FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

September 2010 Archives

Rutgers Sex Video Victim Commits Suicide

18 year-old Tyler Clementi was an enthusiastic college freshman at Rutgers University. A scholarship student and a skilled violinist, Clementi was enjoying his first year in college until he became the victim of a sex video posted by fellow students, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei.

ABC News reports on the video that ultimately led Tyler Clementi to commit suicide. Asking his roommate (Ravi) for some privacy to have a friend over to their shared dorm room, Ravi and Wei met the request by secretly taping and streaming Clemnti's sexual encounter with another male student. On two separate occasions Ravi tweeted the times Clemnti was in the room with another male, and invited others to go online and view the encounter. Ravi tweeted: "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a due. Yay."

29 Year Old Arizona Mayor Arrested for Bribery

Bribery - the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government official or employee. 29 year-old Arizona Mayor has been arrested for bribery, and his actions could not fit more perfectly within the definition of the crime.

Octavio Garcia Von Borstel, mayor of the border town of Nogales, Arizona, was arrested Tuesday morning on charges of theft, bribery, money laundering, and fraud. His father was also arrested in connection with the charges. Von Borstel has been mayor of Nogales since 2008, and his list of offenses seems to extend back to his inauguration. Search warrants were also issued for the mayor's home, office, and city hall.

Pizza Hut Robbers Shot Dead by Employee

After a Domino's Pizza delivery man was stabbed and killed earlier this month in Boston after an a robbery setup, a Charlotte employee of Pizza Hut took on the bad guys and won at least a partial victory. Of course, the police prefer when they apprehend the suspect themselves, but this time, the Pizza Hut employee took out two robbers in a blaze of gunfire. The employee shot and killed two robbers, while the third escaped, though he may have been wounded.

According to the Charlotte-Observer, Pizza Hut robbers entered just before 11:15 p.m. Two employees were in the back of the restaurant cleaning the restaurant for the night when the three armed men walked in the front door. No customers were in the restaurant at the time. The suspects ordered the two employees into the restaurant's refrigerator, and starting beating up one of the employees. However, the other had a gun, which he drew and fired at the robbers. By the time police and paramedics were on the scene, the incident left two robbers shot dead on the floor.

CA Delays Execution Of Albert Brown

In a previous post, we discussed the application of Attorney General Jerry Brown, on behalf of the state of California, to resume state executions of death row inmates. Executions have been stayed in the state since a 2006 ruling by a federal court finding the state's method of execution was not constitutional.

Since the application was successful, the executions are set to resume in the state and that of Albert Brown was the first scheduled, initially set for 12:01 a.m. (PST) on Wednesday, September 29, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. However, Brown's attorneys have filed papers in both federal and state courts challenging the constitutionality of what they say is a rushed execution.

Feds Try to Make Internet 'Wiretaps' Easier

The Obama administration wants to make wiretaps easier, specifically when it comes to the internet and e-mail.

According to U.S. officials, law enforcement has been hindered by the use of encrypted phone and e-mail systems that block out government wiretaps. Law enforcement says that it needs to be able to access such systems in order to monitor and prevent potential acts of terrorism or other crimes. Right now, many popular services are encrypted or have options that allow encryption, including Facebook, Skype and BlackBerry e-mail.

UT Shooting: Austin Campus on Lockdown

An all too familiar event was reported this morning. The University of Texas at Austin was the scene of a campus shooting this morning, September 28. The UT shooting occurred at the Perry-Castaneda Library at about 8:48 local time, when a gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon before apparently killing himself. The gunman is confirmed dead at this time.

University spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon confirmed for MSNBC that no one else besides the gunman had been hurt in the UT shooting. Eyewitnesses report that the shooter did not seem to be targeting individuals, but was shooting somewhat randomly.

Despite many reports that the UT gunman was wearing a ski mask, some conflicting reports about his appearance have lead officials to search for a second suspect. MSNBC reports the student paper, the Daily Texan was told there is a search for a second suspect, but that he is believed to be unarmed.

Guilty Verdict in Nick Adenhart DUI Death

A guilty verdict has been reached in the Nick Adenhart DUI death case that shocked the sports world last year. 23 year-old Andrew Gallo was found guilty of the murder of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, and his two friends Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, after a two week trial in Santa Ana, California. At the time of the accident, Gallo's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

The Associated Press reports on the conviction:

"Prosecutors said they charged the case as second-degree murder instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter because Gallo had a previous DUI conviction, had specific knowledge of the dangers of drinking and driving and had signed a court form from the earlier case saying he understood he could be charged with murder if he drove drunk again and killed someone."

Investigation Finds Prosecutor Misconduct Widespread

In the American criminal justice system, defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence. This is often stated by saying that one is considered "innocent until proven guilty." In order to convict the defendant, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The defendant does not have to speak or otherwise give testimony that could be damaging to their defense. It is up to the prosecution to prove the case.

The prosecution is in a somewhat unique situation in that on the one hand their job is to prosecute and convict the guilty, they are also supposed to let the innocent go free. However, like any job, there is pressure for a prosecutor to win. For years members of the defense bar and criminal justice experts have said that due to prosecutor misconduct, the balance is tipped too far in favor of the prosecution as prosecutors are cheating the rules to win convictions. A recent USA Today piece on the subject supports that conclusion and sheds new light on the fairness of the criminal justice system. It's not pretty.

CA County Supervisor Arrested for Rape

CA Country Supervisor Arrested for Rape. That's the headline coming out of Kings County, California. 40 year-old Richard Valle has been arrested and charged with the rape of an unidentified woman.

According to the Fresno Bee, the victim called authorities around 3:30 a.m. to report the encounter. She accused Valle of performing oral sex on her while she was unconscious. The former marine is also charged with sexual penetration of an unconscious victim. Valle posted the $300,000 bail but has not commented on the arrest or the charges against him.

Hostage Forced to Rob Florida Bank of America

A hostage situation in Coral Gables, Florida is now over. Three suspects are on the loose after successfully completing a robbery at a Florida Bank of America that sounds lifted from the script of a Hollywood screenplay.

Early Friday morning, Diego Uscamayta was allegedly kidnapped and forced to rob the bank that he worked at with an explosive device strapped to him in a vest, according to the FBI. The device has been removed from the man's body successfully and the bomb squad is analyzing it. The incident captured the early morning headlines and caused the U.S. 1 to close for several hours, causing major traffic jams.

Nicaraguan Diplomat Found Dead in NYC

A Nicaraguan Diplomat was found dead in NYC early this morning, and his death was anything but natural. 34 year-old Cesar Mercado was found by his driver with his throat slashed near the door of his Bronx apartment around 10:30 a.m. yesterday morning.

Mercado was the highest-ranking Nicaraguan official at the United Nations consulate, and had been working and living in New York for eight years, including yesterday. CNN quotes another Nicaraguan Diplomat, Danilo Rosales Diaz: "He was here yesterday, working yesterday. His death is a shock." A knife was found near his body, although the apartment did not appear to be robbed.

Stripper Kristina Hensley Faces Murder Charges

In a previous post, we discussed the news that exotic dancer Kristina Hensley was arrested in connection with the death of her last client, Jae Cho. Hensley allegedly hit Cho with her SUV and dragged him under the car about two miles to a local gas station where she had driven to ask for help. Hensley had left Cho's house in a panic.

New charges and further investigation have reavealed more details. At the time the story broke, charges against Hensley were limited to failing to stop after an accident. Now Britain's Daily Mail reports Hensley faces murder charges on two seperate counts, aggravated robbery, failure to stop after an accident and theft.

Stay Denied in Teresa Lewis Execution

The Teresa Lewis execution may have exhausted its final avenue for appeal. 41 year-old Teresa Lewis was found guilty of killing her husband and stepson in 2002. The Virginia native has been appealing her death row sentence ever since. Her two co-conspirators were both given life in prison without parole. The Supreme Court has now denied her final stay of execution appeal. Lewis is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday evening.

CNN quotes Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who also denied a clemency request from Lewis:

"Having carefully reviewed the petition for clemency, the judicial opinions in this case, and other relevant materials, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was imposed by the Circuit Court and affirmed by all reviewing courts. Accordingly, I decline to intervene and have notified the appropriate counsel and family of my decision."

2 Teachers Accused of Having Parties with Teens

Why would a teacher want to party with teenage students? And why would teenage students want to party with adults? (Hint: drugs, sex, alcohol.)

The teachers accused are from Spartanburg County, South Carolina and have been arrested after having parties with underage students. Sheriff Chuck Wright announced the arrests of Sarah Jane Lindsay and Audrey Grabarkiewicz. Lindsay, who was a teacher at Boiling Spring Elementary School, resigned, and Grabarkiewicz worked at a Baptist Church Daycare until she was dismissed when the allegations surfaced.

11 Year Old Babysitter Charged in Child Death

An 11 year-old babysitter has been charged with murder and child cruelty in the death of a 2 year-old baby in Atlanta, Georgia. Zyda White died while under the care and supervision of the unidentified girl. The babysitter was the daughter of a co-worker of Zyda's mother.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Zyda White died as a result of head injury and blunt force trauma to her head and buttocks. Zyda's mother took her young daughter to the hospital after picking her up from the babysitter. The girl told police that Zyda had fallen out of the bed she was sleeping in and she simply picked her up and placed her back.

DOJ to Sue Over HIV-Positive Inmate Segregation

The U.S. Department of Justice plans to sue South Carolina prison officials who are segregating inmates who test positive for HIV. Corrections Department attorney David Tatarsky, has challenged the government on the issue, arguing that from both a public health and security perspective, the prisons are better off when segregated in such a manner.

The prison is set up to house HIV-positive inmates together in maximum security facilities. Some HIV-positive inmates would not be in maximum security facilities were it not for the segregation. However, they are not segregated all day. The prison mixes all inmates during work, school and other activities. Inmate segregation only occurs when they eat and sleep.

'Sexting' D.A.: 3rd Woman Comes Forward

Sexts for legal favors? That appears to be the case in Wisconsin. The sexting D.A. that made headlines last week is staying in the spotlight after two more women have come forward to discuss the unwanted text message advances of Kenneth Kratz. When the initial allegations came forward, Kratz was not planning on resigning from his position, however that may all be changing now.

The two other victims of the advances came forward after reading about the initial incident. A 31 year-old Oklahoma law student claims that Kratz began texting her after he offered to help her remove a drug conviction from her record. The law student, Maria Ruskiewicz, told CBS News that texts such as, "what are you going to do to please me in between the sheets" continued for months. The other victim of the sexting D.A., also represented by Kratz in her domestic violence violence case, sheds some light on questionable professional behavior that Kratz was engaging in. The woman claims that Kratz told her private details of a murder case he was working on, in addition to the sexting.

Kids Died After 10 Hours in Closet, Mom Charged

An Indianapolis mother is facing murder charges. Two kids died after 10 hours in the closet when the 28 year-old mother of five locked all of her children in a 6 feet by 18 inch closet to go visit a friend. Edyan Farah, originally from Somolia, placed a bed in front of the closet before leaving, only to return to find her 5 year-old daughter and 3 year-old son dead.

The Associated Press quotes Lt. Jeff Duhamell on the tragedy: "It's just a very, very sad case. It's one of the worst I've ever seen -- to be placed in a closet approximately 18 inches by 6 feet and a bed pushed up against it for a minimum of 10 hours. We think they were there for possibly a lot longer and this was probably not the first time." Well if it was not the first time, it most certainly is the last. The surviving three children, ranging in age from seven to one have been placed in foster care.

Jerry Brown Backs Death Penalty in CA

He has moved far away from his days as "Governor Moonbeam." Today, California Attorney General and current gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is asking that California resume enforcement of the death penalty. Executions by the state of California were halted by a federal judge in 2006, when the state's lethal injection procedures were found unconstitutional and ordered to undergo revisions. Brown's current position is that the new injection procures adopted in the past month will meet the legal standards requiring inmates won't suffer "cruel and unusual punishment" when executed.

According to the Associated Press, a hearing in federal court in San Jose will address the AG's request. California currently has 700 inmates on death row and state officials want to execute six inmates in the coming months at San Quentin State Prison. One inmate marked for execution is Albert Brown, who was convicted of raping and killing a 15 year-old girl in 1980.

8 Bell City Officials Arrested in Pay Scandal

The small city of Bell, California, has been in the news lately over the story of the excessive salaries the city's officers were paid. Now, it seems that the huge salaries were not quite enough for the Bell city officials, as eight current and former city workers have been arrested on corruption charges which include making illegal loans to themselves. Among those arrested were former city manager Robert Rizzo, ex-Mayor Oscar Hernandez, former assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, councilmembers George Mirabal, Teresa Jacobo and Luis Artiga, and former councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello.

According to MSNBC, the Bell suspects were booked into county detention facilities and separated from other inmates for their protection. Maybe police believe even those in the local jails would be angered over the more than $5 million prosecutors are saying the corruption scandal has cost Bell in excessive salaries and loans.

Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in 2009 Announced

Are you driving one of the top 10 most stolen cars? The National Insurance Crime Bureau just published its annual Hot Wheels vehicle theft report. The report includes a very through look about which cars are stolen and how often.

Without further ado, here is the top 10 list of most stolen vehicles:

Arrest in Valerie Hamilton Murder Case

Valerie Hamilton was the 23 year-old daughter of local police chief Merl Hamilton. Her body was discovered in a self storage unit not far from the location she was first reported missing from earlier this week. Although the official autopsy has not been released, CBS News now reports that there has been an arrest in the Valerie Hamilton murder case.

34 year-old registered sex offender, Michael Neal Harvey is believed to be the man seen exiting the restaurant with Hamilton on surveillance footage on the last night she was seen alive. Hamilton's car, along with her purse and keys, were found in the parking lot of a popular Charlotte bar and restaurant. Charlotte police did not release the tips that led them to the storage unit where they eventually found Valerie Hamilton's body.

Couple Accused of Selling Nuclear Secrets

In what sounds like an episode of 24: a scientist and his wife have been arrested for allegedly attempting to sell nuclear weapons secrets. The plot included the development of a nuclear bomb over the course of 10 years using enriched plutonium. This time however, Jack Bauer didn't swoop in and get an immediate confession to selling nuclear secrets at gun point.

Instead, the case is headed to U.S. Federal Court, where prosecutors allege that Argentine-born U.S. citizen Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and wife Marjorie Roxby, a U.S. citizen, attempted to sell the secrets to someone they believed to be a Venezuelan official. Dr. Mascheroni has been a vocal critic of the U.S. government's nuclear policies and has accused federal agents of harassing him for expression his opinion.

DNA Evidence Clears 2 Men After 30 Years

They confessed to rape and murder. They pleaded guilty and went to prison for decades; but they were innocent and DNA evidence proved it last week. On September 16, a judge in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, overturned the convictions of two of the three men serving time for the rape and murder of Eva Gail Patterson, in 1979. The third man, Larry Ruffin, died in prison in 2002.

The Innocence Project organized DNA testing for the three men. In petitions filed for Bobby Dixon and Phillip Bivens, (and in a separate one filed for Ruffin on September 15) attorneys asked the court to throw out the convictions, according to CBS News. The tests showed that the DNA matched another man, Andrew Harris. Harris is now serving a life sentence in a Mississippi prison for a 1981 rape.

Prosecutor Accused of 'Sexting' Abuse Victim

A Chilton, Wisconsin prosecutor is accused of a sexting scandal with a domestic abuse victim. District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a series inappropriate text messages that could have cost him the case, and his job.

According to MSNBC, Kratz sent over thirty sexually suggestive text messages to the 26 year-old abuse victim in a case he was assigned to prosecute. The three day sexting barrage was in an effort to start a relationship with a women who was fresh off a very, very bad relationship. Telling her several times she is "hot" or referring to her as a "tall, young, hot nymph," the 50 year-old Kratz originally denied that his texts were sexual in nature. The victim, Shannon Van Groll, felt otherwise. Van Groll reported the sexting to the police, but was worried that Kratz would drop the case against her ex-boyfriend if she did not respond to his advances. MSNBC quotes spokesman Tony Gibart: "His actions were more than a lapse in judgment. They in fact do have far reaching implications for victim safety and public safety."

Bethany Storro Admits Acid Attack a Hoax

Two weeks ago I wrote about the story of 28 year-old Bethany Storro, who was walking down the street in Vancouver, Washington, minding her own business, when an unknown assailant threw acid in her face. The acid attack was an awful incident, leading me ask myself: Why would this happen? What kind of world are we living in? What kind of person would do something like this?

She did.

Storro has admitted to police detectives that her injuries were self-inflicted. The acid attack was a hoax. Prosecutors are now determining whether to charge her for lying to the police and making false accusations. Storro originally told police that a black woman between 25 and 35, wearing khaki shorts and a green shirt approached her and said "Hey, pretty girl, do you want to drink this?" and then threw a cup of acid in her face.

Charges Pending in GA Animal Hording Case

On most days I'm an optimist. But on some days I can't help but say, "It's a very very, mad world."

What's the cause of my discontent? Police in Georgia have filed charges against a women who is accused of hoarding dogs and cats in a strange animal hording case. How many dogs and cats? 20? 50? 100? How about 130 dogs and cats in her home in rural Cherokee County.

Sure, animal hoarding is weird, but here's where it gets extra ugly. Many of the animals were dehydrated and showed signs of neglect. Worse, when authorities arrived at her house after calls from neighbors regarding noxious smells, they found the carcasses of 23 cats and one dog. Many of the animals had been deceased for a long period of time and were badly decomposed. Authorities had to wear biohazard suits in order to enter the home. The house was covered with piles of animal waste and other rooms were filled with piles of garbage. 

Illegal Drug Use at Nearly 10 Year High

The annual report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that illegal drug use is at a ten year high. The report, which covers the transition year that President Obama took office, noted that 21.8 million Americans (age twelve and older) admitted to some type of illegal drug use in 2009, a nine percent increase from last year.

According to MSNBC, the rise can be attributed to the, "sharp increase in marijuana use and a surge in ecstasy and methamphetamine use ... and eroding attitudes about the perception of harm and the growing number of states approving medical marijuana." The report also found that marijuana remains the most popular drug, with use and abuse rising 8% in the past year.

Doctor Shot at Johns Hopkins Hospital

On September 16, a doctor was shot by a gunman at 11:15 local time at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the leading hospitals in the nation and has patients from all over the country, and all over the world. After shooting the doctor, the gunman took refuge in a room in the hospital where he took his own life and that of another, possibly a relative, after a two hour stand-off with police.

The doctor who was shot in the abdomen is expected to survive his injuries. Ironically, he is a place where he can receive the best care possible, reports the Associated Press. It is still a matter for investigation what connection the gunman, described as a man in his thirties, and the staff doctor could have had. However, the AP reports a hospital coffee shop employee says she was told by other employees that the gunman was angry at the doctor over the treatment of his mother.

OH County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora Arrested

Ohio County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora arrested. And here is why this headline is both interesting and important to people in and out of Oh ...the government has been investigating Jimmy Dimora for corruption since 2008. In addition to arresting Dimora, seven others including two judges have been arrested in connection to the federal corruption scheme. As one of three members of the Ohio County Board, Dimora was in charge of many of the contracts and hiring for various county jobs.

WCPN reports that Dimora has been charged with twenty six counts of bribery, mail fraud, and other charges. Dimora plans on fighting the charges until the end:

"I'm not guilty, and I'm gonna defend it. Fight it tooth and nail, and I believe that you'll see at the end of the case, once the evidence is produced by our side that it's a whole bunch of people that got in trouble, that made up lies, that were cut deals with the federal government to get less jail time."

College Dean Stabbed on Campus in Missouri

I just finished writing a post that challenged the assertion that the world is going straight to hell in a handbasket. It seems sadly ironic that moments later I'm writing about a college dean stabbed on campus in Missouri.

Jackson County prosecutors have alleged that Casey Brezik, a student at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, stabbed Al Dimmitt Jr., the campus dean of instruction. Brezik was wearing a bullet-proof vest and rushed Dimmitt, slashing his throat. Chancellor Mark James intervened in the situation and helped wrestle the knife away from Dimmitt. James suffered a minor cut to his chest in the process.

Dimmitt was taken to a hospital; he is in stable condition and his injuries do not appear to be life threatening. Governor Jay Nixon was scheduled to speak at the school 20 minutes later. It is unknown if the stabbing was related, but police suspect that it may have been. Casey Brezik has recently posted politically motivated rants on his Facebook page, including indications that he is an anarchist. Further, the bullet proof vest is certainly an odd item of apparel to wear unless one is preparing for a battle. Police also found marijuana in Brezik's front pocket, thought that's the least of his problems.

6 mo. Sentence for Mass. Dr. in Abortion Death

Dr. Rapin Osathanondh, the Massachusetts doctor that stood trial for the death of an abortion patient, has plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Osathanondh was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by nine months of home confinement with electronic monitoring for the 2007 death of 22 year-old Laura Hope Smith.

According to MSNBC, the 67 year-old doctor has been licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts since 1975, and also serves as a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to resigning from his prestigious teaching position, Osathanondh is also banned from practicing medicine as a result of the abortion death. Originally from Thailand, Osathanondh settled the civil medical malpractice suit on the matter for $2 million earlier this week.

FBI: Violent Crime Falls for 3rd Straight Year

The world is going to hell in a hand basket. Violent crime is up. Playgrounds aren't safe. People are being beheaded in Arizona. It's clear--things are getting worse.

Or is it?

According to an FBI report, violent crime fell for the third consecutive year. In fact murders have dropped to their lowest level in over 40 years. In addition, just in the last year, robberies have dropped by 8 percent, property crimes by 4.6 percent, motor vehicles thefts by 17.1 percent, aggravated assaults by 4.2 percent, burglary by 1.3 percent and rapes by 2.6 percent, Reuters reports.

'Speed Freak' Serial Killer to be Paroled

Dubbed the "Speed Freak" serial killers because of the methamphetamine-fueled crime spree that childhood best friends Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine engaged in for almost fifteen years, the two men are now on very different paths. Both men were initially convicted of several first degree murder counts. Shermantine currently sits on death row, while Herzog is set to be released and paroled later this week.

CBS News reports on Herzog's release:

"Herzog was sentenced to 78 years in prison on three first-degree murder convictions, but in 2004 the California Court of Appeal ruled that Herzog's detailed statements that amounted to a confession were illegally coerced. Without the videotaped confession from his 1999 arrest, prosecutors were left with very little evidence against Herzog and were forced to offer him a deal to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter."

Trial Begins in Petit Deadly Home Invasion Case

The Petits were the model American family: with the father a popular Connecticut doctor, a daughter excited to attend Dartmouth College, another daughter looking forward to her teenage years, and a mother who was a serving as a public example of the fight against MS. The family of four tragically became a party of one, after a deadly home invasion which left the wife and two daughters dead, and the father severely beaten. The two killers held the family hostage for hours before burning their suburban house down. The career criminals also raped Jennifer, and daughters Michaela and Hayle (ages seventeen and eleven) before setting the house on fire.

MSNBC describes the response to the July 2007 murders, "It left the state shocked and people feeling vulnerable in the sense that it happened in a town where violence rarely occurs and it happened in a way that shook civilization, people's idea of civilization."

2 Killed in Car vs. Bus Shelter Fatal DUI Accident

Tragedy struck in the early morning hours when a drunk driver plowed into a bus stopping, instantly killing two homeless men that were sleeping under the shelter of the stop. The fatal DUI accident occurred in Dallas, Texas with a driver who has past charges of driving with a suspended license on his record.

According to the Dallas Star, 50 year-old Julian Cerda lost control of his pickup truck around 2 a.m. when he plowed into the bus stop where his unassuming victims were sleeping. The two unidentified men were both in their thirties, and police believe that they died instantly on impact. Dallas police spokeswoman, Janice Crowther, "Cerda failed to drive in a single lane and was found to be intoxicated when taken into custody by officers."

Facebook Posts Used in String of Burglaries

Are you a social media addict? Do you post your location to sites like Facebook Places, Foursquare, Twitter and Gowalla? Ever wondered if there is a risk to posting that kind of information for all to see on the internet?

After a recent case in New Hampshire, questions regarding the safety of location sharing programs are being raised. After a series of 18 burglaries in New Hampshire, police suspected that social media was used to facilitate the crimes. After further investigation, Nashua police told MSNBC that most of the burglaries involved homes that were "cased" by the suspects. However, two of the burglaries were directly tied to Facebook posts by the homeowners which indicated that they were away on vacation.

Kenneth Starr Pleads Guilty to $59M Fraud

Kenneth Starr has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in New York. No, not the the special prosecutor who handled the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. This Kenneth Starr was a financial adviser running yet another Ponzi scheme.

Fun fact: "Ponzi scheme" is named after Charles Ponzi, who carried out a unique form of investment fraud in 1919-1920. A Ponzi scheme is a scam in which belief in the success of a fictitious enterprise is created by the payment of significant, fast investment returns to the early investors, using money invested by later investors. By creating the appearance of a hugely successful enterprise, the Ponzi scheme continues to take on more investments but stops paying them out. Eventually the investors find that all of the money has disappeared.

Fifth Grade Boy Facing Trial for School Fight

At what age does a schoolyard scuffle shift to criminal assault and battery?

A case in Edmond, Oklahoma presents an interesting question after a fight among two 10 year-old boys has led to a charge of assault and battery. The two boys were practicing football and had an altercation.

Eyewitnesses say that after practice was over, one of the boys punched the other, unprovoked, KFOR Oklahoma reports. The alleged puncher, who is facing misdemeanor charges, says he was standing up for himself after being bullied earlier by the other boy. The defendant's father admits he told his son to punch the other boy because he was being bullied. "When you finally get a good kid who wants to stand up to a bully, they want to put him in jail. It's crazy," Vincent said.

The defendant has an attorney and has requested a jury trial, which will likely occur in November.

Kraft Shooting Suspect Yvonne Hiller Arrested

"This is a sad day for the Kraft Foods family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. The loss of a loved one is a great sorrow." The above quote was in response to the Philadelphia shootings that killed two and injured others at the Kraft Foods plant early this morning. The two victims died on the scene, and another is said to be in critical condition at a local hospital.

According to CBS News, the shooting suspect, Yvonne Hiller has been arrested. The 43 year-old Hiller, who has been employed at the plant for fifteen years, was said to be disgruntled after a recent suspension from the company. After being escorted off the plant this morning, she quickly returned with a .357 magnum, drove her car through the security zone, walked back into the six-story plant and opened fire on her fellow employees. Hiller then called the police and told the authorities what she had done. She was escorted out by the SWAT team within an hour of the shootings.

1 in 4 College Women Will be Victims of Rape

A recent study from the Department of Justice produced a disturbing figure: 1 in 4 college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year collge period. The report also noted that women between the ages of 16 to 24 are four times more likely to be raped than older women.

The study, entitled "Acquaintance Rape of College Students" was made by attorney Rana Sampson. Sampson compiled her numbers through the examination of many studies on the topic -- an approach that may have skewed the numbers. The Daily Caller quotes Dr. Neil Gilbert on the reliability of the figures, "the study's numbers are severly inflated due to the broad definition of rape and the manner in which subjects were questioned."

New CA Law to Ban Online Impersonation

Maintaining your reputation in the digital age is no easy task. One wrong move can stick with you for the rest of your life. You can take proactive steps, like being careful about what you post and setting up Google Alerts to monitor your name. But what if someone hacks into one of your accounts and assumes your identity?

California is considering a bill, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian, that would outlaw online impersonation. The bill seeks to update the current identity laws on the books, which go back to 1872. "Our identity is one of the most personal things we have, and when someone misuses that it seems there ought to be some sort of deterrence," Simitian said to BBC News in an interview. Simitian pointed out that when the current laws were created, no one had anticipated the Internet, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other outlets for trashing someone else's reputation.

Providence Policeman Gets 40 Years for Rape

Hired and trained to uphold the laws of the land and protect local citizenry, there is something especially tragic when it is "the law" found to breaking the law. Such is the case in a recent trial of a 40 year-old Providence policeman that has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the March 2007 rape of a woman.

The Boston Globe reports that Marcus Huffman has been convicted of first-degree sexual assault for the on-duty rape of his then 19 year-old victim. Huffman encountered the intoxicated female outside a bar when he offered to drive her home. Instead, Huffman took her to a local substation, raped her, and left her on the side of the road until she eventually made her way to her aunt's house. The encounter did not end at the substation -- when authorities were called, Huffman was one of the responding officers on the scene.

Police: iPhones Store Incriminating Evidence

Perhaps the most important rule of criminal defense: don't incriminate yourself. The vast majority of the time, police obtain incriminating evidence directly from the defendant, either by way of a confession or by giving consent to a search. The U.S. Constitution gives everyone the right to stay quiet and force the police and prosecution to build their own case, without the assistance of the accused. If defendants suddenly started properly asserting their rights, criminal defense attorneys would have a lot less work.

With the rise of smartphone technology, criminal defendants are now giving away troves of incriminating evidence without realizing it. How? By storing records of their criminal activity on their iPhones.

USA Today recently profiled the work of former hacker Jonathan Zdziarski, who created a how-to manual for finding information on the iPhone entitled "iPhone Forensics." Zdziarski now works with law-enforcement to teach them how to gather data from iPhones for evidence in criminal cases.

Lennon Killer Mark David Chapman Denied Parole

"Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn't enough and you have to go and get shot or something." - John Lennon

The man who shot and killed John Lennon has been denied parole for the sixth time. The New York State Division of Parole, by way of a three member panel, rejected the parole application of Mark David Chapman. The hearing was conducted with Chapman via a live video conference. Chapman was also rejected for parole in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. He will be elgibile to apply again in 2012.

Chapman is held at the maximum security Attica Correctional Facility, where he has served 29 years of his sentence. According to officials with the New York Department of Correctional Services, Chapman does not share his prison cell with another inmate and spends the majority of his time outside working on housekeeping as well as in the library.

Joran Van der Sloot Confesses to Extortion

The truth of what happened to Natalee Holloway in Aruba may never be fully known, but some confessions have now been made by the man often linked to her death, Joran van der Sloot. Van der Sloot has revealed that he lied when contacted by Holloway's family for information about the whereabouts of her remains. Van der Sloot was charged with wire fraud and extortion in Alabama, for allegedly attempting to extort more than $250,000 from Holloway's family in return for disclosing the location of her body.

Van der Sloot is currently being held in Lima, Peru, on charges of murder in the death of student Stephany Flores, according to CNN. Flores was found in dead in a hotel room registered to van der Sloot in May. The two were seen together on the hotel surveillance camera video.

Craigslist Ends 'Adult Services' Section

Craigslist, already a unique and mysterious company, took an unusual step over the Labor Day weekend. It blocked access to its adult services section and replaced it with a censored label. The company has offered no explanation for the move or the censored label.

The controversy involves letters sent to the company from 17 state attorneys on August 24, which demanded that the company close the adult services section. The attorneys say that Craigslist is allowing human trafficking and prostitution on their site. In addition, last month, Amber Lyon of CNN did a piece about Craigslist, questioning Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist. The piece portrayed the company in a very negative light.

Craigslist countered that the company does more than any other company to help prevent such illegal activity. They have also pointed to other sites, including eBay, that have an adult services section and argued that they are unfairly being singled out. Craigslist further contends that by shutting down their adult services section, such activity will simply shift to another location, whether on Craigslist or on another site. The company believes that on many of the other sites, efforts to monitor illegal activity are far less than that of Craigslist.

Rachel Wade Gets 27 Years in Teen Rivalry Murder

The deadly love triangle between three Florida teenagers has finally come to an end. Rachel Wade has been sentenced to twenty seven years in prison for killing her rival, Sarah Ludemann, on July 23. Wade was convicted of second degree murder, according to CBS News.

The complicated teenage rivalry pitted Rachel Wade and Sarah Ludemann competing for the affections of the same boy, Josh Camacho, over a period of months. The jury heard testimony about the many confrontations between the two girls, including profanity-laced text messages and voicemails leading up to their final encounter.

Domino's Pizza Delivery Man Killed in Boston

A Domino's Pizza delivery man was stabbed and killed in Boston after an apparent robbery setup. Mariee Clena-Tunis, who lives next door to an abandoned house at 742 Hyde Park Avenue, was approached by a heavy-set woman at her home around 10:30 p.m. The woman asked to borrow Clena-Tunis' phone to make a call.

Clena-Tunis gave her the phone and was shocked to learn that it was used to order a pizza to the abandoned house next door. "[They] tried to put me in trouble, but God be with me anyway," Mariee Clena-Tunis said to the Boston Herald. "Don't tell me it was for pizza ... She told me it was to make a call."

The female suspect was seen fleeing the area with two male suspects in a green 1995 Suburu. The Domino's Pizza delivery man killed was in his 50s, and was attacked some time after midnight, Boston Police Commissioner Ed David said. He was dead when paramedics arrived on the scene. The police believe the motive was robbery. Robbery is the theft or larceny of property through physical force or fear. When a knife, gun or other weapon is used, or if the victim suffers serious injury, the robbery charged may be raised to "armed" or "aggravated robbery.

Scientist Causes Miami Airport Bomb Scare

You transport the bubonic plague one time and suddenly police get all suspicious.

A 70 year-old scientist detained at Miami International Airport for a suspicious item in his suitcase that looked like a bomb had been arrested before. In 2003, Thomas Butler was teaching at Texas Tech when he was accused of illegally transporting the plague, a potentially lethal bacterial infection which killed millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages. Butler was acquitted on the plague transportation charges but convicted of fraud.

While nothing illegal or dangerous was found in the possession of Butler this time, the bomb scare caused an airport evacuation. Yeah, might want to keep an eye on professor Butler. This time, however, the police search came up clean, so Butler was released after the investigation. He had arrived on a flight from the Middle East, The Associated Press reports. Police speaking under the condition of anonymity said that Butler cooperated with their investigation. Butler is an American citizen.

What is Sizzurp, and Why is it Illegal?

Walking down the drink aisle of the supermarket can be a daunting experience as the number of options seem to increase every day. One drink you won't see on the shelf .... Purple Drank (no, that is not a typo) also known as Sizzurp, among other names.

Sizzurp, which is actually a form of codeine cough syrup, is all over the news these days. Rapper T.I. was believed to be sipping on the substance when he got pulled over this week, football player JaMarcus Russell was quenching his thirst with the concoction when he was arrested over fourth of July weekend -- the drink has about as many celebrity fans as it does names. One problem through, Sizzurp is illegal. The drink is essentially a cough syrup cocktail, and the powerful ingredients contained in codeine are considered a controlled substance.

Botox Maker Settles Criminal Misbranding Charges

Botox maker Allergan Inc. recently plead guilty to criminal misbranding charges stemming from their role in improperly marketing the popular injectable for "off label" uses. According to the Associated Press, Allergan will pay $375 million in fines based on the misdemeanor charge, in addition to $225 in civil fines.

Assistant Attorney General Tony West explains the case: "Allergan paid kickbacks to induce physicians to inject Botox for off-label uses, including coaching doctors how to miscode Botox claims leading to millions of dollars of false claims being submitted to federal and state programs." Allergan unsuccessfully defended its actions on First Amendment grounds -- arguing that the company had a constitutional right to educate doctors concerning the off label uses of the product.

Bethany Storro Subject of Random Acid Attack

Bethany Storro, a 28 year old woman from Washington, is either incredibly lucky or incredibly misfortunate, depending upon your perspective. She was leaving a Vancouver Starbucks on Monday evening when a stranger approached her, and said "Hey, pretty girl, do you want to drink this?" and then threw a cup of acid in her face. The damage could have been life threatening, but Storro was spared in part because she was wearing sunglasses.

The acid attack suspect, who is still on the loose, is a black woman between 25 and 35, wearing khaki shorts and a green shirt with medium-length black hair pulled back. Doctors do not know what kind of substance was used in the attack of what the woman's motivations were. "I'm a nice girl and I don't know why this happened," Storro, 28, said Tuesday in her hospital room in the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. Bethany Storro suffered second-degree burns according to The Columbian.

Marijuana Robbery Leads to Triple Murder in LA

A suspect has been arrested in connection with a triple murder in LA after a marijuana robbery in West Hollywood. Detectives suspect that the man shot the three men at an apartment because he didn't want to pay for the marijuana he was buying.

31 year-old Harold Yong Park was arrested in Lomita on Monday. His vehicle was found using an automatic license plate recognition system. Park was arrested with multiple pounds of marijuana in his possession, which police believe he may have stolen from the men he allegedly murdered. He is being held without bail.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the evidence indicates that the victims of the triple murder were selling marijuana out of their apartment. "It was a drug deal that didn't go well," said Lt. Pat Nelson of the Sheriff's Department homicide bureau, reports The Los Angeles Times. "He came for the drugs and decided he didn't want to pay for them and took them by killing these three men." Detectives have reason to believe that the victims purchased marijuana at medical collectives and then tried to resell it.

Discovery Channel Attacker James Lee Killed

Earlier today, September 1, an armed man walked into the offices of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland and took hostages. It has been reported now that the Discovery Channel attacker has been shot by police. The man is now confirmed to be James J. Lee. Lee was wearing several explosive devices when he entered the building about 1:00 p.m. local time. At least one of the explosives went off when he was shot.

Soon after James Lee entered the building, authorities were able to evacuate the on-site day care center and move the children to a near-by McDonald's.

Shooting, Hostages Reported at Discovery Channel Offices

As of this writing, NBC Washington reports, via Twitter, law enforcement has confirmed the name of the armed suspect they say walked into the Discovery Channel offices in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. The believe the man holding hostages in the building is James Jay Lee. Children in a daycare facility within the building have been evacuated.

According to updated reports by NPR, at 1:00 p.m. local time, a man entered the Discovery Channel offices and a 911 call came into police reporting shots fired. Reports from both NPR and the Washington Post say that the children from the on-site daycare have been evacuated to a nearby site. The Washington Post adds that a school, St. Michael the Archangel, less than two blocks away, is in lockdown mode with the doors locked and shades drawn. An email to parents said all students were accounted for.

Facebook Jealousy Results in Torture Allegation

Yet one more reason to learn how to use your privacy settings on Facebook. A Hanford, California, man is under arrest for the alleged imprisonment and torture of his girlfriend over a message he saw posted on her Facebook page. Anthony Lozano, 36, was arrested by King's County sheriffs at his Hanford home on suspicion of false imprisonment, kidnapping, torture and other charges.

According to the Hanford Sentinel, Lonzano flew into a rage when he saw a message from a friend on his 23 year-old girlfriend's Facebook account asking how she was, because he assumed it meant she was having an affair. Lozano is alleged to have grabbed his girlfriend by the hair, dragged her and threatened her, before choking her with a rope and towel.

Charges to be Dropped for Giuliani's Daughter

They say it's good to have friends in high places. That's especially true when that friend is your father, and he used to be the mayor of New York City.

Caroline Giuliani, 21, was arrested on charges of shoplifting on August 4. Giuliani allegedly attempted to steal $100 worth of makeup and cosmetics from Sephora in Manhattan's Upper East Side. However a judge agreed to dismiss the charge against Giuliani if she does one day of community service. The Manhattan judge in Giuliani's case agreed that that the case will be expunged, dismissed and sealed after she has completed her community service. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office will determine what kind of community service Giuliani's daughter provides, Reuters reports.