Cleveland July 12 2010 A Cleveland man was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for hitting a Great Lakes Mall security guard with his car.
Jermaine Cousins, 30, was one of two people suspected of stealing $2,000 worth of clothes and household goods Sept. 25 from the Mentor mall.
When a guard tried to stop them, the two suspects got into a 2008 Lexus, witnesses said. Then the suspects hit the guard with their car.
The guard — a 21-year-old Euclid resident — was knocked onto the car’s roof but was not seriously injured.
Cousins pleaded guilty last month in Lake County Common Pleas Court to aggravated robbery and felonious assault before Judge Richard L. Collins Jr.
Prior to the hit-and-run, Cousins already had warrants for his arrest in Shaker Heights and Lyndhurst, and from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.
Cousins could have been sentenced to a maximum 18 years in prison.
LAS VEGAS NV July 12 2010 — Three Las Vegas police officers were involved in a shooting at a Costco near Charleston and Pavilion Center in northwest Las Vegas.
Police have released few details about the shooting, but say the suspect was shot by three officers while exiting the store, He died from his injuries. Friends and family members say the suspect is Erik Scott, a West Point graduate, and in his 30′s. One friend said Scott was at Costco to pick up a prescription.
“The individual was shot — its out in the open area right near the tire store. He was transported to UMC where he was pronounced dead at that point,” said Metro Capt. Patrick Neville. “He had a weapon on him. I know the question is going to come up. The weapon is laying right out in front of the store. We also found another weapon when we transported him to the hospital.”
The incident happened just before 1 p.m. Saturday. Police were called when Costco workers saw the suspect destroying merchandise inside the store. Someone noticed the suspect had a gun and store security evacuated customers and employees.
Police say when they approached the suspect, he drew a weapon and pointed it at officers. After refusing to drop the weapon, three officers fired multiple rounds, striking the suspect numerous times.
Costco employee Brenda Franklin says the scene was frightening. “We were told to immediately evacuate the store. No one told us why. They just told us to get out of the store. We immediately dropped what we were doing and exited. As soon as I got to the front door, I heard about five shots,” she said.
There were no other reports of injuries. Officers credited the Costco security staff for evacuating everyone out of the store in a timely manner.
The officers are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The confirmed identity of the suspect will be released by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
NEWPORT KY July 12 2010 – A lawyer for Woody Smith claims the man strangled his wife during a caffeine-induced bout of insanity.
Defense lawyer Shannon Sexton’s request to show jurors caffeine-laced diet pills and the energy drink No Fear has caused the trial to be delayed. Instead of starting Monday, it will begin Aug. 30 before Campbell Circuit Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward.
Prosecutors want time to test the chemical makeup of the pills and drinks that were given to investigators only four days ago. Smith’s parents collected the items from their son’s home and car after police searched each place, Sexton said.
“The jury is left to assume that the pills inside the bottles are the same substance as is written on the label – this is not an acceptable leap in a criminal trial,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Snodgrass said.
She argued that if the pills and drinks are introduced – something she opposes – their scientific composition should at the very least be required.
The fact that the pills allegedly came from Smith’s home and car doesn’t mean he was under their influence when he killed Amanda Hornsby-Smith, Snodgrass said.
Smith faces up to life in prison if found guilty of murder for using an extension cord to strangle his 28-year-old wife in May 2009 in the couple’s Dayton home.
Snodgrass even questioned where the pills and drinks came from since investigators do not recall seeing them during at least two searches of the residence and impoundment of the car.
“It is just as likely that the pills came from GNC, from Wal-Mart, the Internet, or the defendant’s parents’ home,” Snodgrass said.
Sexton appears to want the items introduced to support a mental-health defense.
A psychological evaluation by the defense concluded that Smith was not criminally responsible for the killing. Psychologist Robert Noelker of Williamstown said Smith suffered from a brief psychotic disorder based on lack of sleep caused by consumption of high levels of caffeine, Ephedra or amphetamine-type substances.
Noelker’s diagnosis was based on Smith’s claims he consumed the pills and drinks in the days leading up to the killing.
The prosecution is prepared to call its own expert witness to say there is no evidence to support Smith’s claims he took the substances. Smith tested negative for any amphetamine-type substances in the hours after the killing, Snodgrass said.
An autopsy report, however, shows the substances were present in Hornsby-Smith’s body.
“For all we know, the diet pills could have been hers,” Snodgrass said.
Sexton said Smith was consuming the pills and drinks to avoid falling asleep because he feared his wife would leave him during the night and take their two children. Smith thought his wife was having an affair, according to court records.
Smith went so far as to ask his stepfather if he could have his children implanted with computer chips as a way of tracking them, according to court records.
“This dissociative belief and intense paranoid delusions are the direct result of the ingestion of large amounts of caffeine and diet pills,” Noelker wrote in his report.
He said his conclusion is supported by an extensive amount of clinical and research literature of the effects of sleeplessness on cognition, memory, judgment and insight.
“Mr. Smith was exquisitely vulnerable to development of the brief psychosis given his sleep deprivation and the cognitive effects brought about by Ephedra, caffeine, and other diet aids that he ingested in the two- to four-week period prior to the lethal assault of his wife,” Noelker wrote.
Sexton moved to introduce the pills and drinks after he failed to get Smith’s confession thrown out of court. Sexton claimed his client was intoxicated and did not understand his Miranda rights.
After Hornsby-Smith’s body was found, Smith was rushed to an area hospital for a possible overdose. He told nurses that he was there “because he strangled his wife,” according to court records.
FRANKLIN, Tenn. July 12 2010 — A Franklin gospel musician drowned in the cold waters of Lake Tapps, Wash., Saturday.
The News-Tribune newspaper reported the Pierce County, Wash., medical examiner identified Israel Godkin as the man who drowned in the lake Saturday afternoon.
Investigators said the water temperature in the lake was about 55 degrees and the cold water might have caused Godkin to go under. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Godkin and his two brothers performed in the Nashville-based music group The Godkins. The group had two concerts scheduled in the Tacoma, Wash., area Sunday.
The group acknowledged Israel Godkin’s death on its Facebook page Sunday, posting, “May God be magnified through his life. He will be missed greatly.”
A family friend told Channel 4 News that Godkin leaves behind a wife, Pele, who is expecting their first child in November.
An alert security guard foiled a high-tech attempt to look up girls’ skirts at Granite Run Mall Saturday afternoon.
Police said the suspect had an innocent looking Gap shopping bag, except for a round hole cut in the front with a camera lens sticking through it.
State Police said a Granite Run security guard became suspicious after spotting a man apparently maneuvering the altered bag under the skirt of a teenage girl. The guard took a peek inside the bag and noticed a camera held in place with duct tape and cardboard.
Trooper Robert Kirby said the suspect has admitted using the camera-in-a-bag to look up the skirts of four young girls who were shopping at the mall and using his iPhone to photograph three of them.
Police have charged 32-year-old Michael Stankus of Philadelphia with invasion of privacy.
TOLEDO, OH July 12 2010 – Toledo Police arrested a man carrying loaded guns, drugs and lots of cash at the Westfield Franklin Park Mall Saturday evening.
The suspect, 23-year-old Darek Abitua, has been charged with aggravated trafficking and other felonies.
Police Chief Mike Navarre says a person in Dick’s Sporting Goods saw Abitua in the parking lot stuffing a gun in his waistband. The witness then contacted a security guard who is an off-duty police officer. That officer got another off-duty officer, and they arrested Abitua in the mall.
There has been no word yet from investigators as to what Abitua was planning to do. So far, mall management has said they may not comment on mall security.
The president of oil and gas companies in Danville and Albany has been convicted of defrauding investors in Kentucky and other states of $12 million.
Michael D. Smith, 54, of Lancaster, president of the Target Oil and Gas Co. and a principal of the Kentucky and Indiana Oil and Gas Co., was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 11 counts of mail fraud by a federal jury in Lexington on Saturday after 10 hours of deliberation. His conviction came after a trial that lasted a month.
Smith and other co-defendants sent brochures to investors that included general geological information about an area, but made it appear to be a specific assessment about a proposed well, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Kentucky and several other states issued cease and desist orders against Target Oil prohibiting the company from operating within their borders, but Smith and another co-defendant concealed those orders from potential investors, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Smith and others obtained $12 million from investors through false statements and misrepresentations and paid only $538,000 in royalties, the office said.
The jury also convicted Michael Smith’s brother, Christopher Cello Smith, 40, of seven counts of mail fraud.
The brothers will be sentenced in October in Lexington. Each is facing a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Tulsa Okl July 12 2010
A small plane crashed in Mohawk Park on Saturday night, killing all three men aboard.
Two Oklahoma men, Chase Bales and Damian Riddoch, and a Swedish man, Mats Malmberg, died. They range in age from late 30s to early 50s, friends and other news agencies reported.
Bales was the pilot and owner of the plane. The men were all partners in US Highland, a Mounds-based motorcycle designing and manufacturing company that relocated to Oklahoma from Sweden two years ago.
Malmberg was founder and president of the company. Bales was chief operating officer and co-owner.
They were coming from a business meeting in Pontiac, Mich., and were originally scheduled to land at Jones Riverside Airport. The pilot requested to land at Tulsa International Airport instead, but did not say why, police said.
The pilot said over the radio that the aircraft was low on fuel just before it crashed into a heavily wooded area of the park at about 10 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Authority and National Transportation and Safety Board were expected to arrive and inspect the crash scene Sunday morning, Tulsa Cpt. Shawn King said.
A friend of the men, Brian Belton of Palos Verdes, Calif., said they were good people with large, caring families.
“They were nice people – very nice,” he said. “I enjoyed working with them and I’ll miss them.”
Washington County MD July 12 2010
An Alabama man, wanted in connection with two armed robberies in Washington County, Md., died early Sunday in a fatal accident following a chase by Maryland State Police.
Police identified the man as Arthur Williams, 63, of Gadsden, Alabama. Williams was the sole occupant of the vehicle involved in both armed robberies, according to Elena Russo with MSP’s Office of Media Communications.
At about 3 a.m. Sunday, Maryland troopers received a broadcast from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department about an armed robbery that had just occurred at a hotel located in the 100 block of Lime Stone Road in Hancock, Md.
An hour later, at about 4 a.m., state police received another report of a second armed robbery at a hotel located in the 12000 block of Houck Avenue in Clear Spring, Md. The details regarding the suspect’s identity, his vehicle and the gun used, was the same in both robberies.
According to police, a state trooper working a DUI patrol was following a suspected drunk driver on U.S. 40 east of Clear Spring shortly after the second robbery.
The vehicle description matched the vehicle the trooper was following, so the trooper turned on his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to pull the driver over.
Instead, the man fled. His car left the road at St. Paul’s Road about two and a half miles down the road, hitting several fixed objects and an unattended parked car.
Police did not say what speeds were reached during the chase.
The man was pronounced dead at the accident scene.
The Maryland State Police Crash Team, Crime Scene technicians and troopers from the Hagerstown Barrack conducted an investigation at the crash scene Sunday morning.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the armed robberies. The Clear Spring Fire Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the accident scene.
“She was the best mother, daughter, wife and best friend, you know, all of that. She was just a beautiful person and she loved everyone,” said Tony Fletcher.
Fletcher misses his best friend, his wife of 14 years. Kimberly Fletcher, 32, died Saturday when the pickup crashed through the Visionworks store at the Greeley Mall.
Tony Fletcher, who’s a mall security guard, was one of the first responders. He didn’t know, when he first got the call, that his wife and son were in the middle of all the wreckage. Fletcher believes Kimberly died saving their son’s life.
“I think she probably pushed him out of the way, got him out of there,” he said.
Nine-year-old Zach Fletcher walked away from the crash with some deep cuts and bruises.
“He’s been really strong, and you know, he’s keeping me strong. I have to stay strong for him,” said Fletcher.
The other crash victim, 23-year-old Jennifer Hudgens, of Pueblo, was a Visionworks employee. She was a student at the University of Northern Colorado, studying elementary education and physical education.
Jennifer Hudgens, a University of Northern Colorado student, was killed when a pickup plowed into the Visionworks store where she worked.
“She was doing the double major in college, working full time, and looking forward to starting her student teaching in three weeks. She was so impressed with working with the young kids,” said Rob Hudgens, Jennifer’s father, “She was just a fun-loving girl that would do anything for anybody.”
Two lives cut too short.
Yet, family members said they weren’t mad at the driver. In fact, some of their sadness was for him, too.
“It’s a tragic event for everybody, something this young gentleman has to live with, too,” said Hudgens.
“Accidents happen. I’m not blaming anyone or anything. I loved my wife and I know she would not want me to be angry,” said Fletcher.
Officials have not released the identity of the 29-year-old driver who was injured in the crash, as well.
Police said they plan to meet with the district attorney’s office this week to determine whether or not charges should be filed.
Greeley Police said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash. They said they are looking into whether a medical condition was to blame.
The 46-year-old man was arrested for investigation of robbery in the second degree after he allegedly shoplifted merchandise from the unidentified store at 2:30 p.m., police said.
The suspect allegedly attacked one of the security guards who pursued him from the store, police said.
Honolulu police officers found the suspect nearby and arrested him, police said.
Derek Thomas, 25, was admitted to West Jefferson Hospital on Thursday after what some news outlets described as a possible suicide attempt. When orderlies asked Thomas to put on a hospital gown, he refused and tried to flee the facility. That’s when security guards stepped in, and a scuffle ensued. Details were reported by several news agencies.
One of the guards punched Thomas, pulled out his hair and them shocked him with a Taser, the patient’s sister, Kimberly Thomas, wrote in an e-mail to ABC News. Because of the fight, Thomas suffered a serious seizure, she said.
Police say that they are investigating.
LONG BEACH CA July 12 2010 — A suspect who shot four people outside Long Beach Bible College remains at large, according to police.
The shooting happened around midnight Sunday in the 400 block of East Artesia Boulevard.
A group of people were leaving an event there when a gunman got out of a vehicle, opened fire, got back into the car and sped away.
Four people were wounded, police said.
They were taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A description of the vehicle was not immedately available.
Police sad the shooting may have been gang related.
State College PA. July 12 2010 A 21-year-old Manheim man was arrested after allegedly throwing horse feces at a State College police officer.
David R. Woodson, of Manheim, faces one misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and several summary offenses, including harassment and public drunkenness.
At about 11:40 p.m. Saturday, Woodson allegedly threw a paper cup and plate filled with horse feces through the window of a marked patrol car, striking an officer in the chest.
Police say they caught Woodson after a foot chase and that his back, buttocks and hands were covered in horse feces.
Police believe Woodson may have fallen into a pile of horse feces, before deciding to throw some at a police officer.
Police used mounted patrols Saturday, with officers riding on horseback.