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Dylann Roof Pleads Guilty To All Counts In State Trial

Just a quick note to update.  The introduction to the video says:

 Dylann Storm Roof who shot and killed nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston church in 2015, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges stemming from the massacre as part of a deal with prosecutors to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid a second death-penalty trial.

Roof already had been sentenced to die earlier this year for his convictions in federal court on hate crimes charges, though the state could have pursued a second such penalty in its murder case against the young man.

Roof was charged both federally and at the state level after the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, when nine black parishioners were shot and killed down during an evening Bible study.

The federal death sentence still stands!

After impact statements and Roof’s grandad speaking on Roof’s behalf, the Judge sentenced Roof to 9 life sentences on state charges.

Lawsuit Settles Against Michael Slager for Tasing

Michael Slager, left. Mario Givens, right.

Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man.  Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times.  Slager’s state trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016.  It ended with a hung jury.  Slager is scheduled to be retried by the State of South Carolina, and also by the federal government.  His trial was reported on this blog.

Meanwhile, three men had filed lawsuits against North Charleston for being wrongfully or excessively tased by Michael Slager.  Two have reached settlement.  Mario Givens was awarded $27,500 and Jerome Stanley $50,000 for their 2013 run-ins with Slager.

The Post Courier reports:

“They were among three people who filed actions in 2015 amid intense scrutiny of the city’s police force. An eyewitness video of patrolman Michael Slager shooting the fleeing black man sparked the frenzy.

The men alleged excessive use of the stun gun, though Slager’s lawyers have defended his record as exemplary.”

Mario Givens is quoted as saying,

“If they’d listened to me Walter Scott might not be dead’: Man who filed excessive force complaint after being tasered by ‘killer cop’ in 2013 speaks out – and announces he’s suing.”

Givens was initially charged with resisting arrest, but was later released without charge.  He filed a police complaint but Slager was exonerated. Read the rest of this entry

Louisiana Officer On Trial For Killing 6-Year Old Jeremy Mardis

Derrick Stafford  (Louisiana State Police via AP, File)

A jury of 12 and 2 alternates have heard opening statements and is hearing testimony in the trial of Derrick Stafford.  The trial is taking place in Marksville, Louisiana.  Stafford, along with his partner Norris Greenhouse, Jr. are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2, 2015 shooting death of 6-year old Jeremy Mardis.  Jeremy was the in the vehicle with his dad, Christopher Few, who was wounded when Stafford and his Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire.

Greenhouse, Jr. is scheduled for a separate trial later this year.

The L.A. Times reports:

“Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father had his hands raised inside his vehicle when the officers fired their semiautomatic pistols. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.

Relatives of the victims wept as jurors watched the graphic video from the shooting. Several jurors were also seen wiping away tears.”

Jeremy Mardis

Stafford and Greenhouse stated that they opened fire on Few because he tried ramming his car into them.  A state police detective has testified there isn’t any physical evidence that Few’s car collided with Greenhouse’s vehicle.

Ballistics evidence shows none of the 18 shots fired by the two deputies hit the front or back of Few’s car.  The prosecution is using that as evident that neither deputy was in danger.  “Cars don’t move sideways,” the prosecutor said.

Read the rest of this entry

Hung Jury In Trial of Former Garland Texas Officer

In December 2016, we followed the trials of Michael Slager and Dylann Roof.  There was also another trial.

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Patrick Tuter, left. Michael Allen, right.

In August 2012, Officer Patrick Tuter of Garland, Texas led a vehicle chase of unarmed 25 year old Michael Allen.  Tuter fired at Michael 41 times, reloading several times and hitting Michael 3 times.   The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Officer performed the autopsy and determined that Michael suffered gunshot wounds to his upper back, side, and left elbow.

Tuter’s official report was that he opened fired after Michael rammed a patrol car.  The dashboard video however, showed that it was Tuter’s patrol car that rammed into Michael’s truck.  Tuter fired his gun from the back, left-side of Michael’s truck.

Michael Allen’s body was pulled out of the cab of his truck by a K9 who chewed his face.

In March 2013, Tuter was fired for violating department policies on pursuits and use of force.  He had been on the force 7 years.

In November, 2013, a grand jury indicted Tuter on a manslaughter charge which if convicted, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  Read the rest of this entry

Two Former Police Officers Found Guilty For The Murder Of Handcuffed Man

On August 18, 2015, East Point, Georgia police officers Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges related to the April 11, 2014 death of 24-year old Gregory Towns.  Eberhart resigned and Weems was terminated after the incident.  Their trial began on December 5, 2016.

howard-weems-marcus-eberhart_20161206154840990_6765271_ver1-0_640_360On April 11, 2014, Weems and Eberhart responded to a domestic violence call in the Atlanta suburb.  Another officer was also present. Gregory Towns ran and was apprehended.  According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, after apprehending Gregory,the officers handcuffed him.  They demanded him to stand and walk to a waiting patrol car.  Gregory indicated that he was out of breath and could not stand.  Both officers used their tasers on Gregory, and even after attempting to walk but collapsing, the officers continued to tase him.

Gregory was tased 13-14 times. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Convicted

The jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.

The panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks  will reconvene on January 3, 2017 to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Minutes after the verdict was read, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he wanted to represent himself during the penalty phase.

Fox news reports; Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof’s Federal Trial Begins

Victims at AME Church

On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they were holding Bible Study.  He shot and killed 9 people.  A manhunt resulted, and Roof was found and arrested in North Carolina.  He confessed to the killings.

Roof is an avowed White supremacist who perceived that he had to save the White race from Blacks.  He wanted to start a race war.  Roof waited until parishioners closed their eyes to pray  before firing his Glock .45-caliber pistol.  When it was over, Roof had fired more than 70 shots, striking his victims 60 times.

The 22-year old is charged with 12 federal counts of hate crimes, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion, and 9 counts of firearm violations.   Federal prosecutors seek the death penalty.

Discarding empty magazines and reloading his weapon, Roof found survivor Polly Sheppard hiding as she prayed. Roof told her to shut up, before asking if she had been shot. Sheppard was then told that she would be left alive so that she could tell others what had occurred. She will likely serve as the final witness for the prosecution in the guilt phase of the trial.

Since he was arrested, there have been numerous pleadings and hearings in the case.  To report on each one would be tedious.  The most recent included a motion to find Roof mentally incompetent to stand trial.  The court denied that motion.  The LA Times reports that Judge Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial on the basis that he completed the 9th grade and had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings.  A legal expert however, stated that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment.

It is not known what type of mental illness or emotional disturbance Roof may or may not have because the hearings were closed to the public.

Roof’s attorneys offered to change Roof’s plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole.   Federal prosecutors turned down the offer.

Just before jury selection, Roof motioned the judge to release his attorneys.  He wanted to represent himself.  The judge granted Roof’s motion.  After jury selection, Roof asked the judge to rehire his attorneys, but he wants to represent himself during the penalty phase.   The judge granted his motion. Read the rest of this entry

Hung Jury in Michael Slager’s Trial

walter-scott

Walter Scott. RIP

Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man.  Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times.

Trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016.  We followed the trial on this blog with part 1; part 2; and part 3.

A by-stander’s video was released shortly after the deadly encounter that shows Slager unholstered his weapon and fire as Walter ran away.  Slager’s attorney then withdrew his representation and Slager was terminated from his job and charged with murder.

On Friday, the jury told judge Judge Newman that one juror was holding out for a not-guilty verdict.  Subsequently, the jury told Judge Newman that with further instructions on the law, they might be able to come to a unanimous decision.

After sending questions to the court this morning, and receiving answers to those questions, the jury sent a note saying they were deadlocked.

Judge Newman declared a mistrial.

Michael Slager also faces federal charges, including violation of Walter Scott’s civil rights.  That trial is scheduled for next year.

Source: CBS

 

Michael Slager Testifies In His Defense – Part 3

161129-slager-trial-1143_db93a13264a21b3e431c4e31283b7bf2-nbcnews-ux-600-480Michael Slager took the witness stand at his murder trial today.  Following him were defense witnesses who tried to explain how Slager has selective memory.

Before watching Slager’s testimony, and if you have not yet watched it, here is the video captured by a bystander.  It shows when Slager fired his gun at Walter Scott as Scott was running away.

 

Here is Slager’s testimony, giving his non-video version.

 

 

Read the rest of this entry

Michael Slager On Trial for Killing Walter Scott – Trial Continues Part 2

2015-04-08t23-05-56-033z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600The murder trial of ex-cop Michael Slager began on November 3rd, and you can find the videos of the trial at the following link up to Thursday, November 10th.  There was no trial on Veteran’s Day.

Post and Courier reports that the trial has been contentious.  Judge Clifton Newman has cautioned defense attorneys to not testify themselves, but the defense continues using that tactic.

During trial, you hear “SLED” allot.  That is the acronym for South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Here are some highlights of the trial;

  • The bystander who filmed the killing, Feidin Santana, has testified.  He stood strong against the defense trying to get him to agree that there was a “fight,” and Santana continued correcting the defense that he saw no fight.
  • Slager’s former colleagues have testified that he told them that Walter Scott managed to wrestle his taser away from him and pointed it at him, prompting him to fire his service weapon.
  • On Tuesday, Almon Brown, a state crime scene investigator, testified that he was concerned when he examined Scott’s body because what he saw didn’t match what he had been told about how Scott died.
  • Levi Miles, a private investigator for Michael Slager’s former defense lawyer, testified that Slager showed him during a re-enactment that Walter Scott was coming toward the officer before the gunfire. When he compared that with what he saw in a video of the shooting, Miles said, “That part of it seemed to be a lot different.”

Read the rest of this entry

Open Discussion

Caterpillars, butterflies, moths, a certain roach, and all creatures great and small,

Good morning! 

Respect_butterfly_largeHere’s a heartfelt welcome and thanks to all subscribers and visitors.  Your support and interest is greatly appreciated.  I do try to get around to visiting new subscribers who have blogs as soon as possible, but have fallen behind.  In the last month, we have picked up 50 new subscribers in which the majority are bloggers.  I’ll be around to visit as soon as I can.

I’m not on Twitter much, but when I am I tweet links to other blogs of posts that my Twitter followers might find interesting.   If you have a Twitter account, please consider following me on Twitter @XenaBb7.  I will follow back.

I was humbly blessed by blogger supabutterfly who honored me with a post of accomplishments.  He dug out things I did not know, such as having this blog cited in a footnote in a book published by the University of New Mexico Press.   Here’s a huge thanks to supabutterfly for his encouragement and support. Read the rest of this entry

Ray Tensing Trial Verdict – Hung Jury, Mistrial Declared

If you’re unfamiliar with the case, please see  coverage of the trial at this link.

The jury of 10 Whites and 2 Blacks deadlocked.  The decision came on the fourth day of deliberations.

Ohio Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan accepted the jury’s deadlock Saturday morning. The case is now back in the hands of prosecutors who must decide whether they will retry the case or dismiss it.  Ray Tensing remains free on a $1 million bond.

Cincinnati.com reports that after the judge lifted the gag order, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters revealed the jury voted eight to four in favor of a voluntary manslaughter conviction.  Three jurors were willing to find Tensing guilty of murder.

The deadlocked jury is not rare in cases involving police officer shootings of unarmed citizens.    The jury deadlocked in the trial of Charlotte, North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick for killing unarmed Jonathan Ferrell.   The jury  deadlocked in the trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter, in the death of Freddie Gray.  In New Mexico, two officers stood trial for the killing of James Boyd, a White homeless man.  The jury deadlocked.  Richmond police officer David L. Cobb was put on trial for killing of 18-year-old Paterson Brown Jr.  The jury deadlocked.

In the Ray Tensing trial, the defense said Dubose used his car as a weapon, and Tensing pulled his gun when he feared for his life as he was dragged.  Prosecutors maintained that Tensing was not dragged.  They presented bodycam footage and frame-by-frame photos showing that Tensing shot Dubose in the head before Dubose’s car moved.

Read the rest of this entry

Former Police Officer Michael Slager on Trial for Killing Walter Scott

2015-04-08t23-05-56-033z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600On April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Walter Scott was pulled over for a non-functioning brake-light.  At some point, Walter got out of his car and ran.  He was pursued by police officer Michael Slager.  The situation ended with Slager shooting 50-year old Walter 5 times in the back as Walter ran away from him.

A by-stander recorded the portion of the incident where Walter ran, Slager fired his gun, and then picked up a taser and placed it by Walter’s body.  Slager’s defense centered around the taser.  He alleged that Walter used the taser on him and was coming towards him, causing him to shoot Walter.  Slager’s original lawyer, David Aylor, withdrew as counsel within hours of the release of the video. Read the rest of this entry

Former Officer Ray Tensing on Trial For Killing Sam DuBose

samuel-dubose-large-169

Sam DuBose

On July 19 2015, Sam DuBose was shot and killed by now former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing.  Hamilton County prosecutors say that DuBose’s death was unwarranted and it was murder.  Sam did not have a weapon or appear to be reaching for a weapon.

Tensing’s defense is that DuBose dragged him with the car.

Prosecutors say that Tensing’s bodycam shows that he was not dragged.  A grand jury indicted Tensing on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Tensing was terminated from the police department.

The murder charge carries the possibility of life in prison. The voluntary manslaughter charge carries the possibility of 3 to 11 years in prison.

Tensing’s Background

Read the rest of this entry

Matthew Apperson, the Man Who Shot At George Zimmerman, On Trial

In May of 2015, Apperson shot at Zimmerman while the two were in separate vehicles on the road.  It was the third confrontation between Apperson and Zimmerman.

Prosecutors charged Apperson with attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle.  If convicted he would face a minimum-mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison under Florida’s 10-20-life statute.

Apperson is claiming self-defense, saying that Zimmerman threatened to kill him and pointed a gun at him.  Zimmerman denies that although he had two guns in his truck.   Apperson is represented by defense attorney Michael LaFay.

Trial is scheduled to run through Friday.

Courtchatter has the videos on their Youtube channel, but the sound is not the best.  I started the first below video with the unremorseful, unemployed, bumpy head, homeless man who killed Trayvon Martin coming into the courtroom.  It is interesting that Don West was in the courtroom.

 

The second video continues with Zimmerman’s testimony, where he testified of calling a detective a “bitch” and “blonde bimbo,” saying he did not know she is a detective because she was dressed in plain clothes.

Apperson’s attorney began cross examining Zimmerman, which you can watch in the following video.  Cross-examination continued Wednesday morning.  Subsequent videos of the trial will be posted in the comment section of this blog.

Read the rest of this entry

Baltimore Cop Wesley Cagle Found Guilty of Assault

On Dec. 28, 2014, Baltimore police officer Wesley Cagle and three other officers responded to a commercial burglary. Authorities say 47-year-old Michael Johansen ran from the building and officers ordered him to show his hands.

bal-man-shot-by-police-officer-doesn-t-want-him-in-prison-for-rest-of-his-life-20150820

Victim, Michael Johansen, shows surgical scars resulting from being shot by Baltimore police.

Officers said that Michael reached down as if going for a gun, and two officers shot him. Prosecutors say that Cagle then approached Michael who was lying on the floor and shot him once in the groin.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought charges against Cagle.  Michael Johansen survived and testified against Cagle at trial.

The Baltimore Sun reports;

“In a rare conviction in a use-of-force case against a police officer, jurors found Wesley Cagle, 46, guilty of first-degree assault and a handgun charge. Prosecutors said Cagle shot Michael Johansen in the groin as he lay in the doorway of an East Baltimore corner store after two other officers had shot the man.”

The jury’s foreman was interviewed and said that the video where Michael had his hands up saying he was unarmed, helped the jury reach its verdict of guilty.

“There was no need for him to take that final shot,” said jury foreman Jerome Harper.

Michael testified that he was a heroin addict who was looking for money on the night he was shot. Read the rest of this entry

Virginia Officer Stephen Rankin Found Guilty Of Manslaughter

william-chapman-cropped

William Chapman

It began on April 22, 2015 in a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Police received a call of a shoplifter.  Portsmouth police officer Stephen Rankin came to the scene and saw 18-year old William Chapman walking in the parking lot.  William was wearing a backpack.  Rankin stopped Chapman on suspicion of shoplifting.  William denied that he shoplifted anything.

The situation ended with Rankin shooting William twice, once in the chest, and once in the face.  The coroner found that William was handcuffed when he was shot.  No stolen property was found on William.  An autopsy report found that the shots were not fired at close range, which contradicted Rankin’s story that William was close to him, failed to comply with his demands, and lunged at him.  A video of Rankin’s taser was examined.

An investigation was held that was completed on August 21, 2015.   A grand jury indicted Rankin.  He was charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm to commit a felony. Read the rest of this entry

Baltimore Police Officer Goodson Acquitted of All Charges

The Baltimore Sun reports that Officer Ceasar Goodson Jr., who faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, has been acquitted of all charges.

Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr., 46, had faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in Gray’s arrest and death last April, including second-degree depraved heart murder. Goodson was also acquitted of three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Freddie Gray was 25 years old when he suffered a fatal spinal injury while in the back of the police van driven by Goodson.

Goodson opted for a bench trial before Circuit Judge Barry Williams. Judge Williams said the timeline of Gray’s injuries remains unclear, and the state “failed to meet its burden” to present enough evidence to back its assertions. “As the trier of fact, the court can’t simply let things speak for themselves,” stated Judge Williams. Read the rest of this entry

Third Trial In The Death of Freddie Gray

BPD Officer Caesar R Goodson Jr_1430527751576_17690905_ver1.0_640_480Trial starts on Thursday of this week for the Baltimore police officer who was driving the van transporting Freddie Gray.  This is the trial I was waiting for.  Officer Caesar Goodson faces the most serious charges of the 6 Baltimore officers who were charged in Freddie’s death.  He is also the only officer out of the 6 who did not give a statement to investigators.

Freddie was placed in the back of the van last April.  By the time the van arrived at a police station less than hour later, Freddie’s spine was nearly severed, and he died several days later.

Goodson is charged with; Read the rest of this entry

Robert Bates on Trial For Murdering Eric Harris

Bates and Harris

Bates and Harris

Trial started this week for Robert Bates, the ex-volunteer reserve sheriff deputy for the Tulsa County, Oklahoma’s Sheriff’s office.

On April 2, 2015, an undercover deputy was conducting a sting operation to catch 44-year old Eric Harris illegally selling a gun.  Bates, who is 73-years old, volunteered to help out.  Eric ran, and upon apprehension and taken to the ground, Bates pulled his gun and shot Eric in the back.

Bates’ defense is that he thought he was taking out and discharging his taser and not his .357.  Bates is charged with 2nd degree manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to 4 years in prison.

The killing of Eric Harris resulted in activists organizing.  The actions of We The People resulted in a grand jury investigation into the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office. The grand jury indicted Sheriff Glanz on 2 misdemeanor charges, including one for denying lawful requests of internal investigations into his office’s Reserve Deputy program.  After almost 30 years as Sheriff,  Stanley Glanz resigned.

Read the rest of this entry

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