Thursday, August 21, 2008

CA - Standoff Over In Central Fresno; Suspect Found Dead

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Video available at the site, and below.


A nine-hour standoff in Central Fresno is finally over; the suspect found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The stand-off began around 3 a.m. Thursday at an apartment four-plex along the 3700 Block of Clay Avenue, where police believed a Sacramento murder suspect was located.

According to police, 28-year-old Ma Phompong, had been involved in a home invasion Wednesday night in Sacramento. Officers say he killed a 61-year-old woman, and severely beat her 59-year-old husband. Phompong is said to have stolen several firearms from the residence, along with a Toyota Tundra truck before fleeing. Police say the Phompong was an acquaintance of the couple.

Sacramento Police alerted Fresno Police that Phompong could be headed towards the Fresno area. Around 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, Fresno Police spotted the stolen truck near the intersection of Olive and Tyler.

By 3 a.m. police had surrounded the four-plex on Clay, where they believed Phompong was hiding. The apartment complex, along with nearby homes were evacuated.

Three of the evacuees had been inside the apartment with Phompong. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer has confirmed that one of them was Phompong's cousin. Dyer says Phompong may have chosen to flee to Fresno due to the family connection.

Fresno Police crisis negotiators, along with SWAT officers, and the Sacramento Police spent several hours attempting to make contact with Phompong. They deployed two flash bangs, and tried calling the apartment's phone line. No communication was ever made though, and officers decided to send in a robot.

The robot, equipped with a camera, detonated tear gas three times. The robot then made its way into the bedroom where it located what looked to be Phompong's feet. Officers then entered the apartment where they found Phompong dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police believe Phompong killed himself with one of the firearms stolen in the Sacramento home invasion.

"Although we were not able to take the suspect into custody alive, he made the decision to take his own life," Dyer said in an afternoon news conference.

Dyer acknowledged that while there has been no formal identification of Phompong, including fingerprints, "We have every reason to believe that this is the individual that killed himself," Dyer said. According to Dyer, Phompong had other distinguishing characteristics.

The stand-off required the closure of several streets in the area, including Olive to Tyler and Millbrook to Cedar. Police say that no schools in the area were impacted by the situation, and no residents were put at-risk. "We did everything we could in terms of exercising precautions to make sure this operation was done extremely safely," Dyer said.

This was not Phompong's first run-in with the law. Back in 1998 he was involved in another home invasion in the Modesto area, in which the homeowner was stabbed to death. Phompong pleaded to a lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon, and was currently out on parole. Phompong was also a registered sex offender.

OH - Sex Offender's New Home Prompts Meeting

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Concern over a sex offender prompts the New Richmond police department to hold a town hall meeting.

65-year-old James Ritchie was convicted before laws that keep offenders from living near schools and daycare centers took effect. Neighbors and business owners in New Richmond have been complaining since Ritchie recently moved to Front Street, right next to a daycare center. Legally, he can live there.

Local 12's Rich Jaffe says it really comes down to the fact that sex offenders have rights too.

Sexual predator James Wayne Fitchie served nearly 12 years in prison on charges that he raped a little girl. He told me today, she was 11.

"All I'm doing, I stay in my apartment or ride that bike or I'm in this car or sitting on the river bank on a picnic table... So I don't know what else I can do other than just pack up and move...and you only got so many places you can go to begin with."

Released in 2001, Ritchie recently moved into a tiny apartment in New Richmond... problem is, it's almost next door, to a day care.

"It is crazy it's like putting the kid in the candy store and telling him don't touch."

"We just keep a closer eye, we've always kept a close eye we're just keeping more of an eye out now."

In order to leave his apartment or get into his car James Ritchie has to walk right past the daycare centers playground and while he is living literally right next door to the daycare center, according to the law there's really nothing that can be done about it.

Police say new Ohio law restricting sex offenders from living near schools or child oriented businesses passed in January...but at tonight's meeting concerned residents will hear Ritchie's crime and punishment all occurred before that, so this grandfatherly sex offender, is grandfathered into the law.

"We've got six sex offenders that live in the village. We know where each one of them lives, we know what kind of cars they drive, where their house is... We keep an eye on them but we also realize they've paid their debt to society and that they have rights too and we take that into consideration but there is definitely extra patrols extra vigilance and an extra level of attention we're paying to these guys."

Ritchie says he's not a threat.

When a child does something wrong you spank them and say don't do that, well that place up there spanked me and there's not enough money in the world to make me want to go back."

The town hall meeting takes place tonight at the New Richmond Police Department. It is at 7-o'clock at the Village Hall on Willow Street.

CO - MySpace lecture generates outrage

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This police officer humiliated several girls in front of everyone.  What is he going to do if one or more commit suicide because of the shame and humiliation he caused them to suffer?  IDIOT!!!!  Yes, safety should be taught, but not like this idiot did it.


Students, parents: MySpace photos, graphic language crossed line

WINDSOR - Students and parents at Windsor High School are outraged after a Wyoming police officer doing a presentation on Internet safety scrutinized individual students' MySpace pages, calling the students' pictures "slutty" and saying their sites invited sexual predators.

The officer, John F. Gay III of the Cheyenne Police Department, picked out six or seven Windsor High School students' MySpace pages and began to criticize photos, comments and other content until one student left the room crying.

"He told the entire student body that he had shared her info with a sexual predator in prison," said Ty Nordic, whose daughter Shaylah Nordic's MySpace page was put on display.

Shaylah Nordic said Gay told the student body that the predator said he would masturbate to her picture and then "tear her apart."

"He told a story about a girl in another state who was tracked through MySpace who was raped and shot and then said Shayla's page is inviting people to do the exact same things to her," Ty Nordic said.

Shaylah Nordic left the room as Gay mocked some of her pictures. Gay pulled up her phone number and called her on stage to demonstrate how easy it was to get ahold of contact information via the Internet.

"The whole school saw my phone number so I am getting texts from people I don't know," Shaylah Nordic said.

While some students protested Gay's commentary, faculty and staff did nothing, witnesses said.

Gay could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Windsor High School Principal Rick Porter said Wednesday that he was aware of what the speaker was going to talk about and that he would likely use a couple MySpace pages of Windsor High School students as an example.

Porter said he had no idea that Gay was going to make his presentation in the manner he did or use the language he is accused of using. Porter was only at the two assemblies briefly, students said.

"I was very disappointed," Porter said. "I never heard him say things like that before."

Porter, however, does believe in the message that Gay was trying to present.

"I am apologizing to everyone who was embarrassed and humiliated," Porter said. "But I do not apologize for the message of Internet safety. It's a very good message."

Windsor School District Superintendent Karen Trusler said the incident is under review.

"I have not seen the visual presentation yet," she said. "All I can say at this point is that it's under review. ... The procedures, the goals and purpose, the management. We need to make sure we have a full understanding of the presentation."

Nordic said she is being ridiculed at school because of the presentation, and it may be weeks before other students let it go.

"Basically what he portrayed me as is a slutty girl with all these pictures, and that's not who I am at all," she said.

Students and parents, outraged by the tone of the assembly and the bluntness of the speaker, began calling Windsor School District officials early Wednesday asking for explanations.

"I'm still livid," said Mike Riggs, whose daughter, April Riggs, is a senior at Windsor High. "What happened was absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure there was a way, way better way to do this than that."

Others said their trust in the school system was shaken.

"You trust teachers and administration every day that what they are presenting to your kids are good," said Amy Nordic, Shaylah's mother. "I never in my wildest dreams thought she was being scrutinized or harassed by her own school."

April Riggs said her MySpace page was also put on display and mocked, although she was not at the assembly.

"Me and my best friend are in a lot of those pictures. We have our arms around each other, and he was saying that I was touching her," Riggs said. "That just sucks because I don't want people to get the wrong impression of me."

Other students are still in shock after seeing what happened to their fellow students.

"I was like, wow, I can't believe that they are actually putting that up,'" said junior Mindy Mallams. "It's ruining their high school years. That's not something that people will just forget about."

NJ - Sexual assault conviction is tossed

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This "woman" needs to see first hand, what it's like to live most of your life behind prison over a false allegation, and see what she has done to this man.  She should be in prison for a long time, as well as the prosecutors who are always hell bent on getting a conviction at any cost.


After nearly 20 years as a sex offender, William Gil no longer is one.

A judge last month threw out the Roxbury man's conviction for sexually assaulting a teenager after the woman, now 38, testified she lied at his 1988 trial under pressure from the prosecution. Gil, 57, then pleaded guilty to child abuse, admitting he had touched her breasts.

Gil hopes shedding his sex offender status will help win his battle against deportation to Colombia, his attorney, Jerard Gonzalez said. Gil came to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement a few years ago while renewing his green card, Gonzalez said. The judgment of conviction wrongly indicated that Gonzalez had been convicted of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13.

"This was a case where a guy's life was turned upside down many years later," said Michael Koribanics, Gil's co-counsel in the Morris County case.

The woman first recanted at Gil's deportation hearing in November 2005. In 1988, she claimed Gil had digitally penetrated her in 1986, but 17 years later, she said she lied because she thought the prosecution wanted her to.

"They basically were trying to get information out of me that just wasn't there. So I felt like I had to make things up to make them happy," she said, according to a transcript of Gil's deportation hearing.

But the Morris County Prosecutor's Office challenged that assertion, saying in court papers her recantation "was suspect and untrustworthy." The prosecution pointed out she had written a letter to Gil's wife describing what Gil had done to her before police knew of the allegations.

At the deportation hearing, the woman said Gil had apologized to her and she forgave him, and that she didn't want him deported because it would hurt his family. The married father of three is a self-employed trucker who has been a permanent resident of the U.S. since 1982, according to Gonzalez and court records. He also goes by the name Gil Londano.

An immigration judge agreed to let Gil remain in the U.S., but that ruling was overturned last summer by the Board of Immigration Appeal and he was jailed, court records showed. The case is under appeal in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Gonzalez said.

Gil was released last Thursday from the Hudson County Correctional Facility, the day before he came to Morristown to be sentenced to time served on the child abuse charge.

"This is a 1988 case in which the victim recanted her trial testimony. In the interest of justice, we accepted the guilty plea of the defendant for a Title 9 offense of child abuse," Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi said.

A judge in 1989 sentenced Gil to four years in state prison, but he was allowed to remain free while he appealed the verdict. The conviction was upheld, though the appellate judges were critical of the prosecution. A judge in 1991 altered his sentence to five years of probation, in part because the woman had asked that he not be jailed.

Margaret McHugh can be reached at or (973) 539-7119.

AZ - Another Pinal County jail inmate kills himself

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A 45-year-old man committed suicide inside the Pinal County Adult Detention Center early Wednesday, marking the third time an inmate killed himself in just over a month.

Jail staff found Ricky Mann, who was physically handicapped, dead just after midnight. He strangled himself by tying a sheet to his medical walker, sheriff's officials said.

Suicides at Pinal County jail raise concerns

Mann's death comes the day after a Tribune report that cited concerns from experts about recent suicides at the jail. They questioned the jail's supervision, medical care and management.

The other suicides occurred July 8 and 16.

In a statement, the sheriff's office said it is putting the entire jail staff through a refresher course in suicide prevention.

The training will be conducted next week by Pinal County Correctional Health's mental health staff.

Before Mann's death, Pinal County jail's suicide rate was more than double national averages for county jails, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Since 2005, there have been a total of five suicides and five suicide-related injuries. The sheriff's office is also facing a lawsuit for one of the deaths, which occurred last year.

Chief Deputy Terry Altman runs the Pinal County jail, and the recent deaths aren't the first time he's seen a surge of inmate suicides in a short period.

In 2004, Altman was demoted from his position as top commander for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office in Florida after five inmates committed suicide in three months.

Altman has refused interview requests about the suicides and the jail.

Lawyer David Don has filed suit against the jail in the April 2007 death of inmate George Horner, who was found hanging by a sheet from a vent in his cell.

Don wrote in a court document that jail staff knew Horner was suffering from suicidal thoughts and didn't do anything to prevent his death. Horner's family sought a $600,000 settlement. But that offer was rejected, and the case will now go before a jury.

Mann was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, sheriff's spokeswoman Vanessa White said. He was booked into jail March 22 and was awaiting trial on several child sex charges.

KS - Defense Attorney Nancy Yamini - Discussing an Outrageous Sex Offender Penalty

Related Story

WI - Eric Chase - Criminal Defense Lawyer

Visit their YouTube Page (UnitedDefenseGroup)

Talking about a Wisconsin sex offender who was returned to jail because he could not find a place to live after his release.

NC - Sex offender in county park arrested

SC - Council to rework sex offender ordinance

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Aiken County Council has started from scratch with its proposed sex offender ordinance following the advice of the County attorney.

The body tossed the ordinance version it had been working on since June of last year and decided to start anew Tuesday when attorney Jim Holly advised it would be best to follow the new state law signed by Gov. Mark Sanford (Contact) in June. The law only places residence restrictions on registered sex offenders who have been convicted of certain offenses with minors. It does not include certain detailed provisions the County's old, proposed ordinance did.

According to the law, it is unlawful for certain offenders to live within 1,000 feet of children's recreational facilities, day care centers and schools. The law applies only to offenders who have been convicted of first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct with a minor or kidnapping a person under 18 years of age.

The question arose at the committee's last meeting whether or not a county government's ordinance could be more stringent than the state's.

Holly's answer Tuesday was no.

"Local law can't be more lenient or stringent," he said. "I think it wise not to regulate residence."

Where the state law differs from what the County had were provisions restricting where registered offenders could loiter and work. With the County's old ordinance, offenders would have been banned from loitering within 1,000 feet of areas where minors congregate and could not have been employed by any child care facility, school, church, playground or park.

But, Holly has been asked to look into the matter further to see if there is any wiggle room.

"We do feel like there is room to regulate offenders who haven't committed offenses against minors," said Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie, who is also chairwoman of the Judicial and Public Safety Committee. "Minors are one group, but sometimes that's not who sex offenders are going after."

Also on Holly's advice, County Council as a whole passed on first reading the state sex offender law as an ordinance.

"What I did was try to give you the strongest ordinance I could to stand up to challenges," Holly said.

IL - Sex offender plan faces opposition

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Yet more violations of the US and state constitutions.  This is a direct violation of ex post facto and due process of law.


Proposal would require all offenders to register, regardless of how long ago crime committed

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield-area lawmakers want to require all child sex offenders to register with the state, regardless of how long ago the crime was committed.

However, a bill to do that got hung up in a House committee in 2007, and a local sex-crimes prosecutor questioned if the change proposed is a big step forward.

Republican Rep. Raymond Poe and Sen. Larry Bomke said that under current state law, some offenders convicted of sex crimes years ago do not have to place their names on the state's Sex Offender Registry.

The two lawmakers said they got interested in the issue because of an incident involving Stacy Loyd, an employee of Sangamon County Clerk Tony Libri, who organized a Statehouse news conference Wednesday that was packed with parents and their children.

Loyd said she's left her children for years in the care of two adults her children refer to as "grandma and grandpa." The couple, though not licensed by the state, watch five to six children at a time, Loyd said.

Department of Children and Family Services spokesman Kendall Marlowe said individuals who care for more than three children younger than 12 are supposed to be licensed by the state, a process that includes a criminal background check.

"They've owned and operated this home day care as long as I've know them," Loyd said. "My children are now 6 and 11 and have pretty much gone there from birth."

Loyd said she recently heard rumors that "grandpa" might have a criminal record. She checked the state's Sex Offender Registry twice, but his name did not appear. She then checked old Sangamon County court records and found he was convicted in 1982 of sexually assaulting several children in his home.

"I couldn't believe it. How can this man have this kind of conviction for assaulting children and is not listed on the Illinois sex offender Web site?" Loyd said.

The identity of "grandpa" was not disclosed.

"We did that on purpose, because we didn't want somebody to think this was a witch hunt," Libri said.

Generally, sex offenders in Illinois who completed their punishment before 1986 do not have to register. The legislation pushed by Poe and Bomke would change that.

It may not be an easy task.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, sponsored a bill in 2007 to do the same thing. It got hung up in the House Judiciary Criminal Law committee. Reboletti could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Poe has now taken over sponsorship of the legislation, House Bill 455.

Committee chairman Rep. Robert Molaro, D-Chicago, said all sex offender legislation proposed last year was put into a subcommittee to come up with one comprehensive bill.

"We were doing everything piecemeal," Molaro said. "We will have a subcommittee work over the next six to eight months to get a comprehensive sex offender bill, and not every month have a knee-jerk bill."

Sangamon County assistant state's attorney Sheryl Essenburg, who prosecutes sex crimes, said she has no personal opposition to the bill, but warned parents against a false sense of security.

"For people to think that because someone is not on the list, they are guaranteed safe, is not accurate," Essenburg said. "They just have not been convicted of a crime that would require them to register."

Later Wednesday, Essenburg issued a written statement that "to the best of my knowledge no police report has been made or investigation done on this specific individual and it has not been referred by anyone to our office for prosecution."

Loyd said she has removed her children from the home and notified other parents who had children with "grandma and grandpa." Neither her children nor others have shown any signs of abuse, she said. She has not gone to local authorities.

"This is the way we knew to reach out and just get people's attention," Loyd said.