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Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated - 1948
Wed, 01/30/2013 - 09:32, - 0 Comments

Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi

by Michael Thomas Barry

On January 30, 1948, Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India is assassinated in New Delhi by a terrorist sponsored right-wing Hindu militia group. The murder came only 10 days after another failed attempt on Gandhi's life.

Mexico Breaks up Alleged Border Sex-Slavery Cult
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 12:33, - 0 Comments

January 29, 2013 Associated Press

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican officials say they have broken up a bizarre cult that allegedly ran a sex-slavery ring among its followers on the U.S. border.

Mexico's National Immigration Institute says 14 foreigners have been detained in the raid on a house near Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas.

Those detained include six Spaniards, and two people each from Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela. One person from Argentina and one from Ecuador were also detained, the institute announced Tuesday.

The institute said Tuesday that 10 Mexicans were also found at the house in filthy conditions, and are presumably among the victims of the cult.

The institute said the sect's leaders called themselves "The Defenders of Christ" and made members of the cult pay quotas, which they apparently paid with forced labor or sex.

Ohio police captain exonerated of ex-wife's murder after 14 years in prison
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 11:01, - 0 Comments

Jan. 29, 2013 Fox News/AP

A former Ohio police captain who has spent nearly 15 years in prison in his ex-wife's killing was exonerated Tuesday by a judge who said that new DNA tests proved his innocence and that no reasonable jury that saw the test results would have convicted him.

Doug Prade should be set free because the new DNA results are "clear and convincing," said Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter in Akron.

Hunter could have ordered a new trial for the 66-year-old Prade, or found that the DNA results weren't strong enough and allowed his conviction and sentence of life in prison to stand.

Prade's attorney, Carrie Wood, said when she called Prade to give him the news, he broke down in tears and couldn't speak for a while.

"This was a very humble and thankful Doug," said Wood, who works for the Cincinnati-based Ohio Innocence Project and has been working for years to get Prade freed.

"There was no `I told you so,"' Wood said. "There was only joy that it was finally recognized by the court and that he might get to come home to his family today."

Ukraine Gongadze case: Court convicts journalist's killer
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 10:53, - 0 Comments

Jan. 29, 2013 BBC

A Ukrainian court has convicted a former police chief of murdering journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000, a crime which rocked the country.

The court in Kiev found that Olexiy Pukach had killed the journalist, then cut off his head. It sentenced Pukach to life imprisonment.

Pukach confessed but said he had acted on the orders of the late Interior Minister, Yuri Kravchenko.

The murder sparked protests against the president at the time, Leonid Kuchma.

An attempt to prosecute Mr Kuchma for ordering the killing collapsed in December 2011 when a judge ruled that secret audio recordings which apparently incriminated him could not be used as evidence, as they had been obtained through "illegal means".

Mr Kuchma has always denied involvement in the journalist's murder.

A few months before his death, Georgy Gongadze founded the news website Ukrainskaya Pravda, which was sharply critical of the Kuchma presidency.

Brenda Ann Spencer - "I Don't Like Mondays" - 1979
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 09:49, - 0 Comments

Spencer

Brenda Ann Spencer

by Michael Thomas Barry

Brenda Ann Spencer was born on April 3, 1962. For Christmas 1978 her father, Wallace, had given her a .22 rifle as a present. A month later, on January 29, 1979, she achieved infamy when she began shooting at her school, Grover Cleveland Elementary in San Diego from her home, located across the street. Spencer shot principal Burton Wragg, 53, as he was trying to protect the children. Head custodian Mike Suchar, 56, died as he tried to help Mr. Wragg. In all, Spencer killed two and wounded eight children and a policeman.

Arsonist gets death sentence for heart attacks
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 02:38, - 0 Comments

Jan. 29, 2013 Associated Press

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A decade after a raging fire swept through Southern California's San Bernardino foothills, an arsonist was sentenced to death for causing the deaths of five men who died of heart attacks.

It was an unusual legal interpretation of murder likely to be debated in appellate courts.

A lawyer for Rickie Lee Fowler, 31, suggested in arguments Monday that he could not have foreseen that anyone would die and said there was lingering doubt about whether he threw a road flare that was believed to have started the blaze. A second man was seen with him that night.

Superior Court Judge Michael Smith imposed the punishment recommended by a jury in spite of the fact that the victims did not die by Fowler's hand. They died of heart attacks allegedly brought on by the stress of evacuating their homes as flames raged.

Smith had the option of reducing Fowler's sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He declined.

"Today, after nearly ten years, justice has now been secured for the victims and their families, and those whose lives were affected by the actions of Rickie Lee Fowler," said District Attorney Michael Ramos.

Fowler was convicted in August of five counts of first-degree murder and two counts of arson.

Prosecutors said Fowler lit the fire in 2003 out of rage after he was thrown out of a house where his family was staying.

The blaze scorched more than 142 square miles in October 2003 and destroyed 1,000 buildings as it burned for nine days in the foothills above San Bernardino. The men died after their homes burned or as they tried to evacuate.

Nigerian who stole $145M pays fine to avoid prison
Mon, 01/28/2013 - 12:21, - 0 Comments

Jan. 28, 2013 Associated Press

ABUJA, Nigeria — A man who formerly helped oversee Nigeria's police pension program pleaded guilty Monday to stealing $145 million, but walked out of court a free man after agreeing to a plea bargain that saw him pay only a fraction of it back.

The plea deal given to John Yakubu Yusufu and read out in court sparked immediate anger across Nigeria, a nation where many feel government officials pilfer pension funds and oil revenue without any fear of prosecution. Yusufu will pay only a $14,000 fine, forfeit some properties and pay about $2 million in restitution, something that the nation's top anti-corruption agency immediately criticized.

Justice Mohammed Talba, who agreed to the plea deal in a Federal High Court, sentenced Yusufu to serve two years in prison. However, Talba said Yusufu could pay the fine and the restitution, which also includes turning over 32 properties he allegedly purchased with the stolen money.

In asking for the plea deal, Yusufu's defense lawyer, Theodore Bala Maiyakim, said his client had a serious heart condition.

"He has saved the time of my Lord and being a first offender, with no previous record of conviction, I urge the court to temper justice with mercy and sentence him with least possible terms," Maiyakim asked, according to an account provided by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs, however, called for Yusufu to serve prison time to "send out the message that the era of stealing public funds with impunity is gone."

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