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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Casey Anthony case: What is Jose Baez's secret strategy?

The TV Guy a blog
by Hal Boedeker

Right: The DEAD CHILD, Caylee Anthony

What does defense attorney Jose Baez know that everyone else doesn't?

Baez seeks a private meeting with the judge to argue a motion. He wants to subpoena records -- without disclosing what they are -- that he sees as crucial to defending Casey Anthony, WESH-Channel 2's Bob Kealing explained.

"All along, Jose Baez has said he knows information that will help explain why Casey Anthony didn't report Caylee missing for a month and why Casey didn't kill her daughter," Kealing said.

Baez wouldn't discuss details of his secret strategy when Kealing asked.
Criminal defense attorney Richard Hornbsy, who offers legal analysis for WESH, said Baez's move could be smart. "He sees something that everybody else is missing, and he doesn't want to tip the state off to what it is he is going to raise at trial," Hornsby said.

Or Baez's strategy could backfire if the state figures out what Baez wants, Hornsby said. "In some ways he's raising a big red flag and he's saying, 'Hey, look at me,' " he said.

Baez on Tuesday started the first of 10 depositions by questioning a corrections official, Sgt. Dennis Moonsammy.

The deposition took an hour and 10 minutes, WKMG-Channel 6's Adam Longo said.
Longo explained how Moonsammy has been mentioned in the case: In August, he handed to a captain a letter written by Anthony. In that letter to then-Sheriff Kevin Beary, Anthony sought a meeting with her father.

"Sources tell us that letter is tied to an allegation of police misconduct that Baez made in a motion a while back that relates to a video visitation Casey had with her parents," Longo said.
Moonsammy told Longo he had no idea why Baez wanted to talk to him. "I didn't do anything wrong," Moonsammy told Longo.
Did Moonsammy see Anthony's reaction when her daughter's remains were found? WFTV-Channel 9's Jeff Deal wanted to know. "No, sir," Moonsammy said.

WESH also reported that Amy Huizenga, Casey Anthony's friend and a key witness for the state, has hired a lawyer and won't give a deposition to Baez this week.

Crystal Sheffield suffers seizure, involved in fender-bender

March 31, 2009

PALAKTA, FL -- The mother of a missing girl from Palatka had a fender bender in Palatka.
The minor crash happened on Crill Avenue. Crystal Sheffield hit the rear bumper of a car in front of her.

According to police, she was getting into the left-hand turn lane when she rear-ended the car in front of her at a very low rate of speed.
No one was hurt.

UPDATE--It has been reported that Crystal Sheffield suffered a seizure when the accident occured on Monday.

Anthonys Want To Visit Casey At Jail

Family Requesting To Mourn Caylee With Casey
March 30, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. -- George, Cindy and Lee may soon visit Casey Anthony in jail...

George and Cindy Anthony asked permission to gather with their daughter to hold a family requiem of sorts for Caylee.

A source close to the family told WESH 2 News the wheels are in motion for that meeting, so the family can mourn Caylee together for a short time.
What's good for one is good for all. The jail has other people housed that murdered their children. Do they all get a private "mourning" session? It would be a dangerous precedent to set. Casey does not even try to eek out a tear anymore. She's the bell of the ball right now, however twisted that may be. She does not appear to need that type of support and since the permission is being requested by George and Cindy, they evidently need something from her. By now you would think they would see Casey has nothing to give but lies.

Sisters to be buried with brother who killed them

AP Legal Affairs Writer
Associated Press
March 31, 2009

BOSTON (AP) -- Two sisters and the brother who killed them with a kitchen knife will share a single funeral service and be buried together. Samantha Revelus, 17, and her sister, Bianca, 5, were killed at their Milton Massachutes home Saturday. Police shot the girls' brother, Kerby Revelus, 23, after an officer saw him decapitate the younger girl. A surviving sister, 9-year-old Saraphina, was recovering at a Boston hospital Monday after having surgery.

Ernst Guerrier, a Boston attorney and family friend, said he spent Monday morning with parents Regine and Vronze Revelus as they made plans to bury the three together.

"They are still dealing with the shock and disbelief of losing three of their children," said Guerrier. Guerrier said there was nothing to indicate Kerby Revelus "was capable of something like this or that this tragedy could have been prevented."

Kerby Revelus had been in trouble before, but his criminal record does not show anything close to the level of brutal violence he unleashed on his sisters on Saturday.

In September 2004, he was charged with assault and battery after another sister, Jessica Revelus, then 17, called police and said her brother, then 19, had punched her in the face during an argument over a phone bill. Kerby Revelus admitted he punched his sister, and told police he was upset with her because she owed him some money, according to a Milton police report.

Jessica Revelus declined medical attention and told police she did not want to get a restraining order against her brother. "Ms. Revelus told me that she was not in fear of her brother and had no wish to pursue the matter," the arresting officer wrote in the report.

Jessica Revelus told the Boston Herald that her brother had done two stints in jail. He was arrested for assault and battery in August 2004 after he was involved in a fight with several other teenagers.

Then in December 2005, he was charged with carrying a firearm without a license after he tried to buy alcohol at a liquor store in Randolph. A store clerk called police when he saw a pistol magazine in Revelus' pocket, and police later found the magazine and a handgun in Revelus' waist band. He was sentenced to serve six months in jail, and was released in September 2008.

Investigators believe Revelus had been agitated since Friday night, when he got in a fistfight with a neighbor in this tony suburb that is also home to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Revelus attacked his siblings with a kitchen knife on Saturday while their grandmother, who neighbors say lives on the first floor, was doing laundry in the basement, investigators said. The children's parents were not home.

Samantha Revelus called 911, but the dying girl quickly gave the phone to Saraphina, Milton police said. Nolan said police will not release the 911 call. "It's horrific. We'd be doing a tremendous disservice to the survivors if we released that. They don't need to listen to that," Nolan said.

Nolan said an officer patrolling the neighborhood arrived less than a minute after the 911 call and heard screaming inside the apartment. He kicked the door in and saw Revelus decapitate his 5-year-old sister.

As other officers arrived, Kerby ran into a bedroom and began to attack Saraphina. Two officers shot him, Nolan said.

The parents were still making final arrangements for Saturday's burials, Guerrier said.

"The reasons why it happened, what happened, how it happened is still just a blur to them," he said. "They can't even imagine it."

Prosecutor gets Adam Herrman case

Derby/Towanda, Kansas
March 31, 2009
Tim Potter, kansas.com
The Wichita Eagle

EL DORADO - For the most part during a news conference Monday, Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy declined to reveal his thinking about the mysterious disappearance of 11-year-old Adam Herrman.

Murphy summoned reporters after promising to notify them when his detectives turned their investigative findings over to County Attorney Jan Satterfield. That happened Friday, when detectives delivered a nearly 3-foot-tall stack of papers, he announced.

Now, it's up to Satterfield to decide whether criminal charges will be brought against Adam's adoptive parents a decade after he disappeared.

Although Murphy didn't reveal much, he said this: "I feel there is enough to charge the parents -- with what, is not up to me, and I'm not going to speculate on it. But I see charges there."
Asked whether he expected murder charges, he wouldn't say.

Satterfield has told The Eagle that murder charges are possible. Murphy's latest comments were the furthest he has gone in publicly pointing a finger at Adam's adoptive parents, Doug and Valerie Herrman of Derby. "Our focus is on the Herrmans right now," he said. "And I will tell you that... our focus has not switched."

Asked whether he thinks Adam is dead, Murphy said, "From the bottom of my heart, guys, I can't make that call because I don't know," he said, stressing the words. "I wish I could make that call, but I can't."

Asked whether investigators have found any physical evidence of the boy, Murphy said, "We have not found any body parts of Adam Herrman."

He noted that, despite a nationwide alert, authorities have not heard from Adam, who would be 21 now.

Valerie Herrman has told The Eagle that Adam ran away from their Towanda mobile home in early May 1999 after she spanked him with a belt. She said the couple didn't report him missing because they feared it would lead to him and their other children being taken from their custody (thus losing their monthly check for having adopted special needs kids, in this case siblings.)
Several of Valerie Herrman's relatives have said they saw her abuse Adam over the years, but she denies it.

The relatives said she explained Adam's absence by saying he had gone back into state custody.
He had been home-schooled, so he would not have been reported absent from school (after having been reported to SRS by his last school school, Pleasant View in Derby, after a counselor noticed Adam heavily bruised.)

Authorities didn't discover his disappearance until late last year, after his adoptive sister came forward with concerns about him.

Warner Eisenbise, attorney for Valerie Herrman, declined to comment Monday.
Dan Monnat, attorney for Doug Herrman, said his client is "innocent of causing any harm to Adam Herrman. We understand the prosecutor is looking at charges, and we're confident she'll come to the same conclusion."
Butler County District Attorney Satterfield could not be reached. Detectives have given her page after page of interviews and details about searches. "She has every piece of paper," Murphy said in an interview before the news conference. "Now, she can do her own investigation of the investigation."

He said they expect Satterfield to pose new questions for them to answer, and they will keep investigating.

Butler County detectives and search teams have looked for human remains along the Whitewater River near Towanda and in the Towanda mobile home park where Adam disappeared.

They also checked for possible evidence in the manufactured home he lived in before it was moved to rural northwest Sedgwick County.

Murphy said it's possible that investigators could conduct more searches. One remaining option is ground-penetrating radar.

Tips still trickle in. The latest came Monday in an e-mail from out of state. Murphy called the e-mail "interesting" but declined to say why.

Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Kelly Herzet, lead investigator on the case, said he wants the public and potential tipsters "to know we're not done" taking tips or investigating the disappearance.

Anyone with information can call detectives at 316-322-8817 or toll free at 866-484-5924, he said. Information can be sent by e-mail to crimetips@bucoks.com.

"We're always looking for that little piece" of information that could be crucial to the case, Herzet said.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Young woman found dead inside Wichita apartment Sunday

March 29, 2009

A maintenance man at an apartment complex found the body of a 25-year-old woman lying in her tub, according to Wichita Police.

Homicide detectives, lab scientists, and the coroner were all called out Saturday to the 8500 block of E. 21st Street.

As of Sunday, police say they have yet to determine the cause of death.

Nursing home gunman 'had cancer'

Tom Baldwin in Washington and Anne Barrowclough
March 30, 2009
This is an article from the United Kingdom.

Carthage, Massachutes--A gunman who shot dead eight people at a North Carolina nursing home had told family members he had been diagnosed with cancer, according to his ex-wife.

Robert Stewart, 45, walked into the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Centre in Carthage and opened fire at 10 am on Sunday, killing seven residents and a nurse, and injuring several others including a police officer before he was himself shot and injured.

Authorities would not comment on the motivation for the latest massacre to scar American society, where firearms-related deaths total about 30,000 each year.

But Stewart's ex-wife Sue Griffin said he had recently told relatives he had cancer, was preparing for a long trip and said he was going to "go away".

Ms Griffin, who was married to Stewart for 15 years before they divorced in 2001, said he had been violent during their marriage.

"He did have some violent tendencies from time to time," she said. "I wouldn't put it (the shooting) past him. I hate to say it, but it is true."

Although the couple had not spoken since their divorce, the week before the shooting Stewart made a number of efforts to contact her through family members, she said.

The nursing home, about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh, has 90 beds. It was recently awarded a five-star rating for the care it offers to people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Police said Stewart did not work at the home and was not believed to be related to any of the victims.

One of the residents called her daughter after the gunman stormed into her room and screamed "They're up here shooting, they're up here shooting."

Ellery Chishole told her daughter Beverly McNeill she hid her face in her shirt so she couldn't see Stewart after had pointed his 'deer gun' at her room mate. He left the room without hurting the women, and began shooting down the hallway.

The shooting will inevitably be seized upon by proponents of greater gun control who have already highlighted a spate of recent attacks.

Earlier this month Michael McLendon, 28, shot dead his mother, his grandmother, an uncle, a nephew and a cousin in a rampage that ended ten lives before he killed himself when cornered by police.

In Covina, California, last Christmas, nine people were killed when Bruce Pardo attacked a family party dressed in a Santa Claus suit. Among those dead were his ex-wife and former in-laws.

Every year, over 30,000 Americans die by gunshot, most of them suicides but including at least 10,000 murders. This is twice the number of 4,260 US soldiers killed in six years of the Iraq war.

Britain - which has some of the tightest firearms laws in the world - had just 50 deaths through gun crime in 2005-06, the last year for which figures are available. Of course Britian is approxiamately the size of Alabama with a population of about 60 million, vs US with a population of over 300 million. A better comparison would be the US vs statistics for the European Union.

Supporters of the so-called "Second Amendment" right to bear arms have said incidents such as the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre when Cho Seung Hui killed 32 people would have been prevented if students had been carrying their own weapons.

President Obama, wary of taking on powerful vested interests like the National Rifle Association, has said he opposes a crack-down on gun ownership. Asked yesterdaywhether he was concerned that 90 per cent of the weapons used in Mexico's drugs war were smuggled in from the US, he told CBS's Face the Nation programme: “I think the main thing we need is better enforcement".

Although both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder have recently suggested they are interested in reintroducing a ban on assault weapons which the Bush Administration allowed to expire, dozens of Democratic Congressmen have pledged to oppose any such legislation.

7 residents, nurse die in NC nursing home shooting

March 29, 2009

CARTHAGE, N.C. (AP) — A gunman burst into a North Carolina nursing home Sunday morning and started "shooting everything," killing seven residents and a nurse and wounding at least three others.
Robert Stewart, 45, of Moore County, was charged hours later with eight counts of first-degree murder and a single charge of felony assault of a law enforcement officer. Authorities offered few other details, allowing only that Stewart was not a patient or an employee at the nursing home, and isn't believe to be related to any of the victims.
"It's a horrible event in any size town, particularly, though, when you deal with a small town such as Carthage," said Police Chief Chris McKenzie. "It's hard. This is my home, my small town. I was born and raised here so, yeah, I take it to heart a little bit. All you can do is move forward."
Authorities said Stewart began his rampage around 10 a.m. at Pinelake Health and Rehab, a nursing home in the North Carolina Sandhills about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh. A police officer, 25-year-old Justin Garner, was also wounded before Stewart was shot and apprehended.
Sen. Harris Blake, a Moore County Republican, said six people were killed at the scene and two died later at a hospital in nearby Pinehurst. He said sheriff's officials told him that Stewart "comes in and just starts shooting everything around."
The victims were identified as residents Tessie Garner, 88; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jessie Musser, 88; Bessie Hendrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise Decker, 98; and nurse Jerry Avent, whose age wasn't immediately available.
Gretchen Kelly, a spokeswoman at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in nearby Pinehurst, said six people were brought to the hospital from the nursing home. Two died, two were discharged and two were still being treated. She wouldn't release further details on the injuries or conditions of those hospitalized.
Late Sunday afternoon, authorities appeared to be conducting a search of the nursing home's parking lot, which they had blocked off with yellow police tape. Among the items they found was a camouflaged-colored rifle or shotgun, which was leaning against the side of a Jeep Cherokee.
The road leading to the home was filled with parked cars, both of police and relatives of those living at Pinelake. Howard McMillian, of Lakeview, said he raced to the scene as soon as he heard about the shooting. His 56-year-old sister lives at the nursing home, and McMillian said his brother had gotten a call from officials saying she was unharmed.
"I know she's real nervous," McMillian said. "I just want to make sure she's OK." A nursing home Web site said the facility that opened in 1993 has 110 beds, including 20 for those with Alzheimer's disease.
Carthage is a small town of roughly 1,800 people in the North Carolina Sandhills, an area popular among retirees and home to several noted golf courses, including the famed Pinehurst resort and its No. 2 course that regularly hosts the U.S. Open.
Pinelake Health and Rehab was last inspected in May, and the review resulted in an overall five-star — or "much above average" — rating from federal Medicaid officials.

Associated Press Writer Erin Gartner contributed to this report from Raleigh, N.C.
On the Net:
Pinelake Health and Rehab: http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.peakresourcesinc.com/nursing/pinelake.h&usg=AFQjCNEHp1se88WGC5kLvlk0-H8-lkHZIQ

Massachutes man Kerby Revelus, kills 2 sisters, but police save the 3rd

Associated Press
March 29, 2009

MILTON, Mass. (AP) - Police say they don't know why a Milton, Mass., man fatally stabbed his 17-year-old sister and decapitated his 5-year-old sister just a day after her birthday.

Milton police Chief Richard G. Wells Jr. says 23-year-old Kerby Revelus had turned toward his 9-year-old sister with a knife in his hand before officers shot him dead. The girl is hospitalized with stab wounds. The children's parents were away at the time of the attack.

Wells says Revelus had gotten into a fistfight with a man living next door about 24 hours earlier and had been agitated in the hours that followed that.

According to Wells, Revelus had recently served jail time on a gun charge. And he says officers had been called to the family's house in 2004 after a domestic violence report.

A neighbor calls the family "solid." He says it "completely makes no sense."

Doctor acquitted in late-term abortion case

But after the verdict, Kansas board reveals new complaint against him

March. 27, 2009
Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. - One of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers was acquitted Friday of misdemeanor charges stemming from procedures he performed, but moments after the verdict the state’s medical board announced it was investigating allegations against him that are nearly identical to those the jury had rejected.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dr. George Tiller had in 2003 gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury took only about an hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.

Tiller, who could have faced a year in jail for even one conviction, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple declined to speak to reporters afterward.

“You would hope it would be over,” said Tiller attorney Dan Monnat, “but there is a group of people who want to suppress the constitutional rights of women.”

Tiller, 67, has claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic more than four years ago, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

More trouble aheadProsecutor Barry Disney said the case was one “that needed to be tried for the community, for everyone to have resolved.”

Soon after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts made public a complaint against Tiller that alleges, as prosecutors did, that Tiller and Neuhaus had financial or legal ties that violated the law regarding abortions performed in 2003. The complaint was filed in December but not released until Friday.

The board, which regulates doctors, could revoke, suspend or limit Tiller’s medical license, or fine him. Board spokeswoman Kristi Pankratz said the criminal case and its outcome did not affect the administrative case, which will “proceed on its own merits.” No hearings have been scheduled yet, she said.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

Kansas law allows abortions after a fetus can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” a phrase that has been interpreted to include mental health.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them. According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Opponents express frustrationProsecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers’ advice — an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges. They also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn’t quote him.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said abortion opponents were never confident that Tiller would be prosecuted aggressively enough by Attorney General Steve Six.
“Even if Tiller had been found guilty, he would have appealed to the Supreme Court,” Culp said, noting that four of the Kansas high court’s seven justices were appointed by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights.

Phill Kline, the former attorney general who started the investigation, expressed frustration at the prosecutors who tried the case, noting that their only witness was Neuhaus.

“You do not win cases nor achieve justice by calling one witness and ordering your staff not to initiate any additional effort to gather evidence,” Kline said in a written statement.

Disney said his office had thoroughly investigated the case and “presented all the evidence that there was.”

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

Meanwhile, Sebelius signed a bill Friday ensuring that clinics give women and girls seeking abortions a chance to see ultrasound images before performing the procedure. The legislation, which takes effect July 1, also requires clinics to offer abortion patients a chance to listen to the fetal heartbeat.

Sebelius signed the measure as she awaits U.S. Senate confirmation as federal Health and Human Services secretary. Anti-abortion groups in Washington have criticized her nomination because she supports abortion rights. The bill amends a state law requiring doctors to obtain a patient's informed consent before performing an abortion.

8 dead in N.C. nursing home shooting

The shooting at a Carthage facility left several others injured

Associated Press
Sunday, March 29, 2009

CARTHAGE, N.C. - Authorities said man accused of opening fire in a North Carolina nursing home faces eight counts of first-degree murder.

District Attorney Maureen Krueger identified the suspect in the killings of eight people as 45-year-old Robert Stewart of Moore County. He also faces a charge of felony assault of a law enforcement officer.

Authorities said seven residents and one nurse were killed in the 10 a.m. rampage Sunday at Pinelake Health and Rehab in the town of Carthage, about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh. A police officer and several other people were also wounded before Stewart was shot and apprehended.

Authorities at an afternoon news conference said Stewart did not work at the facility and they don't believe he is related to any of the victims.

'Comes in and starts shooting'

Sen. Harris Blake of Moore County said the gunman "comes in and just starts shooting everything around."

Gretchen Kelly, spokeswoman at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, said six people had been brought to the hospital from the nursing home about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh. Kelly said two of the injured died at the hospital.

Kelly said two other patients had been discharged, while two were still being treated. She wouldn't release further details on the injuries or conditions of those hospitalized.

McKenzie said the gunman wasn't a patient at the nursing home, but didn't offer any further details on what the gunman's motive might have been.

A nursing home Web site said the facility that opened in 1993 has 110 beds, including 20 for those with Alzheimer's disease.

Calls to the nursing home by The Associated Press rang unanswered Sunday, and McKenzie and several state law enforcement agencies didn't immediately return messages or declined to comment. Police planned a news conference for later Sunday afternoon.

Carthage is a small town of roughly 1,800 people in the North Carolina Sandhills, an area popular among retirees and home to several noted golf courses, including the famed Pinehurst resort and its No. 2 course that regularly hosts the U.S. Open.

Pinelake Health and Rehab was last inspected in May, and the review resulted in an overall five-star -- or "much above average" -- rating from federal Medicaid officials.

Anthony Family Private Eye Testifies Under Oath

March 26, 2009

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- While Casey Anthony was in court Wednesday morning for a hearing in the criminal case against her, there were depositions for her civil lawsuit.

Right: Dominic Casey works for Cindy and George Anthony.

HOOVER DEPOSITION: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Eyewitness News obtained the DVDs from the videotaped deposition in the civil case against Casey. Lawyers for Zenaida Gonzalez interviewed a private eye who worked for the Anthony family.

Right: James Hoover works for Dominic Casey.
Jim Hoover said in the deposition Wednesday that private investigators Dominic Casey took him to the woods before Caylee's remains were found there acting on a tip. He didn't know for sure, but he believes the tip came from Lee Anthony.

Before the deposition, Hoover didn't have much to say to Eyewitness News, but in the three-hour videotaped session with attorney John Morgan he did have some things to say about the other private eye, Dominic Casey.

"He asked me to go with him to find Caylee's body," Hoover said in the deposition Wednesday.
In a civil lawsuit against Casey Anthony, Morgan represents Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman with the same name as the babysitter Casey claims took Caylee.

Hoover is the man who videotaped the other Anthony family private eye, Dominic Casey, in the woods where Caylee's remains were later found. According to Morgan, Hoover believes Casey's brother led him to those woods. "He believes the tip came from Lee Anthony," Morgan said.
Hoover also revealed Dominic Casey told him ABC News paid Casey's attorney, Jose Baez, big money, $200,000 to $225,000, for videos of Casey and Caylee, and later said Dominic Casey told him who, after investigating, he believes Caylee's father was.

"He thinks it was Jesse Grund," Hoover said. "He thinks the father is Jesse Grund?" Morgan asked. "That's what he had mentioned," Hoover said.

Eyewitness News has been told paternity tests show otherwise, but have never seen the tests.
Dominic Casey was also supposed to be deposed Wednesday, but he failed to show up, telling John Morgan he hired a criminal attorney to represent him.
Poor Jesse. He has really been screwed over by Casey for years now. And she keeps on going.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Exclusive: Haleigh Cummings' Grandmother Hunts Clues

Exclusive: Haleigh Cummings' Grandmother Hunts Clues

Interesting YouTube video. Don't really know what to make of it.

Who IS this Cobra guy?

Inmate blames Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, for conviction in child's death

By Stephen Hudak
Sentinel Staff Writer
March 28, 2009

TAVARES - A Lake County man, serving a 15-year prison sentence in the death of a toddler, wants his manslaughter and child-abuse convictions overturned, citing judicial and prosecutorial misconduct and the "defectiveness" of his defense lawyer, Jose Baez.
Baez is better known these days as Casey Anthony's lawyer. But last spring and summer he was busy defending Nilton Diaz.Diaz, 31, says he did not kill or harm 2-year-old Noeris Vazquez, granddaughter of legendary Puerto Rican prizefighter Wilfredo Vazquez.
Diaz says he lost his freedom because of Baez's trial performance, strategy and failure to disclose evidence to prosecutors, a tactical decision that prevented jurors from viewing a defense video.

The video, created by a biomechanical expert, would have shown the jury how the toddler's skull fracture could have been an accident, according to new court filings.
In documents filed this week seeking a new trial and other post-conviction relief, Diaz said, " ... Mr. Baez wanted to surprise the prosecution, and the surprise blew up in the defense's face."
Baez was not surprised by Diaz's motion, a common post-conviction strategy that often cites defense mistakes to win a new trial, said the lawyer's spokeswoman, Marti Mackenzie. "He doesn't let his ego into the way," Mackenzie said of Baez. "If this kind of motion helps an innocent man get a new trial, he hopes it's successful."
After Diaz's conviction in May, Baez was hired to represent Anthony, 23, who faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie. The toddler was reported missing July 15 — a month after her mother said she disappeared. Her skeletal remains were discovered Dec. 11 in a wooded lot near her grandparents' home in southeast Orange County.
Diaz, a time-share salesman and part-time conga drummer, was accused of causing the fatal head injury to "Noni" Vazquez, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend, Samaris Bobe Silva, and the boxer's son Noe.
Lake County sheriff's detectives say the injury occurred Feb. 11, 2006, while Diaz was alone with the child. Silva, who met Diaz while working in housekeeping at a Disney-area resort, had left Diaz alone with the child for 10 minutes. Diaz remains in state custody at the Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry.
The motion for a new trial was filed on behalf of Diaz by Alfonzo A. Russi, who provided Lake Circuit Judge Mark Nacke with a letter linking the imprisoned man with the Human Rights Eye Watch Agency, a Texas-based organization. The documents repeat many arguments Baez cited last summer when he urged the judge to toss out the verdicts, which he called "inconsistent" and suggested were the result of confusing jury instructions. Jurors decided Diaz did not cause the toddler "great bodily injury" but also found he caused her death.
The filing contends that Nacke, who presided over the trial, and Assistant State Attorney Bill Gross, who prosecuted the case, entered into a "silent pact ... to inflict the most severe punishment allowable by law" on Diaz for rejecting a pretrial plea-bargain offer. Nacke would not comment. Gross, however, said Diaz's claims were baseless, including those disparaging the judge and Baez. Hmmm, isn't that what Casey said a while ago, that the prosecutors are only after her because she wouldn't "confess"?
"He should have started his motion with 'Once upon a time,'" Gross said. Gross said Baez provided "more than effective counsel" for Diaz, challenging the state's case with arguments, experts and testimony.
Diaz testified that he was innocent and suggested that the toddler's mother may have hurt the child because she feared the Vazquez family would take Noni away. With no eyewitnesses, the state's case focused on medical testimony, which ruled out an accidental fall.
Now Diaz is asking for a new lawyer, a new trial and conditional release from prison.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Murder case brings Amanda Fox, 'Foxy Knoxy', infamy in Italy

From Hada Messia
CNN Rome Bureau
March 27, 2009

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- The Italian media call her "Foxy Knoxy" and portray her as a "devil with an angel's face," and there are 11 Facebook pages dedicated to her, all in Italian.

Amanda Knox, 21, is an American college student from Seattle, Washington, who is on trial for murder in Perugia, Italy. The case has given Knox almost pop star status there...

Seven of the 11 Facebook pages champion her innocence; four seem convinced that Knox is pure evil. A sampling of comments: "No to Amanda. No to her superstardom" ... "She's a sociopath" ..."Everyone is not sure if she is guilty or not and that she will lead us to a new existential awareness. Please shout with me your anger. ... Let's say no. Let's say Knox."

Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, are charged with murdering and sexually assaulting one of Knox's roommates, British exchange student Meredith Kercher, on November 1, 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.

Knox and Sollecito are due back in court today. The last time Knox appeared before the panel of eight judges, she wore a T-shirt quoting The Beatles: "All you need is love."

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini alleges that Kercher, 21, was killed because she refused to participate in a drug-fueled sex game played by Knox, Sollecito, and a third man, Ivory Coast native Rudy Hermann Guede. In court papers, prosecutors stated that Sollecito held Kercher by her wrists while Knox poked at her with a knife and Guede sexually assaulted her.

The case is being tried in Perugia, a university town about 115 miles north of Rome that is better known for its chocolate than for its scandalous murder trials.

Witness undermines the alibi
Courtroom packed as trial starts

According to the prosecutor's office, Kercher had been in Italy for two months as part of a year-long course with Leeds University, where she was working toward a degree in European Studies. She shared a house with Knox, a University of Washington student in the same exchange program, and two Italian housemates.

The crime scene, which has become a tourist attraction, has been broken into twice, police say.
Knox and Sollecito were arrested November 6, 2007, and were kept in prison while an investigation continued. The judge overseeing the investigation found both were capable of committing the crime again, fleeing the country or tampering with the evidence.

Police sought charges in July 2008, and they were ordered to trial in October. The trial began January 16 and has been held mostly on weekends. I don't understand this--is this common in Italy?

Italian newspapers assigned their top crime reporters, and the case has received unprecedented international coverage. Knox has appeared on the cover of People magazine, which shares a corporate parent with CNN.

A random sampling of women on the streets of Rome showed that all of them had heard of the case and most believed Knox and Sollecito were at the very least implicated in the slaying.
The superheated publicity surrounding the case helped make Knox a household name in Italy.

Italian journalists also have plastered their newspapers with photos they found of Knox on the Internet, especially images that showed her as a "wild girl." They pounced on the "Foxy Knoxy" they found on her MySpace page, even though her parents later explained the high school moniker came from the way Knox played soccer, quick like a fox.

Although Italian law limits the publication of court and police records, the media ban is less strict than in many European countries. While it is not exactly legal to publish police investigative reports, no journalist has gone to jail in Italy for doing it.

Among the items leaked: Knox's diary, various police interrogations, photos of Kercher's body, video of Kercher's body (which wound up on YouTube but has been pulled), and video of the Italian forensic police carrying out their investigation. Eventually, even the leaks made headlines, leading to more speculation.

Knox can do no right in the Italian media. If she appears reserved and timid in court, she is portrayed as someone with plenty to hide. If she smiles or laughs in court, she's called disrespectful. As far as the Italian media is concerned, Knox is the mastermind who manipulated those around her and seduced her Italian boyfriend and led him astray.

While Knox and Sollecito's preliminary hearings were being held in October, Guede was convicted of murder after a fast-track trial. His lawyers had hoped that the speedy resolution of the case would give him a break at sentencing. He got 30 years in prison.

According to testimony at Guede's trial, his fingerprints were found in the house, and his DNA was linked to Kercher's body. He has never denied being in the house the night of the slaying but insists he didn't kill her. He says he had an "appointment" with her that night and was in the bathroom when she was killed.

Sollecito and Knox say they weren't at the house the night of the slaying. They say they both were at Sollecito's house. But the alibi has been contradicted by witnesses at the trial.

Eighty-six media outlets sent 140 journalists to cover the opening of the trial in January, but publicity has waned since then. The Italian 24-hour news channel TG24 no longer breaks into its programming with multiple updates. Knox, for now, has been relegated to the pages preceding the sports or weather report.

But Italians love their murder cases, and attention has shifted to other crime news. A mother is accused of killing her toddler son, a husband and wife are accused of multiple killings. Their courtrooms are now filled with spectators who wait in line an hour or more.

The Perugia courtroom still is packed, but the long line is gone. That is likely to change, however, as testimony draws to a close next month.

Ronald Cummings' Attorneys Fight Back Against Abuse Allegations

March 27, 2009

PUTNAM COUNTY, FL -- New photos have been released in the Haleigh Cummings case by Haleigh's father's attorney.

The pictures come in response to allegations of child abuse against Ronald Cummings, Haleigh's father.

The law office of Kimball & Snider, P.A., is representing Ronald Cummings.

It released Thursday, via email, a press release and time-stamped photos of Haleigh -- before and after she fell at a school playground in November 2008.

Haleigh's mother, Crystal Sheffield has said she believes Ronald Cummings abused their 5-year-old daughter, Haleigh, and their 4-year-old son, Ronald Jr.

A couple weeks ago, Sheffield's attorney, Kim Picazio, released pictures of Haleigh with a black eye and scratches on her face and her little brother with marks on his leg. Picazio said the photo she released was of Haleigh during a visit with her mother on November 16, ten days after the playground incident.

In Thursday's press release, Cummings' attorneys said on November 6th, according to Haleigh's school records, she was injured on the playground and cut her nose.

The attorneys provided a photo taken by Haleigh's paternal grandmother the day before the playground incident. The attorneys say it shows no injuries.

In the next photo provided, time-stamped almost two hours after the playground incident, Haleigh has scrapes on her nose and face.

Cummings' attorneys said Haleigh's paternal grandmother, Teresa Neves, took Haleigh to the hospital for the injury and that the staff there reported the girl had swelling and superficial abrasions. Cummings' attorneys wrote, "emergency room physicians and staff are extensively trained in recognizing, treating and reporting child abuse and it is clear there were no such concerns."

The next day, November 7th, a photo shows Haleigh's injuries were getting worse and a black eye was developing.

Two days later, November 9th, a photo shows a black eye which appeared to be worse and scrapes still on Haleigh's nose and face. Cummings attorneys wrote that the photos "show the natural progression and continuation of her response to the injury."

Then there are two pictures dated November 14th, five days later. Haleigh's injuries appeared better. Cummings' attorneys wrote, "all the swelling had subsided, with no visible lacerations or bruises."

Cummings' attorneys say he is unaware of the injury to Ronald Jr. shown in the photos released by Picazio.

Ronald Cummings' lawyers say, "The biological mother's assertion the injuries depicted exist due to abuse by Ronald Cummings is false and unsubstantiated, made recklessly without any effort to obtain all relevant information. The result has been the slander and libel of Ronald Cummings."

Cummings' lawyers also are fighting back against Crystal Sheffield's credibility, saying she had falsely accused Cummings of violence previously, but it was thrown out by the judge due to lack of credibility.

Concluding their argument, Cummings lawyers say, "Most importantly, the focus has been taken off the search for Haleigh by this tawdry and inexcusable publicity stunt."

Sheffield's attorney, Picazio, responded to the press release and photos released by Cummings' attorneys.

Picazio told First Coast News that Ronald Cummings may be able to "explain away" one incident or injury, but he will not be able to explain away all the other injuries and eyewitness accounts she has learned about.

Picazio reiterated that she has provided the Florida Department of Children and Families all of the information given to her by Sheffield and people in the community.

DCF confirms it is investigation the allegations of abuse.
Haleigh disappeared from her home February 9th in Satsuma.

Casey Anthony's Friend's Interview Could Be Damaging

Huizenga Says Casey Was Partying, Carefree When Caylee Was Missing

March 26, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Fresh from his court victory Wednesday, Jose Baez, Casey Anthony's attorney, told WESH 2 Thursday that he's planning to take a number of key depositions next week. At the top of that list is Casey Anthony's friend, Amy Huizenga...

Huizenga has provided details about Casey Anthony's attempts to explain that smell in her car, and Anthony's apparently carefree, party lifestyle at the same time she told investigators she was out looking for Caylee on her own.

During the weeks after Caylee Anthony was last seen and before she was reported missing to police, Anthony often confided in Huizenga.

In an audio taped interview, Huizenga gave details of what investigators believe was Anthony's cover story to explain that terrible smell in her car.

On June 27, around the time investigators believe Anthony dumped Caylee's body, she sent a text message to Huizenga saying what the smell was a dead animal.

The first week of July, Anthony stayed with Huizenga, getting a tattoo, always having an explanation for why Caylee wasn't there and going out partying. Only one family issue made her visibly upset. "She got upset, saying her brother was coming to look for her and they had to leave," Huizenga said.

Huizenga said Cindy Anthony confronted her daughter about her partying -- a feud that prosecutors believe was Casey Anthony's motive for murder. "She thought Casey was an unfit mother and she would sue for custody of Caylee if it got to that," Huizenga said.

Baez said he also plans to finish deposing Richard Cane. He's the Orange County deputy who may have missed a chance to discover Caylee's remains in August.

Meanwhile, a private investigator who at one time did volunteer security work for the Anthony family said ABC News paid $225,000 to Anthony's defense fund in exchange for pictures and video of Caylee.

That revelation came Wednesday during an interview with James Hoover, a private investigator who did security work at the Anthony home. Hoover gave a sworn deposition in the Zenaida Gonzalez civil suit. Attorney John Morgan asked the questions.

Gonzalez is suing Anthony for defamation. She said her good name was ruined when Anthony named her as the nanny who kidnapped Caylee.

Feuds Between Casey, Cindy May Become Key For Prosecution

This week, Cindy and George Anthony, grandparents of slain toddler Caylee Anthony, have been back in the public eye supporting their daughter in court and talking about their new foundation. But unlike the Cindy Anthony we came to know last year during Caylee's disappearance, she's chosen to stay silent and in the background.

Gone are the days of Cindy Anthony's shouting matches with protesters outside their East Orange County home. Now her feuds with her daughter, who is in the Orange County jail charged with murder in Caylee's death, are taking on far greater importance.

George and Cindy Anthony this week unveiled a new search boat, the Caylee Marie. The boat is just one resource to be offered by their new foundation that George Anthony told the media about.

'"When you lose a child, you need all the resources you can get. If it takes me to bring awareness I'm going to do that," he said. Off camera, Cindy Anthony said she'd be doing the administrative duties. I'll bet that's right. She'll take care of the money.

The couple's lawyer, Brad Conway, talked about how difficult it was for Cindy Anthony to hear her own mother's words to law enforcement revealed just last week. Shirley Plesea speculated that Casey Anthony may have hated Cindy more than she loved Caylee.

"This is all personal life. Many families go through these things, having their personal life exposed to the world is difficult," Cindy Anthony said.

From the new evidence, criminal defense lawyer Richard Hornsby said the state will use Cindy Anthony's battles with Casey Anthony over how to raise Caylee as the motive for her murder.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

After horrific trial, Austria struggles to move on

AP Photo/Robert Jaeger, Pool) Defendant Josef Fritzl stands in the courtroom of the provincial courthouse in St. Poelten, Austria, Thursday, March 19, 2009. Josef Fritzl was convicted of homicide, enslavement, incest, rape and other charges Thursday and sentenced to life in a psychiatric prison for holding his daughter captive for 24 years and fathering her seven children.

Fritzl, 73, sat calmly and bowed his head as the verdicts by the Austrian jury were read. He later told the court he accepted the outcome and waived his right to appeal _ bringing a dramatic end to a shocking case that has drawn worldwide attention

Vienna - Long before Josef Fritzl and the horrendous crimes in his dungeon, Austria was maligned for its Nazi past, its right-wing politics and another high-profile abduction case.

Now that Fritzl has been sentenced to life in a psychiatric ward, a nation wearied and wounded by yet another dark episode seems desperate to move on. "We are glad it ended so quickly," Chancellor Werner Faymann said Friday of Fritzl's four-day trial.

To those who portrayed the 73-year-old Fritzl as the monstrous product of a country blemished by its complicity with the Nazis, Faymann had a stern message. "We will always defend ourselves against general prejudices and historical circumstances," he said.

Fritzl was convicted of homicide, rape, incest and other charges Thursday. He was sentenced to life in a psychiatric ward for enslaving his daughter Elisabeth, raping her more than 3,000 times over 24 years, fathering her seven children, and letting a newborn son die in captivity.

Austrians like Josef Leitner, who rented a room in the same house in Amstetten where Fritzl built his basement prison, want to put it all behind them. "On the day I heard what happened to Elisabeth, my breath stood still. Today I can breathe normally for the first time again," he said.

Many Austrians were scandalized by foreign media coverage of the case. British tabloids and other newspapers ran salacious headlines about Fritzl's crimes in the "Nazi nation," putting many Austrians on the defensive. Hitler, who was born in Austria, annexed the country in 1938. Although Austrians have made big strides in acknowledging their nation's role in Nazi-era war crimes and the Holocaust, it remains a sore spot.

"Vicious attack on our Austria!" the newspaper Heute wrote in a front-page headline this week. "Half the world is aiming at us." To be sure, there are reasons why the world sees more than Alpine meadows and Mozart sonatas when it sizes up Austria.

The Fritzl case broke less than two years after the dramatic escape of Natascha Kampusch, who had been confined to a windowless underground cell for more than 8 1/2 years. Kampusch was a freckle-faced 10-year-old walking to school when Wolfgang Priklopil seized her off a Vienna street and imprisoned her in the cell he had built beneath his suburban home. She escaped in August 2006, and Priklopil committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a train.

Around the world, people mindful of the Kampusch case struggled to make sense of the revelations about Fritzl, and some couldn't help wondering if something was wrong with Austria.

Then there is Austria's politics. The late President Kurt Waldheim, who served as U.N. chief from 1972-81, was barred for two decades from entering the U.S. after it became known he had belonged to a German army unit that committed atrocities in World War II.

More recently, far-right leader Joerg Haider, who died last year in a car crash, was the country's best-known politician - for all the wrong reasons. Haider praised aspects of Hitler's labor policies and made statements that sounded anti-Semitic. When his right-wing Freedom Party won 27 percent of the vote in 1999 elections and joined Austria's coalition government early in 2000, the European Union slapped the country with months of diplomatic sanctions.

When the details of the Fritzl case became known, he became a household name and a symbol - however unwanted - of his homeland virtually overnight. The four-day trial this week drew more than 200 journalists, including some from Brazil, Russia and the United States.
"We are not prosecuting a town or an entire country," judge Andrea Humer said in St. Poelten, west of Vienna, where the trial was held.

A few Austrians took it in stride, flashing a bit of the nation's sardonic and self-deprecating humor. Restaurants in St. Poelten served up "Fritzl schnitzel" until city hall apparently convinced them that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

Only the passage of time will help erase what happened in people's memories, said Leitner, the former Fritzl tenant.

"People say that time heals all wounds, but for sure it will take a while," he said. "The media will pull back, everything will calm down slowly here in Amstetten, and I hope we will return to everyday life soon."

Fritzl feared an attack from cellar children

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Josef Fritzl feared his daughter and their two adolescent children he held in a windowless cellar would one day seek revenge and attack him, so he planned to move them to his home upstairs, his psychiatrist said yesterday.

Austria's so-called "Incest Monster" was jailed for life last week after being convicted of murder and of raping his daughter an estimated 3,000 times. Dr Adelheid Kastner, the psychiatrist who compiled a 300-page pre-trial report on Fritzl, said the 73-year-old had planned to move his daughter Elisabeth and her children Kerstin, 19, Stefan, 18, and Felix, six, to the home he shared with his wife upstairs.

"Fritzl was afraid that somebody down there might attack him," Dr Kastner told Germany's Stern magazine, "After all, there were three grown-up people living down there towards the end, so it was three against one."

See article posted earlier today.

Women told: 'You have dishonoured your family, please kill yourself'

As Turkey cracks down on 'honour killings', women are now told to commit suicide

By Ramita Navai in Batman, eastern Turkey
March 29, 2009

When Elif's father told her she had to kill herself in order to spare him from a prison sentence for her murder, she considered it long and hard. "I loved my father so much, I was ready to commit suicide for him even though I hadn't done anything wrong," the 18-year-old said. "But I just couldn't go through with it. I love life too much."

All Elif had done was simply decline the offer of an arranged marriage with an older man, telling her parents she wanted to continue her education. That act of disobedience was seen as bringing dishonour on her whole family – a crime punishable by death. "I managed to escape. When I was at school, a few girls I knew were killed by their families in the name of honour – one of them for simply receiving a text message from a boy," Elif said.

So-called "honour killings" in Turkey have reached record levels. According to government figures, there are more than 200 a year – half of all the murders committed in the country. Now, in a sinister twist, comes the emergence of "honour suicides". The growing phenomenon has been linked to reforms to Turkey's penal code in 2005. That introduced mandatory life sentences for honour killers, whereas in the past, killers could receive a reduced sentence claiming provocation. Soon after the law was passed, the numbers of female suicides started to rocket.

Elif has spent the past eight months on the run, living in hiding and in fear. Her uncles and other relatives are looking to hunt her down, for dishonour is seen as a stain that can only be cleansed by death. One of the women's shelters where Elif has stayed has been raided by armed family members.

Elif is from Batman, a grey, bleak town in the south-east of Turkey nicknamed "Suicide City". Three quarters of all suicides here are committed by women – nearly everywhere else in the world, men are three times more likely to kill themselves. "I think most of these suicide cases are forced. There are just too many of them, it's too suspicious. But they're almost impossible to investigate," said Mustafa Peker, Batman's chief prosecutor.

Wearing tight clothes or talking to a man who is not a relative is sometimes all it takes to blacken the family name. Mr Peker said women who are told to kill themselves are usually given one of three options – a noose, a gun or rat poison. They are then locked in a room until the job is done.
A woman's fate is usually decided during a "family council", when the extended family meets to discuss breaches of honour. In these meetings, it is agreed how the victim must be killed. If it is not to be a forced suicide, a killer is chosen. The youngest member of the family is often ordered to kill, in the belief they will be treated more leniently if caught.

Mehmet was 17 when he was handed a gun and told he would have to kill his stepmother and her lover. "I didn't want to do it. I was so young and so scared," he said. Mehmet ran away, but his family tracked him down and warned him his own life would be in danger if he refused to kill.
He shot dead his stepmother's lover, but his stepmother survived the attack. He was given a two-and-a-half- year prison sentence.

"There were many other 'honour killers' in prison and we were treated with respect, even by the prison guards," Mehmet said.

Most honour killings happen in the Kurdish region, a barren land ravaged by years of war and oppression. Rural communities here are ruled under a strict feudal, patriarchal system. But as Kurds have fled the fighting between separatist rebels and Turkey's government, the crime is spreading across the country into its cities and towns. According to a recent government report, there is now one honour killing a week in Istanbul.

"Families who move here are suddenly faced with modern, secular Turkey," said Vildan Yirmibesoglu, the head of Istanbul's department of human rights. "This clash of cultures is making the situation worse as the pressure on women to behave conservatively is become more acute. And of course there are more temptations."

Ms Yirmibesoglu believes that the entrenched belief in the notion of honour – at all levels of society – is impeding any progress. "Honour killings aren't always properly investigated because some police and prosecutors share the same views as the honour killers," she said. "For things to change, police, prosecutors and even judges need to be educated on gender equality."

Josef Fritzl: A monster caged

Josef Fritzl is surrounded by guards before being sentenced
to a life behind bars. Picture: Getty

22 March 2009

AFTER 24 years of horror, it took just one look between father and daughter to end the trial of Josef Fritzl. Allan Hall reports on a rare glimpse into a mind of pure evil.

The making of Josef Fritzl the monster occurred at 10.04am on the morning of August 29, 1984. The breaking of Josef Fritzl the man came at 3.13pm on the afternoon of March 18, 2009.

Between those dates lies a cosmos of pain and suffering that is unimaginable to anyone but Elisabeth Fritzl, the wilful daughter who spellbound her sexually-obsessed father until the sick fantasy he nurtured of owning her could not be denied any longer.

Fritzl's trial last week can be summarised through numbers: 8,642 days his daughter spent underground, which breaks down to 207,408 hours; 3,000 rapes; seven incest children; one miscarriage; the 66 hours it took one newborn baby to die; 650 square feet of living space; six charges; eight jurors; and a 400-strong media pack to report to a world repelled yet fascinated by his crimes.

Ultimately, though, it was the moment at 3.13pm – not his sentencing, nor his tears, not even his confession – that the 73-year-old cellar-master became, however briefly, the man he should have been.

Minutes earlier, as the bushy-eyebrowed power freak stared at a video recording of the daughter whose life he stole recounting her 24 years of terror, rape, deprivation, humiliation, starvation, threats, beatings and torture at his hands, he failed to notice the thin woman who slipped into court accompanied by two others.

She came in through a side door, her hair bound up in a scarf, a long coat covering her thin body, which still looks undernourished after almost a quarter of a century of cheap food fed to her by her jailer father.

Elisabeth Fritzl didn't look a patch on the pretty girl who was kidnapped when she was just 18 and bundled into a cellar by her crazed father. But the fact that she had summoned up the strength and the courage to confront him in court was a giant leap forward in her therapy.

She was just six feet away from this thief of time – and much else besides – when she entered Court 119 in the Austrian city of St Poelten; a room, with its parquet floors and wood panelling, a universe distant from the clandestine hovel she endured for so long. On screen, she saw herself describing the degradation of the cellar. The tape had reached a part when Elisabeth said: "No one heard me scream down there. No one heard me cry out to God, to the heavens, why me… why, why, why… I was forsaken by the world."

At this point, the wolf-like eyes of Josef Fritzl landed on his daughter and he broke. The vacuum where compassion and reason should have resided was suddenly filled with the remorse that Elisabeth had waited so long to see. The eyes, those brutal eyes which she saw as he raped her and ignored her pleas for mercy through all the long and hopeless days and nights, misted over and tears rolled down his cheeks.

"When he heard this and he saw his daughter… it was all over for him," said Rudolf Mayer, his lawyer. "I asked him, and he said this was when he broke inside. This was when a quarter of a century of denial could be denied no longer." Fritzl could not hold his daughter's gaze for long. He bowed his head, turned back to the TV screen and began sobbing violently.

"There was a good deal of discussion about whether she should go or not," said a carer at the clinic that Elisabeth, now 42, moved back into for the duration of the media frenzy in Austria. "In this case we thought it would be cathartic. But she is stubborn anyway, Elisabeth, and probably would have gone no matter what we said."

She watched her tormentor sob and squirm for an hour before leaving through a side door of the court with her brother Harald, 46, and an unidentified family member. In that time, she described how her father would bring boxes of XXX-rated videotapes to the cellar and order her to copy the writhing and moaning of the actresses on screen to arouse him.

She told how he left her with serious internal injuries by using oversized sex toys on her. She described how he routinely turned off the power to the cellar if she, and later her children, should upset him.

Then she detailed how, in the dark, with the deep freeze food melting and water running over the floor, she and the children would cuddle up in bed and listen to the scurrying of the rats whose infestations were hallmarks of a confinement that was medieval in its cruelty. Sometimes they were in the dark for days. No matches, no candles, no torches (flashlights). Just the pitter-patter of vermin on the tiled floor and the sobbing of innocent children unable to grasp why God had chosen them to suffer in this way.

The moment of Josef Fritz's shame was a long time in coming. Elisabeth had nurtured it since that day in 1984 when her father, who had been abusing her since she was 11, gave in to the fantasy and made it a reality. What did it taste like, this victory? Was it hollow? Could she feel pity for him? "She felt a certain satisfaction but not a feeling of triumph," said the carer. "She felt more about herself and dealing with her feelings than for him and any regret he might have, real or imagined. For him, she feels nothing at all."

The breaking of Josef Fritzl caused the trial to take a 180-degree turn. What began on Monday as an arrogant Fritzl denying slavery and murder – relating to the death of baby Michael, the child who turned blue and died because his father wouldn't let him out of the cellar to be treated by doctors – morphed the next day into a man pleading guilty on all charges including rape, incest, imprisonment and "massive coercion", relating to the threats he made that his children would all die from booby traps if they ever tried to escape.

But perhaps a confession was never necessary anyway. There was not much in the legal arsenal of Josef Fritzl to use in mitigation anyway – not after a blistering opening by prosecutor Christiane Burkheiser who did the next best thing to letting the four-man, four-woman panel visit the cellar.

She let them smell it. In what is perhaps the first olfactory evidence ever presented in a murder case, she handed out items from the cellar for them to sniff.

The move was intended to convey the sense of utter corruption of Fritzl and his underworld, to get them to understand through the scent of mould and decay the vileness of everyday life in the windowless, despairing, concrete tomb.

Jurors picked out items from the cellar – one of them a cuddly toy owned by Elisabeth's youngest son Felix, who was five when released – and winced at their odour when removed from a plastic evidence bag. Their noses wrinkled, their brows furrowed; any notions that Fritzl the engineer had somehow created a subterranean des res in the ground beneath his house were dispelled as they caught the scent of 24 years of evil.

"Look at him, with his polite demeanour," said Burkheiser on that first day. "He will present to you a caring side, a selfless person, the nice man from next door. But what really troubles me is that he has not shown a single sign of regret.

"She outlined how building engineer Fritzl, concerned that his teenage daughter was sliding into a life of debauchery, tricked her into helping him fix a door in the cellar that he had secretly built beneath the family home in Amstetten in 1984. A cloth soaked in ether was placed over her mouth and she was locked in the cellar."

The second day," said Burkeheiser, "he came down and chained her up and raped her. He said nothing to her. He said nothing for years."

To give jurors an idea of the smallness of the cellar she pointed to the box they were seated in. "About 18 square metres (194 square feet], that was the size of the cellar for the first nine years. The size of the box you are seated in. He used her like a toy. He came, he took her, he left," she added.

"But worse than the rapes, worse than the food shortages, worse than the darkness, was always the uncertainty. How long would he be gone? How long would he stay when he returned? Would he ever come back from his long holidays? This uncertainty was the worst thing of all."

The Everest of evidence against Fritzl would almost certainly have convicted him anyway, especially the psychological profile drawn up by Austria's most eminent psychiatrist, Dr Adelheid Kastner. She drew a portrait of a monster that Hollywood scriptwriters would have been hard put to create.

He was an "emotional volcano". He had evil running through him "like a stream of unstoppable lava". He needed to assert power and control over people, driven to the cellar masterplan by a forbidden-fruit fantasy which she said ran through his head like a perpetually playing record.
"He knew what he was doing was wrong but he had fantasies and these amounted to a feeling of 'I'm not allowed to but it would be so good.'"

The end of his trial, when it came, was an anti-climax. The prosecution said Fritzl had only shed crocodile tears. Eva Plaz, Elisabeth's lawyer, told jurors he was a dangerous man who should never be freed. Even Mayer, who had the thankless job of defence lawyer, could find little good to say about him. "He is a sick man, he knows what he did was wrong. But he is not a murderer," he said, clutching at legal straws.

"I am sorry from the bottom of my heart," said Fritzl when the final curtain fell on his crimes at shortly before 3pm on Thursday. The sorry was as empty as the cellar now is and, like Elisabeth's cries in the darkness, unheard by the jurors, the judge and the wider world.

As he now begins his life behind bars in a secure psychiatric institution, Elisabeth is doing her best to claw back meaning and quality to the days that remain to her. She faces a lifetime of therapy, as do her eldest children Kerstin, 20, and Stefan, 19, who, along with Felix, now six, had spent all their lives underground until they were freed last April. Felix is young enough that he may be able to forget the cellar. Elisabeth and the others cannot.

They suffer from a severe form of chronic post-traumatic stress syndrome and cope with the flashbacks and panic attacks with a multitude of drugs and therapy sessions. Part of the therapy involves them being encouraged to confront the distress they feel by returning to the painful memories for "emotional processing" – a laundering of the past that, doctors hope, will give them a better chance for normality in the life left remaining to them.

The family try to pinpoint objects or memories of pain and neutralise them. All fear closed doors. All have a phobia, not unnaturally, of rooms below ground level. All have nightmares. All have abnormal behaviour patterns; obsessive-compulsive traits ranging from a need to continually check there is enough food – because there never was enough in the cellar – to disturbed sleep patterns.

When Elisabeth was released from the cellar last year, she developed an addiction to washing, sometimes showering up to 10 times a day as she physically tried to remove the corruption, the stench, the touch of the monster who stole her life. She has trouble falling asleep and she is hyper-vigilant when she wakes up.

But the maternal feelings she has for her children are what keeps her going. She has made it her task to bind the downstairs children with the upstairs clan – Monika, 15, Alexander, 12, and Lisa, 12. The upstairs children are angry: they resent having lost the normality of their lives and have had to be placed in new schools to save them from bullying.

But they are still called Fritzl. Whether they will get new identities remains uncertain. They are all said to be close to Elisabeth but have problems relating to the cellar tribe. "They have nothing in common," said a source. "But they do feel pity for what their siblings underwent."

Elisabeth has turned down £5m from an international media company and wants to be left alone to raise her family in the house in the village of Mitterkirchen, 25 miles from Amstetten, that has been given to the family by the authorities. Money means nothing to her, and, besides, Austria has promised them all the financial help they need as well as unstinting medical support.

Elisabeth has told her carers she wants to reach a stage where she can walk down a street and go shopping without fearing that someone is following her to kidnap her. That is some way off. So, too, is the healing of a rift with her mother Rosemarie, the other, sometimes forgotten victim of the case; the woman who endures the unending suspicion that she must have known something of her daughter's ordeal.

Elisabeth doesn't care about that: she cares that Rosemarie took her father back into the family home when she was a toddler and he was a convicted rapist. A rapist then free to channel his violent sexual appetites towards her. This is the elephant that now sits in the room with mother and daughter. This is the true legacy of Josef Fritzl; smashed minds, wrecked lives, scorched love. If ever a criminal deserved what was coming to him, there can be no doubt that Fritzl is that man.

"Monster" just is not an evil enough name for this man. I don't think there is a word to describe him. I only hope he is in a high security psychiatric facility so there is no escape. The hospitals in Austria are sparse but clean, so this will be too. I would be more satisfied if he was kept in a basement room with no windows and never allowed out.

BREAKING NEWS: Gloria Allred Accuses Octomom Nadya Sulemean, aka Natalie Doud, of Treating "Babies as Props"

Today it was announced that at 19 Nadya worked as an exotic dancer for a time, and it was just reported on Jane Valez-Mitchell's Issues that in her twenties, Nadya also worked for an escort service. Rot-roe. Seems like your past really CAN come back to bite you on the butt.

Wednesday March 25, 2009

Lawyer Gloria Allred slammed Octo Mom Nadya Suleman for treating her preemie babies "as props" during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Allred represents Angels in Waiting, which had provided free nursing care for Suleman's 14 children until she fired them earlier this week for allegedly spying on her and reporting her to child welfare officials.

See Octo Mom's family album.

Allred said Suleman "violated agreements in the best interests of the children" by announcing when the babies would be released -- causing a media frenzy -- and then by allowing video crew to feed and hold the babies. Anyone but her...

Suleman "always had an excuse" why she couldn't feed her babies, Allred continued, saying that she only spent eight hours in the nursery, and one went "days without being bathed." (Earlier on the Today Show, Allred claimed Suleman only cares about her babies "when the cameras are rolling.")

Meet the octuplet babies.

Oftentimes, "Nadya would come back from shopping and not even visit the nursery," Allred went on.

Allred e-mailed her concerns to Dr. Phil McGraw Sunday morning. Shortly after, she received a letter from Suleman's attorney terminating Angels in Waiting's service.

Also during the press conference: Allred alleged that Suleman's home was not secure enough to keep trespassers away. Octo Mom said she couldn't afford security, but Angels in Waiting president Linda Conforti-West said she was paying to install a jacuzzi tub and expensive dishwasher.

See what Octo Mom does all day!

Another nurse with the charity, Jackie Peebles, said the nursing staff Suleman hired to replace Angels in Waiting had language barriers, three tested positive for Tuberculosis and others had "terrible coughs."

Peebles added: "The lack of parenting skills was evident."

In a statement released to Usmagazine.com, Allred said Suleman created a "dangerous environment."

"Nadya has decided to have Kaiser Permanente [Hospital] care for her babies. In other words, she has apparently made a conscious decision to put the burden of her babies care on the tax payers, since her lawyer Jeff has conceded publicly that Kaiser nurses will most likely have to bill [Medicare]," Allred 's statement continued. Angels in Waiting worked on a donation-basis.

"We wish the best for Nadya and these babies and their six siblings, but we can now only pray to God, that Nadya's poor choices, money making schemes, and improper priorities will not result in irreparable harm to any or all of her children in the future," Allred's statement added.

Frazzled Phil Spector awaits his fate as murder trial comes to a close

Phil Spector Murder case goes to Jury

This morning at about 10:30 Pacific time, the case against Phil Spector for the murder of actor Lana Clarkson was handed to the jury for deliberation. The 1st trial ended in a hung jury in 2007 when some idiot (whom I suspect was hoping for a book deal) couldn't quite see the difference between murder and suicide.

All we can do now is wait. Hopefully not too long.

Please go to Sprockets website Trials & Tribulations for details of the entire 2nd trial.
Sprocket: you rock!

Frazzled Phil Spector awaits his fate as murder trial comes to a close

By Liz HazeltonLast updated at 2:02 PM on 26th March 2009

Pasty-faced and with tousled hair hanging lank over his shoulders, a haggard Phil Spector awaits to hear his fate.

The iconic music producer is accused of shooting dead actress Lana Clarkson at his lavish mansion in the Hollywood hills hours after meeting her at a nightclub.

He has always maintained his innocence but the case, which has rumbled on through six years and two trials, has clearly taken its toll. Today the reclusive producer is a shadow of his former self.

The 67-year-old's face appears to be collapsing in on itself - as does his hair, usually coiffed into flamboyant styles. Not even dabs of blusher on his cheeks could hold back the ravages of time.

'Spector looks catatonic,' Royal Oakes, a legal analyst, claimed on U.S. television. 'You couldn't imagine anyone who seems more disengaged or disinterested. He seems heavily medicated. 'But how his overall appearance would affect the verdict is anyone's guess.'

Earlier this week the court heard closing statements in a six-month trial. Truc Do, prosecutor, told the jury Spector was a 'demonic maniac' who had flown into a jealous rage after Miss Clarkson, 40, attempted to leave his house on the night of February 3, 2003.

'This case is about a man who has had a history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of women,' she said, displaying images of five others who claimed Spector had confronted them with guns. 'Five women got the empty chamber. Lana got the sixth bullet."

The prosecution say Spector shot Lana Clarkson: His defence team claim she killed herself.
'Behind the VIP was a very dangerous man, a man who believed that all women deserve a bullet in their head.' Spector's defence, however, claims that any evidence is purely circumstantial, - and the Clarkson herself pulled the trigger.

On a large courtroom screen, attorney Doron Weinberg listed 14 points of forensic evidence, including blood spatter, gunshot residue and DNA, that he said were proof of a self-inflicted wound.

He urged jurors to ignore the prosecution's efforts to paint Spector as a bad man with a violent history, saying prosecutors told a story while the defense told the facts. 'Every single fact says this is a self-inflicted gunshot wound,' Mr Weinberg said. 'How do you ignore it? How do you say this could have been a homicide?'

The defence claims struggling actress Miss Clarkson killed herself because she was depressed over the state of her career. When she died, she was sitting in an ornate chair in the hallway of Spector's house.

The producer was arrested on the night of her death and released on $1m bail. His first trial ended in 2007 with a hung jury. If he is found guilty of second-degree murder, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

A big fat pus-filled pimple on the butt of humanity.

Lawyer for Haleigh’s mom reveals investigation details

Wednesday, 25 Mar 2009,

SATSUMA, Fla. - - Kim Picazio was already on her way to Satsuma from Miami Wednesday afternoon when she got our phone call. With a few hours left ahead of her on the road, Picazio shared new details about what she says happened the night Haleigh disappeared, and what she’s calling bad living conditions inside Haleigh’s home.

“Just your typical sex drugs and rock and roll life style that is not conducive to raising children,” said Picazio. “Not one of the things I’ve heard about what goes on in the home would I even consider letting my child watch on TV, let alone exposing him to it.”

Picazio says after sifting through documents, seeing pictures and talking with family and friends, she felt compelled to seek state intervention and ask the DCF to investigate the Cummings household.

“I would be committing malpractice if I chose to hold off on bringing those allegations to the proper authorities,” said Picazio. “Conditions of neglect to outright child abuse and to the conditions in the home which would not be conducive to raising any child.”

The Florida Department of Children and Families could not comment on the specifics of the investigation. A spokesman did tell us Picazio met with members of the DCF and presented them with documents alleging abuse and neglect. He also said the Department is reviewing the information she provided very carefully.

“The particular lifestyle that we believe is led by Misty and Ronald Cummings is one that essentially laid out the red carpet to something at some point happening to these children, and something did,” said Picazio.

The lawyer also shared with us new details about what she said happened the night Haleigh was taken. She says Ronald Junior, Haleigh’s brother, woke up when a man came into the house to see Misty Croslin, Ronald Cummings then girlfriend.

“What he stated to his mother was that he saw a black man in black clothing take Haleigh…she asked him, if you were asleep Junior how could you have seen that if you were asleep? And he said well I woke up because the man had squeaky shoes…and the couch was bouncing,” said Picazio.

“A lot of the times we hear things from 8 different people who did not know each other including eyewitnesses. And at this point we have a pretty solid timeline. We think we know what happened in that house up until about 10:30. There’s a wide gap in time from 10:30 till three in the morning and somewhere in that timeframe, Haleigh went missing,” said Picazio.

Ronald Cummings, Haleigh’s father, could not be reached for comment. His Grandmother tells us they have been advised by legal council to not speak with the media. A call to Ronald’s lawyer was not returned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Drew Peterson "I Didn't Care Then, I Don't Care Now"

Chicago Sun-Times

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Susan Murphy Milano

"Eighteen months," said Drew Peterson, "I didn't care then and I don't care now." (referring to Thomas Morphey and the immunity deal with the State's Attorney moving a body in a blue barrel.)

With a microphone shoved in Drew's direction, news reporters asked questions in the driveway of Stacy Peterson's home. I think her name is still on the title of to the house? Oh wait, I am confusing this with the recently signed car title to live-in bed warmer Christina Raines. Can he do that? Was the title of the car driven and owned by Stacy in Drew Peterson's name? Or did he go ahead and sign Stacy's name anyway to the car title?

You know he's good at signing people's names to documents living or deceased. Take Kathleen's Will as an example. Yes, another media event, as Drew Peterson's legal marshmallow roaster takes the issue of Kathleen's estate all the way to the supreme court.

Send that man a bag of campfire marshmallows. Because that's the only thing that will stick to the bottom of his shoes after he is turned down at the supreme court on Kathleen Savio's Will.

Martin Glink, one of the attorneys representing the Kathleeen Savio’s family, did not consider Brodsky’s appeal to the Supreme Court to be much of a threat to his case. “I would doubt very much the Supreme Court would find this novel enough to hear,” Glink said.

“I don’t think it raises any conflict among the judicial circuits,” he said. “I think what the appellate court did and what Judge Goodman did was correct.”

Come to think of it, the bed in Drew Peterson's home belonged to Kathleen Savio, wife #3. After her death, on the day of Kathleen's funeral Drew had a moving truck and hauled everything inside the home a few blocks away to his new home he bought with his current wife Stacy Peterson. The bed was moved into Stacy and Drew's master bedroom.

But, wait, I keep forgetting the same bed occupied by wives #3 and #4 is now occupied by Christina and Drew. I hope at least Drew shelled out money for a new mattress.

Now the trick is for Drew to declare in a court that Stacy abandoned him. You remember Drew said she's not coming back and he wants to get married. How would he know for certain Stacy is not returning?

Unless, wait a minute. Thomas Morphey is telling the truth! Could it be? Thomas Morphey is not as crazy as Drew and Joel Brodsky would have us all believe, and a body was carried down those stairs.