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.

video

 Murderer:

 

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

and 

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.

 GET SOME ROPE!!!

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.

 http://www.indystar.com/article/20111220/LOCAL18/312200007/1001/NEWS

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

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.

The Video:

video

MURDERERS:



************************************************************************
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

CUMBERLAND
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.

MURDERERS:


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.

Murderer: 


Memorial:


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.

 

Jane Creba

 

Judge sentences final two men in Creba killing

 Five years after a brazen Boxing Day gunfight killed teenage bystander Jane Creba and “terrorized hundreds of people,” a judge has sentenced the last two men convicted in her death.


The proceedings bring some finality to a case that shocked the country, though legal wrangling is likely to continue in the months to come, with numerous appeals pending.

In handing a 12-year prison sentence to Tyshaun Barnett and Louis Woodcock on Thursday, Superior Court Justice Gladys Pardu referenced the “incalculable, profound and irreversible loss” suffered by the Creba family. “The danger to the public and the carnage contributed to by the behaviour of these accused requires a substantial sentence,” Judge Pardu stated in her 11-page decision.

Ms. Creba’s parents were away on a cottage vacation on Thursday; the victim’s 16-year-old brother, Elliot, picked up the phone at the family’s East York home, but declined to comment on the impact of the sentencings. With pretrial custody taken into account, Barnett and Woodcock have three years and seven months left to serve. The pair were also handed a lifetime firearms ban and a requirement to provide a DNA sample to the national databank.


Ms. Creba, 15, was fatally wounded on Boxing Day 2005 as she crossed Yonge Street just north of the Eaton Centre during a shopping trip with her sister. She was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between two rival groups outside a Foot Locker store. The shootout, Judge Pardu wrote, “must have terrorized hundreds of people going about their business.” It shocked residents across the country and reignited debate about gun violence in Toronto.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Barnett and Woodcock were convicted by a jury this spring of manslaughter in Ms. Creba’s death, along with four counts of aggravated assault in relation to others wounded in the shootout. Neither fired the bullet that killed Ms. Creba, Judge Pardu noted, but “both Woodcock and Barnett were carrying loaded guns. The exchange of gunfire was rapid and nearly simultaneous.” One shot was fired from Barnett’s gun and seven from Woodcock’s, the court heard.

Jeremiah Valentine, who pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and received a life sentence, fired the bullet that “almost certainly” killed Ms. Creba, the court heard. Jorrell Simpson-Rowe was also convicted of second-degree murder in the incident by a jury. Both Barnett and Woodcock have expressed remorse for the consequences of the gun battle, Judge Pardu noted in her sentencing decision. But she also cited a presentencing report indicating Barnett was “entrenched in a criminal lifestyle,” and referenced evidence of Woodcock’s bad behaviour in jail; in a wiretapped conversation, he brags to Barnett about beating a man into a coma.

The Crown had called for a 15-year jail term for Barnett and Woodcock. Barnett’s lawyer, Christopher Hicks, had recommended between eight and 10 years, while Woodcock’s attorney, Anthony Robbins, had asked for six to eight.

Mr. Hicks on Thursday deemed the ultimate sentence “a little too high,” considering his client did not directly cause Ms. Creba’s death. “[Barnett’s] continued stance is he didn’t have anything to do with the death of Jane Creba,” Mr. Hicks said. “I think the general reaction is he’s glad it’s at least over. It’s been a terrible burden for him for the last four years, and for his family as well.”

Mr. Robbins said Woodcock was “pleased with the result,” and particularly with his exoneration in respect to the higher murder charge, which would have mandated a life sentence.

 

Jane Creba







TORONTO — One of the men found guilty in the Boxing Day shooting death of Toronto teenager Jane Creba will appeal his second-degree murder conviction Tuesday.

Jorrell Simpson-Rowe is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for seven years after he was sentenced as an adult for the Dec. 26, 2005, shooting.

Creba, 15, was shopping with her mother and sister on Toronto’s busy Yonge Street when she was killed by a stray bullet shot during a gang dispute.


Simpson-Rowe, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, is appealing his conviction on three grounds.
  • He maintains the verdict was unreasonable, that he was “forced” into a jury trial when he wanted to be tried by a judge alone, and that the description of the shooters did not conclusively match him.
  • Another man, Jeremiah Valentine, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting. Experts testified that the bullet which killed Creba most likely came from Valentine’s gun.
  • Two others — Tyshaun Barnett and Louis Woodcock — were found guilty of manslaughter and handed 12-year sentences. An unidentified youth was found not guilty of manslaughter.
Creba’s death is considered one of the city’s most notorious killings and drew national attention to the issue of gang violence and illegal guns on Toronto’s streets.

Avery Nicole King

     Lanny Perry Barnes       
    


Age: 49

Summary: convicted murderer who was serving a life sentence without parole after he intentionally ran over a family outside a McDonald's restaurant in Covington, Georgia on May 23, 2006, killing 2-year-old Avery Nicole King and injuring her pregnant mother, her aunt, and two young cousins, in which witnesses said he smiled and laughed as he struck the family leaving the fast-food restaurant and ran over them several times in the parking lot, but no motive was ever established.


Cause of Death: Leukemia

Born: circa 1960

Died: June 24, 2009

Location: Augusta, Georgia

Avery Nicole King



Every parent’s worst fear is losing  a child.  For Anita King, her worst nightmare became reality on May 23, 2006, when her daughter Avery was killed by a crazed driver. Anita is a young, beautiful, loving mother who keeps walking through her day, even when she feels like she can’t go on.

Avery Nicole King was a miracle baby.  Anita and her husband, Tony, were told that they couldn’t have children. In late 2003, Anita received a call from the doctor’s office, and was told  “it isn’t going to happen.” Yet, Anita knew something was going on in her body and then realized she was late. She bought a pregnancy test and it came out positive. She was in obvious disbelief. Six positive tests later,  on the very same day she was told she could not get pregnant, she found out that she was!
Anita had a normal pregnancy and on June 1, 2004, little Avery was born.  “Avery was a ball of energy with wide open eyes,” Anita remembers.  “She loved to be outside.  She would say ‘Mommy go park, go park’ whenever we drove by the park.”

One day in late May, Anita, who is very family oriented, went to Covington, GA to watch her niece in a talent show. Anita and her sister were having such a good time together, she decided to stay another day. That afternoon, they decided to take the kids to McDonald’s for lunch. 

When it was time to leave, Anita picked up Avery to carry her out and her sister took the hands of her two children. In the parking lot, Anita saw a car coming and made eye contact with the driver. He smiled at her and then immediately accelerated and slammed into her and her family. Anita flew into the windshield and Avery was thrown from her arms. 


The car backed up and repeatedly drove forward hitting Anita over and over. Anita could see her sister trapped under the car with one of her children.  


When he finally drove away, Anita ran to her baby and picked her up.  Avery appeared to be unconscious but didn’t look hurt. Anita took her inside and talked to her, “It’s Mommy, baby.”  Her sister and nieces were badly hurt and by now the ambulance was there to take them all to the hospital. 
Little Avery was hanging on by a thread. The medics put her in a stretcher and she was flown by helicopter to a hospital.  Anita’s own pain set in from her injuries of a broken leg and head injury. Her body racked with pain from being hit over and over by the car.


Avery had now quit breathing and was put on life-support over night.  The next morning, tests showed that there was no brain activity. Anita and Tony had to say goodbye to their precious baby.  Avery Nicole died of massive head injury at 3:50 pm on May 24, 2006, six days before her second birthday . 
Anita and Tony came back to their home in Weaverville without their baby. Anita remembers, “the worst part was that I went from being the mother of an active two-year-old to coming home to a quiet, still house. I just missed her so much. I still haven’t been able to change her room, it’s just like it was.”
The devastation of young parents losing a child was almost too much for Tony and Anita to bear. Anita knew that to cope with this, she had to do something for Avery. She decided to build a park in Avery’s name, Avery’s Little Corner.  The park will be for children two to five years old.  It will  be perfect for all families including those with special needs. She also had another reason to go on — Anita was four months pregnant.

Anita urges parents to appreciate their children every day.  “Open your eyes if you are putting your job or anything else first and spend as much time with your children as you can.  Don’t take your kids for granted.  You can be doing everything right and bad things can still happen.” 

“Parents don’t expect to bury their child. It’s an unnatural thing to happen.  You expect to watch them unfold like a flower.  She was so young.  We were just getting to the good stuff.  When my daughter Gracie was born, it was bittersweet because Avery wasn’t there.” 

Anita never takes off the locket around her neck with Avery’s picture in it. “Avery was my greatest joy and blessing.  I kept a journal of Avery that I planned to give her when she was older. In it I wrote that I was honored to be her Mom. I still feel that way.  If she was born today and I knew that I would only have 23 months with her, I would still do it.” 

For information on how to help Tony and Anita build Avery’s Little Corner, please call 828-254-4960.

Donations can be mailed to:
The Community Foundation of WNC
PO Box 1888
Asheville, NC 28802-1888.
 Make checks payable to: 
THE AVERY NICOLE KING
MEMORIAL FUND/CFWNC



MURDERER: 
 

Christina LeAnn Neal

 
 
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Convicted killer Michael James Perry was executed Thursday evening for gunning down a nurse at her suburban Houston home nine years ago and stealing her car.
 
Perry, 28, mouthed to relatives and friends watching through a window that he loved them.

"I want to start off to everyone involved in this atrocity, they're all forgiven by me," he said in a brief statement from the death chamber gurney.

He lifted his head from the pillow and his voice cracking, cried out: "Mom, I love you."

"I'm coming home Dad. I'm coming home," he added. His father died last month.

He never acknowledged relatives of his victim who looked through an adjacent window.

As the drugs took effect, his eyes fluttered and he hiccupped four times. A single tear ran down his right cheek, prompting quiet sobs from his mother and an aunt and friends. The victim's relatives gasped and motioned to each other.

Nine minutes later, at 6:17 p.m., he was pronounced dead, making him the 14th prisoner executed this year in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state.

The U.S. Supreme Court, about 90 minutes before the lethal injection, rejected a last-day appeal from Perry's lawyers. They unsuccessfully argued they had new evidence showing Perry was already in jail when 50-year-old Sandra Stotler was murdered in 2001. They also contended a co-defendant and friend of Perry's killed Stotler.

Prosecutors said a "mountain of evidence" pointed to Perry — most notably that he was seen driving Stotler's car and bragged about the killing before his arrest.

Perry was convicted of shooting Stotler twice in the back at her home and stealing her red Chevrolet Camaro convertible. Testimony showed Perry and a friend, Jason Burkett, then dumped her body in a lake and returned to her Lake Conroe subdivision to wait for her son, Adam. Prosecutors said Perry and Burkett lured Adam Stotler, 16, and his friend, Jeremy Richardson, 18, to a nearby wooded area, shot them dead and stole Adam Stotler's sport-utility vehicle.

Two days later, Perry crashed the Camaro after a police chase. He was arrested and released on bond under Adam Stotler's name because he had Stotler's wallet and ID.

Sandra Stotler's body was found the next day. Police then arrested Perry and Burkett in Stotler's SUV after a shootout. Inside the truck, officers found the 12-gauge shotgun used to kill Sandra Stotler.

"I know it's the needle and I want to save everybody the trouble and just confess," he told police after his arrest, according to court records. At his trial, Perry testified his confession was forced and maintained his innocence.

Perry never was charged with the two other slayings. Burkett is serving a life sentence for his role. A Montgomery County jury deliberated two hours to convict Perry; jurors took another six hours to send him to death row.

Perry told The Associated Press from a death row visiting cage that he wasn't frightened of dying but acknowledged frustration with how the case turned out.

"I try not to focus on it." he said. "I focus on my case, the Bible, my family.

"Any good Christian can't be scared to go to paradise."

On Wednesday, Jonathan Green, 42, was spared from execution for abducting, raping and strangling a 12-year-old Montgomery County girl, Christina LeAnn Neal, a decade ago. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said it needed more information about his claims of mental incompetence.

MURDERER:


Susan Louise Jordan

Victim:

 

Murderer:



Albert Greenwood Brown, Jr. (born August 18, 1954) is an American convicted of sexual molestation of a minor, two counts of rape, and the murder of an adolescent in Riverside, California. He was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 9 p.m. on September 30, 2010 in California's first use of capital punishment after the lifting of a court-ordered moratorium. The use of lethal injection had been suspended in the state since February 2006 because of objections of cruel and unusual punishment due to shortcomings of the facilities and procedures previously in use at San Quentin State Prison. Brown's lawyers appealed to block their client's execution, with the execution initially planned to be carried out in a new facility at the prison that is certified to utilize either a single or three-drug protocol.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Fogel to review the case, noting that the execution date may have been influenced by the fact that the prison's inventory of sodium thiopental, one of the drugs required for lethal injection, would expire on October 1, 2010. Judge Fogel halted the execution to permit time to review whether the new injection procedures addressed previous objections. On September 29, 2010, the Supreme Court of California unanimously denied an appeal by the state to proceed by the end of the month.[8] Brown's execution has since been delayed because the prison's supply of the lethal injection drug expired. The manufacturer of sodium thiopental stated that new supplies would not be available until 2011.

Brown grew up in Tulare, California with his father's family that reportedly saw to it that "every kid went to college". According a Tulare Western High School yearbook, he was to be part of the class of 1972. However, he was expelled from school after he accidentally fired a gun that he had brought on campus and grazed another student in the head. He joined the United States Marine Corps, but was brought to court-martial and discharged in 1975 for being absent without leave. He moved to Riverside, California to live with his divorced mother and was soon charged with molesting an 11-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years probation.

On an early morning in 1976, Brown broke into a home in Riverside and hid in a closet until all of the residents had left. When a 14-year-old girl returned from a paper route to go to school, he choked her unconscious and raped her in her mother's room. Brown pleaded guilty to charges of rape with force on May 4, 1978 and was sentenced to state prison. He was paroled on June 14, 1980 and found work cleaning and preparing new cars for sale at Rubidoux Motors in Riverside County.

Death of Susan Louise Jordan

On the morning of October 28, 1980, Brown abducted 15-year-old Susan Louise Jordan while she was on her way to Arlington High School in Riverside. He had been posing as a jogger on the route. After dragging her to an orange grove, Brown raped her and strangled her to death with her own shoelace and took her identification cards and school books. Susan's mother Angelina Jordan, who coincidentally left her car to be serviced at Brown's workplace, Rubidoux Motors, went to the school to search for Susan after her younger sister Karen and younger brother James returned home without her. After finding the family's number in a phone book, Brown called Angelina Jordan from a payphone at around 7:30 p.m. to tell her where he left her daughter's body. According to court documents, he said: "Hello, Mrs. Jordan, Susie isn't home from school yet, is she? You will never see your daughter again. You can find her body on the corner of Victoria and Gibson." Susan's body was found after Brown repeatedly made calls to the Riverside Police Department and the Jordan residence. One of Brown's subsequent calls was recorded by a police officer.

Arrest and investigation

Brown was arrested on November 6, 1980 after three witnesses came forward to identify him and his Pontiac Trans Am with a Rubidoux Motors paper plate near the site of the murder. Susan's identification cards were found in a phone booth at a nearby Texaco service station. During a search of Brown's home on November 7, police found Susan's books, a newspaper article about the case, and a Riverside telephone directory in which the page opposite the listing for the Jordan family was folded. Brown was discovered to have been late to work on the day she disappeared. A jogging suit stained with blood and semen was found in his locker at the employee coffee shop. Brown's shoes were matched to footprints from the crime scene.

Murder trial and appeals

Brown was placed on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

On February 4, 1982, a Riverside County jury convicted Brown of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of rape. During sentencing hearings, his defense attorney argued that Brown was remorseful and presented evidence of psychiatric problems, including sexual dysfunction. Brown claimed that he was physically abused by his aunt as a child and spanked by his mother. His mother denied abusing Brown, but claimed that her son was out buying milk at the time of the murder. The surviving victim of the 1976 rape case testified against him. The jury deliberated for less than three hours on February 19 and sentenced Brown to death. On March 2, 1982, he was placed on death row at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California.

In 1985, Brown's sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court and reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. Brown's defense filed a motion of habeas corpus to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that he received ineffective counsel at his trial and that his sentence was a cruel and unusual punishment that violated the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On September 19, 2007, Judge Michael Daly Hawkins denied Brown's appeal and upheld lower court rulings.

On August 29, 2010, a California court lifted a statewide injunction against capital punishment with the certification of new lethal injection procedures. On the next day, Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco sought a death warrant for Brown. Riverside County judge Roger Luebs initially set Brown's execution for 12:01 a.m. on September 29, 2010. On August 31, prison warden Vince Cullen personally walked to Brown's cell to read the death warrant to him.

Last minute appeals

Judge Fogel, whose 2006 ruling had halted executions in California, gave Brown until September 26 to decide on a method of execution, including the new lethal injection protocols. Brown refused to make a selection. Defense attorney John Grele described Brown as "a simple man with obvious neuropsychological deficits" who is unprepared to make such a decision. Arguing that forcing him to decide on the manner of his death is "unconstitutionally medieval," Brown's defense team asked the judge to reconsider allowing the execution to proceed. Fogel declined to issue a stay of execution, which he stated would have been considered if Brown selected a single injection and the prison refused to carry it out. In the absence of a decision, the prison defaulted to preparing the three-drug protocol. According to Lt. Sam Robinson of San Quentin State Prison, the gas chamber is still fully functional and available if required.

On September 27, Marin County judge Verna Adams denied a defense request to stop the execution. An appeal for clemency was forwarded to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prosecutor Rod Pacheco wrote to Schwarzenegger urging him not to intervene. The governor refused Brown's request to commute the sentence to life imprisonment without parole, but delayed the execution to 9 p.m. on September 30 to provide appeals courts more time to review the case. Brown alleged that he suffered child abuse that should have been brought up at his trial. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Fogel to revisit the case because California law specified that the inmate should only choose between the gas chamber and lethal injection, not the drugs themselves. Fogel admitted his offer to Brown was "ill-advised" and halted the execution to permit time to determine whether the new injection procedures addressed defense arguments of cruel and unusual punishment. The appeals court also noted that the prison's supply of sodium thiopental, a drug required for lethal injection, was expiring on October 1. A state appeal to resume the execution by 7 p.m. on September 30 was unanimously denied by the California Supreme Court. California and other states have run short of the drug because the manufacturer Hospira is unable to meet demand at least until January 2011 because of raw material supply issues. State attorney general Jerry Brown (no relation) recommended halting execution proceedings until necessary supplies were secured. His office stated that a new date would be scheduled as soon as legally possible.

On October 6, 2010, the state attorney general's office notified Judge Fogel in a court filing that the state had obtained enough sodium thiopental for up to four more executions. Scott Kernan of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation called the Arizona Department of Corrections "life savers" for providing 12 grams of the drug after the Texas Department of Criminal Justice denied a similar request. The state of California spent $36,415 to acquire an additional 521 grams of sodium thiopental from Archimedes Pharma of Great Britain to last through 2014. Fogel stated that he understood the state would request a new execution date no earlier than 30 days after court hearings, which are expected in 2011. Susan Louise Jordan's sister Karen criticized the distress to her family caused by the delays: "The appeals process in California has proven to be nothing more than a never-ending war of attrition against justice and the rights of victims and their families."

Politicization of the execution

Albert Greenwood Brown's lawyers blamed the move to execute their client on the tight race between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman for the 2010 California gubernatorial election to succeed retiring governor Schwarzenegger. The office of state attorney general Jerry Brown pushed to resume capital punishment following the adoption of new regulations in California. Republican nominee Meg Whitman claimed: "None of this squares with Jerry Brown's record." The Democratic campaign of Jerry Brown, who pledged to "enforce the laws" of California, denied any connection between the case and the election. Prosecutor Rod Pacheco, who supported Whitman, said that it would be unfair to accuse Jerry Brown of using the execution for political gain as they never discussed the case. Jerry Brown was quoted as saying "Albert Greenwood Brown Jr. deserves everything that he has coming to him in regards to due process. I have no doubt that his execution will be carried out fastidiously and in a timely manner." Jerry Brown won the election in November 2010.