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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/crime/trials

Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for ‘El Chapo’

Westlake Legal Group Chapo-RT Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for 'El Chapo' Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc article 8209d5f7-f557-5ab9-91c7-b20bd2e4dfe1

The captured Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman should spend the rest of his life in prison plus another 30 years, federal prosecutors wrote in court documents filed Wednesday.

In a letter sent to Judge Brian Cogan, the prosecutors portrayed Guzman as a “ruthless and bloodthirsty” leader of “one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.”

Prosecutors wrote, “The horrific nature and circumstances of the defendant’s offense, his history and characteristics and the fact that the defendant committed some of the most serious crimes under federal law make a life sentence warranted.”

EL CHAPO’S BEAUTY QUEEN WIFE DISSES MEDIA’S ‘UNFAIR’ CARICATURE OF HER DRUG-LORD HUSBAND IN RARE INTERVIEW

“The letter is unnecessary because we all knew that if found guilty of the main charge of criminal enterprise then he would spend life in prison which is mandatory,” Guzman’s attorney Mariel Colon Miro told Fox News on Wednesday. “There is nothing less he could get on that charge”

Earlier this month, the judge denied Guzman’s request for an evidentiary hearing, saying the amount of evidence was overwhelming and even without other influencing factors, including media reports, a jury still would have convicted him because of all the evidence.

This past Friday, prosecutors proposed that the convicted kingpin give the U.S. government $12.7 billion, suggesting that Guzman made that money through his drug trafficking empire, Colon Miro confirmed to Fox News.

CRUELTY OF EL CHAPO’S SINALOA CARTEL KNOWS NO BOUNDS

Witnesses testified in court during Guzman’s trial that the drug lord lived a lavish life, owned personal planes and had a private zoo with a tiny train inside it, along with other over-the-top assets.

“It’s ridiculous for the government to think he has all this money,” Colon Miro told Fox News on Wednesday. “The government hasn’t been able to locate a single penny.”

Guzman, 62, was found guilty in February of trafficking tons of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S. as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. The three-month trial detailed grisly killings, a bizarre escape and drugs hidden in jalapeno cans.

“El Chapo” was said to have escaped from a Mexican jail in 2001 by hiding in a laundry bin and managed to evade the law by stowing away in one of his mountainside hideaways.

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He was recaptured in 2014 but escaped a year later through a mile-long lighted tunnel. Guzman was captured again nearly six months later.

Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17.

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis, Lukas Mikelionis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Chapo-RT Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for 'El Chapo' Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc article 8209d5f7-f557-5ab9-91c7-b20bd2e4dfe1   Westlake Legal Group Chapo-RT Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for 'El Chapo' Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc article 8209d5f7-f557-5ab9-91c7-b20bd2e4dfe1

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Judge won’t toss Rep. Duncan Hunter’s corruption case

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6048030540001_6048030139001-vs Judge won't toss Rep. Duncan Hunter's corruption case SAN DIEGO fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/corruption fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fnc/politics fnc e7f7d81a-359f-575d-812c-7919ab64605c Associated Press article

A judge Monday refused to dismiss federal corruption charges against U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter or move the trial out of San Diego, saying he found no evidence so far that the California Republican lawmaker cannot get a fair trial here.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan in ruling from the bench said Hunter — a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump — easily won re-election to a sixth term in 2018 after being indicted and therefore he should be able to be tried fairly in San Diego County.

Defense lawyers argued prosecutors were politically motivated when they indicted the 42-year-old congressman only months before the 2018 election and the case should be dismissed. Whelan said he found no evidence of that.

Hunter and his wife were indicted in August on charges they used more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses ranging from groceries to golf trips and family vacations, and then lied about it in federal filings. Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty last month to one corruption count and agreed to cooperate with investigators and could end up testifying against her husband.

Prosecutors have also revealed salacious details about the congressman’s lifestyle, saying he spent campaign money on a string of extramarital affairs with lobbyists and congressional aides.

Hunter’s lawyers argued that the presence of prosecutors tied to the case at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in August 2015 compromised their impartiality and that they should be removed from the case. The government says the prosecutors attended in an official capacity to assist law enforcement. Whelan agreed with the government.

HUNTER’S CORRUPTION TRIAL CAN INCLUDE ALLEGED EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS, JUDGE RULES

Hunter’s attorneys also had asked for the trial to be moved to the Eastern District of California, the location where Trump in the 2016 presidential elections won counties in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Clinton.

They said the extensive press coverage — and most of it negative — will make it near-impossible to find impartial jurors in San Diego. Attorneys told the judge one only needs to look outside the courthouse Monday where a dozen or so protesters were carrying signs that read “Lock him up!” among other things. A smaller group held signs in support of Hunter.

Whelan pointed out the media coverage and editorials by The San Diego Union-Tribune did not stop him from winning re-election. But Whelan added that during jury selection, if the pool appears stacked against Hunter, the judge could consider again whether to move the trial.

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The trial begins in September.

In an interview with Fox News last year, Hunter said his campaign made mistakes, that he gave his wife power of attorney when he deployed as a Marine to Iraq in 2003, and that she handled his finances during his last five terms in office.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6048030540001_6048030139001-vs Judge won't toss Rep. Duncan Hunter's corruption case SAN DIEGO fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/corruption fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fnc/politics fnc e7f7d81a-359f-575d-812c-7919ab64605c Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6048030540001_6048030139001-vs Judge won't toss Rep. Duncan Hunter's corruption case SAN DIEGO fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/corruption fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fnc/politics fnc e7f7d81a-359f-575d-812c-7919ab64605c Associated Press article

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Rwandan man gets 8 years in jail for lying in asylum bid about role in 1994 genocide

A Rwandan man was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison Monday after he was convicted of deceiving immigration officials about his involvement in his nation’s 1994 genocide, the deadliest the world had seen since World War II.

Prosecutors said that Jean Leonard Teganya, 47, participated in at least seven murders and five rapes during the genocide, in which Hutu extremists slaughtered Tutsis and Hutus who tried to protect them. Approximately 800,000 people were murdered during the 100-day bloodletting.

U.S. District Court Judge F. Denis Saylor IV sentenced Teganya to 97 months in prison in Boston federal court Monday after a jury convicted him in April of two counts of immigration fraud and three counts of perjury. The judge also found that Teganya had also obstructed justice by committing perjury in his trial testimony. Teganya will face removal proceedings after serving his sentence, authorities say.

“Based on the evidence admitted at trial, the defendant committed horrendous crimes during the Rwandan genocide and then sought to deceive U.S. immigration authorities about his past,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement. “Especially in the context of genocide, American laws exist to protect the persecuted – not the persecutors,”

In 1994, Teganya was a medical student who belonged to the Hutu-dominated MRND political party, which the Justice Department described as a “genocidal regime.” During the genocide, authorities said, Teganya helped soldiers find Tutsis who were hiding at a hospital in Butare so they could be killed or raped, and participated in some of those killings and rapes himself.

He fled Rwanda after the genocide ended and went to Canada, where he was denied refugee status because of his role in the massacre, prosecutors said. He was arrested by U.S. border agents in 2014 when he illegally crossed into Maine and claimed asylum, authorities say.

On his asylum application, authorities said, Teganya concealed his membership in the MRND and falsely claimed he had not persecuted any Tutsis.

FLASHBACK: RWANDAN MAN WANTED FOR WAR CRIMES ARRESTED AT US BORDER

Prosecutors had asked the judge to give Teganya 20 years in prison, claiming that he not only lied on his asylum application but also in court, painting his victims as the liars and dressing “himself in the garb of the persecuted rather than the persecutor.”

“These are the most significant, most corrosive, most morally culpable lies possible,” Garland said. “They deserve the most serious penalty.”

Westlake Legal Group Jean-Leonard-Teganya Rwandan man gets 8 years in jail for lying in asylum bid about role in 1994 genocide Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 9199402a-bf0d-51ee-a331-64d70d0c7600

Jean Leonard Teganya is seen in this undated photo.U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts/Handout via REUTERS

Teganya’s public defender, Scott Lauer, requested that his client receive about five years behind bars. In court documents, Lauer described Teganya as a religious father of two who has led a “quiet and unassuming life” over the past 25 years. Lauer also noted that Teganya was not charged with any of the crimes attributed to him during the genocide.

“It is not the place of this court to transform itself into a tribunal to punish that conduct,” Lauer said.

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Saylor said he struggled with his sentencing decision, noting the enormity of the tragedy and the allegations against Teganya, but also that the man was not charged in his courtroom of the rapes and murders.

“The basic question is: Do I sentence him as a liar or do I sentence him as a murder, or a rapist, or genocide participant?” Saylor asked.

Saylor said he ultimately believed the appropriate prison term was within the sentencing guidelines for the crimes with which Teganya was convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Jean-Leonard-Teganya Rwandan man gets 8 years in jail for lying in asylum bid about role in 1994 genocide Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 9199402a-bf0d-51ee-a331-64d70d0c7600   Westlake Legal Group Jean-Leonard-Teganya Rwandan man gets 8 years in jail for lying in asylum bid about role in 1994 genocide Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 9199402a-bf0d-51ee-a331-64d70d0c7600

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Former NYC student awarded nearly $60M after chemistry experiment left him severely disfigured

Westlake Legal Group Beacon-High-School- Former NYC student awarded nearly $60M after chemistry experiment left him severely disfigured Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 1dac9071-7b66-5b78-985e-bd7e0d24a4a4

A former New York City high school student was awarded nearly $60 million by a jury after he was left severely disfigured in a horrific chemistry experiment gone wrong.

Alanzo Yanes, who was 16 at the time of the accident, said he felt like he was “hopelessly burning alive” the moment his entire upper body became engulfed in flames when a fireball erupted in his Beacon High School chemistry class in January 2014.

“I held my breath for as long as I could. But nothing was working. I was hopelessly burning alive, and I couldn’t put myself out, and the pain was so unbearable,” Yanes, now 21, told a Manhattan jury.

TEXAS WOMAN WHO SUFFERED THIRD-DEGREE BURNS AFTER FALLING ON CURLING IRON OPENS UP ABOUT HARROWING INJURY 

The experiment that went awry involved the use of a gallon of methanol, which Yanes and others contended had been handled inapropriately.

The class’ teacher, Anna Poole, told jurors during the roughly three week trial that she performed the experiment the same way she had in previous classes — but an investigation conducted by the Department of Education concluded Poole caused the fire by pouring the methanol directly onto dishes that had already been on fire, the New York Daily News reported.

Testimony from witnesses in the class said the demonstration that resulted in the fireball came as Poole was restarting the experiment for students who got to class late.

IRAQI CHRISTIAN SURVIVES BEING BURNED ALIVE BY ISIS 3 TIMES: ‘[JESUS] SPOKE TO ME’

Yanes was awarded $59.17 million, a figure reached in order to compensate him for any pain and suffering that occurred after the accident and any future damages he may experience after sustaining burns to over 31 percent of his body.

Lawyers for the city argued the tragedy was an accident and urged jurors, if they chose to award damages, to make it about $5 million.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the city law office said: “While we respect the jury’s verdict, we are exploring our legal options to reduce the award to an amount that is consistent with awards that have been upheld by the courts in similar cases.”

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But Yanes’ attorney says that the young man continues to fight “prejudices that come with these disfiguring scars the rest of his life” and that he would reject the award money “in a heartbeat” if it meant he could undo the physical damage he’s undergone.

Yanes was not in court when the verdict was returned — in part because his presence there had become a spectacle, with pictures being taken of a young man his lawyer said “wants to live a normal life, just like anybody else.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Beacon-High-School- Former NYC student awarded nearly $60M after chemistry experiment left him severely disfigured Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 1dac9071-7b66-5b78-985e-bd7e0d24a4a4   Westlake Legal Group Beacon-High-School- Former NYC student awarded nearly $60M after chemistry experiment left him severely disfigured Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 1dac9071-7b66-5b78-985e-bd7e0d24a4a4

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Duncan Hunter’s corruption trial can detail alleged extramarital affairs, judge rules

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s alleged extramarital affairs may be considered as evidence in his upcoming corruption trial, a judge said Monday.

Prosecutors said the California Republican wrongly used campaign cash for vacations, golf outings and other personal expenses. U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan said the allegations of extramarital affairs were relevant to whether campaign money was spent illegally and spoke to motive and intent.

Prosecutors revealed salacious details about the married congressman’s lifestyle in court filings last week, saying he used some of the campaign money to finance a string of romantic relationships with lobbyists and congressional aides.

Westlake Legal Group AP19176704125133 Duncan Hunter's corruption trial can detail alleged extramarital affairs, judge rules Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/corruption fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc article 45cbd522-3821-56f1-b403-77a84ce381d9

Jurors can hear evidence of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s alleged extramarital affairs, a judge said Monday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Hunter’s attorney, Gregory Vega, argued that any mention of extramarital affairs and “personal indiscretions” would be “extremely prejudicial” at the trial, scheduled to start in September.

“I’m afraid that it will be the focus, instead of the evidence,” Vega said.

The judge acknowledged that the allegations were sensitive and said prosecutors and Hunter’s team could decide how to describe the relationships.

Whelan, ruling on a flurry of procedural motions, didn’t address Hunter’s bid to dismiss charges or move the trial out of San Diego. He said Hunter could keep speaking publicly about the case.

Hunter, an Iraq War veteran and an early supporter of President Trump, sat quietly next to his attorney during the hearing.

The Hunter name represents something of a political dynasty in the area — his father captured the seat in 1980 and held it until his son was elected in 2008.

His father, former Rep. Duncan Hunter Sr., told reporters the charges were politically motivated. Attorneys for the congressman have argued that prosecutors tied to the case were at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in August 2015, and tried to get a photo with the Democrat, compromising their impartiality.

HUNTER BLAMES ‘DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS’ FOR HIS INDICTMENT ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

The elder Hunter, who sat in the front row of the courtroom, gave reporters copies of an email from the U.S. Secret Service on how to get a photo taken with Clinton at the fundraiser. The email, part of a June 24 court filing, redacted the recipients’ names but was a response to a Freedom of Information Act request for communications with two prosecutors involved in the case.

“This is the smoking gun,” Hunter Sr. told reporters.

The government said the prosecutors attended the fundraiser in an official capacity to assist law enforcement.

Hunter and his wife were indicted last August on charges that they used more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses ranging from groceries to golf trips and family vacations, then lied about it in federal filings.

Margaret Hunter, who was not in court Monday, pleaded guilty last month to one corruption count and agreed to testify against her husband.

Hunter has said his campaign made mistakes, that he gave his wife power of attorney when he deployed as a Marine to Iraq in 2003 and that she handled his finances during his last five terms in office.

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Hunter, 42, was re-elected in his strongly Republican congressional district in San Diego County last year despite the indictment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19176704125133 Duncan Hunter's corruption trial can detail alleged extramarital affairs, judge rules Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/corruption fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc article 45cbd522-3821-56f1-b403-77a84ce381d9   Westlake Legal Group AP19176704125133 Duncan Hunter's corruption trial can detail alleged extramarital affairs, judge rules Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/corruption fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc article 45cbd522-3821-56f1-b403-77a84ce381d9

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Jurors in father killer trial over cut off allowance say a can of coke was ‘aha moment’ that helped to find him guilty

Jurors in the Princeton University graduate trial say a can of coke was the “aha moment” that helped to find the man guilty.

Thomas Gilbert Jr., now 34, is facing a possible life sentence after the jury convicted him on Friday of killing his father after he cut his son’s weekly allowance of $1,000.

PRINCETON GRAD, 34, FACES LIFE BEHIND BARS, CONVICTED OF KILLING DAD WHO CUT OFF HIS ALLOWANCE

Westlake Legal Group 38706f21-Hedge-Fund-Founder-Slain-1 Jurors in father killer trial over cut off allowance say a can of coke was 'aha moment' that helped to find him guilty Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fb664e98-e561-5a39-b05b-ff24d76c8e37 article

Jurors in the Princeton University graduate trial, who fatally shot his 70-year-old father over cut off allowance, say a can of coke was the “aha moment” that helped to find the man guilty. (AP)

The jurors were split whether Gilbert could be found guilty, with one side suggesting he should be found not guilty by reason of mental defect, the New York Post reported.

“There was a lot of emotion, one side just yelling, ‘He’s guilty! He’s guilty!’ and the other side was like, ’He’s not, he’s sick,’” juror no. 11, Steven David Torres, told the paper.

But Gilbert’s request for his mother to go out and get him a can of coke on the night of the murder in 2015 broke the impasse among the jurors.

“The can of coke: it was really our ‘aha’ moment.”

— juror no. 11, Steven David Torres

“The can of coke: it was really our ‘aha’ moment,” Torres said.

Shelley Gilbert, the mother, testified in court that the son knew that she never kept the drink in the house.

NEW JERSEY WOMAN MAY HAVE KILLED IDENTICAL TWIN SISTER OVER A ‘LOVE TRIANGLE’: REPORT

Another juror pointed out to others that Gilbert purposely asked for the beverage so that his mother would leave the house and he could shoot his hedge fund millionaire father.

“It was a lightbulb moment for me,” juror no. 8, Julie Thiry-Couvillion, told the Post.

“It was a lightbulb moment for me.”

— juror no. 8, Julie Thiry-Couvillion

Prosecutors argued that Gilbert had been living a lavish lifestyle of golf, surfing and travel – all paid for by his parents.

“The defendant rejected hard work, instead, preferring an easy life handed to him on a silver platter,” Assistant District Attorney Craig Ortner said in his closing argument earlier this week, according to the newspaper.

Beginning in 2014, the father began reducing the weekly payments by hundreds of dollars at a time – in hopes of inspiring the son to become more self-reliant. After making another reduction Jan. 4, 2015, the son shot his father in the head in the father’s New York City apartment, prosecutors said.

After the killing, the son placed the gun in his dead father’s hand to make it seem like a suicide, prosecutors said.

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The son fled the apartment, but his mother was home and called police just minutes after the shooting. The son was arrested later that same night, prosecutors said.

A jury convicted Gilbert Jr. on second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 9, authorities said.

Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-Thomas-Gilbert-Jr Jurors in father killer trial over cut off allowance say a can of coke was 'aha moment' that helped to find him guilty Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fb664e98-e561-5a39-b05b-ff24d76c8e37 article   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-Thomas-Gilbert-Jr Jurors in father killer trial over cut off allowance say a can of coke was 'aha moment' that helped to find him guilty Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fb664e98-e561-5a39-b05b-ff24d76c8e37 article

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Ex-University of Illinois doctoral student guilty in slaying of visiting Chinese scholar

A former University of Illinois doctoral student was convicted Monday of killing a visiting scholar from China after abducting her at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

Jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes at the federal death-penalty trial in Peoria, Ill.

The swift conviction was expected because Brendt Christensen’s attorneys acknowledged from the start that he raped and stabbed Yingying Zhang in June 2017.

Prosecutors said he beat her to death with a baseball bat and decapitated her.

Jurors found Christensen guilty of kidnapping resulting in death, which carries a possible death sentence. Prosecutors are expected in the penalty phase to focus on Christensen’s brutality, with the defense broaching mental health issues.

Westlake Legal Group Christensen-Zhang_AP Ex-University of Illinois doctoral student guilty in slaying of visiting Chinese scholar Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 214d8a59-53d7-5c95-a1de-062340b18ec4

The swift conviction was expected because Brendt Christensen’s attorneys acknowledged from the start that he raped and stabbed Yingying Zhang in June 2017. Prosecutors say he beat her to death with a baseball bat and decapitated her. (AP)

The judge has said there will be a break of a week or more before the penalty phase, a sort of mini-trial that could last several weeks.

Illinois no longer has capital punishment, but he could be sentenced to death because he was convicted in federal court.

The federal death-penalty case is the first in Illinois since the state struck capital punishment from its books on grounds that death-penalty processes were too error-prone. Some Illinois anti-death penalty activists criticized what they said was the government’s imposition of a death-penalty case on a non-death penalty state.

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN BAN ON SCANDALOUS TRADEMARKS, IN DISPUTE OVER ‘FUCT’ CLOTHING LINE

The defense began the trial with the rare admission that their client killed Zhang, but said they said they disagreed with prosecutors over how and why. The surprising strategy was a bid to start immediately trying to persuade jurors to spare Christensen’s life.

Jurors heard evidence that Christensen boasted he killed 12 others before killing Zhang, starting when the Stevens Point, Wisconsin native was 19 and still living in Wisconsin. He began his studies in Champaign at the university’s prestigious doctoral program in physics in 2013.

His lawyers said he made the claim about being a serial killer when he was drunk and that it was not true, but the FBI did not rule it out.

Christensen, now 29, lured Zhang into his car posing as an undercover officer when she was running late to sign the apartment lease on June 9, 2017. The muscular Christensen forced the 5-foot-4 Zhang into his apartment in Urbana, Champaign’s sister city 140 miles southwest of Chicago, where he raped and killed her.

Zhang was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, prosecutors said, adding Christensen — who had fantasized about killing — determined to kill someone that day and had been cruising in his car looking for a victim. Earlier, he approached a different young woman posing as an officer, but she refused to get in the car.

He and his girlfriend, Terra Bullis, attended a vigil for Zhang on June 29, during which Bullis wore an FBI wire recording him detailing how he killed Zhang. As they left at night, she said she’d rather not call a ride-sharing service, telling him: “My version of safer is walking at night with a serial killer.” He responds: “Yeah. That’s me.”

Christensen was arrested on June 30, 2017, his birthday.

Christensen sought help from mental-health counselors at the school for homicidal and suicidal thoughts in the months before Zhang vanished, according to his lawyers, who said his life was spinning out of control. In his first few semesters as a doctoral student, Christensen was making straight As but by late 2016, was getting Fs in all his classes.

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There are more than 5,000 Chinese among the 45,000 students attending the University of Illinois in Champaign, one of the largest such enrollments in the nation.

Zhang had been in Illinois for just three months — her only time living outside China. The daughter of working-class parents, she aspired to become a professor in crop sciences to help her family financially. Friends and family described her as caring and fun-loving.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Christensen-Zhang_AP Ex-University of Illinois doctoral student guilty in slaying of visiting Chinese scholar Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 214d8a59-53d7-5c95-a1de-062340b18ec4   Westlake Legal Group Christensen-Zhang_AP Ex-University of Illinois doctoral student guilty in slaying of visiting Chinese scholar Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 214d8a59-53d7-5c95-a1de-062340b18ec4

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Judge vacates Arkansas man’s death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl

Westlake Legal Group JusticeiStock Judge vacates Arkansas man's death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e9ee19f-0c2e-53f7-a7ce-a45e1b4775e9

A federal judge in Indiana Thursday threw out the federal death sentence for an Arkansas man convicted of kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old Texas girl in 1994, ruling the man’s intellectual disability precluded his execution.

Bruce Carneil Webster, now 46, was one of five men prosecutors say kidnapped Lisa Rene from her Arlington, Texas home to get back at her two brothers for a botched $5,000 marijuana deal. Over two days, Lisa was taken to Arkansas, gang-raped, bludgeoned with a shovel and buried alive.

Rene was dragged from the family’s apartment as she pleaded with a 911 operator. “They’re trying to break down my door! Hurry up!” she said, according to a tape of the call.

Attorneys for Webster, who is housed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. had challenged the death sentence based on what they claimed was previously unavailable evidence that medical professionals had found Webster to be intellectually disabled before his trial.

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In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence cited a 1993 application for Social Security benefits by Webster, in which two psychologists and a physician found him to be “mentally retarded and antisocial.” He also cited seven different IQ tests taken by Webster between 1992 and  2018, in which Webster scored between 59 and 65. An IQ score of about 70 is considered a benchmark for intellectual disability.

“The scores … consistently demonstrate that Webster has an IQ that falls within the range of someone with intellectual deficits,” wrote Lawrence, who dismissed arguments by prosecutors that Webster deliberately underperformed on the tests so as not to jeopardize his application for Social Security benefits.

“The application materials revealed that Webster was barely literate,” the judge wrote. “For example, for information about his job duties, Webster listed his job title as ‘Cement’.”

Webster’s appellate attorneys have said his trial attorneys tried to get the Social Security records but were given nothing. Steven Wells, a member of Webster’s legal team, called the ruling a “just outcome” for “an intellectually disabled man who never should have been sentenced to death.”

Erin Dooley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, which tried Webster, said prosecutors are evaluating how to proceed following the ruling. Prosecutors had argued in court documents that prosecutors argued Webster was faking his intellectual disability, had sufficient mental capabilities to manage a drug dealing business and that during his crime, Webster “demonstrated an ability to plan, strategize, and adapt, particularly in his numerous efforts to conceal his crime by destroying forensic evidence.”

The case has been sent back to federal court in Dallas for resentencing.

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Webster had been set to be put to death in April 2007, but the execution was later postponed. Orlando Hall of El Dorado, Ark., was also sentenced to death for Rene’s murder and remains on death row.

There are currently 62 inmates on federal death row in the U.S., according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The last federal execution took place in 2003.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group JusticeiStock Judge vacates Arkansas man's death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e9ee19f-0c2e-53f7-a7ce-a45e1b4775e9   Westlake Legal Group JusticeiStock Judge vacates Arkansas man's death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e9ee19f-0c2e-53f7-a7ce-a45e1b4775e9

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No immediate release for Coast Guard officer accused of being ‘domestic terrorist’

A federal magistrate judge declined to immediately release a Coast Guard lieutenant awaiting trial on drug and gun charges so prosecutors could appeal the judge’s earlier decision on the matter.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day ruled last month that the charges against Christopher Hasson were not serious enough to hold him in custody pre-trial. The government has claimed that Hasson compiled a computer spreadsheet hit list of Democratic politicians and prominent media personalities and described him in court documents as a “domestic terrorist” bent on “murder [of] innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” but have not filed terrorism-related charges since Hasson’s arrest Feb. 15.

At a hearing Wednesday in federal court in Greenbelt, Md., Day said Hasson must be subject to 24-hour home detention at either his mother-in-law’s rental home or a house owned by his father-in-law. Both homes are in Virginia, and court officials in the commonwealth must inspect the two homes and set up the monitoring equipment before Hasson can be released. Day also agreed to use global positioning equipment to monitor Hasson.

Federal prosecutors have opposed Hasson’s release under any condition.

Day said last month that he had “grave concerns” about Hasson based on information provided by prosecutors and warned that he would “have to have a whole lot of supervision.”

“The government continues to believe that the defendant poses a serious danger and must be detained pending trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom wrote in a court filing Sunday.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-5b1c1070d8fc41cdaee5f4ed83970f69 No immediate release for Coast Guard officer accused of being 'domestic terrorist' Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/military/coastguard fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc e303b940-a547-5aa4-a50f-ff58b8c7bac2 article

Investigators removed this cache of guns and ammunition from Hasson’s Silver Spring, Md. apartment after his arrest in February. (U.S. District Court via AP, File)

Prosecutors say Hasson’s hit list included the names of multiple Democratic presidential hopefuls: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Also mentioned were such figures as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.

Prosecutors say Hasson also targeted two Supreme Court justices and two social media company executives and searched online for their home addresses in March 2018, within minutes before and after searching firearm sales websites.

Defense attorney Liz Oyer proposed several pretrial release options for Hasson, including allowing him to stay with his parents and brother in Arizona. She added that conditions of Hasson’s release should include no access to firearms, a computer or other Internet-capable devices.

Windom said none of the options presented by Oyer were viable or met what Day said was the goal of ensuring that someone has “eyes and ears” on Hasson “like nobody’s business.”

“The only way to ensure that goal is met is to keep the defendant detained in the custody of the United States Marshals Service,” the prosecutor wrote.

Oyer has said her client hadn’t made any direct or specific threats to harm anyone. Prosecutors are seeking to punish Hasson for “private thoughts” that he never shared, she said.

“They have not come forward with evidence that Mr. Hasson is a domestic terrorist because he is not,” she told Day last month.

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Hasson has pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of firearm silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict and unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance. Investigators found 15 guns, including seven rifles, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition at Hasson’s basement apartment in Silver Spring, Md., prosecutors said. Hasson’s Feb. 27 indictment also accused him of illegally possessing tramadol, an opioid painkiller.

Hasson, who had served in the Marines, worked at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new cutters for the agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ChristopherHasson No immediate release for Coast Guard officer accused of being 'domestic terrorist' Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/military/coastguard fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc e303b940-a547-5aa4-a50f-ff58b8c7bac2 article   Westlake Legal Group ChristopherHasson No immediate release for Coast Guard officer accused of being 'domestic terrorist' Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/military/coastguard fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc e303b940-a547-5aa4-a50f-ff58b8c7bac2 article

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Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people

Westlake Legal Group navy-petty-officer-sentenced-to-nearly-10-years-in-prison-for-dui-crash-that-killed-four-people Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7

A U.S. Navy petty officer was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for a 2016 San Diego crash that left four people dead.

Richard Sepolio, 27, was found guilty in February of driving under the influence causing injury but he was acquitted of the more serious charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He also was acquitted of reckless driving and driving over the legal alcohol limit causing injury.

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Prosecutors said Sepolio had been drinking on Oct. 15, 2016, and was arguing with his girlfriend — now his wife — by cellphone when he tried to speed past another car on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. He lost control of his pickup truck, which crashed through a concrete barrier and plunged 60 feet off the span into a crowd celebrating a motorcycle rally and festival at Chicano Park.

Westlake Legal Group Richard-Sepolio-AP Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7

Richard Sepolio stands in court after Judge Charles G. Rogers released the jury after delivering a guilty verdict, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 in San Diego. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

The truck crushed vendor booths where people were standing. Four people died and seven were injured.

Sepolio faces a maximum of nine years and eight months in state prison.

Sepolio, who wore his Navy uniform during his sentencing Wednesday, apologized to the families of the victims.

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“I don’t know why I survived,” Sepolio said, according to NBC 7 San Diego. “I wish I could trade places with them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Richard-Sepolio-AP Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7   Westlake Legal Group Richard-Sepolio-AP Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7

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