Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Anna Beshnova

Oct. 1, 2008

Anna Beshnova Rape and Murder

Anna Beshnova was found in morning by her school. The suspect who according to police abused the girl for several hours was in custody. He apparently strangled the victim in order to hide the rape. She was 15 years old.


In the wake of the rape and murder of an ethnic Russian school girl in Moscow's Mozhaysk district by a migrant worker from Central Asia, migrants are leaving the neighborhood fearing indiscriminate revenge attacks, according to a November 7, 2008 report posted on Jewish.ru. Russia's largest far-right group, the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), prominently featured the murder in its anti-migrant propaganda, and on November 4, the body of an ethnic Turkmen was found near the Kuntsevo movie theater. Witnesses stated that a group of young men attacked him. Later that same night, another Central Asian man was attacked nearby.

"Tajik and Uzbek migrant workers are trying to return home," said the head of communal services in the Mozhaysk district, a fact reaffirmed by another local official, who said that ten migrant workers in charge of maintaining her apartment block have already left. Those who remain are trying hard to return home from work before dark. 


This is the kind of story that you will never hear from the "free Western media" which slanders Russia at every opportunity and attempts to portray migrants from the former Soviet republics as the helpless victims of Russian violence and "racism" when in fact it's the other way around more often than not.
Beshnova's murder is the latest of several crimes — purportedly committed by dark-skinned migrants or natives of the North Caucasus — that have caused simmering racial tensions across the country to boil over in recent years.

The most prominent of these was an August 2006 fight at an Azeri-run restaurant in the Karelian town of Kondopoga that left two local Russians dead. The fight ignited riots in Kondopoga, where tensions between ethnic Russians and traders from the Caucasus had simmered for years.

On Oct. 1, Beshnova was returning home from her boyfriend's apartment at about midnight on Ulitsa Kubinka, near the Kuntsevskaya metro station, when she was attacked by a man described by witnesses as "non-Slavic" and wearing a jacket commonly worn by city maintenance workers. The assailant raped her, strangled her and left her body in the bushes near an apartment building, investigators say.

Several local residents have told the media that they watched the rape and did nothing because they believed that it was consensual sex. The assailant slept next to Beshnova's body for several hours before fleeing, according to media reports.

Two weeks later, some 200 activists from the ultranationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNI, and several other nationalist groups staged an unsanctioned protest at the crime scene, demanding that authorities "cleanse" Moscow of migrant workers.

DPNI was the leading organizer in the 2006 Kondopoga protests that metastasized into full-scale riots.

Police arrested Farkhod Tursunov, 31, a city maintenance worker from Uzbekistan, on Oct. 23 and have charged him with raping and murdering Beshnova, said Viktoria Tsyplenkova, a spokeswoman for the Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee. ...


Scarlett Keeling


Scarlett Keeling trial: moment body was found

Trial of two local men accused of killing British teenager in Goa begins 

An Indian policeman told a Goan court yesterday of the moment he found the British teenager Scarlett Keeling's naked, battered body lying half-submerged in the sea.

More than two years after the teenager's death, the trial of two men accused of sexually assaulting and killing her began yesterday.

The trial, which has been described as a test of India's commitment to protecting tourists, is expected to last the rest of the year.

Scarlett's mother, Fiona MacKeown, 44, who fought a long campaign for an investigation after Indian police initially dismissed the death as an accident, was not present yesterday but is expected to give evidence later.

The 15-year-old from Devon was on a six-month holiday in India with her family when her body was found on the beach on 18 February 2008. Her mother, whose alternative lifestyle has come under intense scrutiny, had left her behind when she headed off to the neighbouring state of Karnataka with six of her siblings.

Yesterday police constable Gurunath Naik told the Goa Children's Court in Panaji how an anonymous call had come in to the police station reporting a body near the Shore bar, a popular rave spot on Anjuna beach.

The 29-year-old constable described how he found the naked body of a girl lying face down with the waves lapping around it.

"The eyes were partly open, the mouth was partly open too with froth, while orange-coloured slippers were lying two to three metres away from the body," he told the president of the court, BP Deshpande.
He dragged her out of the water and covered her with a sheet. Then he informed his superiors and waited for other officers to turn up.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that Scarlett was intoxicated by a cocktail of drink and drugs – ecstasy, cocaine and LSD – on the night she died and was attacked and raped. Her body was covered in bruises and the cause of death was asphyxia and drowning in sand and shallow water.

Challenged by the defence during cross-examination over discrepancies between his evidence and statements made earlier to Goa police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the constable said he had improved his reports on the instruction of the investigating officer. But CBI counsel SR Rivonkar told reporters after the hearing: "These are minor contradictions and are bound to happen."
Two local people, a bartender, Samson D'Souza, 30, and businessman Placido Carvalho, 42, are charged with culpable homicide, sexual assault, outraging modesty and destroying evidence.

Mr Rivonkar said statements would be heard from more than 70 witnesses, including Scarlett's boyfriend, Julio Lobo, and Ruby Caso, a Spanish friend who was with her hours before she died.
It is unknown whether Mrs MacKeown, who was cleared of negligence for leaving her teenage daughter alone, will give evidence in person or through video conferencing.

Last month, the mother of nine pleaded guilty to falsely claiming £19,000 in benefits and was warned she could face a custodial sentence.



Scarlett Keeling

 Scarlett e-mailed friend on rapists 

In an e-mail to a friend, Scarlett Keeling, a 15-year-old British national who was murdered on Goa's Anjuna beach in February last year, wrote that she was raped by six men.

The Observer quoted police sources as saying that Keeling sent the email to a Spanish friend two days before her death. In the email, Keeling reportedly wrote: "Got a taxi back to Curlies and slept there, but the boys showed me some hardcore porn movies on a phone, then they all took it in turns trying 2 rape me."

Police say the alleged rapists could have killed Scarlett. They have not been arrested because the police are waiting to speak to Fiona MacKeown, Scarlett's mother.

The email also shows that Keeling went to a rave party, which was raided, and that she took drugs like LSD and ecstasy. She then returned to a beach bar just yards from where she was found dead later that week.

The newspaper said the "boys" referred to in the email were "six young Indian men who had gained the trust of Scarlett's mother Fiona MacKeown."

Scarlett Keeling

Scarlett Keeling's missing vital organs recovered

Could help investigators piece together mysterious circumstances of British teenager's death

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has finally managed to lay its hands on the missing organs of Scarlett Keeling (15), who was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Goa's popular Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008. The organs were recovered from Goa Medical College, which  had carried out autopsies on her body.

The vital organs -- both kidneys, the stomach and uterus -- were found missing when forensics pathologist Dr Gayan Fernando, attached to the Coroner's Court in Devon, UK, cut open Scarlett's body to conduct a third autopsy in the first week of April, 2008.  Experts say the organs would have helped investigators piece together the mysterious circumstances of Scarlett's death.

Forensics experts in Devon had told Scarlett's mother Fiona Mackeown that the lack of kidneys made testing for drugs more difficult. The missing stomach made it difficult to show what level of alcohol she may have ingested on the night she was killed and the lack of a uterus made it difficult for them to prove whether she was sexually assaulted and if so, by whom.

Meanwhile, Vikram Verma, Fiona's lawyer in Goa, said, "We have been informed by the CBI that they have recovered Scarlett's organs from the Goa Medical College. The organs include a piece of the uterus and parts of the spleen and pancreas. However, both her kidneys were used for laboratory examination."

A senior CBI officer supervising the investigation said that the organs would be sent to Fiona shortly and that  a CBI team would be leaving for London to record her statement.

Advocate Verma is confident that the English pathologist can finish off the studies within two weeks of receiving the organs and will release Scarlett's body, which will get a proper send-off more than two years after her demise.

Scarlett Keeling


Scarlett Keeling still awaits descent burial...

Mortal remains of the British national, murdered in Goa, two years ago, still lies in a United Kingdom morgue

Today, (February 18), the mortal remains of Scarlett Keeling (15), a British national murdered two years ago in Goa, lies in a UK morgue deprived of her right of a decent burial, because of all the bureaucratic wrangling shrouding the case. 

It has been a nightmarish two years for Fiona, Scarlett's mother, who is also awaiting some kind of 'closure' by hoping to bury Scarlet in a garden outside her home in North Devon, UK. Yet, Fiona is unaware of when that would happen.

The half-clad body of Scarlett (15) from North Devon, UK was found on Goa's popular Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008.

An emotional Fiona spoke to MiD-DAY from Devon and said, "It is unfortunate that Scarlett awaits a descent burial even after two years of her demise."

"A young girl who was brutally assaulted, raped and murdered and the criminal justice system gave ample time and opportunity to the perpetrators of this crime to destroy all evidence of the crime.

Today, two years later the body of the child remains unburied and the criminals are walking free. The criminal justice system should be an icon of faith, but in this particular incident the creditability of the criminal justice system is severely dented," said Advocate Vikram Varma.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigation from Goa police on June 5, 2008 and filed a chargesheet in the case on October 14, 2009 and named three accused Placido Carvalho, Samson D'souza, and Julio Lobo who were booked under Sections 304, 354, 328, 201, 109 and Section 8 (1)(2) of the Goa Children's Act.

However the irony was that Julio Lobo, who had earlier admitted of sleeping with Scarlett before the murder, retracted his statement and it could not be corroborated during the trial with evidence and Lobo was finally acquitted within one-month of filing the chargesheet.

Samson D'souza, who works as a barman at Louis shack was arrested by Goa police on March 9, 2008. He had allegedly offered drugs, assaulted Scarlett and caused sever injuries to her resulting in her death. However, he was out on bail on September 22, 2008.

Placido Carvalho also known as Shana Boy was also arrested in the case for sexually abusing her. He was arrested on March 12, 2008 but was released within 22 days from the date of committing crime.



Scarlett Keeling

Scarlett's Story Told In Film

Panaji, July 2: The seamier side of Goa will unravel on the silver
screen with 'Anjuna Beach', a Bollywood film set on the 2008 murder and
sexual assault of British teen Scarlett Keeling.

More than three years after Scarlett was left to die at Anjuna beach,
Bollywood producer Sikandar Khan re-tells the story in the film
releasing July 29.

The vivacious teenager who rode elephants, hung out at beach shacks and
is said to have occasionally done drugs will be played by
Italian-Ukranian model-cum-actress Nataliya Kozhenova.

Nataliya says that the film projects the deceased Scarlett as a young
girl who loved life and lived it to the hilt.

'The story is very nice. It tries to protect Scarlett like she was not
into drugs and is in favour of foreigners. It is scheduled for release
on July 29,' Nataliya, who has been working in Bollywood for the last
two years, told IANS. Nataliya claims she worked as a model in Italy
before moving to India.

'It was fantastic to get a chance to play Scarlett. It just happened by
chance one day that director Shakeel Saifee asked me if I could play the
role... My Hindi was zero at the time, but later I managed to even
deliver my dialogues in Hindi,' said the 24-year-old.

'Anjuna Beach', produced by Sikander Khan and directed by Shakeel S.
Sai, also stars Kiran Kumar and Iranian actress Farhanaaz.

Scarlett's sexual assault and death in 2008 marks a watershed period in
Goa's image as a safe holiday tourism destination, with the gory episode
exposing Goa's seedy underbelly as a destination for drugs. Abhishek
Bachchan-starrer Hindi film 'Dum Maaro Dum' also tried to show the murky
side of Goa.

After the Scarlett case, Goa has seen a string of events that led to the
state gaining infamy as a drug haven and as an unsafe tourist
destination especially for foreign women.

International media attention towards Goa's crumbling and corrupt law
and order edifice did not help matters, especially after Scarlett's
mother Fiona Mackeown campaigned for justice for her slain daughter and
exposed how the police and politicians were involved in covering up the
death as a suicide.

Later, during the trial of her daughter's alleged assaulters - both
beach shack hands - Simon D'Souza and Placido Carvalho, Fiona named Home
Minister Ravi Naik and his son Roy. They were alleged to have been
linked to the drug mafia operating in the state, a charge the Naiks
rejected as false.

Nataliya says she knew nothing about the Scarlett story.

'Really, before I got this role, I never knew about the Scarlett story.
I came to know everything during shooting at location (Anjuna beach),
and everybody who had seen Scarlett in real, they tell me I look very
similar to her,' she said.

Similarities they may share, but both are different in other ways too.
While Scarlett's post mortem viscera examination showed a cocktail of
drugs in her system, Nataliya claims she has nothing to do with drugs.

'I have nothing to do with drugs and I do not understand people who are
into drugs. In my movie Scarlett is just a girl who loves life but she
is not into drugs,' she said.

Scarlett Keeling


Scarlett mother 'fears cover-up' 

The mother of a British girl murdered in India has vowed to keep pressure on police there to ensure her death is fully investigated and not covered up. 
Fiona MacKeown's daughter, Scarlett Keeling, 15, from Devon, was found dead on a beach in Goa on 19 February. Police initially said she had drowned.

Ms MacKeown fears that Indian federal investigators could drop the case.

The results of tests to check if Scarlett had been raped are expected in the next few days.

Worst fear
Ms MacKeown said her worst fear was that the tests would come back negative and the case would then be left with local police, rather than being taken over by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

She said: "I want it to be properly investigated, not covered up. They are worried about embarrassment but it will just get bigger if they don't deal with it."

If this evidence has been tampered with, it would confirm my worst fears that it is being covered up
Fiona MacKeown
Ms MacKeown, 43, from Bradworthy, north Devon, said she would continue her campaign even if the case was not taken on by the CBI.

Scarlett was on holiday with her family when she was killed. The rest of the family were travelling elsewhere in the region when she was killed in the beach resort of Anjuna.

After police initially said the teenager had drowned after drinking, Mrs MacKeown campaigned for a second post-mortem, insisting her daughter had been attacked.

After fresh tests, police said they now believed she had been drugged, raped and murdered.

After returning from a nine-day trip to India in a quest for answers earlier this month, Ms MacKeown said she believed she knew the identity of her daughter's killer.

She claimed the Indian authorities had tried to cover up what happened because the culprit was a "powerful" person.

She also said she had been forced to fly home without some of Scarlett's internal organs, which had been removed during a post-mortem examination.

Their absence was revealed after Scarlett's body was brought back for a third post-mortem in the UK.
Ms MacKeown said: "I believe they won't give me her organs because they don't want them to be tested over here. And if this evidence has been tampered with, it would confirm my worst fears that it is being covered up."

The Indian authorities have said Ms MacKeown's request for Scarlett's organs to be returned was "unprecedented" and there was no system in place for it to be carried out.

Two men have been arrested over Scarlett's death.

Samson D'Souza, 28, has been charged with rape and is in police custody.

Placido Carvalho, who was questioned on suspicion of involvement in Scarlett's rape and murder, was granted bail by a court in Goa on 4 April.


Scarlett Keeling

Murdered Scarlett Keeling's body had 50 injuries

The mother of murdered British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling broke down in tears yesterday as she visited the beach in Goa where her daughter's body was discovered.

Fiona MacKeown, who is giving evidence today at the trial of the alleged killers, spoke out bitterly to the Daily Mail after it emerged that her 15-year-old daughter suffered 50 separate injuries in the attack in 2008.

All but five of these were missed in the original post mortem.

Details of the extensive nature of Scarlett's wounds, which covered large areas of her head and body, were found in a second post mortem and are listed in police files seen by the Mail.

It is the first time Mrs MacKeown has returned to Goa since she campaigned for the Indian authorities to open a murder inquiry.

She said: 'The police treated me with no respect. They wanted to protect the apparent idyllic life in Goa and a murder inquiry would expose its seedy underbelly.

'These files show how poorly the police and the original pathologist acted.

'They show how much corruption goes on in the police. No professional should have missed all those injuries.

'I could see many of them with my own eyes when I had to identify the body. It has made it much harder to get justice but I'm still hopeful.'

The second examination, only carried out after Mrs MacKeown, 46, spent weeks campaigning for the death to be reinvestigated, paints a vastly different picture from the first.

Then, Dr Silvano Sapeco recorded only five external injuries. In a brief summary, he concluded that Scarlett had drowned accidentally and failed to suggest she might have been held under water by her attackers.

Three doctors concluded that she was held underwater for 'five to 10 minutes' after being 'rendered senseless and defenceless by alcohol or drugs'.

They also said she may have been raped. Scarlett, of Bideford, Devon, was staying with her 25-year-old Goan boyfriend while her mother travelled around India when she was killed.

Samson D'Souza, 30, and Placido Carvalho, 42, are on trial for her murder and rape.

The pair, who are both on bail, deny culpable homicide, sexual assault, outraging modesty and destroying evidence.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kyleigh Crane

 Docs reveal Crane murder confession

CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) - Two men have been formally charged after the shooting deaths of 21-year-old Jeremy Crane and his 7-year-old niece, Kyleigh.

Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel are each facing two charges of murder, one charge of robbery and one charge of carrying a handgun without a license.

A lengthy court document now spells out the investigation into the murders, along with an evening request by Bell to speak to police to “confess.”

The two men continually appeared to point fingers at each other for the slayings. Priel told police in one interview he waited by a car wash area for Bell, who returned with a PlayStation and Xbox.

While in jail at 7 p.m. Monday, Bell requested to speak to police to offer a confession, court documents say. Bell began to tell police one story, but later changed it. Finally, he told police the plan was for Bell to knock on the door and ask Jeremy Crane if he could use the bathroom. Then, Priel was supposed to come in and rob everyone.

Bell described being in the bathroom when he said Jeremy Crane yelled for him to get out of the bathroom. When he did, Bell said Priel put a gun in his face and told him to get on the floor, according to the probable cause affidavit. Bell said Priel made everyone get on the ground, and then Priel shot Jeremy Crane. Due to his proximity, Bell said blood splattered on him.

Police explain in court documents that Bell’s knowledge of the crime scene was so detailed that he had to have been there. Bell said after Jeremy Crane was shot, Bell got up to gather the video game systems. He said Priel shot him again. Bell said he didn’t know how Kyleigh Crane was shot because he ran out of the house.

During the investigation, officers talked to multiple people who interacted with the accused men.
One witness told police Bell was in her home on the day of the deaths and was insistent about watching the news at 6 p.m., the probable cause affidavit says. When the story came on about the Cranes being found dead, the woman said Bell called them his “adopted brother” and “adopted niece.” Yet, she said Bell showed little or no emotion and did not cry.

Family members of the victims characterized Bell as a close family friend who once lived in their home.

A woman associated with Priel said she introduced Priel to Bell. She said Priel’s demeanor would change when he saw news coverage of the Cumberland murders, according to court documents. She also said Bell told Priel on the bus, “I laid my thing down and did what I had to do.” She was the same woman Bell requested throw away his jeans, despite her offers to clean them for him.

 Merry Christmas Kyleigh...

Jayme Thomas

Johnny Rourn: Charged in murder of Des Moines teen Jayme Thomas

A Washington's Most Wanted viewer is credited with helping to lead police to murder suspect Johnny Rourn.

King County prosecutors filed murder and assault charges Monday against Rourn, accusing him of fatally shooting a woman and wounding a man Nov. 5 in Des Moines.

Authorities said Rourn, 29, of Des Moines, shot and killed 19-year-old Jayme Thomas of Des Moines. Thomas was sitting in the back seat of a parked car; the gunfire also wounded 24-year-old Scott Kennedy, who was a friend of Thomas.

Prosecutors said Rourn opened fire on a crowd of people after leaving a party and hit Thomas three times. Kennedy talked about his injury in an exclusive interview with "Washington's Most Wanted."

Rourn was arrested Dec. 7, after a tip from a WMW viewer, and is jailed on $1 million bail. He will be arraigned on December 22 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

In court documents, detectives said Rourn admitted he was the shooter, but that he had been drinking and didn't know Thomas was in the car. They said he was "apologetic and kept repeaing he wished he could trade places with Thomas."

However, prosecutors said he changed the rims on his car after the shooting and got rid of his clothes, making it seem as if he was attempting to conceal items that could identify him.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saskia Burke

Suspect arrested in fatal stabbing in which attacker wore ninja mask

Authorities say they have arrested a 19-year-old man wanted in connection with the stabbings of three people inside a Murrieta home this week.The suspect entered the house wearing a ninja mask, police said.

William Gary Simpson Jr. was taken into custody around 9 p.m. Friday without incident at the home of his mother, Bernadette Simpson, in Hesperia, according to the Murrieta Police Department and inmate booking record.

Simpson was booked on suspicion of murder and two counts of suspicion of attempted murder. He is currently being held at Southwest Detention Center without bail.

The stabbings occurred Tuesday. Shortly before 4 a.m. police officers arrived at the house in the 40000 block of Milkwood Lane, where the suspect had entered the home wearing what family members described as a ninja mask. Upon arriving, officers found a young woman critically wounded. Her boyfriend and father also had suffered stab wounds. Witnesses told police that the suspect had fled from the scene.

The woman, who has been identified as 18-year-old Saskia Burke, died at the scene, according to Riverside County coroner officials.

The two men were rushed to local area hospitals and were listed in stable condition.

Homicide detectives learned that Simpson knew the family and had lived at the home as a foster child as recently as 2010.

Simpson allegedly had been on the run for several days before his arrest Friday.

In an interview with KTLA following the stabbings, Saskia's mother, Catherine Burke,  described the stabbings and said her daughter had died in pain.

"I came downstairs and saw my child dead, and I had to take the knife from the guy that killed her," Burke said, holding her tears back. "I'm sorry that when I took the knife away last night that I didn't kill him with it."

Police have not determined a motive for the stabbings.



Eve Carson

Lovette sentenced to life in prison for Carson murder

A jury found Laurence Lovette guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the 2008 shooting death of UNC student body president Eve Carson. 

They also found Lovette guilty of kidnapping, robbery with firearm, felony larceny and possession of stolen goods.

Following the jury's verdict, Judge Allen Baddour sentenced Lovette to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"This a difficult day," Judge Baddour said. "I sense from the family of Ms. Carson that they sense the inadequacy of the court system to make this situation right. This act has no place in our society. It is not activity that we can allow to occur in our society. The life Ms. Carson led was too short. But, I know she continues to be an inspiration for thousands in this community and across this country. That is a small consolation."

Carson's family and Lovette declined to make a statement following the ruling.

Prosecutors said during the trial that Lovette and Demario Atwater kidnapped Carson from her Chapel Hill home on March 5, 2008 and then drove her around in her SUV to various ATMs in Chapel Hill and Durham to withdraw cash from her accounts. They then killed her and dumped her body on a Chapel Hill street.

Earlier this year, Atwater took a plea deal on federal charges related to the Carson's kidnapping, carjacking and murder, and is currently serving a life sentence.

In closing arguments Monday, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said that the testimony and evidence presented over the last two weeks clearly showed Lovette's guilt.

"It's hard to imagine a more tragic case than this," Woodall told the jury. "It's hard to imagine what Eve went through that night."

"What the defendant did to Eve Carson is greedy, miserable, and cruel," assistant prosecutor James Rainsford said during his closing arguments.

Rainsford told jurors the evidence against Lovette is overwhelming. He started with bank surveillance video that included a picture investigators said was Lovette trying to use Carson's ATM card while Atwater was holding her at gunpoint in the back seat.

However, Lovette's attorney Karen Bethea Shields said the person in the bank surveillance photo is not Lovette.

In her closing statement, Bethea-Shields said the state's key witnesses had reasons to lie and suggested a DNA swab linking Lovette to Carson's SUV had been mishandled.

The defense team called no witnesses of its own during the trial, including Lovette. But Bethea-Shields questioned why prosecutors didn't call Atwater to the stand.

"Why?" she asked. "What does he have to lose? He's serving time. Who is he trying to protect?"

In their investigation, police initially had few leads, but the release of a photo from the ATM camera and a sizable reward brought the cooperation of informants who led them to Lovette and Atwater.

Key witnesses for the prosecution were Shanita Love, Atwater's live-in girlfriend, and Jayson McNeil, a Durham man with a long criminal record.

Love said she was with Lovette as a group drove around Durham days after the killing, tossing out pieces of the disassembled pistol. She later led investigators to areas where they recovered enough of the weapon to match it to slugs pulled from Carson's body and shell cases found near her body and under the seat of her SUV.

Bethea-Shields suggested Monday that Love was lying to cover-up her own role in Carson's death, even suggesting she might have been in the car with her boyfriend the night Carson was killed.

"This is a lady who knows a lot about the crime before it is publicized," Bethea-Shields said. "How did she know so much?"

The defense also suggested a mystery suspect, not identified by police, could have been the one to accompany Atwater. A hair from an individual who was never identified was found in Carson's Highlander.

However, an agent from the State Bureau of Investigation testified that she recovered DNA from a swab of the inside of the driver's side door matched Lovette's genetic profile.

Bethea-Shields told jurors that the DNA match was suspicious, coming after the state lab possibly mishandled a genetic sample taken from Lovette following his arrest.

Woodall said the presence of Lovette's DNA in Carson's vehicle, which was ditched soon after she was shot, made Atwater guilty of felony murder even if he had not shot her. Under state law, a defendant is responsible for the death of a person if it happened during the commission of another felony, such as robbery and kidnapping.

"There's no question that the defendant was in that Toyota Highlander and that the defendant was at the crime scene," Woodall said. "The evidence, and there's a lot of evidence in this case, all point in the same direction -- to the defendant."

Reacting to Tuesday's verdict, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said: "Eve's death was a tremendous loss - for us at Carolina and for her family and friends. She did so much good in the short time she was with us. That's what I'll always remember.

The Murderers:

Demario Atwate


Laurence Lovette

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Russell And Kimberley Griffin

Tears for slain children ‘now together forever’

Russell Griffin and his sister Kimberley were never far apart intheir brief lives, the 13-year-old boy always the protector of hislittle sister.

But last week nothing could protect the two children on what should have been just another adventure in the bush not far from their home.

Instead, a killer took their lives.

But as their family was reminded yesterday nothing could take away their innocence.

At the funeral service their grandmother Faye Carter said the pair would now be together forever, ‘‘two good kids, two bad tempered little kids’’.

More than 100 people attended the funeral, with emergency services workers standing shoulder to shoulder with family members, adults and children in front of two small coffins and bouquets — one from Year 4C at Kimberley’s school.

They remembered children’s parties, lollies and toys, temper tantrums and brother/sister fights.

Joshua Kilpatrick, Russell’s best friend when they were at school together, said he still remembered a birthday party at Mrs Carter’s home when they played with a toy glider.

They would always have those memories now but last week the chance of memories of graduations, first kisses and families of their own, were stolen away.

Despite the coloured balloons and dozens of children there could only be grief yesterday. Sobs and tears punctuated the service but there was a sense of relief among those assembled that they were able to meet Russell and nine-year-old Kimberley at all.

School teacher Jane Kennedy, who taught Kimberley in Years 1 and 2, broke down when she said: ‘‘I’m so thankful I was part of her very short life.’’

One of the Kimberley’s young schoolmates could not read out a poem she wrote about her friend.

Instead her mother had to read it on her behalf.

And when the Reverend John Alley explained how bad things happened to innocent people, the congregation needed no further reminder than the young children in their school uniforms with tears in their eyes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kyleigh Crane

 Police tracked victim's items to 2 suspects

A discarded cellphone and a blood-stained video game console helped lead police to two men they think killed a Far-Eastside man and his 7-year-old niece.

The trail of evidence emerged in court documents released as Michael Bell, 22, and Jeremy Priel, 25, both of Indianapolis, appeared in court Tuesday. Marion Superior Court Judge Lisa Borges granted prosecutors' request for more time to prepare formal charges against the two men.

Priel and Bell said little during their appearances, offering "yes" and "no" answers and declining opportunities to ask the judge questions.

The men are scheduled to hear formal charges against them at 9 a.m. Thursday in Marion Superior Court. They remain in the Marion County Jail on preliminary charges of murder. Priel also faces a theft charge.

Bell and Priel are suspected in the Dec. 12 killings of Jeremy Crane, 21, and his niece Kyleigh Crane.

Their bodies were found in the home of Cathy Crane, Jeremy's mother and Kyleigh's grandmother, in the 600 block of Woodlark Drive near 10th Street and German Church Road.

The court documents provided new insight into how Cumberland Police Department detectives followed clues that led to Bell and Priel -- starting by tracing a Sprint cellphone that had belonged to Jeremy Crane.

A Lawrence Township woman told police that two men gave her the phone aboard an IndyGo bus on Dec. 12.

The woman first thought the men had accidentally dropped the phone, she told police. One of the men told her to keep it, according to the court documents.

Police corroborated the woman's story by obtaining the cellphone records and surveillance video from the bus. That narrowed their investigation to Bell and Priel, the court documents stated.

Police obtained additional evidence Sunday when two men went to the Cumberland Police Department. They told investigators they had seen news reports that two video game consoles -- an Xbox and a PlayStation 3 -- were missing from the Crane home after the slayings.

The men told police they had just purchased such consoles from Priel.

At the time they bought the items, the men said, the PlayStation appeared to have blood spots on it.
According to the court documents, they paid Priel $40 and an ounce of marijuana.

Bell and Priel were arrested Sunday. A 9 mm handgun confirmed to be the weapon used in the killings was found in the bedroom of a female acquaintance of Bell's, police said.


Kyleigh Crane

Cumberland murder suspects appear in court

INDIANAPOLIS -While family members still don't know why anyone would murder a seven-year-old girl and her uncle, police and the prosecutor's office say they know who is responsible.
Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel appeared in court Tuesday morning to face first degree murder charges. Kyleigh Crane, 7, and Jeremy Crane, 21, were found with fatal gunshot wounds in a Cumberland home on Dec 12.

Bell and Priel were not officially charged Tuesday. Instead, prosecutors asked for 72 hours to finish putting their case together.

Details about what happened in the hours and days following the murder emerged in court documents, which show how a cell phone and video from a IndyGo bus led investigators to their suspects.
Bell and Priel appeared in front of Judge Lisa Borges Tuesday morning, where they were advised of their rights.

According to court documents, investigators traced Jeremy Crane's cell phone to a woman who told police she was on a bus the day of the murders and a man had dropped the phone as he and another man were getting off an IndyGo Bus. When he came back onto the bus she advised him of that and he told her to keep it.

When police obtained video from that IndyGo bus, the video showed exactly what the woman told investigators had happened.

"Various types of surveillance tape, surveillance records, is a major part of the case and a major part of the investigation," said Denise Robison, Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

Police showed the same bus video to two men who told police they paid Priel $40 and an ounce of pot for an Xbox and PlayStation 3 last week. Those are the same video game systems police say Priel and Bell took after the murders. The court documents say "the PlayStation 3 appeared to have blood on it when they bought it."

The men who bought the video game systems told investigators they saw news coverage about the murders and then learned an Xbox and PlayStation 3 were missing from the murder scene. They then got suspicious and called investigators.

But the two men aren't the only ones to have seen the video game systems.

Priel's fiancée told police Bell and Priel had another black bag with them, but they never opened it. She also said Bell had a gift bag with a teddy bear inside it.

According to court documents, Bell asked the woman to throw away a pair of jeans for him because they were "messed up." Investigators say the woman offered to wash the jeans, but Bell insisted she throw them out. The documents also say that Priel told his girlfriend he thought Bell's jeans had blood on them.

The prosecutor's office is not talking about whether they'll ask for the death penalty for either suspect.
"The death penalty consideration or life without parole consideration is going to be a lengthier process," said Denise Robinson, Marion County prosecutor's office.

Formal murder charges against both men are expected to be filed Wednesday afternoon. Both Bell and Priel are scheduled to be back in court Thursday morning at 9:00 am.

Case background: 

Michael Bell was a close friend of the family. The younger children in the family called him "uncle." Jeremy Crane's mother says her family was stunned by Bell's arrest.

The arrests trace back to reports of stolen weapons and a cell phone.

The gun used in the execution style killings of Kyleigh Crane and her uncle Jeremy is now in the hands of police.

Investigators have confirmed it's a match, but a northwest side gun dealer is providing a little more detail.

"I can tell you this: They got the gun, the gun got blood on it," said Don Davis of Don's Guns.

13 Investigates has also learned it's possibly one of two semi automatic weapons reportedly stolen a day before the murders.

But it wasn't until Friday, four days after the killings that a 42-year-old Indianapolis woman reported two C-9 millimeter firearms missing. She also named a 22-year-old suspect.

Read the probable cause affidavit


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kyleigh Crane

Prosecutors want time in slayings case

The two men suspected in the shooting deaths of Kyleigh Crane, 7, and her uncle Jeremy Crane, 21, are scheduled to appear in court today, when prosecutors will seek a 72-hour continuance in their case.

Jeremy Priel, 25, and Michael Bell, 22, are being held on suspicion of murder charges. Priel also is suspected of theft in the case.

Marion County prosecutors are seeking the continuance to give them more time to file formal charges against Bell and Priel. Investigators are still gathering evidence in the case, said Brienne Delaney, a spokeswoman for Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

The victims' bodies were discovered Dec. 12 in the home of Cathy Crane, Jeremy's mother and Kyleigh's grandmother. The home is in the 600 block of Woodlark Drive, near 10th Street and German Church Road.

Cumberland police are handling the investigation. They are not releasing a motive or details, though earlier police reports indicated the killer or killers might have stolen electronics from the home, specifically an Xbox video game console, a PlayStation console and a Sprint cellphone.


Allison Griffor

Death of 5-year-old has lawmakers looking to pass new bill


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- In the wake of 5-year-old Allison Griffor's death, Rep. Chip Limehouse and Rep. Wendell G. Gilliard are working on a new bill that would strengthen penalties for those who discharge firearms into or at homes.

"In essence, treat homes as if they were people because when you shoot into a home and you murder anyone, that is a very, very heinous crime. We need to have our state laws reflect that," said Limehouse.

Allison Griffor died at MUSC on October 28 from injuries she received when someone fired a gun through the door of her home. The incident has been the topic of much discussion, as investigators with multiple law enforcement agencies continue to look for leads that may lead to the person or persons responsible for her death.

"The entire community is hurting over Allison's death," said Limehouse. "The death of a child is the worst thing that can happen to a family."

According to Limehouse, a spokesperson for the Griffor family suggested the newly proposed law be named in honor of Allison.

"We want the strictest penalties we can apply. If there is a death of a person, then certainly the death penalty ought to be implied."

Limehouse said on Wednesday the new bill has already been filed and is a combination and revision of drive-by shooting and home invasion bills previously introduced by Rep. Gilliard.

"I don't believe the penalties for firing into a house are the same as murder in the first degree. You can't say it was an accident. It was not an accident. That's what we're working through right now."

The two lawmakers hope the bill would make it so that anyone found guilty of shooting into a home could be held to the same group of charges as anyone who has shot at a person.

State lawmakers will take up Allison's Law in January.

 Allison's Law

Kyleigh Crane

Kyleigh's Obituary and Memorial Site
Kyleigh Marie Crane 7, of Indianapolis, passed away Monday, December 12, 2011. Kyleigh was born October 25, 2004 in Indianapolis the daughter of Joshua David Crane and Holly Long Wilson. She was a first grade student at Liberty Park Elementary School and active with Gymnastics Unlimited and Turning Pointe Academy of Dance.

Kyleigh is survived by her parents; her brother, Brayden Joshua Crane; grandparents, Scott Long and Deborah Long, of Indianapolis, David and Catherine Marie Elizabeth Mertes Crane of Indianapolis and several aunts and uncles. She was preceded in death by her grandparents and her uncle OJ.

Funeral services will be held at 5:00 p.m., Saturday, December 17, 2011 at Flanner and Buchanan - Washington Park East in the Community Life Center , 10612 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46229. Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until service time on Saturday. Entombment will be Private in Washington Park Cemetery. Flanner and Buchanan-Washington Park East is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions can be made to: The Brayden Crane Scholarship Fund at any Flanner and Buchanan location. Condolences may be left online at: flannerbuchanan.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kyleigh Crane

Two Indianapolis men are now isolated behind bars, awaiting formal murder charges in the deaths of a seven-year-old Cumberland girl and her uncle. The arrests now trace back to reports of stolen weapons and a cell phone.

The gun used in the execution style killings of seven-year-old Kyleigh Crane and her uncle Jeremy is now in the hands of police.

Investigators have confirmed it's a match, but a northwest side gun dealer is providing a little more detail.

"I can tell you this: They got the gun, the gun got blood on it," said Don Davis of Don's Guns.
13 Investigates has also learned it's possibly one of two semi automatic weapons reportedly stolen a day before the murders.

But it wasn't until Friday, four days after the killings that a 42-year-old Indianapolis woman reported two C-9 millimeter firearms missing. She also named a 22-year-old suspect.

It turns out that one of the murder suspects awaiting charges is a 22-year-old with the same birth date, Michael Bell.

"We actually had pictures and the whole nine yards beforehand. We knew who we were going after, it was just a matter of putting the puzzles together," revealed Marion County Sheriff John Layton.

Cumberland Police had also tracked down something taken from Jeremy Crane: his cell phone.

"They got the cell phone, they got the gun with blood, they got the lady that had possession of the gun," Davis said, pleased with the quick action of investigators.

Then early Saturday, a phone call to the gun dealer who promised "ten stacks" or $10,000 to the person with information leading to an arrest.

"He said, 'I know who did it,'" Davis said, recalling the urgent phone call.

At 1:00 pm, Don Davis, along with a Cumberland homicide investigator and Marion County Sheriff Layton, met with the informant.

"He said he was going to talk to Michael Bell and try to tell him to come in and turn himself in, because they knew who he was," Davis said, speaking about the informant's promise.

"There was no doubt in my mind. It was very informative who these people were and what was going on," Sheriff Layton said describing the level of knowledge the informant shared.

At 2:00 am Sunday, Michael Bell turned himself in.

Hours later, a SWAT team surrounded a unit in the Amberwood Apartments and took 25-year-old Jeremy Priel into custody too.

Sheriff Layton credits good police work, but says law enforcement always needs witnesses to speak up.

"At times when there is tragedy like this they stay quiet about anything they know. Sometimes it takes money, but sometimes it takes heart to get these people behind bars where they belong so they can't hurt anybody else," said Layton.

Don Davis won't say whether he paid the $10,000 reward.

Bell and Priel are both expected in court Tuesday. That's when the prosecutor's office will ask for a 72-hour hold with plans of filing formal charges later in the week.

Kyleigh Crane


Brother of young murder victim asks questions


The younger brother of a girl killed in an east side home is asking questions about how a family friend could allegedly commit such an act.

The mother of seven-year-old Kyleigh Crane asked Eyewitness News to talk with her son, five-year-old Brayden, about the murders that left his sister and uncle dead. He is the one family member who has said nothing about the crimes, but is just old enough to understand that people he loves are never coming back and why.

"Why would you do such a thing?" Brayden asked of 22-year-old suspect Michael Bell. "You loved me and Kyleigh. You used to play with us. You was nice to us."

Now, Bell and 25-year-old Jeremy Priel are behind bars, accused of murdering Brayden's sister and his 21-year-old uncle, Jeremy. The Crane family says they don't know Priel, but Bell was once like family to them. He was Jeremy Crane's best friend and trusted by Kyleigh and Brayden.

"He was our uncle, too. He was one of our uncles," Brayden said.

"My kids talked about him all the time. I heard 'Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike'," said Holly Wilson, Brayden and Kyleigh's mother. "Kyleigh would color him pictures and he'd play with them."

According to the Cranes, Jeremy Crane and Bell played football together at Warren Central High School and Bell even lived with the Cranes up until about two months ago, when he lost his job and abruptly took his stuff and left.

"Nobody really knows. He never said why he left. He just left," Holly Wilson said.

The Cranes say when Bell was charged with rape and went to trial in 2007, Jeremy Crane was at the trial every day supporting his best friend. Now, the family waits to hear what the man who was Jeremy's best friend and Priel told police about the day Jeremy and Kyleigh died.

For little Brayden Crane, who's just old enough to understand his sister and uncle are never coming back and why, there are not enough answers to the one question he wants to ask Bell, a man he once loved and trusted.

"Why did you do that?" he asked.

The Video:


Newly Edited Article: A Little More Information

INDIANAPOLIS - The younger brother of a girl killed in an east side home is asking questions about how a family friend could allegedly commit such an act.

The mother of seven-year-old Kyleigh Crane asked Eyewitness News to talk with her son, five-year-old Brayden, about the murders that left his sister and uncle dead. He is the one family member who has said nothing about the crimes, but is just old enough to understand that people he loves are never coming back and why.

"Why would you do such a thing?" Brayden asked of 22-year-old suspect Michael Bell. "You loved me and Kyleigh. You used to play with us. You was nice to us."

Now, Bell and 25-year-old Jeremy Priel are behind bars, accused of murdering Brayden's sister and his 21-year-old uncle, Jeremy. The Crane family says they don't know Priel, but Bell was once like family to them. He was Jeremy Crane's best friend and trusted by Kyleigh and Brayden.

"He was our uncle, too. He was one of our uncles," Brayden said.

"My kids talked about him all the time. I heard 'Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike'," said Holly Wilson, Brayden and Kyleigh's mother. "Kyleigh would color him pictures and he'd play with them."
According to the Cranes, Jeremy Crane and Bell played football together at Warren Central High School and Bell even lived with the Cranes up until about two months ago, when he lost his job and abruptly took his stuff and left.

"Nobody really knows. He never said why he left. He just left," Holly Wilson said.

The Cranes say when Bell was charged with rape and went to trial in 2007, Jeremy Crane was at the trial every day supporting his best friend. Now, the family waits to hear what the man who was Jeremy's best friend and Priel told police about the day Jeremy and Kyleigh died.

For little Brayden Crane, who's just old enough to understand his sister and uncle are never coming back and why, there are not enough answers to the one question he wants to ask Bell, a man he once loved and trusted.

"Why did you do that?" he asked.

That is a question that may never be answered completely. A question Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry will have to deal with in detail - Is this a death penalty case?

"Clearly, there are circumstances here that would qualify," Curry said Monday.

But the decision is not going to be made easily.

"When we took office, we put into place a review process for any case that qualifies for life without parole or death penalty consideration," Curry said. "We set up a review process where we have a committee within the office who will review the circumstances of those cases and make a determination down the road."

It's a decision the family is still poring over.

"We as a family are going to sit down and we are going to contemplate that," said Kyleigh's father Josh Crane.

"Me, as being Kyleigh's mother, I would think that I would want something like...like, I would have so much hurt, that I would want them, you know, but I was raised different than that. I grew up in a religious home and I don't believe two wrongs make a right," Wilson said Sunday.

Kyleigh Crane

Two Indianapolis men are in custody facing charges in connection with the murders of a seven year old girl and her uncle.

Police were extremely aggressive with this investigation and over the weekend they served multiple search warrants. Their first major break in the case came early Sunday morning when 22-year-old Michael Bell Junior surrendered to police.

Later in the morning, the SWAT team surrounded a home in an east side apartment complex where they took 25-year-old Jeremy Priel into custody. Neighbor Victoria Knox witnessed the incident."I woke up and there was the SWAT team in the front and the SWAT team in the back. I don't know what happened they just arrested him and took him off," said Knox.

Both of the arrests came on the same day the family laid 7-year-old Kyleigh and 21-year-old Jeremy Crane to rest.

The family is both relieved and hurt by the news.

Bell was described as being a close family friend of the Cranes and had grown up with Jeremy.
Neighbors are also expressing relief at the arrests and say they pray for some peace for the family.

In addition to both arrests, investigators also recovered a weapon, a handgun they believe Bell had stolen the day before the murders.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry is asking for a 72 hour hold for both suspects but expects to file formal murder charges later this week. He says they are still hoping to interview additional people but they have no reason to believe anyone else was involved.

There has been some suggestion about seeking the death penalty in this case. Indiana law describes circumstances where such a penalty can be sought. This crime does satisfy some of those conditions though no decision has been made.

Vigils have been held all week for the young victims as the community mourns their deaths and struggles to make sense of what happened. Jeremy and Kyleigh Crane were laid to rest Saturday.


Michael Taylor and Mark McNeill


Two teens killed in hit and run, suspect arrested

Two teenage boys are dead, and another man is behind bars - charged with running them down while high on drugs. 

There was immeasurable grief and disbelief in one Glenolden neighborhood Saturday night, where the two high school freshmen lost their lives.

Police say they were run down by a young man who never should have been behind the wheel of a car.

A memorial of teddy bears and candles lined the corner of Chester Pike and Glenolden Avenue where the two teens were run down.

The two victims, 15 year old friends Michael Taylor and Mark McNeill, were being gentlemen Friday night when they walked a couple of female friends home.

They were crossing the street when a speeding car came out of nowhere.

Friends and family members held each other as they mourned the loss of Taylor and McNeill, who were killed just a few feet away from the growing memorial.

Glenolden Police say the Academy Park High School student were crossing Chester Pike Friday night when 19-year-old Marquis Thompson ran them down while he was running from an officer.

"We didn't really talk; we just cried all last night," said Kyle Dipilla.

Action News was there as Thompson was hauled off to jail.

Investigators say he was high on drugs when a Folcroft Police officer tried to pull him over on Chester Pike.

He allegedly took off in a Chevrolet Lumina, struck the teens near Glenolden Avenue and kept going.
Police say Thompson had his girlfriend report the car stolen before he ditched the heavily damaged vehicle in Norwood.

He was later found and arrested.

"What he did is hurting people's family, he's hurting friends, and it's just killing me, it's killing us," said Amanda O'Donnell.

Michael was pronounced dead at the scene. Mark died at Crozer Chester Medical Center late Saturday afternoon.

Those who knew them held candles and told stories about the popular young men.

"He was fun, made a joke out of everything, lit of the room, anything you could want," said Kyle DiPilla.

"Mark was the type of guy to make any situation easier, because he could make everybody laugh," said Tia.

"Mark always knew what to say to make a person smile, and it really hurts because he was like my brother," said Amanda O'Donnell.

Marquis Thompson was arraigned Saturday. He faces a host of charges, including vehicular homicide.
Thompson is being held on a million dollars cash bail.



Jane Creba

A Video Tribute To Jane Creba

Jane Creba

 The Boxing Day shooting: The story so far

Updated: Tue Dec. 22 2009


The latest development in the Boxing Day 2005 shooting death of Jane Creba is the guilty plea of Jeremiah Valentine. He had been scheduled to go on trial in January on a charge of second-degree murder.

On Dec. 22, 2009, Justice John McMahon sentenced Valentine to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 12 years.

The first major legal proceeding was the trial and subsequent sentencing of J.S.R. -- who can be named as Jorrell Simpson-Rowe following an April 24, 2009 court ruling. That proceeding began 15 months earlier.

The events leading up to these proceedings began on Boxing Day 2005.

Creba was out shopping with her sister, when she was hit by a bullet fired during a dispute between two groups of thugs.

The slaying rocked a city already traumatized by number of notorious shootings in what became known as the Year of the Gun.

Four more people face either trial or a verdict in connection with the brief gunfight outside a Foot Locker south of Elm Street that also left six people wounded.

J.S.R.'s trial began on Sept. 8, 2008, but the jury didn't hear the Crown's opening address until Oct. 16. He pleaded not guilty to:
  • One count of second-degree murder
  • Six counts of attempted murder
  • Five weapons charges
The jury was told on Nov. 26, 2008 that the attempted murder charges have been downgraded to aggravated assault.

On Dec. 7, 2008, the fourth day of deliberations, the jury found J.S.R. guilty of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and the weapons charges.

J.S.R. originally couldn't be fully named because he was only 17 at the time of the shootings, making him a young offender and subject to the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The 21-year-old had been in custody since his arrest.

On April 24, 2009, Justice Ian Nordheimer sentenced Simpson-Rowe to life in prison without possibility of parole for seven years. J.S.R. will have to serve an additional three years and eight months before he can apply for parole.

J.S.R. was not accused of firing the shot that killed Creba, but under recent advances in Canadian criminal law, he could be found guilty of murder if the Crown proved to the jury's satisfaction that he participated in a gunfight and another person returned fire that struck and killed a bystander.

A key question at trial was whether the Crown could prove J.S.R. fired a handgun outside the Foot Locker store.  Police found a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol on J.S.R. when they arrested him at the Castle Frank subway station. That firearm was forensically linked to the shooting scene.

Near the end of the Crown's portion of the trial, the Crown and defence agreed that another man also faces charges had been carrying the pistol at the Eaton Centre and while at the Foot Locker (see 'what happened?' for the sequence of events). Furthermore, they agree that accused still held the gun when the shooting started.

Justice Ian Nordheimer of Ontario Superior Court presided over the trial, which was heard by a jury of six men and six women.

The Crown prosecutor was Kerry Hughes. The defence lawyers were Mara Greene and Gary Grill.

What happened?

The genesis of the shooting began in the Eaton Centre mall where a group of young men had been behaving badly.

The North York group left the mall and moved north on the west side of Yonge Street to a Foot Locker store just south of a Pizza Pizza outlet at the intersection with Elm Street.

Valentine and his friend Milan Mijatovic were at the Foot Locker store to buy shoes for their children. Valentine was packing a .357 Magnum revolver, although it was never recovered after the gunfight.

He noticed someone else who appeared to be carrying a firearm. Defence lawyer Edward Sapiano claimed in court on Dec. 22 that the men in the Foot Locker attempted to rob his client of a gold chain.
Around 5:15 p.m., the two groups confronted each other on the sidewalk. They argued. Gunfire broke out.

Witnesses say one man, slightly to the south of the Foot Locker, first fired a shot into the air. Then they saw muzzle flashes and heard shots from the opposing group.

Const. Brian Callanan, a police officer who was working as a paid-duty officer at the now-defunct Sam The Record Man immediately across the street, has testified that he heard two volleys of shots mere seconds apart.

The day would be the culmination of the Year of the Gun -- 52 gun deaths were recorded in Toronto in 2005.

The casualties

Like thousands of Torontonians, Jane Creba, 15, had been out shopping for Boxing Day bargains. She went with her sister Alison. They were on the east side of Yonge Street when Jane crossed the street to see if she could use the bathroom in the Pizza Pizza.

Jane got caught in the crossfire. Court has heard she may have tried to duck, but a bullet entered her back, severed her aorta and exited the base of her throat. "I didn't think there was anything I could do for her," Callanan testified.

The trial would later hear that Creba didn't die immediately. One witness testified he saw her crawling a few steps, blood covering her face, before she collapsed. She would become Toronto's 78th homicide victim of 2005.

Const. Angela Kahnt testified that while some onlookers tried to save Creba as she lay dying.
The incident left six other people wounded. Five of those required hospital care, and two were seriously wounded. A sixth person, an off-duty police officer, suffered minor wounds that didn't require hospital care.

The hunt for suspects

There was bedlam at the shooting scene, with massive crowds scattering in panic. But police did manage to catch an early break.

Nasser Kaivan-Mehr told court on Oct. 28 2008 that J.S.R. entered his cab, which was parked near the bus terminal west of Bay Street a few blocks from the scene. The youth seemed excited and out of breath.

They picked up a second man and asked to go to the nearest subway station, which happened to be St. Patrick's at Dundas Street West and University Avenue. The cabbie overheard a cellphone conversation where he heard them speaking on a cellphone with a third man, arranging a meeting at Castle Frank station.

Kaivan-Mehr went back to the bus terminal and told police.

When they arrested the two about 40 minutes after the shooting, police found J.S.R. holding a handgun.

Almost six months would pass before police arrested anyone else in connection with the shootout. In the meantime, police offered a $50,000 reward and protection to anyone who stepped forward.

A team of up to 20 investigators worked on the case, codenamed "Project Green Apple" because Creba liked that particular fruit.

In a series of pre-dawn raids conducted on June 13, 2006, police picked up eight people in connection with the Creba case, as part of a wider group of 25 arrested.

Two of those arrested in that sweep were among the six who suffered gunshot wounds that Dec. 26, 2005 night.

Who has been charged

Here are the others, besides Simpson-Rowe and Valentine, and their charges (all are in custody except one). Judge Timothy Lipson committed seven of them to stand trial in a ruling issued March 14, 2008 following a 10-month preliminary hearing:
  • Defendant 1 - second-degree murder, six counts attempted murder; jury selection set for Jan. 25, 2010
  • Defendant 2 - second-degree murder, six counts attempted murder; jury selection set for Jan. 25, 2010
  • Andrew Smith - manslaughter (charge later dismissed)
  • Vincent Davis - manslaughter (charge later dismissed)
  • Andre Thompson - manslaughter, weapons offences (charges later dropped)
  • Shaun Thompson - manslaughter (free on bail) (charge later dismissed)
  • G.C. (young offender, now an adult) - manslaughter; awaiting verdict
On April 7, 2009, police announced the arrest of another suspect -- Dorian Wallace, 27. Wallace was found in London, England. Extradition proceedings are underway. He will be facing a manslaughter charge, police say.

Difference between murder and manslaughter
This area of law is complex. The 2008 version of Martin's Criminal Code takes more than 20 pages to cover the concepts of homicide, murder and manslaughter.

Here are the simplified versions, but check a legal text if you want the absolute letter of the law.
Murder is when you:
  • Unlawfully kill someone and intended to do so
  • Meant to cause bodily harm and didn't care whether death resulted or not (accidents and mistakes aren't excuses)
  • You killed someone while doing something unlawful and caused a person's death, even if you didn't mean to do so
Manslaughter is "culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide," reads the law. The simple version is when you have unlawfully killed someone, but didn't have the intent to do so.

Intoxication can be a reason for finding someone guilty of manslaughter instead of murder, as can be provocation. The law sees those two factors as reducing someone's ability to form the intent necessary to commit murder.

In Lipson's ruling, he reduced the charges against Barnett and Woodcock to manslaughter from second-degree murder. However, a higher court restored murder charges against the two in a mid-September ruling.

J.S.R. saw his second-degree murder charge reduced to manslaughter by Nordheimer, who was then overruled by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Jane Creba


‘Severe sentence’ urged in Creba death

Another notorious Toronto gun crime was invoked on Wednesday during the sentencing hearing for two men convicted of manslaughter in the death of Jane Creba.

Crown attorney Maurice Gillezeau pointed to the 15-year sentence imposed for manslaughter against one of the men convicted in the 1994 Just Desserts shooting and suggested a similar penalty for Louis Raphael Woodcock and Tyshaun Barnett.

“I am asking you to hand down a severe sentence,” the Crown said to Ontario Superior Court Justice Gladys Pardu. “I am asking for a sentence of at least 15 years.”

Ms. Creba was fatally wounded on Boxing Day 2005 as she crossed Yonge Street just north of the Eaton Centre, while out shopping with her sister. The 15-year-old high school student was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between two rival groups outside of a Foot Locker store.

Woodcock, 23, and Barnett, 23, were originally charged with second-degree murder and accused of firing guns in the shootout. They were convicted by a jury this spring of manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault, related to others wounded in the gun battle.

Jeremiah Valentine, who pleaded guilty last December to second-degree murder and received a life sentence with no parole for at least 12 years, used a .357 Magnum to fire the shot that “almost certainly” was the source of the bullet that killed Ms. Creba, the court heard.

While Barnett and Woodcock were not accused of firing a shot that killed anyone, the Crown said the two men legally caused the death of Ms. Creba. “This was a mutual gunfight,” said Mr. Gillezeau.
In the Just Desserts case, another innocent young woman lost her life. Georgina “Vivi” Leimonis, a patron at the midtown restaurant, was fatally shot by Lawrence Brown during a botched robbery. Brown is serving a life sentence for murder. Gary Francis, an accomplice in the robbery, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter in 1999 by Justice Brian Trafford.

“Francis did not fire the gun and he got 15 years,” noted Mr. Gillezeau.

Lawyers representing Woodcock and Barnett asked for a range of between six to 10 years in prison. They also argued for at least two-for-one credit for the four years of pre-trial custody. Both men spent several months of their time in jail “triple bunked” in 54-square-foot cells at the Toronto Don Jail, the court heard.

Recent changes to the Criminal Code that would normally limit pre-trial credit to a one-to-one ratio, do not apply to people charged before the law took effect.

Christopher Hicks, who represents Barnett, urged Judge Pardu to impose a sentence based on the law and not the notoriety of the case. “There are no nice facts to  manslaughter,” he said.

Woodcock and Barnett both apologized to the court for their actions and the death of Ms. Creba. “I hope that Ms. Creba and her family and everyone affected by my acts will one day find it in their hearts to forgive me,” said Woodcock, wearing a blue sweater and dress pants.

Judge Pardu indicated that she will impose sentence on Aug. 26.