Justice

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MSNewsNow.com – Jackson, MS

BEND, OR – After nearly one dozen parents testified against her, a daycare owner who drugged numerous children on melatonin then left them alone to go for a tan or exercise was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison.

It was an emotional day in court Friday, as parents faced January Neatherlin, whom the parents had trusted with their children, and told the judge why she deserved a full sentence.

One family said their daughter suffered a brain injury, consistent with shaken baby syndrome, while in Neatherlin’s care.

Other parents told stories of their children struggling to sleep after their time with Neatherlin, who fed them melatonin while she went tanning and to the gym.

“She repeatedly administered a sleeping agent to a room full of infants, toddlers and children and drove off in her car to fulfill her narcissistic needs. There is no room in our society for monsters like this. January has no respect for human life,” one parent said.

Prosecutors, who asked for a 35-year prison term, called Neatherlin’s crimes more than just criminal mistreatment, saying the daycare owner had a history of criminal activity.

Neatherlin read a statement in court, apologizing and asking for forgiveness. She also said she had failed as a caretaker and as a parent to her own children.

“Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody takes responsibility for those mistakes. With that said, I hope the court and the parents accept my apology. I made a very poor call, and it has forever changed my life and even ended it,” she said.

When handing down the sentence, Judge Wells Ashby highlighted the carnage Neatherlin had caused for the families, noting several were still dealing with the aftermath, including broken relationships, behavioral problems and financial struggles.

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| WBTV Charlotte

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) –
Marlene Johnson was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Shirley Pierce in Rowan County Wednesday. Despite proclaiming her innocence, Johnson was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

“I disagree with the decision. I am innocent. I was never there. I would not hurt anybody. I would not have killed Shirley Pierce,” Johnson said following the announcement of the verdict.

Judge Stuart Albright responded to Johnson saying “The DNA squarely contradicts everything that you just said,” and then after giving Johnson a sentence of life without parole, said “Mam, you will die in prison, that is my order.”

Shirley Pierce’s fiance found Pierce stabbed to death inside her Kannapolis home in July of 2013. Johnson reportedly killed Pierce in the mistaken belief that Pierce was having an affair with Johnson’s estranged husband.

Pierce worked with Ervin Johnson at Tuscarora Yarns in Mount Pleasant.

“We know who did this. We know why she did this. We know how she did this,” Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said in her closing argument on Tuesday.

Johnson stabbed 62-year-old Pierce in the neck in what has been described as a violent, painful death in the attack in her home. During prosecution testimony, forensic pathologist Dr. Clay Nichols told the 9-woman, 3-man jury that Pierce would have been in pain for about three to five minutes before finally losing consciousness.

The jury got the case on Tuesday afternoon and deliberated for 45 minutes before heading home. Deliberations resumed Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Johnson, who turned 66 on Tuesday, will spend the rest of her life in prison.

“We appreciate the jurors’ time and attention as we presented evidence over the past couple of weeks,” Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said. “We are grateful for their service and thoughtful deliberation. We also appreciate the thorough investigation conducted by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.”

“We hope that this guilty verdict and resulting life sentence will provide some sense of closure for Shirley Pierce’s family, friends, and loved ones,” Cook said.

As the verdict was announced Johnson collapsed to the floor. Several deputies rushed to her side and attempted to remove her from the courtroom. The judge stopped them, telling them to make her stand up and listen as each juror was polled on the guilty verdict.

Prior to sentencing, several members of the family of Shirley Pierce spoke. Pierce’s daughter, Tracy Brown, told Johnson that she could not forgive her for the murder.

“As a Christian I’m supposed to be forgiving,” Brown said, “but I could never forgive you for what you did, and if that keeps me from going to Heaven, then I’ll meet you in Hell.”

Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten, whose investigators handled the case, said that the outcome should help the Pierce family.

“You’re thankful that this will be another step for the family of the victim in closure for them and they can get on healing,” Auten said. “Certainly they’ll never get over losing a loved one like Shirley, but hopefully this is another step in that right direction for that family.”

Johnson’s legal team of James Davis and Jay White announced that they would appeal the conviction.

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Two Chinese courts sentenced 10 criminals to death in front of thousands of people including children on Saturday. The 10 criminals, who were convicted drug dealers, murderers and robbers, were taken to the execution ground immediately in Lufeng, Guangdong Province. This is the third time since June that courts in Guangdong have announced death sentences to a group of criminals in public.

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A Tuscaloosa woman was arrested Saturday after police said she lied about her ex-boyfriend raping her, and then tying her up.

Tuscaloosa police were dispatched at 5 p.m. to a home in the 1500 block of Greystone Drive on a report of a sexual assault. The alleged victim – 25-year-old Mariah Jordan Smith – told investigators her former boyfriend had entered her home through an unlocked door, went into her bedroom and sexually assaulted her, said Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit Capt. Gary Hood.


She told police that after the attack, he tied her legs to the bed, tied her hands together and left the home. While investigators interviewed Smith, they determined some of the statements she gave them were false, Hood said.

They then got in touch with the ex-boyfriend and he learned he was out of state during the entire time of the alleged sexual assault. Hood said investigators corroborated his alibi with local law enforcement there.

Investigators arrested Smith for filing a false report. She was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail with a $6,000.00 bond.

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Father in Bathinda, Punjab decided to take law into his own hands and chopped off the hands of his daughter’s alleged rapist. The man’s 8-month-old daughter was allegedly raped by this accused after which the father refusing to let the law take its own course and took revenge. The alleged rapist hand’s were chopped off before he could be produced in court. He is now in the hospital battling for his life.

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The body of the headless man that was discovered outside a judge’s home has been identified as a that of a pedophile who walked free from a recent bail hearing.

William Smith, 28 from Dallas, Texas was discovered in the early hours of Tuesday morning, decapitated and left outside the front door of a judge who had granted him bail in August.

Smith had been arrested last month following complaints from his ex-girlfriend that he had raped her 8-year-old daughter.

Following his arrest, he was charged with two counts related to child pornography and one count of child molestation.

After being charged, Smith was held on a $30,000 bail which he was able to pay and walked free from the court.The judge granted bail after ruling that Smith didn’t pose a threat to the local community.

The victim’s family said they were “shocked” that her rapist had been allowed to walk free from court.Smith was awaiting trial for his crimes and was awaiting a court date which was due to be scheduled for later this year.

According to reports, the judge, whose name has been withheld, was awoken at around 3 am by his barking dog.When he went outside to check, he found the decapitated corpse outside his front door with the head left on the steps.

Investigating officers described his death as resembling a “gangland-style execution”.A local resident said of the horrific discovery that finding a headless body was an “unusual” incident: “This is a nice area.

“This is the kind of thing that usually happens in mob films, but not around here.” Police say they are currently “following leads” but have yet to make any arrests for the murder.

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Declaring “justice prevailed,” a Michigan man walked out of prison for the first time in 25 years. His release after new tests showed that the bullets presented as evidence at his trial weren’t the ones taken from the body of the victim.

Desmond Ricks, 51, met his legal team before leaving the western Michigan prison, the culmination of a remarkable effort to clear himself in a fatal shooting in Detroit in 1992. The Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school asked Judge Richard Skutt to reopen the case after prosecutors in 2015 turned over photos of two bullets removed from the victim, Gerry Bennett.

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A judge threw out two charges against Carrie Witt, who was facing potential prison time for allegedly having sex with two students between 16 and 19 years old while she taught at Decatur High School.

Witt, 44, had the two charges dismissed without prejudice on constitutional grounds. The ruling was issued Thursday.

That means the State can still refile the charges, so long as they do so in an appropriate amount of time.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson noted in his ruling that students can consent to sex under state law once they turn 16, unless someone uses a “position of authority” to “coerce, groom, or otherwise obtain the illegitimate consent of the alleged victims.”

The judge found that while there may be a gap in power between teacher and student, it “clearly does not exist between every school employee and every student regardless of where that student is enrolled.”

The court held that prosecutors must prove a school employee “was actually in a position of authority over the victim/student and that the position of authority was abused to obtain consent.”

The court noted that the State has an abiding interest in protecting people from being preyed on by someone in authority over them, such as teachers, wardens, clergy members and psychologists.

But, the court found, the law goes too far in denying any possibility of consent.

“The statute at hand embeds an irrebuttable presumption that any sexual encounter between an employee of any school and any student (without qualification as to class, school, or school system) is conclusively the result of misuse of authority,” the judge wrote.

“The law takes away the right of the employee to assert a defense that legal consent that was freely and legitimately given – abrogating the student’s capacity to consent.”

The court also noted that the ruling was based on the allegations in the indictments in the case. The judge said there was no testimony or evidence presented at the hearing where the court heard arguments about the law’s constitutionality.

The court also cited a Kansas law that he said draws a key distinction from Alabama’s current law. The court said the Kansas law bars sexual relationships between students and teachers or other school officials when the student is enrolled at the school.

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Chattanooga, Tennessee (WCRB) The man shot during a home invasion recalled the moments before the gun went off, and how he wrestled with the intruder, who is now behind bars.

It happened Sunday night at an apartment complex on Mansion Circle.

The 19 year-old victim, Shane Feeney, said he had not met the man accused of shooting him and he wonders why the apartment he was in was targeted.

“Screaming and like tussling going on in the apartment,” Feeney remembered, “It felt like hours.”

What felt like hours, lasted only about 30 minutes.

Feeney recalled the scuffle with a man he said he had never met until Sunday night.

“I hope whatever happens to him is equal to what he did to us,” said Feeney.

New York (FOX61) A New York woman accused of lying about being sexually assaulted by two Sacred Heart University athletes appeared before a judge in Bridgeport Superior Court Monday.

Nikki Yovino is charged with filing a false police report and tampering with evidence. Her arrest warrant details an investigation that spanned over two months.

Police say Yovino made up a story that she was raped by two male students at an off-campus party in Bridgeport in October 2016.

At least 21 people were arrested after violence broke out Saturday between groups of supporters and detractors of President Donald Trump holding rallies in Berkeley. About 200 people were at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park when several people started pushing each other on Saturday morning. Counter-protesters against a pro-Trump rally broke through netting separating the two groups in the park. It is not clear whether the ‘Patriot’s Day’ rally organized by the Liberty Revival Alliance, a pro-Trump group, was meant as a counterpoint to the Tax Marches held across the country.

A woman in Florida, originally from Mexico, was busted for paying Mexican smugglers to bring a young mother into the United States to be her surrogate. She then held the woman captive for two and a half years.

47-year-old Esthela Clark, originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, has confessed to smuggling the unnamed 26-year-old victim in after promising to pay her $3,000 to carry her baby for her.

Ms. Clark has children of her own, now adults, but had struggled to conceive with her boyfriend between 2012 and 2015.

The victim was brought from Piedras Negras in Couahila by bus into Texas. She was then taken to Jacksonville, Florida by smugglers. There, she was picked up by Clark and her family in 2012.

They lived together and Clark tried to inseminate her with her boyfriend’s semen up to four times a day while she was ovulating.

When that failed, she forced her to have sex with strangers. She’d then keep the condoms to try more insemination. When none of that worked, she started giving her nothing but cold beans from a can for food, claiming the victim was too fat to get pregnant.

Other incidents include Ms. Clark making her sleep in bleach, forcing her to strip when she was accused of stealing, hitting her with a metal stick, and forcing her to wash her car in very little clothing in cold weather.

She let the woman work, but kept all of her earnings. All the while, Clark threatened her family in Mexico if she ever attempted to escape.

A member of their church suspected abuse and contacted police to rescue the woman.

Clark has pleaded guilty to forced labor as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. She’s facing up to 20 years in prison. She faces deportation if it’s determined that she entered the country illegally.

 

The owners of New York-based Silent Farm Bed and Breakfast in Goshen are alleged to have stolen money from a mentally disabled man who was living in their barn.

John Quick and his wife, Mary Quick, slowly but surely drained the victim’s bank account without his authorization.

Social services for Orange County removed the man from the quarters meant for a stable hand. The man had been living there for several years, according to officials.

The couple were arrested after a three-month investigation and were charged with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable adult, as well as grand larceny.

A neighbor of the couple had called the cops after he’d lost his heat and running water and realized that the Quicks had been stealing from him as well.

 

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Four people in Indiana have been taken into custody in connection with the death of 9-year-old blind boy with cerebral palsy who’d been starved to the point of weighing just 15 pounds. That’s about the average size of a three-month-old.

Vigo County Sheriff’s deputies responded at just before 4 a.m. on Tuesday in reference to a 911 call about a child in cardiac arrest.

The young victim, identified as nine-year-old Cameron Hoopingarner, was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Both State police and sheriff’s deputies arrested four people who live in the home where he was found. Among them were the boy’s two guardians, 53-year-old Robin Lee Kraemer and 56-year-old Hubert Kraemer. They were charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

The other two residents, identified as 30-year-old Sarah Beth Travioli and 33-year-old and Chad Kraemer, were taken into custody on charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent, and failure to report child neglect.

None of the suspects were related to Cameron biologically, and all four are jobless.

According to a corner’s preliminary findings, the young victim’s cause of death was severe malnutrition, with the manner of death ruled as homicide.

An official compared the boy’s condition to that of concentration camp victims.

Hubert and Robin had been caring for the boy since he was just three days old. He was bedridden and was unable to attend a school.

Chad Kraemer and Sarah Travioli’s two kids, a 3-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, were taken into protective custody.

Each of the four suspects are being held on $250,000 bond.

 

An New York woman was arrested and charged after she falsely accused two Connecticut football players of rape. The accusations led to their withdrawal from school.

18-year-old Nikki Yovino had previously claimed that she’d been pulled into a bathroom by two students at Sacred Heart University during a football party in Bridgeport. Unfortunately for her, however, a student had overheard her telling the two football players that she wanted to have sex with them.

When confronted by cops, she claimed she’d lied because of her interest in another man.

“She admitted that she made up the allegation of sexual assault against (the football players) because it was the first thing that came to mind and she didn’t want to lose (another male student) as a friend and potential boyfriend,” according to the arrest affidavit. “She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.”

She’s been charged with falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. She faces up to five years in prison on the charges.

Her arraignment is scheduled for March 3rd, when her attorney expects her to plead not guilty.

The two players have maintained their innocence all along, claiming they had consensual sex with her.

They were suspended from the team when the allegations broke, and ultimately withdrew from school rather than face a disciplinary hearing.

 

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Parents of an eight-year-old boy in Ohio who overdosed on heroin have been charged with child endangerment and drug possession after the tragedy.

Charles Dowdy and Danielle Simko were taken into custody January 11th after he was taken to the hospital and medical staff there found prescription pills and a small bag of heroin inside of his sock. Luckily, the victim survived.

Charles says he’d been in bed with Danielle and their son when they noticed his lips had turned blue. He then called 911. He explained that he thought his son had rolled over and possibly smothered in the pillow.

Paramedics arrived and took the boy to Southwest General Medical Center. A urine test conducted there found heroin in his system.

Narcotics and syringes were found inside the couple’s home following a search.

They were each charged with child endangerment and held on $150,000 bond.

They’re next due in court on February 22nd.

Their son is now in the custody of relatives, and the couple have been barred from any contact with him.

 

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It was a cold morning, and I started my car to let it warm up. When I walked back outside to get in my car, it was gone. I rushed outside with my sister so we could ride around looking for my car. We called the police, and while waiting, I updated facebook about my car. I received a call from a friend letting me know four guys were trying to break in the house next door to her and it looks like my car they got. Gave her the plate number she said yes that’s it and also stated that she know one of the guys and gave me his name. On the way, I seen the police gave them the update. He called it in, and I followed him to the scene. There were so many police cars and officers. When I pulled up my car, was rammed into a tree and the guys was on foot running.”

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He seems pretty broken up. He should have tried my trusty way of avoiding jail time. I start by not raping people.

His mistake was the 57 year old grandmother that had no warrants, never been arrested, he raped her and made her feel he would kill her. She is the first one who came forward and told the truth. I am sure there are others who were just too afraid to come forward because maybe they had active warrants so they just stayed quiet. Anyway, the sentencing Judge up held the Jury’s recommendation that Daniel Holtzclaw serve 263 years consecutively. He will never get out of prison.

Mapleton, Georgia:

Two armed men chose the wrong place to attempt a robbery Monday morning, when an employee at the Cobb County gun shop confronted them and shot one dead at the scene, Cobb County police said. The two men entered Dixie Gun and Pawn at 11 a.m. and attempted to rob the business. A store employee happened to be armed and exchanged gunfire with the men, striking one of them. The robbery suspect died at the scene, police said. The other suspect fled on foot. Police said Monday afternoon they have no information about him. The worker was not injured and the case remains under investigation.

 

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A Burnet, Texas woman has been sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing and torturing her children in a sexual abuse and torture case that local authorities claim is one of the worst they’d ever seen.

49-year-old Misty Rae Hopkins was convicted earlier this week on numerous counts of aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child.

Mrs. Hopkins and her late husband, a church pastor, sexually abused their four kids for years. Officials say the children were isolated in the home and kept out of school.

One daughter was abused starting at just seven years old, and it went on until she was 21, when she left the home with her siblings and notified the police.

 

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Two California men were charged with hate crimes Friday for the brutal beating of a Sikh man.

31-year-old Chase Little (above), as well as 24-year-old Colton Leblanc (not pictured) were both charged for the terrorizing September 25th incident, which also saw the victim’s hair forcibly cut.

41-year-old Maan Singh Khalsa (below) was punched by the two men multiple times and his turban was knocked off of his head through the open driver side window of his car as he was driving home

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A group of five men in a truck, which included Little and Leblanc, had thrown beer cans at his car before the two men jumped out and attacked him at the next red light.

“Cut off his fucking hair!” the men yelled at the two attackers as they forced his head down and used a knife to cut off a large amount of his hair, which is religiously mandated.

Mr. Khalsa, who works as an IT specialist with the Social Security Administration, escaped the onslaught by speeding away from the scene. He and another motorist had called 911 and a California Highway Patrol police dispatcher recorded parts of the attack.

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Khalsa had nerve damage and needed stitches for a knife wound. That knife wound caused an infection requiring part of his pinky finger to be amputated. He suffered a lack eye, seriously damaged teeth and several cuts to his left hand as well.

Little and Leblanc have been charged with assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon.

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Each of those charges carries enhancements for hate crimes and great bodily injuries.The bodily injury enhancements can add an additional six years in prison each for the two men if they’re convicted.

The hate crime enhancements carry up to eight additional years each.