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California Prison Population: Jerry Brown Challenges Inmate Cap
Jan 8, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan 8, 2013 Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Reducing California's inmate population further to meet a federal order would endanger public safety and require the state to ignore its own sentencing laws, Gov. Jerry Brown warned Tuesday as he challenged judges to reject those options.

After years of changes, the Democratic governor said California would have to grant shorter sentences to inmates convicted of violent or serious felonies to meet the court's mandate.

He also called for restoring the state's authority over its prison system, vowing to take that battle to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The prison population cap was imposed in 2009 after federal judges blamed crowding for dismal conditions that violated inmates' constitutional rights and resulted in the death of an average of one inmate a week due to neglect or poor care.

The judges gave the state until June to reduce the population of California's 33 adult prisons by about 33,000 inmates, to a total of 110,000 inmates.

Mark Woodworth's Murder Conviction Overturned
Jan 8, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 8, 2013 Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the murder conviction of a man who had been sentenced to life in prison for the 1990 slaying of a neighboring farmer, ruling that prosecutors withheld evidence that may have benefited his defense.

The state's high court ordered Mark Woodworth released within 60 days of when its ruling is finalized, unless prosecutors decide to retry him. Woodworth was convicted of fatally shooting Catherine Robertson and wounding her husband, Lyndel Robertson, as they slept in their home near Chillicothe, about 90 miles north of Kansas City.

Woodworth, whose father farmed with the Robertsons, was 16 at the time of their deaths. He was convicted first in 1995 and, after briefly being released on appeal, was convicted by a second jury four years later.

Prosecutors rest case against California boy who killed neo-Nazi dad
Jan 8, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 8, 2012 Reuters

RIVERSIDE, California  - Prosecutors rested their case on Monday against a 12-year-old California boy charged with killing his neo-Nazi father, and a defense lawyer said the boy may testify on his own behalf as the trial neared a conclusion.

Defense attorney Matthew Hardy said he would confer with his client, Joseph Hall, before deciding whether to call him as the final witness in the juvenile case, which resumed in Riverside County Superior Court following a two-month break.

The defense concedes that Hall, then 10 years old, shot his father at point blank range in May 2011 but argued that he should not be held criminally responsible. The gun belonged to his father, Jeffrey Hall, 32.

If the boy does not testify, both sides could present closing arguments on Wednesday in a case that has drawn attention because of the father's neo-Nazi associations and the rarity of a parent being slain by a child so young.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is critically injured and six are killed in Arizona shooting rampage
Jan 8, 2013, - 0 Comments

Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords

by Michael Thomas Barry

On January 8, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is critically injured when a man goes on a shooting spree during a constituents meeting held outside a Tucson-area supermarket. Six people died in the attack and another 13, including Giffords, were wounded.

Chicago lottery winner's death ruled a homicide
Jan 7, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan 7, 2012 Associated Press

CHICAGO — With no signs of trauma and nothing to raise suspicions, the sudden death of a Chicago man a day after he collected a large pile of lottery winnings was initially ruled a result of natural causes.

Nearly six months later, authorities have a mystery on their hands after medical examiners, responding to a relative's pleas, did an expanded screening and determined that Urooj Khan, 46, died shortly after ingesting a lethal dose of cyanide. The finding has triggered a homicide investigation, the Chicago Police Department said.

"It's pretty unusual," said Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina, commenting on the rarity of cyanide poisonings. "I've had one, maybe two cases out of 4,500 autopsies I've done."

"Dating Game" killer sentenced for 1970s murders
Jan 7, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 7, 2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Convicted California serial killer Rodney Alcala, a contestant on "The Dating Game" television show more than 30 years ago, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday for murdering two New York women in the 1970s.

Alcala, 69, already on death row in California for killing four women and a 12-year-old girl in that state, was extradited to New York in June to face charges in the slayings of flight attendant Cornelia Crilley, 23, and Ellen Hover, 23, the daughter of a nightclub owner.

Known as "The Dating Game" killer because of his appearance on the show, Alcala pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional murder on December 14.

Judge Bonnie Wittner choked back tears as she sentenced Alcala to a concurrent 25 years to life in prison and described his crimes as "an inexplicably brutal, horrible act" and the most gruesome case she had dealt with in her three decades on the bench.

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