Friday, August 31, 2012

Houston, TX: Couple dies in apparent murder-suicide

A 69-year-old man apparently shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself at the couple's home in northwest Harris County Wednesday.

Dilip Karnik and his 61-year-old wife, Mary Karnik, were found fatally shot at the home in the 6600 block of Glenhill Drive about 6:40 p.m., according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said the couple's son went to the home to check on his parents. When he went inside, he found them lying on the bed in the master bedroom dead. They had each been shot in the head.

Deputies said investigators determined Dilip Karnik shot his wife in the back of the head while she was sleeping. Then he shot himself in the head.

The motive for the shooting is uncertain, but the couple's son told investigators his mother had been in poor health.

Greenville, SC: Saluda Dam Road shooting called double murder, suicide

EASLEY — Authorities are investigating what Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley said is a double murder and suicide at a home on Saluda Dam Road.

William D. Thomas, 61, is the suspect in the shooting deaths of his wife, Sandy Lee Smith, 42, and his stepson, Daniel Gabriel Smith, 15.

The mother and son died of gunshot wounds, Kelley said. Thomas shot himself, she said.

Deputies were searching for the gunman in the house at 2423 Saluda Dam Road when they heard a shot outside, said Pickens County Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan.

They found the body of the suspect near an outbuilding about 75 yards from the home, with a gunshot wound to the head, he said.

The teenager called 911 at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, and said that he had been shot, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound under his chin, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

His mother was found inside the house with a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Two fellow Easley High students who played with Daniel on the JV football team, arrived at the home shortly after noon to post a memorial.

“I’m just in disbelief,” said ninth-grader Josh Leisten. “It just hasn’t like set in yet.”

“He always just uplifted people. He just tried to make everybody laugh,” he said. “He had the most heart of anybody ever.”

They had played a game together the night he died, and “everything was normal,” he said.

They, along with a number of other students left school early, unable to concentrate on their schoolwork, he said.

There are “a lot of tears” at school as students and staffers grieved the loss

“I just want to assure the public that there is no gunman running around,” Morgan said.

He said that autopsies were being conducted Friday and some questions about the incident are beginning to become clear.

“We have some questions answered,” he said, referring to some preliminary findings from the autopsy.

“We’ve notified all the guidance counselors there, brought in guidance counselors from some other schools as well as grief counselors to talk to the students,” said John Eby, public information specialist for the School District of Pickens County. “The teachers have been notified. The students have been notified.”

Eby said, “I can tell you I was there this morning and there’s a lot of grief and a lot of tears there right now.”

Morgan said a gun had been found.

Clayton Smith of Easley, who said Sandy Smith is his sister, said she would have turned 43 on Saturday.

Clayton and Kim Smith said their sister had recently started a dog grooming business in Simpsonville.

Clayton Smith said she visited him at his home in the Arial Mill area about a week ago.

“She was pretty tied up in her business,” he said. “She came and talked to me about doing some stuff over at her shop for her.”

She was a horse lover and had owned horses since she was a teenager, he said. She had horses on the property.

Dan Thomas owned a produce business, which he operated there on the property, they said.

They said Gabe “liked camping, kayaking.”

The family had plans to take a trip to Tennessee this weekend, Clayton Smith said.

North Platte, NB: North Platte man sentenced in wife's death

NORTH PLATTE — Rogelio Diaz, 35, was sentenced Monday to 18 to 36 years in prison for attempted second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Michelle Diaz.

Diaz was given credit for 426 days already spent in jail.

Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands handed down the ruling in front of Michelle Diaz's teary-eyed friends and family members.

Michelle was found unresponsive at the couple's home on June 25, 2011. County Attorney Rebecca Harling said in previous hearings that Rogelio Diaz originally told investigators that his wife fainted because of the heat.

Later, he claimed that the couple had fallen off their porch and he had landed on top of her. Eventually, he admitted that he and Michelle had been fighting and he had thrown her off the porch.

Diaz initially was charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree murder on July 16, after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.

Denton, TX: Denton man arrested in killing of ex-girlfriend at ex-wife’s home

A Denton man was arrested Thursday evening and charged with murder in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend.

Angel Agosto, 46, was arrested just south of Argyle on Interstate 35W, accused of killing 43-year-old Rosa Vegas, Denton police spokesman Ryan Grelle said.

According to police, officers responded about 8 p.m. to a report of shots fired at the home of Agosto’s ex-wife in the 600 block of Chambers Street. Vegas was found with multiple gunshot wounds at the home and was taken to an area hospital, where she later died.

The relationship between Agosto’s ex-wife and Vegas is unknown, police said.

Witnesses told police that Agosto had fled the scene and was headed toward Fort Worth. Officers alerted to be on the lookout for his vehicle stopped him in Argyle, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Barstow, CA: Elderly woman and son to face trial for husband's death, torture

BARSTOW • A Barstow judge ruled to hold an elderly woman and her son to answer for first-degree murder, torture and abuse of the woman’s elderly husband — despite arguments the man died of natural causes.

Ruth Ruffalo, 82, walked gently into the Barstow Superior Court room, her frail frame chained at the waist and wrists, clad in an inmate’s jumpsuit. She sat behind her son, Marcus Razario, 51, who was at the counsel bench, representing himself for the preliminary hearing Thursday.

At the hearing, three deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department gave testimony, discussing their investigation into 85-year-old Michael Ruffalo’s death, which began with a welfare check 10 days earlier.

On Sept. 19, deputies were called to the Ruffalos’ home on the 29000 block of Dryden Street in Barstow. There, officers were brought into a room where Michael Ruffalo lay on a bloody bed, blood on the ceiling and blood all over the walls, the deputy testified. The deputy observed the victim appeared severely beaten.

According to Razario, the father and son got into an argument where the father threatened Razario with a gun, though the victim said the story was made up, the deputies testified. Then, Razario said he knocked his father onto the bed, pinned him down by sitting on his chest and beat him with his fists. Razario also told them Ruth Ruffalo used a stun gun on the victim. She allegedly admitted to this in later interviews.

The victim told deputies the beating lasted three and a half hours. During cross examination, Razario asked if the deputy remembered Razario told him the beating was five minutes and the deputy did not.

When the beating was over, Razario said he took a shower to wash the blood off, the deputy testified. The victim asked for medical care several times, but was denied.

During the attack, Michael Ruffalo sustained facial fractures, broken ribs and severe bruising on his face, neck, chest, arms and back near his kidneys, according to medical and autopsy reports reviewed during the hearing. He also had about 20 burns from a stun gun.

However, his autopsy report found he died of natural causes related to a urinary tract infection sustained while in the hospital recovering from the attack. The report, which was peer-reviewed, stated the victim’s injuries did not directly cause the infection and therefore were not listed as a cause of death.

Razario and Ruth Ruffalo’s Defense Attorney Michael Duncan argued the two shouldn’t face murder charges, since the pathologists determined they didn’t cause his death.

“I think to have a murder you have to have a homicide,” Duncan said.

The prosecution introduced the opinion of an elder abuse specialist and director of geriatrics for U.C. Irvine who read over the report and determined his injuries would have been a significant factor in his death.

After all arguments were said, Judge John Gibson took a 10 minute break before giving his decision, leaving the courtroom thick with anticipation. Gibson ruled to hold the defendants to answer to all charges except one: accessory after the fact. He said he decided to weigh on the opinion of the geriatric specialist who had the benefit of reviewing the other doctor’s findings.

“It was a difficult case and I think the judge carefully considered the evidence in making the holding order,” Deputy District Attorney Shannon Faherty said. “Now it will be up to a jury.”

For this case, Razario and Ruth Ruffalo are due back in court for arraignment on Sept. 25.
If convicted of all charges, each would face a minimum of 25 years to life in prison.

Bronx, NY: Hip-hop manager Chris Lighty dead after shooting himself outside his Bronx apartment: cops

Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty killed himself Thursday after a heated argument with his estranged wife in the Bronx, police sources told the Daily News.

Lighty — a longtime manager who worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Diddy, Ja Rule and Mariah Carey — walked away from the argument after declaring “I’m tired of this,” before shooting himself in the head behind his South Riverdale home about 11:30 a.m., the sources said.

Cops found Lighty, 44, the founder and chief of Violator Management, lying faceup on the basement patio in a pool of blood with a 9-mm. pistol at his side, the sources said.

The shocking suicide followed a wild spat between Lighty and his 36-year-old wife, Veronica, who filed for divorce last year.

Moving trucks were at the home, as the veteran music manager prepared to move out of the three-story townhouse, sources said.

Law enforcement sources said Lighty’s wife of seven years told police he was facing financial woes that include a $5 million debt to the IRS. However, The Associated Press reported that Lighty paid off most of what he owed by selling a Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million in October.

Lighty still owed more than $330,000 in state and federal taxes, the AP reported. And in April, he was sued by City National Bank for not paying them after he had overdrawn his account by $53,584.

His 17-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son were in the W. 232nd St. home and left when the argument erupted. They were in a park nearby when Lighty, H who has three other children, stepped outside and pulled the trigger, sources said.

“It’s just devastating,” said Dan Charnas, author of “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop” who featured Lighty in the final chapters of his book. “He was the personification of hip hop’s growth into the world.”

Charnas recalled how the kid from the Bronx River Houses evolved into a successful businessman.
“He wasn’t on the straight and narrow,” the writer said, but “learned to restrain whatever demons he had. Maybe in the end his circumstances weakened his restraints.” Lighty — who was reportedly worth an estimated $30 million — helped launch the careers of several artists, including brokering a multimillion-dollar deal for 50 Cent.

Lighty pushed the Queens rapper to sign a deal with Glaceau Energy Brands when they unveiled their new product, Vitamin Water, in 2004.

The “In Da Club” rapper joined the campaign team, appearing in several ads for about three years.

When Coca-Cola bought Glaceau for $4.1 billion, 50 Cent cashed out his 10% stake in the company — which reportedly earned the rapper between $60 million and $100 million.
Rumors swirled recently that the pair had a falling out, but Lighty took to his blog to clear the air.

In his final blog post on his website,, he wrote that he was “BUSY TRYING TO STAY AHEAD OF THE RAT RACE WE CALL HIP HOP.”

Lighty said allegations that he and his brother were attacked by a member of 50 Cent’s crew were simply ridiculous.

The June 23 post, titled “chaos and mayhem . . . hip hop,” continued with an eerie message, apparently aimed at twisted stories involving his clients.


Lighty, who was born Darrel Lighty, was raised with five siblings by a single mother in the projects. He had his big break in the late 1980s, when Russell Simmons offered him a gig to work for his management company.

His career quickly catapulted after Lighty founded Violator Management, which merged last year with Primary Wave Talent Management to create Primary Violator.

In 2008, he was named one of Crain’s 40 under 40.

“When you’re growing up in the Reagan era, you really learn the value of a food stamp — and you never want to go back there,” he told Crain’s.

“On the entrepreneurial side, this is one of the biggest losses in hip hop,” said Datwon Thomas, executive editor of Vibe magazine.

Lighty had one arrest on his record, a pinch for weapons possession, a law enforcement source said.

As news of his sudden death spread Thursday, some of the industry’s brightest stars took to Twitter to share their condolences.

“In shock,” tweeted Sean (Diddy) Combs. “R.I.P. Chris Lighty.”

“Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones! Dear God please have mercy,” tweeted songstress Rihanna.

“R.I.P. CHRIS LIGHTY THE MAN THAT SAVED MY LIFE,” Bronx rapper Fat Joe posted on Twitter. “I Would Be Nothing Without YOU!!! My Kids Appreciate YOU God Bless Chris Lighty.”

Nick Cannon posted: “I’m devastated right now. I can’t believe my big brother Chris Lighty is gone . . . He was a pioneer, a mentor, and a great friend.”

Outside Lighty’s home, some stars showed up to help finish removing boxes Lighty was packing to ake away from the house.

Deejay Funkmaster Flex and rapper Busta Rhymes were seen outside helping load two UHaul trucks parked on the street.

“I am utterly, utterly devastated,” said hip-hop activist Harry Allen. “It feels unfair to us. He was our wealth. Chris was like the fruition of all that could be. He was loved.”

Spanaway, WA: Spanaway man pleads 'not guilty' to killing wife, daughter

A Spanaway man who police say confessed to killing his wife and daughter has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
Dean Holmes, 40, appeared in Pierce County Superior Court Thursday for arraignment.

Holmes is accused of shooting his wife of 12 years, Christy Holmes, while she lay sleeping in their bed early Tuesday morning. He then woke his 11-year-old daughter, Violet Holmes, and a friend who was sleeping over. After dropping the friend off at her home near Auburn, Holmes allegedly pulled over on the side of the road and shot Violet several times as she lay sleeping in the back seat.

Holmes stopped at the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant to eat as his daughter lay dead in the vehicle, according to court documents.

"The defendant told investigators that he had put his family in dire financial straits and he was afraid his wife would leave him when she found out he had been lying about their finances," the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. "The defendant killed his daughter because he reasoned that she would be unable to cope with her mother's death and her father's imprisonment."

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist called the murders "shockingly violent and senseless."

The morning after the murders, police say Holmes turned himself in at the Pierce County Jail. He told investigators he "repeatedly placed the gun" to his own head to commit suicide, but was unable to pull the trigger.

Prosecutors will have 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Camp Pendleton, CA: Detectives: Marine wife Brittany Killgore died during sexual attack

New search warrants unsealed in the murder case of a Marine wife reveal that, according to detectives, Brittany Killgore was an unwilling participant in sadomasochistic sexual activity involving the three suspects accused of killing her.

Brittany Killgore was reported missing April 14. Her body was found a few days later.

The San Diego, Calif., North County Superior Court released 22 search warrants in the Killgore murder case on Wednesday. The documents had previously been sealed at the request of the San Diego County district attorney.
Dorothy Grace Marie Maraglino, 36; Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25 and U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 45, have pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the killing of 22-year-old Killgore.

Killgore was last seen April 13 wearing a purple evening gown. Four days later her body was found abandoned near Lake Skinner in Riverside County.
Last week, an amended complaint was filed, adding new allegations to the murder charges, The North County Times reported.

The complaint also accuses the three suspects of conspiring to kidnap, torture and sexually assault Killgore. The allegations stem from what investigators believe is the alternative sexual lifestyle the three suspects participated in.
Warrants in Marine wife murder case reveal text messages, sex dungeon
In the 22 search warrants obtained Wednesday by NBC 7, detectives say they believe Killgore was killed during sexual activities with the suspects, right before her body was taken to Lake Skinner.
Detectives believe Perez never intended to take Killgore on a dinner cruise because he picked Killgore up from her apartment after the boat would’ve already departed, at approximately 7:37 p.m.
Search warrants reveal Perez and Killgore’s telephone records show their phones were being used in the Fallbrook area when they were supposed to be in San Diego that night.
Warrants also show that Killgore sent a text message to a friend asking for help 13 minutes after she was picked up by Perez. Soon after, additional text messages were sent from Killgore’s phone that weren’t consistent with her normal texting style.
In the warrants, detectives say Killgore’s cell phone appears to have been turned off for approximately two hours on the night of April 13, between 8:14 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. Detectives believe Perez and his accomplices turned off Killgore’s phone during that time so they could kill her and dispose of her body.
The documents confirm Killgore had injuries on her neck, consistent with being strangled, as well as injuries on her wrist and leg.
The warrants also reveal detectives found a receipt for cleaning supplies purchased on April 13, the day Killgore disappeared.
In four search warrants unsealed in July, investigators said they found evidence that an SUV owned by Perez had been used to dump Killgore's body in Lake Skinner.
A shopping bag containing blue latex gloves and a stun baton were also found during the investigation according to the warrants. Both the bag and the gloves had a red substance on them that tested positive for blood, the documents show.
Brittany Killgore, slain wife of Marine, texted 'help' on night of disappearance, prosecutor says
In the warrants, investigators say that San Diego County Crime Lab technicians confirmed the blood to be "a match for the DNA profile of Brittany Killgore."
On April 17, detectives attempted to contact Maraglino at a Point Loma hotel after a vehicle registered to her was located in the parking lot.
Once officials gained access to the hotel room, they spotted blood on the bed and saw a woman who identified herself as “Rosalin” inside, the search warrants document.
"Rosalin" was later identified as Jessica Lopez.
Disturbing finds inside hotel room
Also inside the hotel room were large knives in the bathroom and a note on the dressing area mirror stating, “Pigs read this,” the documents show.
On the dressing table officers said they found a seven-page handwritten letter that began: “I’m sorry Mistress I know you would’ve tried to stop me…You have the wrong f--king person,” according to the warrants.

The letter went on to say “I hid the body of that whore in plain sight," investigators stated in the warrants. One of the search warrants contains the note, which describes the injuries Killgore reportedly suffered and how she was murdered.
The search warrants also reveal more about the unusual sexual activity that prosecutors say was happening at a home on East Fallbrook Street, the residence of Maraglino and her roommate Lopez.
According to the warrant, an ex-girlfriend of Perez allegedly told police they were involved in bondage, whipping, cutting and spanking.
She told police that on one occasion a female was held in the sex dungeon and not allowed to leave without Perez’s permission, according to the search warrants.

Santa Maria, CA: Man Accused of Running Over and Killing Girlfriend Located

SANTA MARIA, Calif.- The man accused of running and killing his girlfriend after an argument has been located. Six months ago, Police say 20-year-old Antoinette Raygoza was run over and killed by her boyfriend 30-year-old Jack Misiaszek. The victim's family and friends are now asking for justice.

"You don't go out and accidentally kill your girlfriend and then get out of jail and have another girlfriend lined up already," says Talenna Carr, the victim's best friend. "They looked like they got along and I just don't know what went wrong that night."

Misiaszek was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after his first court appearance. Weeks later, Misasiek posted bail, but failed to appear in court on August 8th and up until a few days ago, police and the victim's family had no idea where he was.

Police found Misiaszek at Motel 6 on Preisker Lane in Santa Maria on Saturday. Employees who work at the motel say he was with two guys and a girl and was arrested just two hours after checking in.

Friends of Raygoza say Misiaszek's new girlfriend is a woman named Aurora Garcia and has been showing up for his court appearances.

"They've been talking ever since he got arrested for Antoinette's death in jail," says Carr.

The victim's friends also say Misiaszek had been hiding out in the Tanglewood area.

"I'm just happy now that justice is getting served and I hope it gets served the right way," says Carr.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Queens, NY: 2 Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A quiet Queens couple is dead and neighbors are trying to make sense of what happened.

Anna Karapetian said she’ll never forget the horrible scene she witnessed Thursday morning as her 37-year-old neighbor, Jennifer Cale, lay dying inside her Sunnyside apartment across the hall. Cale’s 20-year-old daughter screamed desperately for help.

“When I saw it, I couldn’t go inside because in my heart it was broken. It’s terrible,” Karapetian told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez. “When I heard her screaming ‘Help! She’s not breathing!’ I thought it was some heart attack. I ran to help, but when I saw the blood I couldn’t help.”

Police said Jennifer Cale was arguing with her 41-year-old husband, Amis Cale, when he lashed out in a fit of rage.

“He stabs her to death. He is seen standing over her body by her daughter,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Amis Cale took off, but his daughter called 911 and showed pictures of her father to arriving officers, police said.

Police said the husband ran two blocks from the apartment to an elevated train station on 41st Street and Queens Boulevard, and then jumped about 50 feet to his death.

“Imagine seeing somebody every day, saying good morning for a couple of years and then you find out something like this happens. It’s very depressing,” building superintendent Elias Suarez said.

Suarez said Amis Cale and his family emigrated from the Philippines, and moved into his mother-in-law’s Queens apartment on 39th Place about two years ago, adding the family seemed happy.

“I never heard of any problems, any domestic violence or anything. Like I said, [it’s] a huge surprise and a terrible tragedy for the family and everybody in the building,” Suarez told reporters, including WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond.

Tragically, a young woman is now without both her parents, while police try to figure out why.

Police said Amis Cale had a psychiatric history and was upset over a recent death in the family.

Article: Lawmakers target child porn, domestic violence

Sacramento — Legislation is advancing to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would require computer repair technicians to report downloaded child pornography, coaches to report suspected child sex abuse and domestic violence suspects to wear a GPS device.

Another bill closes a loophole in law that can result in divorce court judges ordering people who are victims of spousal abuse to pay financial support to their attacker.

San Diego County lawmakers are carrying the measures in response to horrific crimes locally and nationally.

The bills have been sailing through the Legislature in the final days of the session, which wraps up at midnight Friday.

The popularity of the legislation is reflected in the vote tallies. One of the bills drew just one lone dissent while the other three passed unanimously.

Brown has not taken a position on any of the bills.

A look at the bills:

• Computer pornography: Computer technicians would be required to report to police if they find evidence of child pornography on computers they repair.

“We live in a digital age and it’s time to update our laws to reflect the world we live in,” said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who is carrying Assembly Bill 1817. ”Online images last forever and each time child pornography is viewed that child is re-victimized.”

A San Diego based coalition under the umbrella “Keeping Innocence Digitally Safe,” brought the bill to her attention.

“The technological advances of the Internet have dramatically increased the scale and nature of the child pornography problem,” the coalition said in a letter of support.

A computer technician would be guilty of a misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if found guilty of violating the law.

Domestic violence: This bill was introduced in response to the 2011 death of Kathleen Scharbarth, a 34-year-old Carlsbad mother who is believed to have been murdered by an ex-boyfriend who later hung himself in a Vista jail cell.

Assembly Bill 2467, named “Kathy’s Law,” would allow judges to order electronic monitoring of those suspected of domestic violence if they pose an immediate threat of violence toward the victim.

“It is time electronic monitoring devices are used to protect victims who are being stalked and fear for their lives,” the victim’s mother, Ginny Scharbarth, said in a statement after the bill passed the Senate.

“The odds are great that — unless we put more emphasis on protecting victims — there will be countless more people who will lose their lives to domestic violence,” she continued.

Her daughter was granted a restraining order against the suspect a week before she was killed.

The measure is being carried by Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego. It would require the suspect to wear the device and the victim would have a beeper linked to it. Law enforcement would monitor for any violations. All costs would be born by the wearer of the GPS.

• Child sex abuse: Athletic coaches would be added to the lengthy list of those who are legally required to report child sex abuse, such as teachers, social workers and doctors.

Senate Bill 1264 stems from the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of molesting young boys, and the late Joe Paterno, the Nittany Lions’ revered head coach who recently died, was accused of covering up the abuses.

“One of the sad stories that came out of Penn State was seeing a cover-up to protect the football team and to protect this coaching legend. Horrifically there were victims involved that no one really cared about or paid attention to. I just want to make sure that’s never the case in California,” said Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, who is carrying the bill.

Failure to comply could result in penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The measure is endorsed by San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.

• Spousal rape: Divorce courts would be prohibited from requiring victims of spouse abuse to have to pay their abuser support.

Assembly Bill 1522 is being carried in response to the plight of Crystal Harris, a Carlsbad stockbroker.

Harris is seeking to close a loophole in state law that led a court to rule in 2010 that she is liable for divorce court bills and financial support to her husband when he is released from jail. He had been convicted of sexually abusing her.

“This could still easily happen again,” Harris said in a recent interview. “The laws have to be made clear so a victim will not be re-traumatized by a court system you think is there to protect you.”

Assemblywoman Atkins is carrying the legislation.

Raleigh, NC: Domestic violence could be factor in fatal Raleigh shooting

RALEIGH, N.C. — Investigators searched a Raleigh home Thursday afternoon of the estranged husband of a woman fatally shot at an apartment complex earlier in the day.

A police spokesman said Agata Flipska Vellotti, 43, was killed just before 9 a.m. at the Meridian at Wakefield apartments, at 11501 Colbert Creek Loop, in north Raleigh.

He did not provide further details, including a motive or whether anyone had been charged in the crime.

Based on a witness account and interviews with neighbors, however, a man believed to be Vellotti's husband, Mario Vellotti, 64, of 2728 Kinsley Place, was taken into custody shortly after the shooting at the Raleigh Police Department's Downtown District substation.

Neighbors said the couple, who were married in Krakow, Poland, in 2005, had a volatile relationship and that Agata Vellotti moved out of the home with their 6-year-old son several weeks ago.

Court documents show that District Judge Lori Christian issued a domestic violence protective order last month against Mario Vellotti and that the couple had been fighting for custody of their son.

At one point, according to the judge's ruling in the custody case, Agata Vellotti left with the boy for five days in June following an incident in which Mario Vellotti allegedly assaulted her in front of the child.

Also, acccording to court documents, Mario Vellotti did not let his wife have friends, a cellphone, a house key and he kept her from attending church.

As of Thursday afternoon, police would not confirm that Marco Vellotti had been taken into custody, but a woman, who did not want to be identified, said she was in the police station lobby shortly after 10 a.m. when a dozen officers converged on the area and were talking about how they were waiting for a man to surrender for killing his wife.

The witness said she was ushered into a storage area as a safety precaution until the man was detained. When she was able to return to the lobby, the woman said, she heard officers talking about transporting the man to WakeMed because he complained of chest pains.

WRAL News video captured emergency workers placing the man in an ambulance. Neighbors identified him as Marco Vellotti.

A silver 2007 Lexus sedan, similar to one police were looking for in connection with the shooting, also sat outside the downtown police station and had been cordoned off by crime scene tape by 11 a.m.

Records indicate the car is registered to Mario Vellotti.

In Internet postings last month on a blog about corruption in family courts, someone by the name of Mario Vellotti took issue with Christian's rulings and denied the accusations in her custody ruling, saying he is disabled and incapable of the claims his wife made.

In one post, on July 18, "Being in Jude Christian [sic] court brought out the worst of me."

In a posting three days later, the same author wrote, "The allegations against me were not proven and they were false! … By the way my wife was the one that abducted my son and for five days I lived in hell! Don’t worry your honor every dog gets his day in the sun!"

When reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Christian had no comment on the situation, citing judicial ethics.

Article: Domestic-violence deaths down 40% this year in New York City

Deaths from domestic violence have dropped nearly 40% this year, police said Thursday.
There have been 40 domestic violence-related homicides this year, police said, compared to 66 for the same period last year.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced the drop at a promotions ceremony at Police Headquarters where Inspector Kathleen O’Reilly, who has led the department efforts against domestic violence, was promoted to deputy chief.
Her officers conduct more than 70,000 home visits a year, helping to enforce orders of protection and design safety plans for victims, Kelly said.

Commercial Township, NJ: Cops: New Jersey Woman Killed Husband, Dogs, Self

COMMERCIAL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey State Police say a Cumberland County woman apparently killed her husband, two dogs and herself.

Commercial Township public works employees went to Scott Rector’s home Wednesday after Rector had not reported for work all week.

State Police Lt. Stephen Jones says they entered the trailer after smelling a foul odor and found the bodies on the bed. A handgun was also found on the bed.

The dogs, 30-year-old Scott Rector and his 28-year-old wife all had single gunshot wounds.

Jones says Stacy Rector left a note, but he would not disclose the contents.

Lucasville, OH: NEW INFO: Estranged Husband Shot and Killed by Wife's Boyfriend; Trailer Burns

LUCASVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) – A trailer that was the scene of a murder Monday night has been destroyed by fire -- believed to possibly be arson, according to information from the State Fire Marshal's Office.

The shooting happened in the 800 block of McNamer Brown Road in Lucasville about 8:45 Monday night.

Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini says 24-year-old Jeff Waller shot and killed 33-year-old James Thurman. The Sheriff says Thurman’s estranged wife lived in the trailer, and that Waller was her boyfriend.

Firefighters were called to the trailer between 11 and 11:30 Wednesday morning only to find the trailer burned to the ground.

An investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s office tells the fire started in the middle of the night. A neighbor says they heard explosions around 3:30 a.m.

Two arson investigations are underway in Scioto County, and each one is related to two different shootings from Monday night, including the murder that claimed Thurman's life.

Investigators say arson is likely, and the fire is connected to a nearby car-to-car shooting that happened Monday evening, injuring a man.

Keep clicking on for the latest information.

UPDATE 8/28/12 @ 6:30 p.m.
LUCASVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Murder in Lucasville.'s Randy Yohe has the latest on a crime that left one man dead and another jailed for murder.

It seems a trio combination made for trouble: a husband, wife and the wife’s boyfriend -- all staying under the same roof. On Monday night, that trio did run into trouble -- leaving only two.

Surprised neighbors explained what Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini confirmed.

Charlene Duncan says it was just before 9 p.m. Monday when her friend Anna Thurman, who was living with her boyfriend Jeff Waller along McNamer-Brown Road, called.

Thurman also was with her estranged husband James, who was in to visit their three young children.

Duncan said Anna called her to give the ambulance good directions.

“She said because Jeff had just shot James,” Duncan said.

James Thurman, 33, suffered a shotgun blast to the abdomen and died at the hospital.

Donini said when his deputies were on the way to answer the 911 call, they came upon a man walking on McNamer-Brown Road. As it turns out, it was the murder suspect who Donini says told deputies where the murder weapon was and confessed to shooting James Thurman.

"The girlfriend tells us that she and her boyfriend Jeff Waller were in the back bedroom when her husband James came in," Donini said. "She says James kicked Jeff in the head, and Jeff got a shotgun and shot him.”

Waller, 24, is from Lucasville. He was arraigned Tuesday morning on felony murder and tampering with evidence charges.

Donini says neither drugs nor alcohol was a factor is this case.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phoenix, AZ: Daughter of lawmaker killed in 2006 found dead in apparent murder-suicide

Jessie McCaskill embraced her partner Dallas Augustine after they made a lifetime commitment to each other in 2007.

McCaskill, shown in a picture on her Facebook page, wore a white wedding dress. Augustine donned a black tuxedo. The couple smiled widely, the image of wedding bliss.

McCaskill wrote on the social media website that she had found the one.

"Well, it all worked out in the end," she wrote.

But the couple's relationship was far from picture perfect.

On Tuesday, Phoenix police said the two women were found dead in their home Monday night in an apparent murder-suicide, and Augustine, 32, daughter of murdered Nevada politician Kathy Augustine, was suspected of killing 50-year-old McCaskill.

Augustine then killed herself, police said. A weapon was found but not identified.

An employee at the Maricopa County medical examiner's office said Augustine and McCaskill are scheduled for autopsies Friday.

According to Augustine's Facebook page, she married McCaskill on Sept. 22, 2007, in Coronado, Calif.

Officers went to the couple's home at 8:30 p.m. Monday after a concerned family member called police. There was evidence that the relationship had been strained and one of the women had packed bags and was preparing to leave, police said.

Augustine's uncle Phil Alfano said the family received the news early Tuesday morning. He did not have details.

"Dallas took off and did her own thing," Alfano said. "We haven't had any contact with her and really don't know what she's been doing."

Linda T. Nowalany wrote on McCaskill's Facebook page Tuesday: "I will miss you both so much, thank you for being in my life!"

Todd Serfass also wrote on McCaskill's page, "I will miss you both dearly. I hope you rest in peace."

Augustine was an officer with the Arizona Department of Corrections, spokesman Bill Lamoreaux confirmed. He did not immediately know how long she'd been employed.

Her mother Kathy Augustine died July 8, 2006, in the Reno home she shared with husband Chaz Higgs.

He said it was a heart attack, but Reno police soon turned their attention to Higgs, a critical care nurse who had made an off-hand comment to a colleague about using a nearly untraceable paralytic drug to kill a spouse.

Investigators found traces of the drug, succinylcholine, in Augustine's urine.

Higgs was convicted of murder in June 2007 and is serving a life prison sentence.

Former Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Glenn Puit wrote a book, "In Her Prime," which chronicled the rise and fall of Kathy Augustine.

Puit said Dallas Augustine refused to talk to him for the book and was largely isolated from her mother's family.

"Clearly the relationship between mother and daughter was strained," he said.

Alfano said Augustine had problems in her life, but never wanted her family's help.

"I believe there's been some substance abuse and I think probably some mental health issues," he said. "Basically she cut off contact with our family. By her choice."

Although the relationship between mother and daughter might have been strained, Dallas Augustine tried to follow in her mother's footsteps after she died.

In May 2008, she filed for the open Assembly District 12 seat that her mother held when she first entered politics in 1992.

"I never anticipated seeking her old seat, but I think she would be proud of what I am doing," a 28-year-old Dallas Augustine told the Review-Journal at the time.

Kathy Augustine served a term in the Assembly, two terms as state senator and then two terms as state controller. She was running for state treasurer at the time of her death.

In 2004, she became the first Nevada public official to be impeached and convicted after using office equipment in the controller's office to aid her 2002 re-election campaign. Augustine was censured but not removed from office for the offense.

Dallas Augustine did not know Higgs well and initially did not suspect him of the murder. Her mother had told her he made her happy.

"The past couple years have been extremely difficult," Dallas Augustine said in May 2008. "I had time to process what happened with my mom and to come back to the district and notice things that need help."

At the time Augustine sought election, she ran as a Republican like her mother. She faced Democratic challenger James Ohrenschall, the incumbent, and lost by more than 6,000 votes in the heavily Democratic district.

Chaz Higgs and Kathy Augustine were married three years at the time she was rushed unconscious to a Reno hospital in 2006.

Higgs told doctors and nurses, some of whom he had worked with, that she had suffered an apparent heart attack brought on by the stress of her campaign for state treasurer. She died three days later at Washoe Medical Center.

But samples tested by the FBI National Crime Laboratory found traces of succinylcholine in Augustine's urine.

Fellow nurses described Higgs as an excellent nurse who had saved many patients' lives.

But they also testified that he had confided in them his distaste for Augustine and that he had begun a flirtatious relationship with a hospital employee.

During the murder trial, Higgs unsuccessfully attempted suicide by slashing his wrists with a kitchen knife the morning before the case was to go to a jury.

Higgs eventually received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Review-Journal writer Kristi Jourdan contributed to this report.

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

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at or 702-383-4638.

Bessemer, MI: Man in jail for wife’s death

BESSEMER - A Bessemer man remains lodged in Gogebic County Jail today where he is being held without bond on three felonies, including two counts of murder, relating to the disappearance and death of his wife.

Kenneth Wayne Peters, 50, was arrested last week in connection with the death of his wife Ethel Grzena/Peters, 79, of Bessemer, who was reported missing earlier this month.

Grzena/Peters was last seen in Bessemer on the evening of Aug. 3, according to the Gogebic County Sheriff Department. Following an extensive search and investigation, her remains were found in Watersmeet Township on Aug. 13.

The suspect, Peters, was arrested last week and arraigned in Gogebic County District Court on Wednesday. He was officially charged with: first-degree murder/multiple theories which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole; second-degree murder which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison; and abuse of a vulnerable adult, second degree, which carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Bond was originally set at $1 million but has since been revoked, according to Sheriff Pete Matonich. The Gogebic County Sheriff Department and the Michigan State Police continue to jointly investigate the case, he added.

Peters' preliminary examination is currently scheduled in district court for Friday, a court official said this morning.

Mount Airy, NC: Mount Airy man killed as he chokes his girlfriend

A Mount Airy man who was assaulting his girlfriend was killed Sunday night by an acquaintance who feared that the man would kill her, authorities said Monday.

Christopher "Jake" Montgomery Tulley died from a single gunshot wound to his head at 244 Hiatt Road, the home where he was living, said Sheriff Graham Atkinson of Surry County.

Prior to the shooting, Tulley had beaten and choked his girlfriend, Atkinson said. The shooter was another man was in the house when the assault occurred. Atkinson declined to identify the girlfriend or the shooter.

The man who shot Tulley told investigators that he feared that Tulley would kill the woman, the sheriff's office said.

Tulley was choking his girlfriend when the man shot him in the head with a shotgun, Atkinson said.

The shooter is cooperating with investigators, Atkinson said. No charges have been filed.

Investigators will meet with the Surry County District Attorney's Office to determine if any charges will be filed.

Wilmington, NC: Ex-boyfriend charged with strangling girlfriend's six-pound chihuahua

Cory Morgan Gray of Wilmington, N.C. was arrested Friday evening for allegedly strangling a defenseless six-pound chihuahua belonging to his ex-girlfriend. When Jenna Branham returned home from class on Friday night, she found Gray and the lifeless body of her two-year-old chihuahua.

"I found him there, and I found little Charlie. He just looked like so in pain and so tense, and he just looked so pitiful and helpless."

When Branham left for class at Cape Fear Community College earlier in the afternoon, Charlie was left safely in his crate.

Although no motive was given as to why Gray may have killed Charlie, Branham had already changed her Facebook status to "single" indicating the couple may have recently broken up.

Authorities arrested Gray who posted $5,000 bond for his release from jail.

Animal lovers and humane supporters want the unnecessary and cruel death of Charlie to be a catalyst for stricter animal cruelty laws in North Carolina.

North Carolina animal cruelty laws state:

(a1) If any person shall maliciously kill, or cause or procure to be killed, any animal by intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, that person shall be guilty of a Class H felony.

b) If any person shall maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class H felony. However, nothing in this section shall be construed to increase the penalty for cockfighting provided for in G.S. 14-362.

Felonies are punishable by more than one year in prison. Class A felonies are categorized as the most serious and proceeds down to Class J felonies which are the least serious.

A petition has been created. Click here to sign.

St. Petersburg, FL: Police: Man says he accidentally killed woman during sex in St. Pete

St. Petersburg police said a woman was found dead in a hotel room this morning, and her boyfriend said he accidentally killed her during sex.

Police say Jennifer Lee Zale, 27, was found inside a room at the Kenwood Inn Hotel, 451 34th Street North.

Police say they were called to the hotel about 11:38 a.m. by Scott Alexander Greenberg, 28, who made spontaneous statements that he had strangled his girlfriend.

According to police, Zale and Greenberg had been staying at the hotel for two weeks. This morning, Greenberg told police, he and Sale were engaging in sexual intercourse, and she willingly participated in sexual asphyxia, during which he choked her.

Greenberg said Zale lost consciousness and could not be awakened, police said. He said he waited for eight hours to call 911 because he had panicked and didn't know what to do.

He insisted he didn't intend to kill Zale, police said.

Greenberg was arrested and charged with one count of manslaughter.

Detectives will await additional information from the Medical Examiner's autopsy before determining if other charges will be filed.

Orlando, FL: Deputies search for ex-boyfriend of slain Dr. Phillips-area mother

Court documents show Jorgete Acarie lived in fear of being killed by her ex-boyfriend. Now, two days after her bullet-riddled body was found in her Dr. Phillips-area home, authorities said they're hunting for Acarie's ex, Kristofer Gould.

Orange County deputies stress that Gould is not yet facing charges in Acarie's death. He's currently being sought on a warrant stemming from "previous domestic incidents" in their relationship, sheriff's spokesman Jeff Williamson said.

However, Williamson said in a statement that Gould is considered a "person of interest" in the homicide, which remains under investigation.

"Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Office Felony Unit are actively looking for Gould and investigators are asking anyone who may have information regarding his whereabouts to please call the Orange County Sheriff's Office or Crimeline [1-800-423-8477]," Williamson said.

Court filings indicate Gould had a history of threats and harassment targeting Acarie. He threatened to kill her and her family; broke into their home after he moved out; harassed her by phone and text message; and would often show up uninvited at her home after midnight and demand to see their young son, court records state.

Early Sunday, Acarie's body was found in a bedroom by Orange County deputies who responded to her house after her alarm went off. Her 2-year-old son was also in the home, but deputies say he was not injured. The boy has been placed in protective custody, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Deputies have released few details in the 43-year-old Brazilian native's murder. No arrests have been made.

But public records show Acarie had a violent run-in with 34-year-old Kristofer Gould just days before her slaying. Despite two injunctions and a trip to jail, Gould would not leave her alone, according to records.

On Aug. 20, Acarie called 911 to report Gould was harassing her. He started banging on her front door at 1:30 a.m. but she wouldn't answer. Then at 3:30 a.m., a brick flew through her bathroom window where she'd gone to get a drink of water, records show.

Moments later, she heard Gould screaming to let him inside. She reached for her phone and called 911. She told detectives she saw him drive away in black Nissan Altima. Deputies went to Gould's home that day and knocked on his door, but he didn't answer, reports show.

It's unclear if deputies followed up or made any other attempts to find Gould, who is on probation on an aggravated-stalking charge involving Acarie.

On August 24, a warrant was issued for Gould's arrest in the Aug. 20 incident. Two days later, Acarie was dead.

The Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that deputies have since secured another domestic-incident-related warrant for Gould's arrest. Officials did not elaborate. or 407-420-5620

Domestic-violence hotlines

If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, help is available through the region's domestic-violence hotlines:

Harbor House, Orlando: 407-886-2856

SafeHouse of Seminole: 407-330-3933

Help Now of Osceola County: 407-847-8562

Haven of Lake County: 352-753-5800

Domestic Abuse Council Inc: 386-255-2102 (Daytona Beach)

Wausaukee, WI: Ex-boyfriend charged in Wausaukee Citgo shooting

WAUSAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend at a Wausaukee gas station before shooting himself has now been charged.
Fifty-five-year-old Richard Heyer was charged Tuesday with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 51-year-old Ann Schueller. The coroner says she was shot once in the back Sunday while she was working at the Citgo station.
WLUK-TV reports ( ) Heyer will make a court appearance after he's released from a Green Bay hospital. He's in critical but stable condition.

Schueller sought a restraining order earlier this year but the court denied it. Her friend, Karen Bianchetti, says the legal system didn't do enough to protect her from abuse.
Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve says his deputies were never called to any domestic disputes at the couple's home near Crivitz.

Orem, UT: Couple's death still a mystery

OREM Utah (ABC 4 News) – Friday night, Lucy Schwartz and Nicole Grace talked for hours on the phone.

It was the last time Grace was to hear from her friend.

Schwartz was found dead Monday inside the Orem home of former Doctor Joseph Berg.

“She was afraid to leave him because she didn't know what would happen and because of that she lost her life,” says Grace.

Friday night Grace says they talked of marriage, the church “Joey”, nothing about death.

“She knew he didn't have a lot of people in his life and she really loved him and she just wanted to help him,” she says.

And she says it appeared the former cosmetic surgeon was on the mend.

He was released from jail Thursday after spending four months for kidnapping Schwartz last year. The incident also led to assault charges against Berg. He beat and tied her and kept her in a closet.

But Grace says there was another side of him.

“Dr. Berg wasn't a monster he was mentally ill,” Grace says. “He had problems that he wasn't getting treated for. And Lucy saw that and I saw that too. And she was trying to help him. She loved him. He would tell her about his favorite scriptures and things like that. It seemed like he was getting better.”

But after coming home, Grace says Berg was packing his bags. His home had been sold.

“She was looking at apartments and he was staying at his Sundance cabin until they got married,” she says.

Sunday night Berg and Schwartz had dinner with his family.

It was to be the last time anyone saw them alive.

“I didn't think this was going to happen,” she says. “I was just sad and shocked.

So far, no one knows how the couple died. But Grace says Schwartz was happy they were together once more.

“She was so full of life,” Grace says. “She told me of all their plans. She never would have agreed to something like this.

She believes Berg killed Schwartz before taking his own life.

“I think he lost control,” she says. “Something bad happened and he felt bad and he took his own life or he chose for her what to do.”

Grace says as much as Schwartz loved Berg, she would never have committed suicide with him. Grace says Schwartz loved her two daughters even more.

“She would never have put them through that kind of pain,” Grace says.

Orem police conducted an autopsy Tuesday but the results have not been released. Sgt. Craig Martinez says it may take a toxicology test before they learn what happened.

Stockbridge, MI: Update: Woman Found Dead in Stockbridge. Husband in Critical with Gunshot Wounds

Police say a shooting death in Stockbridge is likely a murder-suicide attempt between a husband and wife.

During a Tuesday press conference, the Ingham County Sheriff's Office identified the woman found dead Monday with a gunshot wound as 55-year-old Peggy Ila Curry. Her husband 61-year-old James Robert Curry remains in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth says police were called to the home by the Department of Human Services. The agency was concerned when an always reliable employee didn't show up for work.

"Officers entered the house and discovered a chaotic scene, a dead woman laying on a bed along with a male," Wriggelsworth said.

Detectives say the couple's injuries lead them to believe James Curry shot his wife, then turned the gun on himself.

"Her wound was to the head, his was under his chin which would be stereotypical for a murder suicide," Wriggelsworth explained.

Police found the gun used in the shooting inside the home. Dozens of other guns were also inside. Detectives believe James Curry was a collector.

Investigators are still working out a timeline, but say the shooting happened sometime over the weekend. Peggy Curry was last seen late Friday.

"Knowing the couple they seem like a wonderful couple, caring couple, loving couple," neighbor Betty Phillips said. "Did not expect anything like this."

The Curry's had been married four years. Detectives say James is a Vietnam veteran, who may suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"If that's the case, how long has he had it?" Wriggelsworth said. "Is this an onset thing that just recently occured? We don't know."

The sheriff's office says James Curry is gravely wounded. The office will only pass its case to the county prosecutor for possible charges if Curry survives.

DHS released a statement about the shooting Tuesday, saying the department family is saddened by Peggy Curry's tragic death.

"Peggy was in important part of the team in child welfare, working with adoption and before that in juvenile justice," Maura Corrigan, Director of DHS said. "Peggy had a passion for her work and helping people. She will be greatly missed."

The State Crime Lab was at the couple's N. Main Street home until 3:00 a.m. Tuesday collecting evidence.

Schenectady, NY: Schenectady woman charged in boyfriend's death

Schenectady Police say a domestic dispute ends with a 51-year-old man dead and his 49-year-old girlfriend charged with stabbing him to death.
It happened late Sunday night along Van Vranken Avenue in the city, very close to Union College.

49-year-old Jacqueline Smalls cried out loud and put her head down several times as she was arraigned in Schenectady City Court, charged with manslaughter for killing live-in boyfriend 51-year-old Adrian King.

Police say the couple had a history, but a woman who says she is friends with them tells FOX23 News she doesn't see any way that smalls could have done this.

An emotional Jacqueline Smalls was led from Schenectady Police headquarters to a van to take her to the county jail.

She's accused of stabbing her boyfriend Adrian King in the chest at their Van Vranken Avenue home Sunday night.

Schenectady Police Lt. Mark McCracken said, “It appears to be a domestic dispute between the victim and his girlfriend.”

And police spokesman Lieutenant Mark McCracken says it was not the first, that city officers have been called to 1512 Van Vranken multiple times in the past, but could not say how many times or how recently.

A woman who was visiting an upstairs apartment described what she heard.

“I didn't hear anything until they came outside screaming,” said the woman. “I don't know what happened. I heard something about a back door, but I was in the front of the house, but we can't hear. If you have the TV on and the fans going - you can't hear what's going on in the back. Only thing I heard was screaming before the police got here.”

A neighbor who did not want to be seen on camera says smalls and king fought, but not like this, and that they were both very nice people, well-known for helping their neighbors - and she says there is no way Smalls killed him.

“She found out that her boyfriend had passed away this morning, and she doesn't understand what's going on,” said the neighbor. “She was traumatized. She was brought to the hospital last night for hyperventilating herself, and when she was stabilized, that's when they took her and it's just a wrong person being charged with something right now.”

Some relatives of Smalls and King were outside the police station before her arraignment and said only that they were there to support both of them but didn't know enough about what had happened to say anything else.

The case is set to go to the grand jury later this week.

Maryville, TN: Long found guilty in wife's 2009 stabbing-beating death

MARYVILLE — A Blount County jury on Monday night found Jeffrey Long guilty of all counts in connection with the beating and stabbing death of his estranged wife in September 2009.

Long, 51, was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree murder in the perpetration of a burglary, aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. He also was assessed a $10,000 fine on the aggravated burglary conviction and a $10,000 fine on the aggravated assault conviction, according to the Blount County Circuit Court Clerk's Office.

Long, 51, faces a 9 a.m. Oct. 15 sentencing hearing before Circuit Court Judge David Duggan. Long's bond was revoked pending the sentencing hearing and he is being held at the Blount County Jail, according to the clerk's office.

Long, of Maryville, originally was charged with criminal homicide and aggravated burglary in the Sept. 10, 2009, death of 57-year-old Janas Long in her Cerritos Way apartment in Alcoa.

More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.

Bellingham, WA: Army probes alleged stabbing death

The Army is investigating a death that occurred early Saturday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The News Tribune was contacted Sunday by members of a family who said the death was the result of a soldier fatally stabbing his wife.

A woman who identified herself as the victim’s mother said her daughter was in her late 30s and lived on base with her husband and their four children.

Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield said Sunday that the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division began investigating a death on the base Saturday.

He would not confirm whether that’s where the death occurred and declined to release further details. The Criminal Investigation Division did not return messages from The News Tribune on Sunday.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office could not confirm the death, saying a killing on the base would be out of its jurisdiction.

KOMO-TV reported that base residents had told its reporter that a soldier had stabbed his wife to death. KOMO said base officials declined to comment on the report.

The News Tribune is not identifying the family or the deceased because the military has yet to release the name of the victim.

The newspaper generally does not publish names of someone suspected of a crime until the person has been charged.

The woman who contacted The News Tribune said the Army had given the family no information about the killing but that the victim’s oldest child had called her after witnessing the attack.

“Nobody has informed me but my granddaughter,” she said.

She said the family was concerned about the lack of public information about the death.

“I don’t want my daughter to go quietly into the night,” the woman said.

She said she was away from her Wisconsin home at the time of the slaying, and was contacted by her granddaughter Sunday afternoon.

The girl told her grandmother her father had stabbed her mother repeatedly about 3 a.m. Saturday while her siblings were in bed.

She said her father was in custody on the base and her mother’s body was at the morgue of Madigan Army Medical Center.

The girl said she and her siblings were with Army officials on base, awaiting their grandmother’s arrival today.

The mother said her son-in-law had been stationed in South Korea since May and that his family had planned to join him there. She said he recently returned to JBLM but the extended family did not know why.

She said her daughter and grandchildren moved to JBLM in June 2011, after living in Huntington Beach, Calif., for about a year with a relative while the soldier was on an earlier deployment to Afghanistan.

Greenfield, WI: Greenfield Woman Gets 15 Years for Murdering Husband

A Greenfield woman who shot and killed her husband whom she believed was having an affair with a neighbor will spend the next 15 years in prison for her crime.

Regina Rath, 46, was sentenced by Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Borowski on Monday to 10 years in prison and five years of extended supervision for killing her husband Vincent Rath inside their Greenfield home in June 2011. She’s also ordered to pay the victim’s family $8,322 to cover Vincent Rath's funeral costs.

Rath shot her husband in their home after the couple got into an argument when she claimed he was having an affair with a neighbor. She said he wanted to have sex with the woman in front of her. She gave several differing accounts of the incident to investigators and in a pre-sentence investigation. Rath said at one time Vincent was advancing at her and shot him in self-defense; she also claimed in other accounts the gun went off accidentally.

Rath pleaded guilty to the crime in June after the charges were reduced to first-degree reckless homicide.

While there was a history of issues between the couple, Borowski said he wasn’t convinced the victim was advancing toward her because his body was found sitting in a chair and there was no blood pools around, meaning her was either shot while sitting or while standing near the chair.

“This is not a situation where the gun just went off,” he said. “This isn’t a case where the gun went off accidentally. You committed a homicide.”

Prosecutor Grant Huebner asked Borowski to give Rath a long prison sentence in the case because of all the issues in her varied stories to investigators and her claims of physical abuse by her husband. He said Greenfield police were called to their home on several occasions between 2006 and the murder, however, in most instances the fights were verbal and in other cases Rath had been physically aggressive towards Vincent.

During an incident where she did sustain injuries during a 2009 incident, Huebner said her husband did as well because they had both fallen in an alleyway while drunk.

Huebner said while Rath does have a long history of physical, mental and sexual abuse against her in the past, the lack of consistency in her story to police and the evidence at the crime scene doesn’t show she was just protecting herself from the victim.

“The scene can’t even rule out that he was shot while sleeping,” Huebner said.

Defense attorney Patrick Earle, however, disagreed. He said Rath should be sentenced to three years of confinement and four years extended supervision because of her past.

“I could almost recommend Ms. Rath no longer be incarcerated,” he said.

Vincent Rath’s daughter and sister addressed the court before the sentencing, saying their lives have been drastically altered since the murder took place and they’ve lost a valuable member of their family.

Michelle Smith, Vincent Rath’s daughter, said because of the murder her young children will never get to know their grandfather, and the incident has traumatized the entire family.

“My family has suffered so much,” Smith said. “We lost a wonderful man.”

Rath also gave a brief address to the court where she fought back tears and said she was sorry for what happened. She said she loved her husband and she will probably never be happy again.

“I wish I could change what I did,” she said.

Rath will have 447 days credit towards the sentence for the time she has spent in custody since the murder.

Columbus, GA: Wife recounts tragic night boyfriend killed husband

A fight between two men who both loved the same woman ended in gunfire on Friday night.

Felisha Roberts, 30, saw her husband lay dead on the living room floor inside her Sugar Mill apartment on Schomburg Road.

Felisha says her live-in boyfriend pulled the trigger after Marcus Roberts, 42, beat him up.

"I know they were fighting on the other side of the suburban and I know they were fighting when they got into the breeze way. I left the baby and I ran behind them. I was screaming call the police somebody," explained Felisha.

Marcus was there to pick up the couples' four-year-old son for the weekend, a regular routine outlined in his visitation rights during divorce proceedings.

But instead of meeting at the apartment, Felisha says the two had agreed to meet at the Circle K on about a mile from the apartment.

"I told him I was coming. I had to get his know what are you doing here."

Felisha says Marcus approached her boyfriend first.

"He said, ‘Joel I need to talk to you. That's the only thing I can remember when Marcus came to the vehicle. Joel responded and said something like, ‘what the…"

Felisha added the men then left the parking lot and came into her apartment.

"Joel comes back out of the room with the gun and I'm in the middle of the saying ‘no stop'. Marcus pushed me out of the way. I don't know what happened; I crawled out of the apartment."

Felisha went back in and found Marcus on the floor with a gunshot wound to the neck.

"I just wish it was a bad dream, a nightmare," Felisha said.

So far, no arrests have been made; police say they are still investigating.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Kingman, AZ: Death just the latest blow for hard luck Kingman family

KINGMAN - Patsy Mymern used the last of her money to bring her family to Kingman two weeks ago for a new start. Now she's trying to find a way to return her son's body to Colorado for their friends and family to say goodbye.

Dakota Mymern, 15, died Saturday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Miner does not ordinarily cover suicides, but Patsy said she wanted other teens to know how impulsive acts can have devastating consequences. She said her son had anger management issues that were compounded by a domestic violence incident involving his parents a decade ago.

Dakota was the youngest of six siblings. He was four when his dad, James Mymern, was arrested for shooting Patsy several times in a Kingman parking lot. James subsequently hung himself in 2002 while incarcerated at the Mohave County Jail.

Patsy said Dakota harbored anger at his father. As he got older his anger grew, and Patsy was forced to home school her son because he didn't get along with other kids.

His sister Jamie, 22, said Dakota preferred electronic gadgets like computers and cell phones. He didn't use them to play games, she said. Instead, he constantly tinkered with parts and pieces to improve and upgrade the machines to have more memory and faster speeds.

"Nothing was a challenge for him," Jamie Mymern said.

Patsy said Dakota had the mind of a stubborn engineer.

"Don't tell him he couldn't do it because he's spend the next six months trying to do it," she said. "And he would."

Patsy said her son's moods were different than that of a typical brooding teen.

"He could be in a really good mood and five minutes later he could be in the worse mood ever," she said. "He hated it. He couldn't handle how mean he was to everyone when he was like that."

Patsy said Dakota appeared fine the day of his death. He played with his niece, almost 2, and set up a new stereo. But Patsy said Dakota woke up in the middle of the night in a bad mood and they argued.

She left for a long drive and said she and Dakota exchanged several text messages before she returned to the home in the 3800 block of N. Evans Street around 4:15 a.m.

Patsy was still seated in the driver's seat of the car when Dakota came out and removed a handgun from the glove box area. Patsy said she thought the gun was in the house and was unaware her son had put it in the car.

She said she believes Dakota, who was standing outside the car, only meant to shoot the gun in the air.

She said she saw a look of what appeared to be surprise and shock on his face when he realized he had shot himself.

Patsy called 911. She then cradled her son in her arms as she told him how much she loved him.

"All I could do was hope that he heard me," she said.

Patsy used her 2002 Trailblazer as a down payment on a house she planned to share with Dakota and her four grandchildren that she had recently gained custody of.

The grandchildren were the reason for the return to Kingman, and Patsy said Dakota was looking forward to helping. She also struggled before coming to Kingman with her car and purse being stolen.

Now she finds herself scrambling to cover the costs of returning her son's body to Colorado, where all of their friends and family live.

Family members have arranged a fundraising car wash this Saturday at the Taco Bell on Stockton Hill Road.

An account at BBVA Compass Bank has also been set up under account number 2507222547 for donations.

Patsy said her son's Facebook page shows how much his friends relied on him for support. She now wonders if he could have used someone to talk to himself.

"He helped anyone who needed help," she said. "He was a shoulder for everyone to lean on."

Suicide was the fifth-leading cause of death for men and the 12th-leading cause of death for women in 2010 in Arizona, according to the Department of Health Services.

Mohave County ranked third in the state - behind Apache and Navajo counties - for the number of suicides in 2010.

Mohave County's suicide rate was 27.3 per 100,000 people, nearly double the statewide average of 16.7.

Kingman Aid to Abused People is a local agency dedicated to providing help for people in crisis. They operate a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and for those considering suicide.

The hotline number is (928) 753-4242.

Mohave Mental Health also offers services and operates a crisis line, which can be reached by calling (928) 757-8111.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Newport, NH: N.H. man charged with killing wife in front of son

NEWPORT — A father of four has been indicted on charges he murdered his wife in front of their 3-year-old son after secretly taping her and discovering that she was having an affair with a former student.

James Perriello was charged Wednesday with first- and second-degree murder in the April 26 death of Natalie Perriello, a popular teacher at Lebanon High School who was one of 23 nominees for New Hampshire Teacher of the Year in 2007. Police said James Perriello told them during a three-hour interview after his arrest that Natalie Perriello was in bed at the time in their Grantham home with their youngest child next to her.

Police have said James Perriello told them he "lost his cool" and shot her multiple times because he believed she was having an affair with a younger man she once taught in school. The grand jury also found that he recklessly caused Natalie Perriello's death while showing extreme indifference to human life — adding the second-degree murder charge.

James Perriello's lawyer didn't immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment on the indictments.

State Police Sgt. Jeffrey Ladieu testified at a probable cause hearing in May that James Perriello had confronted his wife with excerpts from a tape recorder he had placed beneath the seat of her car. Ladieu said police learned through the recording that Perriello's 42-year-old wife and her 20-year-old former student "were affectionate toward one another and had initiated a relationship."

He testified she told her husband that she was no longer in love with him and that "it was over."

James Perriello is being held without bond. The couple's four children, ages 3 to 12, weren't physically harmed and are staying with their grandparents. Prosecutors filed a protective order in May barring their father from having any contact with them. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said Thursday that the order remains in effect.

Landieu testified in May that Perriello said he had been monitoring his wife's e-mail, social media sites and text messages.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the Perriellos had seen a marital counselor on the day of the shooting. After the meeting, Perriello called a police officer to ask if his wife could get arrested for texting while driving. He said he checked her phone records and found she had been texting "this guy" — sending up to 70 messages between the time she left home and when she arrived at Canaan Elementary School, where she taught at the time.

According to Ladieu, on the night of the shooting, Perriello continued confronting his wife about what he had heard on the recording.

"She was getting quite upset," Ladieu testified. "She was telling him to get out, to stop listening to the recording."

Perriello told police that he re-entered the bedroom with a gun and it accidentally went off when his wife tried to grab it. Ladieu testified that most of the bullets entered Natalie Perriello's head at a close range — "within a fraction of an inch." One bullet was lodged in the window frame above where the 3-year-old lay.

Perriello called 911 and told the dispatcher he had just shot his wife. The dispatcher kept him on the line, according to court documents, and could hear him ask his children for "hugs goodbye," adding, "I don't know when I'll see you again." Ladieu said when police got to the house, they heard children screaming and crying.

No date has been set for Perriello's arraignment.

Terrytown, LA: Authorities: Man fatally shot ex-girlfriend La.

TERRYTOWN, La. (AP) — Authorities say man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in a Terrytown apartment in which another woman and three children were present.
The Times-Picayune reports that ( ) the woman was identified as 27-year-old Stephanie South of Terrytown.
Authorities say witnesses reported that a man was banging on the door and screaming obscenities before he got inside. He allegedly chased the woman around the apartment while shooting at her with a .45 caliber pistol. She ran outside and collapsed and died.
The incident occurred just before midnight.

Sheriff Newell Normand says in a news release that three children and another woman were in the apartment, but it wasn't immediately clear if the victim was the children's mother.
Sheriff's spokesman Glen Boyd identified the suspect as Tory Wilson, 30, of Terrytown.

Macon, GA: Police: Man Drove into Macon Home, Killed Girlfriend's Mother

What began as an argument in the front lawn of 48-year-old Charlane Cowan's home, ended with her losing her life.

Saturday evening neighbors around Cowan said they heard her and her daughter's boyfriend, 23-year-old Grelan Muse, fighting outside for about an hour.

Jasmine Reeze saw the confrontation from her window.

"I was trying not to hear it, so I played music," Reeze said. "Then I hear his tires screech so, I pause my music and look out the window, and he's backing up."

Reeze says Muse had gotten into his truck and pretended to ram the front of Cowan's home two or three times until, finally, he hit Cowan and sent her through the wall of her home, killing her.

Brenda Reeze has been a neighbor of Cowan for over a year and says she ran to her friend's side. "I went over there when she was lying on the front porch," said Brenda. "I took a towel and tried to assist, wiped some blood off her face and stuff."

Those who heard the argument aren't sure what it was about but, suspect it had to do with Cowan's two-year-old granddaughter, who was standing right inside the doorway.

"The baby was on the front porch too," Brenda said. "But God was on her side, because she didn't get hit."

Jasmine Reeze says after Muse crashed through front of the home, he backed up and drove off. But according to Bibb County Jail records, he was arrested around 5:30 p.m.

According to a Macon Police Department news release, Muse is charged with felony murder, criminal damage, battery-family violence, aggravated assault, and cruelty toward a child.

Brenda Reeze says Cowan was a good person, and will be missed.

Bibb County Corner Leon Jones pronounced Cowan dead just before 6 p.m. at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. An autopsy has been planned for Monday.

North Naples, FL: Records: North Naples homicide victim twice called 911 on ex before killing

Twice in the month before she was killed, Konnie Bedell called 911 about her ex-boyfriend violating a no-contact order, records obtained by the Daily News show.

But in each case Bedell was ultimately uncooperative with responding Collier County sheriff's deputies, preventing them from pursuing an arrest.

Bedell, 44, was fatally shot on the back porch of her mother's North Naples home at 115 Flame Vine Drive on Aug. 8.

In a six-minute 911 call on July 22, Bedell told a dispatcher that her ex, Lawrence MacDonald, 44, was in front of the house.

"Please hurry," she said in a hushed voice. "I have a restraining order against him, and he's banging on my front door."

On Aug. 3, Bedell called 911 again. MacDonald was texting her, she said, while she and her two sons were staying at her mother's home because it was safer than her own. A Collier dispatcher said deputies would patrol the area.

After Bedell was killed five days later, investigators named MacDonald a "person of interest," although he has not been arrested or identified as a formal suspect.

Sheriff's Office records show serious allegations of domestic violence against MacDonald dating to July 2011, but officials said Bedell was an uncooperative victim that made prosecuting him difficult.

No report was taken July 22, but notes from the responding deputy said the caller "does not want to press charges despite our urging," Capt. Chris Roberts said.

On earlier occasions where reports were taken, Roberts said Bedell consistently refused help.

"She starts out, you know — she makes the call, deputies respond — and she starts not being cooperative," Roberts said. "She didn't help us help her, so to speak."

Deputies could have arrested MacDonald without Bedell's help if they heard a fight on the 911 call or saw him engaged in unlawful activity.

Although sending text messages is a violation of a no-contact order, officials said they could only have accessed MacDonald's alleged messages with Bedell's consent, which apparently was not given.

"Had she been cooperative and provided us with the phone and cooperated with investigators … and of course if the text messages and other evidence in the investigation corroborated that — we would have had a good strong case and arrested him without question," Roberts said.

Lisa Wiseman, a spokeswoman for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she encounters many situations where a victim of domestic violence doesn't press charges.

"We see situations where they may be harassing her from the jail, or saying if you press charges, I'm going to do whatever," Wiseman said. "Or he may be saying, 'I'll never do this again; I'm sorry.'"

Lawmakers made an amendment to the Florida Evidence Code this spring that was intended to allow police to use statements from domestic violence victims in court, even if they don't want to testify.

"If someone is not moving forward with a prosecution and the reason is because of a batterer or stalker, it allows law enforcement to move forward with the prosecution," Wiseman said.

An investigation into Bedell's killing is ongoing. Roberts said MacDonald is "the only person of interest."

"We continue to conduct the investigation, and we have several evidentiary items pending further analysis," he said. "It just takes time."

Article: Demand for domestic violence shelters grows

“If you are hanging on for that baby, you don’t have to hang on any more,” Ashleigh Lindsey’s mother whispered into her daughter’s ear.

The baby Lindsey had carried for four months no longer had a heartbeat.
“Mommy will be OK. It’s OK for you to go if this is too hard,” Tara Woodlee told her daughter.
Within 15 seconds, Lindsey died in a Plano, Texas, emergency room.
“We let her pass away,” Woodlee said.
This was not how life was supposed to end for the vivacious, high-spirited 20-year-old woman who loved country singer Loretta Lynn, played the guitar and piano and dreamed of being a singer.
Ashleigh Lindsey had been on the run, hunted by an ex-boyfriend intent on ending her life.
Joshua Mahaffey, 29, of Lebanon, shot her in the shoulder and head the afternoon of July 13 before killing himself south of Enos in Marshall County. Lindsey was taken by helicopter to a medical center in Plano. By midnight, she was gone.
Lindsey was killed the day before she was scheduled to enter a Texas shelter, said Anna Marcy, a victims’ advocate who was working with Lindsey through the Crisis Control Center in Durant. There is no shelter for battered women in Marshall County, where Lindsey’s ex-boyfriend took her life.
Her death underscores the ongoing need for services and shelter for domestic violence victims in Oklahoma, where 68 people have been killed this year in domestic violence-related homicides through July 31, according to the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, which tracks domestic violence-related deaths with the attorney general’s office.
More women are seeking shelter than ever before at the same time funds for the emergency housing are drying up, domestic violence program directors around the state said.
The domestic violence program in Marshall County, which included services but not a shelter, shut down in late 2011 due to financial difficulties, said Lesley March, chief of the attorney general’s victims services unit, which certifies 29 domestic violence and sexual assault programs in Oklahoma.
Despite the setback, Lindsey had accessed services like counseling in Durant, 45 minutes from her home. The center covers four counties in the rural Oklahoma near the Texas state line.
In the months before her death, Lindsey had changed her phone number and her address numerous times since leaving Mahaffey.
He had threatened to kill not only her, but her family in Texas if she were to run there, which is why she refused to go home, her mother said.
“Mom, they’re going to be able to protect me,” she told Woodlee of her plans for the shelter.
“Ashleigh did everything possible to remain safe,” said Marcy, the victims’ advocate in Durant.
She had left a six-month relationship that included physical and emotional abuse and filed for emergency protective orders. She was three months pregnant with his child when, during a violent fight, Mahaffey kicked her in the stomach and left bruises all over her body. She left.
“I think her abuser was bound and determined to cause her harm if not kill her. If she had been on Mars, he would have found her,” Marcy said.
Lindsey’s mother wondered if closer proximity to a shelter would have saved her daughter.
“I think one of the things that would have helped her was to have a shelter in that county,” Woodlee said.
Women like Lindsey make plans to enter Oklahoma shelters to escape those trying to harm them. They stay — much longer lately — because they lack the financial resources to get on their feet, shelter directors throughout the state said.
At the same time, a lackluster economy and slashed federal and state funds have hit domestic violence programs — like Marshall County’s — hard in recent years. In turn, programs are turning to the cash-strapped community for help, directors say.

Oklahoma women struggle to balance income with hiding. Lindsey was intent on finishing her workweek at an Enos restaurant before seeking shelter, her mother said. After her Friday shift, Mahaffey found and killed her.
Clients at the Women’s Resource Center in Norman used to stay for a maximum of 30 days, said Kristy Stewart, assistant director. With a long waiting list for affordable housing elsewhere, women have recently stayed at one of the shelter’s 16 beds or two pullout couches for as long as a year.
“We always stay full,” she said.
Additional fundraisers and generosity from the Norman community have helped the program stay afloat, Stewart said.
It’s the same story in Tulsa, said Donna Mathews, associate director of Domestic Violence Intervention Services. The 50 beds are usually full, and women often stay overnight in sleeping bags on the floor. Demand is higher than ever, but the program’s funding took a $400,000 hit — about 10 percent of the budget — this year as state and federal funds dried up, Mathews said.
Leaders at the YWCA of Oklahoma City hope the community will be able to reach deep into their pockets to support a new shelter. The new facility will nearly double the capacity of the existing Passageway shelter to house up to 85 women. The organization has begun a $15 million capital campaign, executive director Jan Peery said.
As in Norman and Tulsa, it’s rare to find an empty bed at the YWCA, she said.
Domestic violence programs elsewhere in the state have begun to expand to meet a growing need.
Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services in Stillwater opened its new shelter in February. Construction for a new shelter for Safenet Services Inc. in Claremore is under way. Both shelters are funded with private grant support.
Days after Lindsey’s death, Marshall County was hit with another instance of violence that stunned the community. Malinia Kae Villacana was arguing with Russell Neasbitt before being shot in the neck twice with a 12-gauge shotgun July 17, The Madill Record reported.
The two had a past relationship. Villacana is recovering from her injuries. Neasbitt was charged with one count of shooting with intent to kill and is being held with bail set at $750,000, said Donny Raley, Marshall County undersheriff.
A vigil was held at the courthouse in Madill to honor the victims and raise awareness about domestic violence.
A shelter or program can only do so much, Marcy said.
“It takes a whole community to keep a victim safe,” she said. “We have to work together.”
Woodlee wishes more people would have spoken up for her daughter.
“I think it all could have, in several ways, been prevented,” she said. “Different neighbors told her ‘Go home to your mom,’ but they didn’t call the police.”
Experts recommend friends of those in domestic violence situations call a state hotline — (800) 522-SAFE (7233) — that will connect them with resources and advice regarding domestic violence situations.
As Lindsey’s friends and family grieve their loss, they are also full of hope that their loved one’s story inspires others to take action against domestic violence — before it’s too late. Though she lost her daughter just more than a month ago, Woodlee already plans to speak at two Oklahoma conferences on domestic violence.
“Something good has to come out of this,” Woodlee said. “This kind of domestic violence in your homes is not normal. It’s not right. There are people and places that can help you, and I believe with all my heart that’s what she wants, is people to know — women to know, children to know, it doesn’t have to be like this.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gulfport, MI: Stabbing death case goes to grand jury

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The murder case alleging a Pass Christian man stabbed his girlfriend 29 times is going to a grand jury without a preliminary hearing.

The Sun Herald reports ( ) 33-year-old Ira Donell Bowser is entitled to hear the evidence against him but has waived that right.

Bowser is charged in the death of 33-year-old Shabree Lee Page found dead June 9 at her home.

Police say Page's 4-year-old daughter found her mother dead in a bedroom about the time police were trying to find out why the woman's vehicle had been abandoned in Long Beach.

Justice Court Judge Diane Ladner on Wednesday ordered the murder case bound over to a grand jury.

Lynchburg, VA: Lynchburg woman sentenced to four years in stabbing death

That a Lynchburg woman did not intend to stab her boyfriend to death after an altercation last May was not in dispute Friday.

During the sentencing hearing for Lakita Lashea Miller on one count of voluntary manslaughter, Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge Patrick Yeatts called the stabbing a “tragic, senseless act.”

He sentenced Miller to the full ten years allowed under the voluntary manslaughter statute, but suspended six years of the sentence.

Miller maintained at her trial that she feared for her life when Phillips pushed her against a sink, claiming the stabbing was in self-defense.

Yeatts stood by his verdict, overruling her defense’s motion to set aside the May verdict Friday.

Miller stabbed Phillips twice the night of May 20, 2011 at Miller’s Old Forest Road apartment where Phillips, Miller’s mother, Miller’s two children and her mother’s boyfriend were staying.

Miller’s defense called eight witnesses, all of whom testified they had never known her to be violent.

Jacqueline Jones, who manages Lynchburg Community Action Group’s “Project Discovery” program, which assists youth trying to get to college, said she found Miller to be a “high achiever.”

“She was always on time … She was accepted at Virginia Commonwealth University because of her outstanding grades,” Jones said.

A friend testified Miller had to drop out of VCU after two years when she became pregnant.

The father of Miller’s two children, Catrel Morton, testified that during their four-year relationship he never witnessed any violence or inclination toward confrontations.

Miller’s mother also testified she’d never seen tendencies of violence in her daughter.

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Janell Johnson called only one witness: Phillips’ mother, Yvonne Phillips Taylor.

Taylor recalled her son as a man who liked to play basketball, hang out with friends, and loved his mother and grandmother.

“He wasn’t a violent person. He wasn’t a mean person. He wasn’t a thug. He was keeping his girl’s children,” she said.

Every time she closes her eyes, she sees her son’s smiling face, Taylor said.

“I miss that smile every day,” she said.

“Your child is not supposed to leave here before you do.”

Newton, NC: Hickory man charged with murdering his wife

NEWTON, NC — The man accused of stabbing his wife to death on Thursday could face life in prison or death by lethal injection.

That’s what Judge James Honeycutt told Monroe David Byrd Jr. on Friday when Byrd was brought into Honeycutt’s courtroom for his first appearance.

Byrd was charged with murder after police say he stabbed his wife, Amy Marie Byrd, 33, multiple times and left her body in a vacant building where he had been staying on Springs Road.

Law enforcement got a call on Thursday that Monroe Byrd had shown up at a residence in Long View, wanting to hide out.

According to information from the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, Byrd, 46, told someone at the residence that he had killed his wife, claiming that he had done it in self-defense. He left there, driving his wife car.

A sheriff's deputy went to 2695 Springs Road where she observed him sitting in front of the building covered in blood.

Amy Byrd's body was found in the back of that building by authorities, and she had been stabbed multiple times, according to information provided by the sheriff's department.

Christy Ryder, a friend of Amy Byrd, was in the courtroom in Catawba County on Friday and said her friend went to the building on Thursday to sign some papers. What those papers were, Ryder wasn’t sure. She said the couple had been separated for nearly two months.

Honeycutt told Byrd, who stared straight ahead during his appearance in court, the charge of murder is a class A felony and he assigned local attorney Lisa Dubs as Byrd’s court-appointed attorney. Honeycutt said he also would refer Byrd’s case to the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services. He set Byrd’s next court date for Sept. 14.

Ryder was in the courtroom for Monroe Byrd’s first appearance and plans to be at every one of his court appearances from now on.

“Because that was my best friend and my children’s aunt,” Ryder said.

Ryder’s husband is also Amy Byrd’s cousin.

She said she knew something was wrong Thursday when Amy Byrd didn’t answer text messages and at least 10 phone calls from Ryder. She said her friend didn’t express any concern about visiting her estranged husband on Thursday because she had seen him briefly at the beginning of the month and everything was fine.

“It’s like I told her sister-in-law, it’s like a bad dream that we just haven’t woke up from,” Ryder said.

Ryder described Monroe Byrd as a controlling husband who had been trying to get his wife back. She said he kept Amy Byrd away from her family and friends. Amy wasn’t allowed to talk to Ryder when the couple was together, Ryder said.

“It wasn’t good,” Ryder said of the couple’s relationship. “Her relationship was very, very rocky.”

Ryder was a witness when the couple got married on Sept. 13, 2011 after a short courtship. She said Monroe Byrd is originally from Texas and was homeless when Amy met him.

According to authorities, Amy Byrd is the mother of four children. She had no children with Monroe Byrd, Ryder said.

“She was a real good mom,” she added.

Ryder said Amy Byrd was a friendly person.

“Not once did she ever meet a stranger,” Ryder said.

Bismarck, ND: ND woman sentenced in stabbing death of boyfriend

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota woman has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for stabbing her boyfriend to death during an argument.
Ivanna Red Bow, of Cannonball, pleaded guilty early to voluntary manslaughter. She faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Authorities say Red Bow stabbed Loren Uses Arrow in the chest with a knife on Dec. 30, 2010.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on Friday sentenced Red Bow to six years and six months in prison. She was ordered to pay $5,300 in restitution.