Reverend Creflo Dollar: Megaproblems at the Megachurch

     In 1986, prosperity minister Creflo Dollar started World Changers International Church in suburban Atlanta’s College Park, Georgia. Housed in the World Dome, a golden-domed structure that houses a 8,500-seat sanctuary, the megachurc…

     In 1986, prosperity minister Creflo Dollar started World Changers International Church in suburban Atlanta's College Park, Georgia. Housed in the World Dome, a golden-domed structure that houses a 8,500-seat sanctuary, the megachurch boasts a membership of 30,000. Through his Creflo Dollar Ministries, the silver-tongued pastor had become a wealthy man with his real estate holdings, a stable of breeding horses, and thirty books to his name. Reverent Dollar charged up to $100,000 for one of his rousing, motivational talks.

     In 2007, United States Senator Charles Grassley launched a congressional investigation of Creflo Dollar and five other wealthy televangelists to determine if these preachers were using church-owned airplanes, luxury homes, and credit cards for personal use. While no tax evasion charges were filed in connection with the inquiry, senators decried the lack of governmental oversight of these religious goldmines.

     Pastor Dollar's problems became more personal, and hit closer to home on June 8, 2012. His 15-year-old daughter called 911, and reported that the reverend had assaulted her. Deputies with the Fayette County Sheriff's Office who responded to the mansion spoke to the daughter and her 19-year-old sister who said she had witnessed the incident.

     According to the older Dollar sibling, her father and the alleged victim had been arguing over whether the girl should go to a party. The witness told deputies that Pastor Dollar grabbed his daughter by the shoulders, slapped her in the face, choked her for five seconds, then threw her to the floor. The officers noticed fresh scratch marks on the complainant's neck. The police handcuffed Reverend Dollar and hauled him off to the Fayette County Jail. ( On January 25, 2013, after Pastor Dollar completed an anger management program, the Fayette County prosecutor dropped the assault charges.)

     Just before ten in the morning of October 24, 2012, 51-year-old Floyd Palmer, a former janitor at the  World Changers International Church, walked into a chapel where 25 members of the congregation were being led in prayer by Greg McDowell. Palmer calmly walked up to the stage where the 39-year-old volunteer staff member stood, and shot him dead. After murdering this husband and father, Palmer walked casually out of the World Dome, climbed into his black Subaru station wagon, and drove off. Reverend Dollar was not in the church at the time, and no one else was shot.

     A few hours after the church killing, local police and U.S. Marshals arrested Floyd Palmer outside a Macy's store in a shopping mall in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. The police had spotted Palmer's vehicle in the parking lot. Taken into custody without incident, the suspect was placed into the Fulton County jail where he was held without bond.

     Floyd Palmer was a psychotic and violent person in what seems to be a growing population of dangerous nut cases. In June 2001, when Palmer was part of a security detail at a Baltimore mosque, he shot a fellow employee named Reuben Jerry Ash. After shooting Ash in the back, Palmer tried to fire again, but his handgun jammed. Bystanders ran toward Palmer to disarm him. He fired at them but the gun still didn't work. Fortunately no one was killed, but the shooting left Reuben Ash paralyzed.

     At his pretrial psychiatric examination, Palmer said that members of his family, and Ray Lewis, a linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens, were out to get him. Palmer pleaded guilty to attempted murder, and was committed to a mental hospital. Three years later, Palmer shot and wounded another Baltimore man. For that attempted murder, Mr. Palmer spent 18 months in a psychiatric hospital.

     In September 2015, a Fulton County judge ruled Floyd Palmer mentally competent to stand trial for murder.

     A Fulton County jury, in May 2016, found Floyd Palmer guilty of first-degree murder but mentally ill. The judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

     When violent mental cases like Floyd Palmer are allowed to live among us, no one is safe, not even a man inside a church leading a prayer service. I can't imagine that Mr. Palmer would have been hired to clean the church if the people who employed him knew of his violent background. If they did, and hired him anyway, they are fools who will have to answer for their bad judgment.  

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Kayleigh Slusher Murder Case

     In 2014, three-year-old Kayleigh Slusher lived with her mother, Sara Krueger, 23, and Krueger’s 26-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner. The couple and the toddler resided in Unit 7 at the Royal Garden apartment complex in east Nap…

     In 2014, three-year-old Kayleigh Slusher lived with her mother, Sara Krueger, 23, and Krueger's 26-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner. The couple and the toddler resided in Unit 7 at the Royal Garden apartment complex in east Napa, California.

     Over the past five years, Warner had been in and out of bay area jails for a variety of crimes including assault and possession of drugs. When his former girlfriend, Ashley Owens, refused to abort their child, Warner had sent her a series of threatening text messages that read: "I hope the kid dies," "I will scalp you," and "I will bust out your teeth with a pipe." Warner was obviously a violent man who didn't like children, or women.

     Since June 2012, Napa police officers had been called to the Krueger apartment more than a dozen times on reports of domestic disturbance, theft, vandalism, and unwanted persons. By any standard, Unit 7 at the Royal Garden complex was a dangerous place to raise a child. And a lot of relatives and neighbors knew this. The only people who seemed oblivious to the situation were the police and the child welfare authorities. Unfortunately, these were the only people with the power to protect Kayleigh Slusher.

     On January 27, 2014, a neighbor called the Napa police and requested a welfare check at Unit 7. According to the caller, Krueger and her boyfriend were using drugs and not feeding the little girl. They were also making a commotion and fighting with each other. Police officers visited the apartment that day and didn't find drugs or evidence of narcotics use. The officers also observed Kayleigh who seemed okay. The officers did not notify child protective services. They left things as they found them.

     A Krueger relative, worried about the little girl, called the authorities two days later. On January 29, police officers returned to the apartment, examined the girl, and left. This would be the last day of Kayleigh's short life.

     At 11:50 AM on Saturday, February 1, 2014, a police dispatcher in the bay area city of Richmond received an anonymous call from a man who had "something to get off his chest" about Sara Kreuger and her boyfriend. According to the tipster, the boyfriend, a guy named Brian or Ryan, had done something bad to Krueger's daughter.

     That day, two police officers arrived at Unit 7, knocked on the door, and didn't get a response. A neighbor informed the officers that the day before, January 31, 2014, a man and woman, presumably the occupants of the unit, left the apartment. The little girl was not with them. Using a key they had acquired from the apartment complex manager, the officers entered the dwelling.

     In one of the bedrooms the officers found Kayleigh in bed covered in blankets up to her neck. Next to her body lay a doll. She was dead, and cold to the touch. She also had bruises around her eyes and blood in her nostrils. (A forensic pathologist would determine the cause of death to be "multiple blunt impact injuries to the head, torso, and extremities." The pathologist also found evidence of prior child abuse and neglect. Manner of death: Homicide.)

     The following day, February 2, police arrested Krueger and Warner at a BART station in El Cerrito, California. According to the murdered girl's mother, she found Kayleigh dead when she returned to the apartment on the afternoon of January 30, 2014. Krueger said she placed the body into a plastic bag and stored it for awhile in a freezer before tucking the little corpse into the bed.

     Sara Krueger and Ryan Warner were booked into the Napa County Jail on charges of murder and felony assault of a child causing death. If convicted as charged, they faced up to 25 years to life in prison.

     On February 25, 2014, at the murder suspects' arraignment before Napa Superior Court Judge Mark Boessenecker, the couple pleaded not guilty. The judge denied both suspects bail.

     In June 2015, the dead child's father, grandmother and grandfather filed a lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court against the Napa Police Department and Napa County Child Welfare Services for failing to investigate reports of child abuse.

     In May 2017, separate juries found Ryan Warner and Sara Krueger guilty of first-degree murder. Napa County Judge Francisca P. Tisher, in July 2017, sentenced both defendants to life without parole.

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Halifax Mass Murder Plot

     On Thursday morning February 12, 2015, a caller on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Crime Stoppers tip line caused serious concern with a disturbing report. The tipster said that a 19-year-old James Gamble from Timberlea, No…

     On Thursday morning February 12, 2015, a caller on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Crime Stoppers tip line caused serious concern with a disturbing report. The tipster said that a 19-year-old James Gamble from Timberlea, Nova Scotia, a suburb of Halifax, as well as a woman named Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23 from Geneva, Illinois and a 20-year-old Nova Scotia man, Randall Steven Shepherd, planned to shoot as many shoppers as they could on St. Valentine's Day at the Halifax Shopping Centre on the west side of the city.

     The informant said the group had acquired the necessary weaponry to commit Canada's version of America's 1929 St. Valentine's Day massacre. After committing the mass murder, the plotters planned to take their own lives.

     The persons identified by the RCMP tipster revealed through photographs and comments on an Internet chat stream their obsession with serial killers and bloody murder scenes. The American, Lindsay Souvannarath, had written messages on her Twitter account she didn't want posted until after her self-inflicted death.

     At one-twenty in the morning of February 13, 2015, police officers watching James Gamble's Timberlea residence, observed a couple believed to be the suspect's parents drive away from the house. After pulling the parents over, a detective called the house and spoke to their son.

     Gamble, whose house was now surrounded by an Emergency Response Team, told the detective on the phone that he was unarmed and ready to exit the dwelling. Instead, he shot himself to death in the house. Inside the suspect's home, besides the body, officers found three loaded rifles.

     An hour after the suicide in Timberlea, officers took Lindsay Souvannarath into custody when she flew into the Halifax International Airport from her home in Illinois. Police officers arrested Randall Shepherd who was at the airport to greet her.

     Shortly after her arrest, Souvannarath confessed to the conspiracy to randomly murder as many people as possible at the Halifax shopping mall.

     A local prosecutor charged the American woman and her alleged 20-year-old Nova Scotia accomplice with conspiracy to commit murder. In the meantime, detectives with Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Team were looking into the background James Gamble who had committed suicide. The investigators were trying to determine the extent of his participation, if any, in the mass shooting plot.

     At a press conference held on Saturday February 14, St. Valentine's Day, Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced that the mass murder plot was not "culturally motivated" or linked to Islamic terrorism. The justice minister called the murder conspirators "murderous misfits." Mr. MacKay acknowledged, however, that murderous misfits like the ones in custody could be exploited by terrorist organizations. He said, "An individual that would so recklessly and with bloody intent plot to do something like this I would suggest would also be susceptible to being motivated by groups like ISIS and others."

     On February 17, 2015, Charles Aukema, one of Lindsay Souvannarath's professors at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, told a reporter with the Cedar Rapids Gazette that his former English student "knew how to put together a sentence and had a command of detail." The professor added, "Sometimes it was pretty sick detail."

     On April 11, 2017, Lindsay Souvannarath pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the Halifax mall murder plot. 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Gregory Graf Murder Case

     Jessica Padgett, a 33-year-old mother of three, was last seen at 12:45 in the afternoon of Friday November 21, 2014 by fellow employees at the Duck Duck Goose Daycare Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Surveillance camera footage re…

     Jessica Padgett, a 33-year-old mother of three, was last seen at 12:45 in the afternoon of Friday November 21, 2014 by fellow employees at the Duck Duck Goose Daycare Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Surveillance camera footage revealed that 15 minutes after she left the the center, her car was returned to the daycare parking lot by a man whose face was not caught on camera.

     Police and volunteers in the eastern Pennsylvania community searched several days without finding a trace of the missing woman. Investigators feared foul play.

     On Wednesday November 26, five days after Padgett went missing, police officers executing a search warrant in and around the house in Allen Township where her mother and stepfather resided, found her remains buried behind a shed on the 7-acre plot of land.

     On the day of the body recovery, police officers took the victim's stepfather, 53-year-old Gregory R. Graf, into custody on suspicion of murder. At the time Jessica Padgett went missing her mother was in Florida.

     Graf, a dedicated hunter who grew marijuana on his property, owned a local fencing company. Under police questioning, he initially denied any knowledge of his stepdaughter's disappearance and murder. He said he had no idea how her body ended up in the ground on his property. But when detectives pressed Graf with inconsistencies in his story and confronted him with physical evidence that linked him to the disappearance and murder, he broke down and confessed.

     Graf admitted shooting Padgett in the back of the head shortly after she left the daycare center that day. He was vague, however, regarding his motive. Investigators believed Graf had raped the victim before he killed her. As it turned out, detectives had the order of these acts reversed.

     Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli charged Gregory Graf with first-degree murder. The judge denied the suspect bail.

     On December 5, 2014, a search of Graf's computer revealed a video of the suspect having sex with his stepdaughter's corpse. This act of necrophilia on the remains of a woman he had murdered for that purpose made Graf, under Pennsylvania law, eligible for the death penalty.

     Following the discovery of the postmortem sex video the prosecutor added the charge of abuse of corpse.

     At his arraignment, Graf asked the judge to appoint him a free defense attorney. The defendant said he didn't want to take resources from his family to pay for a lawyer. The judge denied this request on the grounds the suspect had enough money to pay for his own attorney.

     On November 13, 2015, following Graf's four-day trial, the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. In arriving at this verdict, jurors deliberated less than ten minutes. The conviction brought a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

     Graf's attorney, in his closing argument, had told jurors that while his client was guilty of third-degree murder and deserved to be punished, the killing hadn't been premeditated. According to the defense attorney, "Something snapped." The jury obviously didn't buy this line of defense. They wanted this sexually perverted killer to spend the rest of his life in prison.

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Matthew White Murder Case

     In 1979, Matthew White, a six-foot-eleven center from Bethesda, Maryland, led the University of Pennsylvania Quakers to the NCAA final four. White was picked that year in the fifth round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers…

     In 1979, Matthew White, a six-foot-eleven center from Bethesda, Maryland, led the University of Pennsylvania Quakers to the NCAA final four. White was picked that year in the fifth round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers. Instead of entering the NBA, White earned a MBA from the Wharton School of Business. In 1984, he moved to Spain where, for the next twelve years, he played professional basketball. While in Spain, the basketball player met and married Marie Reyes Garcia-Pellon.

     In 2010, after suffering a stroke, White and Garcia-Pellon moved from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania to Nether Providence, a township near the eastern Pennsylvania town of Media. He, his wife, and their 20-year-old son and teen-age daughter moved into a ranch-style home. Garcia-Pellon worked as a teacher's aide at the Nether Providence Elementary School.

     On February 10, 2013, the 55-year-old former Ivy League basketball star took his wife to an area hospital after her friends expressed concern about her mental health. Garcia-Pellon, no stranger to mental illness, had previously undergone psychiatric treatment. For some reason, she was not admitted into the hospital that Sunday.

     On Monday afternoon, February 11, 2013, a friend of Garcia-Pellon's called the police department to report that Matthew White may have been murdered by his wife. At the Nether Providence house, police officers found Matthew White sprawled out dead in the master bedroom. He had been stabbed in the neck.

     When questioned at the death scene, Garcia-Pellon told the responders that sometime between midnight and one in the morning, she got out of bed and walked into the kitchen where she picked up two knives. She returned to her husband, slipped the knives under her side of the bed, and waited for him to fall asleep. When she was certain he was sleeping, Garcia-Pellon used one of the knives to stab him in the neck. The victim rose up, cried, "I'm dying, I'm dying," then fell back onto the bed and died.

     After killing her husband, Garcia-Pellon got dressed and left the house. (Her son was no longer living at home, and her daughter was attending college.) Later in the day she showed-up at a friend's house. Garcia-Pellon told her friend that she had stabbed Matthew in the neck as he slept. The friend called the police.

     As a police officer handcuffed the 52-year-old murder suspect, Garcia-Pellon said, "I caught him looking at pornography, young girls. I love kids. I had to do it." (According to the police, there was no evidence in White's computer that he had been viewing child pornography.)

     On Monday night, the Delaware County district attorney charged Garcia-Pellon with first degree murder, criminal homicide, and possession of an instrument of crime. She is being held without bail in the Delaware County Jail.

     Kathryn Labrum, Garcia-Pellon's Media, Pennsylvania attorney, on Wednesday, February 20, told reporters that her client was "so separated from reality right now." The lawyer described Garcia-Pellon's mental state as a "psychiatric crises." Attorney Labrum  said:  "He [Matthew White] knew that she needed help, tried to get her help and there you have it--a beautiful family ruined."

     In February 2015, after being found guilty of murder but mentally ill (a verdict that required mental health treatment while serving a 25-year prison term), the judge immediately probated Garcia-Pellon's sentence and ordered her transferred from jail to the Norristown State Hospital. The judge did not believe the prison system was equipped to deal with someone so insane. The adjusted sentence meant that Garcia-Pellon, when declared sane, could be placed back into society. No one associated with this case seemed to object to this outcome. 

     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Thomas J. Lee Mass Murder Case

     Thomas Jesse Lee, 26, resided with his 33-year-old wife Christie, her 16-year-old daughter Bailey, Christie’s parents, and an 18-year-old friend of the family, Liaona Green. The clan lived in a suburban home outside of La Grange, Ge…

     Thomas Jesse Lee, 26, resided with his 33-year-old wife Christie, her 16-year-old daughter Bailey, Christie's parents, and an 18-year-old friend of the family, Liaona Green. The clan lived in a suburban home outside of La Grange, Georgia, a town 80 miles southwest of Atlanta.

     On Saturday January 31, 2015, after 69-year-old William Burton, Thomas Lee's father-in-law, didn't show up for work for three days, and didn't answer his phone, his employer asked the Troup County Sheriff's Office to check on the family.

    Deputies went to the Burton home but didn't get a response when they knocked on the door. Because the dwelling was locked, the officers obtained a warrant to enter the dwelling. Once inside, the deputies encountered a murder scene comprised of five bodies.

     Deputies found Mr. Burton in the kitchen. He had been severely beaten then shot to death. Shelia Burton, his 67-year-old wife, lay dead in the master bedroom. She had been shot in the head. Thomas J. Lee's wife Christie had been shot to death to death in their bedroom. The teenage girls, Bailey and Liaona, had been murdered in their room. Liaona had been shot, Bailey strangled to death.

     The authorities immediately suspected that Thomas J. Lee had committed the mass murder. A local judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the six-foot-three, 190 pound fugitive. He had been last seen driving an olive green Mazda Tribute.

     On Monday afternoon February 2, 2015, Thomas J. Lee walked into a church in Corinth, Mississippi 250 miles from the scene of the murders. He told the pastor he had car trouble and needed a lift to Opelika, Alabama. The minister gave Lee money for a bus ticket and a member of the church drove him to the bus station in Tupelo, Mississippi.

     A few hours later, the pastor saw a news report about the Georgia murders on television. The reportage included a photograph of Lee. Realizing he had just helped a fugitive in a mass murder case, the pastor called the police.

     At five that Monday afternoon, police officers took Thomas J. Lee into custody at the Tupelo bus station where he was still waiting for his bus. The next day he was back in Georgia where he was booked into the Troup County Jail on five counts of malice murder. The judge denied him bond.

    On August 12, 2015, Thomas J. Lee pleaded guilty in Troup County Superior Court to five counts of first-degree murder. The judge sentenced the mass murderer to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

When Men Murder Women

Alaska has the highest rate of femicide by men, followed by Nevada, Louisiana, and Tennessee, according to the annual report of the Violence Policy Center (VPI) . Black women are more than twice as likely to be killed by men than their white counterparts.

The latest analysis of state-level homicide data shows a sharp increase in the rate at which women were slain by single men between 2014 and 2015 despite an overall 20-year decline, according to an annual report released by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) in September.

The 20th annual publication of When Men Murder Women analyzed the most recent Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data submitted to the FBI, which covers the year 2015, and offers a breakdown of cases in the ten states with the highest rates of female homicides committed by men. Alaska had the highest femicide rate, followed by Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, and Missouri. VPC notes that data from Florida and Alabama are missing, and data received from Illinois is incomplete.

The study, which only examined instances involving one female victim and one male offender, found that 1,686 females were murdered by males in the U.S. in 2015.

“This is the exact scenario—the lone male attacker and the vulnerable woman—that is often used to promote gun ownership among women,” write the authors, zooming in on VPC’s main target: gun laws. For 2015, firearms, and especially handguns, were the weapon most commonly used by men to murder women.

The report also notes the findings of a 2003 study from California which showed that while two-thirds of women who get a handgun do so for for protection, “purchasing a handgun provides no protection against homicide among women and is associated with an increase in their risk for intimate partner homicide.”

Editor’s note: According to the Gun Violence Archive, out of 46,597 incidents of gun violence so far this year, only 1,518 incidents were “defensive use” of a firearm– roughly equal to the number of accidental shootings, which numbered 1,511.

Here are highlights from VPC’s analysis of 2015 data on women slain by men:

  • For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 93 percent of female victims (1,450 out of 1,551) were murdered by a male they knew.
  • Fourteen times as many females were murdered by a male they knew (1,450 victims) than were killed
    by male strangers (101 victims).
  • For victims who knew their offenders, 64 percent (928) of female homicide victims were wives or
    intimate acquaintances of their killers.12
  • There were 266 women shot and killed by either their husband or intimate acquaintance during the
    course of an argument.
  • Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon could be determined (1,522), more female homicides were committed with firearms (55 percent) than with any other weapon. Knives and other cutting instruments accounted for 20 percent of all female murders, bodily force 11 percent, and murder by blunt object six percent. Of the homicides committed with firearms, 69 percent were committed with handguns.
  • In 84 percent of all incidents where the circumstances could be determined, homicides were not related
    to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) turned 23 this year.

Victoria Mckenzie is deputy editor of The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

The Nehemiah Griego “Good Boy” Mass Murder Case

     People murdered in their homes are usually killed by a family member. Cases involving husbands who kill their wives, and women who take out their husbands, are fairly common and therefore not particularly shocking. But when a good k…

     People murdered in their homes are usually killed by a family member. Cases involving husbands who kill their wives, and women who take out their husbands, are fairly common and therefore not particularly shocking. But when a good kid with no history of violence, drug abuse, or mental illness carefully executes his entire family for no apparent reason, the public takes notice. Suddenly parents look at their sulking, surly children in a new light. What in the hell was going on in their callow minds? A parent might wonder if his or her child has watched too much violence on TV. And if there's a gun in the house, it might not be a bad idea to put it under lock and key. But in most cases, when parents think about children who murder, they think about other people's kids. Murder is something that happens to others.

    Pastor Greg Griego, the 51-year-old father of two boys and two girls, probably never considered himself a candidate for murder. Griego, the former pastor of one of Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest Christian churches, lived with his 41-year-old wife Sarah and their four children at the end of a semi-rural road on the southwestern edge of the city. As a young man in California, before finding Jesus and entering the ministry, Greg Griego had been a member of a street gang. As one of Albuquerque's religious leaders, he volunteered as a prison chaplain and had overseen the Straight Street program sponsored by the Bernalillo County Jail.

     On Friday night, January 18, 2013, 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego, after he and his mother had a mild disagreement, waited until he was sure she and his three siblings were sound asleep. Mr. Griego was not home at that time. Just before one in the morning, Nehemiah took possession of a .22-caliber pistol he found in his parents' closet. He stepped lightly into his mother's bedroom where she was sleeping in bed next to his 9-year-old brother Zephania. Nehemiah raised the 10-shot pistol and fired several bullets into his mother's head. When his younger brother refused to accept the fact his mother had just been murdered, Nehemiah forced the boy to look at her bloody face. The 15-year-old then fired several slugs into Zephania's head.

     In his sisters' room, Nehemiah shot and killed Jael, age 5, and 2-year-old Angelina. Nehemiah returned the handgun to the closet and pulled out an AR-15 semi-automoatic rifle. Armed with the assault weapon, he waited in a downstairs bathroom for his father's return. After waiting five hours for his father to come home, Nehemiah opened up on Mr. Griego as he walked by the bathroom doorway, killing him on the spot.

     On his cellphone, Nehemiah sent his 12-year-old girlfriend a photograph of his murdered mother's face. He also called the girl and reported what he had done as well as what he planned to do. Nehemiah informed his friend that he was driving to the local Walmart in the family van where he intended to randomly kill as many people as possible. He said he expected to be killed in an exchange of gunfire with the police.

     Nehemiah's girlfriend talked him into driving to Pastor Griego's church where they could discuss all of this further. Nehemiah spent the rest of the day at his girlfriend's house. Police officers took him into custody later that night.

     A Bernalillo County prosecutor charged Nehemiah Griego with two counts of murder and three counts of child abuse. (I don't know why he wasn't charged with five counts of murder.) Perfectly coherent, Nehemiah provided his interrogators with a detailed account of the mass killing. He said he was annoyed with his mother and had recently entertained thoughts of homicide and suicide. The boy expressed no feelings of guilt or remorse.

    Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston, at a news conference on January 22, 2013 said that Nehemiah had been "involved heavily in violent video games" before he murdered his family. The games included "Modern Warfare," and "Grand Theft Auto." The boy had also talked about killing his young girlfriend's parents.

     According to relatives, Nehemiah was an outgoing boy who loved music and hoped one day to serve in the military.

     The cold-blooded mass murder shocked Nehemiah's relatives, his friends, and his teachers. No one had seen this massacre coming. No one ever does. How can you know if your perfect 15-year-old son is a shell with a monster inside?

     As of February 2015, no trial date had been set for the Griego family murders. The case had stalled for several reasons. In 2013, the judge assigned to preside over the trial took an extended leave of absence and was not replaced. The boy's defense attorney delayed progress throughout 2014 by requesting one mental health evaluation after another for his client. (Griego  pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.) In the meantime, Nehemiah Griego remained incarcerated at a juvenile detection facility.            

     Finally, after the boy pleaded guilty in March 2016, the judge enraged many in the community by sentencing him as a juvenile. Under New Mexico law, this meant that Griego would walk free as a rehabilitated youth when he turned 21. Six years in custody for the cold-blooded murder of four people.The attorney general of the state has appealed this ridiculously light sentence.

     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Phil Spector Murder Case

     In the morning of February 3, 2003, Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies responded to a call from the Alhambra mansion owned by Phil Spector, the 67-year-old music producer who became famous in the 1960s for his “wall of sound.” In t…

     In the morning of February 3, 2003, Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies responded to a call from the Alhambra mansion owned by Phil Spector, the 67-year-old music producer who became famous in the 1960s for his "wall of sound." In the foyer, the deputies found 40-year-old actress Lana Clarkson slumped in a chair. She had been shot once in the mouth by the .38-caliber Cobra revolver lying on the floor under her right hand. When the fatal shot had been fired, Clarkson and Spector were the only people in the house.

     Spector's chauffeur told the police that at five in the morning, he heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot. Shortly after that, he said Spector came out of the mansion carrying a handgun. According to the driver, Spector had said, "I think I killed somebody."

     The music producer had met the victim the previous night at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip where the struggling actress worked as a hostess for $9 per hour. When the nightclub closed for the night, she had accompanied Spector back to his house for a drink. According to Spector's account of the death, Lana Clarkson had committed suicide.

     The crime scene investigation and the analysis of the physical evidence featured forensic pathology, the location of the gunshot residue, and the interpretation of the blood spatter patterns. Los Angeles Deputy Coroner Dr. Louis Pena visited the scene, and conducted the autopsy. The forensic pathologist found bruises on the victim's right arm and wrist that suggested a struggle. A missing fingernail on Clarkson's right hand also indicated some kind of violence just prior to the shooting. Her bruised tongue led Dr. Pena to conclude that the gun had been forced into the victim's mouth. Its recoil had shattered her front teeth. Clarkson's purse was found slung over her right shoulder. Since she was right-handed, and would have used that hand tho hold the gun, the deputy coroner questioned suicide as the manner of death. Based on his crime scene examination and autopsy, Dr. Pena ruled Lana Clarkson's death a criminal homicide. The police arrested Spector who retained his freedom by posting the $1 million bail.

     Blood spatter analysts from the sheriff's office concluded that after the shooting, Spector had pressed the victim's right hand around the gun handle, placed the revolver temporarily into his pants pocket, later wiped it clean of his fingerprints, then laid it near her body. From the bloodstains on his jacket, the government experts concluded he had been standing within two feet of the victim when the gun went off. The absence of her blood spray on a nearby wall led the spatter analysts to believe that Spector had been standing between the victim and the unstained surface when he fired the bullet into her mouth. Gunshot residue experts found traces of gunpowder on Spector's hands.

     The forensic work performed by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office and the sheriff's department had not been flawless. A dental evidence technician had lost one of the victim's teeth; a criminalist had used lift-off tape to retrieve trace evidence from the victim's dress which had interfered with the serology analysis; and the corpse had been moved at the scene, causing unnatural, postmortem blood flow from her mouth which compromised that aspect of the blood spatter analysis

     The Phil Spector murder trial got underway in May 2007. On June 26, the government rested its case. The defense led off with Dr. Vincent Di Maio, the former chief medical examiner of Bexar County, Texas. Dr. Di Maio, considered one of the leading experts on the subject of gunshot wounds, testified that he disagreed with the prosecution's experts who had asserted that blood spatter can travel only three feet from a person struck by a bullet. Dr. Di Maio said blood can travel more than six feet if a gun is fired into a person's mouth, the pressure from the muzzle gas that is trapped in the oral cavity creates a violent explosion. "The gas," he said, "is like a whirlwind, it ejects out of the mouth, out of the nose." (If the defendant had been standing six feet from the victim when the gun went off, he couldn't have placed the gun into her mouth.) Because 99 percent of intra-oral gunshot deaths are suicides, Dr. Di Maio opined that Lana Clarkson had killed herself. In the witness' 35 years as a medical examiner, he had seen only "three homicides that were intra-oral."

     In an aggressive cross-examination by the deputy district attorney, Dr. Di Maio was asked how much he had been paid for his work on the case. The former medical examiner said that his bill was $46,000, which did not include his trial testimony. Courtroom spectators laughed when Dr. Di Maio told his cross-examiner that the longer he kept him on the stand, the more it would cost the defendant.

     On September 18, 2007, the Spector jury, following a week of deliberation, announced they were deadlocked seven to five. Two days later, the judge sent them back to the jury room with a new set of instructions on how to determine reasonable doubt. In the Spector trial, the celebrity experts for the defense (including Dr. Henry Lee) did more than just muddy the water by pointing out mistakes and erroneous conclusions by the government's experts. They had offered a conflicting scenario backed by their interpretations of the physical evidence. In circumstantial cases like this, deadlocked juries are to be expected. The hung jury is what Phil Spector paid for, and it's what he got. The jury remained split, and the judge had to declare a mistrial.

     The second trial, this one not televised, got underway on October 20, 2008. The case went to the jury on March 26, 2009, and 19 days later, the jury found the defendant guilty of first-degree murder. Two months later, the judge sentenced Phil Spector to 19 years to life. In May 2011, the California Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. The California Supreme Court, when it declined to review the case, guaranteed that Mr. Spector will die in prison. Because so many high-profile forensic scientists disagreed on the interpretation of the physical evidence in this case, it will not be a positive landmark in the history of forensic science.

     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The No-Body Murder Case

     Many missing persons cases involving young woman turn into homicide investigations when the victims are found dead. However, there are thousands of cases in which the missing women are not found but presumed dead. Many women who dis…

     Many missing persons cases involving young woman turn into homicide investigations when the victims are found dead. However, there are thousands of cases in which the missing women are not found but presumed dead. Many women who disappear without a trace were murdered by killers who did a good job of disposing of the their bodies. It's no secret that if the police don't have a corpse they probably won't be able to arrest anyone for murder. Notwithstanding disappearances that are highly suspicious, it generally comes down to this unpleasant reality: if there's no body, there's no homicide case.

     There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Prosecutors have pressed charges in homicide cases that do not feature a body. In these so-called no-body cases, prosecutors work without an autopsy report, have no time of death based upon postmortem biological changes, or physical evidence establishing the victims' exact causes of death. Moreover, there are no death scene photographs in no-body cases.

     Based on his research of no-body cases, Thomas A. Di Biase believes that in the United States, from 1843 to 2013, 380 homicide cases have gone to trial without the victims' remains. According to Di Biase, a former federal prosecutor, the conviction rate pertaining to these prosecutions is 89 percent.

     In a homicide case, the corpus delecti of the crime--the body or main element of the offense-- consists of proof that an unlawful death has occurred. The best evidence of an unlawful death is the corpse itself.

     So, without a body, can a prosecutor, by law, acquire a homicide conviction? That legal question was settled in a 1960 California appellate case titled, U.S. v. Scott. The state appeals court justices decided that a homicide defendant in a case without a body can lawfully be found guilty if the prosecution presents circumstantial evidence of an unlawful death that excludes other reasonable hypotheses regarding the missing person's fate. The prosecutor must also present sufficient evidence that the defendant was the person who unlawfully killed the missing person.

     Because juries understandably are uncomfortable with no-body homicide cases, prosecutors need strong circumstantial evidence that the missing person is dead, and that the defendant is responsible for that death. In establishing the necessary proof, it helps if detectives have located a probable killing site. Such a place might be a bed soaked in a large quantity of blood. The crime scene might also feature other types of physical evidence that suggests the occurrence of lethal violence. This evidence of course must be linked to the missing person, ideally through DNA analysis.

     It's also better if the prosecutor can place the defendant at the scene of the violence through fingerprints, hair follicles, semen, blood, shoe impressions, handwriting, or fiber evidence.

     The no-body case prosecutor will be helped if the defendant possessed a strong motive to kill the victim such as jealousy, lust, money, or revenge. If the defendant offers an alibi, the prosecution must be able to break that alibi. The presence of physical evidence linking the defendant to the crime scene will sometimes have that effect.

     Other circumstantial evidence against a homicide defendant in a no-body case might include conflicting statements by the defendant to the police, or a history of violence between the defendant and the missing person. Secretly recorded death threats by the defendant against the victim would also be relevant.

     If the no-body prosecutor doesn't have physical evidence from a probable crime scene to work with, a conviction won't be possible unless the defendant confesses to the police, a friend, or to a jailhouse snitch. The confession of an accomplice that implicates the defendant is good.

     Attorneys representing defendants in no-body cases usually portray the murder evidence as circumstantial, and therefore weak. Defense lawyers often remind jurors that they cannot convict the defendant if they have any reasonable doubt regarding his or her guilt.

     While the conviction rate of no-body cases brought to trial is high, only a small percentage of no-body suspects are charged with criminal homicide. Without a body, there is simply too much reasonable doubt to overcome.
     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/