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Friday, May 29, 2009

Abner decides not to testify in Viola case

BY TIM POTTER
The Wichita Eagle
Jaime Oppenheimer/The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA - Robert Abner told a judge late this afternoon that he has opted not to testify in his own defense to charges of robbery, kidnapping, rape and sodomy.
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The brief exchange between Abner and Judge David Kaufman came after testimony ended in Abner's trial, which began Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court.
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The 40-year-old is accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a Viola convenience store clerk last June. Abner is accused of holding her at his north Wichita rental home for four days before dropping her off outside her family's minister's home.
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Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Monday morning. Then the jury will begin deliberations.
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Earlier today, Abner's sister testified that last summer he told her he had robbed a convenience store and was going to turn himself in to authorities after going to Oregon to "clear his head."
Abner was later arrested in Oregon.
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Also Friday, through their questioning, attorneys on both sides again sparred over whether the store clerk, Joyce Patterson, was forced to have sex.

Viola Kansas: Trial of Robert Abner continues; Victim testifies

Viola clerk describes abduction
BY TIM POTTER
The Wichita Eagle
via http://www.kansas.com/
Jaime Oppenheimer/The Wichita Eagle
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Robert Abner is charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting Joyce Patterson and accused of holding her at his north Wichita rental home for about four days before releasing her. Joyce Patterson was on the witness stand for all of Thursday morning.
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WICHITA - When the armed robber ordered cashier Joyce Patterson to the bathroom of a Viola convenience store last June, she froze.
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She took a step back -- away from the bathroom.
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She was "freaking out" because she thought that if he took her to the bathroom, he would kill her, she testified Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court.
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After she hesitated, he grabbed her wrist, took her to the door of the rural store, looked around and told her to run with him to his car parked just up the road.
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But lawyers defending Robert Abner tried to show through their questioning that Patterson wasn't forced to go with him and wasn't forced to have sex with him.
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The 40-year-old Wichita man is charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting Patterson while holding her for four days.
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The prosecution maintains that Patterson submitted to Abner because of a constant fear that he would shoot her.
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Some of her first words after the robber came into the store, wearing a disguise and holding a handgun on her, were, "Don't kill me, don't kill me," she said.
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The lead prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett, asked her if she had a choice whether to go with the robber.
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"No. He has the gun," she replied. "I couldn't take my eyes off the gun."
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According to Patterson:
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After he ordered her to get into the car and get down, she begged him to let her out as he drove around for an hour or more. At one point, she felt him put the gun to her side. "Just remember," he said.
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He told her he knew her daughter also worked at the store and thought both of them were cute.
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After he pulled up to his home, he blindfolded her. Once inside, he tied her up and stuffed something in her mouth. He took it out when she told him she couldn't breathe. Then he taped something, possibly a sock, over her mouth.
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"Holler if you want. Nobody's going to hear you anyway," he said.
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He told her he had a 100-pound attack dog.
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She wore a blindfold or kept her eyes closed or looked away from him. She didn't want to be able to identify him -- and told him so.
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During that first day of captivity, he told her: "We have a problem. You know who I am. You know my name." He thought she had seen his mail in the car.
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The bedroom where he kept her had a window, covered with blinds. She was afraid to try to flee because she thought he would quickly catch her -- and he had the gun.
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He told her he would have her home by 10 that first night. "I just wanted to go home," she testified. But he didn't let her go that night...
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Her disappearance triggered a wide investigation and media attention.
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She pleaded with him: Drop her off somewhere...
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At times, he asked what she wanted to eat and drink, and he brought her things: Dr Pepper, Cap'n Crunch, ham sandwiches and Virginia Slims to smoke. He tied her up when he went out for groceries.
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Watching television
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He brought her out to the living room and hung something between them so she couldn't see him while she watched TV and he played computer "war games."
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He talked a lot. He told her he was hiding from the CIA, she said.
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He let her watch a newscast where she saw her family and the family's minister plead for her safe return.
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"I'm going to miss you when you're gone," he told her. She wasn't sure what that meant...
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He had taken her from the store on a Monday afternoon. By Thursday, he said he was going to give her clothes back and drop her off at the pastor's home. But she was nervous.
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He might be taking her somewhere to kill her, she thought. They drove off, with her blindfolded. She still hadn't seen his face.
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Then suddenly, he said, "Get out. Get out." She stepped out of the car, took off the blindfold and tossed it behind her. The man had left her outside the pastor's home.
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She rang the minister's door bell twice. "I was scared he wasn't home," she testified. When the pastor came to the door, stunned that she was there, she told him she wanted to go home.
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When it was the defense team's turn to question Patterson, Deputy Public Defender Jama Mitchell focused on instances where Abner did something for Patterson. When Patterson said that Abner rubbed lotion on her feet, Mitchell repeated the words as a question, "Put lotion on your feet?"
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Mitchell asked Patterson how she reacted during the sex. "I was just lying there, waiting for it to be over," Patterson said.
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Abner's sister testifies...

Abner's sister, Sharon Abner, testified that he admitted to her that he had robbed and kidnapped a store clerk...
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Sharon Abner said she asked her brother why Patterson didn't leave his home when he left to get food. He didn't answer, she said.

read complete article here

Phil Spector sentenced to 19 years, no probation


Friday, May 29, 2009
The Prairie Chicken
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Phil Spector was sentenced to 15 years to life today for the 2nd degree murder of Lana Clarkson in 2003, with an additional four years added for a crime committed with a gun. The courtroom was full with jurors from both trials, media, and a handful of spectators and Spector supporters.
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Spector showed no emotion when sentenced and made immediate restitution to Clarkson's family for financial expenditures related to her death.
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On a sidenote, Radar Online reports that Phil has had a hard time adapting to the bald look, with jailers refusing to allow him to wear his ladies wigs or any type of hat. He searched for a loop hole and found one in being Jewish. He now sports a yarmulke (a religious skullcap worn by Orthodox Jews). What a schmuck.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Robert Abner Case

Defense in Robert Abner case claims clerk consented to sex

BY TIM POTTER
The Wichita Eagle
May 27, 2009

Jaime Oppenheimer
The Wichita Eagle

Robert Abner sits in Judge David Kaufman's courtroom during his trial in Sedgwick County District Court. He is charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting Joyce Patterson and accused of holding her at his north Wichita rental home for about four days before releasing her.

Deputy Public Defender Jama Mitchell delivers her opening statement in Robert Abner's trial in Sedgwick County District Court. Abner is charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting Joyce Patterson and accused of holding her at his north Wichita rental home for about four days before releasing her.

District Attorney Marc Bennett delivers his opening statement in Robert Abner's trial in Sedgwick County District Court. Abner is charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting Joyce Patterson and accused of holding her at his north Wichita rental home for about four days before releasing her.

WICHITA - Robert Abner is the person on trial -- charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Viola convenience store clerk while holding her for about four days last June. She clearly is the victim, prosecutors say.

But now that the defense team has its chance to speak out in court, it is attacking her credibility, contending she was a "participant" in sex with Abner.


In opening statements in Sedgwick County District Court on Wednesday, the prosecution argued that Joyce Patterson feared what Abner would do to her -- and her family -- and that although she submitted to him to survive, she never consented to sex. The defense argued that her demeanor and actions showed she consented.

Abner, 40, faces 10 charges, including six counts of rape and two counts of sodomy -- crimes the prosecution says occurred while he held her for about four days at his rental home in north Wichita, before leaving her outside her family's pastor's home...

During legal arguments while the jury was outside the courtroom Wednesday, District Judge David Kaufman and Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett signaled that Patterson could testify:

• That Abner told her he was not going to kill her but that he had killed lots of other people.
• That Abner said he had a criminal record and had been in jail.
• That he told her his fingerprints were "in the system."

Deputy Public Defender Jama Mitchell argued that any such statements from Patterson shouldn't be introduced at trial because they would be "extremely prejudicial" to Abner and not necessary to prove the case.

But Kaufman ruled such statements would be admissible and said they were "highly relevant" to an argument over whether Patterson's "actions or inactions" showed she consented and whether she reacted out of fear.

In the opening statements, both sides provided new details about what allegedly happened during those four days last June.

Bennett, the lead prosecutor, told the jury that on a slow afternoon, an armed robber wearing a wild, bushy wig and sunglasses came into the rural store in southwestern Sedgwick County. The robber came up behind Patterson and told her, "Give me your money."

And according to Bennett:
When the robber told her to "get to the bathroom," she froze.
If he takes her to another room, she thought, "I'm dead."
After she hesitated, he grabbed her arm and said, "Let's go."

The robber was heavyset. Patterson is a small woman. He dragged her outside and behind the store to a car and told her to get in and stay down on the floorboard. The car was missing the front passenger seat. While she remained there in a fetal position, the abductor drove and drove, for maybe an hour, at times swerving as if to confuse her sense of direction.

During the long drive, he put a gun to her side and said, "Remember." Investigators later found a BB gun in Abner's car.

After they stopped, he blindfolded her, took her into a home and "hog-tied" her. At times, he kept her bound with duct tape and plastic zip ties or tied to him while they slept.

She didn't look at the man's face and pointed it out to him because she was afraid that he would harm her or her family if she could identify him, Bennett said.

The abductor told her he had noticed her daughter, who also worked at the convenience store and that maybe Patterson could persuade him to let her go.

"She knows what he wants," Bennett told the jurors, and continued with his narrative:

She didn't want to have sex with him, but he forced himself on her, repeatedly. At one point, she asked him: "Why don't you just kill me?"

When he saw the minister and her family plead on TV for her safe return, he apologized to her and said, "I won't do this again." But he kept her about two more days before leaving her outside the minister's home in southeast Wichita. Bennett said an examination of Patterson showed some injury.

After releasing Patterson, Abner drove to Lawrence -- before being arrested in Oregon -- and told his relative that he did "something stupid" and admitted to robbing and kidnapping a store clerk, Bennett said.

"I've been thinking about doing this for a while," Abner told the relative, Bennett said.
When it was her turn to introduce the defense's position, Mitchell described Patterson's involvement in a very different way. "She put herself in the car," Mitchell said.

And according to Mitchell: Abner told Patterson "we're going to get you home." While at his home, he went out and got her food and asked what brand of cigarettes she smoked. He catered to her. "Most of the time, she is not bound," Mitchell told the jurors.

There was a window in Abner's bedroom and in an attached bathroom, "but she stays there," Mitchell said. "Not one time during these four days did she make any attempt to leave the house.... She never tried to scream." During the sex, Patterson was "not protesting, she is not resisting, she is not objecting," Mitchell said.

So there is no evidence of rapes, Mitchell said. Mitchell said Patterson's body showed only a "tiny" abrasion and some redness -- what can occur during regular intercourse. "She wasn't forced to stay there," Mitchell said.
"She is a participant."

Before Abner walked into the store, Patterson's life had been stressful because she had an unhappy marriage and was behind on bills, Mitchell said. As for Abner, Mitchell said, "This turned into something that he did not anticipate."

In testimony later Wednesday, Steve Sherbenou, the pastor, testified about finding Patterson at his door -- where Abner had left her. "She indicated she was happy to be away from him, and she wanted to go home to her husband, Larry, and her family," Sherbenou testified.

Patterson rebuts defense claims that she was willing participant

BY TIM POTTER
The Wichita Eagle
May 27, 2009

WICHITA - Joyce Patterson told a Sedgwick County jury this morning that she feared for her life during a four-day ordeal last June after she was abducted from the convenience store in Viola where she was working.

She testified against Robert Abner, 40, who is charged with robbing, kidnapping and sexually assaulting her. Her hour-long testimony rebutted statements by the defense that she was a willing participant in her abduction.

Patterson told the jury that she begged Abner not to have sex with her, but he did. After he took her to a rental house, he told her she could holler all she wanted, but nobody could hear her, she said.

Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett asked Patterson why she didn't try to escape.
She replied: "'Cause I knew he still had the gun."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Giant blob found deep beneath Nevada


The blob, which drips like honey, is between 15 and 20 million years old

By Jeanna Bryner
msnbc.com
May 27, 2009


Hidden beneath the U.S. West's Great Basin, scientists have spied a giant blob of rocky material dripping like honey.

The Great Basin consists of small mountain ranges separated by valleys and includes most of Nevada, the western half of Utah and portions of other nearby states.

While studying the area, John West of Arizona State University and his colleagues found evidence of a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada.
Comparison of the results with CAT scans of the inside of Earth taken by ASU's Jeff Roth suggested they had found a so-called lithospheric drip. (Earth's lithosphere comprises the crust or outer layer of Earth and the uppermost mantle.)

Here's how it works: "The Earth's mantle, which lies below the thin outer crust we live on, consists of rock which deforms plastically on very long time scales due to the heat and pressure at depth," West said. "In any material which can flow (including the mantle), a heavy object will tend to sink through lighter material."

And this is what the scientists think is happening with the lithospheric drip. A region of heavier material trapped in the lithosphere gets warmed up and begins to sink into the lighter, less dense mantle beneath, pulling a long tail of material after it.

"Honey dripping off of a spoon is a visual aid to what we think the drip looks like," West told LiveScience. "Dripping honey tends to lead with a large blob of honey, with a long tail of material following the initial blob."

He said the blob is between about 30 miles and 60 miles in diameter (between 50 km and 100 km) and extends from a depth of about 47 miles to at least 310 miles (75 km to 500 km) beneath Earth's surface...

The team thinks this drip started some 15 million to 20 million years ago and probably detached from the overlying plate only recently. At first, it was hard for the team to reconcile their discovery with what scientists knew about the region. Over the past tens of millions of years, the Earth's crust in the Great Basin has undergone extension, or stretching.

"We wondered how you could have something like a drip that is drawing material into its center when the surface of the whole area is stretching apart," said ASU researcher Matthew Fouch. "But it turns out that there is an area right above the drip, in fact the only area in the Great Basin, that is currently undergoing contraction."

Last year, Arizona State University Allen McNamara explained how Earth is not neatly divided into a crust, mantle and core. Rather, several large blobs of highly compressed rock — which he described as behaving like honey or peanut butter — exist.

The researchers' analyses suggest the newfound drip won't cause the area to sink down or pop up quickly; nor will it cause earthquakes. In fact, they say there would probably be little or no impact on people living above the drip.

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, is detailed in the May 24 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

Lawyer seeks trimmed prison time for Phil Spector


Spector was found guilty April 13 of shooting Clarkson at his home in 2003
msnbc.com and AP
May 27, 2009
LOS ANGELES - A lawyer for Phil Spector is seeking to reduce the convicted record producer’s prison sentence by a year.

Attorney Doron Weinberg said in a court document filed Wednesday that Spector isn’t disputing the mandated sentence of 15 years to life in prison for his second-degree murder conviction.
But Weinberg wants a sentencing enhancement for use of a gun to be trimmed to three years instead of the four requested by prosecutors. Why? He blew a hole in her face with his gun. Will it be better to be in prison until he's 88 vs 89? Weinberg is up to something. You can count on it. Weinberg is an appropriate name, as he whined all the way through Spectors trial; his style is to slowly wear you down...

Weinberg’s memorandum to the sentencing judge also says Spector isn’t responsible in actress Lana Clarkson’s death and that the prosecutors’ case was based on “conjecture, not facts.” But he was found guilty of murder, whether Weinberg likes it or not. He can't just say it's not fact and that makes it so. There were plenty of facts.

His sentencing is scheduled for Friday in Los Angeles.

Viola Kansas: Trial begins for alledged kidnapper/rapist Robert Abner

Right: Robert Abner

Trial starts in Viola woman's abduction
BY TIM POTTER
The Wichita Eagle
http://www.kansas.com/

It is an unusual case that drew wide media attention: In June 2008, according to authorities and testimony at a preliminary hearing, an armed robber abducted Joyce Patterson, then 48, from the Viola convenience store where she worked as a clerk.

Her friends and family and people who didn't know her prayed for her safe return.

The abductor held her for about four days at his north Wichita home, where he sexually assaulted her, authorities said.

Then the abductor dropped her off at her family's minister's home before going to Oregon, where he was arrested, authorities said.

Jury selection in Robert Abner's trial began Tuesday and will continue this morning in Sedgwick County District Court. Patterson is expected to testify as early as late today but more likely on Thursday. It's not clear whether Abner will testify.

Abner, 39 at the time he was charged last summer, faces 10 charges: aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and six counts of rape.
Before his arrest, Abner had worked as a carpenter.

In court Tuesday, lawyers on both sides tried to trim a pool of 45 prospective jurors to 12 people who can form an impartial jury. For several hours, a prosecutor and defense lawyer questioned the people on whether they could be fair and consider only evidence presented at trial.

The lead prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett, asked if they had an expectation of what Patterson's demeanor should be on the witness stand -- if they expected her to cry, for example. Would, he asked, they "need to see she's emotionally scarred" before they would consider her a credible witness?

Bennett also asked them if they had been a victim of a sex crime or knew someone who had been or if they knew someone accused of such a crime. Bennett said he needed to know of anything that would keep them from impartially weighing evidence.

Both Bennett and Lacy Gilmour, an assistant public defender, asked jurors how much they knew about the case from the media. Many of them said they saw something about the case.
"Sometimes you don't get both sides of the story," Gilmour said.

And one by one, she asked them if they were leaders or followers. Most said they were leaders or a mix of the two.

Viola Kansas Trial begins for Robert Abner accused in store clerk kidnapping
May 27, 2009
http://www.ksn.com/

WICHITA, Kansas -- Opening statements began in the trial of Robert Abner -- the man accused of kidnapping a Viola store clerk last summer. Abner faces 10 counts, including kidnapping, rape and sodomy.

No one is disputing that Robert Abner kidnapped the Viola store clerk and kept her tied up at times at his Wichita home for four days, where the two had sexual relations several times.

Prosecutors say she was kidnapped and raped, but defense attorneys maintain that the clerk went along willfully and consented to the sex because she was stressed out, in a bad marriage and didn't want to go back home.

!!!! omg this pisses me off. That is really his defense? She wanted it? He kidnapped her from her job! He had stalked her enough to know she would be there late at night by herself. That is probably the only store open in Viola all night. What--did he just get lucky to find a woman who would abandon her job and husband to go "do-it" with some random customer? Good god.

Over the time that the woman and Abner spent together, prosecutors say the woman went out of her way to not look at Abner's face even keeping a T-shirt over her face, telling Abner she didn't want to be able to describe him to police. She felt it that would make Abner feel safer and he would let her go home.

Prosecutors say she feared for her life the entire time. The defense, however, says she could have left anytime she wanted to.

"There is a difference between consent and submission," said prosecutor Marc Bennett. "She wasn't forced to stay with him, she wasn't forced to have sex," said defense attorney Jama Mitchell. "Certainly there is a difference between consent and submission. There is a fine line between submission and permission."

Testimony resumes in the trial Thursday when the clerk is expected to take the stand.

Jama Mitchell, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Just a note. I usually do not print the names of victims, however, Joyce went back to work after she was released and spoke for an article in The Wichita Eagle, identifying herself and thanking all of the people who had looked for her and who still watch out for her. She said people come into the store and say something nice to her, or even ask if they can hug her. She said this would not keep her from living her life. Bless you girl.

Viola is southwest of Wichita, just south of the intersection of Kansas highways 42 and 49. The population hovers around 200, there are seven streets, including the highway. Check it out here Viola, Kansas.

Slumdog Millionaire's Children

Right: Danny Boyle with Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali

Slumdog child star gets new home
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
BBC News

Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle and the trust he set up have bought a new home for one of the child stars of his Oscar-winning movie.

The filmmaker, who is currently in Mumbai, has told Azharuddin Ismail, 9, he will be re-housed after his family was made to leave the slums.

Boyle, who has been criticised for not helping the child actors enough, blamed the press for raising expectations. Inevitably, the tension and pressure is media generated," he said.

'Emergencies'

He said he hoped a new home would also be found for Rubina Ali, who played Latika, before the monsoon rains in June.

"They were given access to a world, an extraordinary and glamorous world, and they understandably want their lives to be completely transformed," he said.

Soon after the movie was finished, Boyle and producer Christian Colson set up the Jai Ho trust, which was aimed to help the children financially until they turned 18.

"The homes are a concern. That is one of the reasons why we built the trust," Boyle said.
It has been five to six months. Everything is available in Mumbai if you have the money
Rafiq Qureshi

"We have been trying to accelerate the process of re-housing the families, and one of the reasons we set up the trust is to deal with emergencies like this," said Colson.

A director for the trust said the apartment for Ismail, who played the young Salim, was "comfortable, in a good neighbourhood [and] near his school".

In February, the state housing authority said it would give the two children apartments, but the families had not heard from them, said Ali's father Rafiq Qureshi.

"It has been five to six months. Everything is available in Mumbai if you have the money," he said. "If you really want to get us a house you can get us a house in two days."

Earlier this month, the authorities tore the children's slum homes down. Since then Rubina has been staying with relatives and Azhar was living in a makeshift shanty with his parents.
BBC News, Mumbai

The father of Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali has been beaten up as authorities destroyed his slum in Mumbai (Bombay), his neighbours say. They say that Rafiq Qureshi has been taken to hospital.

The railway authorities said the clearance was a routine exercise carried out to remove illegal structures from railway property. Last week authorities demolished the home of Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, another Slumdog child actor.

'Soft encroachments'

"The railway authorities were clearing up the area and in the process they demolished Rubina's house also," Mohiddin, a relative, said.

"The clean-up drive is fine but there was a fight and Rafiq sustained injuries." Neighbours say it is not yet clear if he has been badly injured.

The family lived in a slum adjoining the railway tracks near Bandra station in Mumbai...She was recently in the news for scoring high grades in her school exams.

"This exercise is carried out regularly at different stations. We removed soft encroachments near Bandra station today," said Western Railways spokesman C David. "This land should be used for railway work, which in turn should benefit the commuter."

Last week police were accused of "smacking" Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail with a bamboo stick before ordering him out. The authorities claim he and other families were squatting on land that was owned by the government.

The families lived in a temporary shelter made up of plastic sheets over bamboo sticks. Many claim they were not informed about the planned demolition and that help for new housing promised by local authorities and by the film's makers had not materialised.

Slumdog director Danny Boyle has strongly denied claims of exploitation. The film makers have set up funds to pay for the young actors' education and they have been enrolled in school for the first time.

They also recently announced that they will donate $776,294 (£500,000) to a charity which will help children living in the slums of Mumbai. The film has made more than $200m (£140m) in box office takings around the world.

May 14, 2009
BBC

The Mumbai slum home of one of the child stars of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire has been demolished by city authorities. Reports say that police smacked the boy, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, with a bamboo stick before ordering him out.

The authorities claim he and other families were squatting on land that was owned by the government. He played a younger version of one of the main characters in the film, which scooped eight Oscars.

"We are homeless, we have nowhere to go," Azharuddin said after the demolition.
The family lived in a temporary makeshift shelter made up of plastic sheets over bamboo sticks, in a slum near Bandra East in Mumbai.

He said he had been fast asleep when the demolition squad came and asked them to leave, later tearing down the entire row of tents pitched on the land. The family claim they had not been informed about the planned demolition.

Municipal official, Uma Shankar Mistry, who was present during the demolition, told the BBC that the authorities only razed temporary and illegal homes which had recently been erected next to the slum. He said the houses were in an area that was meant for a public garden.

Housing promise

The mother of the child actor said that she did not know what would happen to her family now and that the help promised by local authorities and by the film's makers had not materialised.
"Our house has been broken down by officials. We have not been given any alternate accommodation. Earlier the authorities had said they would give us a house. But I don't think that will happen any more," Shamim Ismail told the BBC.

The families of Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and co-star Rubina Ali had been promised new accommodation by a local housing authority. But a decision about whether or not this will go ahead is still pending.

Film director Danny Boyle has strongly denied charges of exploitation. The film's makers have set up funds to pay for their education and they have been enrolled in school for the first time.

State Police: Remains in Des Plaines River not Stacy Peterson or Lisa Stebic

May 27, 2009
FROM STNG WIRE AND HERALD NEWS
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CHANNAHON -- Skeletal remains found last Wednesday along the Des Plaines are that of an unidentified man, Illinois State Police announced Wednesday...
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The remains, discovered on May 20, were sent to the ISP Forensic Crime Lab for DNA analysis and it has been determined they are that of an unidentified male, according to an ISP release.
"An investigation to identify the remains is underway," the release said.
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The office of Coroner Patrick O'Neil originally reported, "The partial skeletal remains consisted of a rib cage, spinal column and partial left and right femur bones. The head, arms and below the knee extremities were disarticulated." O'Neil said the search continues for the missing remains.
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Also, a forensic investigation continues as to whether the disarticulation is a result of a postmortem (after death) artifact or antemortem injury. The coroner's office, he said, was given a conservative time frame in receiving forensic DNA and forensic anthropology results of approximately two weeks.
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A preliminary estimation of how long the unidentified person has been deceased is approximately several months or more, O'Neil said in a statement. Other items that were discovered include shreds of blue jeans that contained a small amount of U. S. currency.

Police continued to search the Des Plaines River where the human remains were discovered in Channahon Township.

Peterson calls Mancow for Conjugal Visit

Drew Peterson calls radio show to joke from jail
Who in hell is watching this jerk?

Associated Press
May 27, 2009
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CHICAGO - Drew Peterson has broadcast his trademark -- and seemingly inappropriate -- sense of humor live from jail. The former cop, suspected in his third wife's death, called collect to WLS Radio's Mancow & Cassidy show on Wednesday and offered snippets of a comedy routine he's working on.
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Peterson, who once proposed a "Win a Date With Drew" contest, offered a jail version called "Win a Conjugal Visit with Drew."He also joked about prison showers, his legal fees and his "bling" handcuffs, saying humor is how he deals with stress...
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By Erika SlifeTribune reporter
May 26, 2009
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No one knows yet how the body found along the Des Plaines River last week ended up there.
But if it was submerged, there's little doubt its journey through the debris-filled river was rough. It may have crashed into boat traffic that moves year-round, got stuck on logs and roots, and been impacted by fish, wildlife and the changing currents and temperatures. By the time it arrived onshore, not far from Big Basin Marina near Channahon, only portions of the midsection and partial leg bones were left.
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Although a preliminary autopsy last week couldn't say whether the body was that of a man or woman, the race or identity, the remains did hold a few clues. Found with the body were shreds of jeans, meaning the person likely had not been out for a swim (in the Des Plaines? no...) and then drowned. The body is undergoing DNA testing, and officials said results aren't expected for up to two weeks. Sources said they could be returned as early as this week.

Even if the body is identified, further investigation will likely be needed to tell how long it was in the water, or when the person died, said noted forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who is familiar with the cases of missing Will County women Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic.
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Baden, who is not involved with last week's discovery, said the cause of death may never be known."This is the kind of body that could be in the water for one year, or five years, because there was a lot of destruction from the body," he said. "The first thing is, who is it. Once you know who it is, you can get a better determination of how the body got there."
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The DNA could be extracted from bone marrow or other cells, experts said."Frankly, you've got bones," said Dr. Peter G. Candel, a pathologist and senior partner at Holy Cross Hospital who is not involved in the investigation. "There is residual cellular material that can be found in the marrow, the bone itself or adherent tissues. ... You just need to get molecules of DNA out to do comparison."
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Over the decades, the Des Plaines River has become a dumping ground for bodies, including four victims of John Wayne Gacy. It's at least 9 feet deep and up to 50 feet in places, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Because of industry in the area, the water is murky and warm and for the most part does not freeze over in winter. Commercial boat traffic is year round.
When it rains, the current moves faster, boating officials said.
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Bodies decompose faster in warmer waters, said Baden, who performed an autopsy on Kathleen Savio on behalf her family...While DNA may answer some questions about the body, it likely won't reveal exactly what happened.
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Stacy Peterson and Stebic have been missing since 2007. Plainfield police have named Stebic's husband, Craig, a "person of interest." He has denied wrongdoing.
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"It's on our minds constantly," said Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for Stacy Peterson's family. "Whoever this person is, it's going to be good for somebody to get some closure."

Four Bodies Left Behind In Vacant Funeral Home

New Owners Of Home Find Bodies
May 27, 2009
Post-Tribune

GARY, Ind. -- Church leaders who bought a defunct Indiana funeral home in a tax sale have stumbled upon four bodies that had been left behind in the vacant building.

Lake County Coroner David J. Pastrick called the situation in the former Serenity Gardens Funeral Home in Gary "unbelievable."

Leaders of the Northlake Church of Christ called authorities after finding a body bag on a table Sunday. Pastrick and his staff found one body in the bag, then another in a burial box and finally two more in caskets. None has been identified.

Pastrick said the bodies may have been there since 2006, when the funeral home's business license was revoked after several people filed complaints.

Gary police and state agencies are investigating. I would imagine so...

Search ended for Bruce Okrepki, 18, missing Carnival Fantasy Cruise ship in the gulf off Tampa

May 27, 2009
http://www.wtsp.com/
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Tampa, Florida -- The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a teenager who went overboard from a cruise ship Sunday night about 150 miles southwest of Tampa.
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The Coast Guard says it searched nearly 5,300 square miles for Bruce Okrepki, 18, of Hammond, La. He was reported missing from the Carnival Fantasy during a trip to celebrate his high school graduation.
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O'Krepki recently graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, La., where he ran track and played soccer. He was with about 35 classmates on the ship. His uncle Rick O'Krepki said the teen's parents were among the chaperones on the cruise, according to the Associated Press.
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"After an exhaustive search effort to find Bruce O'krepki, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our active search efforts," said Capt. Drew Pearson, the Seventh Coast Guard District's chief of search and rescue. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

The Croydon Guardian on the murder of Meredith Kercher

Bloody footprints found at scene of Meredith Kercher slaying

Monday 11th May 2009

Bloodied footprints matched to the murder accused in the Meredith Kercher trial were found at the scene of the crime, a court was told.

Coulsdon student Meredith Kercher was found in her room with her throat cut in Perugia, Italy in November 2007.

Fellow American student Amanda Knox, 21, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are accused of Miss Kercher’s murder.
A court heard last week how one print was found on a bathmat and three more leading from Miss Kercher’s bedroom to the room of Amanda Knox.

Police scientist Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi told the court the footprints were discovered with a substance called Luminol which turns blue in the presence of blood.

He said the print on the bathmat and one in the corridor matched prints taken from Sollecito.

He added: “"We also found that a naked footprint found in Knox's bedroom and in the corridor outside, again using Luminol, was compatible with the one taken from her in prison."

Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter, was convicted of Miss Kercher’s murder last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

It is alleged Guede tried to sexually assault Miss Kercher and then Miss Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.
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Coulsdon student Meredith Kercher stabbed from behind, Italian court hears

Wednesday 27th May 2009
Croydonguardian.uk.com

Murder victim Meredith Kercher was stabbed from behind while she was kneeling with her face pushed into the floor, an Italian court heard...

Fellow student, American Amanda Knox, 21, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are accused of murdering her because she refused to take place in a drug-fuelled orgy.
They deny the charge.

Expert Dr Francesco Camana told the court the blood pattern showed when Miss Kercher was fatally knifed in the throat she was no more than 40cm from the floor. He said: “She was kneeling down facing the wardrobe, her face pressed almost to the floor, with her chest pushed forward and her legs behind her.”

The court in Perugia had been told earlier Miss Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife while Miss Kercher’s DNA was on the tip. The traces were found on the black-handled kitchen knife, which the court was told is compatible with the murder weapon, after it was found at Sollecito's flat.

The court has also been told Mr Sollecito’s DNA was discovered on a bra clasp belonging to Miss Kercher which was found at the scene.

Defence lawyers claim the DNA evidence is tainted. The trial is expected to last until the end of this year.
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For MUCH detail on this case, check out these websites, one against Amanda and Raffeale, one for their defense, and one seemingly on the edge:

PERUGIA SHOCK
True Justice for Meredith Kercher
Friends of Amanda

It is interesting following the different views of this case. On the pro-Amanda side, and per U.S. forensics standards, the Italians don't have a very good case. Amanda's DNA in her own home is not unusual, nor would her DNA on a knife at her boyfriends house, if she ever cooked there. However, the Italians do not regurgitate evidence like we do in the States, broadcasting every minute detail including autopsy reports, etc.
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But if the truth was completely out, it would be told that Amanda is in up to her cooch in crime, by the fact that a tampon was removed from the box in the bathroom and shoved in the wound in Meredith's neck. That is the reason for the forensic sampling from the "cotton-flock" box in the bathroom.
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For the life of me, I can't imagine that a man would think to do that. Why would a woman, but especially, why would a man? It looks like Amanda will be in her 50's when she is finally able to go home.
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I wonder if the roommates have testified yet about living with Amanda and Meredith.

Melissa Huckaby: Prosecutors add poisoning charges


Tracy News
May 22, 2009


Prosecutors Thursday added poisoning and child endangerment charges against Melissa Huckaby, who is accused of killing Sandra Cantu, 8.

Prosecutors allege Huckaby on Jan. 17 mixed a “harmful substance” into the food or drink of a another 7-year-old girl. They also accuse her doing the same thing on March 2 to a man named Daniel Plowman, who has no criminal history in this county and could not be found for comment...

Now prosecutors added a felony child endangerment charge against Huckaby, and two felony counts of “furnishing a harmful substance.” A gag order prevents prosecutors, investigators, or potential witnesses from discussing the case.

Cantu disappeared from the mobile home park on March 27, and 10 days later, her body was found in a suitcase in an dairy lagoon about two miles north of the mobile home park.

Huckaby on April 10 told the Tracy Press she reported a suitcase stolen the day Cantu disappeared, and police arrested her after five hours of questioning later that day.

Huckaby is in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp, where she's charged with murder, rape with a foreign object, committing lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, kidnapping, child endangerment and poisoning.


Man faced DUI after Huckaby allegedly poisoned him
Tracy News
May 22, 2009

Police on March 3 arrested a man on suspicion of driving under the influence hours after murder suspect Melissa Huckaby, 28, allegedly poisoned him.

Daniel Plowman, 36, of Hayward, pulled into the drive-through at McDonald’s, 3430 N. Tracy Blvd., to order some food, but passed out at the wheel, according to police logs. According to an employee who called the police station at 1:30 a.m.

March 3, Plowman fell asleep in the drive-through lane, awoke, paid, got his food and crashed into a wall. His car ended up under the golden arches, according to the dispatcher’s log. Police showed up, arrested him and got a local towing company to impound Plowman’s gold Ford Tempo.

The fast food restaurant is a few minutes by car from Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, where Huckaby lived with her grandparents before her April 10 arrest on charges that she kidnapped, raped and killed 8-year-old Tracy girl Sandra Cantu.

Records show that Plowman was never charged with a crime in San Joaquin County. Prosecutors on Thursday added three charges against Huckaby: That she allegedly drugged a man and a child, and endangered a child.A gag order prevents anyone officially involved in the case to talk about it to reporters, so the relationship between Huckaby and Plowman remains unclear.

But according to dispatch logs, Huckaby took a 7-year-old girl to a park for four hours without her mother’s permission on Jan. 17. When they got back, the girl was high on benzodiazepine, police logs show. But no arrest was made that day. Police later said that they had too little evidence to file charges.

The girl’s mother Lora Polk, 41, told the Tracy Press that the incident shook that family’s trust and that they asked Huckaby to never talk to them again. When Sandra went missing on March 27, Polk said she immediately warned police about Huckaby.

A judge has delayed her arraignment until June 12 because the defense needs time to review new evidence, including 1,000 pages of new discovery, said San Joaquin County Public Defender Sam Behar.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Drew Peterson tried to pay $25,000 to have Kathleen Savio killed




May 22, 2009
BY DAN ROZEK
Staff Reporter
Chicago Sun-Times

A few months before his third wife drowned in a bathtub, Drew Peterson offered someone $25,000 to kill her, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow contended today in court as he sought to keep Peterson jailed on murder charges in Kathleen Savio’s death.

And just three weeks before Savio’s 2004 death, Peterson — then a Bolingbrook cop — complained to another officer that his pending divorce would be so financially devastating that “my life would be easier if she were just dead,” Glasgow said.


The new details emerged as Glasgow argued that Peterson should remain jailed on a $20 million bond set earlier this month when he was arrested for allegedly drowning Savio during what Glasgow called a “vitriolic” divorce.

After hearing the new information, Will County Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes refused to lower the bond — which would require the 55-year-old Peterson to post $2 million to be released from the Will County Adult Detention Facility.

Peterson’s attorneys have said the former police sergeant can’t post that much money and had asked that the bond be reduced to no more than $1 million.

Savio’s relatives said they were pleased that Peterson will remain behind bars as the case against him proceeds, but were stunned by the claims that Peterson allegedly tried to hire someone to kill Savio.

“It was a shock to us,” said Savio’s sister, Sue Doman. “It brought tears to our eyes.” “It’s a very bittersweet victory,” Anna Doman, another of Savio’s sisters, said of the decision to let Peterson’s bond stand.

Outside the courtroom, Glasgow would only say that he was pleased the judge didn’t reduce a bond he described as “appropriate.”

Defense attorneys, however, dismissed the new allegations against Peterson, saying prosecutors won’t be able to prove those claims when Peterson stands trial.

Still, Peterson was “a little bit taken aback” by the decision not to reduce his bond at all, defense attorney Joel Brodsky said.

Even before Judge Policandriotes ruled on the bond reduction, however, defense attorneys had raised a suggestion that she remove herself from the case because of her purported earlier involvement with the Peterson-Savio divorce case.

Brodsky in court said Policandriotes signed a legal order that dissolved a protective order that Savio had obtained during the divorce case barring Peterson from having any contact with Savio.
The judge also had signed an order relating to attorneys fees in the divorce, said Brodsky, who could offer no paperwork documenting those claims when asked by Policandriotes.

For her part, the judge said she didn’t remember being involved in any facet of that case.
“I have absolutely no recollection of entering orders in the Savio-Peterson divorce case,” she said.


After the hearing, defense attorneys said they still may seek to replace Policandriotes — who only was appointed Thursday to hear Peterson’s murder case. “I won’t totally foreclose that option,” Brodsky said.

During the court hearing, Glasgow also said that Peterson remains the “only suspect” in the still-unsolved 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

Stacy’s sister said after the hearing that she is pleased that Peterson will remain behind bars while he awaits trial for Savio’s slaying. “I’m going to sleep good tonight,” Cassandra Cales said.

Jordon Anthony Brown: Wampum PA boy arraigned on murder charges

Right: Jordan Anthony Brown

Accused boy silent in courtroom

Click here for video
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By Nancy Lowry
CNHI News Service
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NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Jordan Brown sat stiffly at attention Tuesday throughout his two-hour preliminary hearing.
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With his hands cuffed and secured to a belt around his waist, and wearing shackles around his ankles, Jordan could do little more than rest his elbows on the arms of his wooden chair at the defense table and stare straight ahead at the witnesses called by Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo.
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The 11-year-old New Beaver Borough boy is charged with homicide in the death of his father’s fiancĂ©e — Kenzie Houk, 26, and her unborn child.
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Wearing a gray polo shirt and dark pants, Jordan was welcomed to the courtroom by his attorney, Dennis Elisco, who put his arm around the boy as the youngster took his seat in the company of two uniformed sheriff’s deputies. Attorney David Acker also is representing Jordan.
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Under Pennsylvania law, the crime requires the accused be charged as an adult.
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Jordan was ordered returned to the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Center in Erie after District Judge David Rishel ruled that sufficient evidence existed to hold him for trial.
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Jordan and Elisco put their heads together several times, and Elisco put his arm around the boy and the back of his chair as Bongivengo presented 10 witnesses.
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Those witnesses talked about the occurrences of Feb. 20, the day Houk — weeks away from giving birth — was found shot to death in her bed in the farmhouse on Wampum-New Galilee Road that she and Jordan shared with her fiancĂ©, who is Jordan’s father, and her two daughters.
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Although he was unable to move his arms, Jordan sometimes sat back in his chair and swung his feet — his legs too short for them to reach the floor when he slid back — while waiting for a witness to enter the courtroom.
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Acker argued that the commonwealth had failed to make its case against the boy and that no evidence — blood, DNA or gunshot residue — conclusively linked him to the shooting.
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“The commonwealth has established that Kenzie Houk died of a gunshot to the head,” Acker said. “They established that Jordan owned a gun, had shot a gun and that his clothing contained gunshot residue.”
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However, Acker said, no testimony established that Jordan had gunshot residue “on his face or hands or his person.”





Jordan Brown Arraignment
Thu, May 7, 2009
By Jeanne Starmack
vindy.com
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The child’s lawyers expect to have their client moved to juvenile court.
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NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The defendant sat at the table in the courtroom, flanked by his two attorneys as the judge explained his rights.
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Judge Dominick Motto, the Lawrence County president judge, slowly and carefully explained the two charges against him — first-degree criminal homicide and first-degree criminal homicide of an unborn child. The judge even took time to explain what a fetus is and asked the defendant if he understood everything.
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Eleven-year-old Jordan Brown, still in the system as an adult in the Feb. 20 shotgun slaying of his father’s girlfriend, Kenzie Houk, 26, and her unborn son at their farmhouse near Wampum, Pa., nodded each time he was asked if he understood.
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His arraignment Wednesday ended then with a report to the judge that contained a not-guilty plea and his signature.
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It was not easy for Debbie Houk, Kenzie’s mother, and Jennifer Kraner, her sister, to watch, they said later.
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“It’s a long process,” Houk said outside the courtroom, adding that she wished Jordan would have pleaded guilty.
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“How can someone sit there and say they’re not guilty when everything is there,” she asserted, referring to the evidence investigators say links the boy to the killing of Kenzie Houk as she lay in bed between 8:30 and 9 a.m. that morning.
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The blended family living at the farmhouse also included Jordan’s father, Chris Brown, and Kenzie Houk’s two young daughters, Adalynn, 4, and Janessa, then 7.
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Investigators allege that after Jordan shot Kenzie Houk in the back of the head, he caught the school bus with Janessa.
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Adalynn found her mother’s body and appealed for help to tree-trimmers working in the yard of the rented farmhouse on Wampum-New Galilee Road.
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State police searching Jordan Brown’s room later that day found what they believe to be the murder weapon — the boy’s youth-model 20-gauge shotgun. Janessa also told investigators that she heard a loud bang inside the house before she and Jordan got on the bus. Chris Brown was at work.
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The boy was charged as an adult because state law requires that anyone over the age of 10 who is charged with first-degree murder go through the adult system first.
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He was lodged at first in the county jail, then sent to a juvenile detention center in Beaver County. He was moved five days afterward to the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Center in Erie after Lawrence County officials decided it would be cheaper to house him there.
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His attorneys have indicated they intend at some point to petition to have the boy moved to the juvenile court system. Atty. Dennis Elisco said after the arraignment that they will still do so as soon as counselors at the Erie center have had enough time to assess the boy. Those counselors will report whether they believe Jordan can be rehabilitated in the juvenile system.
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District Attorney John Bongivengo said Jordan’s case will be placed on the trial list next month, though it is not likely to go to court that soon. There are 400 cases on the list ahead of it, he said. .
Meanwhile, said Debbie Houk, the family needs prayers. Houk’s daughters have been through Easter and one birthday without their mother, she said. Janessa turned 8 on March 16.
They lost a baby brother they were excited about, she said. Kenzie was about two weeks away from giving birth to the boy she was going to name Christopher.
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For Mother’s Day, the girls have a picture that says “best mommy in the world” on it, she said. They have a cross with roses on it, “and we put something in the paper,” she said. She will take the girls to visit their mother’s grave.
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NOTE: The law in Pennsylvania states that an 11-year-old can be tried as an adult. The people of Pennsylvania made this decision long before Jordan murdered his potential step-mother.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stacy Peterson's Body? Could Take Weeks to Identify Remains



Remains Found on River Bank Near Blue Barrel Could Be Stacy Peterson's or Lisa Stebic's. DNA tests on bone could take weeks.

By SARAH NETTER, DIANA ALVEAR and SCOTT MICHELS
May 21, 2009
abcnews.go.com

Law Enforcement are facing major obstacles in identifying the body found along an Illinois river bank near the home of accused murderer Drew Peterson since the corpse is missing its head, arms and skin.
The office of Will County Coroner Patrick K. O'Neil said the body -- which many believe could be that of Drew Peterson's missing wife Stacy -- was clad in only women's underwear and shreds of blue jeans that held a small amount of money. New clue.

Since the corpse lacks a head, hands or feet, it has complicated identifying the body through dental records or prints.

"The partial skeletal remains consisted of a rib cage, spinal column and partial left and right femur bones," the coroner's office said.
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The lack of skin has made it more difficult to obtain DNA. A coroner and a forensic anthropologist are working together to confirm the gender of the corpse and are expected to test the bone marrow to try and identify the remains, sources told ABC News affiliate WLS's Amy Jacobson.

The coroner's office said it will take at least two weeks to obtain the DNA and determine its match. They are also trying to determine whether the head was severed before or after death, O'Neil said. Police are also searching for the body's head and other body parts.
Though officials acknowledge the body could be someone else's the similarities between Stacy Peterson and another missing woman, Lisa Stebic, are numerous. Both are of similar height and weight and both have had Cesarean sections after giving birth...this statement makes me think there was more left of the body than the coroner reported (above), From which bones did they see that there was a Cesarean scar?
The discovery Wednesday of the decomposing body near Peterson's Illinois home has the potential to blow huge holes in his claim that his fourth wife simply ran off with another man...

But the fact that the decomposing body was found less than a mile from a blue barrel could be significant, as Peterson's stepbrother told "Good Morning America" in March that he helped Peterson move a heavy blue barrel from the Peterson's' home into their SUV shortly after Stacy Peterson disappeared.
"I know he killed Stacy," said Peterson's stepbrother Thomas Morphey.

Area resident Michelle Williams spotted the blue barrel in the river earlier this week and notified police.

"A blue barrel in the river is something people would want to know about, especially police," Williams said. "When we first saw the blue barrel we first thought of Stacy Peterson."

Drew Peterson...remains jailed on $20 million bond.

Investigators say the partial remains of a small woman clad only in underwear were found by a barge clean-up crew on the bank of the Des Plaines River near rural Channahon, Ill.

The Will County coroner's office said it will conduct an autopsy today and investigators say DNA will be crucial in identifying the body...
Peterson has said he expects to be found innocent of Savio's murder and has maintained a seemingly cavalier attitude toward his May 7 arrest. Last week, Peterson, who is being held at the Will County jail, defended his behavior.

"Well, there is no book written on how I'm supposed to act," Peterson told NBC's "Today" show. "Would it be better if I hid my head down and tried to hide my face and hunched over and tears in my eyes? I mean, no, that's just not me."



Drew Peterson Also Suspected in Disappearance of Stacy Peterson

Peterson is also considered a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. A law enforcement source said the special grand jury that indicted Peterson for Savio's death is continuing to hear evidence in the Stacy Peterson case.

If a murder indictment is handed down for the Stacy Peterson case, experts said it could vastly change the case against Drew Peterson.
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"Then I think the prosecution will combine both cases, and each case will sort of feed off the other and will present a powerful picture to both a trial judge and a jury that this guy is a serial murderer," legal analyst Dana Cole told ABC's "Good Morning America" last week.

Peterson told "Today" that he will "probably be found innocent" of Savio's murder.

Brodsky has said he expects to challenge a new Illinois state law that could prove vital to the prosecution's case.

Prosecutors are hoping they can enter into evidence writings from Savio when she was in the midst of her divorce from Peterson, that she feared her husband's "next step is to take my children away or kill me."

A new Illinois state law allows such statements only if the witness was killed to prevent him or her from testifying.

'I Told You So' Written on Wall of House Where Woman, 2 Sons Found Strangled

Columbia, IL
May 21, 2009
foxnews.com

Four words were spray-painted in red on a wall of the Illinois home where a woman and her sons were found strangled: "I told you so."

That and other new details have emerged since Wednesday, when Chris Coleman, 32, pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, accused of killing his 31-year-old wife, Sheri Coleman, and their children, 11-year-old Garett and 9-year-old Gavin.

Major Case Squad Deputy Commander Major Jeff Connor told FOX affiliate KTVI-TV that it was not one piece of evidence but several factors that prompted police to arrest Coleman on Tuesday. He is being held without bond.

"I can tell you this investigation took us all over the place, several states, businesses, worship centers, residential areas, all over, so I don't want to key in on any one piece of evidence," Connor told KTVI.

Click here for photos. from foxnews.com

He said the bodies of Sheri, Gavin and Garett were found, strangled, in separate bedrooms in the family's Columbia, Ill., home, and that a basement window of the home was found open on the morning of May 5.

Shari Coleman's family will file a wrongful death lawsuit against her husband next week, KTVI reported.

People lined the street near the courthouse as Coleman arrived Wednesday morning, heckling him. "Murderer!" some yelled at the car in which Coleman rode. "Baby killer!" yelled another, KTVI reported. 'It's what he deserves," an unidentified man told a KTVI reporter.

During a roughly five-minute court appearance Wednesday, Coleman stood next to his attorney shackled at the ankles and waist.

Judge Stephen Rice told Coleman that prosecutors will decide whether to seek the death penalty and told him that he also could get up to life in prison. Coleman's next court appearance is June 10.

He was arrested Tuesday at his parents' home in Chester, about 40 miles from Columbia, and charged with the three first-degree murder counts, according to.



Related Stories from foxnews.com
Illinois Father Pleads Not Guilty to Strangling Murders of Wife, 2 Sons
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Illinois Man Whose Family Was Murdered Resigns From Security Job
Cop: 1 Person Responsible for Murder of Illinois Woman, 2 Children
Illinois Father Asked Police to Check on Family Before Wife, 2 Kids Murdered
Police: Woman, Two Sons Found Murdered in Their Illinois Home



"We've done all we could to solve this as quickly as we could but as efficiently as we could," Jeff Connor of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis said Tuesday. He declined to discuss motive. "We feel very comfortable in these charges."

Coleman told officials that he called the house and no one answered, authorities said.
Officials have declined to discuss details about the alleged threats. Some neighbors in the well-kept subdivision have also said the Colemans received threatening letters and their mailbox was tampered with. Premeditation.

Police got to the suburban home that morning before Coleman arrived and discovered the bodies. Shortly after, officers had to restrain the visibly upset man in his yard...

Family, residents react to Carol Mould murder arrest

Right: Carol and Doug Mould

By KSNW News
May 21, 2009



BUTLER COUNTY, Kansas - After years of waiting for word on what happened to Carol Mould, for friends and family, the news of a break in the case hit them like a bolt out of the blue Thursday.

Carol Mould's mother and son listened in on a press conference announcing the news that an arrest has finally been made in her murder. It's been nearly five years since she was killed. Her son wasn't expecting to hear police had finally cracked the case when his father called him early Thursday morning and told him to come home. "Shock - you just don't expect that," said Richard Mould, Carol's son.

Mould's mother, Joanne Stackley, says after the case grew cold she was surprised she lived long enough to see an arrest made in her daughter's murder. But she says an arrest alone won't bring her closure.

"I suppose I should stand here and say I'm happy it's all over with, but it isn't because you stop and think we don't know this man did anything until he's convicted," Joanne said.

In the tiny town of Benton everyone either knew Carol Mould or knows someone she's related to. They say this case has always been in the back of residents' minds and they're relieved someone is finally locked up for her murder.

"Finally, finally -- the family deserves to know," said Benton resident Lynn Ghormley. "That's a good thing."

"She was such a nice person," said resident Linda Walker. "It was such a shock to everyone it happened. She's greatly missed."

Some in Benton were worried as more time passed it was less likely anyone was ever going to be arrested for the crime. Now, they'll be watching closely to see if the case results in a conviction.

Wichita, Kansas, the Murder of Carol Mould: 55-year-old arrested in woman's 2004 murder


Right: Carol Mould
May 21, 2009

– A fire turned murder – turned cold case mystery.
Wichita, Kansas - Thursday afternoon family members confirmed to KSN an arrest has been made in the murder of Carol Mould.

Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy said during a news conference Thursday that a 55-year-old Bulter County man has been arrested for the murder.

It was 2004 that 43-year-old Carol Mould’s body was found inside her Benton home. Someone had set fire to the body, destroying most of the evidence.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Department put a plea out for tips and offered a reward for information in the case.

Officials say the man will be formally charged in court Friday.
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NO NAME?? Augh! It is time we find out the truth about Carol's death. She had been out in the yard mowing grass the last time she was seen. When the house was reported on fire, Carol was found inside.
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In 2004, Dennis Rader, the local serial killer was suspected by many as her murder for some time. But when he was caught, he couldn't shut up, bragging about all the people he killed and how he did it, but no Carol Mould.

New judge assigned to hear Drew Peterson's murder case

May 21, 2009
BY DAN ROZEK
Staff Reporter
Chicago Sun-Times

Will County prosecutors succeeded today in having a new judge appointed to hear Drew Peterson’s murder case after contending the judge originally assigned was biased against them.

Will County Chief Judge Gerald Kinney named Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes to hear the murder charges against Drew Peterson.

Prosecutors earlier had requested that Judge Richard Schoenstedt be removed from the case because of “bias against the state.”

Peterson’s lawyers sought to block that move, but Kinney ruled the request was valid under Illinois law — which allows prosecutors to exclude one judge from a criminal case.

Peterson’s defense team initially balked at Alessio-Policandriotes when she was was assigned, then recanted and agreed to accept her presiding over the high-profile proceedings.

Defense attorney Joel Brodsky later raised the possibility of seeking to have a special prosecutor try Peterson because Will County prosecutors -- including State's Attorney James Glasgow -- might know Peterson too well from his work as a long-time police officer in the county.

"It's not something we’ve totally excluded either,” Brodsky said.

Peterson’s attorneys expect Friday to ask that his $20 million bond be slashed dramatically so he can remain free until his trial.

Sandra Cantu: Alledged Murderer Melissa Huckaby's child at center of court fight



By Daniel Thigpen
Record Staff Writer

http://www.recordnet.com/
May 20, 2009


As Melissa Huckaby faces charges she kidnapped, raped and killed 8-year-old Sandra Cantu in March, the Tracy woman's mother and ex-husband are waging a bitter court battle for custody of the murder suspect's young daughter.
On April 16, Johnny Huckaby asked a court to give him custody of their 5-year-old daughter Madison Huckaby, who was living with her mother Melissa and great grandparents Lane and Connie Lawless at the time of Sandra's murder...

Court Commissioner Walter Posey initially granted Johnny Huckaby, 25, custody of his daughter on April 20. But Posey reversed course two days later, after Melissa's mother Judy Lawless pleaded with the court to let her keep the child.

A custody hearing Monday was postponed until July 6. Johnny Huckaby, Judy Lawless and their lawyers did not return calls for comment late Tuesday...

In a recent court filing, Judy Lawless said Madison and Melissa Huckaby lived with her in Orange County from the fall of 2004 until June 2008, before moving to the Tracy mobile home park.

To avoid the news media covering Melissa Huckaby's arrest, Judy Lawless took Madison and, until April 20, was staying with a relative in Oregon, according to court documents.

Johnny Huckaby wrote in court papers that he traveled to Oregon with the court order to retrieve his daughter, but Judy Lawless had already taken her back to Southern California. He accuses her of lying to him about Madison's whereabouts.

Johnny Huckaby also claims that, in recent years, his ex-wife denied his attempts to contact their daughter, threatening to hide out in Oregon and tell Madison he was not her father.
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In an April 17 interview with ABC News, the day after he filed his custody request, Johnny Huckaby said he hoped for the sake of their daughter that his ex-wife is innocent of the criminal charges that make her eligible for the death penalty.

"I do not want my daughter growing up with that type of legacy to look forward to," he said. He said their daughter was not aware of her mother's situation.

Melissa Huckaby has not entered a plea. She is scheduled to appear again in San Joaquin County Superior Court on Friday.

Read entire article here

Breaking News: Decomposed body found along Des Plaines River: 'It could be Lisa Stebic, it could be Stacy Peterson'

Right: Lisa Stebic

May 21, 2009
BY DAN ROZEK AND JOE HOSEY
Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporters

A cleanup crew working along the Des Plaines River discovered a decayed body near Channahon, but police late Wednesday couldn't determine if the remains might be those of Stacy Peterson or Lisa Stebic.

"They're unidentified human remains," said State Police Master Sgt. Tom Burek, after the body, found on the riverbank, was transferred to a Will County coroner's van.

It appeared to be that of a woman, a law enforcement source said.

An autopsy will be done today, but a source said further forensic tests likely will be necessary to determine the identity of the body.

Relatives of Peterson and Stebic, who vanished in 2007, said they don't expect to immediately learn the identity of the body.

"We're just being patient right now. We're waiting," said Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for relatives of Stacy Peterson, 23, of Bolingbrook, who vanished Oct. 28, 2007.
Right: Stacy Peterson

Meanwhile, Channahon resident Michelle Williams said she notified local police about a blue barrel she saw on the riverbank three days before the remains washed up. Rot-roe. That pesky blue barrel again, that Drew said never existed. And that Tom Morphey and a Peterson neighbor swear they helped/saw Drew move the night of Stacy's disappearance.
Police had no comment. A witness has said he helped Drew Peterson carry a heavy blue barrel, which he thinks contained Stacy Peterson, hours before she was reported missing.

Drew Peterson was charged this month with the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, but not in Stacy's disappearance.

Lisa Stebic disappeared from her Plainfield home April 30, 2007. A relative said family members just hope the body can be identified.

"It could be Lisa, it could be Stacy, it could be someone different," said Melanie Greenberg, a cousin.
I have a nickel says it's Stacy. I wonder if Drew will hyperventilate like Casey Anthony...unless of course everyone uses blue barrel's in the disposal of bodies in the Chicago area. Chicago murder rates are 1.5 to 2 people EVERY DAY.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Christopher Coleman called 'baby killer' outside court

Wed May 20, 2009l
CNN

(CNN) -- A southwest Illinois man accused of strangling his wife and two young sons appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to murder charges, officials said.

Christopher Coleman, 32, will remain jailed without bond pending a June 10 preliminary hearing, according to the Monroe County, Illinois, district court clerk's office.

He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sheri Coleman, 31, and sons Garett, 11, and Gavin, 9. Their bodies were found May 5 in the bedrooms of the Coleman's two-story home in Columbia, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.

The three died of strangulation by ligature -- a string, cord or wire -- police said. Coleman was arrested Tuesday at his parents' home in Chester, Illinois.

As a police patrol car carrying Coleman arrived at the Monroe County courthouse for Wednesday's hearing, a waiting crowd shouted "murderer" and "baby killer," according to video posted on the Web site of CNN affiliate KSDK.

Coleman told police he left the house at 5:43 a.m. the day of the deaths and drove to a gym to work out.

Watch CNN report of Coleman's actions after deaths »

"Shortly thereafter, he started calling his house, realized that nobody was answering and on his way back at around 6:50 a.m. is when he made the phone call to the Columbia Police Department, said Maj. Jeff Connor, commander of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis.
Coleman said he was calling the house to make sure the boys were waking up for school, Connor said.

Threatening messages were found on the walls inside the home, Connor said, but would not disclose the exact wording. In an article posted on the Major Case Squad's Web site, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper reported the message said something to the effect of, "I told you this would happen."

A glove with red spray paint on it was found along Interstate 255, which would have been on Coleman's route to the gym, the newspaper reported. The message in the Coleman home was written in paint of a similar color, the article said.

Coleman previously worked in the security department for Joyce Meyer Ministries, an evangelical Christian organization based in suburban St. Louis, said spokesman Roby Walker.

Walker told CNN Coleman resigned last week after the two met regarding "a violation of moral conduct." He would not elaborate.

The Post-Dispatch cited police sources as saying Coleman had more than one romantic rendezvous with a Florida woman, a friend of his wife, during out-of-town ministry trips. Neither Coleman nor his attorneys have commented on that report, the Post-Dispatch said.

Police said Tuesday they did not have a motive for the killings.

Joyce Meyer Ministries said in a statement Wednesday that it had learned of the charges against Coleman.

"This horrible tragedy has deeply saddened us all and although nothing can compensate for the loss of this beautiful family, our ministry remains fully behind the diligent efforts of the law enforcement community," the statement said.

Ronald Cummings to Casey Anthony family: Stay away

Ronald Cummings, father of missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings, said he wants help from everyone except Cindy and George Anthony.

Bianca Prieto
Orlando Sentinel
May 19, 2009

Ronald Cummings begged the public for help to find his missing 5-year-old daughter Haleigh Cummings in a video released last week on his lawyer's Web site.
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But today he amended that message -- he wants help from everyone except Cindy and George Anthony. "The family of Ronald Cummings, father of Haleigh Cummings, wishes to make it clear that they do not want any involvement by George and Cindy Anthony in the continuing search for Haleigh Cummings," according to a news release issued by the Kimball & Snider Law Firm, which represents Cummings.
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"The Anthony's have their own agenda, as witnessed by their recent media tour. The facts relating to the death of Calee (sic) Anthony, which resulted in the first degree murder charges against Casey Anthony, are in no way similar to Haleigh's disappearance," the release said...

Haleigh Cummings disappeared from her bed in rural Satsuma February 9/10, 2009...Caylee Anthony, 2, was last seen June 16, 2008...
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Sure would like to hear what has gone on behind closed doors. Cindy and George are holding up well, evidently, soliciting a possible link between the kidnappings of the little girls from the Cummings/Sheffield families. Jesse Grund and Rico and Tony have all been cleared, Zenaida Gonzales at. el. are destroying the Zani defense.
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Now the Anthony's have been swatted away like pesky gnats by a drug-adled, redneck, bully. The best thing they could do for Casey is to testify to the truth, whatever it may be, then go home and shut-up until October. Casey has never been made to suffer the circumstances of her actions. Let her do it now. May be a harsh lesson, but it was a harsh crime.
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Same goes for Misty. She won't be able to keep this secret for long. She likes to party and get high, and will eventually spill her story to someone.