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CBS News Apr-28-2017 146 0
The search for a missing Illinois toddler came to a tragic end overnight, when her body was found inside a Joliet Township home, reports CBS Chicago.

According to the station, 16-month-old Semaj Crosby was reported missing on Tuesday evening, about three hours after staff from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services visited her home on an allegation of neglect.

Semaj's family reportedly said they were working on a car outside their home and Semaj was playing with other children in the yard, but wandered off. Police and volunteers launched an extensive search for the girl, but suspended the search late Wednesday due to the rain.

According to the Will County Sheriff's Office, around 11 p.m. on Wednesday the sheriff's office and FBI obtained permission to enter the family's home, with the help of an attorney the family obtained, and found Semaj's body inside.

The little girl was pronounced dead, and an autopsy was scheduled for later Thursday to determine how she died. Officials say they're investigating the case as a suspicious death.

In an email to CBS Chicago, a DCFS spokesperson said they had seen Semaj and her mother's two other children the day she was reported missing and "there were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time."

 "We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation for neglect opened in March 2017," DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in the email. "DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016."

Christina Carrega Apr-28-2017 161 0
A Brooklyn teen captured on video leading the brutal assault of a classmate was sentenced to four years in prison Friday after she ruined a second chance given by a judge to avoid time behind bars.

Aniah Ferguson sat back in her seat in Brooklyn Supreme Court and refused to get up after Justice Dineen Riviezzo sentenced her to upstate time for her role as the ringleader in a gang assault inside a Flatbush Ave. McDonalds in March 2015.

"Don't fight, just get up and walk," said one of the seven male and female court officers who surrounded Ferguson.

Before the judge determined Ferguson's sentencing, her attorney Nancy Ginsburg, with a shaky voice, pleaded her client's case.

Ginsburg noted that Ferguson was a misguided youth who needs proper mental health care and was mischaracterized by the media and prosecutors.

Ferguson, 18, who wore an orange jumpsuit with a cast on her left arm and hand, briefly gazed at Ginsburg with tears in her eyes.
Meghan Holohan Apr-28-2017 263 0
In early April, Eric and Lee Broadway were enjoying coffee and each other's company on their porch. They had some rare alone time because their four children were out of town. But, that calm was disrupted for Eric when he needed to work for a few hours; Lee remained home and relaxed. When Broadway was on his way back, he called and his wife shared some worrisome news.

"She said 'I have the worst headache of my life," Broadway, 43, told TODAY. "She lost feeling in her left leg and she fell."

Broadway had high blood pressure, but she took medication to treat it. Her family felt shocked when she died of a ruptured aneurysm.

Broadway encouraged Lee, 41, to stay on the phone while he drove home. When he arrived, they headed to the emergency room at the local hospital. After a CT scan, the doctors knew she needed specialized neurological care and they flew her to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In the chaos, Broadway never learned what caused Lee's symptoms until he asked a passing nurse who informed him that Lee had a broken blood vessel in her brain.

Still feeling uncertain, Broadway Googled "broken blood vessel" and learned that Lee likely suffered from an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weakening of the blood vessels in the brain, which balloon out and sometimes look like berries. They sound scary, but doctors agree that with monitoring and lifestyle changes they can be managed.

While the transfer to the hospital went well, Lee's condition didn't improve.
"Lee is in serious pain. All she is doing is begging for them to take away her pain. It is hard to hear her screaming for help," Broadway said.

But a nurse practitioner reassured Broadway. Lee's aneurysm only ranked two out of five, which was good news. He felt confident enough about his wife's health that he went home to sleep while his in-laws stayed at the hospital.

The next day, April 2, doctors used a catheter to examine Lee's brain. After the procedure, a doctor gave Broadway and his in-laws a thumbs-up and explained they inserted a coil into Lee's brain. Neurosurgeons often use coils to treat aneurysms said Dr. Vineeta Singh, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, who did not treat Lee.

But hours passed and Lee had not come out of recovery. The family started worrying when the doctors invited them to the conference room. The doctors told them that there were complications and "there is nothing we can do for Lee."

"I lost it. I ran out of the room," said Broadway.

The coil popped out of place and Lee experienced complications. She was brain dead and died on April 3.

"It was a huge surprise," said Broadway. "For some reason for her to bleed out, it is unexplainable."
While experiencing crippling headaches can be a sign of an aneurysm, doctors say ruptured aneurysms are exceedingly rare.

"There is a less than one percent chance of an aneurysm rupturing," said Dr. Mark Bain, a neurosurgeon at Cleveland Clinic, who did not treat Lee.

But when they rupture, people certainly can tell.

"If your aneurysm is rupturing you will know. It is usually the worst headache and a sudden pop. Most people fall to the ground and vomit," he said. "It is different than any other headache that you have had."

People who smoke, use cocaine or have high blood pressure are at higher risk of aneurysms, but doctors remain uncertain why they occur. Lee had high blood pressure, said Broadway, but she took medication for it and was healthy enough that her family doctor felt shocked by her passing.
He's not the only one. Broadway still grapples with Lee's loss, but he's trying to be strong.
"I don't have time to be down, I have to be there for my kids," he said.

Broadway had known Lee since middle school. They were best friends and he fixed her up with his friends. But when she was a senior in high school, he realized that his feelings for Lee were more than friendship.

"I remember writing her this letter and just spilling my guts to her," Broadway said. "I thought 'How is she going to respond to this?'"

Lee responded by sharing his feelings and they started dating. A year later, she had their first child, Adair, when Lee was 18, and Broadway, 19. Six years later, she had their second daughter Averi, and Broadway felt content.

"I thought we were done. Lee wanted a son because the first two were girls," Broadway said.

Then they had Alex, now 10, and finally a boy Adrien, now 8 years old.
Lee devoted her life to her children.

"She just appreciated everything about being a mom from doing homework to field trips with them and (being) in the classroom," Broadway said. "She based her life around it."

The family has received support from people around the world and that helps Broadway and his children feel comforted.

"It's just mind-blowing to see," he said.

Broadway said he'll miss having adventures, and even down times, with Lee, and hopes that others who hear her story remember to love their friends and family.

"I hope people just learn to love your love(d) ones every minute of every day and not to take it for granted. Lee and I both took things for granted and it is me just wishing I could say one last thing to her and do one last thing for her," he said.
Fox News Apr-28-2017 102 0
A stunning verdict was returned in the corruption trial for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. He and his co-defendant were found not guilty on most counts and a mistrial was declared on the remaining counts.

Jurors returned to the courtroom around 11 a.m. Friday after more than a week of deliberation. 
Price was found not guilty on the biggest charge of bribery and six other conspiracy and mail fraud charges. But the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the tax fraud and tax underpayment charges.

Judge Barbara Lynn declared a mistrial on those four counts. It will be up to the government to decide whether or not to retry him.

“I’m on my way to work. I’m trying to get to work. Can I get to work?” Price said as he walked out of the courtroom. When asked how he feels about the verdict he said, “We’re okay.”
Price was accused of accepting nearly $1 million in bribes over the course of a decade in the form of money, cars, and land. In exchange, the government argued he got deals for companies doing business for Dallas County.

The defense argued the payments Price received were loan repayments.

“The jury’s verdict is entirely consistent with the evidence. Thank you all so much and I’m very sorry at this time I can’t comment further,” said Shirley Baccus-Lobel, Price's lead attorney.
This is a tremendous defeat for the federal government, which spent several years investigating the longest-serving Dallas County commissioner and collecting millions of documents as evidence.

“First, I want to thank the dedicated women and men of the jury for their extraordinary service during this long and difficult process,” John Parker, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement. “I will be convening with the prosecution team over the next several days regarding where we go from here, consistent with the court's timeline.”

Co-defendant Daphney Fain’s was also found not guilty on all counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and lying to the government.
Harold Gater Apr-26-2017 375 0
A Hinds County Sheriff's Department deputy has filed a lawsuit against singer R. Kelly for allegedly having an affair with his wife.

According to reports by WAPT and WLBT, Deputy Kenny Bryant filed the lawsuit against Kelly on April 21 in Hinds County Circuit Court. The lawsuit claims that Bryant's wife, Asia Childress, had a romantic relationship with Kelly prior to their July 15, 2012 wedding. Bryant says he was told that the relationship was at an end. Bryant said the relationship with Kelly rekindled when his wife attended a Kelly concert in October 2012.

Bryant said his wife convinced him to move to Atlanta for her career. Bryant said he quit his job and moved, but believes her underlying motive was to continue the affair with Kelly, according to the lawsuit.

Bryant was unable to find adequate employment in Atlanta, which hurt him financially, the lawsuit states.

Bryant said in the lawsuit that he tried to keep his marriage together, but “could not prevail against R. Kelly’s continued sexual overtures to Childress.”
Childress has filed for divorce.
SYDNEY EMBER Apr-26-2017 97 0
Troubles at Fox News compounded yet again on Tuesday, with the emergence of new allegations of racial discrimination at the company coming less than a week after the ouster of the network’s star Bill O’Reilly.

Eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action lawsuit in New York against the network, accusing it of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.”

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, expands a complaint filed at the end of March by Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, two black women who worked in the Fox News payroll department. In particular, the suit contends that Judith Slater, the company’s longtime comptroller, engaged in racist behavior and made racist remarks and that senior executives ignored her actions. A third Fox News employee, Monica Douglas, joined the lawsuit earlier this month. Fox News fired Ms. Slater in February.

“When it comes to racial discrimination, 21st Century Fox has been operating as if it should be called 18th Century Fox,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christensen, said in a statement, referring to Fox News’s parent company. “We sincerely hope the filing of this race class action wakes 21st Century Fox from its slumbers and inspires the company to take a conciliatory and appropriate approach to remedy its wrongs.”

Another former Fox News employee, Adasa Blanco, filed a separate racial discrimination lawsuit on Tuesday against Fox News, Ms. Slater and Dianne Brandi, the top lawyer at Fox News, in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

The lawsuits contend that Fox News employees repeatedly complained about racial discrimination to current network executives but that no action was taken and that the inappropriate behavior continued.

In a statement, Catherine M. Foti, a lawyer for Ms. Slater, called the lawsuits “meritless and frivolous.”

”All claims of racial discrimination against Ms. Slater are completely false,” she said.

Representatives for 21st Century Fox and Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the class-action lawsuit — which names Ms. Slater, Ms. Brandi, Fox News and 21st Century Fox as defendants — the 11 current and former employees said that Ms. Brandi and Denise Collins, a human resources executive at Fox News, were aware of complaints about Ms. Slater’s racist behavior but told black employees that “nothing could be done because Slater knew too much about senior executives,” including Roger E. Ailes, the company’s former chief executive; Mark Kranz, the chief financial officer; and Mr. O’Reilly.

According to the class-action suit, Ms. Douglas complained in November 2014 to Ms. Brandi about Ms. Slater’s behavior. Another former Fox News employee, Wasim Rafick, who worked in the company’s payroll department from 2003 to 2016, complained about Ms. Slater’s behavior to Ms. Brandi and Ms. Collins in 2015 and in 2016.

The lawsuit filed by Ms. Blanco contends that she informed Ms. Brandi about Ms. Slater’s conduct as early as September 2008.

Among the plaintiffs are Kelly Wright, a current Fox News anchor and former co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend,” who said Mr. O’Reilly refused to allow him on his show to discuss racial conciliation and instead suggested he should call Mr. Ailes and Bill Shine, one of the network’s presidents, and “offer to sing the national anthem at the Fox News Town Halls,” according to the suit. The suit also contends that Ms. Slater demanded that minority employees arm-wrestle white female supervisors for her own “entertainment and amusement.”

Ms. Slater also mocked how black employees pronounced words like “ask” and “mother” and asked some black employees, “Who is going to Africa?” after President Trump’s travel ban, according to the suit.

Fox News has been reeling since the ouster of Mr. Ailes last summer amid a sexual harassment scandal. A New York Times investigation published this month revealed that five women had received a total of roughly $13 million to settle complaints about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by Mr. O’Reilly. The network then faced an exodus by advertisers from Mr. O’Reilly’s show. Protests and denunciations by women’s rights groups followed before Mr. O’Reilly’s ouster.

On Monday, Fox News introduced a new prime-time lineup, and other cable news networks are hoping to take advantage of the upheaval to cut into Fox News’s ratings lead.

Julie Roginsky, an on-air contributor at Fox News, also filed a sexual harassment lawsuit this month against the network, Mr. Ailes and Mr. Shine. Ms. Roginsky said she had faced retaliation for refusing sexual advances from Mr. Ailes.

Also on Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch, the head of 21st Century Fox, sent a memo to Fox News employees extolling the network’s ratings from Monday night, its first night with a reconfigured prime-time lineup without Mr. O’Reilly.

“I know the last few weeks have been tough for everyone here, but our passion for news and commitment to our viewers continue to lead us through,” Mr. Murdoch wrote. “Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work.”

Sam Hananel, Associated Press Apr-25-2017 97 0
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a Houston man shot in the back by police during a traffic stop, prompting Justice Sonia Sotomayor to complain of a "disturbing trend" in how the high court deals with cases alleging police misconduct.

In a dissent, Sotomayor said the justices "have not hesitated" to reverse lower courts that rule against police officers in cases that involve claims of excessive force. But she said the court "rarely" intervenes when lower courts "wrongly" find that police are immune from charges of misconduct.

Her dissent, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, drew a response from Justice Samuel Alito, who insisted the court applies "uniform standards" when deciding to review all such cases.
Sotomayor has criticized the court before for siding with police in excessive force cases. In a 2015 dissent, she said the court was sanctioning a "'shoot first, think later' approach to policing" when it sided with a Texas state trooper who fatally shot a man fleeing from police.

Her latest comments come as law enforcement agencies face increasing scrutiny over officer-involved shootings or use of deadly force incidents. The high court heard arguments last month in a Los Angeles case where sheriff's deputies mistakenly shot a couple during their search for a wanted man.
The case on Monday began in 2010 when police said Ricardo Salazar-Limon resisted arrest during a stop for suspected drunken driving. Salazar-Limon walked away after a brief struggle and was ordered to stop. The officer said he saw Salazar-Limon turn and reach toward his waistband, and then shot him in the lower back. The injury left him partially paralyzed.

Salazar-Limon alleged the officer fired either immediately or just seconds before he turned around. He filed a claim of excessive force against the officer and the city of Houston.
A federal judge sided with the officer without sending the case to a jury. The judge said Salazar-Limon did not deny reaching for his waistband.

Sotomayor said the case should have been tried before a jury because there were still too many facts in dispute.

"Only Thompson and Salazar-Limon know what happened on that overpass on October 29, 2010," Sotomayor said. "It is possible that Salazar-Limon did something that Thompson reasonably found threatening; it is also possible that Thompson shot an unarmed man in the back without justification. What is clear is that our legal system does not entrust the resolution of this dispute to a judge faced with competing affidavits."

Sotomayor noted five similar cases in the past few years in which the justices reversed lower courts that refused to find police immune from charges of misconduct. She also pointed to newspaper stories noting "the increasing frequency of incidents in which unarmed men allegedly reach for empty waistbands when facing armed officers."

"That these cases are increasingly common makes it even more important for lower courts — confronted with such inconsistencies — to let the jury exercise its role as the arbiter of credibility disputes," she said.

Alito said the lower courts acted "responsibly and attempted faithfully to apply the correct legal rule to what is at best a marginal set of facts."

"The dissent has not identified a single case in which we failed to grant a similar petition filed by an alleged victim of unconstitutional police misconduct," he said in comments joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
Esha Ray Apr-24-2017 208 0
The anguished dad of one of the Queens fire victims broke down Monday at the scene of the deadly blaze, where fire officials said they found no working smoke detectors.

Glen Edwards’ 17-year-old daughter, Melody, was visiting her friend Jada Foxworth at the Queens Village home that went up in flames Sunday afternoon.

“When I got the news I was at church,” said Edwards, 62. “I never answered the call. I don’t take my phone to church. When I leave the church I see the missed calls. It hurts. It’s so much.

“I heard it on TV. I never knew she died at the time. Her mother said, ‘Call me again. Glen you hear what happened to Melody? I said, What?’ She died in the fire in Queens. The one I was watching on TV.”

“I want to know what happened,” Edwards said. “I lost my baby. That was a gift for me, that girl.”

Killed in the blaze along with Melody was Destiny Dones, 20, her sister Jada Foxworth, 16, Jada’s cousin Rawshawn Matthews, 10, and her two-year-old cousin Chayce Lipford.

At a news conference Monday, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters did not find any smoke detectors in the home.

Nigro, however, downplayed reports that a car fire led to the blaze.

“As of now, we have not found any smoke detectors,” he said.

Nigro also confirmed that the 911 call did not come from the home.

“Perhaps because the fire traveled so quickly, the people inside were not able to (get out),” he said. “The first call we got came from a passing motorist.”

Gordon said he spotted a 45-year-old man he knew as Eugene caught on a second-floor roof with flames closing in behind him. He said he didn’t hear any fire alarms.

Gordon said he and someone else ran to one side of the house and saw that windows were cracking because of the intense heat.

“I took a pole and broke a window and the smoke and fire hit us strong,” he said.

“Another gentleman stumbled out of the house from a side door and started yelling, ‘The kids, the kids!’ He was delirious. He asked the other gentleman who jumped off the roof, ‘Where are the kids?’ Eugene was so out of it, he was foaming from the mouth, he couldn't even talk. We had to coax him to jump.”

Meanwhile, Foxworth’s friend Natasha Khan, 15, said she attends the Young Women’s Leadership School with her. Sobbing uncontrollably, Kahn said, “It’s so hard. I didn’t expect this. It’s devastating.
Laura Dimon Apr-24-2017 223 0
A 22-year-old Queens woman succumbed to her injuries a day after a drunken cop rear-ended her car in a serious accident, officials said Monday.

Vanessa Raghubar was driving on the Van Wyck Expressway near Rockaway Blvd. Sunday at about 4 a.m. when off-duty NYPD Officer Neville Smith, 32, drunkenly crashed his 2010 Mercedes-Benz into her, cops said. The collision sent Raghubar's 2004 Honda into a tree and a light pole, critically injuring her and her two passengers.

EMS rushed her to Jamaica Hospital along with her passengers Maria Raghubar, 21, and Justin Harricharran, 20, officials said. Vanessa Raghubar died at Jamaica Hospital on Monday.

The collision sent Raghubar's 2004 Honda into a tree and a light pole, critically injuring her and her two passengers.

Smith, a detective in the 48th Precinct who's been on the force since July 2011, was charged Sunday with vehicular assault, assault, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test.
Paula Rogo Apr-24-2017 90 0
It's prom season! And as one Florida teen showed, great style can also have a great message.

Seventeen-year-old Milan Morris' prom dress is gorgeous. But her outfit is getting particular attention because of the Black Lives Matter message it conveyed.

Morris' floor-length gown, designed by Florida-based Terrance Torrence, featured black and white images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and more of the lives we have lost in recent years to police brutality. She shared a photo of the dress on Instagram. And from her caption, she is utterly unapologetic for it! YES!

Yes I'm black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me. #AllLivesMatter?? #BlackLivesMatter #MoveWithPurpose @oprah @steveharvey.tv @beyonce @chrisbrownofficial @badgalriri @tylerperry @kolyon @terrencetorrence @champagnepapi @liltunechi @bigsean @richforever @colinsmith23 @aliciakeys @kendricklamar @realcoleworld @kingjames

A post shared by Mimi ???? (@_milan23_) on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:13pm PDT

"Yes I'm Black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me," she captioned a photo of the demure dress, which she complemented with black lace.

Mr. & Mrs. Spliff ???? Thank you Cry for taking me ?? Everyone looked so beautiful last night. @terrencetorrence

A post shared by Mimi ???? (@_milan23_) on Apr 22, 2017 at 10:36am PDT

Torrence, a West Palm Beach based designer who also works in Miami and Atlanta, was the dressmaker who brought the whole look together, Morris told Essence.com.

"He was the mastermind behind this whole thing honestly," said Morris adding that Torrence's "message is a huge issue in America today."

Torrence, who is knee-deep in designing for prom season, said that he knew he wanted to create a dress inspired by Black Lives Matter last year, but it all finally came together in 2017. The dress took four days to make.

"It was powerful," he said of finishing the dress. "It was art. It was surreal. It spoke volumes."

#TSRSickPick: Her prom dress is honoring black lives lost to police brutality! Thoughts, #Roommates? #TSRPromQueenz #BlackLivesMatter via. @_milan23_

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Apr 21, 2017 at 4:55pm PDT

He added: "It was powerful and a movement and I knew people would respond to it."

And respond they have!

As for Morris, the Palm Beach senior is also a basketball star at Cardinal Newman High School, having been recently recognized as an "all-area player" by the Palm Beach Post. She will be taking her talents to Boston College this fall.

What do you think of Milan's dress?
AP Apr-19-2017 146 0
The death of the first female Muslim U.S. judge—who was found dead last week on the banks of New York’s Hudson River--- is still being investigated and is reportedly considered suspicious.

Sheila Abdus-Salaam's body was discovered along the riverside near Harlem on Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing, police said. Police said her body showed no obvious signs of trauma.

Police sources told CBS2 that family and friends have said she was struggling with depression. Police told the station that although her death is being considered suspicious, there are no signs of criminality.

Abdus-Salaam, who was 65 years old, graduated from Barnard College and received her law degree from Columbia Law School. She started her career as a staff attorney for East Brooklyn Legal Services and served as a judge in Manhattan state Supreme Court for 14 years, according to the state Office of Court Administration's website.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appointed Abdus-Salaam to the state's Court of Appeals in 2013, called her a "trailblazing jurist."

"As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state's Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer," Cuomo said. "Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come."

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said her colleague will be "missed deeply."

"Her personal warmth, uncompromising sense of fairness and bright legal mind were an inspiration to all of us who had the good fortune to know her," DiFiore said.

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said he knew Abdus-Salaam for many years. He said her death of was "difficult to understand."

"The court has suffered a terrible blow," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
AP Apr-19-2017 167 0
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction and just days ago was acquitted of a double murder, died after hanging himself in his prison cell early Wednesday, Massachusetts prisons officials said.

Hernandez, 27, was found by guards in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m., Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.

The former New England Patriots tight end was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster about an hour later.

Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He hanged himself using a bed sheet that he attached to a cell window, Fallon said.

Hernandez tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.

Fallon said he's not aware of any suicide note written by Hernandez and stressed that an investigation is ongoing. He said that officials had no concern that Hernandez was planning on taking his own life, and if there was a concern about his well-being, Hernandez would have been transferred to a mental health unit.

Hernandez was moved to tears on Friday after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was seen blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fianc?e Shayanna Jenkins. Cameras captured the tender exchange.

But, Hernandez was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister.

Hernandez's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez's death comes the same day the Patriots are making their visit to the White House today to mark their Super Bowl win. Team spokesman Stacey James said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but didn't anticipate the club commenting Wednesday.

Massachusetts State Police remain on the scene investigating the death.
Jason Silverstein Apr-18-2017 117 0
Facebook murderer Steve Stephens shot and killed himself in Pennsylvania Tuesday morning, ending a three-day manhunt for the Cleveland killer, state police confirmed.

Stephens turned the gun on himself after an attempted traffic stop in Erie County, police said. He was found in a white Ford Fusion in Erie, according to GoErie.com.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf commended police for the pursuit and said no one else in the state was hurt.

Stephens, 37, remained on the run for nearly 48 hours after shooting a stranger in the head in Cleveland and posting the snuff footage on Facebook. 

His death came just hours after police announced that they had received about 400 tips nationwide for the case, but did not have a clear idea of where he might be. 

Police also found no evidence of Stephens' claim, in a Facebook Live rant, that he had killed 13 people. 

The sprawling manhunt ended about 100 miles away from the crime scene — less than a two-hour drive. 
AP Apr-17-2017 115 0
Authorities in several states were on the lookout Monday for a man police say shot a Cleveland retiree collecting aluminum cans and then posted video of the apparently random killing on Facebook.

"He could be nearby. He could be far away or anywhere in between," FBI agent Stephen Anthony said on Day 2 of the manhunt for Steve Stephens, a 37-year-old job counselor for teens and young

Police said Stephens killed Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old former foundry worker, on Sunday.

Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite the suspect's claim in a separate video on Facebook that he killed over a dozen people.

Officers searched dozens of places around the city and spoke with the suspect by cellphone, police said.

Police Chief Calvin Williams warned residents to be careful as the go about their day.

Authorities also warned people in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be alert for Stephens, who was wanted on a charge of aggravated murder.

"We're going to make this individual's world very, very small," said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott.

Godwin apparently was shot while out picking up cans in a plastic shopping bag, his daughter said.

"Not because he needed the money, it was just something he did," said 52-year-old Debbie Godwin. "That's all he was doing. He wasn't harming anyone."

She said her father, who had 10 children, was a gentle man with nothing mean about him. "We called him the junk man," she said. "He'd pick up things off the street and fix them. He picked up bikes and he fixed them."

The motive for the shooting wasn't entirely clear from the shaky video, in which Stephens told Godwin a woman's name and said, "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you." Godwin did not seem to recognize the woman's name.

The suspect then pointed a gun at Godwin, who shielded his face with the plastic bag.

The woman Stephens mentioned, Joy Lane, said in a text to CBS that "we had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened."

She also said Stephens was "a nice guy" who was generous to everyone and was "kind and loving" to her and her children.

Facebook said the video was posted after the killing but wasn't broadcast on Facebook Live as police initially indicated. The suspect did go live on the social media site at another point Sunday.

The video of the killing was on Facebook for about three hours before it was taken down. Stephens' Facebook page also was eventually removed.

"This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook," the company said. "We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety."

In the separate video, Stephens said: "I killed 13, so I'm working on 14 as we speak."

Police said they have not verified any other shootings or deaths.

Stephens worked at Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency headquartered in Pepper Pike, near Cleveland. He helped young people develop job skills and find employment, said Beech Brook spokeswoman Nancy Kortemeyer.

An extensive background check before he was hired turned up nothing worrisome, she said.

"We just hope Mr. Stephens is apprehended as quickly as possible so that no one else is injured," she said.

In one of the videos, Stephens could be seen holding up his employee identification and said: "I'm killing with my Beech Brook badge on, too."
Elizabeth Elizalde Apr-16-2017 576 0
A gunman accused of fatally shooting an elderly man in Ohio broadcasted the homicide on Facebook Live on Easter Sunday, police said.

The horrific shooting occurred at 635 E. 93rd St., according to the Cleveland Police Department.

The suspect identified as Steve Stephens is believed to be armed and dangerous, police said.

The suspect also claims to have committed other homicides, police said.

Police have not verified those claims.

Stephens, sporting a full beard and a dark blue, gray or black striped polo shirt, is believed to be driving a white or cream-colored SUV, police said.

The video posted to Facebook around 2 p.m. appears to belong to Stephens under the profile name Stevie Steve, NBC4 reported.

The video shows the gunman walking up to an elderly man and asking him a question before fatally shooting him in what appeared to be his head.

The video, which had the caption “Easter day slaughter,” was later taken down, the station reported.
Dan Wetzel Apr-14-2017 257 0
In the end, a Suffolk County jury simply couldn’t buy the entire story that Alexander Bradley, the compromised star witness for the prosecution, was spinning.

So they found Aaron Hernandez not guilty on Friday of murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston’s Theatre District. The jury deliberated for 37 and a half hours, spread out over six days.

As the not-guilty verdict was read, some family members of de Abreu and Furtado rushed out of the courtroom in tears. Hernandez’s fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who only days earlier arrived in court with the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, sobbed.

“We based our decision on the evidence and the law,” foreperson Lindsey Stringer said in a brief statement.

Hernandez was found guilty of the unlawful carrying of a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and was sentenced by Judge Jeffrey A. Locke to four-to-five years.

The decision changes little for Hernandez, who was already serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in a Massachusetts prison for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough. While that first conviction will be automatically appealed, it is unlikely the former New England Patriots star will be granted a new trial, let alone ever walk free.

The not-guilty verdict comes one day before the two-year anniversary of Hernandez’s conviction for the murder of Lloyd.

As he walked out of court escorted by at least four officers, heading back to prison, Hernandez turned toward Jenkins-Hernandez and mouthed, “I love you.”

The verdict is a difficult blow for prosecutors and the families of two innocent men who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time – running into Hernandez and Bradley on a summer Sunday night in a Boston nightclub. The Commonwealth tried the case in an effort to deliver justice and closure for the victims and their supporters.

It is a massive victory, however, for Jose Baez, the celebrated defense attorney hired to defend Hernandez. Baez, who was not in court for the reading of the verdict reportedly due to a medical issue, can add this high-profile victory to helping young Florida mother Casey Anthony beat a charge that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter in 2011.

Too much of this case relied on the word of Bradley, an admitted drug and gun dealer who is serving time in Connecticut for an unrelated incident in which he shot up a Hartford nightclub after being involved in a gunfight. Bradley testified that Hernandez, angry at de Abreu for spilling a drink on him at a nightclub, was still fuming some two hours later when he unloaded five shots into the BMW carrying de Abreu and Furtado.

The defense countered that it was, in fact, Bradley who pulled the trigger due to a drug deal gone bad.

Neither side disagrees that Bradley was the wheelman that night. He proved, however, to be the only witness who identified Hernandez as the triggerman. Bradley had multiple motives to lie – from an immunity deal to his own hatred of Hernandez, whom allegedly shot Bradley in the face in 2013 and left him to die.

On the witness stand Bradley acknowledged he was testifying as a means of revenge only because his preferred method – murdering Hernandez – was not available due to Hernandez being incarcerated.

With so little physical evidence it was not simple to determine whether it was Hernandez who was the triggerman or Bradley. On that precise, but all-important point, there was clearly reasonable doubt.

“The man who committed these crimes was given immunity by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and will be out of prison soon,” defense attorney Ronald Sullivan said, referring to Bradley and according to Chris Villani of the Boston Herald.

Hernandez, 27, may have beaten the charge of the actual killings, but he was hardly innocent that night. He didn’t report the crime and afterward helped stash the murder car in a Connecticut house garage he was connected with.

The fall of Hernandez ranks among the most baffling and tragic in modern sports history. He, at the very least, was witness to the murder of de Abreu and Furtado just months after catching a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl and just weeks before signing a $40 million contract extension with the New England Patriots. He and his longtime girlfriend/fiancée had a baby on the way at the time.

The trial played out across six weeks in downtown Boston, just across the street from where Hernandez’s former teammates held another Super Bowl parade and celebration in February.
Cindy George Apr-14-2017 157 0
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Texas death-row inmate Duane Buck the right to pursue his claims of ineffective counsel and relief under a rule that covers mistakes and neglect - a move that could spare him from execution.

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race improperly tainted Buck's death sentence and remanded the case to the lower court for a new hearing.

In a two-page ruling filed Thursday, the federal appeals court also ordered him released unless the state initiates proceedings for a new trial for punishment within six months or "elects not to seek the death penalty and accedes to a life sentence."

Buck was convicted in Houston 20 years ago for the killings of his ex-girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and her friend, Kenneth Butler. He was sentenced to death after a psychologist testified he would be a continuing threat to society because he is black.

The case, which has made national headlines for years, could be a harbinger of how the country's highest court deals with death penalty cases with racial overtones, experts have said.

After February's decision, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her office would review Buck's case, including speaking with the victims' families and looking over mitigation evidence, before deciding how to proceed.

"Racially charged evidence has no place in any courtroom, and this administration will not tolerate its presence," she said. "We remain committed to seeking justice for the victims of Duane Buck's heinous criminal acts and will do so without what Chief Justice Roberts described as the 'strain of racial prejudice' present at the 1997 trial in which Buck was convicted."
David Boroff Apr-13-2017 151 0
A Georgia police officer was fired one day after authorities say he kicked a handcuffed man in the face.

A shocking video shows Master Police Officer Robert McDonald of the Gwinnett County Police Department appearing to use excessive force on suspect Demetrius Hollins on a major roadway just outside of Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon.

McDonald "stepped outside the guiding principles of our agency," Thursday's statement from the Gwinnett County Police Department said."We do not tolerate actions that are not consistent with our core values or state law."

The police department has also launched a criminal investigation of McDonald's behavior. He was sent home on administrative leave and his department-issued gun was taken.

Georgia police officer arrested after revenge porn incident
The statement emphasizes the video is "very disturbing and speaks for itself" and was "very crucial to the investigation and it confirmed that the force used was unnecessary and excessive."

Hollins appears to have blood on his nose and lip in a booking photo.He faces charges of driving with a suspended or revoked license, operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked registration, failure to signal, having a brake light that's not in good repair, obstructing a law enforcement officer and having less than an ounce of marijuana.

The video, posted to Facebook by Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, shows a white officer pulling a black man out of a car and placing him in handcuffs. The man can be heard yelling as the officer hovers over him.

Suddenly, a second officer comes running from the right hand side.

As the first officer observes, the second officer, seemingly unprovoked, stomps the handcuffed man in the face. Both officers then hold the man down before putting him in the backseat of their squad car.

"Stay down," one of the officers can be heard saying.

The violent incident occurred on Sugarloaf Parkway outside Lawrenceville around 5 p.m., according to Maejor Page, the President of Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta.

Page told the Daily News that the maker of the video provided the clip to his organization shortly after the incident occurred.

The video maker charged that "blood splattered everywhere" after the officer landed the kick to the man's face, Page said.

In a statement, Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta praised the dismissal of the officer.

"We are extremely happy that the command staff of the Gwinnett Police Department heard our voices did the noble and honorable thing, and that's to fire this officer and seek criminal charges," read the statement. "We do not want to paint the entire GCPD as a bad group of people, when I know for a fact there a bunch of fine men and women who work for the department with respect, honor and integrity."
Jeremy Gorner Apr-13-2017 257 0
Chicago police say the attempted armed robbery of a slain Cook County judge and his injured girlfriend early Monday was not a random act while announcing murder and other charges against the first of several suspects.

Police also revealed that shell casings found outside the judge's Far South Side home matched ballistics evidence from an attempted armed robbery in the early morning hours three months ago. The victim was shot and wounded.

At a news conference Wednesday evening at police headquarters, Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples answered few questions, emphasizing that the investigation remained "open and ongoing" and that more details would come out in court Thursday. But she did call the attack on Associate Judge Raymond Myles and his girlfriend "a targeted robbery." However, Staples wouldn't say whether it was the judge or his girlfriend who was the target of the robbery.

According to the Cook County state's attorney's office, Joshua T. Smith, 37, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and armed robbery.

Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for State's Attorney Kim Foxx, said Smith is expected to appear in bond court at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Thursday.

Police would not identify Smith's role in the attempted armed robbery, but multiple law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune that he acted as the alleged getaway driver.

According to court records, Smith was charged in Cook County Circuit Court in 2002 with armed robbery, aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated unlawful restraint. He pleaded guilty the following year to armed robbery and was sentenced to six years in prison, the records show.
Police are still seeking the gunman and a third participant, according to sources.

At the news conference, Staples said video surveillance in the area of the judge's home in the West Chesterfield neighborhood played a crucial role in identifying the getaway car used in the attempted holdup and its license plate. The cameras did not capture the shooting itself, however, she said.
There had been a push recently to get cameras installed throughout the neighborhood - an effort that the judge had joined in.

"I can tell you that the placement and the concentration of cameras in and outside of the judge's neighborhood was instrumental for detectives to get a jump-start on this case," Staples said.

Tactical officers found the suspected getaway car - a red 2005 Pontiac Sunfire - in the Calumet Police District on the city's Far South Side on Tuesday night, even though its license plate had been switched since the shooting in an attempt to "hinder our investigative efforts," Staples said. The officers noticed the car had different plates on the front and rear, she said.

Records show that Smith shares an address with the woman who owns the Pontiac. But detectives do not believe she was involved in the attempted holdup, Staples said.

Staples told reporters that the shell casings found outside the judge's home matched those retrieved at the scene of an attempted armed robbery and shooting in the Englewood neighborhood in January, but she said the two shootings don't appear to be otherwise linked. Police said guns used in Chicago shootings often change hands and that the victim of the January holdup attempt was not cooperating with investigators. The victim, identified by police sources as an alleged gang member with a long arrest record, was shot in the leg.

The brazen attack on Myles, believed to be the first fatal shooting of a Chicago-area judge in more than three decades, touched off a massive investigation.

An early riser, Myles was up before dawn Monday, getting ready to go to the gym with his girlfriend before reporting to his courtroom. But as the 52-year-old woman left the two-story brick residence shortly before 5 a.m., she was confronted near the garage by a gunman who shot her in the leg, according to police. Hearing the commotion, Myles, 66, ran outside and exchanged words with the assailant before he was shot and killed.

A neighbor and friend of the judge told the Tribune he was awakened by the shouts of the woman and the crack of about six gunshots. "She was screaming, 'Don't kill him, don't kill him!' " the neighbor said.

An autopsy found Myles had been shot multiple times, the Cook County medical examiner's office said Tuesday.

The FBI has offered $25,000 for information leading to the apprehension of the killer.
Sheriff Tom Dart's office investigates about 10 death threats against Cook County judges a year but had no record of any threats against Myles in recent years.

News of Myles' death stunned colleagues at the county's main criminal courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue, where Myles had worked for years. Longtime courthouse employees described Myles as hardworking and friendly. He was assigned to the "youthful offenders" call, where he heard narcotics cases involving defendants about age 27 and younger.
Thomas Tracy Apr-13-2017 186 0
The pioneering judge found dead on the banks of the Hudson River was struggling with depression and likely took her own life, a police source said Thursday.

It was unclear if state Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam left behind a suicide note, and cops were awaiting the results of an autopsy before saying anything more, the source told the Daily News.

There were no signs of trauma or injuries indicating a more sinister demise when her fully-clothed body was found Wednesday afternoon near W. 132nd St. — about a mile from her Harlem home.

The 65-year-old Abdus-Salaam, hailed as the nation’s first female Muslim judge and the first black woman appointed to the state’s highest court, was reported missing by her husband on Tuesday morning.

The shocking disappearance and discovery of her body rattled her many friends and colleagues across the state.

“I just saw her on the subway the other day,” said former Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright. “She was always a very calming, beautiful presence ... She became one of the brightest and most respected legal minds in the U.S.”

Abdus-Salaam was nominated by Gov. Cuomo in 2013 for a seat on the state’s Court of Appeals, the high point of a legal career that began with her Columbia University School of Law degree.

Among her classmates: Future U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

She served as a Manhattan Supreme Court judge for 14 years before Cuomo’s promotion. The governor praised Abdus-Salaam for her “unshakable moral compass.”

Harlem neighbor Pat Miller, 56, couldn’t accept the idea that Abdus-Salaam took her own life.

“I could not imagine her doing anything to herself to harm herself," he said. She’s not that type of person ... I’d like to know what happened. I would really like to know.”

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