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Steubenville Rape Case: What You Haven't Heard
Mar 12, 2013, - 1 Comment

March 12, 2013 Good Morning America

The nation's eyes will be focused this week on what happens inside a tiny Steubenville, Ohio, courthouse. The juvenile trial set to begin there is every parent's nightmare and a cautionary tale for teenagers living in today's digital world.

Steubenville is a town used to having media attention lavished on a much different building. In the middle of this city of 18,000 nestled on the Eastern border of Ohio stands Harding Stadium, the crown jewel of this former steel town. Nicknamed Death Valley, the 10,000-seat structure is home to the Big Red football team, one of Ohio's most storied high school programs.

Steubenville is a place where football is more than just a past time; it's a religion. And residents here worship on Friday nights.

Every time Big Red scores, a sculpture of a stallion named Man O' War breathes a 6-foot stream of fire into the night sky over Harding Stadium. But this past season, the team's second-round playoff defeat was overshadowed by a very different firestorm that engulfed the team and the entire town.

David Ayers, Exonerated Ohio Man, Awarded $13.2 Million For Wrongful Murder Conviction
Mar 11, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 11, 2013 Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- An Ohio man who was exonerated after spending 13 years in prison for murder cried as a federal jury found that two Cleveland police detectives violated his civil rights by coercing and falsifying testimony and withholding evidence that pointed to his innocence.

The jury's verdict on Friday, which included awarding $13.2 million to David Ayers of Cleveland for his pain and suffering, brings an end to the legal battle he's been fighting since his arrest in the 1999 killing of 76-year-old Dorothy Brown.

Ayers, 56, was released from prison in 2011 after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed his conviction and the state decided not to seek another trial.

Ayers, who was a security guard for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, had been found guilty of killing Brown at her CMHA apartment in Cleveland. She was found bludgeoned to death, covered in defensive wounds and naked from the waist down; she also had been robbed. DNA testing later proved that a pubic hair found in her mouth did not come from Ayers.

"This should have been stopped a long time ago," Ayers told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after the jury's verdict Friday. "My goal is that it never happens to anyone else ever again."

Seattle Police Seek Motive in Parks Department Shooting
Mar 9, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 9, 2013 ABC News

Seattle police are working to determine the motive of a woman suspected of critically wounding a 65-year-old man inside a city parks building on Friday.

After three hour-long manhunt for the suspect, police arrested Carolyn Piksa, a Seattle Parks employee, at her home in Burien, Wash., at 4:49 p.m. Friday.

Authorities are working to determine the relationship between Piksa and the 65-year-old victim, Bill Keller, as well as the motive for the shooting, Seattle Deputy Chief Nick Metz said.

The shooting unfolded just before 2 p.m. Friday and prompted the city to shut down all community centers and put area schools on high alert.

"We looked at this incident as a citywide emergency, because we knew that this suspect was likely to have access to a variety of parks department facilities, including some of the community centers," Metz said.

Authorities responded to a Seattle Parks maintenance building after receiving a call from a man believed to be the victim, Keller, who said he had been shot. None of the other employees in the building had been targeted, Metz said.

Prisoner Left in Solitary 2 Years Receives $15.5M Settlement
Mar 7, 2013, - 0 Comments
 

A man who was driving across country in 2005 and found himself thrown in a New Mexico jail for DWI and then spend nearly two years in solitary confinement, has won $15.5 million in one of the largest prisoner civil rights awards in U.S. history.

Stephen Slevin, 59, was depressed in 2005 when he decided to drive across the country, with no particular goal or destination in mind, his lawyer Matt Coyte told ABCNews.com. After being pulled over in Dona Ana County, N.M., on Aug. 24 2005, Slevin was arrested on aggravated DWI charges, and for driving a vehicle that he did not own. He was brought into the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

From there, his long nightmare began.

"To find out what happened was difficult," Coyte said. "His mental health was so compromised from his time in jail, he had very little memory of his stay there."

By piecing together documents and records available from the lockup, Coyte said he discovered that after his arrest, Slevin was soon placed in padded cell in the jail's floor, naked with only a suicide smock on, as what Coyte believes was a form of detoxification.

The cell was like a "horrific version of a drunk tank," Coyte said.

Slevin then went into medical observation for a few weeks. He was placed in an observation cell with its own shower, toilet and a window so he could be observed. From there they transferred him to solitary confinement, where he would spend the next 22 months.

FBI Monitoring Murder Probe of Gay Mississippi Mayoral Candidate
Mar 7, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 7, 2013 ABC News

The FBI is "monitoring" the investigation into the death of an openly gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi, opening the door to a possible prosecution as a federal hate crime.

The FBI said in a statement that it "initiated contact" with Mississippi police on March 1 "to offer assistance."

"The FBI will continue its ongoing dialogue and sharing of information with the local and state agencies, and will continue to monitor this investigation for any indication that a potential violation of federal law exists," FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said in a statement.

Marco McMillian, 34, was found dead on Feb. 27. He was the Democratic candidate for mayor in the delta town of Clarksdale, Miss., and was considered one of the first viable openly gay candidates to run for office in the state. According to his family he was beaten, dragged from his car and burned after his death.

Lawrence Reed, 22, is the sole suspect and has been charged with murder.

State and local authorities are investigating the murder. Mississippi has a hate crime law that applies to victims of race-based crimes, but does not apply to sexual orientation.

Both McMillian and Reed are black.

1990 murder continues to divide rural Mo. town; freed suspect hopes 3rd trial will clear name
Mar 6, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 6, 2013 Fox News

A hero's welcome greeted Mark Woodworth when he walked out of prison after a judge said he could return home while awaiting a third murder trial in his Missouri neighbor's 1990 death.

Woodworth appreciates the flowers and balloons, but says he wants more: The chance to finally clear his name in a case that has long divided the northern Missouri town of Chillicothe.

Woodworth was 16 when Cathy Robertson was shot and killed in her sleep. Her husband Lyndel Robertson was shot several times but survived.

Woodworth was first convicted in 1995, briefly released on appeal but then convicted by a second jury in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison.

The Missouri Supreme Court overturned his conviction in January over evidence it said his lawyers never received.

Zimmerman Stuns Court, Waives Right to 'Stand Your Ground' Hearing in Trayvon Martin Case
Mar 5, 2013, - 0 Comments

March 5, 2013 ABC News

George Zimmerman's attorneys stunned court observers Tuesday when they waived their client's right to a "Stand Your Ground" hearing slated for April that might have led to a dismissal of the charges in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin a year ago.

However, the defense lawyers didn't say whether they would waive the immunity hearing outright. They left open the possibility for that hearing to be rolled into Zimmerman's second degree murder trial. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain in his Florida subdivision, shot and killed the teen, who was visiting a house in the area.

The move allows the defense more time to prepare for the trial this summer, but also raises the stakes.

Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law entitles a person to use deadly force if he believes his life is threatened, and absolves them of an obligation to retreat from a confrontation, even if retreat is possible.

In recent weeks, the Zimmerman defense has suffered several legal setbacks. Judge Debra Nelson has ruled in favor of the state that Zimmerman's bail conditions should not be loosened, and that Trayvon Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump was not required to sit for a deposition about his interactions with the state's most important witness, a young woman who was the last known person to speak with Trayvon Martin before his death on February 26 2012.

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