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Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder of Laquan McDonald

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of Black, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.  You can click here to read more background on this case.

Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery; one for each bullet he sent into the 17-year old’s body. He was found not guilty of official misconduct.  Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years.  In Illinois, aggravated battery with a firearm carries a minimum sentence of 6 years, and a maximum penalty of 30 to 60 years.

While probation is allowed for second-degree murder, it is not allowed for the Class X felony of aggravated battery using a firearm.

Van Dyke took the witness stand on Tuesday, and on cross-examination was asked about a statement he made to his partner as they approached the shooting scene: “Oh my God, we’re going to have to shoot the guy.”

“I thought the officers were under attack,” Van Dyke said.

After the verdict, a woman juror said a changing point for many of the jurors was when it was revealed that Van Dyke said to his partner that they might have to shoot McDonald, even before they got out of their police vehicle. Read the rest of this entry

3 Correction Officers Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder

Michael Tyree was 31-years old when he died on August 26, 2015.   He was bi-polar and was arrested for misdemeanor theft and drug possession. Tyree was jailed in a section of the Santa Clara County Correctional facility that is reserved for inmates with special needs.  There, he was beaten with the coroner finding the cause of death as internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma.  There were lacerations to Michael’s liver and spleen, which was nearly severed in half.  Michael was found in his cell naked and covered in vomit and feces.

Three guards, Matthew Farris, Jereh Lubrin and Rafael Rodriguez, were charged with second degree murder.  Jereh Lubrin was also charged with assault under color of authority and the three guards were charged with assault under color of authority for allegedly beating inmate Juan Villa. Read the rest of this entry

Colorado Police Officer Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

Thursday night, Jack Jacquez Sr. said he was burning all of the documents he amassed in a case concerning the murder of his son.  He said he was doing it to get the stress from the court proceedings off his chest.

jack-jacquez-james-ashby-rocky-ford

Jack Jacquez on left, James Ashby on right.

In October 2014, his son, 27-year-old Jack Jacquez, was killed in his mom’s kitchen by Rocky Ford, Colorado police officer James Ashby. Ashby claimed that he thought Jack was a burglar.  However, Jack’s mom, Viola, told The Denver Post that Ashby opened fire on her son inches from her face.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation reviewed the shooting and decided that Ashby lied about circumstances that led up to and followed the shooting, finding that many of his statements contradicted physical evidence and witness accounts.  Ashby was arrested a month after he killed Jack.  Ashby was charged with second-degree murder.  He was also fired from his job. Read the rest of this entry

Anita Smithey Convicted of Second Degree Murder

Smithey trial

Anita Smithey

It’s a case that did not get much attention outside of the Florida. In or about April 2012 after George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder for killing unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin, I began researching stand your ground cases in Florida. Smithey’s case was one of several that caught my attention, along with the cases of John Orr, and Trevor Dooley.

On May 4, 2010, Smithey shot and killed Robert Cline III, her estranged husband. She claimed that he was raping her after they had consensual sex, and cut her throat and stabbed her in the side. Smithey claimed that she shot Robert once in the chest. The medical examiner however, said that there were two entrance wounds. Read the rest of this entry

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