Blogs

Florida officials push for answers at boys' school graveyard
Wed, 03/27/2013 - 21:36, - 0 Comments

March 27, 2013 Reuters

MARIANNA, Florida - Florida officials said on Wednesday they will seek federal money for a forensic investigation into unmarked graves on the grounds of a shuttered state reform school for boys that has been the target of numerous allegations of abuse and mysterious deaths of children.

Dozens of unmarked graves have been uncovered at the Dozier School in the Florida Panhandle city of Marianna and investigators are trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths, which experts say probably occurred between 1914 and 1952.

"We really don't know exactly how many, or who they are," said Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida with a scroll-like map of spots where her ground-piercing radar spotted signs of human remains.

The Dozier School was legend among adolescents for about 100 years in Florida, as the state's major reform school, until it was closed in 2011.

Several years ago, former students told horror stories of sexual abuse and frequent beatings in a mausoleum-like building dubbed the "White House" where nine barren cubicles held boys accused of rules infractions.

Some died under unknown circumstances, according to relatives.

British Appeals Court upholds death sentence of Stinie Morrison - 1911
Wed, 03/27/2013 - 09:39, - 0 Comments

morrison

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 27, 1911, the British Court of Appeals upholds the death penalty conviction of Stinie Morrison. Leon Beron was born in Poland but his family left to settle in London. In 1894 he bought nine ramshackle houses in Stepnsey in the East End. He rented them out for ten shillings a week and lived off the rental income. He was a man of habit each day he would have a meal at a local restaurant. He dressed smartly, a large gold watch and chain dangled from his waist coat.

Could Amanda Knox be Extradited to Italy?
Tue, 03/26/2013 - 15:20, - 0 Comments

March 26, 2013 ABC News

Today's ruling by Italy's Supreme Court ordering a new murder trial for Amanda Knox guarantees the legal drama will drag on for several more years and will be expensive.

It also raises the possibility that if Knox is found guilty and that verdict is upheld by Italy's Supreme Court, Knox could eventually face a request to extradite her and put her back in prison.

An extradition request would likely turn on whether being prosecuted again after being exonerated constitutes double jeopardy. Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 after a lengthy and controversial trial for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison while Sollecito got 25. That verdict was tossed out in 2011 by an appeals court that blasted the prosecution's handling of critical DNA evidence and the case in general.

Robert Stroud "The Birdman of Alcatraz" committs second murder - 1916
Tue, 03/26/2013 - 09:25, - 0 Comments

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Robert Stroud aka The Bird Man of Alcatraz

by Michael Thomas Barry

Robert Stroud better known as the Birdman of Alcatraz was in prison for the killing of F.K. Van Dahmer in Juneau, Alaska when he committed his second murder. On March 26, 1916 he stabbed to death prison guard Andrew Turner in front of 1,200 witnesses in the mess hall after Turner criticized Stroud for a minor rule infraction. Stroud was tried and sentenced to die on May 27th but, after three trials and four years, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, after his mother appealed to President Woodrow Wilson.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Scottsboro Case - 1932
Mon, 03/25/2013 - 08:20, - 0 Comments

Scottsboro

The Scottsboro 9 with attorney Samuel Liebowitz

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 25, 1932, The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in the case of Powell v. Alabama. The case arose out of the infamous Scottsboro case, where 9 young black men were arrested and accused of raping two white women on train in Alabama. The boys were fortunate to barely escape a lynch mob, but were railroaded into convictions and death sentences.

Jonesboro School Shooting - 1998
Sun, 03/24/2013 - 10:43, - 0 Comments

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Class photo of Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 24, 1998, Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shoot their classmates and teachers in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Golden, the younger of the two boys, asked to be excused from his class, pulled a fire alarm and then ran to join Johnson in a wooded area 100 yards away from the school's gym. As the students streamed out of the building, Johnson and Golden opened fire and killed four students and a teacher.

Cleared Murder Convict Suffers Heart Attack On Second Day Of Freedom
Sat, 03/23/2013 - 13:26, - 0 Comments

March 23, 2013 CBS News

NEW YORK  — The man who spent 23 years in prison before being cleared of the 1990 murder of a rabbi suffered a heart attack on his second day of freedom Friday.

An attorney for David Ranta told The New York Times that the former inmate had a serious heart attack Friday night and was being treated at a local hospital.

A judge vacated the conviction of the 58-year-old on Thursday afternoon after a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the cold-blooded shooting of the Brooklyn rabbi.

“I’m overwhelmed. I feel like I’m under water, swimming. Like I said from the beginning, I had nothing to do with this case,” Ranta said after leaving state court in Brooklyn.

When asked outside court what he would do next, Ranta told reporters, “Get the hell out of here.”

Ranta was found guilty of murdering Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, who was shot on Feb. 8, 1990 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The murder happened on Clymer Avenue as a suspect tried to rob a diamond courier, who escaped unharmed.

Brooklyn prosecutors had recently concluded that Ranta was innocent in the death of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, who was killed by a bandit fleeing a botched robbery.

Werzberger was getting into his car when the suspect then grabbed him, shot him in the forehead, jumped in Werzberger’s car and drove away.

Though no physical evidence linked Ranta to the crime, a jury convicted him based on witness testimony and circumstantial evidence. Ranta fit the wanted man’s description of being blond and athletic.

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