Blogs

Copper theft technology used to thwart crime bonanza
Mar 17, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 17, 2013 Contra Costa Times

CONCORD -- Some Bay Area cities would like Daniel Meyers to be the new poster boy for copper thievery. In an era when copper thefts are soaring and thieves loot with near impunity, Meyers' arrest was surprisingly routine.

Police say that on May 21, Meyers cut and took $1,050 worth of copper wire from a rural area near Columbus Parkway in Vallejo, put the stolen goods in a Cadillac Escalade and drove to an apartment.

Thanks to tracking technology, police followed his every move. The 32-year-old was arrested a short time later. He has since pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in April on charges of grand theft and receiving stolen property.

This electronic tracking technology is what Vallejo officials hope will put an end to the copper theft bonanza. Other cities also are eyeing the prospective solution to what has, in recent years, become a scourge that affects traffic lights, park lighting, building wiring and other public and private facilities that run on electricity.

Once a major component in making 1-cent coins, copper now is costing cities a pretty penny to replace. Thefts have soared along with the price of copper: The metal now goes for $4 a pound at salvage yards, nearly three times the price four years ago. But it's costing cities much more to replace.

Jilted Lover Murder - 1881
Mar 16, 2013, - 0 Comments

Forster

Francisco "Chico" Forster

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 16, 1881, Francisco "Chico" Forster is shot to death on a downtown Los Angeles street by his jilted lover, eighteen-year old Lastania Abarta. The forty-year old Forster was the son of a wealthy Los Angeles land developer and considered one of the city's most eligible bachelors despite his reputation for womanizing and poorly treating women. Abarta worked in her parent's pool hall, where she sang, played the guitar, and met frequent customer Forster.

Arizona woman's murder conviction, death sentence overturned
Mar 15, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 14, 2013 CNN

After 22 years on death row, Debra Milke is close to freedom.

A jury convicted the Arizona woman, now 49, of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse and kidnapping on October 12, 1990, less than a year after her 4-year-old son was found dead.

A judge sentenced her to death a few months later.

But those convictions and the related sentence were tossed out Thursday by a federal appeals court judge. In explaining his decision, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals chided the prosecution for remaining "unconstitutionally silent" on the "history of misconduct" of its key witness, a Phoenix police detective.

"The Constitution requires a fair trial," Kozinski wrote. "This never happened in Milke's case."

Beware the Ides of March - 44 BC
Mar 15, 2013, - 0 Comments

caesar

Julius Caesar is assassinated

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 15, 44 B.C. Julius Caesar, the "dictator for life" of the Roman Empire is murdered by his own senators at a meeting hall next to Pompey's Theatre. The conspiracy against Caesar encompassed as many as sixty noblemen, including Caesar's own protégé, Marcus Brutus.

Jurors deliberating in Hialeah hate crime trial
Mar 14, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 14, 2013 Miami Herald

Jurors have begun deliberating in the case of a Hialeah man accused of targeting two black men and trying to run them over.

Prosecutors say Luis Gonzalez, still seething over being shot and wounded in Miami’s 1980 race riots, grew upset when he saw two young black men walking through a parking lot in a Hialeah parking lot in January 2012.

Angered because “they looked arrogant,” Gonzalez tried to reverse his pickup truck into Andy Alexander and Jarvis James. Fearing for their lives, James pulled a .22-caliber pistol from his pocket and shot Gonzalez in the neck.

“Two people minding their own business who got caught in the path of hatred,” prosecutor Breezye Telfair told jurors Thursday afternoon during closing arguments.

The truck plowed into a Palm Avenue funeral home. He initially told police that the two men robbed him. He later changed his story, saying he just wanted to scare the men.

Jodi Arias Trial: Woman charged in ex-boyfriend's murder concludes testimony after 18 days on the stand
Mar 14, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 14, 2013 Associated Press

PHOENIX - A prosecutor spent much of Wednesday pointing at Jodi Arias and angrily raising his voice, clearly frustrated with her unresponsive answers on the witness stand in her Arizona death penalty trial.

Arias concluded her testimony after more than six weeks. Trial was set to resume Thursday as defense attorneys call additional witnesses.

Arias is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of her lover in his suburban Phoenix home.

She testified for 18 days during which she described her abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a raunchy sexual relationship with the victim and her contention that Travis Alexander had grown physically abusive in the months leading to his death, once even choking her into unconsciousness.

Authorities say she planned Alexander's killing in a jealous rage, but Arias says it was self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex.

Jack Ruby found guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald - 1964
Mar 14, 2013, - 0 Comments

Ruby

Jack Ruby

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 14, 1964, Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald (the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy) is found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair. It was the first courtroom verdict to be televised in U.S. history.

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