Ocala Fla Feb 23 2012 A 25-year-old Ocala computer repairman who is involved in Scouts said he is a monster after was charged with possessing child porn and raping and molesting children, including a Cub Scout.
George Robert Fout, an Eagle Scout himself who is involved with Cub Scout Pack 448 in Ocala, told authorities “it was a mistake that he was born” after his arrest, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Details about how he allegedly got access to children was not immediately available.
TV reports say he was a Scout leader. But his role, if any, with the Scouts could not be immediately confirmed.
However, a Facebook account and several websites link him to Cub Scout Pack 448.
“Welcome to the Pack 448 Facebook Page! I will do my best to keep it active and up to date,” said a post on the Facebook from someone using email with George Fout’s name. “I will also add pics and vids from our many activities.”
Fout confessed after he was contacted by authorities.
“At one point during the interview, Fout told detectives he met a victim while the victim was in the Cub Scouts,” a report from the Sheriff’s Office said without offering any other details about the Scout connection.
The website for his home-based computer-repair business, called Byte-by-Byte Computer Supplies and Accessories, says it was founded by an Eagle Scout.
“Our family is actively involved in the local Boy Scout program, where we have taught the Computer Merit Badge,” the website said.
A voice mail and email to an official with the Scouts’ North Florida Council, which includes Marion, was returned at 11 a.m. The message said a request for information about Fout was forwarded to the council’s human resource department.
Fout told detectives he has been looking at child porn since he was a child.
He also said he first attacked the Cub Scout when the boy was 8 and he was 18. The attacks happened at his home in the 500 block of Silver Course Lopp. They continued for about twice a month until the victim turned 16, Fout told detectives.
No one answered a call to his home today.
Fout is charged with one count of capital sexual battery, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim under 12, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim over 12 and two counts of sexual battery.
He also faces 28 counts of possession of child pornography.
“During the interview, Fout told detectives he had several other young victims and that he was a monster and would not stop unless he was in jail,” said Judge Cochran, a spokesman for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Fout remains in the Marion County Jail after his recent arrest. He is scheduled to face a judge for an initial appearance today.
“Because detectives are working to find and identify other possible victims of Fout’s actions – there was request made that Fout have no bond,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office said.
Fout cooperated with detectives, reports show. Records show he has not previous arrests in Florida.
“Detectives used various investigative techniques to learn that Fout was downloading and sharing child pornography,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a report. “During an interview, detectives discovered Fout knowingly searched for child pornography on peer to peer networks.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-368-7867.
MOORE, Okla.Feb 23 2012 – A 64-year-old man who recently taught at Moore Christian Schools has been arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old student several times over the past school year.
Oklahoma City police say Gregory Saul will face several counts, including first-degree rape, second-degree rape and forcible sodomy.
They say there were about 10 sexual encounters between the teacher and student, which began in September.
The Moore Christian Schools Principal, Don Spear, says he and his staff had no idea that some of the alleged encounters happened at the school.
“I’m devastated, I’ll be honest with you,” Spear says. “I’m devastated. I’m outraged. I have a teenage daughter myself and anybody that would take advantage of a young lady, that’s something as parents we’re all concerned about every day.”
Saul was arrested Monday night at his home in the 1600 block of SW 96th.
Spear says when he interviewed Saul for the job about a year ago, Saul “professed to be a Christian.”
Police say Saul had sexual encounters with the girl four times at the school (three in a classroom), five times at his house and another time at an area business.
They say Saul gave the girl gifts and spent time with her prior to the alleged encounters.
Eventually a concerned friend of the girl notified police.
Spear sent a letter home to school parents Tuesday, asking them to keep the girl in their prayers.
He says Saul left the school in December after he expressed an interest in retiring.
No formal charges had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.
FORT WAYNE, Ind.Feb 23 2012 (AP) — A Fort Wayne man who allegedly used a stun gun last week to evade a grocery store’s security guard after a robbery ended up being stunned himself by police when he struggled with an officer who arrested him.
The Journal Gazette reports 36-year-old Billye D. Gaulden was arrested Monday. Police say an officer who chased and tackled Gaulden had to use his Taser gun on him and punch Gaulden to subdue him.
Gaulden faces robbery, unlawful use of a stun gun and resisting law enforcement charges. He remained jailed Wednesday on a $20,000 bond.
Police say Gaulden used a stun device to jolt a security guard at a Fort Wayne Kroger store last week after he and a woman stole items from the store. The woman remains at large.
Police investigating murder-suicide at Sacramento Municipal Utility District headquarters www.privateofficer.com
Sacramento CA Feb 23 2012 Two men were killed Tuesday night in a murder-suicide that occurred in the parking lot of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District headquarters, Sacramento police officials report.
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office this morning identified the dead as Robert Gully, 73, of West Sacramento and Jerome Votaw, 62, of Sacramento.
Police spokesman Andrew Pettit said the men were not SMUD employees but were among a group of people using SMUD facilities for a meeting. Police believe that the men were part of a group of model airplane enthusiasts that were going to meet at one of SMUD’s meeting rooms.
Pettit provided these details about the fatal incident:
Police received a call at 7:18 p.m. about some sort of verbal altercation between two men and a woman in the parking lot outside SMUD’s West Building.
Gully pulled out a handgun and shot Votaw at least once in the upper body.
The woman ran away toward the lobby, and the gunman shot multiple rounds at her.
She reached the lobby to take cover while the gunman continued to shoot at her, shattering glass in the lobby.
An acquaintance of the shooter came out of the building and tried to talk to him. As they were talking in the parking lot, Gully shot himself as police officers arrived.
Both Gully and Votaw were pronounced dead at the scene. The woman was not injured.
After the shooting, police talked to “a handful” of witnesses in the lobby, including a security guard.
Pettit declined to discuss the subject of the dispute pending an investigation by homicide detectives, but said they are investigating the possibility of a love triangle.
He said no one else was injured.
Centreville, Mich.Feb 23 2012 — A Sturgis High School teacher was arrested Monday after authorities say marijuana was found in his home.
Travis Campbell Neville, 35, was arrested after deputies from the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at his home at 4640E-150S. Marijuana was found during the search, deputies said.
Neville was arrested and taken to the LaGrange County Jail. He is charged with possession of marijuana, a class A misdemeanor, and maintaining a common nuisance, a class D felony.
Neville is now free on a $5,500 bond.
Thomas Langdon, superintendent of Sturgis Public Schools, issued a statement Tuesday.
“Sturgis Public Schools is aware of this matter,” Landon said. “In fact, the teacher in question is on leave while we conduct a thorough investigation of any professional misconduct.”
Langdon said the school district expects “exemplary behavior from its students and staff members alike.”
“With that in mind, the district perceives this as a serious issue, and it will be dealt with in that manner,” he said.
Neville teaches high school English.
New York City public school substitute teacher arrested for molesting student www.privateofficer.com
NEW YORK NY Feb 23 2012 – For the fourth time this month, a New York City public school employee has been charged with a sex crime against a student.
Police say 27-year-old substitute teacher Chukwuma Duru is accused of forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.
Police say the incident happened at the Bronx Career and College Prep High School on Feb. 9. Duru was arrested four days later.
The Department of Education has not commented on the arrest.
The recent series of sexual abuse arrests have been causing alarm throughout the New York City school system.
“Our schools cannot be safe zones for pedophiles,” said New York State Sen. Eric Adams said last week. “It must be safe zones for children.”
Duru is the fourth public school employee to be arrested this month in connection with a sex crime.
Police arrested Tyleek Brooks, identified in court documents as Taleek Brooks, on Feb. 7. Police say Brooks had videos that allegedly showed him sexually abusing at least two children inside a classroom at P.S. 243 in Brooklyn.
Gregory Atkins, another teacher’s aide, was arrested on Feb. 10. He’s also accused of sexually abusing a student at P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side.
Then last week, Wilbert Cortez, a 49-year-old computer teacher at P.S. 174, was charged with two counts of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has been addressing community concerns over the recent spate of arrests. More than 100 angry parents met with Walcott last Friday.
Walcott also put out a letter outlining policy changes, which include making sure schools can easily identify teachers who have been previously disciplined when they’re looking to hire.
Walcott says his staff will also dig through records of substantiated complaints of misconduct and “take appropriate action where necessary.”
Source:CBS New York
GADSDEN NY Feb 23 2012 — Etowah County authorities say two people are in custody following a string of police car break-ins and gun thefts.
Someone broke into five patrol cars from four different police agencies in the county earlier this month. Officials say guns and bullet-proof vests were taken from the vehicles.
But two people are now in custody, and officers on Tuesday recovered one long gun, two AR-15s and a vest at various locations in Etowah County. Sheriff Todd Entrekin says tips from the public helped solve the case.
Authorities have offered $4,000 in reward money for information on the case
Port Clinton OH Feb 23 2012 Thanks to the fast action of a security staffer and the quick response of fire crews, the pavilion is still standing in Lakeside after a Valentine’s Day blaze.
Security guard Andy Larson said he was doing his final rounds Tuesday night when he saw flames coming out the door of the pavilion. He immediately jumped in his truck and called for help. The Lakeside Fire Department — later joined by crews from Marblehead and Catawba — was on scene in minutes.
According to Tom Derby, Lakeside’s Chief Financial Officer, their speed made all the difference.
“That coupled with the firewall doing its job pretty much saved the pavilion,” he said.
According to Derby, the blaze started in the stairwell on the east side of the pavilion and spread up to the roof. Significant damage was done to that portion of the structure but a firewall kept the flames from going into the central pavilion.
Residents and Lakeside leadership took time at their monthly potluck meeting to thank Larson and the fire crews.
“They gave me a plaque and gift card to Walmart,” Larson said. “I was really surprised. That gave me a fat head for a day and half.”
“He moved real fast and did the right things and we feel he was a big part of saving the building,” Derby said. “Our goal now is to get some contractors in this week and get started rebuilding before the season.”
Source: Beacon News
Richmond VA Feb 23 2012 Virginia State Police said the suspect in this morning’s shooting at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center was captured after a pursuit that lasted about 10 minutes and began in Charles City County, traveled into Hopewell and ended in Chesterfield County.
Virginia State Police Sgt. Thomas J. Molnar said Trooper A. Doss Jr. spotted the suspect vehicle, a blue Ford Explorer Sport Trac sport utility vehicle, about 8:30 a.m. traveling eastbound on state Route 5 in Charles City County.
Molnar said Doss was joined by other police while following the driver to state Route 10, where the suspect stopped near Ruffin Road. As officers approached him, he drove off again on westbound Route 10, briefly crossing into the eastbound lanes while continuing to travel west, Molnar said.
The suspect vehicle crossed back over into the westbound lanes before finally being stopped and taken into custody in front of a Wawa convenience store a short distance west of Interstate 295, Molnar said.
Speeds did not exceed 65 mph during the pursuit, which ended about 8:40 a.m., Molnar said.
“Nobody was in danger,” he said.
The suspect vehicle in the pursuit of a man sought in connection with a shooting at the McGuire VA Medical Center this morning was being examined by law officers as it was being put on a tow truck on state Route 10 near Interstate 295 in Chesterfield County.
Authorities had no immediate further comment about the case.
A man was shot and gravely wounded this morning on the grounds of the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in South Richmond. A suspect was arrested about 90 minutes later.
Police said the victim was taken to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries after the shooting, which occurred at 7:17 a.m. in one of the outer parking lots of the sprawling facility at Broad Rock and Belt boulevards.
Authorities said initial indications were that the shooting was not a random act and that there was no reason to either evacuate or lock down the hospital and its related clinics.
“The medical center is fully operational,” hospital spokeswoman Darlene Edwards said about 8:40 a.m. as she stood near the scene of the shooting, in a lot southwest of the main hospital building.
Immediately after the shooting, area police departments were asked to be on the lookout for a 2005 blue Ford Explorer Sport Trac sport utility vehicle that the shooter, also a man, was believed to be driving.
Shortly before 9 a.m., Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley said Virginia State Police had just taken the suspect into custody. Lepley said the arrest was made “several miles” from the hospital, but he declined to elaborate on the exact location of the arrest or to identify the suspect.
“Virginia State Police arrested him after a pursuit. We’re not releasing anything else at this point,” Dee Rybiski, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Richmond Division, said a short time later.
State police did not immediately comment.
Authorities had earlier reported that the victim was a woman, but said that information was mistaken.
Because the hospital is federal property, authorities said the FBI would be the lead investigative body for the shooting. Rybiski said federal officials likely would have more to say about the case this afternoon.
Former NC gymnastics coach faces accusations he inappropriately touched young students www.privateofficer.com
APEX, NC Feb 23 2012 – A former gymnastics coach faces new accusations he inappropriately touched young students.
The Apex Police Department announced Wednesday it has charged 35-year-old Phillip Darryl Thompson – of Stoney Glen Dr, Winston Salem – with four counts of indecent liberties with a minor.
A department spokesperson said the charges stem from alleged incidents when Thompson was a coach at Impact Gym from early 2001 until the end of 2003. The victims were ages 6 and 9 years of age at the time. Impact Gym is no longer in business.
In 2008, ABC11 reported Thompson – a former cheerleader at NC State – was charged in Sanford with 15-counts of indecent liberties. Police said Thompson molested 11 female students while employed at Sanford Academy of Gymnastics and Cheerleading.
Thompson is currently a registered sex offender in Forsyth County.
San Diego real estate agent and mortgage broker charged with fraud and money laundering www.privateofficer.com
SAN DIEGO CA Feb 2012 — A San Diego real estate agent and mortgage broker, his wife, and seven others were charged Tuesday with conspiracy, fraud and money laundering in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that prosecutors said targeted low-income immigrant home buyers.
Realtor Eric Elegado, whose smiling face is a fixture on outdoor advertising around Mira Mesa, pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment in federal court. He was arrested Friday and was ordered held on $100,000 bond. Elegado, 47, is the owner of E Real Estate & Loans and E Real Mortgage Inc. in Mira Mesa.
Also charged was Charmagne Elegado, 47, the wife of Eric Elegado. She worked as an account executive at New Century Mortgage.
The indictment says that the defendants obtained mortgages for unqualified buyers by submitting false loan applications. The applications lied about the employment and earnings of the applicants.
The scheme also included creating bogus W-2 forms, bank statements and other documents to support the phony loan applications, according to the indictment.
The loan applications were then submitted to mortgage lenders, including New Century Mortgage, to secure about $50 million in loans.
In all, the scheme led to $15 million in losses for the lenders, the indictment said.
The bogus applications were submitted from 2002 to 2007, but the indictment was not returned until Feb. 2.
“We don’t know what has been going on for the past five years,” said Paul Pfingst, the lawyer for Eric Elegado, who lives in Escondido with his wife. “We don’t know why it has taken so long to get to court.”
Pfingst said that one reason for filing the case now could be that the statute of limitations — the legal deadline for prosecutors to file charges — expires in this case on Thursday.
The chief financial officer for the E Real companies, Theodore Cohen, 54, of San Diego, also was indicted along with Regidor Pacal, 51; Alexander Garcia, 38; Roman Macabulos, 38; Ramin Lofti, 36; and Roderick Huerto, 34, all of San Diego; and Minh Nguyen, 28, of San Marcos. They were all real estate agents and loan officers.
Nguyen was being detained without bond until a hearing set for Friday. Bond amounts between $35,000 and $75,000 were set for the other defendants.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. Feb 23 2012 – Police said they made a large drug bust inside a dorm room on the Middle Tennessee University campus.
Two Murfreesboro officers doing a routine knock and talk in Cummings hall on the MTSU campus discovered a drug selling operation run by at least two students.
They consented to a search of the room and police found several bags of marijuana, hydrocodone and oxycodone pills, digital scales and several false containers, like coffee cans with fake bottoms to hide drugs.
Police also discovered several large rolls of cash.
One of the students told them they had been selling drugs out of the room on campus for nearly six months, moving two to three ounces of marijuana a week.
Two students were arrested, but their names were not released. Police said more arrests are possible.
Sgt. Courtney Gale returns to work at Athens-Clarke police four years, two months and nine days after brutal stabbing www.privateofficer.com
Athens GA Feb 23 2012 Courtney Gale is back on the job with the Athens-Clarke Police Department — four years, two months and nine days after she nearly died from a brutal stabbing.
Her doctor cleared her for duty in December, and Gale spent last month learning her new role within the department as a training instructor.
“I’m very excited to be back and looking forward to my new duties and responsibilities,” Gale said Tuesday.
When she was stabbed Dec. 11, 2007, Gale was a sergeant and supervisor in the Athens-Clarke police robbery-homicide unit.
Gale is now assigned as a specialist with the training division, Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said, and she’ll also assist with re-accreditation — an independent review of the police department that’s conducted every three years by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
But no one knows what the future holds.
“Knowing Courtney, she will knock down walls to get to where she wants to go,” Lumpkin said.
Gales’s brush with death has not deterred her from her goal of one day leading a police department.
In fact, she made the use of her long medical leave to earn a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Georgia — an accomplishment that has become a requirement to become top cop in many metropolitan areas.
“I want to become a police chief,” Gale said during a press conference Tuesday at the Athens-Clarke police West Precinct.
“I’ve acquired the knowledge I need to achieve that, and I’ve also got the life experience,” she said.
Gale’s career always seemed to be on a fast-track.
The Maryland native initially attended UGA with plans to become a veterinarian, but she found her calling while minoring in criminal justice, and went straight to the police training academy as an Athens-Clarke police cadet upon graduating in 1998.
Gale was promoted to senior police officer after only three years on the job, became sergeant in 2005 and passed the lieutenant’s exam. A few months before the attack, she graduated from an intensive, three-month career development program at the University of Louisville’s prestigious Southern Police Institute.
When Gale arrived at work Monday, she was mobbed by fellow officers and other police employees who were thrilled to see her back.
“It was just hug after hug after hug,” she said. “We’re just one big family, and it’s wonderful to be back with everyone.”
A medical leave of more than four years might sound like a long time, but it’s remarkable that Gale was able to return to work at all.
On the night of Dec. 11, 2007, she was working an off-duty job as a uniformed security guard at Kroger on Alps Road.
Customers pointed out a man who was acting strangely — pushing around a cart holding a suitcase, a Bible and a butcher knife that he was using to open meat packages that he then prayed over.
The man lunged at Gale as she approached, knocking her to the ground and stabbing her a dozen times in her back, arm and leg, and severing the officer’s femoral artery.
Luckily, a nurse who was shopping at the time helped slow the bleeding, and police said if it wasn’t for her actions, Gale probably would have bled to death in the store.
Gale was in a coma for two weeks, endured several surgeries to save her leg, all while tethered to a respirator, a dialysis machine and feeding tube. She was released from the hospital 45 days later, then spent a month in intensive therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
Doctors called the wounded officer’s recovery extraordinary, and within weeks Gale graduated from a wheelchair to a walker, and then to a cane that she no longer needs.
While hitting the books, Gale also maintained a vigorous fitness regimen as she looked ahead to the day she could return to work as a police officer.
During the press conference, Gale spoke about how the outpouring of support from the community and fellow officers sustained her through her recovery.
“The community embraced me with their prayers and support,” she said. “They carried me on their shoulders and I will always be thankful for that.”
Former police-security officer battles system after protecting self from attackers www.privateofficer.com
Des Moines IA Feb 23 2012 Editor’s note/update to this story: Jay Rodney Lewis (read about him below) spent Tuesday night in his car because there were no beds available at the YMCA.
He likely will do the same tonight, then seek a spot in a homeless shelter on Thursday. This will give him place to sleep and shower for the time being while working. He plans to spend this weekend in Kansas with family.
112 days in jail
The first thing Jay Rodney Lewis did after being acquitted this month was “go to Fuddruckers and get me a burger. Because that jail food was horrible.”
While he ate, the 49-year-old Lewis nervously watched out the window for police. “I was so scared that somebody was going to come in and say, ‘OK, that’s it. You’re coming with us,’ ” he said.
One couldn’t blame him. Lewis had just finished 112 days in jail because he didn’t have the cash to make bail. When jurors finally freed him on Feb. 9, Lewis walked out homeless, unemployed and minus most of his possessions.
The average prisoner spends 20 days in the Polk County Jail, officials there say. Most make bail and carry on with their lives while awaiting trial. But for Lewis, one thing after another went wrong.
Lewis’ story, a lawyer for the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said, is “not an unusual constellation of problems for a person in jail to have.”
“I think it’s pretty typical,” said the ACLU’s Randall Wilson. “I think the statistics show that people suffer these types of hardships when people remain in jail.”
Troubles began in late October
Lewis, a Kansas native, moved to West Des Moines in fall 2010 to take a job in an Internal Revenue Service call center.
A former security guard and law enforcement officer, Lewis also is a hunter and gun collector and came to Iowa with a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Police reports and court records say Lewis’ troubles began shortly before midnight on Oct. 29. Lewis was headed home in his blue Ford Mustang, south on 11th Street toward Regency Woods Apartments in West Des Moines, when he came upon a Ford Taurus driven by James Scott Ludwick, 35.
Ludwick, a former soldier and convicted felon, was driving four people home from a Halloween party. Documents say Ludwick slowed; Lewis passed him. Ludwick sped up, and the cars raced down 11th Street until they came to Regency Woods. They collided when Lewis, in front and on the right, started to turn left.
Lewis said Ludwick and a passenger, Justin Lossner, got out of the Taurus and began punching the Mustang’s windows.
They backed off when Lewis pulled out his .380-caliber pistol. But they came back.
Lewis said he was outside his car, evaluating its damage, when he caught Ludwick and Lossner trying to sneak up on him from two different directions.
The recording of a 911 call made by Lewis begins with Lewis yelling at the two to “just stay where you are. Get back! Get back! I’m going to start shooting!”
There are exchanges of profanities while Lewis explains the situation to a police dispatcher. Then, “Get away from me. Get away from me!” And a bang.
911 call: Jay Rodney Lewis reports assault, shooting attacker
Ludwick was shot, Lewis said, when Ludwick turned away as if to retreat, then spun back and charged. Records say the bullet hit Ludwick in his chest above the right pectoral muscle, then tore through his right bicep.
Jurors found Lewis’ actions entirely appropriate.
“He gave them fair warning,” jury forewoman Nancy Alberts said. “Normally, anybody that would pull a gun on someone, you would think that they would stop. … That wasn’t the case here. You could clearly hear on the 911 call where he warned Mr. Ludwick.”
Ludwick, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.189 when tested at the hospital that night, did not return phone calls requesting comment. Court records show his history includes multiple convictions for felony theft.
West Des Moines police arrested Lewis for failing to back off and avoid the gunplay. He was charged with two counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and one of going armed with intent.
The initial bail asked Lewis to post $225,000 cash.
Lewis, who made $32,359 a year at the IRS, didn’t have the money. So he sat in jail.
Eviction notice posted on door
One week after the shooting, a lawyer for Regency Woods typed up a notice that eventually was posted on the door of Lewis’ apartment. It described Lewis as a “clear and present danger to the health or safety of the other tenants.” As evidence, it cited Lewis’ involvement in “an assault with a weapon within 1,000 feet of the property described above” and the fact that he’d been arrested because of it.
Court papers were filed Nov. 14 to have Lewis evicted.
Documents say a process server tried twice the next day to contact Lewis at the apartment. Lawyers also sent him a certified letter. Lewis was never there.
Despite the fact that Regency Woods knew Lewis had been arrested, no one ever contacted him at the jail. Instead, the apartment complex won a default judgment when Lewis failed to appear in court on Nov. 22.
Lewis learned about all this at roughly 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 30. One jail guard led him to another, who was on the phone. The deputy serving the eviction warrant wanted to know if Lewis had any relatives who could get Lewis’ belongings off the 11th Street curb.
“All my relatives are in Kansas,” Lewis said.
The evicting deputy seized four handguns, three rifles, a shotgun and a machete that had been left in the apartment. But all his clothing and furniture disappeared on Nov. 30, along with a laptop containing the only copy of his fourth novel (a western).
“That was several decades of my life that got flushed down the toilet,” Lewis said. “I had a beautiful flat-screen TV. It’s now in somebody else’s living room. … For a while there, every time I turned around it was like, ‘Can it possibly get any worse?’ ”
Joseph Wallace, the lawyer who signed the eviction notice, did not return a call requesting comment.
Matt Sheeley, Lewis’ public defender in the case, said Regency Woods either knew or should have known, thanks to court and jail websites, that Lewis was still locked up.
“There are a lot of things that they could have done that they didn’t, and because of their lack of effort, all of Jay’s personal belongings are now gone,” Sheeley said.
Sheeley learned of the eviction later, when Lewis was rejected by a program that routinely frees first-time offenders based on the theory that people with jobs and a strong support system aren’t flight risks.
The program passed on Lewis because he “had no place to go,” Sheeley said. “Normally, if he had family here in Des Moines, if he had some place other than his apartment to go, he would have been released.”
Lewis’ bond eventually was lowered to $35,000 on Nov. 23. But he still couldn’t come up with the 10 percent, or $3,500, he needed to get out.
The worst part was spending Christmas in jail.
Nobody came to visit, Lewis said. “Frankly, I was too ashamed.”
Jury reaches verdict quickly
Prosecutors eventually dropped most of the charges. Trial on the sole remaining count, reckless use of a firearm causing injury, began on Feb. 6. and ended late on Feb. 8.
It was over early the following morning.
“I just don’t think the state did its job to prove he was guilty,” juror Mary Kinney said. “I think the man felt he was in danger.”
Lewis thinks it should have been obvious to everyone from the beginning that he was in the right.
“I went to jail for one reason and one reason only,” he said. “I’m a black man. James Ludwick is a white man. I think the police had a preconceived notion in their head as to what went on.”
West Des Moines police say that “the arrest of Mr. Lewis was based off of the investigative findings, and race played no part in that decision-making process.”
Police Sgt. Ken O’Brien said in an email that his department “believes in the equitable, fair and impartial application of laws and ordinances without regard to race, color, creed, sex or station in life; treating individuals with tolerance, compassion, empathy and with the dignity we would expect when found in similar circumstances.”
Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said that he accepted the jury’s verdict but that the case deserved to go to trial because Lewis’ actions raised a sufficient number of questions.
“We just don’t allow people to go shoot people,” he said. “Using deadly force is a last resort. It shouldn’t be the first resort.”
Lewis’ case appears to fit the scenario envisioned by House File 573, a bill now working its way through the Legislature. It would expand current law to specify that a potential victim in a violent situation has “no duty to retreat” and has the right to “meet force with force.”
The legislation, which Sarcone argued against before a House subcommittee last month, also says a person cannot be prosecuted for using force against someone perceived to pose a threat, even if that perception is later proved incorrect.
What Lewis’ case shows is that current law works, Sarcone said: “I don’t know why people are afraid of jury trials. I’m not.”
Lewis, who planned to stay at the YMCA, was able to get his job back and went back for the first time Tuesday.
He’s hoping to get a transfer to Kansas City.
“I’m happy to be free, really happy, to be breathing free air,” Lewis said. “But I don’t feel whole yet.”
DALLAS TX Feb 23 2012 — Increasing security on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail network is a move the agency had no choice but to make.
“The key message is that we are paying attention to what’s going on, and we are willing to make adjustments in our operation to maintain a safe system,” said DART spokesman Morgan Lyons.
Lately, it hasn’t appeared that way.
Octavius Lanier was killed after being pushed off a platform into a moving train at MLK Station in November.
In January, another man died during an argument at the Pearl Station downtown.
This month, two innocent bystanders and a DART police officer were shot at the Arapaho Station in Richardson. One of those passengers died.
In all, three deaths over 76 days have forced the transit agency to rethink security.
“From DART’s perspective, as I said, we’re not going to put up with bad behavior,” said DART president Gary Thomas.
On Monday, DART quietly began adding uniformed police, fare enforcement officers, or armed security guards to every train, around the clock.
Lyons said DART is spending $41,000 a month to hire 20 armed security guards for the increased enforcement.
It is also putting some of its police officers on overtime and pulling others out of offices to make this high-visibility offensive work.
By the end of next month, security cameras will be installed at all 55 train platforms, Thomas said.
Twenty DART buses already have cameras. Additions to the fleet will come equipped with five on-board cameras.
Trains are slowly getting camera systems as well.
Plus, police have started sweeping through busy stations looking for anyone who appears to be suspicious.
“There are a lot of citations being written. There are a lot of arrests being made for various reasons,” said DART Police Chief James Spiller.
DART said the increased security is indefinite to reassure riders that the transit system is safe.
SILVER CITY NM Feb 23 2012 A Santa Clara police officer has been arrested and charged with 15 felony counts, including several counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, for alleged incidents involving a 13-year-old boy.
Estevan Arizaga, 25, was arrested Monday by the New Mexico State Police, who have been investigating the incidents since October, court documents show.
Arizaga surrendered to the State Police office in Silver City, after a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to a news release from the Santa Clara Police Department. He was immediately placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Arizaga is charged with three counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, two of which are second-degree felonies and one third-degree felony. One count of attempted criminal sexual penetration of a minor, a third-degree felony. Four counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, three second-degree, one third-degree. Six counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, all fourth-degree felonies and one count of abandonment or abuse of a child, a third-degree felony.
The alleged incidents occurred between June 9, 2008 and Aug. 27, 2009, before Arizaga became a Santa Clara police officer, Santa Clara Police Chief Lonnie Sandoval said.
Arizaga was arraigned Tuesday in Silver City Magistrate Court and his initial bond was set at $100,000 cash-only. But in a bond-reduction hearing later that day, Magistrate Court Judge
Maurine Laney made the amount bondable through a bail bondsman.
Arizaga s defense attorney, Michael Stout of Las Cruces, who appeared by phone, initially asked the judge to release Arizaga on his own recognizance or on an unsecured bond, saying that Arizaga was not flight risk. He said his client has no prior criminal record, has lived in the area his entire life, and is a member of a large family who will assure his appearance in court.
Deputy District Attorney Francesca Estevez, who is prosecuting the case for the state, said the concern the state has aside from the allegations, which she called quite disturbing was that Arizaga had allegedly used his power by going to the victim s house in uniform and in his patrol car in an attempt to intimidate the alleged victim.
Estevez alleged that Arizaga was seen in uniform in his patrol car in front of the alleged victim s house on Feb. 10 and Feb. 15, and allegedly yelled a nasty, angry word after he was approached by members of the family.
The alleged victim s father, who was in court, declined to speak, allowing the prosecution to speak for him.
Estevez also said the alleged victim is intertwined with the Arizaga family by marriage so there is tangential contact.
She said if the court chooses to release Arizaga, the state did not want him around any minor children, or to have any contact with the alleged victim and his family, and that he can not show any anger toward the victim s family.
Judge Laney addressed Arizaga directly and explained the two reasons for the bond, one being to secure his appearance in court, which she said she did not think was an issue, and the other, the serious nature of the charges.
The court does feel that these types of charges do pose a threat to the community, she said. The court will not be reducing the bond to an own recognizance or an unsecured. I am very concerned to hear from the victim s family that there may have been some intimidation,
She reiterated that if Arizaga was to bond out, he was not to have any contact with the victim or his family, in any way, shape or form, including physical, verbal, by phone, written, text, Facebook, or Myspace.
Arizaga asked the judge if she could ask the victim s family also to have no contact with him and the judge explained that she could not because she has no jurisdiction over them.
Arizaga s father, Dr. Gilbert Arizaga, told the judge he would be willing to do whatever the court requires to assure that his son complies with any conditions of release, should he be released. He said he has several residences where his son could stay, either with him in his home, or at a mobile home he owns next to his practice.
Arizaga said he currently resides in Silver City with his 21-year-old godson and his girlfriend and that there were no minor children in the home.
Defense attorney Stout made one more last-ditch effort to get his client released on a lowered bond, explaining that family was not rich and such a high bond seemed punitive and no matter the amount, his client was going to comply with any conditions of release. He asked if the court would again consider a lower amount in cash to be deposited with the court. Judge Laney refused and said Stout could appeal the bond amount to District Court.
Arizaga was being held at the Grant County Detention Center in protective custody because of his employment as a law enforcement officer, and prior to that as a detention center officer with that facility. Detention Center Administrator Mike Jimenez said he was trying to get Arizaga moved to another facility because of his prior employment there and as a police officer.
Silver Sun News
Alabama stepmother-grandmother charged with murder after child collapses from running www.privateofficer.com
ETOWAH COUNTY, AL Feb 23 2012 - The stepmother charged with the murder of her nine-year-old stepdaughter in Etowah County has given birth in a Gadsden hospital while under the guard of sheriff’s deputies Wednesday.
Investigators say 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin and 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, both of Attalla, are responsible for 9-year-old Savannah Hardin’s death. Etowah County Sheriff’s investigators say the girl got some chocolate on the school bus she wasn’t supposed to have Friday. Joyce Garrard, her grandmother, found out about the chocolate and ordered Savannah to run around the house.
Investigators say the girl ran around the house on Carlisle Acres for three hours before she collapsed. Jessica Hardin called 911 when Savannah collapsed and told the operator that the child suffered from a seizure.
Savannah was taken to a Birmingham hospital and put on a ventilator. Her father, who was working overseas, flew home as soon as he found out that his daughter was in the hospital. Savannah died Monday after being taken off the ventilator.
Authorities opened an investigation into the case after a concerned neighbor called police and told them that she saw Savannah running around the yard for several hours before she was taken to the hospital. They ordered an autopsy and it was determined that the girl died from severe dehydration and low sodium as a result of running for hours without any water.
Jessica Hardin and Garrard were arrested and charged with murder. Their bond has been set at $500,000. Authorities say charges could be upgraded.
Jessica Hardin and her husband’s 3-year-old son is in the father’s custody. Hardin is also late-term pregnant.
Savannah was a third grade student at Carlisle Elementary School.
Buffalo NY Feb 23 2012 The officers patrolling Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Metro Bus and Metro Rail could soon be wearing the uniforms of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
Talks are under way exploring absorbing transit police into the Sheriff’s Office.
Though the proposal is preliminary and obstacles remain, Sheriff Timothy B. Howard and Kimberley A. Minkel, executive director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, say they have discussed merging the 80-member Transit Authority Police Department into the Sheriff’s Office.
The main question is whether both agencies could save enough money to make the merger worthwhile.
“This would be different from other mergers, because in this case it is being driven by the NFTA officers themselves,” Howard said. “These guys are interested in doing the merger for the sake of their jobs.”
But Howard noted the move also could eliminate many redundancies between the two police forces, while the Transit Police Benevolent Association estimates yearly savings of between $1 million and $1.9 million in a $10 million budget.
Minkel said the deficit-ridden NFTA is embarking on a “new day” of reinventing itself and is open to any idea that saves money. But she said the NFTA board of commissioners must be convinced that the savings will prove substantial.
“Before we move forward we really need to see the economics,” she said. “But we’re looking at everything.”
David Zarbo, president of the Transit PBA, said the plan stems from union fears that police layoffs will continue beyond the 20 that have already occurred as part of NFTA efforts to fill a $14.7 million deficit.
“I’m concerned about future layoffs and the guys laid off already,” he said. “I don’t see it stopping at 20. It’s just going to get worse.”
The transit police layoffs resulted in the elimination of a significant portion of the department, prompting safety concerns from the police union and at least one commissioner.
“That’s a tough decision for me to live with,” Commissioner Michael P. Hughes said last week. “I still don’t support it.”
Minkel emphasized Tuesday that she does not anticipate any more police layoffs.
“We brought it down to where the department was back in 2005,” she said. “Anything beyond that, I would have to look at how it would impact the safety and security of the operation. I would never say never, but the department was impacted quite a bit.”
Nevertheless, the union has advanced the new plan for several reasons, including providing civil service status that the officers do not currently enjoy but would under the sheriff’s jurisdiction. The NFTA has been working with State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma, and Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, to allow civil service status for the 20 laid-off officers so they can join other police agencies.
Zarbo said constitutional questions could block such a move. Under a merger plan, however, he said NFTA officers would be automatically granted civil service status. That would allow any officers laid off in the merger to seek employment with other police agencies.
Howard, meanwhile, said he is intrigued because a merger would eliminate overlap in accident investigation, narcotics, juvenile details, SWAT teams and other operations that could operate under one command.
He also said his department could immediately fill a host of vacancies by absorbing NFTA officers without referring to the civil service list. He said that with proper authorization, he could avoid the expense of six months of training for new officers.
“There are a lot of big pluses here,” he said. “We’d like to avail ourselves to some of the laid-off officers, and merger is most attractive to us. And there are certainly real redundancies here between the NFTA and the Sheriff’s Office.”
Howard said union attorney W. James Schwann has written to the NFTA board of commissioners asking if it is open to fully studying the idea or whether it has been rejected out of hand. He said he does not believe the letter has been answered.
Minkel, meanwhile, said she has not heard back from the union on how and where savings will be realized.
She also said some commissioners have questions about compliance with Transportation Security Administration regulations both at the airport and in the subway.
“After 9/11, the world changed,” she said. “More and more security requirements come every day.”
Other transit systems, such as New York City’s, have merged transit police into the city force in recent years.
And the idea of patrol services provided by either sheriff’s deputies or Buffalo police officers was explored initially when the subway was constructed in the 1980s.
Former NFTA Chairman Raymond F. Gallagher recently told The Buffalo News that Ralph V. Degenhart, then the Buffalo police commissioner, and Kenneth J. Braun, the late Erie County sheriff, declined to become involved at the time.
RALEIGH NC Feb 23 2012 – A spokesman for the North Carolina Highway Patrol says an applicant has collapsed and died after completing a 1.5-mile run.
Sgt. Jeff Gordon said Wednesday that the applicant, 22-year-old Isiah Hardy Nixon, of Wendell, had just completed the run which is part of the screening process when he collapsed around 12:30 p.m.
Gordon said medical personnel were on hand at the patrol training academy in south Raleigh and provided care until emergency personnel arrived. Nixon was transported to WakeMed, where he was pronounced dead.
Gordon said applicants are required to take a written test as well as a fitness test which consists of push-up, sit-up and flexibility tests in addition to the run. He said applicants must meet a certain percentile to pass.