that Friday ostensibly to pick up his share of the gambling profits, which that day amounted to $20,000, Lott said last week in announcing Parker's arrest.

Tammy Parker already had been shot with a large-caliber handgun, according to arrest warrants.

Parker told deputies that Capnerhurst shot Tammy Parker then attempted to turn the gun on him. But, the defendant said, he was able to pull his own gun and fire first.

Capnerhurst had four bullet wounds, according to the warrants. Authorities have not disclosed how many times Tammy Parker was shot nor the caliber of either weapon.

Read more here:

Read more here:

The 5th Circuit prosecutor said Parker stood to gain about $1 million in insurance and $200,000 from his dead wife's 401k plan.

The prosecutor also said Brett Parker was about $600,000 in debt.

Parker, 42, is charged with two counts of murder in the April 13 shooting deaths of Tammy Jo Parker,44, and family friend Bryan Capnerhurst, 46.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Capnerhurst worked for Brett Parker’s illicit sports gambling business.

Tammy Parker and Capnerhurst were shot at the Parker’s home in the upscale Ascot Estates subdivision near Irmo in what detectives say was a faked burglary that turned deadly.

Prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek the death penalty, which can be invoked in a case where two or more people are killed.

Capnerhurst arrived at the house that Friday ostensibly to pick up his share of the gambling profits, which that day amounted to $20,000, Lott said last week in announcing Parker's arrest.

Tammy Parker already had been shot with a large-caliber handgun, according to arrest warrants.

Parker told deputies that Capnerhurst shot Tammy Parker then attempted to turn the gun on him. But, the defendant said, he was able to pull his own gun and fire first.

Capnerhurst had four bullet wounds, according to the warrants. Authorities have not disclosed how many times Tammy Parker was shot nor the caliber of either weapon.

Read more here:

Spring, TX: Deputies ID man killed and wife wounded in apparent murder/suicide attempt

Authorities have identified a woman who was wounded and her husband who died in a shooting that officials consider to be an apparent murder/suicide attempt at a home in The Woodlands Tuesday night.

Linda Terry, 59, was found wounded and her 60-year-old husband, Billy Terry, was found dead in the home on Degas Park about 8 p.m., according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office.

Deputies said the shooting appeared to be a murder/suicide attempt.

Linda Terry was flown by medical helicopter to Memorial Hermann-The Texas Medical Center. She had been shot more than once. Deputies did not release her condition but said she is expected to survive.

Linda Terry called 911 and told a dispatcher her husband had shot her. She said could hear deputies, who had been sent to the home, outside her door, but she could not open it. When deputies entered the home they found Linda Terry wounded in a bedroom. Her husband was discovered dead in the master bedroom. He had a single gunshot wound in his chest.

No other information was immediately available.

Harlinghen, TX: Apparent murder, suicide in Harlingen deaths

Investigators say the deaths of a South Texas couple appear to have been a murder and a suicide.

Preliminary autopsy results Tuesday indicated 53-year-old Jose Elias Colmenares of Harlingen died of asphyxiation by hanging.

Harlingen police say his wife, 55-year-old Herlinda Trujillo, died of blunt force trauma to the head. Sgt. John Parrish says police are trying to determine what was used to strike the woman.

Police discovered the bodies Monday night after a relative had contacted authorities.

Read more here:

Shirlington, Washington DC: Shirlington murder-suicide victims identified

Arlington County Police have ruled the July 24 death of two people in a Shirlington apartment was a murder-suicide.

The victim, 30-year-old Xiomara Aracely Benitez, was pronounced dead at the scene on the 4500 block of South 31st Street, as was Juan Carlos Mox, 30, who police believe was the aggressor. They were married and had two children.

The cause of death has not yet been determined. Police are waiting release of the report from the Medical Examiner's Office.

Officers were called to the home at about 2:30 p.m. June 24, after a family member found one of the victims inside the apartment.

The three-story brick apartment complex is located about a half mile from the popular strip of shops and restaurants in downtown Shirlington.

This incident marked the first homicide in Arlington County in two years, police said. The last recorded killing was a stabbing in March 2010.

Bethany, OR: Bethany man charged with domestic-violence killing awaits release hearing

A Bethany man accused of murdering his girlfriend will have to wait until January for a release hearing.

Paul Joseph Sanelle, 34, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon for a status check in his case Washington County Circuit Judge Jim Fun.

In a courtroom crowded with victim Julianne Lisa Herinckx's family, Fun set Sanelle's release hearing for Jan. 8, 2013.

Criminal investigation in the case began April 29, when Washington County sheriff's deputies responded about 8 a.m. to a report of an unconscious woman at the Oak Hill Apartments in Bethany. Deputies found Herinckx, and she was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Herinckx's cause of death was blunt-force trauma, according to the state medical examiner's office. Investigators say Sanelle assaulted her over time and she died of her injuries.

Sanelle, 34, was arrested May 11 in the killing. Grand jurors indicted him on one count of murder constituting domestic violence.

At Tuesday's hearing, Sanelle wore an orange jumpsuit from the county jail, where he is lodged without bail. He has not waived his right to a release hearing. His attorney, Sohaye Lee, indicated the defense needs to see more evidence in the case before that hearing. Defense attorneys filed a request for discovery last month, according to court records.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Bletko said in court Tuesday that prosecutors had begun turning over evidence to Sanelle's defense attorneys, including a notebook today assembled by the lead detective on the case.

Lee asked the judge to set an additional status check in the case prior to the January hearing. Fun set a court appearance for next month.

Youngsville, LA: Couple In Domestic Shooting Had History Of Domestic Violence

The woman arrested for second-degree murder in the shooting death of her roommate/on-again-off-again boyfriend in Youngsville Tuesday night, filed a protective order against him last year.

Just weeks after Tammy Romero filed the order against Victor Wirtz, it was dismissed at her request. According to court documents, Romero claimed she was shoved, stalked and threatened by Wirtz. It's unclear why she petitioned the courts to drop the protective order.

Romero is being held on $250-thousand bond in the shooting. According to the Youngsville Police Department, Romero and Wirtz were involved in a physical dispute at her home, when Romero tried to call 911. Officers say that's when Wirtz grabbed the phone, so Romero gabbed a hand gun from a nearby drawer. Wirtz was shot dead, he was 45-years-old.

Houston, TX: Demarcus Dwayne West, 30, Stabbed to Death: Bayou Body Count No. 107

Police say Demarcus Dwayne West and his girlfriend had a history of domestic violence and this past weekend, that ended with West's death.

West, of 10010 Cullen, died about 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, after being stabbed in his apartment at 10010 Cullen. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His girlfriend "was questioned and released at the scene," police said.

According to HPD Homicide Division Sergeant J. Wilson and Senior Police Officer M. Stahlin, the couple had gotten into an argument inside their apartment. "According to West's girlfriend, he grabbed her and tried to choke her. The girlfriend broke free and then stabbed West in an attempt to defend herself," the police report said.

The case will be referred to a Harris County grand jury.

Dobson, NC: NC law officer wounded, suspect dead in shooting

DOBSON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina police officer is recovering after being shot during a domestic violence call in which he killed a suspect.

Dobson Police Officer Brian Thomas was shot in the ankle and thigh after responding to the call early Monday. Thomas was in stable condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

A police department spokesman said the suspected shooter was dead at the scene from gunshot wounds after Thomas returned fire. Police say 51-year-old Lonnie Badgett used a handgun and semi-automatic rifle to shoot at Thomas and Surry County Sheriff's Sgt. Wayne Banks. Banks wasn't hurt.

Badgett's wife told police her husband threw a piano bench and struck her with the butt of the rifle during an argument about the care of dogs left in the house while they traveled.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Greenville, SC: Man gets life for killing girlfriend in Greenville Read more here:

A man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of killing his girlfriend in Greenville three years ago.

The Greenville News reported ( a jury convicted Wallace E. Evatt Jr. of murder on Thursday.

Evatt's lawyer had contended that his client and Karen Rojas were drinking and using drugs and she shot herself with her .38 revolver. But Evatt's lawyers offered no reason for why she might have done so.

Prosecutors say Evatt shot Rojas as she slept in her mobile home on May 17, 2009.

Read more here:

Pemberton Township, NJ: South NJ woman charged in husband's shooting death

PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — The wife of an elderly man found shot to death inside his southern New Jersey home has been charged with his murder.

Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi announced Sunday that 76-year-old Fredricka Rosa of Pemberton Township was being held on $250,000 bail in the death of 79-year-old Valpa Rosa Sr. She was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in state Superior Court, though it was not known if she has retained an attorney.

Township police officers found the body on Saturday morning after being called to the home by a family member, but Bernardi said it's believed that Rosa died sometime Thursday night. Rosa was shot in the head and neck with a .357 magnum handgun, which Bernardi said was recovered at the residence.

Bernardi said police were called to the home by one the couple's children, who lives out of state but went there after receiving a call from Fredricka Rosa. He did not disclose further details.

The couple had been married for 54 years, according to relatives.

A possible motive for the shooting wasn't disclosed by authorities, but family members told WCAU-TV in Philadelphia (hrrp:// that Fredricka Rosa had been abused by her husband for many years. They also said she is physically disabled and suffers from both Dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Morgantown, NC: BREAKING NEWS: Burke deputies investigate murder-suicide

A husband and wife are dead following an apparent murder-suicide.

Jackie Clemmens, 43, of Hallyburton Road off N.C. 18 N., called 911 around 4 a.m. Sunday and reported he accidently shot and killed his wife, Irene Clemmens, 39, according to Detective Lt. Rodney Norman with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the residence and found Irene Clemmens dead in the bedroom with a single gunshot wound to her chest.

Jackie Clemmens was not in the residence. Norman said he had gone to the nearby Antioch Food Mart and used a payphone to call 911.

Detectives were called to investigate and because they didn’t know where Jackie Clemmens was, they waited until daybreak to start their work in earnest.

Officers had information that Jackie Clemmens had made threats in the past that he would harm law enforcement, Norman said.

They eventually located Jackie Clemmens on N.C. 18 N. and when they encountered him, Norman said he had a shotgun in his hands.

Officers ordered Jackie Clemmens to drop the weapon.

He instead turned it on himself and shot himself in the chest, Norman said.

The incident happened in the roadway and blocked a lane of traffic on N.C. 18 until the scene could be cleared.

Norman said deputies have responded to the Clemmens’ residence before for domestic disputes including as recent as last month.

Irene Clemmens also had taken a domestic violence restraining order out on her husband but it had expired.

Norman believes the two were back together but wasn’t sure of their living arrangements.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Columbus, OH: Man Wanted For Questioning In Connection With Woman Found Dead In Charred Home

Family members of a woman found dead in her east side home said that the woman and her boyfriend got into a fight the night before she was found dead.

Darlene Hart was found dead inside her home, located in the 200 block of Parkwood Avenue, on Saturday afternoon.

Detectives said that the 48-year-old woman’s body had signs of trauma to her head and body, and was covered in soot. Part of her house had been set on fire.

“Oh, she was a firecracker,” said Logann Hart, Darlene Hart’s daughter. “She did not play. If she was serious about something, then she put her whole heart into it.”

Logann Hart said that her mother and her boyfriend, John Smith, had gotten into a fight at a bar on Friday night. That was the last time anyone saw Hart alive.

“It was unnecessary,” Logann Hart said. “It was just unnecessary, the amount of rage directed at her – for nothing.”

Columbus police said that they did not consider Smith, who has three sons in Columbus and relatives in Virginia, a suspect in Hart’s death but said that they wanted to speak with him.

“Even if you were just to carry out just killing her, you really didn’t have to burn her, that just took it a step farther, and it wasn’t right. It wasn’t right at all,” Logann Hart said.

Smith is believed to be driving a 2006 white four-door Acura with Ohio license No. ESD-8367. Anyone with information about Smith is asked to call the Columbus Division of Police at 614-645-4545.

Phoenix, AZ: Pregnant woman set on fire, boyfriend arrested

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have arrested the boyfriend of a pregnant woman who was murdered in a North Phoenix apartment on Wednesday.

The suspect is Dwanddarrius J. Robinson, 21. The victim is Shaniqua Hall, also 21.

Robinson is charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, arson of an occupied structure and kidnapping.

The multiple murder charges are for Hall and her unborn child.

"It appears to be a very brutal homicide scene," said Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Department. "This is a scene in which the victim was duct taped. The victim was bound and it appears the victim is what was set on fire in this particular case."

The victim's family told police that Robinson was the father of the unborn baby and that he and Hall also have a 2-year-old child together. That child, who is now with Hall's family, was in the apartment when Hall was killed, but investigators don't know if he or she witnessed anything.

Police said Robinson is the one who called 911 to report the fire. He was on scene when police arrived and remained there on his own. He was taken into custody at the scene on Wednesday night by homicide detectives.

"Our investigators have learned that he purchased duct tape just a few hours prior to the homicide, along with an accelerant - lighter fluid, at a nearby store."

Robinson was in possession of a handcuff key and the victim in this case was handcuffed, according to police. Police said Robinson explained the key, telling them he is a security guard. Police have not yet verified that.

According to police, Hall was bound and set on fire, although investigators are not sure if she was dead before the fire or if the fire is what killed her.

"We don't know the particular order in which everything happened and we will wait for an autopsy to tell us. We don't have any information at least at this point...that it is anything other than her body set on fire that may be what killed her."

The exact cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

Phoenix Fire Department investigators are assisting with the case and they believe that an accelerant was used to light the victim on fire.

The family has told police that the couple had an on-again, off-again tumultuous relationship that was complicated by financial trouble. They had been known to fight and had been involved in several domestic disturbances.

"This is a thought out process. This didn't happen, in our opinion, due to a sudden quarrel or heat of passion," Crump said. "This was thought out and this was planned and this was an act which he intended to inflict upon her."

While police believe Robinson planned to kill Hall, they also said the exact motive is not clear yet.

In addition to his child with Hall, Robinson reportedly has at least two children living in another state.

Robinson, who has a history of property crimes, denied being involved in the homicide when investigators interviewed him.

Leon County, TX Husband Who Allegedly Killed Wife Near Hilltop Lakes Dies From Gunshot

Leon County authorities now say both the husband and wife found shot near Hilltop Lakes Wednesday are dead. The husband reportedly died Wednesday night after what investigators believe was a murder-suicide.

Authorities believe the couple was suffering from serious medical issues, and that the C.W. Guiles shot and killed his wife, Patricia, before shooting himself. Their home is near the intersection of FM 977 and FM 3 northwest of the Hilltop Lakes community.

C.W. Guiles died at a hospital after being taken from his home by helicopter, according to the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

The couple's children found their parents shot late Wednesday afternoon. The Patricia Guiles died at the scene. Both were in their 80s, authorities said.

"Evidently, there were medical problems, and they both appeared as though they were tired of living. It looked like he shot her, and then attempted to take his own life,” said Sheriff Jerry Wakefield told News 3 Wednesday night.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Charleston, WV: Cops: Man who killed ex-girlfriend, pregnant sister found dead

An Iraq war veteran suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend and her pregnant sister in Michigan fatally shot himself in a remote West Virginia cabin after seeing investigators closing in, authorities said Wednesday.

Deputy marshals and Tyler County sheriff's deputies were approaching the cabin near Sistersville Tuesday evening when they saw Thomas Fritz run inside holding a rifle, said Alex Neville, a deputy marshal in Clarksburg. Seconds later, they heard a gunshot.

Not knowing whether the 38-year-old Fritz had shot himself or fired on them, special units from Wetzel County and the State Police who were better equipped to deal with the potential standoff were sent in to help, Neville said.

"It would not have been prudent for the deputy marshals or local law enforcement to engage him in that cabin, with several hundred yards of open field around the cabin," Neville said. "To approach it would not have been a good tactical approach on our part."

Several hours after the shot rang out, officers fired tear gas into the cabin and stormed in. They found Fritz dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a rear bedroom, as well as two assault rifles, a shotgun and a gas mask, Neville said.

Authorities warned after the Friday killings that they considered Fritz armed and dangerous. Fritz served in the Ohio National Guard beginning in 1997 and later the Army Reserve. He then spent nearly a year in Iraq with the guard's military police unit from the spring of 2003 through early 2004.

Fritz had once worked for the man who owns the cabin, which is in a remote area near the Ohio border about 80 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pa., and he had been there several times, Neville said.

"He was familiar with the area. He returned there obviously to hide," he said.

Authorities contacted the cabin's owner, who was not there at the time and whose name they didn't release, to get its layout.

Authorities said Fritz's ex-girlfriend, Amy Merrill, broke up with him about three weeks ago. On the night of the killings, he went to her Blissfield, Mich., home, where he had lived with her since last winter, to speak with her. The two had a child together, who is a toddler, and Merrill's two sons from a former marriage also lived there.

Police say Fritz shot Merrill, 33, her 24-year-old sister, Lisa Gritzmaker, who was eight months' pregnant, and their mother, Robin Lynn McCowan, who were all at the home. The sisters died and McCowan is recovering from surgery at a hospital.

The sisters grew up in the Blissfield area and were well known. Merrill took her two oldest boys to youth baseball games and Boy Scouts meetings. She and her sister were extremely close, friends said.

Before moving in with Merrill, Fritz was living in Sylvania, Ohio, a Toledo suburb where he grew up, which is about 12 miles from Blissfield.

In 2004, the year he returned from Iraq, Fritz received an associate of applied science degree in criminal justice from Owens Community College, near Toledo.

In 2006, Fritz was convicted of sexual battery, deemed a sex offender and sentenced to a year in prison in Ohio. Paul Dobson, a Wood County, Ohio, prosecutor, said a woman accused Fritz of having sex with her at a party while she was passed out.

Chardon, OH: Middlefield man killed wife, himself in Chardon (with 911 call)

CHARDON — A Middlefield husband and wife are dead after a murder-suicide took place yesterday morning at a Chardon business.

Chardon police said the incident occurred at Cooke’s Complete Service Center, an auto repair shop at 500 Center St. in Chardon.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicates Frank Dobos, 44, shot his wife, Monika Dobos, 40, about 9:36 a.m. before turning the gun on himself.

“There was no at-large shooter, there was no shooter running around,” Chardon Police Lt. Troy Duncan said. “We have recovered the weapon, and everything appears that everything happened right here.”

Monika was an employee of the business, and she and her husband did not come to the location together, he added.

Police said the couple were in the process of getting a divorce.

Business owner Rollin Cooke III was devastated by the incident.

“She worked for me,” he said, choking back tears. He declined to comment further.
Duncan added that the shootings occurred outside the business, but the actual incident wasn’t witnessed by anyone else.

Chardon City Councilwoman Nancy McArthur was on her way to a meeting when she heard about the incident and stopped at the scene.
“It just hurts to see this happen,” McArthur said.

She urged people to seek out help for their problems, saying that violence was never the answer.

“I just wish people would find another way to deal with their problems,” McArthur said.

Churches, social workers and other organizations are available to people who need help, she added.

“Nothing can be this bad. I just don’t understand. I never will.”

Chardon Mayor Phil King said the city’s thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed.

“I think everyone who knows what we’ve experienced knows the community... would react in sympathy and condolences and sadness for the individuals involved,” King said.

“This particular instance could have happened anywhere at any time. It’s just tragic.”

Police said the incident remains under investigation.

Triangle, VA: UPDATED: Accused wife killer served time for 2005 stabbing

A Triangle man charged with murdering his wife early Tuesday had been out of prison for two years after serving time for stabbing an estranged girlfriend as she slept.

Derrick Delano Wilson -- also known as Abdul Rahman Talib Din -- was arrested Tuesday after calling police at 3:45 a.m. to report his wife had stabbed herself in their home at 18303 Old Triangle Road.

Wilson told officers that his wife, Joanna Bell Lowe, 47, had tried to commit suicide.

Police determined that Lowe, who died at an area hospital, did not try to kill herself, but that her husband had stabbed her during an argument, said Prince William County police spokesman Jonathan Perok said.

Court records show that Wilson was sentenced in 2006 to serve five years in prison and five years probation for malicious wounding for stabbing another woman in Manassas in 2005.

In that case, Wilson, admitted to breaking in through the bedroom of his ex-girlfriend’s house on Scarlet Oak Drive around 10 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2005 and stabbing her repeatedly.

According to a criminal complaint filed in that case, neighbors heard glass breaking and a woman screaming and called police, who arrived, looked through a kitchen window and saw the woman, “covered in blood, with her hands up as the accused approached her.”

Police forced their way into the house and arrested Wilson.

The woman told police that before they arrived Wilson chased her through the house. She said she went into several rooms and shut the doors behind her, but he broke down the doors and continued attacking her.

According to court records, Wilson was released from prison on April 26, 2010 and was still on probation for the malicious wounding charge at the time of his arrest Tuesday.

It was unclear Wednesday when Wilson and Joanna Lowe met, or how long they had been married. Police said Lowe had grown children who did not live with her and were not Wilson's. The couple apparently had roommates at the house on Old Triangle Road, but they told detectives they didn't see or hear anything early Tuesday.

Prince William building inspectors condemned the home after Tuesday's slaying.

According to paperwork attached to the front door, authorities deemed the home as unsafe due to structural integrity and inadequate power service.

Improper wiring and deterioration to power receptacles, a lack of unobstructed paths in the home, among other violations led to the condemnation.

The home showed visible damage on the outside Wednesday afternoon. The roof was coming apart at the front right corner. Siding and debris were found on the ground immediately below the damaged roof.

The front door at the home was marred and appeared to have carpet running alongside its entire length on one doorjamb.

Neighbors on Old Triangle Road said they didn't know the people who lived in the house and were unaware of the slaying.

Wilson is being held without bond at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail.

Miami-Dade, FL: Two found in Southwest Miami-Dade home died of murder-suicide

Investigators said Wednesday that the bodies of man and woman found in a home near Homestead on Monday died of a domestic murder-suicide.

Patricia Nieto and Fernando I. Martinez, II were found at 13433 SW 289th Ter. on Monday night from stab wounds, according to Miami-Dade police. The bodies were discovered when Martinez’s father went to the home to look for his son who had not shown up at work.

Sonia Cason, who lives on the same street, described the couple as being in their 30s.

“They were planning to get married soon,” she said. “ I can’t believe it. They were a nice couple.”

Read more here:

Los Angeles, CA: Elderly couple dead in apparent murder-suicide, authorities say

Huntington Park police were still trying to determine Wednesday why a 72-year-old Huntington Park man killed his 69-year-old wife before committing suicide.

A family member walked into a home in the 2600 block of East 56th Street and found the bodies about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Sgt. David Cassidy of the Huntington Park Police Department.

The couple was identified as Adalberto and Juana Reyes, said Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Autopsies were pending to determine what caused their deaths, but Winter said Adalberto Reyes' death was listed as a suicide and his wife's as a homicide.

Cassidy declined to say whether the couple had any apparent wounds, citing the investigation. Detectives were working to determine what prompted the incident, he said.

"We're still interviewing family members trying to figure this out," he said. "We have nothing to go on."

Orland Park, Il: Woman in Orland Park murder-suicide had protection order

An Orland Park woman found dead in her home with her estranged husband Tuesday was killed by “an assault and cervical injury,” according to police and autopsy results from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Her husband died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a suicide, police said Wednesday.

The couple, identified as Karen Lolis, 48, and Angelo Lolis, 55, were in divorce proceedings, officials said. The two have three daughters ages 19, 17 and 16.

“There is sufficient evidence at this time for police to believe that this case will eventually be classified as a murder/suicide once the investigation is complete,” Orland Park police said in a news release.

Karen Lolis filed for divorce from Angelo Lolis and petitioned for an order of protection on May 7, according to Cook County Circuit Court records.

Police said Angelo Lolis was living with his parents in Hickory Hills where he left a suicide note Tuesday morning. Orland Park police found the two in the garage of a home in the 17100 block of Highwood Drive when conducting a well-being check at the address Tuesday morning, police said.

Angelo Lolis apparently confronted and killed his wife as she was leaving for her job as a TSA screener at Midway Airport between 3 and 4 a.m. Tuesday, police said. He then used a gun he took from his father’s home to kill himself, police said.

The couple’s daughters were visiting relatives in the Chicago area at the time of the deaths.

Orland Park police said they were called to the Highwood Drive address on May 3 and May 8 because of verbal arguments between the couple but no arrests were made.

Attorney James A. Palmisano, who was representing Karen Lolis in the divorce proceedings, said Angelo Lolis had been emotionally and verbally abusive to his wife during their marriage.

“He threatened her in the past,” he said. “That’s what led up to her wanting a divorce in the first place.”

The two were married in 1990, he said. Last week, Karen contacted her lawyer to say she believed her husband had broken into the home.

“It’s sad,” he said. “She was a very nice lady. A very good mom. She worked hard all her life.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Milwaukee, WI: Man charged in stabbing death of Greenfield mother

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office has charged a man believed to be the live-in boyfriend of a mother who was stabbed to death on Saturday.

38-year-old Christopher Gish, who is said to be Maggie Litwicki's live-in boyfriend and the father of two of her three young children, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and faces a sentence of up to life in prison if he is convicted.

Police arrested Gish near the Wisconsin Air National Guard 128th Air Refueling Wing base at Mitchell International Airport after he allegedly made alarming statements to police about Maggie Litwicki while getting medical treatment from a car accident early Saturday morning in Oak Creek.

The criminal complaint says that, "(Gish said) 'I never wanted to kill her' " but "lost count how many times he stabbed Ms. Litwicki... At one point during the interview the defendant stated, 'You know what, I don't feel bad that I did it.' "

According the complaint, he additionally "kicked her in the face and said, 'I hope it was worth it, (expletive).'"

According to the criminal complaint, authorities found her stabbed to death on her bedroom floor next to her bead.

Litwicki's two sons, ages six and eight, were home the night of the stabbing, but police told TODAY'S TMJ4 the kids didn't see anything.

Meanwhile, friends and neighbors are mourning Litwicki's death, waiting to find out why it happened.

"It's very tragic, I knew Maggie personally," said 1st District Alderwoman Linda Lubotsky. "I helped her with some issues here in the city. She leaves behind three beautiful children."

For anyone wanting to help Litwicki's children and family, they can make donations to:

C/O Margaret Litwicki Memorial Fund at any Tri-City National Bank

The fund is being used to pay for funeral expenses and help care for the children.