DEL CITY, Okla.May 6 2011 — Two men and two women are accused of pinning down a man who has learning disabilities, tattooing the word “RAPEST” on his forehead and shocking his genitals with a stun gun before beating him unconscious with a baseball bat, police said Wednesday.
The accused told police they attacked Stetson Johnson, 18, because he tried to have sex with one of them, according to a police spokesman. Detectives found no evidence to support their claims, he said.
Johnson, of Oklahoma City, said he is acquainted with all four but has never tried to hurt any of them. He said the April 17 attack began when he was thrown to the ground and kicked in the face “dozens of times” by two men while two women took turns using a stun gun on his genitals. He said the attackers yelled obscenities at him.
“I was screaming. It was hurting,” he said. “After they kicked me in the face I said, ‘Oh my god, they’re going to kill me.’”
Two women and two men are being held without bail but have not been formally charged. Capt. Jody Suit, spokesman for the Del City Police Department, said police plan to recommend charges of assault and battery, maiming by disfigurement and kidnapping.
The attackers placed duct tape around Johnson’s hands and held him down while one tattooed the word “RAPEST” on his forehead, Johnson said. The word, apparently a misspelling of “rapist,” has since been covered with another tattoo that looks like a bar code.
The attackers also tattooed a phrase on his chest that resembles “I like little boys,” police said.
They then put Johnson in a car and transported him to Eagle Lake in Del City, where he was beaten in the arms and head with a baseball bat, causing a gash in his head that required 18 stitches to close.
Johnson said he was unconscious for about two hours before he awoke and sought help.
“When I got up I felt dizzy,” he said. Johnson said he tried to get help from motorists on a nearby highway before walking about a quarter of a mile to a mobile home park, where a resident called police.
“They found him almost dead,” Suit said.
Johnson spent a week in the hospital, including three days in the intensive care unit, for treatment of a fractured skull, broken nose and other wounds sustained in the beating.
“They almost killed me,” he said.
Police seized tattoo guns, needles, ink and a Taser gun after the suspects were taken into custody, according to a police report.
Suit says the attackers told authorities they were trying to punish Johnson after one of the women accused him of trying to have sex with her. Johnson denies that, and Suit says there’s no evidence to support it.
“To me it’s bullying. The guy has the mentality of a fifth-grader,” Suit said.
He said the four have not yet been assigned public defenders.
Johnson bears scars from the attack and said he has trouble breathing and seeing out of one eye. He also said he suffers from anxiety and has nightmares about being killed.
“Everywhere I go, I look around like, ’What’s going to happen?’” he said. “I don’t understand why they would do something like this until I was almost dead. They deserve justice.”
He said he would like to have the tattoos removed but cannot afford it. In the meantime, he had the one on his forehead turned into a barcode, with the numerals “7” that he hopes will bring him luck and a reference to 2010, which he said was a good year for him.
Johnson’s mother, Lucy Ford, said she and her son plan to move from their southwest Oklahoma City home.
“He feels that it’s unsafe for him here. He can’t sleep at night,” Ford said. “I just can’t believe that people would be so mean. He’s 18 years old. He has his whole life before him. And he almost lost it?”
Johnson’s sister, Crystal Cline, said the incident makes her fear for the safety of her two small children.
“People are evil these days,” Cline said.
COLUMBIA, SC May 6 2011 – A former pastor of Elmwood Avenue Church of God is charged with stealing $253,827 in church donations over a 10-year-period, according to Columbia police.
Investigators arrested 53-year-old Charles Edward Ledford on Tuesday and charged him with multiple counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.
Police opened the investigation in April after the church’s new pastor, Byron E. Powers, told police that “several members of the church complained” early this year about their personal donation records from 2010 not matching the church’s records, according to the report.
Powers started investigating the church’s bank accounts, and discovered a bank account the church was not aware of named “CHURCH OF GOD MINISTRY ACCOUNT.” According to the report, $253,827.46 had been deposited and withdrawn through the hidden account since it was opened in 2001.
Powers said a post office box was listen as the church’s address. Two names had signatory power over the accounts, according to investigators. Those names were Charles Ledford and the church treasurer, John Hyatt.
Hyatt told investigators that his signature on the account’s records “is a forgery,” and told police, “he never had any knowledge of the account.” The report shows the deposits stopped in November 2010, after Ledford left the church in November 2010. The report also states that the church’s endorsement stamp used on the hidden account was not a match for the church’s official stamp, according to the report.
Powers told investigators that a senior bishop confronted Ledford about the hidden account and the “stolen money,” “and the suspect confessed to him,” according to the police report. Investigators seized “several folders of church financial records” after Powers filed the complaint with officers on April 4.
Investigators arrested Ledford Tuesday morning and booked him into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. A judge set Ledford’s bond at $100,000 Tuesday afternoon and released him on his word that he’ll show for his court dates.
Ledford declined to comment when reached by phone at his Simpsonville home Wednesday. Ledford told WIS, “You’ll have to talk to my attorney. I’m sorry, I hope you understand.” When asked if Ledford plans to take his charges before a jury, the former pastor said his attorney has not made that decision yet.
Houston TX May 6 2011 A man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a security guard during a confrontation at a bar in northwest Houston late last night.
Jose Rodrigo Romero, 43, is charged with murder in the death of Carlos Melendez-Solis, 46, at a sports bar at 8104 W. Tidwell near Wyandott about 9 p.m. Sunday, according to the Houston Police Department.
Police said Romero was arrested Tuesday without incident.
Witnesses told investigators Melendez-Solis got into an argument with Romero near the front door of the bar because Romero did not want to be searched. During the fight, Romero pulled out a gun and shot Melendez-Solis more than once, police said.
Romero left after the shooting.
Police dispatched to the scene found Melendez-Solis wounded and lying on the sidewalk. He was rushed to Ben Taub General Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead, police said.
No other injuries were reported.
ONLY, Tenn. May 6 2011 — A female prison guard was stabbed 14 times by two male inmates at a state prison in Hickman County Friday night, according to the state Department of Correction.
Prison officials said two inmates incarcerated at the Turney Center used a shank to stab the woman at about 8 p.m.
A security guard at the prison, who did not want to be named, said the facility has been on lockdown since the attack. He said guards are patrolling and beating on random prisoners, and that this action is causing tension to grow.
Bradley Osborne, 42, is serving life without parole for first-degree murder in Davidson County. He also has prior kidnapping, rape and arson charges.
Wesley Stover, 45, is serving 30 years for second-degree murder out of Hardeman County.
The guard said Osborne and Stover are in administrative custody. He said guards are worried for their jobs and safety.
Prison officials are investigating, but said there’s no reason right now to believe the guard did anything wrong.
The incident will be presented to a grand jury in hopes of getting attempted murder charges against the inmates.
Right now, the Tennessee Department of Correction is not releasing the name of the guard, who is still at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, because there is a safety concern.
Houston TX May 6 2011 A police have suspended an officer accused of robbing undocumented Mexican immigrants he stopped while on patrol in the Galleria area.
Stefan Riha, 29, was arrested while on duty Tuesday night, snared in a sting operation as part of an investigation by HPD’s internal affairs division. The patrol officer, who was charged with theft by a public servant, allegedly took $1,100 from an undercover officer, a police source familiar with the investigation said.
“He would stop someone on a traffic violation, search them, and take the money … those are the allegations,“ said the source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the inquiry. “It’s not the first time he was accused. There were other complaints. There were allegations of $800 and other amounts … it’s quite a bit of money.”
2 sustained allegations
Riha allegedly preyed on undocumented immigrants in his patrol area in the midwest patrol division, where many are known to carry large sums of money.
“If these people are here illegally and are working, many don’t have a bank account so they carry the money with them,” the source said.
Riha is Hispanic and speaks Spanish fluently, the source said.
Riha, who was suspended with pay after the arrest, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
The officer has two previous sustained internal affairs allegations against him, including a April 2010 violation for causing an accident and a January 2008 complaint for not completing an official report, according to a database of HPD complaints.
Riha, who became an officer in April 2007, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony. He is free on $5,000 bail.
Because Riha was arrested as part of an internal investigation, police authorities would not release details of the allegations, said HPD spokesman Kese Smith. In Harris County Court records, prosecutors allege he stole an unspecified amount of cash from a person, identified as R. Cruz, by using his status as a public servant.
Riha is a member of the Houston Police Officers Union. He has not contacted the union about legal representation, said union president Gary Blankinship. Court records do not show whether he has an attorney.
Last month, a Houston woman settled a civil rights suit against Riha and another Houston police officer related to serious injuries she received during her arrest by Riha in January 2008.
Araceli “Sally” Perez was awakened at 2 a.m. by officers who were looking for her boyfriend, who had been sent there from a bar in a taxi. The cab driver flagged down police when Perez’s boyfriend could not pay the fare, and they refused her offers to pay the cabbie with a check.
‘A broken-up face’
Police tried to collect the fare from the boyfriend, and when they detained him, Perez came outside her home to plead with officers not to hurt him, said her civil attorney, Bryan C. Mitchell.
“She had a broken-up face and her arm was snapped above the elbow,“ said Mitchell. “She was pushed against a brick wall, her face into a brick wall, and thrown to the ground, and officer Riha was on top of her.”
During the arrest, Riha jumped on Perez and held her arms down, breaking one of them, Mitchell said. The officer claimed he had grabbed Perez in a bear hug and then slipped and fell on her, and the injuries to the woman were accidental, Mitchell said.
He said the charges against Perez of assaulting a police officer were dismissed, as were charges against her boyfriend.
The civil case was settled by the City of Houston after mediation.
ATLANTA GA May 6 2011 — An unpaid parking ticket may not seem like a big deal to some, but Channel 2 Action News has learned if you don’t pay in the city of Atlanta, it could put a big dent in your credit score.
Nicole Will told Channel 2’s Tom Regan her credit score dropped 20 points after she neglected to pay a $25 parking ticket. She said in two weeks the ticket doubled to $50. “You wouldn’t think an unpaid parking ticket would bring strikes against your credit report,” Will said.
Two months after she received the ticket, Will said she got notices from collection agencies and soon learned her impressive credit score of 775 had fallen to 755.
“It’s not like I didn’t pay a credit card or defaulted on a car loan,” Will said.
Park Atlanta, a privatized ticket collection program, the city of Atlanta is now forwarding delinquent parking tickets to a collection agency.
The unpaid fine is treated like any other unpaid consumer bill and can show up on credit scores, impacting everything from mortgages to consumer loans.
A city official told Regan told an unpaid parking is a debt obligation and a delinquent violator is given sufficient time and warning to pay a ticket before it is forwarded to a collection program.
Some drivers parking on the street in downtown Atlanta told Regan the policy is unfair.
“I think that is ridiculous, parking has nothing to with your credit,” Katie Schmid said.
“It’s a bit extreme going after someone’s credit score for a parking ticket,” added Emma Doss.
Regan checked with several other metro Atlanta counties regarding their parking violation policies and found that other counties, including Cobb and DeKalb, did not forward unpaid parking tickets to collection agencies.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga.May 6 2011 — DeKalb police are investigating how thieves were able to break into 36 police vehicles that were sitting in the county’s own maintenance yard.
“They were pretty bold,” Fleet Manager Greg Brake said.
A supervisor arrived Friday morning to find trunk lids open, shattered windows and popped locks.
He still doesn’t know how the thieves got in. The lot is surrounded by metal fencing and gates.
“If someone wants in bad enough they’re going to find a way. That’s why we have security. We’re not certain what happened, but apparently security didn’t work that night,” Brake said.
The lot was supposedly being patrolled by a county contracted ABM security guard at the time. But, Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer obtained records showing the guard arrived two hours late that night.
He was last recorded as checking the property at 1:13 a.m. and when his shift ended at 5:30 a.m. he reported no problems on-site for the entirety of his shift.
“Yeah we’re not very happy about it. We’re following up with them and the police are performing an investigation. We’ll find out exactly what happened soon I hope,” Brake said.
Officers were told to remove their guns and other items when they leave their cars at the maintenance lot.
Out of 36 cars, the thieves got away with a few radios, one police jacket, a laptop, GPS and a camera, according to police.
“I was surprised, we didn’t expect anybody to come in and hit us like that,” Brake said.
He said there shouldn’t be any cost to taxpayers, because the county plans to go through the security company’s insurance to pay for the repairs.
Brake said he’s looked into getting surveillance cameras.
“Camera systems for this facility would cost about $35,000, and with the budget cuts the county goes through, it’s hard to do that. We felt with on-ground security we’d be in pretty good shape. We’re now revisiting that,” he said.
He’s also talking with the security company about their performance.
“This is something we need to have improvement on, we can’t allow this to happen again,” Brake said.
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. May 6 2011– A 28-year-old social studies teacher, youth pastor and girl’s basketball coach at Yearling Middle School was arrested Thursday morning on a charge of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child.
Joel A. Huddleston, of 3844 NW 30 Ave., also is youth pastor at the Buckhead Ridge Christian Church, according to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office obtained information of possible sexual abuse by Huddleston on Thursday. A detective interviewed Huddleston, who denied the accusations, “however, evidence proved otherwise.”
Huddleston is currently held in the Okeechobee County Jail with no bond. The investigation is ongoing and the sheriff’s office woudl release no further information.
LAS CRUCES NM May 6 2011 – A former Las Cruces educator has been jailed on charges he had an eight-month sexual relationship with one of his students, according to the Do a Ana Sheriff’s Office.
Hatch Valley Middle School science teacher John D. “J.D.” Hesse, 50, allegedly sent the 14-year-old girl sexually explicit text messages and had “sexual contact” with her at least twice, according to court records. He was also charged with four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Hesse, of the 1100 block of Birch in Las Cruces, was arrested Tuesday evening and jailed on a $50,000 cash-only bond.
The girl’s mother allegedly found evidence of the relationship in the girl’s room and was able to determine the person was actually her daughter’s teacher, according to the sheriff’s office.
After reporting her suspicions to Hatch Valley Public Schools Superintendent Anna Lisa Banegas-Pe a, the superintendent placed Hesse on leave and contacted the Do a Ana Sheriff’s Office on Monday.
Hesse allegedly confessed to investigators that he had had an inappropriate relationship with the eighth-grade girl. The alleged relationship began in mid-August 2010, and lasted until April, according to DASO Lt. Michael Kinney, who said there is no indication the two had sex.
Hesse was a New Mexico State University College of Education Crimson Scholar, according to school records. He also formerly worked with the university’s Suborbital Center of Excellence Mobile Lab, which performed outreach activities to fourth-eighth grade students in Las Cruces, according to Las Cruces Public Schools records.
He was never employed as a teacher at LCPS, said school spokeswoman Jo Galván.
“Hesse did undergo all appropriate background checks in 2003 when he signed up to be a middle school volunteer for LCPS,” Galván said. “At the time, he was an NMSU student. Then, from January to April 2005, he was an LCPS middle school substitute teacher.”
While there’s no evidence yet that Hesse did anything with any other student, the sheriff’s office said anyone with any information that would support that is urged to call (575) 525-1911.
“This is a pretty serious crime and we’ve got a teacher – someone in a position of power or authority – engaging in an inappropriate relationship with (a student),” Kinney said, “and we don’t want this to happen to anyone.”
Sepulveda, 36, was transported to Memorial Medical Center early-morning Saturday and passed away shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Anthony honorably served his community for nearly five years as a Las Cruces police officer,” said Chief Richard Williams.
“He was a dedicated public servant, son, father and friend. We will miss him greatly and can never replace the invaluable service he provided to this community.” Sepulveda had been with the Las Cruces Police Department since 2006 and most recently was an East Area Command officer working evenings and had just completed a shift before becoming ill.
A Hurley, N.M. native, Sepulveda graduated from Cobre High School in Bayard, N.M. in 1992. He graduated from the Las Cruces Police Department’s 37th Training Academy on Sept. 29, 2006.
He is survived by his daughters Alexis, 10, and Alivia, 17; their mother Sonia Fabro and grandmother Marla Ridgway; his parents Antonio and Norma Sepulveda; sisters Sonia and Ana Sepulveda; niece Aujanae; aunt Rosalie and uncle Tony Alirez; aunts Barbara Garcia and Margaret Delong; and cousin Michael Alirez.
Memorial and graveside services are pending.
Source:Las Cruces Sun News
Missoula MT May 6 2011 Doctors said 2-year-old Cash Hyde would likely die after they found a stage 4 brain tumor surrounding his optic nerve just a year ago this week.
And he nearly did. After being subjected to seven different chemotherapy drugs, the little boy from Missoula, Montana suffered septic shock, a stroke and pulmonary hemorrhaging.
Cash was so sick he went 40 days without eating. His organs were threatening to shut down. His father, Mike Hyde, intervened, slipping cannabis oil into his son’s feeding tube.
In Montana, medical marijuana is legal. Hyde had used it himself to treat his attention deficit disorder. When Cash was diagnosed in May 2010, Mike got him a marijuana card and purchased the drug from his own supplier.
Cash, now 3, made a miraculous recovery at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, but his father’s bold action — taken behind doctors’ backs — has raised serious questions about a parent’s role in medical treatment.
Hyde said he believes it was the marijuana oil that helped Cash eat again and that the drug — illegal in most states, including Utah, can cure cancer.
“Not only was it helpful,” Hyde, 27, told ABCNews.com. “It was a godsend.”
Dr. Linda Granowetter, a professor of pediatrics at New York University and chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, told ABCNews.com that Hyde’s intervention was “fascinating” but “somewhat bothersome.”
Granowetter said she agrees that cannabis — the chemical form, THC can be found in the prescription drug Marinol — is effective in treating adult nausea that accompanies chemotherapy. But there have been no clinical trials in children.
“Its virtue is we know exactly what you are getting and how much,” she said. “I think that the fact that he didn’t have the rapport and ability to be honest with the doctor is very troubling. Care is impeded when there is not complete trust.”
Hyde, who quit his job as a car salesman when Cash was diagnosed with cancer, said he was afraid Cash’s doctor might take the marijuana away.
“When you are told your kid has cancer, whoa,” said Hyde, 27. “Then they tell me they have to do aggressive chemo and he’s probably not going to make it. It’s a lot to take on.”
He had read claims by researchers online about cannabis’s properties: “It’s one of the best nausea and pain medications on the market,” he said.
Because there are no pediatric oncology facilities in rural Montana, where Cash’s tumor was discovered in a CT scan at the local emergency room, he was rushed to Salt Lake City, the nearest treatment center.
He was given the highest possible doses of chemotherapy for two months. He lost his appetite and threw up eight to 10 times a day.
“When he started the chemo, he was so sick,” said Hyde. “For the first six weeks, he was blind. But his tumor was shrinking… It’s the nastiest thing to see someone you love go through this.”
Doctors had inserted a gastric feeding tube to administer cancer-fighting drugs and to help with his nutrition, but when August came the family experienced another medical “rollercoaster ride,” according to Hyde.
“The G-tube burned out the inside of his stomach,” said Hyde. “He didn’t even have the will to eat.”
By September, Cash had stopped eating for 40 days. “He was suffering terribly, and the doctors said it was the best they could do for him,” said Hyde, who asked doctors to stop the chemotherapy drugs.
Instead, Hyde boiled up marijuana he had purchased in Montana with olive oil and measured 3 mm. doses that he poured into his son’s G-tube twice a day.
Because it was illegal to use medical marijuana in Utah, Hyde never told his doctors.
“In two weeks he was weaned of all the nausea drugs, and he was eating again and sitting up in and laughing,” according to Hyde, who said doctors called his son’s recovery “a miracle.”
NYU’s Granowetter said cannabis “certainly can increase appetite and improve mood…but the idea that it can cure cancer is ludicrous.”
She said the drug is most effective in teens who have previously used marijuana. “In young adults or children who have not had it before, it can make them paranoid.”
“It’s awfully hard to gauge if a child would have a bad reaction,” according to Granowetter, who said she would welcome clinical trials on children.
“We know from research that 30 to 60 percent of parents with children are giving them alternative meds like vitamins, shark tooth and herbs from Chinatown,” she said. “That’s why we spend a lot of time asking parents what else they are giving kids and trying to be non-judgmental and work with them and guide them.”
She said most pediatric oncologists are “open-minded” about alternative treatments.
Mike Hyde said he did eventually tell the Utah doctors, who were surprised by how Cash bounced back with no permanent organ damage. They say the boy has a 50 to 80 percent chance that the cancer will come back, according to Hyde, who has since started a foundation to help children with cancer.
“We were told I was one of the best dads,” said Hyde, who lived with his wife and their other 6-year-old son in a camper in a parking lot for the nine months of treatment. “Every encounter in Salt Lake City, we were positive and never quit fighting. I was told he was going to die, but I knew he hadn’t stopped the fight.”
For more information on Cash and how to help other children with cancer, go to the Cash Hyde Cancer Foundation
OKLAHOMA CITY OK May 6 2011– Police say a Norman man traveled throughout the metro stealing Lego toys from local Target stores.
Police arrested 30-year-old Todd Franklin Curtis on April 30. A loss prevention officer at the Target on S.W. 44th Street told police she first spotted Curtis walking the aisles in the women’s clothing section. Security watched him place several items in his shopping cart before he moved to the toy department.
Once there, security officers said Curtis placed several large Lego boxes in his cart. He then pushed the cart to the front registers and left it while he walked outside.
According to the police report, Curtis stopped outside the doors of Target to talk on his cell phone. Security officers told police after Curtis ended the call, he came back into the store and pushed the shopping cart filled with merchandise outside without paying for any of the items.
Target reported in all, the merchandise was worth $1,275.93.
The loss prevention officer told police Curtis resembled a photo of a man suspected of stealing Legos from numerous Target stores in the metro. Curtis’ car also looked like the car used by the suspect in the other thefts. Police impounded Curtis’ car and found several Lego boxes inside.
The head of Target security told police the suspect had stolen more than $10,000 worth of Legos from several stores.
Police arrested Curtis and took him to the Oklahoma County Jail. He faces several charges of grand larceny.
LOUISVILLE, KY May 6 2011 – Metro police arrested a man following a security scare at University Hospital.
Police were called after they say 32-year-old James Murph started threatening a security guard with a knife. When an officer arrived, investigators say Murph tried to run and in the process pushed a man into the street nearly causing him to get run over.
Murph is charged with assault, wanton endangerment and fleeing police.
Gazi Kabir allegedly went to the girl’s home periodically when she was alone, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Kabir could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Kabir worked in the social studies department and was appointed last year, the school said on its website.
Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD detectives at (818) 374-0040.