Blogs

Bradley Manning acquitted of aiding the enemy
Tue, 07/30/2013 - 11:08, - 0 Comments

July 30, 2013 Associated Press

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — More than three years after U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was arrested for giving classified secrets to WikiLeaks, a military judge acquitted the former intelligence analyst Tuesday of aiding the enemy but convicted him of espionage, theft and computer fraud charges.

The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, deliberated for about 16 hours over three days before reaching her decision in a case that drew worldwide attention as supporters hailed Manning as a whistleblower. The U.S. government called him an anarchist computer hacker and attention-seeking traitor.

Manning stood and faced the judge as she read the decision. She didn't explain her verdict, but said she would release detailed written findings. She didn't say when she would do that.

The charge of aiding the enemy was the most serious of 21 counts Manning faced and carried a potential life sentence. His sentencing hearing on the convictions begins Wednesday. He faces up to 128 years in prison.

Murder of seven year old girl inspires Megan's Law - 1994
Tue, 07/30/2013 - 08:45, - 0 Comments

kanka

The 1994 murder of Megan Kanka inspires sex offender reporting law

by Michael Thomas Barry

On July 30, 1994, Jesse Timmendequas is charged with the murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka in New Jersey. Kanka's death inspired Megan's Law, a statute enacted in 1994 requiring that information about convicted sex offenders be available to the public.

Estimate of French diamond heist raised to $136M
Mon, 07/29/2013 - 12:06, - 0 Comments

July 29., 2013 Associated Press

PARIS — Wearing a scarf to mask his face, the gunman held up at least three security guards and then fled the luxury Cannes hotel roughly a minute later with $136 million in diamond jewelry, more than twice the initial estimated worth of the loot.

The simple, speedy theft is the biggest jewelry heist in years. Police had previously said Sunday's theft at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel had netted €40 million ($53 million) worth of treasure — even at that level a major haul. Reached by The Associated Press, Philippe Vique, an assistant prosecutor in the Riviera town of Grasse, said the Dubai-based organizer of the diamond show had since raised the value based on a more complete inventory.

Vieques described a canny, but quick and logistically simple, break-in. The suspect somehow got in through the hotel's locked French doors, which open onto Cannes' famed Croisette promenade, then held up the participants of the show with a handgun and fled on foot. The hold-up itself took about a minute, all with three private security guards, two vendors and a manager of the sale-exhibit on hand, he said.

No customers were present at the time.

"He took a bag containing a briefcase and a small box, and then fled by another French door on the inside," Vique said. "He left on foot ... it was very fast."

FBI arrests 150 in three days in sex-trafficking sweep
Mon, 07/29/2013 - 11:47, - 0 Comments

July 29, 2013 Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI arrested 150 people across the United States on charges of holding children against their will for prostitution, a three-day weekend sweep that officials on Monday called the largest-ever operation against child sex-trafficking.

The suspects, whom the FBI referred to as "pimps," were arrested in 76 U.S. cities and are expected to face state and federal charges related to sex crimes and human trafficking, FBI and U.S. Justice Department officials said at a news conference.

FBI agents and local police recovered 105 children during the operation at truck stops, motels, casinos and other places where they were forced to work as prostitutes, officials said.

Ariel Castro agrees to plea deal to avoid death penalty
Mon, 07/29/2013 - 11:03, - 0 Comments
Under the plea deal, the house where the women were confined, seen above, will be demolished, according to Judge Michael J. Russo.

July 28, 2013 CNN

Ariel Castro agreed Friday in an Ohio courtroom to a plea deal in one of the most sensational kidnapping cases in recent memory. The deal, reached with prosecutors, would let him avoid the possibility of a death sentence and spare his victims from having to testify at a trial.

The plea deal recommends that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole -- that he never get a parole hearing. It would also mean that a trial Castro was facing on August 5 would not happen and he would not face the possibility of being sentenced to death. Judge Michael J. Russo went over the deal with Castro, and told him that he would be labeled as a sexual predator.

Castro replied that he understood. At one point, he interjected that he was "also a victim as a child" to which Russo responded that he could make whatever statement he wanted during the sentencing hearing. Russo also said that victims would be notified of the hearing and also would then have a chance to say what they liked.

Russo went through charges Castro faces relating to the allegations he held three women captive for a decade and asked him how he pleaded.

Under the plea deal, the house where the women were confined, seen above, will be demolished, according to Judge Michael J. Russo.

Over and over, Castro replied: "Guilty."

Fla. apartment gunman described as lonely, angry
Mon, 07/29/2013 - 10:54, - 0 Comments

July 29, 2013 Associated Press

HIALEAH, Fla.  — The gunman who went on a shooting rampage at his South Florida apartment building, killing six people, was a lonely man who spoke about having pent up anger, those who knew him said Sunday.

Pedro Vargas, 42, lived on the fourth floor of a barren, concrete apartment complex in the Miami suburb of Hialeah with his elderly mother. He rarely spoke with others there, and confided to a man who worked out at the same gym that he liked to work out his anger by lifting weights and trying to get big.

"He'd just say this was the only thing that would keep him normal, pulling out all the anger in the gym," Jorge Bagos told The Associated Press.

Bagos said the gunman expressed frustration over bad experiences with women and losing all his hair from using steroids.

Son of Sam serial killer claims first victims - 1976
Mon, 07/29/2013 - 08:30, - 0 Comments

Son of Sam

David Berkowitz aka The Son of Sam serial killer

by Michael Thomas Barry

On July 29, 1976, Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti of the Bronx are shot while they are sitting in a car, talking. Lauria died and Valenti was seriously wounded in the first in a series of shootings by the serial killer known as “Son of Sam” who terrorized New York City over the course of the next year.

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