Friday, December 31, 2010

TX - Accused Child Killer: 'I'm Not A Monster'

Original Article

Once again, she's found guilty and convicted even before her court date. People are so quick to judge others, but wait until you are charged with some crime, then remember back to how quickly you condemned people! She may be guilty, but why not wait until after the jury finds her guilty or not? Stories like this pollute the jury, of course they are going to find her guilty, everyone has already been inundated with stuff like this, so their minds are already set. So much for Innocent until proven guilty, now it's the exact opposite.

12/31/2010

By JESSICA HOPPER and EMILY FRIEDMAN

[name withheld] Is Accused of The Burning Death of Missing Fifth Grader Jonathan Foster

[name withheld], the woman charged with killing 12-year-old Jonathan Foster and burning his body, defended herself against gruesome allegations by arguing that she is a grandmother who loves kids.

"I'm not a monster," she told ABC affiliate KTRK.

"I have five grand kids and I love kids," [name withheld] said.

[name withheld], the mother of 26-year-old twins, has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond in Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas. Jonathan's body was identified after he vanished on Christmas Eve. His body was so badly burned that he had to be identified using his dental records.

Investigators are not impressed with [name withheld]'s plea that she is not a monster.

"She is a cold, soulless murderer who showed an absolute lack of remorse in taking the life of Jonathan Foster," Houston Police Offer Mike Miller said told a press conference Thursday. "There's only been one or two people I've ever talked to that had eyes like she did; it was pretty cold."
- Mr. Miller, how do you know she is a cold blooded murderer?  Has she been convicted by a jury yet?  It's people like you, who do injustice to those accused.

Miller also believes that Jonathan may not be [name withheld]'s first victim.

"Do I believe she's done it before? Yeah, I do. I don't believe she began and ended with the abduction of Jonathan Foster, I don't," Miller said.
- Again, what proof do you have for your assumptions?

Houston Police Department spokesman Kese Smith said, "We believe she acted alone."

From jail, [name withheld], 44, defended herself, saying that she was approached by Jonathan's family on Christmas Eve.

[name withheld] claims that she knew Jonathan's family and that they stopped by her home and asked her to dump a plastic container in exchange for $20. She said that she was drunk on vodka and never looked to see what was inside the container when she dropped it into a ditch in northeast Houston.

"I didn't know what was in it until they were showing me pictures in the interrogation room," [name withheld] told KTRK.


Obama is okay with forgiving the rich and famous, like Michael Vick, but not the other less fortunate?

See Also


CA - Sex offender registration law constitutional, 9th Circuit says

Original Article
Related Article

12/31/2010

By Denny Walsh

Reversing a Sacramento federal judge, an appellate court has ruled that the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause empowers Congress to compel and regulate interstate sex-offender registration.

In April 2008 [name withheld] was charged in an indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Sacramento with violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA. [name withheld] had traveled from California to Missouri after he was released from prison and failed to register as a sex offender in either state.

In February 2009, U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton threw out the indictment, holding that federal statutes under which [name withheld] was charged comprised an invalid exercise of congressional authority to regulate interstate commerce. Karlton reasoned that the registration and penalty provisions of SORNA did not fall under any of the three categories of activity over which Congress may invoke its commerce power, as set forth in two U.S. Supreme Court opinions.

But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Karlton on Monday, saying it was bound by the September decision of a different 9th Circuit panel that found SORNA to be an appropriate use of Congress' commerce power.

SORNA's requirements "are reasonably aimed at regulating persons or things in interstate commerce and the use of the channels of interstate commerce," the judges said in the September opinion.

"That holding controls here," the [name withheld] panel declared.

The latter panel, however, dismissed the charges against [name withheld] on an issue not addressed by Karlton. It ruled that SORNA, enacted in 2006, was not made retroactive until Aug. 1, 2008, 30 days after publication of the U.S. attorney general's guidelines on the legislation and his responses to public comments. Thus, the act was not in effect the previous January, when [name withheld] allegedly committed his registration crimes, nor was it in effect when he was indicted in April of that year, the panel concluded.

The opinion was authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt of Los Angeles and joined by Judges Mary Schroeder of Phoenix and Michael Daly Hawkins, also of Phoenix.


Amber Alerts 2010 – Who Are The Real Predators

Original Article

12/31/2010

By Lydia

As we near the end of year 2010 and slide into the new year 2011, I feel compelled to take a look back. As most people know the majority of all Amber Alerts are noncustodial parents trying to take their children back. Parental abductions usually end without incident, but not always. Non-parental abductions are more likely to end badly.

This year and in particular the last few months, have shown that the child predators will likely not be on a sex offender registry. Although it may be deemed an unpopular fact, less than 95% of those registered sex offenders will never re-offend.
- As S.O. pointed out in the comments, this is a double negative, and actually it should say, "less than 5% of those on the registry will re-offend."

My personal opinion on the subject of this law is it does not serve the purpose it was originally designed for, registering violent and repeat offenders. It’s instead filled with people that have non-sex related crimes, thousands of children from age 7 to 17, and one time offenders that will likely not re-offend. It has become a way for individual states to get federal money for each name they add.

It is costly, bloated and for the most part useless. Many law enforcement agencies have said it wastes their time and resources. Even it’s advocates like John Walsh said “Let’s get rid of the sex offender registry of 680,000 names and focus on the 10,000 violent offenders.” There are close to a million people on that registry now. Facts are facts. Out of the hundreds if not 1000s of alerts served through our service in 2010 not even 1% were registered.
- I don't recall ever hearing John Walsh state this.  If someone knows of an article he did state this, let us know.

So if it isn’t those loathsome registered sex offenders we all hate who are the predators? This indeed is the question. To find out we’ll review some higher profile alert cases from 2010. The results should come as no surprise. Let’s start with the recent case of Zahra Baker.

If you have followed the Zahra Baker case you know she had survived bouts of cancer. She lost one leg and was partially blind because of the cancer. Her body was found dismembered. Who were the predators? In this case evidence points to the parents, in particular the step mother. I can’t fathom what could motivate anyone to murder and mutilate a child, especially not a caregiver, yet that appears to be the case here.
Predator: Parents/Caregiver

Another recent case also involved a mothers boyfriend. Brittany Smith was abducted after her mother had been murdered. Evidence in the murder point to the mothers boyfriend. Fortunately the child was retrieved safely.
Predator: Boyfriend

In a case that is still pending an outcome the three Skelton boys remain missing for well over a month. The suspect is the biological father. He says he gave the boys to a woman but won’t disclose who she may be. Authorities do not expect a positive outcome to the case.
Predator: Parent

One of the most recent alerts and still under investigation, Jonathan Foster. Evidence points to a family acquaintance. The 12 year old child was abducted on Christmas Eve. A few days later a child’s body was found burned so badly it was unrecognizable. It was identified as Jonathan Foster. The acquaintance indicated she dumped the body after a surveillance video surfaced.
Predator: Family acquaintance


TX - Blue Ridge man shot by police had registered sex offender status

Original Article

12/30/2010

By Danny Gallagher

The man who died in a shootout with sheriff's deputies on Tuesday had a residency status as a registered sex offender.

Collin County Sheriff's Office officials confirmed the identity of 34-year-old [name withheld] as the man who was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies following a nine-hour standoff at his home north of Blue Ridge.

Collin County dispatchers received a call from the home at 12:36 a.m. Tuesday from someone who identified herself as [name withheld]'s "ex." She told dispatchers the subject was threatening to have a shoot out with sheriff's deputies and "to watch the news because he is going to watching her from heaven and to give his love to the kids."

Deputies responded to the home and reported several shots fired from an assault rifle, which they later identified as an AK-47 with approximately 150 rounds of ammunition. They were unable to locate the suspect and asked for additional support for a tactical team and a police negotiator, according to Collin County dispatch reports.

[name withheld] asked to speak a captain with the sheriff's office and ask to call his ex-wife and let him know that deputies had arrived at the house. He also told the negotiator "he has cameras around his house and will shoot deputies if they get out of their car."

Deputies also learned a 3-year-old and 11-year-old were in the home "scared and hiding under the bed," according to dispatch reports.

Negotiations continued between [name withheld] and sheriff's deputies during which he held himself hostage and threatened to open fire on the responding officers. Deputies eventually made contact with the suspect's mother who said he had psychological problems and that "he is in fear of his life because of being (a) registered sex offender."

The county's "Offender Watch" database confirmed [name withheld]'s status. [name withheld] was convicted in 1995 of a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child. The address of the shootout is listed as his official residence in the database. His case file could not be obtained from the Collin County Courthouse because of a software upgrade.

Sheriff's deputies also learned that his ex-wife worked as a dispatcher in Hunt County for the local sheriff's office. name withheld] tried to contact the Hunt County sheriff several times but never spoke with him directly.

"Apparently this is all over his ex-wife that is a Hunt County dispatcher," the dispatch report read.

[name withheld] gave deputies an indication that he would surrender himself to authorities at 9:22 a.m., but an exchange of gunfire between [name withheld] and deputies ended with a call to the Medical Examiner's Office. A representative declared [name withheld] dead at the scene. None of the deputies involved in the incident were injured as a result of the exchange of gunfire.

Lt. John Norton of the Collin County Sheriff's Office said the Texas Rangers are still investigating the incident.

Attempts were made to reach the suspect's family members, but they could not be located by presstime.