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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/crime (Page 68)

Man pleads guilty to decapitating Montana casino patron

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Man pleads guilty to decapitating Montana casino patron fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc BILLINGS, Mont. Associated Press article 2af0cd87-5201-50b4-99b8-8852a7b00a47

One of two men charged with decapitating a casino patron has pleaded guilty.

The Billings Gazette reports that 34-year-old Jeffery Glen Haverty pleaded guilty Monday.

Haverty and 32-year-old Donald Ray Cherry were both charged with deliberate homicide in the October 2017 death of 41-year-old Myron Wesley Knight.

Prosecutors and Haverty’s attorneys say they will seek 50 years in prison under a plea agreement.

Authorities say Knight asked a Billings casino employee to hold $120 in winnings before leaving with the men.

Police say Haverty robbed Knight of his remaining $6 and began decapitating him in a transient camp.

Authorities say Cherry took part in the decapitation after returning from a gas station.

Knight’s body was found three weeks later.

Cherry’s trial is scheduled to begin in July.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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Lawyers ask board to spare condemned Georgia man’s life

A Georgia man scheduled for execution this week didn’t cause the slaying for which he was condemned and should not be put to death, his lawyers argue.

Marion Wilson Jr., 42, is set to die Thursday. He and Robert Earl Butts Jr. were convicted of murder in the March 1996 slaying of Donovan Corey Parks in Milledgeville, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta.

Butts, who was 40, was executed last year.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday declassified the clemency application Wilson’s lawyers filed ahead of a closed-door clemency hearing on Wednesday. The parole board is the only authority in Georgia that can commute a death sentence.

Wilson’s lawyers describe a childhood characterized by abuse, neglect and instability that led him to engage in criminal behavior that escalated as he got older. They argue his trial lawyers failed to present evidence of brain impairments likely caused by his mother’s use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy and failed to counter prosecutors’ misstatements and exaggerations.

While there was enough evidence to convict him, it doesn’t support a death sentence, Wilson’s lawyers argue.

A witness heard Butts ask Parks for a ride at a Walmart store on March 28, 1996, prosecutors have said.

Butts was in the front passenger seat and Wilson was in the back as they left the parking lot, according to court filings. Parks’ body was found lying face down on a nearby residential street a short time later. Butts and Wilson fled in Parks’ car, later burning it after trying unsuccessfully to find someone to buy it, prosecutors said.

“Marion Wilson admittedly should not have been in Donovan Parks’ car that night, but he was not the man who shot Mr. Parks causing his death,” Wilson’s lawyers wrote.

While Wilson suspected Butts planned to rob someone, he didn’t know Butts meant to harm or kill anyone, they wrote.

Former Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright, who prosecuted both men, testified under oath years later that he believed Butts was the shooter.

During the sentencing phase of Wilson’s trial, Bright told jurors “without a shred of evidence” that Wilson shot Parks, Wilson’s lawyers wrote. But during the sentencing phase of Butts’ trial a year later, Bright told jurors the state had proved Butts pulled the trigger.

“That the prosecution falsely maintained that Marion was the shooter in order to obtain the death penalty was, and still remains, highly unethical and contrary to the State’s higher duty of probity and truthfulness in any criminal proceeding,” Wilson’s lawyers wrote.

Bright also exaggerated Wilson’s juvenile criminal record and provided misleading speculation on Wilson’s gang involvement, the clemency application says.

Bright died last year. But Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who was the Baldwin County chief deputy sheriff when Parks was killed, said Wilson called himself the “enforcer” for a violent gang and that both men were responsible for Parks’ death.

“No, we don’t know which one of them pulled the trigger, but we do know without any doubt that Marion Wilson and Robert Earl Butts, acting in concert together as parties to the crime, robbed and murdered Donovan Parks,” Sills wrote in a letter to the parole board.

He wrote that Wilson has “lived one continuous life of crime” from the time he was very young and “has demonstrated no respect for the law and astonishingly no respect for life itself.”

Before Wilson’s trial, Bright offered him a plea deal that would include the possibility of parole, his lawyers wrote, noting that Bright never offered Butts a deal.

Wilson’s lawyers ask the parole board “to consider Marion’s rejection of the plea deal as the unsurprising response of an immature youth whose abysmal childhood and accompanying lack of judgment led him to make poor choices about the course of his life.”

They urge the board to give him another chance at a life sentence with the opportunity “to prove himself worthy of parole” or, alternatively, to resentence him to life in prison without parole.

Wilson’s lawyers are also seeking a new trial and DNA testing on the necktie worn by Parks. They say the necktie was critical to the prosecution’s argument that Wilson pulled Parks from the car and shot him.

A judge has rejected that request. Wilson’s lawyers are asking the state Supreme Court to halt his execution and hear an appeal of the lower court’s ruling.

Westlake Legal Group 6e42ac28-ContentBroker_contentid-b983f2ff04094d7182f6c91dbba6276e Lawyers ask board to spare condemned Georgia man's life KATE BRUMBACK fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc cda61985-2ea1-5ac3-b9aa-3aaab19b1aaf Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group 6e42ac28-ContentBroker_contentid-b983f2ff04094d7182f6c91dbba6276e Lawyers ask board to spare condemned Georgia man's life KATE BRUMBACK fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc cda61985-2ea1-5ac3-b9aa-3aaab19b1aaf Associated Press article

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California warehouse fire defendant: No one was in charge

The San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where a fire killed 36 people more than two years ago was a communal artist enclave where nobody was fully in charge, one of two men blamed for the fire testified Monday.

Max Harris told a packed Oakland courtroom that everyone treated each other as friends in the shared space known as the Ghost Ship, where at least once a month, residents invited people to the warehouse for gatherings to play music or showcase their art.

“There was no power structure,” Harris said. “It was an autonomous place where everybody brought their insights to the table. There was a lot of shared understanding among the residents as far as what’s appropriate behavior. Everyone understood what the space is.”

Harris faces involuntary manslaughter charges along with Derick Almena, who is accused of illegally converting the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse into an artist live-work space where the Dec. 2, 2016, fire killed 36 people.

Prosecutors allege that Almena, 49, stuffed the warehouse full of highly flammable furniture, pianos, rugs and other material and failed to provide smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinklers and other required safety equipment. Prosecutors say Harris, 29, helped Almena convert the warehouse, collect rent and schedule concerts.

Both men pleaded no contest to 36 counts of manslaughter last summer, but a judge scuttled the plea deal after victims’ families objected to their proposed sentences as too lenient.

Judge James Cramer said he rejected the deal because he felt Almena did not show remorse.

Harris’ lawyers say he was made a scapegoat for the tragedy. He testified Monday that he was a struggling tattoo artist and jewelry maker when he found a Craigslist ad offering a studio within the large warehouse for $750 per month. After moving in, he performed menial tasks such as cleaning the communal space and pooling the monthly rent to reduce his rent.

He said the landlord hired an unlicensed electrician to perform electrical work at the warehouse and an auto body shop next door. When the lights went out at the warehouse, Harris said he sometimes had to call workers at the auto body shop to replace the fuse.

Although fire inspectors never determined the cause of the fire, prosecutors raised the possibility that the fire was caused by electrical equipment.

Harris’ attorney, Curtis Briggs, said his client’s testimony showed the electrical system “was completely jerry-rigged and illegally done.”

“If the prosecution wants to advance that theory, then the owners and the electrician should be on the defense seat,” Briggs said.

The owner of the building has not been charged and has not spoken about the fire.

Prosecutors say a fire alarm went off the night of the fire but no one heard it. The warehouse also lacked sprinklers to slow the blaze so people had time to escape.

Harris and Almena are also accused of failing to provide adequate safety equipment, exits and signage.

In his opening statement last month, Briggs sought to distance his client from Almena and raised the possibility of arson as he tried to shift blame to others.

Defense witness Sharon Evans testified earlier this month that while the fire raged, she heard a group of men celebrating, saying no one was going to come out alive. She said she heard them indicate they set the fire themselves, although most of her testimony wasn’t allowed to be heard by the jury after the prosecution objected that it was hearsay, the East Bay Times reported.

Federal fire officials traced the origin of the fire to a back corner of the warehouse’s ground floor but could not determine a cause.

The men could face up to 36 years each if convicted on all counts.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-3be101a47e5242828578d79f644656d7 California warehouse fire defendant: No one was in charge fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc e1739fe9-d514-5026-9ef3-0e4d62a40ebb DAISY NGUYEN Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-3be101a47e5242828578d79f644656d7 California warehouse fire defendant: No one was in charge fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc e1739fe9-d514-5026-9ef3-0e4d62a40ebb DAISY NGUYEN Associated Press article

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Trial set for ex-driver accused of abusing disabled girl

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Trial set for ex-driver accused of abusing disabled girl OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 1f037a71-dc1b-564a-b477-37980bf692f3

A trial date has been set for a former Mississippi bus driver accused of sitting on and threatening to kill a disabled child.

The Sun Herald reports Antioinette Jane Raymond is set to go to court in November. The former St. Martin Middle School bus driver opted for a trial after a judge saw video of the assault and subsequently rejected her sentencing deal.

Video shows Raymond threatening to kill the 14-year-old girl if she doesn’t get quiet and stay still. The video later shows Raymond sit on the girl.

A teacher accused in the abuse, Kerri Ann Nettles, was sentenced to a $3,000 fine and suspended six-month prison sentence. She’s settled a related civil lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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Woman accused of false abduction report to appear in court

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Woman accused of false abduction report to appear in court fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc CHARLESTON, W.Va. ba94b553-6f12-55c4-b8c0-5787e84c9592 Associated Press article

A West Virginia woman is due in court on a charge of falsely reporting to police that an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her daughter from a shopping mall.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports 24-year-old Santana Renee Adams is expected to appear Monday on the misdemeanor charge, punishable by a $500 fine and up to a six-month jail sentence.

Adams was hailed as a hero after claiming she used a gun to thwart a kidnapping on April 1. But her story unraveled when no witnesses could be found and mall surveillance video didn’t support the tale.

Abduction charges were later dropped against the accused man, a 54-year-old engineer who was in the area for work.

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Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, http://www.herald-dispatch.com

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Trial set for Navy SEAL in Islamic State prisoner’s killing

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Trial set for Navy SEAL in Islamic State prisoner's killing JULIE WATSON fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc c099d46e-dc5c-5f7d-be75-1086dabf165d Associated Press article

The trial of a decorated Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in his care is set to begin with jury selection on Monday.

The politically charged case has included the removal of the lead prosecutor for tracking the defense team’s emails and suggestions by President Donald Trump that he may pardon the defendant.

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder in the killing of an Islamic State prisoner in his care and attempted murder in the shootings of two Iraqi civilians in 2017.

A Navy judge ruled the prosecution’s effort to track defense emails violated Gallagher’s constitutional rights against illegal searches and the right to counsel by interfering with attorney-client privilege.

He is allowing the defense to reject two more potential jurors without cause than usual during jury selection.

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University wrestlers suspected of criminal sexual conduct

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news University wrestlers suspected of criminal sexual conduct MINNEAPOLIS fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 0004b19b-e934-5b34-bb2c-56f51c040018

Nationally-ranked University of Minnesota heavyweight wrestler Gable Steveson and a teammate have been arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct.

KARE-TV reports that an Athletics Department statement to the station confirmed the two men arrested were on the wrestling team.

They have not been charged.

KSTP-TV reports that jail records show Steveson and Dylan Martinez were arrested Saturday night at different times and places in Minneapolis. Authorities have not released details.

Steveson was a four-time state champion at Apple Valley High School and was ranked No. 3 nationally at the end of the season by a respected rankings service. Martinez was a transfer from Fresno City College.

The Athletics Department says they’ve been suspended from team activity pending further information. It says federal and state law precludes releasing further details.

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This version of the story corrects the last name of the heavyweight wrestler to Steveson, not Stevenson.

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The Latest: Family: Costco shooting victim a ‘gentle giant’

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news The Latest: Family: Costco shooting victim a 'gentle giant' los angeles fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 51d93ae4-1e6a-559e-9ea4-deda73bc8593

The Latest on the fatal police-involved shooting at a Costco Wholesale warehouse store in Corona (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

A cousin of the man shot and killed by an off-duty police officer at a Costco Wholesale warehouse store in Corona says he was a “gentle giant” who was mentally disabled.

Corona police say Kenneth French attacked the Los Angeles Police Department officer, who was holding his young child, Friday night. The officer fatally shot French and critically wounded two others.

The Press-Enterprise reports that French’s cousin Rick Shureih identified the other victims as French’s parents, Russell and Paola French.

Shureih says French’s family is seeking an attorney and declined to give specifics about his mental condition.

The officer’s identity has not been released. The LAPD is conducting its own administrative investigation.

Corona police and the Riverside County district attorney’s office are conducting a separate investigation and have not responded to requests for comment.

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11:41 a.m.

The Los Angeles Police Department is gathering evidence and video footage in an administrative investigation into an off-duty officer who shot and killed a man who authorities say attacked him inside a Costco Wholesale warehouse store.

Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff says Sunday it’s Chief Michel Moore’s decision whether to put the officer on leave but it remains unclear if that has happened.

The department doesn’t have any rule prohibiting off-duty officers from carrying firearms.

Authorities remained tight-lipped Sunday, not responding to requests for comment about what provoked the confrontation and whether anyone but the officer was armed. Two others were critically injured in the Friday night shooting in Corona, which is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

The officer’s identity has not been released.

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Ex-NBA player Anthony Grundy charged in fatal hit and run

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Ex-NBA player Anthony Grundy charged in fatal hit and run LOUISVILLE, Ky. fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 05e955fb-e878-5a7e-8111-00a49e30f518

A former NBA player, Anthony Grundy, has pleaded not guilty in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash in Kentucky.

News outlets report the 40-year-old Grundy turned himself in Friday and appeared in court Saturday. He is charged with leaving the scene of an accident and failure to render aid.

A police report says Grundy told police he knew he hit something on Dixie Highway in Louisville the night of June 7, but did not stop. Police say a woman trying to cross the road died after being struck.

News outlets report that Grundy attended high school in Kentucky and played basketball at North Carolina State University from 1998 to 2002. He then played professionally in several countries and played briefly with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2005-06 season.

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Police: 4 family members shot, killed in West Des Moines

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Police: 4 family members shot, killed in West Des Moines WEST DES MOINES, Iowa fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 7ff7f404-4d45-57b3-b175-a3955688b650

Relatives discovered the bodies of four family members, including two children, with gunshot wounds at their home in central Iowa, police said.

The bodies were discovered Saturday morning at the home in West Des Moines, The Des Moines Register reported .

Authorities identified the victims as 44-year-old Lavanya Sunkara, 41-year-old Chandrasekhar Sunkara, and two boys aged 15 and 10 years, according to a police news release. Autopsies were being performed to determine the cause of death.

Real estate records indicate the family had owned the home since March.

West Des Moines police Sgt. Dan Wade said there was no threat to the community and that investigators were trying to determine exactly what happened. Police said the relatives who discovered the bodies — also two adults and two children — had been staying with the family as guests.

West Des Moines police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation were investigating.

“This tragedy will impact family, friends, co-workers, anyone that knew this family,” Wade said. “We are continuing to work through this investigation. We will follow through until we have answered as many questions as the evidence allows.”

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Chandrasekhar Sunkara worked for the department’s information technology unit for 11 years. He was not a sworn officer.

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