Washington DC Aug 22 2011 Robert Brown needed an Ohio driver’s license, so he traveled more than six hours Saturday morning to see a judge in D.C. Superior Court.
Brown had an outstanding warrant in the District for a 1999 traffic violation that stood in the way of his receiving the license, so his fiancee had to drive him and their 2-year-old 350 miles so he could settle the matter.
“They’ve been holding it over my head for 12 years,” he said.
Brown is one of 179 people who on Saturday participated in the “Safe Surrender” program, which officially started Aug. 13. Many who visited the courthouse Saturday left with dismissed charges or terminated paroles.
The program, which will be offered for the last time this year next Saturday, targets people with non-violent felonies and misdemeanors. Roughly 12,000 of about 14,000 outstanding warrants and parole cases are eligible, said Terry G. Fred, the assistant chief deputy U.S. marshal for D.C. Superior Court.
Before Saturday, 294 people visited the courthouse to participate, and family members have reported that at least 10 people with outstanding warrants have died, court officials said.
In 2007, the last time the city offered the program, more than 500 people participated, and fewer than 2 percent were held in jail after the appearance, D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield said.
District officials decided to reintroduce Safe Surrender this year in part because of the risks involved with apprehending fugitives. Fred said 12 law enforcement officers, including two deputy marshals, have died this year while trying to take people into custody.
The program also prevents that awkward moment when officers visit people’s homes, knock on doors and disturb family members and neighbors of the people for whom they are searching.
The approach is a stark contrast from tactics used about 20 years ago, Fred said. In a District-area sting at the time, U.S. marshals sent letters offering free Redskins tickets to those with outstanding warrants. When people showed up to claim the tickets, they were arrested, Fred said.
“It scarred this community,” he said.
Satterfield said city officials wanted to provide an opportunity for people to “do the right thing.”
“There is a better chance of you walking out the front door of a courthouse if you walk in the front door of the courthouse,” he said. “It’s never too late to come in.”
At the courthouse, dozens of people entered courtrooms 114 and 119, while several workers in blue Safe Surrender T-shirts scurried about. Representatives from Unity Health Care and the city’s health, mental health and employment services departments gave presentations to those waiting their turn.
In Courtroom 114, 53-year-old Leslie Perkins, of Northeast settled two prostitution charges. On parole for a different crime, Perkins said she is studying business administration in Maryland she hopes to become a social worker.
“It was just a bogus charge. Someone asked me for a date, and I asked, ‘How much money you got?’ ” she said. “Now I’m just trying to be drug-free, go to school.”
Tyrone Jackson later entered the same courtroom to plead guilty to illegal possession of marijuana. Prosecutors said he was walking along Southern Avenue in Southeast with a rolled cigar that tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
In light of the plea agreement, Satterfield sentenced Jackson to six months of unsupervised probation. Jackson can now move to North Carolina to live with his sister and apply for a job with a printing company in Durham.
“With a warrant hanging over your head, you really can’t do nothing,” he said. “What made me come back was I needed to work. I’m 31 years old. I can’t just be walking around unemployed.”
Sporting a yellow polo shirt, Brown arrived at the courthouse a little after noon and left around 2 p.m.
“I’m going to drive back to Cleveland with no worries,” he said.
Thieves steal $100,000 breaker boxes from construction site while guards on duty www.privateofficer.com
Redlands CA Aug 22 2011 Thieves broke into the Grand Terrace High School construction site last weekend and stole main breakers worth about $100,000, despite the presence of a fence and two 24-hour security guards, according to Project Director Michael DeVries.
DeVries, of Vanir Construction Management Inc., said the theft “had to be a couple-hour process.”
“(The guards) are going to be replaced,” DeVries said. “One of the things we’re looking at is whether the guard company has any liability.”
Otherwise, the Colton Joint Unified School District’s insurance will foot the bill for a replacement, he said.
At a monthly update on construction progress, DeVries told the Colton Joint Unified school board on Thursday night that replacing the breakers could delay construction for four to six weeks.
“If it takes two hours to take it out, why’s it take four-six weeks to put it back?” asked board member Roger Kowalski.
He said earlier Thursday that the community would not stand for another delay on construction of the campus, which had already been pushed back a year from its scheduled opening this month.
DeVries said the difference came mostly from delivery time. Classroom construction was still expected to end April 30 – allowing students to attend the following fall – as has been expected since January, DeVries said.
School board members reacted incredulously to news the breakers were stolen from the main switchgear panels sometime between late Aug. 12 and early Monday.
“Two hours is a long time,” board member Robert Armenta said.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Beavers said Vanir reported Monday morning that someone stole $50,000 worth of Eaton brand feeder breakers.
“We have to be kind of careful reporting information from (the computer report) because sometimes when the deputy gets on scene, things will change,” Beavers said. “But in this case, it’s all I have. Based on the information I have, I don’t have any follow-ups after this call.”
BILOXI, MS Aug 22 2011- Authorities say they’ve arrested a Biloxi man who is believed to be responsible for two separate fires that were sat at the Treasure Bay Casino Saturday afternoon. Biloxi Police and Fire Departments were called to the casino for the first fire shortly after 3 PM. The blaze was quickly extinguished, and an investigation determined the cause to be arson. About an hour later, another fire was set in a different area of the casino and investigators found that the fire was started in a similar manner.
During the course of the investigation it was determined that one man, 22-year-old Gabriel Alexander Cameron of Biloxi, entered and left both areas by himself just prior to each of the fires. Cameron was arrested and charged with two counts of arson. He was transported to the Harrison County Jail where he is being held under a $50,000 bond.
ST Charles Parish LA Aug 22 2011 An employee in the St. Charles Parish Clerk of Court’s office was arrested Wednesday and booked with theft after authorities say a co-worker discovered that the woman had been stealing money from the office and falsifying records.
Kerri H. Breaux, 42, of 150 Birch St. in Luling was booked with filing false public records and theft of goods, $500 – $1,500.
Bond was set at $10,000 and Breaux was released Wednesday on a personal surety to a family member.
Authorities say Breaux, an employee of the Clerk of Court’s office for more than 16 years, is accused of stealing approximately $649.25 over several months.
St. Charles Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange said that on at least seven occasions, Breaux recorded a false amount for fees collected and kept the difference.
LaGrange said the discrepancies were discovered by another worker when Breaux was out of the office.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. Aug 22 2011– A Shelby mother and her son are behind bars in connection to a fatal stabbing at the Ocean Lakes Campground.
The Horry County Police Department got the call around 9:00 p.m. Saturday at the that someone had been fatally stabbed.
According to Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department, 18-year-old Adam Taylor Dwiggins was involved in a fight when he was confronted by Michael Dalton Fitch, also from Shelby.
Dwiggins stabbed Fitch, causing serious injuries. Fitch was taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Police have charged the teen suspect with murder. His mother is also facing charges; 51-year- old Kathy Ledford Dwiggins is charged with accessory to murder after the fact.
Both are being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center. No bail has been set.
The case is still under investigation.
Chicago IL Aug 22 2011 Officials have charged seven teens today for beating and robbing an 18-year-old man Friday outside of the Cermak-Chinatown CTA station, police said.
The attack happened about 11 p.m. at 138 W. Cermak Rd. outside of the Red Line stop, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.
The victim was robbed and beaten and sustained facial injuries and was taken to John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County, Mirabelli said.
The man was walking westbound on Cermak Road when the group of teens approached him and demanded his cellphone and other items before robbing and battering him, police said.
After the teens robbed the man of a cell phone, debit card and identification card, they ran into the L station and were on the platform when they were spotted by security guards working for the CTA who were then able to hold the teens for police, Mirabelli said. The CTA security personnel also recovered parts of the victim’s phone along the platform, police said.
Two of the suspects are 16 years old and were charged as juveniles with robbery and mob action. The other five are 17 years old and were charged as adults with robbery, mob action, and aggravated battery with great bodily harm, all felonies.
The adult offenders appeared in bond court today.
Fimi Adedokun, 17, of the 6100 block of N. Damen Avenue in Chicago was ordered held on $150,000 bail; Stanton Demaret, 17, of the 8100 block of N. Knox Avenue in Skokie was ordered held on $150,000 bail; Devin Mossiah, 17, of the 6600 block of North Ashland Avenue in Chicago was held on $100,000 bail; Duwon Polk, 17, of the 1700 block of W. Pratt Boulevard in Chicago was held on $100,000 bail and Denzel Olagbegi, 17, of the 1400 block of West Pratt Boulevard in Chicago was held on $200,000 bail after being charged in an April robbery.
ADSON, S.C.Aug 22 2011 (AP) — Dale Richardson was saved at a tent revival 32 years ago, was called to preach the Lord’s word in 2006 and, for the past year, had served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church, a modest red brick structure on a South Carolina side road running along a railroad track.
Now he’s in jail, charged with kidnapping and raping three women at gunpoint — two of them in a trailer behind the church — and kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.
According to an incident report, about noon on a Saturday last month, Richardson picked up a woman and gave her a ride. When the 20-year-old tried to get out of the car, Richardson allegedly pulled a gun, bound her hands, covered her head and took her to the gray-blue trailer home behind the church.
The report said he later dropped the woman in a wooded area, threatening to shoot her if she turned around. Police said the woman was able to identify Richardson from his picture on the church website, which also displays a short biography detailing how he became a Christian and then a pastor.
Richardson has since been charged with two other similar sexual assaults, both of which occurred last year. He is accused of bringing one of those women to the church trailer. The third woman claims she was raped in a wooded area outside nearby Summerville, a bedroom community about 20 miles northwest of Charleston. He is also charged with kidnapping a fourth woman.
Richardson said little last week when, dressed in a gray and white striped prison jump suit with his ankles and wrists shackled, he appeared before a Dorchester County magistrate on the latest charges. He said he understood the charges against him and was denied bond when the magistrate said he was a danger to society.
Richardson’s public defender said it’s too soon to comment on the case. During his initial bond hearing when he was first arrested, Richardson said he has a spotless record and will put up a strong defense.
Maj. John Garrison of the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office said serial rape cases are unusual in the area. He said this case is drawing particular interest because the suspect is a preacher.
Garrison, then at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, helped investigate the so-called Lowcountry serial rapist that attracted national headlines two decades ago. Authorities believe Duncan Proctor, who was convicted of two rapes and burglaries and sentenced to life in prison, may have raped as many as 30 women between March 1990 and June 1992.
Most neighbors on the quiet cul-de-sac where Richardson lived in a neat yellow house refused to talk last week. But Mary Milligan, who lives two doors away, came to Richardson’s defense.
“I don’t believe any of this. I have never had a problem with him. He’s kind. He’s a member of this community. He mows the neighbors’ lawns. I am just blown away by all these accusations,” she said.
There was no one home at the Richardson residence, where a paving stone beside the walkway is inscribed “Believe in God. Believe also in me. John 14:1.”
The church website says Richardson became pastor of the church on June 9, 2010. It says he graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. — the college founded by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell — and has a wife and two grown daughters.
But his name has now been removed from the sign outside the church that has a congregation of about 50 people. Those attending last Wednesday night’s service who were willing to be interviewed did not condemn Richardson.
“He’s always been a real sweet person. He’s always taught God’s word,” said Virginia Davis, who has been attending the church about a year. “He’s been honest with me since Day 1. I’d let him look me right in the face and tell me he did it, because I don’t believe he did it.”
The Rev. Dean Mandrell, who has been helping by preaching at one of the church’s three weekly services, said the congregation has drawn closer.
“Nobody is leaving, they are staying right here. They are just worshipping God. They are not condemning. They are not tearing down or poor-mouthing or bad-mouthing him,” he said.
Mandrell’s Wednesday sermon was about judging others, based on Matthew’s biblical account of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus says people with a log in their own eye should not be concerned about the speck in another’s eye.
The South Carolina Free Will Baptist State Association has suspended Richardson’s preaching credentials pending the outcome of the investigations because “the misconduct alleged against him is forbidden by God.” The Rev. Todd Smith, executive director of the statewide association numbering almost 120 churches, said in a statement the association would cooperate with investigators.
“Our prayers are with all involved,” he said.
Police said they were called to the 3600 block of Dolfield Avenue about 2:51 a.m. Saturday in response to a shooting.
Officers said they found the security guard at the scene, saying he had just been robbed.
The off-duty guard told police that the robber drew a gun during the incident. The guard said he drew his gun out of fear for his life.
Police said the robber then started shooting at the guard who fired back in self defense. Officers said the robber then sped off in a vehicle.
Detectives said the robber was found in the 1900 block of Dukeland Street with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Police said he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Officials said the guard was not injured during the robbery.
The case is still under investigation.