Monday, December 5, 2011

Russell And Kimberley Griffin


Button guilty of child deaths

THE grandfather of murdered school children Russell and Kimberley Griffin yesterday shook hands with their killer's father minutes after his son was found guilty of their murder.

"I've got sympathy for him, he's a father the same as I am,'' Clive Griffin said.

Mr Griffin spoke of his relief after Joseph Garrett Button was convicted in Rockhampton Supreme Court yesterday afternoon.

"I thought I'd be dead before that bastard ever set foot in a courtroom,'' he said.

"I've never been so relieved in my life.''

Button's mother and sisters wept openly in the court gallery as the jury found him guilty of the October 2001 murders.

Justice Peter Dutney is expected to hand down a prison sentence of at least 20 years this morning.
Mr Griffin, accompanied always by the victims' neighbour, Michael Hepburn, sat through all 11 days of the exhausting and often emotional trial waiting for the verdict.

"I had to be here for the kids, I felt somebody had to represent them,'' Mr Griffin said. But he said some of the grue- some details revealed in the trial had forced him to leave the room. "There were some things that I suspected but didn't know for sure that came up.''

He hoped Button would never be allowed to leave prison, adding his grandchildren, aged 9 and 13 at the time, would now be aged 13 and 17.

"So much has been taken away from us ... they never got to have their lives, they will never have an 18th birthday, a 21st birthday, they will never learn to drive...''

"If Annette (victims' mother) lives to be 100 she will never get over this.


Russell And Kimberley Griffin

Doctor: Boy drank before murder

RUSSELL Griffin had been drinking alcohol before he was murdered on October 15, 2001, the Rockhampton Supreme Court heard yesterday.

A former Queensland Health pathologist yesterday said a toxicology report revealed the 13- year-old's body had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.063, higher than the legal driving limit.

Last week the murder trial of Joseph Garrett Button, heard the accused had told friends he had been drinking wine with a young man on the day Russell and his nine-year-old sister Kimberley were killed.

The pathologist, Dr Terrence Sinton, who did the autopsy on both children, revealed the cause of death in both cases to be "asphyxiation consistent with compression of the neck''.

Button has pleaded not guilty to murdering the North Rockhampton children. He has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape against Kimberley.

Peter Clausen, a forensic scien- tist from John Tonge Centre, Brisbane, said blood with DNA matching Kimberley Griffin's was found on a shirt belonging to Button.

He also said sperm, believed to be from Button, was on Kimberley's pants.


Russell And Kimberley Griffin

Mother's justice took four years

AFTER four long years, Annette Griffin finally got justice for the murder of her children, Russell and Kimberley, yesterday.

A tearful Ms Griffin yesterday spoke publicly for the first time of the trauma her family had been put through, just minutes after convicted murderer Joseph Garrett Button was sentenced to life imprisonment.

"I'm constantly reliving it, it's been a little easier in the last two years but birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries are very hard,'' she said.

Ms Griffin said she was feeling numb after hearing the sentence but was relieved Button would spend a long time in prison.

"I have gotten some form of justice for Russell and Kimberley.''

The former Glenmore State School students were aged 13 and 9 on the afternoon of October 15, 2001, when Button led them to an isolated part of Mt Archer National Park.

There he strangled them and threw their bodies off a cliff before chucking rocks at them.
There is also evidence he sexually assaulted Kimberley.

Ms Griffin criticised the long delays in determining whether Button, who has been diagnosed by some psychiatrists as a paranoid schizophrenic, was fit to stand trial.

"I don't think it was right for me to wait four years to get justice,'' she said. "There were a lot of times I didn't think it would come to an end.'' Ms Griffin said the trial had forced her to relive the horrors of four years ago and could not return to court for most of the trial after giving evidence on day one.

But she summoned the strength to join her father Clive in court on Tuesday to hear the jury find Button guilty of both murders and again yesterday to hear the sentence.

"I needed to hear the verdict to get some sort of closure.'' Ms Griffin hoped she would be able to get her life back on track now the trial was over.

She said she was yet to decide if she wanted to stay in Rockhampton in the long term.

"I've just been focused on getting justice for my kids for the last four years, I'm going to try to get on with my life.''

Ms Griffin spoke to The Morning Bulletin on the condition none of her family was photographed.


Russell And Kimberley Griffin

A family friend of murdered youngsters Russell and Kimberley Griffin yesterday claimed their accused killer had tried to take her daughter just a day earlier. Kathy Marie Hopwood yesterday took the witness stand in the murder trial of Joseph Garrett Button in the Rockhampton Supreme Court.

Button, 33, has pleaded not guilty to the murders of Russell, 13, and Kimberley Griffin, 9, on October 15, 2001. The children were allegedly strangled and their bodies thrown off a cliff in the Mount Archer National Park.

The court heard Button had taken the children to search for special didgeridoo wood. Ms Hopwood ? a friend of the murdered siblings' mother Annette Griffin ? told the court she had met Button by chance when he walked into the hotel where she was playing pool. She said Button must have seen her address on some paperwork she had and was shocked when he turned up at her house a few weeks later. Ms Hopwood said the conversations she later had with Button had been "very weird'' with him at one point asking her to perform a sex act on him.

Ms Hopwood said when her daughter, a school pal of Kimberley's, arrived home Button asked if he could take her to Yeppoon to hunt for didgeridoo wood. When Ms Hopwood refused, she said Button's eyes "went evil''. "He was upset when I refused. I didn't worry about his feelings. I just said no. He got a bit funny. His eyes ... I just wanted him out of my home.''

It was at this point that Ms Griffin and Russell arrived at Ms Hopwood's, meeting Button for what is believed to be the first time. She said Ms Griffin never saw the argument. The Griffin children went missing the next day. The court also heard from one of Ms Griffin's neighbours, Michael Matthew Hepburn, who also had young children.

Mr Hepburn said he had seen Button giggling with Russell on the day of the murder, but Russell was usually a quiet kid. He said Russell had asked to borrow a hacksaw from him while Button looked on from underneath the Griffin's house.

Witness Tiana June Perkis said she had seen Button and the children on the day of their deaths. She said Russell was drinking and Button smelt of alcohol. Ms Perkis said Button yelled "God bless you'' and he walked off along Richardson Road with the kids. The trial continues.

Justin Dillon Ervin

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested a suspect in a 6-year-old murder case.

Officers arrested 23-year-old Tyrice Lavar Boyd on Friday in connection with the murder of 20-year-old Justin Dillon Ervin.Ervin was shot outside the X-press Mart on Glenwood Drive in West Charlotte on December 10 2005.

Eyewitness News talked to Justin’s mother, Dawn Ervin, about her reaction to a suspect being charged.“I was excited. I was glad because I honestly didn’t think it was over going to be solved. I really didn’t.”In 2005, Ervin tried to stop three men from attacking his girlfriend in his car.

Police said they pulled a gun and as he tried to get away, the suspects shot him in the back.

Friday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Violent Criminal Apprehension Team arrested Boyd and charged him with murder and armed robbery.“I want him to get the death penalty. It was senseless; they got nothing from him, nothing and they killed him,”

Ervin said.Dawn Ervin said the arrest is a small victory for now - one she plans on sharing with her son.“I will be going to his grave to talk to him," she said.

Police are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of the other two men from that night to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Murderers: 1 of 3

Kelli O'Laughlin

A video that was shown at Kelli O'Laughlin's wake.

A Memorial Fund Has Been Established:

Alternatively, donations can be sent to:
The Chicago Community Trust
attn: Nicole Mitchell
111 East Wacker Drive
Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60601

Please make checks payable to "The Chicago Community Trust" with "The Kelli Joy O'Laughlin Memorial Fund" in the memo line of the check. 

Rest In Peace Kelli!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jonathan Foster


Killing of Houston boy, 12, described as 'drug debt'

Quanell X: 'I believe this case is a drug debt'
Quanell X today said that Mona Nelson, accused of the kidnapping-murder of 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, admitted that she had dumped the boy's burned body in a northeast Houston ditch. But, the Houston activist added, the woman had no motive for killing the child.

Quanell X said he attended Nelson's first court appearance today at the request of her family. Nelson, 44, this morning was advised of her rights by 182nd state District Court Judge Jeannine Barr, then remanded to county jail, where she is being held without bail on a capital murder charge.

Barr appointed lawyer Allen Tanner to defend Nelson. Tanner was not immediately available for comment.

"I believe this case is a drug debt," Quanell X said, adding that he based his comments on an earlier interview with Nelson. "I do not believe she had a motive to kill the boy."

The activist said he anticipates further arrests in the case. "I don't believe this case is solved at all," he said, "and I would urge the public not to rush to judgment."

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Connie Spence said she is "satisfied with the investigation by the Houston Police Department. They did an excellent job."

Still, she said, the investigation is continuing, and she is optimistic a crime lab examination of evidence could develop more evidence.

She said she expects to present Nelson's case to a grand jury in "a couple of months."

Foster disappeared from his family home shortly before 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve. His burned body was found near a northeast Houston culvert last Tuesday. Authorities believe he was killed and his body burned elsewhere.

Quanell X said he became involved in the case at Nelson's request. He said Nelson told him the seemingly incriminating burned carpet at her residence had caught fire months ago. "She had called on her landlord to fix it," he said.

Nelson, attired in an orange county jail jumpsuit, quietly listened as Barr apprised of her of her rights. Then, in a low voice, she affirmed that she understood the explanation.

Quanell X, speaking to reporters afterward, said she seemed "weaker physically and mentally."
"I could tell that she was absolutely stressed out," he said. "This has taken its toll."

Jonathan Foster

Police: Woman Who Murdered Jonathan Foster May Be Serial Killer

During an afternoon news conference today, Houston Police investigators said Mona Yvette Nelson, the woman charged with capital murder in the death of 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, may be a child serial killer.

Officers said they are investigating whether Nelson may be involved in the deaths of other children.

HPD Homicide Detective Michael Miller described the 44-year-old Nelson as “soulless,” and said the woman had shown an “absolute lack of remorse” for the killing.

“I was one of the detectives to interview Mona Nelson, and I can tell you that she is a cold, soulless murderer who showed an absolute lack of remorse in taking the life of Jonathan Foster,” Miller said.
“There are few cases that impact homicide detectives in this manner, but this is one of them.”

Miller also said Nelson had admitted to dumping the boy’s burned body in the drainage ditch, but continues to insist she did not kill him.

Detectives said their investigation suggested Nelson abducted Foster from his mother’s apartment last Friday afternoon. Witnesses reported seeing Nelson talking to the boy around 12:30 p.m. Miller described Nelson’s actions as “methodical” in the way she stalked the child before kidnapping him.

Nelson then took the fifth-grader to her apartment near U.S. 59 and Laura Koppe, where she killed him and burned the body, according to investigators.

A welder by trade, Nelson apparently used welding torches to burn the boy’s body in her apartment before dumping it in a drainage ditch on Schilder near the Hardy Toll Road. A surveillance camera from the nearby Rolled Alloys facility captured an image of Nelson dumping the body. That surveillance video led detectives to Nelson.

The location where the boy’s body was dumped is about three miles from Nelson’s apartment.

Miller said detectives had recovered “a wealth of evidence” from Nelson’s home.

“Once we arrived at her house, we stumbled into a wealth of evidence; evidence that showed Jonathan’s body was burned at the residence,” Miller said. “Evidence that showed, perhaps, the items that he was burned with; evidence that had us fairly shaken up in collecting it.”

The 14-year veteran homicide detective called the killing of Jonathan Foster “the worst case that I’ve been a part of” and at time struggled to hold back tears during the briefing.

Miller went on to describe Nelson as “bizarre” and someone who “acted alone in this crime of her own disregard for human life.”

He also said he believes Nelson may have killed other children.

“Do I believe she’s done it before? Yeah; I do,” Miller said. “I don’t believe she began and ended with the abduction of Jonathan Foster.”

Authorities have also revealed Nelson has an extensive criminal record dating back almost 25 years. That record includes:

1986: Nelson was convicted of aggravated robbery in Harris County and sentenced to 10 years on prison.

1991: Nelson was arrested by the Border Patrol at a checkpoint in Kenedy County for attempting to smuggle five illegal aliens from Mexico.

1997: Nelson was convicted of theft by check in Daingerfield. That same year, she was also found guilty of theft in Mount Vernon, and served 30 days in jail.

1998: Nelson was arrested for operating a stolen vehicle.

2001: Nelson pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and served 29 days of a 30-day sentence

2002: Nelson was convicted of possession of marijuana in Collin County.

2004: Nelson was convicted of making a terroristic threat in Mount Vernon, Va.

2005: Nelson was convicted of criminal mischief in Mount Vernon, Va.

2006: Nelson was arrested on a battery charge in St. Charles Parish, La.

2008: Nelson was arrested on a charge of assault on a family member in Mount Pleasant.

Nelson remains in jail without bond.

Ryan Satterfield

MUSKOGEE - Muskogee police have made three more arrests in a Wednesday night shooting that left a Fort Gibson teen dead.

Police Lt. Bobby Lee said two adults and a juvenile were arrested Thursday in the shooting death of Ryan Satterfield, 17, bringing the total number of arrests in the case to six.

Tommy Dean Jr., 19, and Frederick Watson, 18, were arrested and booked into the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility on complaints of first-degree robbery and first-degree murder. A juvenile, whose name was not released by police, also was arrested.

Satterfield was found dead around 9:14 p.m. Wednesday in a home at 1505 E. Okmulgee Ave., when police responded to a shooting call. Lee referred to the circumstances around the shooting as a "robbery gone bad."

Lee said police are aware of what the suspects were looking for during the robbery, but are not releasing that information.

Satterfield's grandfather, Bill Satterfield, said Ryan was at the house Wednesday with a group of friends. He said the shooting happened after Ryan's friend's parents left the house to go to the store.

Martin Miller, 18, Deandre Clark, 18, and a 17-year-old juvenile were arrested following the shooting. All three have been booked into the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility on complaints of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

Funeral arrangements for Satterfield are pending with Bradley Family Funeral Home in Fort Gibson.


Multiple arrests made in shooting death of teenager

Muskogee police have arrested at least three people in a shooting that left a Fort Gibson teen dead.

Ryan Satterfield, 17, was found dead at a residence at 1505 E. Okmulgee Ave., on Wednesday evening after police responded to a shooting call at 9:14 p.m., said Muskogee Police Lt. Bobby Lee.

Police made three arrests but were looking for more subjects in what Lee referred to as a “robbery gone bad.” Police arrested Martin Miller, 18, and Deandre Clark, 18, on complaints of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. Also arrested was a juvenile male, whose name was not released by police.

Lee said police are aware of what the suspects sought during the robbery, but are not releasing that information.

The shooting is the second homicide in Muskogee in less than two weeks. Roshun English, 35, was shot dead Nov. 12 in his home during an attempted robbery. Police have arrested Romonne Levell Johnson Jr., 16, and Dawaan James Norwood, 21, in connection with that shooting. Both have been charged with first-degree murder.

Satterfield’s grandfather, Bill Satterfield, said police told him they arrested two more 18-year-olds in connection with Wednesday’s homicide, bringing the total to five.

Satterfield said police told him that Ryan and four of Ryan’s friends were in the house with Ryan’s friend’s parents. The suspects entered through the front door after the parents had gone to the store.

“They came in and hit one boy in the head with a baseball bat and knocked him out,” Satterfield said. “They took the rest of the boys into the kitchen, made them kneel down and took their phones and money.”

Satterfield said the boys knew two of the suspects and identified them to police. He said he was told Ryan spoke to the suspects, one of whom said to another suspect, “If (Ryan) doesn’t shut up, shoot him.”

“They shot him twice,” Satterfield said. “Once in the leg and once in the chest. I believe they said it was a shotgun that was used.”

Ryan was a hard worker, who loved his family, his grandfather said.

“He was a good boy,” Satterfield said. “He had a heart the size of Texas. One of the boys there said he grabbed Ryan’s hand after he’d been shot, and Ryan told him, ‘Tell my mom and dad and brother and sister I love them, because I’m going to die tonight.’ He loved his family very much.”

Satterfield said Ryan had just started a job in Fort Gibson at Sonic, and was saving up for his first car.

“I was supposed to take him to the bank (today) to help him open up a savings account,” Satterfield said.

Funeral arrangements for Satterfield are pending with Bradley Family Funeral Home in Fort Gibson.

Murderers (two of six):

Joshua Wilkerson

A 20-year-old man accused of killing a Pearland teen a year ago has been ruled incompetent to stand trial and was transferred from jail to a state mental hospital this month.

Hermilo Moralez was charged with murder last year in the beating death of his missing classmate. The dumped, partially burned remains of 18-year-old Josh Wilkerson were discovered in a Fort Bend County field with bound hands and feet.

After an evaluator determined that Moralez was not competent to stand trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that he should be treated for a mental health condition.

"He has been sent to a state hospital for competency restoration," Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said. "At the present time, he is not competent to stand trial. He does not have a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against him."

Yenne described the transfer as a minor hurdle and said she anticipates bringing the case to trial.

"Our goal is to get him to a jury as soon as possible. The first step is that he be restored to competency so that he can be tried for murder," she said.

A judge's ruling in October cleared the way for Moralez, to be transferred this month from the Brazoria County Jail to a state mental institution.

"It's just significant that he needed to have treatment," said Moralez's lawyer James E. Lindeman III.

Wilkerson disappeared after leaving Pearland ISD's Pace Center campus the week before Thanksgiving 2010. His parents notified police when they found his truck in a strip mall parking lot later that evening. After an extensive search by authorities and volunteers, the teen's body was found the next day across the county line.

Authorities said Moralez, then 19, admitted beating Wilkerson to death with a wooden rod. At the time of his arrest, the Belize citizen did not have legal status in this country, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Reached by phone late Monday, George Wilkerson had little to say about the latest development in the case of his son's alleged killer.

"That's just the process they have to do," he said, adding that his family continues to deal with their loss. "It's just day by day, getting by."


Ryan McDonald

It was the why — not the who — that led to a plea agreement Tuesday in a fatal shooting in the cafeteria of Central High School,

Jamar Siler, 18, pleaded guilty in Knox County Criminal Court to second-degree murder in the August 2008 shooting death of 15-year-old Ryan McDonald.

Siler's defense attorney, Russell Greene, said there was no proof on why Siler, then 15, would fatally shoot McDonald. But Greene feared his theory that Siler simply acted on impulse because of the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome might fall on deaf ears of jurors tasked with deciding if Siler was guilty of first-degree murder.

"East Tennessee juries are tough," Greene said.

So Greene and prosecutor Leslie Nassios struck a deal in which Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz would sentence Siler to 30 years for second-degree murder, a penalty outside the normal range for offenders such as Siler.

He will receive credit for the three years he has been in custody.

Siler was initially charged as a juvenile but Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin ordered him tried as an adult.

Siler had been charged with first-degree murder, which could have netted him a life sentence with possibility of parole after 51 years.

Roger McDonald, the victim's uncle, said Siler looked "empty" in the courtroom Tuesday.

"He had nobody there for him," McDonald said. "I know it sounds crazy, and I'm not going to say I feel sorry for him, but these two kids were in and out of different programs and they slipped through the cracks and this is the result. My message is to society and the system as a whole, that we need to get a handle on these kids."

McDonald said his nephew had a rough childhood at times, and bounced around while living with family members. Despite that, he said, Ryan was a kindhearted teenager who cared for a stray dog at a nearby abandoned house and used his spare money to buy children in the neighborhood treats from the ice cream truck.

"He wasn't an angel by any means, but he wasn't a bad kid. He was just a kid," McDonald said.
The prospect of having Ryan's reputation challenged in court was enough for his family to support the plea deal. And though the family didn't think 30 years was enough, they accepted the sentence was beyond their control, McDonald said.

"I wasn't looking forward to my mom and my family having to sit through a trial and hear things on both sides. They would have tried to paint Ryan in a bad light, and we weren't looking forward to that," said McDonald. "I can't say we're satisfied with how it turned out, but we just have to live with the way turned out. We're not in charge of that."

Siler had an even worse childhood, according to Greene and juvenile court records.

Both his parents were drug addicts, addicted to both alcohol and crack cocaine. Siler, born in Florida but winding up in Knoxville, bounced from one state foster care system to another with little intervention.

Greene has been building a defense centered on Siler's ability to premeditate the shooting. Greene said Tuesday an expert had concluded Siler suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.

"The brain doesn't develop properly," Greene said of fetuses exposed to alcohol. "Some parts don't develop at all. (The syndrome) would go toward his ability to premeditate."

Greene learned about the syndrome from a 2004 Seattle study and consulted with the experts.

It would have been a rare legal challenge, however, and one Greene said he ultimately could not "in good conscience" pursue with Siler's life at stake and a plea deal on the table.

Knox County Schools officials declined to comment on the plea deal.

Danny O'Shea

A teenager has been viciously stabbed to death as he tried to flee a gang of youths.

The victim, named locally as Danny O'Shea, was chased and had his throat slashed outside his mother's front door in Newham, east London last night.

Paramedics fought for 30 minutes to save the 18-year-old's life, but he was pronounced dead at the scene in front of horrified neighbours at 6.50pm.

Police have yet to establish whether the teen's mother was in at the time when her son was chased 300 yards before the attack outside the house.

Tributes have already started pouring in to a memorial group on Facebook, which has attracted over 500 people.

One called R.I.P Danny O’Shea read R.I.P Danny So Sad Your Gone :’( and has already attracted support from nearly 500 people.

The teen's grandfather, Michael O'Shea, told The Sunday Mirror: 'He was a wonderful lad. We're all in shock.'

A police spokesman said earlier that next of kin had been informed but formal identification had not yet taken place.

John MacDonald, detective chief inspector of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: 'We believe that the victim may have been chased from Butchers Road at the junction of Hooper Road down into Boreham Avenue, E16.

'The people chasing him comprised of a group of black males.'

Carlee Morse

On the third day of his jury trial for murdering Westland teenager Carlee Morse, Justin Yoshikawa accepted a plea bargain that will send him to prison for 35 to 65 years.

Yoshikawa, who turned 20 in July, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder which gives him the possibility of parole. Had he been convicted as charged of first-degree murder, Yoshikawa would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison without chance of parole.

Before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Ulysses Boykin accepted the plea, Yoshikawa was asked about his role in the murder by his attorney George Chedraue and prosecutor Lisa Screen.

Responding to questions, Yoshikawa confirmed that he and co-defendant Nicholas Cottrell lured Morse, 16, from her family's Westland apartment late Aug. 19 or early Aug. 20, 2010.

Describing Morse as someone he dated briefly during the summer of 2010, Yoshikawa responded “Yes, sir” when asked if he hid in the back seat of a car before strangling front seat passenger Morse and later placing her body in trash bags.

The court testimony mirrors the statements given by Yoshikawa and Cottrell after their arrests in December 2010.

Yoshikawa's plea comes on the heels of Cottrell, who entered a plea bargain earlier this year with the condition of testifying against Yoshikawa, taking the stand and refusing to testify.

Cottrell, 23, had also been charged with first-degree murder but was sentenced to 25-50 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Going against the advice of his defense attorney Solomon Radner, Cottrell refused to testify, telling Boykin that his plea had been the result of coercion by Westland police. Cottrell said he had lied when he had earlier testified the plea was coerced. Boykin is scheduled to hear arguments in Cottrell's efforts to withdraw his guilty plea on Dec. 12.

After it was clear that Cottrell would not testify, Boykin allowed the transcript of Cottrell's testimony from Yoshikawa's preliminary examination in Westland's 18th District Court to be read into the record. Screen and Chedraue read their parts of the transcript with a stand-in for Cottrell.

“We were about three-quarters done reading Nick's (Cottrell) testimony on Tuesday. Justin (Yoshikawa) knew the rest of it would be read,” said Westland Police Sgt. Dan Serrano, the officer in charge of the case. “Justin saw the looks on the faces of the jurors. He started to hear the ice cracking under his feet.”

Morse's mother Laurie and older sister Lauren were consulted before the plea agreement was accepted. Family and supporters of Yoshikawa were taken outside the courtroom by Chedraue before the plea was entered.

“The best outcome to have is that this little girl (Morse) be home — that this never happened,” said Chedraue, who refused to comment on whether there had been earlier discussions regarding a plea. “He (Yoshikawa) was looking at life with no parole. Now there is a chance that he will see daylight again.”

Yoshikawa, a former Westland John Glenn High School student, is scheduled to be sentenced by Boykin on Dec. 15.

Morse's body has not been located. Yoshikawa and Cottrell told police that they were smoking marijuana and driving around randomly before placing her body into a Dumpster outside a church.

“This is the first murder case in Westland where there was no body. We had no witnesses and no crime scene,” said Serrano. “These are things that you hold up (for convictions). We only had investigative reports.”