“Both are autistic,” she said. “I don’t want my kids to be like that. I want normal kids.”
Saiqa Akhter, 30, was arraigned Wednesday morning on a single charge of capital murder in the death of her 5-year-old son Zain, who died Monday. Family members have said the boy was autistic and had a speech impediment.
Irving officials canceled a second arraignment Wednesday afternoon in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Faryaal, who died Tuesday evening a day after she was revived and placed on life support.
Akhter called 911 about 5 p.m. Monday from the family’s apartment.
In the 911 tape, released Wednesday, Akhter admits to wrapping a wire around the children’s necks until they turned blue. Before that, she said she tried to make them drink bathroom cleaner.
“I put in their mouth, but they don’t drink it,” she said.
While still on the phone with the 911 operator, she washed her hands to get rid of the smell of the household cleaner.
Police found the children lying on a bed in the family’s second-floor apartment along with an antenna wire they believe was used to kill the children, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Also listed among the items removed from the home were a pillow, a section of mattress and a bottle of household cleaner.
Akhter’s uncle said his niece had been depressed since moving into the new apartment and reported “strange things” inside the family’s home.
“It looks like she had mental problems,” said Wasimul Haque, who did not elaborate on what Saiqa Akhter said she had seen. “I don’t understand why she did it.”
Zain, the 5-year-old, had autism and suffered from a severe speech impediment but had been improving, the uncle said. He said the boy had been in speech therapy.
Faryaal also had health problems and was rushed to the emergency room last year with a respiratory issue. A stethoscope was also taken from the home.
The children’s father, Rashid Akhter, emigrated from Pakistan in the late 1990s. He married Saiqa several years later, and she then moved here. He works as a computer technician.
“He did whatever he can do with his wife to keep her happy all the time,” Haque said.
The family was the subject of a Child Protective Services investigation last year after Zain was left alone at home while his parents rushed his sister to a hospital to be treated for breathing problems.
An agency spokeswoman said there were no signs of neglect or abuse.
Jewett has been working for the bus company for 32 years, according to a statement released by Greyhound Lines.
“This operator was an excellent driver with a clean driving record and was a very well-respected member of the Greyhound family,” the statement read. “He will be sorely missed by his colleagues and friends. Our thoughts are with the families of those affected by this incident.”
Five other people – another man and four women – were also killed when the Greyhound bus, bound for Sacramento, hit an overturned Chevrolet Trailblazer in northbound Highway 99′s fast lane at about 2:35 a.m., California Highway Patrol officials said.
The bus – which was carrying 35 people according to a Greyhound spokesman – then struck a Honda CRV.
All three vehicles careened off the highway and down an embankment, where the bus struck a eucalyptus tree.
Aside from Jewett, a 32-year Greyhound veteran, others who perished in the crash were identified as bus passengers Epifania Solis, 60, of Madera and Tomas Ponce, 79, of Mexico. Also killed were three women in the overturned sport-utility vehicle: Stephenie Cordoba, 20, of Fresno; Vanessa Gonzalez, 19, of Fresno; and Sylvia Lopez Garay, 18, of Dinuba.
Four other people were critically injured. Six had moderate injuries and many others had lacerations and bruises, CHP officials said.
The bus had left Los Angeles late Wednesday and stopped in Fresno before heading northbound toward Sacramento.
The coach’s next stop was supposed to be Madera before heading to Sacramento.
A relief bus delivered passengers who were not injured to the downtown Sacramento Greyhound bus station at around 7:30 a.m.
Arlan Snider, 41, a former Sacramento resident who was one of a dozen passengers who escaped injuries said he felt “blessed to be alive.”
Snider now lives in Phoenix and was traveling from his home in Arizona through Los Angeles to visit his mother in Sacramento.
Snider said in a sidewalk interview outside the bus station that he was sleeping in a seat in the middle of the bus around 2:35 a.m. when the bus crashed.
“I hit the seat in front of me and then hit the floor,” Snider said. “I helped a couple of people who could get off and then the medical people got there and told me to stop.”
Snider said in the confusion after the crash, passengers were searching for “those who did not get off the bus.”
He also said there was a big hole in the bus from the crash.
Snider said he will ride Greyhound again.
Nelson Valdez waited in his car across the street for his brother, Jose Valdez, 24, to come out of the station. “I’m happy,” Nelson Valdez said. “I was worried.”
Greyhound is asking that anyone who believe they had a friend or family member on bus 30601, schedule 6888, to call the busline’s hotline at (800) 972-4583.
George County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Age: Not available
Tour of Duty: 37 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Date of Incident: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Weapon Used: Automobile
Suspect Info: Apprehended
Sheriff Garry Welford was struck and killed by the driver of a vehicle being pursued by deputies.
At approximately 2:45 pm deputies from the George County Sheriff’s Office were pursuing a pick-up truck that had failed to stop for them. The driver of the vehicle was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for sentencing on a narcotics charge.
Sheriff Welford was laying spike strips down on Bexley Road South during to aid the pursuit when he was stuck by the suspect’s vehicle. He was airlifted to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he died from his injuries.
The driver and a passenger in the vehicle were taken into custody the next day and charged in connection with the death of Sheriff Welford.
Sheriff Welford was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served as the sheriff of George County for seven years. Prior to being elected he had served for 30 years with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
He is survived by his wife, three children, and seven grandchildren.
Agency Contact Information
George County Sheriff’s Office
355 Cox Street Ste B
Lucedale, MS 39452
Phone: (601) 947-4811
Please contact the George County Sheriff’s Office for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Deputy Sheriff David Lambert
Warren County Sheriff’s Department
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Tour of Duty: 15 years
Badge Number: WC-46
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Deputy David Lambert succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident one month earlier.
He was responding to backup another deputy who called for assistance when he swerved to avoid a vehicle at the intersection of U.S. Highway 61 and Oak Ridge Road. His patrol car overturned, causing him to suffer severe injuries. He was flown to a nearby hospital where he underwent several surgeries before succumbing to his injuries.
Deputy Lambert had served with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department for seven months and had served in law enforcement for a total of 15 years. He had previously served with the University of Mississippi Medical Center Police Department, River Oaks Medical Center Security Division, and Ross Barnett Reservoir Patrol.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
Agency Contact Information
Warren County Sheriff’s Department
1000 Grove Street
Vicksburg, MS 39180
Phone: (601) 636-1761
Please contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Department for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Samuel F. Lehtinen, 21, was booked by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and remained in jail early Thursday.
About 3:45 a.m., Portland police received a call that a security guard was chasing a suspected tagger and that the man had stolen a cab. About 15 minutes later, police found the cab in northwest Portland and a pursuit began after officers tried to stop the vehicle.
After several minutes, police stopped the pursuit, but the car was crashed and Lehtinen fled on foot, Portland Police Bureau Detective Mary Wheat said in a statement.
Seattle police officers’ last contact with Lehtinen was earlier this month.
About 4:30 a.m. July 14, a patrol officer reported seeing Lehtinen in a recessed doorway on the north side of Blanchard Street. Police say he had a shopping bag with a spray paint can inside. He hands were also allegedly covered in paint.
Officers found fresh graffiti in the recessed doorway and police say the color matched the color of the paint can Lehtinen had. He was arrested.
He was released on bail July 15, a day after he was arrested. Kimberly Mills, spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes, said Thursday that Lehtinen was charged with property destruction.
The “Zeb” tag has appeared in several Seattle neighbors, including Ballard, Belltown and lower Queen Anne, though police do not suspect Lehtinen in all the incidents. It’s not clear what “Zeb” stand for.
Seattle Police Detective Wes Friesen is handling the “Zeb” investigation Police have asked anyone with video, photographic or other evidence of suspected taggers to e-mail Wesley.Friesen@seattle.gov.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.July 23 2010 – The man firing shots into a downtown Nashville nightclub in April that left three people injured has been arrested.
21-year-old Dominic Lyons was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon by North Precinct Flex officers and Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. They had located him hiding inside his Curtis Drive residence.
Lyons was wanted for the shooting outside Atlantis night club on 3rd Avenue North on April 6.
Lyons had been denied entry into the club by a security guard because he failed to meet the dress code. Lyons then allegedly drove by a short time later and fired shots toward the security guard. The guard was not injured, but three people inside the club were struck by gunfire, including TSU student Blake Nathan who was shot in the chest. The other two victims were treated for non-life threatening injures. All three victims have recovered.
Lyons was charged with attempted criminal homicide, three counts of aggravated assault, evading arrest and marijuana possession. At the time of his arrest, Lyons was free on $17,000 bond for a 2009 felony drug possession arrest.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. July 23 2010 - A jury in Clarksville has found a mother guilty of second degree murder and aggravated child neglect after her baby died in a hot car while she went to a bar.
The Leaf-Chronicle reported that the jury came back with the verdict against Cortni Nichols Thursday afternoon.
On the witness stand Wednesday, Nichols said she forgot she had left her 3-month-old daughter, Faith Nichols, in the car in July 2008.
Testimony showed she even went out to the car at one point — for cigarettes — but didn’t check on the baby. The 26-year-old Nichols told jurors she didn’t understand why she failed to take her infant out of the car.
Court records show baby faith’s body temperature reached 103.8 degrees before her death. She was pronounced dead at a hospital emergency room.
Prosecutors told the jury she “knowingly and intentionally” left the baby in the car. Closing arguments were made on Wednesday and the jury began deliberations Thursday morning.
Nichols will be sentenced in September.
Lake Superior Court jurors convicted a Hammond man of murder in the shooting of a bouncer outside a Hammond bar.
J.B. Whitelow, Jr., 28, was convicted Thursday in the fatal shooting of 40-year-old Eric Lowe of Gary, a security guard who had ejected a group of men who had been causing trouble for a bartender at McTavern’s Bar, 7443 Indianapolis Blvd., nearly two years ago.
Jurors, who deliberated about four hours, also convicted Whitelow of the attempted battery of fellow security guard Robert Moore III.
Whitelow pleaded guilty to the habitual offender count, putting his potential prison sentence on Aug. 19 at 103 years.
“There were five sets of eyeballs that put this defendant in the parking lot,” said deputy prosecutor Reginald Marcus, who presented evidence with deputy prosecutor Judith Massa, in a closing argument.
Attorneys on both sides disputed what Whitelow, who fled the jurisdiction but was captured five months later, actually said on a taped phone conversation. Marcus contends Whitelow said if it weren’t for Darnell Jones, he “wouldn’t have shot that —hole,” referring to Lowe.
It was Jones who got into a confrontation inside the bar and was thrown out, setting in motion events leading to a confrontation in the parking lot and alley with Jones, Whitelow and others that culminated in Lowe’s murder.
Defense attorney Arlington Foley tried to convince jurors that Whitelow, in a phone call from the jail, said that Jones should be putting money on his books, a reference to his account that covers commissary purchases and phone calls. “I shouldn’t have to ask though,” is what Foley told jurors he heard Whitelow say.
Whitelow was captured by the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force in Evansville. In March 2009 he jumped out of a window to avoid arrest. Whitelow also was charged with murder March 8 in the shooting death of Jurrel Butler, 27, of Hammond.
Long Island NY July 23 2010 A fire-obsessed 14-year-old Staten Island boy is suspected of the unthinkable – setting his home ablaze as he murdered his family and then slitting his own throat with a straight razor.
Investigators believe C.J. Jones cut the throats of at least two of his younger siblings on Thursday, then ended his own life as the tidy apartment went up in flames.
C.J. was found in the back bedroom of the modest Port Richmond apartment, a razor filched from his mother’s hairstyling kit lodged under his body, the sources said.
His three younger siblings and mother, Leisha Jones, lay dead steps away in the living room.
“You’d think only a monster could do this, not a little boy,” said Chandra Franklin, 29, a family friend.
“He was a troublemaker when he was younger but we thought he grew out of that. He was the man of the house,” she said. “I don’t know why he did this, he must have been going through something no one could see.”
At first, investigators did not think the fire was suspicious. Then they examined the badly burned bodies and realized C.J.’s sisters – Brittany, 10, and Melony, 7 – had had their throats cut, the sources said.
The dead girls were found in the charred living room near their brother, 2-year-old Jermaine, and the body of 33-year-old mom Leisha Jones.
Jermaine died at the hospital. Investigators think the little boy and his mother – found facedown as if she was crawling to the door – died of smoke inhalation.
The three-alarm blaze tore through the second-floor Nicholas Ave. home at 4:15 a.m. and firefighters fought through a wall of flames to find the bodies.
Investigators believe the fire was set just inside the front door, possibly to prevent rescuers from entering the home, sources said.
Detectives are not certain what led to the bloodbath, stunning for its brutality and the young age of the killer.
Investigators were zeroing in on the teen’s recent rash of unstable behavior, sources said.
C.J. was kicked out of summer classes at Intermediate School 72 after igniting a fire in a bathroom, and he clashed with his mother, a security guard at Macy’s on Staten Island, after setting fire to a bathroom towel at home, neighbors and sources said.
Hours before the inferno, C.J. was spotted igniting pieces of paper outside the family’s Nicholas Ave. home as his siblings rode bicycles and drank apple juice.
The teen also had been ejected from nearby Faber Pool that afternoon for setting a fire, the sources said. Staffers at local pools, however, did not remember a boy setting a fire.
“He wasn’t an evil child,” said stunned neighbor Shaquawna Meaders, 25. “He loved his brother and sisters [and] he was a happy-go-lucky kid.”
“[He was] the man of the house,” Franklin said. “He took care of his sisters like a dad.”
“He never let anything bad happen to them,” she said.
No one else in the building was injured. The apartment did not have a smoke detector, which is mandated by law, officials said.
The device must be provided by the building’s landlord. The landlord at Jones’ building, Albert Morcos, is on vacation in Egypt, residents said.
Stunned by the deaths, relatives and friends mourned Leisha Jones, whom they applauded as a model mother.
“My family, my family!” wailed Marcia Anderson, Leisha Jones’ mother.
“She was such a nice person and she was a really good mother,” said a weeping Anderson. “She loved her kids … and I loved her.”
Seattle WA July 23 2010 Nearly two dozen taxi drivers were arrested or targeted by police Thursday after investigators say a months-long investigation showed they were trafficking stolen goods in downtown Seattle.
The effort, dubbed Operation Yellow Jacket, lasted at least 10 weeks and targeted what police said was an open-air market for stolen goods in the Westlake Avenue area.
The operation was launched by the department’s Major Crimes Task Force to address what police described Thursday night as significant increases in retail theft.
Surveillance showed shoplifters were taking stolen property to a cab stand near the Westin Hotel and peddling it to the drivers gathered there waiting for fares, according to police. Investigators said they filmed suspects breaking security tags off merchandise in front of the drivers.
An undercover detective posed as a shoplifter who walked past the cab stand with bags of merchandise until he was hailed over by drivers, a department spokesman said. Police said the taxi drivers purchased items from the undercover detective after being told they were stolen, and placed orders for other goods they wanted.
There are roughly 2,500 licensed taxi drivers in the Seattle area, and police say there is no evidence drivers other than the 22 targeted took part in criminal activity, nor are all the drivers at the location involved.
Investigators also clarified that no evidence suggests criminal wrongdoing by the owner of any particular taxi or involvement of a taxi association.
Charging decisions are expected late this week or early next week.
Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Operation Yellow Jacket was separate from an investigation earlier this year into a downtown cigar and tobacco store where police suspected two employees of trafficking stolen goods. Read more about that case here.