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Saturday, April 28, 2012

[NJ] CONVICTED: Moorestown Officer Melia and his girlfriend Heather Lewis who molested teens they took in


A former Moorestown  police officer [Robert Melia] and his one-time girlfriend   [Heather Lewis] face more than 50 years in prison after a  jury on Friday afternoon found the pair had  molested several juveniles...

...“To the victims, I extend my admiration for  their courage in testifying against the  defendants,” [Prosecutor Robert] Bernardi said in a prepared  statement. “And finally to the defendants,  they will now face the full weight of the  sentencing court and the state looks  forward to that day"...

[NJ] Moorestown Police Officer Robert Melia

(I do not put sex offending officers on this blog unless some part of it has to do with a family-like trust or custodial relationship.)

By Danielle Camilli
Saturday, April 28, 2012
[Excerpts] Robert Melia Jr. was sworn to protect and serve, but on Friday a Burlington County jury found he abandoned that oath when he and his former girlfriend repeatedly molested teenagers in the home they shared in Moorestown. The attacks, including a violent sexual assault on an incapacitated, bound and blindfolded teenager captured on video, took place just feet from where his Moorestown police uniform hung on his bedroom door. The patrolman and his former girlfriend, Heather Lewis, a nursing assistant, preyed on vulnerable teenage girls whom the couple brought to their residence to escape their difficult home lives, according to trial testimony. The jury found Melia, 42, and Lewis, 36, of Pemberton Township, guilty of six counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault as well as multiple counts of sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. They were also found guilty of invasion of privacy. The jury hung on 19 charges pertaining to one victim... While finding Melia and Lewis guilty of dozens of sex crimes against children, it was the official-misconduct count that the jury foreman reported the loudest to Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey in the crowded courtroom... The abuse of the two teenagers occurred through much of his eight-year career on the township force, according to the verdicts. Melia had been in law enforcement since 1994, when he began his four-year tenure as a Burlington County Sheriff’s Department officer, working in the very courthouse he was convicted in Friday, before joining the Pemberton Borough Police Department... Melia and Lewis will be sentenced Sept. 13... The state’s case included testimony from four victims and from detectives, and graphic videotapes, found in Melia’s Cottage Avenue home, that depicted two of the assaults. The evidence indicated Melia had tried to delete the videos the week police began their investigation, said Detective Sgt. David Kohler of the Prosecutor’s Office. The videos were part of more than 50,000 files of pornography found on Melia’s computers and hard drives, including bestiality and homemade sex tapes. The jury was not told about the amount of pornography found, or about the now-infamous tape of Melia allegedly performing lewd sex acts on calves on a Southampton farm. When authorities charged him with animal cruelty, the international media picked up the story. The charges were later dismissed when a judge found there was not enough evidence to sustain them because prosecutors did not show the video to a grand jury... http://www.phillyburbs.com/my_town/moorestown/moorestown-police-officer-and-former-girlfriend-guilty/article_96e50a00-af98-569f-a252-dfef970de00c.html

PAIR FOUND GUILTY OF SEX ASSAULT CHARGES: No verdict on charges related to teenage girl
Cherry Hill Courier Post
George Mast
Apr. 28, 2012
[Excerpts] A former Moorestown  police officer and his one-time girlfriend  face more than 50 years in prison after a  jury on Friday afternoon found the pair had  molested several juveniles. The jury could not reach a verdict on  charges pertaining to a fourth victim — a  teenage girl who was the first to bring  accusations against Robert Melia Jr. and his  then girlfriend Heather Lewis in April 2008... Lewis, 36, of Pemberton, was found guilty  on 26 counts. The charges ranged from multiple counts  of first degree aggravated sexual assault to  endangering the welfare of a child to  invasion of privacy... The jury also found Lewis not guilty on one  of several charges filed against her in  connection to a then 14-year-old boy who  testified that Lewis had sexually assaulted  him... “To the victims, I extend my admiration for  their courage in testifying against the  defendants,” [Prosecutor Robert] Bernardi said in a prepared  statement. “And finally to the defendants,  they will now face the full weight of the  sentencing court and the state looks  forward to that day"... The accusers, who were familiar to Lewis  through a chain of connections, said most  of the assaults took place inside Melia’s  home in Moorestown... http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20120428/NEWS06/304280032/Pair-found-guilty-sex-assault-charges
[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement mount holly rape news jersey state youth pervert beastiality custodial]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

[NY] State Police Captain's missing wife, Cynthia Gavitt, found.

"Saratoga Springs Cynthia M. Gavitt, 48, recently passed away and is now at peace..." 

...[Cindy] Gavitt was a beloved mother of two was a housewife and wife of a Captain in the State Police. She had experienced major medical problems since the beginning of 2011...   Her death is not considered suspicious...

..."There's no indication she was forcibly taken or there was any crime committed"... 
~ State Police Major William Sprague

[NY] State Police Captain's wife, Cynthia Gavitt, still missing - ...Cynthia Gavitt, a mom of two, is the wife of Capt. William Gavitt of the State Police’s Troop G in Loudonville... "They know its one of their own, and they are working as hard as they can,” State Police Maj. William Sprague said... [November 1, 2011]

By Cathleen F. Crowley
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
[Excerpts] State Police confirmed a body found by campers Sunday along the Mohawk River is Cynthia Gavitt, 48, the wife of a state police captain. Her drowning has been ruled a suicide. Gavitt, who has been missing since Oct. 29, had experienced major medical problems since the beginning of 2011, according to state police. She was reported missing in October after police found her vehicle along Canal Road, just west of the Crescent Bridge and State Route 9 in Halfmoon. Police divers searched the area for days after her car was found. Gavitt, a mother of two, is the wife of Capt. William Gavitt of the State Police Troop G in Loudonville. In November, State Police Maj. William Sprague said, "There's no indication she was forcibly taken or there was any crime committed." Gavitt was found a half-mile north of Cohoes Falls on the east shoreline of the river. [Full article here]

The Associated Press
Apr 17, 2012
[Excerpt] ...Investigators say Monday she’d had significant medical problems since early 2011. [Full article here]

[Excerpts] The long search for a state police captain's missing wife is now over.State police say a body found along the Mohawk River over the weekend is that of 48-year-old Cynthia Gavitt... Police say the mother of two had been experiencing major medical problems since the start of 2011. [Full article here]

[Excerpts] ...Gavitt was found near Cohoes Falls by campers in the area who called police... Her death is not considered suspicious. [Full article here]

Posted: Apr 16, 2012
[Excerpts] State police say the body found Sunday on the shoreline of the Mohawk River was identified as a 48-year-old woman who had been missing since October 2011. State police say the body was discovered on the east shoreline of the Mohawk River, about ½ mile north of the Cohoes Falls. The Waterford Police Department received a call from campers in the area reporting the find. The deceased has been identified as 48-year-old Cynthia Gavitt... The body was removed from the scene by police and a post mortem exam was conducted at Albany Medical Center on Monday to determine her identity and the cause of death that was determined to be asphyxiation by drowning. The death has been ruled a suicide. Gavitt was a beloved mother of two was a housewife and wife of a Captain in the State Police. She had experienced major medical problems since the beginning of 2011... In a press release sent out by the State Police, they say "The Gavitt family appreciates all the concern and best wishes expressed to them by their many friends and the citizens of the greater Capital District over the past 7 months. The family has asked that their privacy be respected as they look for closure now." [Full article here]

Cynthia M. Gavitt
Albany Times
April 21, 2012
[Excerpts] Saratoga Springs Cynthia M. Gavitt, 48, recently passed away and is now at peace. Cindy grew up in Waterford, and attended Waterford-Halfmoon High School where she and her husband first met. She also attended the University of Bridgeport and SUNY Oneonta. Cindy was a loving and caring person who always thought of others first. She was a wonderful wife and mother and will be dearly missed. Survivors include her husband of 24 years, William Gavitt; her children... grandson... father Joseph Huneau; mother and stepfather... siblings... and many more relatives and close friends. The Gavitt family would like to thank the members of the New York State Police, as well as their many friends and relatives for their assistance, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Private memorial services and interment will be at the convenience of the family... [Full obituary here]


...Captain Gavitt and Family, I did not know Cynthia, but she sounds like a wonderful mom and wife and I am sorry for your loss of such a special person. Please know that I pray for your well-being and closure...

...So sorry to hear of the loss of Cindy. May God give her peace and heal the hearts of all the family with his grace...

...Cindy was a loving godmother who was generous and thoughtful. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. She will be missed dearly...

...I am saddened by Cindys passing, Cindy was a good sister in law and a good friend. She was a good person that will me missed. God bless her...

...I was sorry to hear of Cynthia Gavitts' death. She must have been suffering a lot.I wish the pain could have been alleviated.But,it is now in the heavenly sphere...

...We always wish we could have one more day, one more word, one more hug, one more chance to talk with our loved ones! Now we must hold onto our most cherished memories...

...She was a beautiful person. Go with God, RIP Now. I remember her as a child. When she came to visit on Grant St...

...Mixed emotions glad she's been found for closure, but now no chance of her walking in the door. My prayers are with you...

[unsolved unresolved police officer involved law enforcement public safety said suicide new york state ]

[IN] Ex-Officer Britton gets 6 months in shooting death of his wife, Harrison County Jail Cmdr. Christine Britton

Christine Britton Harrison
Harrison County Jail Commander

Former Harrison County police Officer John Britton was sentenced Friday to six months in jail and a year of probation in the death of his wife, who [he says] shot herself in the head with his handgun...


The Courier-Journal
Grace Schneider
9:15 PM, Apr. 20, 2012

JASPER — Former Harrison County police Officer John Britton was sentenced Friday to six months in jail and a year of probation in the death of his wife, who shot herself in the head with his handgun.

Relatives of Christine Britton wiped away tears and clung to each other in the Dubois County Circuit courtroom as Judge William Weikert told her husband that his recklessness was an aggravating factor in her death.

Charlotte Hitner, Christine Britton’s mother, could barely speak as she dabbed tears with a tissue and tried to compose herself as she left the courtroom.

“It’s been a long three years,” she said.

Stan Faith, John Britton’s lawyer, had pressed to have him convicted of a Class A misdemeanor after he pleaded guilty to felony criminal recklessness last month.

Faith acknowledged after the hearing that “justice is served, (but) I was disappointed that he received six months.”

Britton was charged with felony assisting a suicide in the fall of 2010 after his wife shot herself in March 2009 during the height of the turmoil surrounding former Harrison Sheriff Mike Deatrick, who was their boss.

Deatrick, who had raced to the Brittons’ home in Ramsey that night, was under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct and a coverup and had to be hospitalized with heart problems less than a week later.

Investigators determined that Christine Britton, 28, the county’s former jail commander, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, but her family pressed for answers about the circumstances.

The family also has filed a wrongful death suit against John Britton and Harrison County, which is pending.

John Britton had told investigators that his wife told him that she hated him and that he made her so mad she could kill herself. But he said she’d threatened that before and he never thought she’d do it.

Britton repeated that statement while testifying Friday about her death. He said that after working a police shift that Sunday, he came home expecting the two would meet a couple for dinner.

But first, he said, they had sex. Then, as they were cleaning up and getting ready to leave, they got into an argument after he chided her that she was going to make them late because she had begun cleaning their cat’s litter box.

John Britton said that led him canceling their dinner plans. As the spat escalated, he testified, his wife lunged at his handgun in their bedroom and he “bear-hugged her” and wrestled her to the ground to get the weapon back.

He said that she told him, “Fine, I’ll get my own” gun. And moments later, after he’d left his handgun on the bed and left the room, he heard the shot.

“I don’t believe for a minute she was suicidal,” he said. “In my opinion that (shooting herself) is not what she wanted to do. She wanted to make a point.”

During final statements, Stanley Levco, the co-counsel to Special Prosecutor Nancy Jacobs, told the judge that if John Britton had not provided the gun to his wife “there’s a reasonable chance she’d still be alive today.”

Earlier in the hearing, Christine Britton’s sister Catherine “Cat” Banet said Britton deserved to be convicted of a felony. “John failed … as a human being,” Banet said.

Christine Britton’s15-year-old daughter LeAndra Ayers also testified about the loss of her mother and their close bond.

Britton, who now lives with his mother and sister in Kentucky, looked down and showed no emotion when Weikert handed down his sentence.

The judge added that Britton could request modification of the conviction if he successfully completes all conditions.

Britton is to serve his time in the Dubois County jail.

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder said suicide negligence unsolved unresolved usur indiana state politics]

[WA] Unnamed Seattle Officer arrested for domestic violence. Victim not "seriously" injured.

The "alleged" victim was not "seriously" injured?
The hope is that she is seriously safe.

Update: Seattle Police SWAT team member and former United States Marine, Officer Todd Charles Harris has entered a plea of not guilty, and the trial is set for June 25, 2012.

The Seattle Times
Posted by Craig Welch
April 24, 2012
[Excerpts] An off-duty Seattle police [Special Operations Bureau] officer was arrested by Everett Police on Sunday for investigation of misdemeanor domestic violence, according to a statement from Seattle Police spokesman Jeff Kappel released Tuesday night. The unidentified male officer has been “re-assigned to home” while the matter is investigated, Kappel wrote... Everett Police spokesman Lt. Robert Goetz confirmed the arrest but declined to offer any details about the circumstances surrounding it. “We investigated the incident, we had probable cause to believe an incident occurred, and we were mandated to make an arrest,” Goetz said. The Seattle Police Department has begun the complaint process with the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which will keep abreast of developments in the Everett police investigation, he said. When the Everett investigation has concluded, the OPA will conduct a separate administrative investigation into the matter, Kappel wrote... [Full article here]

Seattle Post Intelligencer
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
[Excerpt] ...Lt. Robert Goetz of the Everett Police Department said the alleged assault victim was not seriously injured and was not taken to the hospital. Goetz also said the case would be handled by the Everett Municipal Prosecutor and not the Snohomish County Prosecutor. The department has initiated a complaint with the Office of Professional Accountability, and the OPA will keep an eye on Everett PD's criminal case for developments. When the criminal case is wrapped up, OPA officials will begin their own investigation to the officers conduct. SPD officials would not comment further on the case. [Full article here]


Seattle Times
By Steve Miletich
April 25, 2012
A Seattle police officer has pleaded not guilty to a charge of fourth-degree assault, stemming from his arrest Sunday in what Seattle police described as an off-duty domestic-violence incident in Everett. The officer, Todd Charles Harris, 43, entered his plea Monday in Everett Municipal Court, according to court records. A trial was set for June 25. Everett police Lt. Robert Goetz declined to provide details... In a news release that didn't name Harris, Seattle police said the officer has been reassigned to his home while the investigation continues. An internal-investigation complaint has been filed with the Seattle police Office of Professional Accountability... Harris was suspended for 10 days in 2004 after the department found that on at least four occasions he mishandled drugs and paraphernalia he had confiscated while working off-duty... In another domestic-violence case, a Seattle detective was arrested last year in Leavenworth by Chelan County sheriff's deputies who saw him dragging his girlfriend by her hair and coat across a gravel parking lot near an Oktoberfest venue. He was charged with fourth-degree assault but entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with prosecutors... [Full article here]

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety washington state spd politics Seattle Police Officer Todd Charles Harris]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

[MO] Ex-Sheriff's Deputy Clay Walker arrested for murder of estranged wife Jacque Sue Rawson-Waller

The husband of a Missouri woman who has been missing for nearly a year was charged with first-degree murder Monday even though his wife's body has not been found. [Ex-Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Deputy] Clay Waller, 41, also was charged with tampering with evidence in the death of his estranged wife, Jacque Waller, who was 39 when she disappeared June 1... On the day Jacque Waller disappeared, the Wallers had met with an attorney about divorce proceedings... Police say they found Jacque's laptop in her vehicle and it contained a personal diary detailing death threats Clay Waller had repeatedly made against her... "Clay told me that I didn't deserve to live and he wishes he had a gun so he could blow my head off that day," Jacque wrote on March 18, 2010. "He told me that a divorce would be my death sentence"...

[MO] $4000 REWARD for information on disappearance of Ex-Deputy's estranged wife Jacque Sue Rawson-Waller - ...Jacque Waller's sister, Cheryl Brenneke, also told ABC News that her sister feared what her husband may do if she ever left him. "He'd been threatening her for a solid year," she said. "He told her that divorcing her would be a death sentence... She always said, 'you don't know what he's capable of, I just don't want to be dead'... She was scared of him. She always told us he's not stable"... The major case squad was activated... "They took me seriously from the minute I walked into the building... I can't say enough about the Jackson Police Department and the major case squad. They are building a case"...



April 23, 2012
[Excerpts] The husband of a Missouri woman who has been missing for nearly a year was charged with first-degree murder Monday even though his wife's body has not been found. Clay Waller, 41, also was charged with tampering with evidence in the death of his estranged wife, Jacque Waller, who was 39 when she disappeared June 1. Clay Waller already is in federal prison for threatening his wife's sister, who has been caring for the couple's 5-year-old triplets since their mother's disappearance. He does not have a listed attorney. "There is a bit of relief in knowing that charges have been brought against Clay Waller," Jacque Waller's father, Stan Rawson, said in a statement. "The case is now in the hands of the prosecuting attorney, and we are confident that we will now finally get justice for our girl"... The FBI said last year that Clay Waller suggested to his father that he had broken Jacque Waller's neck and buried her in a hole that he dug in advance. But Clay Waller has not made any confession to police, and his father died before he could testify. Waller was sentenced to five years in federal prison in December and is serving time at a prison in the state of Louisiana. He pleaded guilty in October to threatening Brennecke through an online posting. "This is just the first part of it," Cheryl Brenneke, Jacque's sister, told the Southeast Missourian newspaper. "We will not rest until there's justice for Jacque, that's for sure. We won't let him get by with this. We're going to win this for her." Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle said one of the tampering charges alleges Clay Waller concealed his wife's body... [Full article here]

Huffington Post
David Lohr
[Excerpts] The estranged husband of Jacque Sue Waller, the missing mother of young triplets from Missouri, has been arrested for her murder. James "Clay" Waller, 40, was charged Monday with first degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence. He is being held on a one million dollar bond...  Jacque Sue Waller, 39, of Cape Girardeau, was last seen on June 1, 2011, when she went to her estranged husband's house to pick up her son. The child was not at the home when she arrived, and what happened to her after that remains a mystery... A former police officer, Clay Waller was almost immediately named a person of interest in the case. According to court documents, investigators conducted a search of Clay Waller's home in the days following his wife's disappearance. During the search, they allegedly found blood splatter in a hallway and on several pieces of torn carpet that had been hidden in a crawl space. The stains were later matched to Jacque Sue Waller's DNA profile... Clay Waller is currently incarcerated in a Louisiana prison, where he is serving a five-year federal sentence for making Internet threats against Jacque Sue Waller's sister, Cheryl Rawson Brennecke. In regard to the latest charges, Rawson said that while his family is confident justice will be served, they are hopeful Jacque Sue Waller's remains will be found. "What we want more than anything ... is to have Jacque home with her family and finally at rest," Rawson said. [Full article here]

Kevin Held
10:34 PM, Apr 23, 2012
[Excerpts] Cape Girardeau, MO - Clay Waller, the estranged husband of a missing mother of triplets, has been charged with murder in connection to her disappearance... According to court documents, the Wallers had been married 17 years and had three five-year-old children, but were going through divorce proceedings at the time of Jacque's disappearance.  Jacque had primary custody of the children and Clay Waller received visitation rights. On June 1, Jacque and Clay Waller both attended a meeting at a Cape Girardeau attorney's office to go over filing paperwork to move ahead with the divorce.  The attorney told investigators that Clay Waller became agitated during discussions on child custody, tax deduction filings and the settling of a retirement account to be held by Jacque... Police returned to the residence on June 6 and conducted a more thorough search of the property.  They discovered blood splatter patterns in the hallway, as well as the door trim and the top of the door jamb... On June 8, investigators found carpeting hidden in a basement crawlspace.  The carpeting had been cut into several pieces and had apparent blood stains, prosecutors said... Clay Waller told investigators that Jacque's nose began to bleed while she was visiting and that she tripped in the hallway while heading toward the bathroom.  He added that Jacque sneezed while in the bathroom, spraying blood about the room... [Full article here]

Southeast Missourian
By Scott Moyers
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
[Excerpts] Saying there was "no point in waiting any longer," prosecutors have charged Clay Waller with first-degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence nearly 11 months after his estranged wife first went missing. The murder charge alleges that Waller, 41, killed Jacque Sue Waller on or about June 1 by "unknown means," an offense punishable by a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said Monday he will not seek the death penalty. The first tampering with evidence charge claims that Waller hid his wife's body with the intent of impairing the murder investigation. The second tampering charge, both are felonies that carry four-year prison terms, charges that Waller concealed bloodstained carpet in the hallway of the house he was staying at in Jackson also with the purpose of "impairing its availability in the investigation of the murder of Jacque Sue Waller"... Nothing new had recently emerged to prompt the charges, said Lt. David James of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department, one of the top investigators on the case. He said the charges were simply the next phase of the investigation, which he said was not over. "We've just been able to piece parts of the puzzle together to be able to charge him at this point," James said. "We're going to continue to search for Jacque's body until we can find her. Way may not ever find her. But we're going to keep trying." Having no body, James said, would present a "hill to climb" for investigators in making their case. But it's not unprecedented, he said, for "body-less cases" to culminate in convictions. It just means that prosecutors will have to prove more facts and circumstances to convince the courts and, eventually a jury, about what police believe happened...  On the day Jacque Waller disappeared, the Wallers had met with an attorney about divorce proceedings. At the meeting, the couple argued about financial problems, according to the document prepared by Jackson Police Chief James Humphreys. Jacque Waller's blue Honda Pilot was seen at the house where Clay Waller was staying into the evening on the day she went missing, though there is no account of her whereabouts for several hours that afternoon and evening. Her family last heard from her when she said she was going to meet Clay Waller to get one of their children from him. The child ended up staying the night with Clay Waller's girlfriend, court documents say. Clay Waller later told police that Jacque left the house on foot after an argument and, that when he returned home that night, her vehicle was gone. The man who owned the home where Clay Waller was staying came home that night, he found Clay Waller out of breath on the patio floor, the statement says. Clay Waller told the man he'd been out for a bike ride... [Full article here]

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder missouri state politics unsolved unresolved]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[SA] South African police killing their wives, girlfriends, children and themselves in domestics

... Monday’s shooting is one of a growing number of cases of police officers killing their partners. On New Year’s Eve, a policeman stationed at the Garsfontein police station shot dead his wife and baby son before killing himself. He also shot his daughter, who survived the ordeal. In March last year, a police reservist went on a shooting rampage at the Akasia police station, killing his girlfriend before turning the gun on colleagues and then shooting himself... In March last year, an Akasia reservist, a Constable Mehlape, gunned down his girlfriend, reservist Constable Kgomotso Mathibe, before killing himself after a heated argument...

APR 17, 2012
[Excerpts] WITH screams of "no" echoing through a Pretoria police station charge office, colleagues of an enraged policeman, who had moments before shot his girlfriend five times in front of them, desperately tried to stop their friend from shooting himself. Constable Vutivi Mabunda, stationed at Moot police station, shot and killed himself seconds after he shot his girlfriend, Tsholanang Kgaladi... As police station members secured the scene and paramedics desperately tried to revive Kgaladi, Mabunda's colleagues gathered crying and hugging each other in support. A police officer said Mabunda loved Kgaladi. "He was so in love with her. I cannot understand why he did this. It doesn't make any sense," said the officer...

SA Time: Tue Apr 17 2012
[Excerpts] A young woman who went to the Moot police station for protection was fatally shot in the charge office by her ex-boyfriend, a policeman at the same station. Tsholanang Kgaladi, 23, wanted to collect her clothes from the flat of Constable Vutivi Mabunda, 24, but was too scared to go alone and wanted one of his colleagues to accompany her. Provincial duty officer Lieutenant Colonel Tshisikhwawe Ndou said: “As far as we know, Kgaladi called the station to request the assistance of a police officer to help her retrieve her clothing and belongings from Mabunda’s home. “She was then taken to the police station, and Mabunda, whose shift ended at 6am, was called to the station. It (seems) Mabunda, while discussing the dispute with fellow officers, drew his service pistol and shot Kgaladi and then turned the gun on himself,” Ndou said... Outside the station, an eyewitness, with a baby on the car seat next to her, was sobbing while being consoled by a friend. Her friend told the Pretoria News she had been inside the station when the shooting occurred and was too traumatised to speak. Ndou said police officers who were present during the shooting were traumatised and were receiving counselling. He said no one else was injured... “There was no evidence to suggest he was having any problems. This was a very gruesome and sad incident, and we advise all members who are experiencing any problems to consult the various pastors, social workers and psychologists available to them,” Ndou said... Monday’s shooting is one of a growing number of cases of police officers killing their partners. On New Year’s Eve, a policeman stationed at the Garsfontein police station shot dead his wife and baby son before killing himself. He also shot his daughter, who survived the ordeal. In March last year, a police reservist went on a shooting rampage at the Akasia police station, killing his girlfriend and seriously wounding a pensioner before turning the gun on colleagues and then shooting himself. It is understood that the reservist, a Constable Mehlape, was enraged that his girlfriend, reservist Constable Kgomotso Mathibe, had ended their five-year relationship shortly before and had filed a complaint of intimidation against him. In March last year, an Akasia reservist, a Constable Mehlape, gunned down his girlfriend, reservist Constable Kgomotso Mathibe, before killing himself after a heated argument. Although he could not supply figures, Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher of the crime and justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said the number of cop killings had increased over the past year...

APR 2, 2012
[Excerpts] A North West police constable yesterday killed his 27-year old girlfriend and another woman aged 25 in Ikopeleng village, near the Botswana border, before turning the gun on himself. The 26-year-old constable, who was stationed at Ramatlabama border post, went to his aunt's house where he forced open a window and shot the two women dead at 2am, said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane. Constable Kaane Obed Cornelius Ramorola shot dead Bontle Delia Gaboutlwelwe and her friend Motlalepule Aletta Mathikge. The two women were from Setumo Park in Signal Hill, Mahikeng. "We can also confirm that the member used his Z88 service pistol, 11 cartridge cases were found in the bedroom and one in the pistol, five projectiles were also found in the bedroom," said Ngubane. After the shooting, the constable contacted the police and told them what had happened. He later shot himself through the mouth, Ngubane said.

APR 4, 2012
[Excerpts] Relatives hid a two-year-old baby girl in the toilet as her crazed police constable father killed her mother and a friend - then searched for the toddler in vain - before committing suicide. Police constable Obed Ramorola shot dead his girlfriend Bontle Gaboutlwelwe and her friend Motlalepula Mathikga, and after unsuccessfully searching for the toddler, he put the gun in his mouth and killed himself. The incident took place in Ikopeleng village in Mahikeng, North West, on Sunday. Gaboutlwelwe's aunt Tshegofatso Tshukudu said yesterday: "We are certain he wanted to kill her too. He was looking for her all over but the baby was hidden in the toilet. When he did not find her, he killed himself"... Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said there are programmes to help stressed out officers... A police psychologist said: "Suicide scenarios are often seen in intimate partner situations and family murders. In intimate partner situations, it is often the ex-lover that cannot cope with the end of the relationship. Often, there is a history of jealousy and controlling behaviour in that relationship...

3 year old Khumo Motaung was shot and wounded when her police officer father Lucas Motaung shot and killed her mother Phindile, her 2 month old baby brother Bokamoso, and himself.

January 3 2012
[Excerpts] As little Khumo Motaung fights for her life in hospital, her relatives are battling to discover what drove her apparently loving father to shoot her and then gun down her two-month-old brother, their mother and himself... Colleagues at the Garsfontein police station in Tshwane, where Constable Lucas Motaung, 30, was stationed, said that when they last saw him on duty, he seemed excited about spending the weekend with his children and wife... Motaung - enraged by an apparent argument - opened fire on the three as they lay in bed in their West Park flat. It is believed that Motaung - who phoned his parents shortly before the killings - used his service pistol to shoot two-month-old Bokamoso first, before turning his gun on his wife and daughter...... Police spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane said information indicated that there had been an argument, followed by a series of gunshots.

Mon, 9 Jan 2012 10:31:41
[Excerpts] The 3-year-old Pretoria girl shot by her policeman father is still in a medically induced coma. |||The little Pretoria girl shot by her policeman father hours before her family could celebrate the new year is still in a medically induced coma in a Gauteng hospital.Khumo Motaung, 3, was shot in the head when her father, Constable Lucas Motaung, flew into a rage following an argument with her mother, Phindile, a medical technologist at Kalafong Hospital.Using his service pistol Motaung, who was stationed at Garsfontein police station, shot Khumo’s two-month-old brother, Bokamoso, in the head. The little girl is believed to have escaped death when her mother grabbed her father’s gun.It is believed that this action saved Khumo’s life. Motaung shot his wife in the head before he killed himself with a gunshot to the head.Speaking from his Pretoria home, Daniel Motaung said his niece was in a serious, but stable condition.“We had good news last week when Khumo responded to us after she was woken from her coma by doctors. “She recognised our voices and was holding our hands and moving about when we called her.“Unfortunately when doctors operated on her to remove blood clots from behind her eyes, she started having bleeding on the brain, which is why they put her back into a coma.“The doctors are very positive about her recovery. We just have to wait and see what happens and will continue praying until she gets better,” he said.Motaung said the family still had no answers to what caused his brother to murder his family.“The police have told us nothing. Since this has happened we’ve heard nothing from them. We want answers, but they are not telling us anything, which makes us angry.”Provincial police spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane said she would be able to reveal developments in the investigation later this week. - Pretoria News

January 18 2012 at 09:53am
[Excerpts] Khumo Motaung, dubbed the miracle baby, recovering in the intensive care unit of a Netcare Garden City Hospital after she was shot in the head two weeks ago by her policeman father. Photo: Etienne Creux The little Pretoria girl who was critically wounded in the head by a shot fired by her policeman father - who also killed her three-month-old brother, her mother and then himself on New Year’s Eve - is making a miraculous recovery. But, for the family of baby Khumo Motaung, dubbed the miracle baby by Netcare Garden City Hospital staff, there is grave concern that her medical aid coverage will run out by the end of the month. The family have learnt that Polmed, the medical aid of Khumo’s father, will apparently not cover her medical bills after the end of this month, unless one of her relatives pays her father’s monthly medical aid fees. Polmed is the medical aid for members of the SAPS. Adding to the family’s woes is the deafening silence from police on the state of their investigation into the family murder and suicide... The shooting, in which Motaung killed his infant son, Bokamoso, is believed to have been sparked by an argument between the policeman and his wife, Phindile, a medical technologist at Kalafong Hospital... Khumo was desperately trying to speak, but was battling. “You can see she wants to talk, but she can’t..."

DailySun blog
March 2011
[Excerpts] A JEALOUS police reservist turned a cop shop into a Hollywood film scene yesterday when he shot dead his cop girlfriend, injured a pensioner - and then committed suicide inside the blood-smeared police station... The two reserve constables at the centre of the horrible drama apparently were having a love affair which recently went sour. Both were in their 30s. and had not been identified at the time of going to press last night. It is alleged that the girlfriend wanted to end a relationship with the man - but he could not accept it. After the shooting stopped, their bodies were found in a room reserved for visitors to make affidavits and certify copies. Both reservists had bullet wounds in their heads... During the shooting, a pensioner was also injured... “The two started arguing, then the male cop grabbed the gun from a female colleague and started to chase his girlfriend. She ran inside the police station...

February 8 2012 at 04:55pm
[Excerpts] The Metro police officer who shot his wife before turning the gun on himself has died. Eugene Gilfellow, 30, was on life support after he shot his wife, Michelle,32, and himself in the head during an argument on Sunday afternoon. Police found the couple in their main bedroom where it is believed he used his service pistol. Michelle worked at Nyanga police station and is still clinging on for dear life. On Tuesday police confirmed Eugene died on Monday afternoon after his life-support machines were turned off... Michelle told a friend they were getting divorced...

February 21 2012
[Excerpts] The court has heard that the woman whom a police sergeant allegedly shot and killed, broke up with him earlier... Selby Hlongwa, 40, is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, 25-year-old Bhomubhomu Princess Ngcobo, a waitress, on January 15. He was granted bail at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Hlongwa, married with nine children, was a sergeant in the detectives unit at Durban Central Police Station at the time he was arrested... Ngcobo had moved out of the flat she had shared with Hlongwa at a police barracks in Stanger Street in December, when she learnt that Hlongwa had paid lobola for another woman... Hlongwa was seen grabbing Ngcobo’s bag, pulling her closer to him. Hlongwa allegedly fired shots at Ngcobo’s head and when she fell, he fired several other shots... Bail of R2 000 was granted. The case was postponed to March 30 for further investigation.

2010-08-29 23:12
[Excerpts] Pietermaritzburg - A woman was killed and her policeman husband stabbed at their home at Msinsi Game Reserve, Albert Falls Dam, in the early hours of Saturday. Erica Croeser, 32, had her throat slit with a knife that was also used to stab her 34-year-old husband, Constable Morné Croeser of the SAPS dog unit, in the stomach. When paramedics arrived they found the knife still lodged in his stomach. The scene was described as “very, very gory”. Police believe the murder was related to a labour dispute. Erica had been working at Albert Falls as a tourism assistant for 10 years.... A source said that while Morné parked the car, Erica went to open the front door of their house. Two intruders, who were waiting behind the door, pounced on her. The couple’s two young daughters, aged 6 and 10, were staying with their grandmother... Distraught neighbour Hlekisile Nkala told The Witness that she heard a gunshot just after 02:00, and about 10 minutes later she heard a male voice screaming for help... “At this stage police believe that this is linked to a labour dispute. She was a supervisor, and responsible for hiring and firing. Croeser’s mother Francoisana Schafer said the family are coping with “the sad story”, but declined to comment further... [Full article here]

Cop in court for wife’s death
February 2 2011 at 03:23pm
[Excerpts] A Pietermaritzburg policeman who was found with a knife wedged in his stomach and who told paramedics that he tried to fight the men who killed his wife, has been charged with her murder. Constable Morné Croeser 34, claimed that he and his wife, Erica, 33, were attacked by unknown assailants at their home at Msinsi Game Reserve at Albert Falls Dam in August last year. Friends of the dead woman who were in court yesterday said they were shocked that the policeman had been implicated in the crime.... Croeser told police at the time that, despite being stabbed, he somehow managed to get to his firearm and attempted to shoot the attackers... Croeser is a member of the Mountain Rise Dog Unit. His wife worked at the game reserve... [Full article here]

2011-02-08 23:01
[Excerpts] A member of the Pietermaritzburg police's dog unit, Morné Croeser, 34, charged with murdering his wife in a premeditated, staged robbery last August, could be back on the beat on Wednesday after being granted bail of R5 000 on Tuesday. At his bail hearing, Croeser denied he is a “walking time bomb” because of ongoing anger management issues. He also denied that, if allowed to go free and resume his duties armed with a firearm, he would pose a danger to others, including his daughters, aged three and six, because he knows he could face life imprisonment if convicted. “I will never, ever hurt my children,” he said. “My plan is to live a full life and to see my children.” A seemingly composed Croeser admitted he has a temper, that he assaulted his wife Erika in January 2010 and that he has had “more than one” affair during their marriage. He also admitted he was involved with his current girlfriend (identified only by her surname, Sinclair) at the time of his wife’s death, but he said he intends to plead not guilty to Erika’s murder... He did not comment on the State’s allegation that he stabbed himself in a bid to evade justice... He admitted that Erika’s parents met him in April or May last year to discuss his temper and said they did not want him at their home. He said he was not aware that Erika had sought a protection order against him because she was afraid for her life, as the State alleges she did... Investigating officer Swami Pillay of the organised crime unit said in an affidavit opposing bail that the State has a strong case against Croeser based on circumstantial evidence. This includes evidence by medical and other experts proving that the wound to Croeser’s abdomen was “probably self-inflicted” and that wounds to his hands were consistent with him holding the knife while stabbing his wife. Pillay said there is evidence that Croeser staged two break-ins at the couple’s home in the week prior to the murder in an attempt to mislead people... The case has been postponed to February 15. Croeser’s advocate Dawid Joubert disputed the state’s contention that the murder was premeditated. Even if Croeser did kill Erika, it was more likely to have been in the course of a “savage rage attack” as she had 14 stab wounds... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety fatality fatalities murder plot staged international south africa
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder south africa politics]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

[PA] Millersburg Officer Ulsh abused police powers to spy on estranged wife

... Ulsh admitted to falsifying the search warrant ...


Nate Wardle
[Excerpts] ...[Millersburg Police Officer Jeremy Ulsh] in Dauphin County is charged with breaking the law. The Dauphin County District Attorney says he abused his power to spy on his estranged wife... he used his position and knowledge as a cop to figure out a way to get that information... he allegedly falsified a search warrant... Officer Jeremy Ulsh, of Tower City, also allegedly used police equipment to videotape the outside of the woman's home. He then uploaded that video on to his personal Facebook page... Ulsh admitted to falsifying the search warrant but denies the videotaping allegation. He has been charged with perjury, tampering with public records and official oppression... Ulsh is suspended without pay. [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement technology public safety abuse of power color of law pennsylvania state politics]

Saturday, April 14, 2012

[CO] Read slowly: Fire Lt. Randy Cleveland's domestic reign of terror "pared down" from 20 to 2 charges

A longtime Brighton firefighter pleaded guilty this week to a felony stalking charge in connection to allegations he abused his wife for years... [Brighton Fire Lieutenant, former sheriff's deputy, Randy Cleveleand] originally faced more than a dozen [20] charges, all related to numerous instances of domestic abuse... Prosecutor Katharina Booth said it's not unusual to pare down several criminal counts to one or two specific counts in a plea deal...

That's true. It's not unusual. But after years of wife abuse, abusing his kids, sexual assualts, with his wife in hiding and even a couple of right-hearted fellow firefighters giving evidence against him,

is it RIGHT?

[CO] Brighton Fire Lt. Cleveland's wife, in-hiding, says police protected him, not her - A longtime Brighton firefighter [Fire Lt. Randy Cleveland] faces more than a dozen (20) charges, including sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, after allegations of years of attacks on his wife in a case in which police investigators have been accused of turning a blind eye to her assertions... And it's not just his estranged wife who accused Brighton police of looking the other way - two of his fellow firefighters also told investigators they believed he got "special treatment because officers knew him"... In all, he faces six felony charges: two counts of sexual assault, two counts of second- degree assault and one count each of attempted second-degree assault and stalking. He also is accused of eight misdemeanor counts of assault, three of which allege that he abused his young children during attacks on his wife... The firefighter's wife of five years is in hiding...

I see that there is no mention in today's news on Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett's contemplation on whether OR NOT he is going to investigate the police officers - who didn't help Mrs. Cleveland when she needed them to - for police misconduct.

What about them?
It's a wrap?
They are still out there fist-bumping and high-fiving each other when they beat their wives and kids and then cover for each other?

As usual I'm looking for, but cannot find, the voice of the local "professional" domestic violence community. They are too often paid from the same purse as the offenders, and these victims of officer, firefighter and public official domestic violence are "too politcal" for them to stand up for. Occasionally they rise for a high-profile case through which they can self-promote, but overall it's a sad, sad state of affairs. These victims are basically written off.

[Don't date just anyone in a hero's uniform.]

The Denver Post
A longtime Brighton firefighter pleaded guilty this week to a felony stalking charge in connection to allegations he abused his wife for years. Randy Cleveland, 36, will be sentenced June 29 in Adams County District Court. He originally faced more than a dozen charges, all related to numerous instances of domestic abuse. Those included shoving his wife down the stairs and punching her with a hammer handle, according to court documents. Cleveland this week pleaded guilty to stalking with domestic violence, a Class 5 felony, as well as attempted third-degree assault with domestic violence, a Class 2 misdemeanor. Prosecutor Katharina Booth said it's not unusual to pare down several criminal counts to one or two specific counts in a plea deal. One specific count can then include a longer time frame of offenses, Booth said. Booth is a lead prosecutor in the Boulder County district attorney's office, which took over both the prosecution and investigation in the case because of conflict-of-interest issues. At the time of his arrest, Cleveland was a lieutenant with the Brighton Fire Protection District. He was suspended without pay in July after an internal investigation.


The Huffington Post
Ryan Grenoble
35-year-old Randy Cleveland, a firefighter with the Greater Brighton Fire Protection District in Colorado, is facing at least a dozen charges after allegations of attacking his wife for years on end as police there neglected to take action.
The Denver Post reports that police responded to the couple's residence three times through 2010 and 2011. At one point, officers responding to a 911 call high-fived Cleveland; when his wife threatened to call the police after a later incident, Cleveland allegedly said "you know how well that works for you." Over the course of their five-year marriage, KDVR reports that Cleveland pushed his wife down the stairs, hit her with a hammer, and stomped on her with his firefighter boot. One time a female officer allegedly "fistbumped" him, after another an officer purportedly "friended" him on Facebook. After the case landed at the Adams County District Attorney's office, officials there initially declined to press charges. A friend of the victim told KDVR she believes police intentionally withheld evidence when submitting it to the DA. The Boulder District Attorney's Office came on as a special prosecutor, and Westword reports Boulder DA Stan Garnett is considering whether to investigate the officers who responded to calls for possible police misconduct. In the meantime, Cleveland is due in court on July 29 KWGN reports that his estranged wife is in hiding.
[firefighter police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fear terror repeat hx teflon brotherhood state politics]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

[PA] Legal System in the City of Lancaster, PA - by Rosaura Torres

On April 9, 2012, my civil trial was beginning. Thirty jurors enter the room, as I read their questionnaires. Out of thirty jurors each of them answered a questioned. The question was,



All the jurors were Caucasian except one, who was Asian. I was amazed that not one was either African American or Latino or Latina but when you walked around down town Lancaster, all I saw were both Latino’s and African American.

During the trial, it was revealed how retired Lt. Miller and retired Corporal Duby lied but - it did not matter. The jury found that retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Anthony Suber was not liable for the injuries I sustained.

Anyone with common sense would question why not one person of Latino or African American backround were on the jury pool? This should have been a mistrial once the questionnaire was revealed that most of the jurors would have believed a police officer or state trooper.

I will never stop speaking out against officer involved domestic violence. I will not stop helping all victims and survivors of domestic violence. To the jurors - blaming, shaming and guilting me for what happened to me, makes me stronger. I will not dig myself into a hole, I will stand strong for life.

God bless all of you,
Rosaura Torres

[Ms. Torres is author of Abuse Hidden Behind the Badge]
[police officer  violence brutality negligence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety justice injustice travesty pennsylvania state politics]

Sunday, April 8, 2012

[IA] Sometimes less is better

A temporary "injunction" has been issued against Northwood Police Chief Leo Dorsey, ordering him to stay away from his ex-wife’s home. This is one of those times when that's enough said.
More would only make it worse.
(I feel it.)

I'm also opting to not post his picture.

I'll put my forehead on my desk
and say a prayer.

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal gun terroristic threat unstable suicidal homicidal iowa state politics]

Saturday, April 7, 2012

[TX] Dallas Police suspend officer for 10 days after 2 domestic incidents

Dallas News
By Tanya Eiserer/Reporter
Sat., Apr. 7, 2012
[Excerpts] A Dallas police officer has been suspended for 10 days in connection with two domestic disturbances involving his wife in 2011. Cortney Thornton received the suspension last month following a disciplinary hearing... Thornton was arrested on a Class C misdemeanor assault charge in January 2011... He denied assaulting her. She later signed an affidavit of non prosecution and would not cooperate with the criminal investigation... A day after the [2nd] incident, Thornton's wife called the deputy chief at southeast patrol and told her that he had locked her out of their house, that she was scared of him and that she had no place to go. Internal investigators ultimately concluded that he also violated the department's administrative leave policy when he went to his wife's workplace. [See more: http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/04/a-dallas-police-officer-has-3.html]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety recant noncooperation uncooperative texas state politics hx repeat workplace]

[NYPD] Officer Johnson arrested and charged with armed rape of ex-girlfriend

Huffington Post
Posted: 04/ 3/2012
An NYPD safety school agent was arrested in Queens Monday after being accused of raping his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint, The New York Daily News reports. Cops busted 28-year-old Tommy Johnson at about 2:15 AM Monday, charging him with rape, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and assault in connection with the Saturday incident. According to NBC, two illegal guns were found in Johnson's apartment... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal sexual assault new york state politics]

[CO] Parents of former Lakewood police officer Tiffany O'Shell hope to keep another tragedy from happening

Lakewood Police Officer William O'Shell, with wife - former Lakewood Police Officer Tiffany O'Shell, and their daughter Alyssa.

[Caption] Tiffany and Dave O'Shell met when both worked for the Lakewood Police Department. He was working on a doctoral degree in philosophy in his spare time. Tiffany left the police force during her pregnancy, then returned to work as a halfway-house guard after Alyssa was born. (Photo provided by Paul Cuin) [Link]

[Caption] Paul Cuin still struggles to forgive his son-in-law, Dave O'Shell, for the murder-suicide that took his daughter's life as O'Shell faced allegations of child abuse. "He was a wonderful man. I loved him dearly," he said. But "he had choices. He made the wrong one." Jackie Cuin found forgiveness easier. "He was going to lose his wife. His job. His military service. He was never going to get Alyssa back." (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post) [Link]

Learning from Tiffany:
...[Tiffany's father Paul] Cuin recalled his final conversation with his daughter. "The last thing she said to me was, 'Please help me save my husband and my family'"... Tiffany told her mother that Dave said he was "going to shoot people" so police would have a real reason to arrest him... He was saying scary things...

Previous entries:

  • [CO] Murder-suicide: Officer O'Shell & recently-resigned Officer O'Shell - ...The Lakewood Police Department says William O'Shell was an officer with the Lakewood Police since March 2005 in the patrol division. They say Tiffany Cuin-O'Shell was an officer from April 2006 to September 2007...
  • [CO] It was Officer O'Shell who pulled the triggers - simultaneously - Lakewood police officer William O'Shell killed his wife, Tiffany Cuinn O'Shell, and himself in a murder-suicide last month near Commerce City. That was the conclusion reached by Commerce City police after autopsy results were completed...
  • [CO] Officer O'Shell murder-suicide update: Baby Alyssa has died - ...Jackie Cuin, Tiffany's mother, provided a copy of an e-mail from a doctor at the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics, who reviewed Alyssa's x-rays and determined the "fractures are consistent" with spinal muscular atrophy... But even after Alyssa died from the disease this week, Commerce City police still say Dave O'Shell abused his daughter... By the time Alyssa's tests came back, however, Dave O'Shell had shot his wife to death as she slept then put the barrels of two guns in his mouth and pulled both triggers...

The Denver Post
By David Olinger
POSTED:   04/01/2012
[Excerpts] Jackie Cuin stood outside her daughter's house, too frightened to walk through the door. All day long, Tiffany had not called or returned a call. That wasn't like Tiffany. This was an important day. Tiffany and her husband, Dave O'Shell, were supposed to meet with lawyers and a criminal investigator about the alleged abuse of their baby girl, Alyssa. Yet, late in the afternoon, their cars were parked in the garage. And their dog, Pandora, sat unattended on the front porch... Two weeks before, on June 17, 2008, Adams County child protection workers had taken Alyssa and handed her to a foster mother. They did so after a hospital found 11 broken bones in Alyssa's 3-month-old legs, but no bruises or other signs of abuse... Clouds of suspicion swirled around Dave... Dave had gone downstairs and returned with two handguns. He put one to the right side of his sleeping wife's face and shot her twice. Then he stuck both guns in his mouth and pulled the triggers. That very day, 15 miles away, a doctor at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora detected an illness in Alyssa that others at the same hospital had not. Something in her muscles: She was 3 months old and could not lift her head... Alyssa had spinal muscular atrophy, a debilitating genetic disease in a young child, lethal in a newborn... Three and a half years later, Paul and Jackie Cuin shared their account of a family tragedy, hoping to broaden knowledge about a genetic killer of infants and to spare someone else from mistaken accusations of child abuse. They also want Colorado to give accused parents better ways to appeal if a child protection agency balks at performing tests that could disprove abuse... Cuin recalled his final conversation with his daughter. "The last thing she said to me was, 'Please help me save my husband and my family.' And I said, 'We're doing everything we can.'"... Tiffany was a red-haired tomboy. She ran cross-country, played soccer, rode a motorcycle, became a starting point guard on her high school basketball team, coached basketball — a boys team — at an Adams County middle school... Dave was a bright, ambitious police officer who also served in the National Guard and worked on a doctoral degree in philosophy in his spare time... June 26: Dave visited Charles Cooper, Tiffany's grandfather. Over a basement game of pool, he talked about going to prison. "I just cannot stand anyone else with Tiffany," he said... Tiffany, who had her own lawyer, confided to a friend that her lawyer recommended filing for divorce if she wanted her baby back... June 28: Tiffany told her mother that Dave said he was "going to shoot people" so police would have a real reason to arrest him... He was saying scary things... Today, Paul Cuin still struggles to forgive Dave. "He was a wonderful man. I loved him dearly," he said. But "he had choices. He made the wrong one." Jackie found forgiveness easier. "I get it. I understand. He loved her too much," she said. "He was going to lose his wife. His job. His military service. He was never going to get Alyssa back." Still, "I'm heartbroken. There's no other words"... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder suicide child protection services welfare colorado state politics]

[IN] Trial for the murder of cop's estranged wife, Lisa "Nettie" Peterson, has begun [Updates]

Let justice be swift for
Lisa "Nettie" Annette Peterson

...[Deputy Prosecutor Zachary] Craig said the child had heard her mother "screaming for her life" and her father [Gaston Indiana Police Officer Benjamin Hankins] "shouting at Nettie to lay down and die"... 

June 4, 2011 - [IN] Lisa "Nettie" Peterson's life stolen by her cop ex -  Lisa "Nettie" Peterson was killed June 3. 2011 by her estranged husband Benjamin "Ben" Hankins. Hankins is a Gaston police officer, and a corrections officer. He has been jailed and charged with murder. Their three children are without them both.

11:13 PM, Apr. 2, 2012
[Excerpts] The morning he is accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife, Benjamin Hankins had sent her cellphone two nude photographs - of herself - and threatened to distribute them to acquaintances, a police officer said on Monday. Testimony is set to begin today in the Delaware Circuit Court 2 trial of Hankins, charged with murder in the June 2011 slaying of Lisa "Nettie" Hankins... The couple had been separated since the previous summer, and a divorce suit filed by Lisa Hankins had been pending since September 2010... Ben Hankins maintained he shot his wife in self-defense after she pointed a handgun at him...

The Star Press
Written by Douglas Walker
11:02 PM, Apr. 3, 2012
[Excerpts] Testimony wasn't even under way yet Tuesday in the murder trial of Benjamin Hankins before the defense had registered its first request for a mistrial... The shooting took place in the defendant's Harrison Township home, where Lisa Hankins - who had moved from the Gaston area into Muncie - had taken the couple's two oldest children to catch a school bus. It was Deputy Prosecutor Zachary Craig's reference, in his opening statement to jurors, to the youngest Hankins child - waiting in the mother's car when the shooting took place - that prompted defense attorney John Quirk's demand for a mistrial. Craig said the child had heard her mother "screaming for her life" and her father "shouting at Nettie to lay down and die." After Craig completed his remarks - which he told jurors had lasted 17 minutes, the length of time he said Benjamin Hankins had waited to call 911 after shooting his wife - Quirk asked Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Alan Wilson if he could raise an issue outside the presence of jurors. After the jury had left the courtroom, Quirk said Craig's "inflammatory" statement about the child's alleged comments would make it impossible for his client to receive a fair trial... Wilson denied the motion for a mistrial... The deputy prosecutor noted threatening text messages Benjamin Hankins is alleged to have sent to his estranged spouse. Craig also said all evidence refutes Hankins' claim that he fired in self-defense after his wife pulled a handgun. That evidence also reflects the last shot to hit the victim was fired after she had fallen to the floor... Brian Bunner, a computer forensic examiner for the Indiana State Police, read jurors text messages sent by Benjamin Hankins to his wife during the final months of her life. "Your day of reckoning is coming," Hankins wrote in one message. "If you had any idea of the consequences of your actions, you would be with me as a family"...

9:16 PM, Apr. 4, 2012
The Star Press
[Excerpts] The planned second day of testimony in the Delaware Circuit Court 2 murder trial of Benjamin Hankins was postponed Wednesday due to a defense attorney's illness. Officials hoped the trial would be able to resume at 9 a.m. today... The trial will not be in session on Good Friday, and is not expected to end until next week.

The Star Press
Written by Douglas Walker
11:23 PM, Apr. 5, 2012
[Excerpts] Bloody shoeprints found on the T-shirt that Benjamin Hankins was wearing at the time of his wife [Lisa "Nettie" Hankins]'s fatal shooting match the tread on his alleged victim's shoes, a forensic scientist said Thursday... When they make their final remarks to jurors next week, prosecutors Zachary Craig and Eric Hoffman are expected to refer to those shoeprints in a bid to bolster their claim that Hankins was standing over his already wounded victim when he fired a third and final gunshot that struck her leg. The day of the shooting, Hankins apparently told police he shot in self-defense after his wife - who had left him the previous summer and was pursuing a divorce - pulled another gun from his holster and threatened him. The same Indiana State Police scientist who analyzed the shoeprints, Roxanne Brooks, said she didn't find Lisa Hankins' fingerprints on that holster... Pathologist Paul Mellen said the 32-year-old victim was likely hit by three bullets -- one in the leg; one that passed through her arm, creating an apparent defensive wound, and then entered her chest and lung, and a third bullet that passed through her lower torso. The victim essentially bled to death, Mellen said, and likely could have survived her wounds only with a quick emergency medical response. Authorities allege Benjamin Hankins waited 17 minutes after firing the gunshots before he called 911... An ISP forensic biologist said he found no DNA on the handgun that Benjamin Hankins claims his wife pointed at him... An ISP blood-spatter analyst said the blood on Benjamin Hankins' .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun likely came from a source "a couple of feet" from the weapon when it was fired...


The Muncie Star Press
Douglas Walker
6:17 PM, Apr. 11, 2012

MUNCIE — A jury on Wednesday found rural Gaston resident Benjamin Hankins guilty of murdering his wife, Lisa "Nettie" Hankins.

The jury determined Hankins deserves an enhanced sentence of five years beyond the normal 65-year maximum. Members determined in a second phase of the trial that Hankins used a firearm in the crime. His sentencing is set for May. 10.

Hankins kept his eyes downcast as the verdict was read, and he did not appear surprised. His supporters were composed, and survivors of the victim shed tears of relief.

Judge Alan Wilson's Delaware Circuit Court 2 had a standing-room-only crowd for the decision. Those in attendance included relatives of both Ben Hankins and Lisa Hankins, as well as several Delaware County deputies.

The verdict came after about 150 minutes of deliberating, which also included time for the panel to eat lunch.

There was a heavy security presence in the courtroom, and prior to the reading, Hankins sat alone at the defense table.

The Muncie Star Press
Douglas Walker
11:15 PM, Apr. 11, 2012

MUNCIE -- Benjamin Hankins' demeanor changed little Wednesday afternoon when he learned he had been convicted of murder.

As he had for much of his Delaware Circuit Court 2 trial, the 37-year-old rural Gaston man kept his eyes downcast as Judge Alan Wilson read the guilty verdict, reached by a jury comprised of seven women and five men that deliberated for about 150 minutes.

Hankins -- who gunned down his 32-year-old estranged wife, Lisa "Nettie" Hankins, in the defendant's Harrison Township home last June 3 -- will face a standard 55-year prison term when he is sentenced by Wilson on May 10.

Because jurors -- in an abbreviated second trial after the murder conviction was announced -- also made a formal finding that Hankins used a firearm in committing his crime, a five-year sentence enhancement will be added to the prison term imposed by Wilson.

While Hankins and members of his family remained composed when the verdict was announced, a few of the shooting victim's survivors shed tears of relief and exchanged hugs after jurors left the courtroom.

"I can breathe a little deeper right now," Jason Adams, married to one of Lisa Hankins' two sisters, said a few minutes later. "All praise to God."

Adams said seeing the "load lifted" from the shoulders of Nick and Andrea Peterson -- the shooting victim's parents, who are raising her three young children -- brought him to tears.

"It's never been about vengeance," Adams said. "It's about a desire to for God's will to be done."

Defense attorney John Quirk had rested his case -- which consisted of showing jurors a video recording of his largely unresponsive client being questioned by a police officer two days after his arrest, and playing an audio recording of an angry voice-mail message Lisa Hankins left on her husband's phone several weeks before her death -- on Wednesday morning without calling his client to the witness stand.

In their closing statements to jurors, deputy prosecutors Eric Hoffman and Zachary Craig focused on threatening text messages Hankins had sent his spouse during the 10 months they were separated.

They also maintained Hankins' claims -- made to police the day of the slaying, that he had opened fire on his wife only after she had pointed another of his handguns at him -- were refuted by the evidence.

Hoffman said the defendant "chose to gun (the victim) down like an animal, and execute her in that kitchen."

The deputy prosecutor said the killing came after Hankins realized "his bullying and threatening" and "sanctimonious text messages" would not persuade his wife to end her pursuit of a divorce.

Craig noted that after moving to Muncie, Lisa Hankins on school days drove her children to their father's home, where the two oldest youngsters caught a bus to Wes-Del Elementary School.

The defendant used his spouse's "love for her children to murder her," he added.

Defense attorney Quirk maintained it defied "common sense" to suggest his client had planned the killing.

He insisted the self-defense claim was credible, saying Lisa Hankins had entered the defendant's house "mad" and "upset" after the defendant threatened, via text message, to distribute nude photographs of her to acquaintances.

"He had a reasonable belief that she was going to shoot him," the defense attorney said. "It doesn't make any less tragic of a story."

Quirk also questioned the relevancy of testimony that Hankins waited as long as 17 minutes after shooting his wife to call 911. The victim bled to death after being hit by three bullets, one that went through an arm and entered her chest, another that passed through her lower torso, and a third that struck a leg.

"Once those shots were fired, nothing could have saved Nettie," Quirk said.

The defense attorney also read Biblical passages condemning divorce and adultery, telling jurors they "reflect my client's view."

Another of Nettie Hankins' brothers-in-law, Anderson pastor James Proctor, said in an interview that it was the faith of the victim's survivors that carried them through the ordeal of her loss.

"There's been a real singleness of focus," he said, adding that even with the relief brought by Wednesday's verdict, "it still doesn't bring her back."

Craig, prosecuting his first murder case, said no consideration had been given to offering a plea agreement.

"It was one of those cases that needed to be tried," he said.

Muncie Star Press
Douglas Walker
May. 10, 2012

A sentencing hearing for Benjamin Hankins -- convicted of murder in the June 2011 shooting death of his estranged wife -- came to an abrupt end on Thursday.

Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Alan Wilson ordered that Hankins -- who had earlier given a rambling 49-minute statement in which he alternately apologized to and condemned his victim's survivors -- be evaluated by a local psychiatrist and psychologist before he is sentenced.

The judge said any assessment of the 37-year-old Hankins' mental condition would have no bearing on his murder conviction, but could be a factor in his sentencing.

Thursday's proceedings concluded before either deputy prosecutors Eric Hoffman and Zachary Craig or public defenders John and Jack Quirk made any arguments concerning what sentence Hankins should receive.

The hearing will resume after Hankins is interviewed and evaluated by the mental health professionals, Wilson said.

Hankins -- who gunned down 32-year-old Lisa "Nettie" Hankins in the defendant's Harrison Township home last June 3 -- had told the judge he was a victim of a conspiracy, maintaining police had tampered with a handgun he claimed his victim had threatened him with before he shot her three times.

"Someone is responsible for the pistol being cleaned, not only of blood but of fingerprints that would have proved Nettie held it," he said.

Hankins referred to Hoffman as "the beast." a nickname he said other jail inmates had for the deputy prosecutor, and called Kurt Walthour, county police investigator, "a liar."

He said virtually every prosecution witness had lied to secure his conviction, and criticized coverage of his case by The Star Press.

Hankins -- who didn't testify at last month's trial -- called the proceedings "a mockery of the justice system," adding he had been the victim of "lies, a crooked investigation and trial."

He at times lambasted his wife's parents, sisters and their husbands, saying they had "hated and persecuted me for years," at some family gatherings "mocking me and hurting my feelings."

Hankins -- a reserve Gaston police officer and prison guard at the time of the slaying -- called himself a "laid-back, easy-going country boy" who was never appreciated by his wife's family of "vain city slickers."

At some points, he offered the targets of his criticism his tearful apologies.

"I took Nettie from you," he said. "I'm sorry for my sin."

Then, however, he would return to his castigation of his wife's family, saying more than once, "Shame on you."

Hankins also battled to control his emotions as he remembered his first date with his future spouse, recalling "those beautiful blue eyes," saying he knew almost instantly "she was the one for me."

He wept as he recalled the births of the couple's three "sweet, beautiful, innocent children."

Hankins said his wife -- who left him and sued for divorce in the late summer of 2010 -- gave in to "her own lusts and selfishness," influenced by "a lie by Satan" and her "non-Bible-believing co-workers."

He also read several passages from the Bible, most addressing the issue of divorce, which Hankins said he didn't condone.

"We lived in an increasingly wicked society," Hankins said, where "marriage has been made a mockery."

After Hankins' remarks ended -- a few seconds shy of 50 minutes after they began -- Judge Wilson called for a recess, and asked to meet with attorneys in his chambers.

When he later returned to the bench, Wilson said it would "be in the best interests of everyone" to have Hankins evaluated by mental health examiners.

The resulting reports will "supplement" a pre-sentence investigation report, the judge said, but will "not disturb the verdict of the jury in any way."

"You are not required to talk to the evaluators," Wilson told Hankins. "However, it would be greatly to your advantage to do so."

The only other witness at Thursday's hearing was Jason Adams, married to one of Nettie Hankins' two sisters, and spokesman for her family.

"Life is about consequences," Adams said. "We reap what we sow. ... The consequence is three children no longer having their mother."

Adams maintained his former brother-in-law - who faces up to 70 years in prison - deserves a maximum sentence.

"People are fearful for their lives if he gets out early, and rightly so," he said.

Hankins, for his part, later had harsh words for his ex-brother-in-law, calling him "spineless" and telling him he had "sinned against God."
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