FindLaw Blotter: August 2010 Archives
FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

August 2010 Archives

Juror Expelled for Posting Verdict on Facebook

Social media and jurors do not mix. This has already been made clear in a few cases of twittering jurors, and now in one example of frivolous facebooking. A juror in a Detroit resisting arrest trial posted to her Facebook page how much she was looking forward to announcing a guilty jury verdict. One small problem, the trial was not over and the jury had not yet reached that verdict.

The juror, Hadley Jons, was replaced by the unhappy presiding judge when the jury returned from its break the following day, according to the Canadian Associated Press. Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski told a local paper she was very 'disturbed' by Jons' actions.

Court OKs Warrantless GPS Tracking

A California federal appeals court has ruled that police may secretly place GPS tracking devices on suspects' vehicles, without a warrant. The case goes back to 2007 in Oregon, when police secretly placed a warrantless GPS device on a Jeep owned by Juan Pineda-Moreno, who was suspected of commercially growing marijuana.

Police tracked his movements and found that he made several trips to remote rural areas. Prosecutors later alleged that Pineda-Moreno was growing marijuana in the rural area he had been driving to. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to grow marijuana and accepted a 51 month sentence.

Standoff: Half of Hoonah AK Police Force Killed

Hoonah, Alaska, the picturesque island village home to just under 800 residents, has been struck with tragedy, as a shooting turned standoff has left half of the town's four-man police force dead. The deadly shooting that left only Hoonah's police chief and a trainee now has the state SWAT team staking out the shooter's house, and looking to keep the death count to a minimum. 45 year-old Hoonah local John Marvin Jr. is responsible for the law enforcement attack, according to Policeone.com.

Marvin is currently barricaded in his home as state police are on the scene trying to evacuate nearby homes. U.S. Coast Guard Bob Prunella commented on the standoff: "This could go on for a while. We don't want another tragedy on our hands, We don't want to lose another officer. They really want to get him alive." Keeping Marvin alive will hopefully answer questions surrounding his deadly and seemingly unprovoked outburst.

Clay Sannar Killed: Mormon Bishop Shot in CA

A Mormon Bishop was shot and killed on Sunday, August 29. A man entered The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel in Visalia, California, and shot Bishop Clay Sannar in the foot and then again in the face. The shooting suspect has been identified by Visalia police as Kenneth James Ward of Modesto, Calif.

The shooter was "visibly angry about something" according to eye-witness accounts reported by the Deseret News. He waited for Sannar outside of his office and shot upon entering. Reportedly, after leaving the church, Ward called police and identified himself as the shooter. Police caught up with him about a mile away and he was killed in the ensuing gunfight. Ward was pronounced dead at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. No officers were hurt in the exchange of fire.

FAA: Laser Strikes on Airplanes a Growing Issue

Laser pointers have been a popular instructional tool for presentations for years. Their utility is fairly obvious -- the brightly colored dot draws attention to the spot an individual is hoping to highlight. As with many things, every use has an equal misuse. Although not considered dangerous when used in the aforementioned manner, abuse of a laser pointer is believed to cause damage to eyes (mainly in children) and there is a new growing concern relating to the use of high-powered laser strikes and aviation safety.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that when a laser pointer is aimed at an airplane in flight, it can have a blinding affect on the pilot and crew. One San Jose police officer commented, "This needs to be stopped. The majority of people who do this are not terrorists. They think of it as entertainment. They are not thinking of the consequences. My grandma, their grandmothers are flying in these planes." And the problem is growing. According the the FAA, with the increased availability, affordability, and power of laser pointers, in-air incidents are rising at an alarming rate.

CA Rape Suspect Caught in New York

Eugene Lee Upshaw, a suspect in the rape of a California woman and several other crimes, was caught in upstate New York. Upshaw, who was wanted on a $10 million warrant in the Golden State, had been hitching rides across the country with truck drivers. He is wanted in Los Angeles over charges of kidnapping, rape, assault with a deadly weapon and sodomy.

U.S. marshals in Missouri had been tracking Upshaw and alerted local authorities in New York. A SWAT team was waiting for Upshaw when he arrived in Avoca. Upshaw did not resist arrest, as wise move when one is faced with the SWAT team. He is being held without bail in Steuben County jail, The Associated Press reports.

Ambassador's Daughter Nicole John Falls to Death

The 17 year-old daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand was killed on August 26, after she fell from the window of a high-rise in midtown Manhattan. Nicole John, daughter of Ambassador Eric John, was reportedly partying with friends on the 25th floor of the Herald Square Towers when she leaned out the window, witnesses said, for some fresh air and fell

According to the report by the New York Daily News, John was with friends who had come back from clubbing just before 4:00 a.m. Investigators think that she was part of the group partying at the home of Ilan Nassimi, 25. The exact circumstances of the fall that landed the girl on the 3rd story overhang of the building are still being investigated.

Gov Estimates 17 Million Drive Drunk Each Year

Despite the activism of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the cautionary tales from those like Lindsay Lohan, Americans continue to drive drunk. A new survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted in late 2008 and released this week found that approximately 17 million people drive drunk in the U.S.at least once in the course of a year.

Breaking down these surprising numbers further, the Associated Press reports that under the survey, NHTSA believes that 8 percent of all drivers, or 17.2 million people, have driven at least once over the course of a year, even though they thought they were drunk. Unfortunately, the problem doesn't end there. Not finding a ride from a sober driver, 8 percent said they got a ride from a driver they thought was drunk. The numbers are even higher in younger male drivers, between 21 and 24 years old. In this age group, 24 percent reported riding with a driver they thought had had too much to drink.

Charges Dropped Against Blagojevich Brother

Good news for Rod Blagojevich's brother, Robert -- federal prosecutors recently announced that they are dropping charges stemming from his brother's corruption trial. The 55 year-old businessman headed Rod Blagojevich's fundraising, a program that was found to be soliciting some questionable contributions.

More specifically, Rod Blagojevich (who was already convicted on one count in his 24 count trial) attempted to get campaign financing from Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. in exchange for placement in President Obama's vacated senate seat. For those needing a political refresher: senate seats cannot be bought or sold.

3 Teens on Facebook 'Hit List' Killed

"You Don't Get to 500 Million Friends Without Making a Few Enemies."

So goes the tagline to the social network, a highly anticipated movie coming out this fall about the founding of Facebook. The movie was adapted into a motion picture from the book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, by Ben Mezrich.

A recent case in Colombia further illustrates that Facebook is not just a place for friends, but also one for enemies. A 69 name hit list was posted on Facebook on August 17 by an unknown person. Three teens on Facebook who were on the hit list have already been killed. Columbian national police spokesman Wilson Baquero does not know why the list was published. "It is still not clear ... This is part of the investigation," Baquero said, CNN reports. Officials have noted that a criminal gang and a Marxist guerrilla group operate in the area and could be involved.

14 Year Old Girl Charged in Murder Robbery

A tragic series of events has a 14 year-old girl being charged, as an adult, with first degree murder and her 18 year-old brother charged as an accomplice. Artessha Holt allegedly shot and killed Jose Rodolfo Gonzalez-Coreas. Police allege that she confronted Gonzalez-Coreas and another man which led to the murder robbery. One of the victims laughed at her due to her youthful appearance, "Because of the age of the suspect the victims began to laugh at which time the suspect fired one shot grazing the victim Wilmer Bonilla's head and striking Jose Coreas in the center of his forehead," according to the charging documents.

Holt's brother, Shawn Palmer, allegedly helped Holt escape from the neighborhood after the shooting and took possession of the murder weapon as Holt fled, The Baltimore Sun reports. The gun was a silver .32 caliber revolver. Palmer was later arrested for a handgun violation after showing the gun to people in the neighborhood and being seen by police carrying the bag with the gun in it.

Criminal Charges in FL Toddler Daycare Death

Criminal charges have been filed in the Florida toddler daycare death case against the driver who left 2 year-old Haile Brockington unattended for hours in a hot van. 31 year-old Amanda Inman has been charged with aggravated manslaughter after failing to check all the seats of the van, and ultimately leaving Brockington in the van for over six hours before she was finally discovered.

Additionally, Haile Brockington's family has filed a civil suit against the daycare company and Inman. NBC Miami reports that Inman was driving the Katie's Kids Learning Center van and picked Brockington up in the morning, but did not check all the seats after dropping the kids off at the daycare center for the day. Inman also moved the van later in the day, but it was not until the evening that another child noticed Brockington "slobbering on the seats." By the time emergency assistance arrived, it was too late.

NYC Cabbie Stabbed in Alleged Hate Crime

21 year-old Michael Enright has been arrested in relation to stabbing a New York cab driver in what is believed to be an anti-Muslim hate crime. Ahmed Sharif picked up his passenger on Tuesday evening when Enright began to make anti-Muslim remarks towards his cab driver and then proceeded to stab him in the throat, face, and arm, reports the New York Times.

The 43 year-old Sharif was able to stop the cab following the encounter and police arrested Enright on the scene. He is now in stable condition, still recovering in a local hospital. Sharif released a statement through the New York Taxi Workers Alliance: "I feel very sad. I have been here for more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi for more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before."

CA Senate Passes 'Chelsea's Law'

The CA Senate has passed a bill designed to increase restrictions on violent sexual predators. AB 1844, known as "Chelsea's Law," was passed unanimously by the California state senate Tuesday. It now goes to the Assembly, where it will face approval of amendments, before finally making its way to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governor has already stated that he plans to sign the bill.

Chelsea's Law was introduced by Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher from San Diego. The bill was designed in response to the rape and murder of Chelsea King, 17, by registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III. The rape and murder occurred on February 25 in San Diego near Rancho Bernardo Community Park. Gardner III confessed to the killing of Chelsea King, in additional to raping and murdering Amber Dubois, 14. He is currently serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  

LA's 'Grim Sleeper' Pleads Not Guilty

Dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" for his long pauses between murders, Lonni Franklin Jr. pleaded not guilty to murdering ten women in the Los Angeles area between 1985 and 2007. Prosecutors have not decided whether they will seek the death penalty against the 57 year-old Franklin.

The Herald Sun reports that all Franklin's victims (many African American prostitutes) were killed within a few miles of his South Los Angeles home, using a small caliber weapon. Police are now looking into other unsolved cases in the area to find a potential link back to Franklin. Investigators struggled to find Franklin for so long because the changing makeup of the Los Angeles neighborhood made it difficult for police to locate witnesses and follow leads. Franklin has been working as a backyard mechanic throughout the entire duration of the murders in question.

'Pre-Crime' Technology Raises Privacy Concerns

The Hollywood hit, Minority Report was a sci-fi thriller that showed technology capable of predicting crime, and police using this knowledge to stop criminals before they even start. Although the pre-crime technology in Minority Report was the result of three psychic mutants, life seems to be imitating art in many ways. The Huffington Post reports that Google and the CIA have invested in Recorded Future -- a company that monitors a web surfers every action to make connections, and ultimately predict the future.

Recorded Future essentially scours web sites, twitter accounts, facebook pages, and blogs to find relationships between people, organizations, and real-life incidents. The company then analyzes the hidden links between the activities to paint pictures and draw conclusions. The result? Not only is the program able to predict what is occurring in the world in real time, but also link present action to predict future happenings.

Ex-Marine Guilty of Killing Pregnant Colleague

Ex-Marine Cesar Laurean has been found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of pregnant colleague Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio. He was also found guilty of fraud and theft charges, and not guilty of robbery. Laurean, 23, was convicted by a North Carolina jury consisting of seven women and five men. They found that Laurean killed Lauterbach, 20, in December 2007.

After the allegations surfaced Cesar Laurean fled and was a fugitive until police arrested him in April 2009 in Tacambaro, Mexico. Prosecutors took the death penalty off the table so Mexican authorities would extradite Laurean. Extradition is the transfer of an accused from one state or country to another jurisdiction so they can face charges there. Extradition comes into play when a person charged with a crime under state statutes flees the state. Mexico had reason to contemplate the extradition in this case, as Laurean was born in Guadalajara and the country does not have the death penalty. After the extradition, a judge agreed to a change of venue, moving the trial from Jacksonville to North Carolina after massive publicity before trial potentially corrupted the jury pool. The conviction means that Lauterbach will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, The Associated Press reports.

Teen 'Sextortion' on the Rise: What is It?

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. That idea applies to the many legal issues of online privacy and crime that have the legal system running to catch up to the everyday uses of the internet and wireless technology. One fast expanding example of this maxim is the upsurge in cases of a type of extortion called "sextortion."

According to a report by the Associated Press and CBS News, there is an increase in teens who text nude cell phone photos of themselves or show off their bodies on the internet being targeted by those who then threaten to expose those pictures to friends and family unless they pose for more explicit porn, creating a cycle of exploitation. The victims are both male and female.

Arizona Prison Escapees Caught

"Alright, listen up, people. Our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles-per-hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him." -Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive

John McClusky and Casslyn Welch were Arizona prison escapees, fugitives from the law, after their brazen prison escape. The media dubbed them "Bonnie and Clyde." Casslyn Welch is McCluskey's lover and cousin. Welch allegedly helped McClusky and two other inmates escape from the prision using wire cutters which she threw over the fence. The two other escapees were captured earlier this month. In the end, Welch and McClusky went down in non dramatic fashion after being surrounded by police.

2 Detained in American Airlines Security Hoax

The hijacking threat involving American Airlines Flight 24 at San Francisco International Airport was a hoax. 163 passengers were kept in their seats for nearly three hours in what was an odd and tense situation. The security threat against the New York bound flight was later deemed "non-credible."

The male suspect called an Alameda hotel clerk at a Hampton Inn and Suites hotel shortly after 9 a.m. The clerk did not recognize the voice, but the caller made a specific threat involving hijacking flight 24, said FBI Specia Agent Joe Schadler. The plane was preparing to take off but was instead diverted by the FBI and American Airlines security and isolated in a remote area of the airport.

Search by TSA Screeners, Did They Go too Far?

We have all been there. Standing line, taking off your clothes, being touched by people you don't know. Of course we are speaking of airport security. But in the delicate balance of privacy rights and security, when is it just too much? Maybe this incident is the answer.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, 43 year-old Kathy Parker was flying from Philly to North Carolina on August 8. She may have thought she was minding her own business, but the TSA screeners decided otherwise and pulled her from line for one of those delightful, "extra" screenings. Ms. Parker was patted down and joined the rest of the TSA crew going carefully through her bags. The contents of her purse were splayed everywhere, including her prescription bottle for a diet drug, which she found embarrassing.

Next, screeners started riffling through her wallet and the receipts inside. When Parker asked what the screener was doing, he replied he was searching for razor blades, which Parker reasonably wondered if they wouldn't have been found by the metal detector. Then the Philly police arrived.

10 Year Old Shoots Self During Robbery Attempt

A Seattle bus driver heard an argument and someone yelling to open the back door of the bus. Moments later, he heard a young boy say he was hurt. But it turns out that the young boy, only 10, was the instigator of the event. The shooting on Tuesday was the second in two days at the same intersection. On Monday, a man fired a gun and nicked a teenager's back, Seattle police report.

The incident involving the 10 year-old Seattle boy who was shot on a bus turned out to be more twisted than originally thought. According to Seattle police, the boy accidently shot himself with his own gun and was the aggressor in a robbery attempt.

Roger Clemens Indicted for Perjury, Obstruction

A grand jury has indicted former pitching star Roger Clemens for making false statements to Congress. In February of 2008, Clemens testified under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and denied that he had ever used performance enhancing drugs. Those statements were contradicted by his former trainer, Brian McNamee.

On August 19, those contradictions came home to roost for Clemens. According to the New York Daily News, after long-running DOJ investigation, a Washington D.C. grand jury has been hearing testimony from witnesses for the past 18 months. Among the witnesses before the grand jury was Jose Canseco, the man who helped propel the congressional inquiries on steroid use in baseball.

Criminal Charges for Operator of WI Park Ride

A Florida girl plunged 100 feet to the ground at park ride in Wisconsin on July 30. The ride, "Terminal Velocity," located at Extreme World in Lake Delton, Wisconsin, allows park goers to fall 160 feet into a net and inflated air bags, The Associated Press reports. Charles A. Carnell, who was responsible for the ride, apparently "blanked out," and never saw the "all clear" signal before he released, 12 year-old Teagan Marti. Witnesses say that the ride's air bags were not inflated and the safety net was on the ground.

After Marti hit the ground, she was found with blue lips and gray skin, and bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. According to doctors, she suffered swelling in the brain, severe fractures of the spine and pelvis as well as lacerations to internal organs. Teagan Marti is currently in critical but stable condition and could end up paralyzed.

'Robin Hood' Bank Exec Pleads Guilty to Fraud

In some ways, the action that let to the downfall of Jeffrey Gonsiewski is refreshing. Gonsiewski, 56, was the vice president of the loan department at First Security Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago. Gonsiewski's job entailed monitoring loan customers that were behind on their payments.

According to the FBI, Gonsiewski used his position to buy more time for customers struggling to make mortgage payments and other loans. Gonsiewski altered loan documents, making it appear that customers accounts were current. This prevented the bank from moving to foreclose in order to collect delinquent loans and protect its assets.

Jury Verdict: Blagojevich Convicted on 1 Count

Earlier, a post on this blog noted the jurors in the corruption trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich had informed the judge they had only reached a decision on two of the 24 charges in the case. Now, the news comes that the jurors have reached a final verdict: on one count only. Jurors have found Rod Blagojevich guilty on one count of lying to federal agents. The judge has decided to declare a mistrial on the remaining 23 counts.

Prosecutors have wasted no time in announcing that they intend to retry Blagojevich and his brother Robert on the other charges. As the Associated Press reported, one of the main charges as yet undecided is whether or not Blagojevich attempted to sell the senate seat vacated by President Obama. The presiding judge in the trial, James Zagel, has set a hearing for Aug. 26 to decide issues regarding the retrial.

Shooting Near Campus of Collin College

An incident this morning, August 17, has served up a jolting reminder about the importance of emergency alert systems and safety on college campuses. Today, a man opened fire at a police station nearby the Collin Community College campus in McKinney, Texas. Just after 9:00 a.m. local time, a series of shots were fired near the station. The shooter, who has yet to be identified, began yelling and spraying the building and nearby cars with bullets before being killed just yards from the station. At this time, it is not known whether he was shot by police, or killed himself.

The Collin College campus is close to the area where the shooting occurred. According to the Dallas Morning News, the campus was placed on immediate lockdown when the shooting began. Although classes had not yet begun for the fall, some students were on campus registering. Students and staff were notified by email of the emergency situation: "Shots fired. Campus on lockdown. Cops on the scene. Details to follow."

Mom Shaquan Duley Charged With Killing Kids

A South Carolina Sheriff reports that local mom Shaquan Duley has confessed to killing kids, her own children, Ja'Van and Devean Duley, after her original story did not add up. The 29 year-old mother confessed to authorities that she suffocated her two children and then drove her car into the river with the children secured in their seats, reports CBS. Inconsistent stories and a wide-range of emotions caused investigators to question whether this tragedy was intentional.

Duley had originally told police that her children drowned when she lost control, and her car ran over a bridge and into the river. The problem with the story was summed up by South Carolina Sheriff Larry Williams, "For someone who had just plunged into the Edisto River, and has two children, the clothing wasn't damp as though she tried to retrieve the children from the river." CBS adds that Duley walked for three quarters of a mile to find a driver with a cell phone, rather than running to one of the many nearby homes.

Blogger Hal Turner Convicted of Threatening Judges

Ah the joys of blogging -- the informal style gives bloggers the ability to comment on virtually anything. But virtually anything still means that the laws of the physical world apply to the cyber world. Case in point: right-wing blogger Hal Turner has recently been convicted of threatening judges based on some inflammatory blog posts he made on his blog.

The offensive post was in response to a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a gun ban in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois. Not happy with the ruling by federal judges Richard Bauer, Frank Easterbrook, and Richard Posner, Turner took to his blog, writing: "The tree of liberty must be replenished from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges must die. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty," reports MSNBC. Turner also posted the judges' personal phone numbers and addresses.

What Happens When a Jury is Deadlocked?

As the jury in the corruption and fraud trial for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich enters its thirteenth day of deliberations, there is still no agreement on all charges. The jury has sent a note to the presiding judge, U.S. District Court Judge James B. Zagel, saying they have agreed to two counts, have not come to an agreement on 11 counts, and have not yet deliberated on the remaining 11 counts, which involve wire fraud.

The jury is still attempting to come to a decision on the outstanding charges and, according to the Chicago Tribune, have sent a note to Judge Zagel asking for a transcript of the testimony of Bradley Tusk, who gave evidence on the governor's contacts with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel. This is the first time the jury has specifically asked for a transcript of a particular witness.

SC Senate Candidate Alvin Greene Indicted

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene has been indicted on two counts of obscenity by a grand jury in South Carolina. Greene allegedly showed a female student at the University of South Carolina pornography at a college computer lab, then discussed going to her dorm room.

His arrest was reported the day after he won the primary by The Associated Press. The indictment puts Greene's already longshot candidacy in jeopardy. Greene defeated Vic Rawl, a former judge, despite having no website, fundraising, staff, or doing any substantial campaigning. Greene is set to face off against the Republican incumbent, Senator James DeMint, in November.

NY Governor's Aide Charged With Assault

Political Scandal has hit New York...again. In the saga that brought an evidence tampering investigation against New York Governor David Paterson, the aide involved in the domestic dispute will now face assault charges. The Halloween 2009 incident involving Paterson's aide David Johnson, and his then-girlfriend Sherr-una Booker will result in misdemeanor charges for Johnson.

The story behind the story in this case involves David Paterson's role in the domestic ordeal. Although ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing (but the investigating judge did note that Paterson showed poor judgment in dealing with the situation), Paterson called Booker after the incident -- a phone call that brought suspicion of witness tampering, according to Reuters. Johnson and Booker got into a physical argument after Johnson did not approve of Booker's costume. Booker alleges in her complaint that Johnson choked her, lifted her into the air, threw her against a dresser, and ripped her costume.

Serial Stabber Elias Abuelazam Arrested

33 year-old Elias Abuelazam has been arrested in an Atlanta airport after months of searching for the man connected to over 20 stabbings, mainly taking place in Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia. The serial stabber was attempting to board a flight to Israel on an expired passport when officials arrested the Israeli native.

According to ABC News, the all-male attacks began May 24, with the most recent stabbing occurring on August 2 in Virginia. Pegged as the Flint serial stabber, Abuelazam would approach his victims during the early morning hours asking for directions, or some form of friendly assistance in order to lure them to his car and stab them with an edged weapon. "Its a very, very violent type of crime. Maybe he's enjoying watching them wriggle around in pain. But we really don't know what he's thinking, and we won't until we bring him in and talk to him," according to Michigan prosecutor David Leyton.

Granddad Bandit Caught in Louisiana

The news has come that Granddad is in custody. Not just anyone's granddad, but the so-called Granddad Bandit who was wanted in connection with the robbery of 25 banks in 13 eastern and southern states. This bank robber now in federal custody should not be confused with the Geezer Bandit. The Geez is a West Coast operator and at last check, still at large.

The Granddad Bandit has been identified as 53-year-old Michael Mara, according to the Associated Press. Mara was captured at his home in Baton Rouge, La. on August 11, after a standoff with police and federal agents ended peacefully. The arrest was for a bank robbery in Virginia, but Mara is also a suspect in other robberies.

Stripper Kristina Hensley Arrested for Killing Client

In Ohio, exotic dancer Kristina Hensley has been charged in connection with the death of a client, Jae Cho. Hensley, 35, allegedly hit Cho with her car after leaving his house abruptly this past weekend. Cho followed her out, was struck and wedged under the car. He was dragged two miles to the gas station Hensley drove to, in search of help.

Hensley, a dancer for Naughty Bodies, was sent to Cho's home early in the morning of August 7, according to CBS News affiliate WKRC Local12. According to the report, something "went terribly wrong" and Hensley left the house in a hurry. Cho followed her, moved in front of the car and tried to stop her. Hensley struck Cho, but kept driving to reach the gas station. Cho was pronounced dead at the scene.

Teen Sentenced in High School Football Hazing

The "ringleader" in the 2008 assaults on young football team members at a training camp was sentenced in Santa Fe, New Mexico, last week. Mark Gallegos pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sexual penetration, three counts of attempted criminal sexual penetration and a count of conspiracy. He was sentenced as a juvenile by State District Judge Mark Macaron.

"Mr. Gallegos, your life is not over because of this. It could have been 30 years," Judge Macaron said, according to a report by the New Mexican. In an attack really too brutal to called just football hazing, two younger football players were sodomized with a broomstick and several others were assaulted. The sentence given to Gallegos was more severe than for the others, but appropriate because, according to Judge Macaron, he was the instigator of the attack and the ensuing attempt at a cover-up.

CA Mom Charged With 67 Counts in Sex Abuse Case

A 42-year-old woman has been accused of driving teenage boys around California and having sex with them in her Hummer. Livermore, California police have now arrested the woman involved for statutory rape and sexual assualt.

Christine Shreeve Hubbs was known as the "Hummer Mom," purportedly because she gave teenagers rides in her car. She has now been charged in the sex abuse case with a total of 67 felony counts of sexual assault, oral copulation, lewd act on a child, exhibition of lewd material to a minor, and statutory rape, the Examiner reports. KGO-TV reported that the sexual encounters may have begun with a boy as young as 13 years-old who was dating her daughter. Hubbs is being held in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California on $4.3 million bail.

Arizona Prison Escapee Captured

Prison breaks are a popular topic for Hollywood television and film. So when actual prisoners break out of an actual prison, it is no wonder that the media follows the every move of the police and fugitives. On July 30th, three inmates escaped the Arizona prison where they were serving long terms for varying sentences. Police have now caught the second prison escapee, and are hot on the trail of the third. Photos of the fugitives have been publicized on television, in newpapers, and as part of long-running crime show, "America's Most Wanted."

Daniel Renwick, Tracy Province, and John McCluskey were able to escape from the medium-security Arizona prison by cutting through the fence. The three men later hijacked two semi-trucks at gunpoint to get away. McCluskey's cousin and fiancĂ©, Casslyn Welch, is believed to have thrown cutters over the fence, and is still be with the lone fugitive somewhere in Yellowstone National Park, attempting to make their way to Canada. The three men and Welch will all face additional charges for the criminal activity stemming from their prison break.

Freedom for Man Convicted in Fatal Toyota Crash

In 2006 a Toyota Camry smashed into a vehicle on a Minnesota highway, killing three people. The driver was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide and sentenced to eight years in prison. For more than two years everyone thought the case was over. Except for the driver, Koua Fong Lee, who continued to maintain his innocence.

In a wild legal twist worthy of a Law and Order episode, Lee has been set free after two and a half years in prison. Koua Fong Lee was convicted in 2006 after his 1996 Toyota Camry slammed into an Oldsmobile. His Camry was traveling at between 70 and 90 mph up an exit ramp of the highway when it collided with the Oldsmobile, killing the driver, Javis Adams, and his 10 year-old son. His seven-year old niece was paralyzed and died a year later, the AP reports.

250-Count Criminal Indictment for Cop Killer

A man in Chicago is facing a criminal indictment of 250 felony charges including murder and armed robbery, after he shot and killed a Chicago police officer on July 7. The defendant, Bryant Brewer, is being held without bail.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Brewer confronted police veteran and Academy instructor, Officer Thor Soderberg, before he got into his car outside a police station, struggled with him for his gun, and shot him three times. Soderberg died at the scene. Brewer then opened fire at a nearby handyman and stole his tool bag before beginning to spray bullets at the facade of the police building. Brewer was finally shot and wounded after refusing a police order to drop his weapon.

New Law Would Double Pot Brownie Jail Time

Thinking about taking a batch of your favorite, secret recipe pot brownies to sell at a concert? If a new Senate bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein becomes law, you might want to think twice. If you get caught selling them to someone under 18, you could be looking at twice the typical penalty. You should probably think twice on the pot brownie anyway, as you're going to end up eating them and spending the concert drooling on yourself until you pass out in the lawn.

The new bill is called the Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act of 2009, and it would double the penalties for people who sell marijuana mixed with sweet substances to minors. While to many it might sound ridiculous to increase penalties simply for mixing a drug with a legal substance, the bill has the support of pro-legalization group NORML, which stands for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

NORML supports the bill because, as an organization, they support not only the legalization of marijuana but its responsible use and sale. They do not believe that selling laced baked goods to minors is a responsible form of marijuana use. Further, having increased penalties for mixtures of drugs is not new. Crack-cocaine has been penalized on an exceedingly higher level than powder cocaine despite containing no additional mind altering chemicals.

Edible marijuana is a very significant part of the multi-billion dollar medical marijuana industry, says NORML director Allen St.Pierre. And some people cross the line, especially in advertising, he says to CBS.

Teacher Jennah Billeter Charged: Child Cruelty

Stories of criminal acts can be quite frightening, especially when they involve a person in a position of trust and the children entrusted to her. In Fairfax County Virginia, a special education teacher has been charged with mistreating two autistic boys in her care. Special Ed teacher Jennah Christine Billeter will be facing felony charges of child cruelty for her treatment of two boys in her class.

The Washington Post currently reports that police were alerted to the problem in early July, but the mistreatment of the students dated back to May. At this time, the school officials for Deer Park Elementary in Virginia have declined to comment on the specifics of what took place and when. However, principle Carol Larsen sent a letter to the parents of students at the school, saying that another staff member reported her concerns about possible mistreatment to the principle who in turn alerted Child Protective Services.

11 Indicted in Fake Louis Vuitton, Prada Bust

San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf ... famous for killer clam chowder, tourism, and counterfeit designer duds. In what is being pegged as the largest takedown of retailers of counterfeit goods on the West Coast, Federal authorities are putting an end to the bay side sale of fake Louis Vuitton, Prada, Oakley, and Gucci goods.

Cheap goods come with an expensive price tag as the 11 retailers (2 being illegal immigrants) can face up to twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine apiece for smuggling goods into the country, ten years in prison and a $2 million fine for each count of trafficking counterfeit goods, and potential conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods on top of that, according to SF Weekly. Additionally, because all of the defendants are immigrants, the presence of a felony on their record can lead to deportation, removal, or exclusion from the United States. A total of 230,000 designer knock-offs were confiscated from 8 stores throughout the course of the two-year investigation.

9 Dead in Hartford Distributors Shooting

A workplace shooting at Hartford Distributors, a local beer company in Manchester, Connecticut, has left nine dead and others injured as a disgruntled employee opened fire early Tuesday morning. The shooter has been identified as 34 year-old Omar Thornton, a truck driver for the beer and wine distribution company. Thornton was scheduled to face a company disciplinary hearing the day of the shooting.

According to the New York Times, Thornton fatally shot himself with his riffle as the police approached. The Times quotes union representative John Hollis, "He came in to meet with the company and after that, all hell broke loose. He pulled the gun and ran through the warehouse." There have been no official reports released regarding the number of people wounded in the workplace shooting spree. Employees present in the building at the time of the shooting were moved to another building by the time the police arrived on the scene.

$1.7 Billion in Pot Seized in California Raids

You could call it a $1.7 billion buzzkill.

Almost 100 people were arrested for the commercial growing of marijuana in California's Sierra Nevada range. The arrests came as part of a 450 agent collaboration between federal and state agents targeting operations of Mexican cartels. The arrest led to the destruction of 432,000 plants and $1.7 billion in pot seized.

According to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, Mexican drug cartels are intertwined with US domestic marijuana production. Most of the people arrested in the California raids hold Mexican passports, said Gil Kerlikowske during an interview with the AP regarding the busts. Kerlikowske directs the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In Nevada County, "I think it's going to be a busy, busy year for our (Narcotics) Task Force," Sheriff Keith Royal told the AP . "Historically, there are tens of thousands of plants out there" in cartel plantations locally, in addition to commercial farms operated by county residents.

14-Year-Old Charged with Murder, Rape of Teacher

A tragic case out of Maryland has left a 65-year-old teacher dead and a 14-year-old boy charged with murder and facing the possibility of being tried as an adult. The boy was 13 when he allegedly raped and killed teacher Hannah Wheeling in a state detention facility. Prosecutors have filed papers requesting to try the boy as an adult. Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. will be hearing the matter on August 27.

"Whoever wins that, wins the case," said Byron L. Warnken, a longtime University of Baltimore law professor, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The 14-year-old boy, whose name has not been released due to his age, was being held at Cheltenham Youth Facility on burglary charges when Wheeling was killed. He quickly became a suspect after being seen with Wheeling shortly before her death.