Thursday, June 30, 2016


By Bob Walsh

A three-day old baby girl was killed in a dog attack in Fresno (CA) on Monday (06-27).

The 33-year old mother had taken the baby to her brother’s home around midnight. The brother owns two male pit-bull mixes, one of which was known to be aggressive. The woman asserts that she thought the dogs were chained up in the back yard so she left the back door opened and left the girl unattended for “a few seconds.” (By the way it is illegal to chain dogs for extended periods of time in California.)

The dogs came into the house about 12:30 a. m. and attacked the baby. The little girl died shortly after at a local hospital.

The dogs were surrendered to the local SPCA which will euthanize them. The matter is still under investigation but for now the cops are saying it appears to be an accident. At the time of the attack the woman, her 30-year old brother and the baby were the only people in the house.


By Bob Walsh

On Sunday there was a rally by the “Traditionalist Workers Party” on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, CA. The group of about 30 had a proper permit and had no history of being trouble-makers. Depending on whom you ask they are either a pro-white workers group or a pack of white racists. Their group denies being racist or white supremacists, saying they are merely promoting favorable conditions for white workers. Their gig was supposed to start about noon.

Opposing them was a group known as BAMN, “By Any Means Necessary.” They bill themselves as AntiFa, or Anti-Fascists. They vow to oppose anybody that they consider worthy of their attention literally by any means necessary, including violence. About 300-350 of them showed up at the capitol. They were wearing more-or-less identical black clothing, including black face masks. They physically attacked the TWP group in the presence of 50-100 police officers, driving the TWP group (who remember had a legal permit) into the state capitol building, and cheered themselves on social media for having done so. Ten people were hospitalized, at least five with stab wounds. The cops have still not identified the affiliation of those injured.

The police have as of now (Tuesday afternoon) made zero arrests and have not identified any suspected participants. I guess attacking a group of peaceful demonstrators while wearing masks is not cause to be physically detained or arrested in Sacramento.

So, if you believe (probably correctly) that these TWP people are a bunch of neo-Nazi jerkoffs do you care what happened to them? Well, you should. What if next they want to go after Republicans, or Tea Party members, or conservative Christians or gun owners? Or people who drive SUVs or have more than two children or own a large dog? Do you care then?

How does the old line go? Oh yeah, I remember. “No one was left to speak for me.”


Multiculturalism is a leftist elitist vision with its roots in academia

BY Walter Williams

Jewish World Review
June 29, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism has "utterly failed," adding that it was an illusion to think Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side." The failure of multiculturalism is also seen in Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European countries. Immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle East refuse to assimilate and instead seek to import the failed cultures they fled.

Leftist diversity advocates and multiculturalists are right to argue that people of all races, religions and cultures should be equal in the eyes of the law. But their argument borders on idiocy when they argue that one set of cultural values cannot be judged superior to another and that to do so is Eurocentrism.

That's unbridled nonsense. Ask a diversity/multiculturalism advocate: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in northern Sudan. In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves are punished by having their hand severed. In some African and Middle Eastern countries, homosexuality is a crime, in some cases punishable by death. Are all these cultural values morally equivalent to those of the West?

The vital achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights, which saw its birth with the Magna Carta in 1215. The idea emerged that individuals have certain inalienable rights. Individuals do not exist to serve government; governments exist to protect their rights. But it was not until the 19th century that ideas of liberty received broad recognition. In the West, it was mostly through the works of British philosophers, such as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill.

Personal liberty implies toleration of differences among people, whether those differences are racial, sexual, ideological or political. Liberty also implies a willingness to permit others who disagree with you to go their separate ways. This is not the vision of the new immigrants. In some parts of Britain, Christians are threatened with violence for merely handing out Bibles. Trying to convert Muslims to Christianity is seen as a hate crime. Women are accosted by Muslim men for "improper" dress. Many women are sexually assaulted. In many European countries, "no-go zones" — where civil authorities will not enter — in which Shariah is practiced have been established. According to the Express, "London, Paris, Stockholm and Berlin are among the major European cities that feature on a bombshell list of 900 lawless zones with large immigrant populations" (

Both in Europe and in the U.S., multiculturalism is a leftist elitist vision with its roots in academia. The intellectual elite, courts and government agencies push an agenda that is anything but a defense of individual rights, freedom from conformity and a live-and-let-live philosophy. Instead, multiculturalism/diversity is an agenda for all kinds of conformity — conformity in ideas, actions and speech. It calls for re-education programs where diversity managers indoctrinate students, faculty members, employees, managers and executives on what's politically correct thinking. Part of that lesson is nonjudgmentalism, where one is taught that one lifestyle is just as worthy as another and all cultures and their values are morally equivalent.

Western values are superior to all others. But one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values. By the way, it is no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person. There's an indisputable positive relationship between liberty and standards of living. There is also indisputable evidence that we in the West are unwilling to defend ourselves from barbarians. Just look at our response to the recent Orlando massacre, in which we've focused our energies on guns rather than on terrorists.


The Supreme Court's affirmative action cases have now had 42 years of evasion, sophistry and fraud, with no end in sight

By Thomas Sowell

June 28, 2016

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States voted that President Obama exceeded his authority when he granted exemptions from the immigration laws passed by Congress.

But the Supreme Court also exceeded its own authority by granting the University of Texas an exemption from the Constitution's requirement of "equal protection of the laws," by voting that racial preferences for student admissions were legal.

Supreme Court decisions in affirmative action cases are the longest running fraud since the 1896 decision upholding racial segregation laws in the Jim Crow South, on grounds that "separate but equal" facilities were consistent with the Constitution. Everybody knew that those facilities were separate but by no means equal. Nevertheless, this charade lasted until 1954.

The Supreme Court's affirmative action cases have now lasted since 1974 when, in the case of "DeFunis v. Odegaard," the Court voted 5 to 4 that this particular case was moot, which spared the justices from having to vote on its merits.

While the 1896 "separate but equal" decision lasted 58 years, the Supreme Court's affirmative action cases have now had 42 years of evasion, sophistry and fraud, with no end in sight.

One sign of the erosion of principles over the years is that even one of the Court's most liberal judicial activists, Justice William O. Douglas, could not stomach affirmative action in 1974, and voted to condemn it, rather than declare the issue moot.

But now, in 2016, the supposedly conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy voted to uphold the University of Texas' racial preferences. Perhaps the atmosphere inside the Washington Beltway wears down opposition to affirmative action, much as water can eventually wear down rock and create the Grand Canyon.

We have heard much this year about the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of the great Justice Antonin Scalia — and rightly so. But there are two vacancies on the Supreme
Court. The other vacancy is Anthony Kennedy.
The human tragedy, amid all the legal evasions and frauds is that, while many laws and policies sacrifice some people for the sake of other people, affirmative action manages to harm blacks, whites, Asians and others, even if in different ways.

Students who are kept out of a college because other students are admitted instead, under racial quotas, obviously lose opportunities they would otherwise have had.

But minority students admitted to institutions whose academic standards they do not meet are all too often needlessly turned into failures, even when they have the prerequisites for success in some other institution whose normal standards they do meet.

When black students who scored at the 90th percentile in math were admitted to M.I.T., where the other students scored at the 99th percentile, a significant number of black students failed to graduate there, even though they could have graduated with honors at most other academic institutions.

We do not have so many students with that kind of ability that we can afford to sacrifice them on the altar to political correctness.

Such negative consequences of mismatching minority students with institutions, for the sake of racial body count, have been documented in a number of studies, most notably "Mismatch," a book by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., whose sub-title is: "How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It."

When racial preferences in student admissions in the University of California system were banned, the number of black and Hispanic students in the system declined slightly, but the number actually graduating rose substantially. So did the number graduating with degrees in tough subjects like math, science and engineering.

But hard facts carry no such weight among politicians as magic words like "diversity" — a word repeated endlessly, without one speck of evidence to back up its sweeping claims of benefits. It too is part of the Supreme Court fraud, going back to a 1978 decision that seemingly banned racial quotas — unless the word "diversity" was used instead of "quotas."

Seeming to ban racial preferences, while letting them continue under another name, was clever politically. But the last thing we need in Washington are nine more politicians, wearing judicial robes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


This year, through the Father’s Day weekend, the city with some of the strictest gun restrictions in the nation has had about 1,800 people shot, with more than 200 of them fatally

The shootings keep piling up in the Windy City which has some of the strictest gun restrictions in the nation. This Father’s Day weekend was an especially bloody one for Chicago, with 59 people shot, 13 of them fatally.

In Chicago so far this year, there have been about 1,800 people shot, with more than 200 of them fatally.

The Chicago Tribune reports that over the course of the year, the Harrison District on the city's West Side has tallied more homicides than any other district in the city, with 37. The Englewood District on the South Side had 36. The Austin District on the West Side, the Gresham District on the South Side and the Deering District on the South and Southwest sides each tallied 24.

So, how's that gun control working for you, Mayor Rahm Emanuel? Yeah, I know, they're getting their guns in Indiana.

59 Chicagoans shot … way to celebrate Father’s Day.

Most of the 59 shooting victims were black. How come Black Lives Matter isn’t protesting? Oh, I keep forgetting … BLM is only concerned about blacks getting killed by white cops.


Manziel’s father says, “I don’t know what to say other than my son is a druggie and he needs help … I hate to say it but I hope he goes to jail.”

By Sean Pendergast

Houston Press
June 27, 2016

For everyone who's said that Johnny Manziel won't ever play football again, and has followed that up semi-jokingly with the hypothesis that he will "wind up on a reality TV show," in a perverse way, those predictions are coming true.

Manziel's life at this point is realer than anything a highly edited show on E! could produce, and through the dark magic of TMZ and social media, we're watching his personal destruction, the crumbling of an Aggie legend one brick at a time. Sometimes the next episode comes from the unlikeliest of places, and this time it was from the inept fingers of Manziel's attorney, Bob Hinton, who last week accidentally fired off a text meant for a fellow attorney to the Associated Press, and that news outlet shared the contents with the Manziel reality show "viewing audience."

The text was meant for the lead attorney in Manziel's case, Jim Darnell, and from that text and the subsequent conversations generated, we learned some harrowing details of where Johnny Manziel's life is right now. Here's what we've learned in the past few days:

1. Manziel's defense team is seeking a plea deal in his domestic assault case.
Upon news of the text leaking, Manziel's spokeswoman, Denise Michaels, reinforced that Manziel's legal team has never been of the mind that Manziel would plead guilty in the case in which Manziel allegedly hit his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, but Hinton clearly has some trepidation over a plea deal, given that it would likely be tied to Manziel's staying drug-free, a proposition that Darnell seems to think is doubtful given this sentence in his misfired text — "Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle." Which brings us to...

2. Manziel's drug problems are as bad as or worse than what we've seen on TMZ.
Last Monday, Manziel was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Dallas. Reportedly, Tuesday afternoon, he purchased more than $1,000 worth of drug paraphernalia at a place called the Gas Pipe, that according to a "heads up" receipt emailed to Manziel's legal team. Hinton was understandably coy about the genesis of the receipt and what it may mean:

"I don't know if the receipt is legitimate or not," Hinton responded when asked about it by the AP. "I just know that it doesn't say Johnny's name on it anywhere that I can see. It's just that somebody in that store, I guess, circulated that to the other store managers and employees saying, 'Guess who was here today and spent this amount of money.' That's all I know."

Well, if the reaction of Manziel's father Paul is any indicator, it would seem logical that Manziel is making large purchases on drug apparatuses...

3. Manziel's family has kind of given up on him.
Shortly after Hinton's accidental text to the AP, ESPN's Rosina Anderson caught up with the elder Manziel, who seems to have thrown his hands up in the air on his son:

“He’s a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie. I don’t know what to say other than my son is a druggie and he needs help. He just hasn’t seeked it yet. Hopefully he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses. That’s about all you can say. I don’t know what else to say…I hate to say it but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him. So we’ll see.”

4. Manziel's first rehab stint was clearly not his idea.
When Manziel went to rehab after his rookie year, many were skeptical that it would work. The mere math of rehab (most addicts take multiple trips before they are able to stabilize, if they're ever able to) was working against Manziel, let alone his enabling surroundings. As it turns out, that rehab stint appears to have been pushed by Manziel's father, who had this to say to Anderson:

"You have no idea. And the system failed," he said. "I had him in rehab and he escaped and the doctors let him go, and that is a whole other story. So I mean I had him [in rehab] and the system failed. It didn't work."

5. Manziel does not appear to be partying on his family's dime.
The one question a lot of us have had, as we've watched Manziel party his way lavishly across the United States and back, is "Where is he getting the money to do all of this?" I mean, sure, Manziel still has enough cachet as a Heisman winner to get some comps and perks, but private jets ain't free, and it seems like he has a new plaintiff coming after him every day for something. Point being, we all have wondered if Manziel's family was supporting him financially.

Well, not only does that not appear to be the case, but according to Paul Manziel, Johnny's rookie deal with the Browns (a fully guaranteed four-year, $7.7 million deal), along with whatever endorsement income he has left, makes up a resource pool that exceeds his parents' resources:

"He has more money than me, so he can outrun me. Like I said, there are two things that are going to happen: He's either going to die, or he's going to figure out that he needs help. It's one of the two. But we've done everything that we can do. Life goes on. You can't just chase somebody that's not willing to listen. The story is not going to change. It's the same."

Wow. If that's the case, Johnny may start hanging out with some REALLY shady characters before we know it, and this story may hit a wall sooner than we all thought it would. For his part, Paul Manziel gives perhaps the most poignant, most accurate and most frightening assessment of where this is all going for the man they called "Johnny Football."

"We're so far past what everybody thinks we are past. People are ignorant. It's just a horrible story. That's all there is to it. I mean, I hate to say it, but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him."

If the Manziel reality show maintains its ebb and flow, we should have a story later this week from one of his sycophants telling us how he's getting ready to play football in 2016 or 2017. That's kind of how it's gone.

The fact is that, if Manziel's attorneys' concerns are right, Manziel's father may get his wish eventually, either through a judgment on his domestic assault case or a failed drug test after a plea agreement — his wish that prison actually saves his son.


Shasta County residents questioning justice system when woman released after 41 arrests

Action News Now
June 27, 2016

A Redding woman has been arrested again…and again…and again, the most recent being her 41st.

It has people in the community and police questioning if our current justice system is working.

With this latest arrest of repeat offender Christina Burke, people in the community are asking the questions, is are justice system working and are criminals learning their lesson?

Forty-one arrests in total, with nine of them just this year, police believe the chances are that she will keep committing crimes. People everywhere are asking, why does this keep happening?

“We have a problem with overcrowding at the Shasta County Jail,” said Redding Police Corporal Brian Cole. “I think everyone's aware of that. The jail just does not have the capacity to keep low level offenders for long periods of time. People like Christina Burke who are committing a lot of property crimes, breaking into vehicles, stealing vehicles, stealing credit cards are being released much quicker because more violent criminals are being held in custody.”

Legislation such as Prop 47, which reduced many drug crime penalties and AB 109 aimed at keeping prison populations low, have had negative consequences, according to local law enforcement.

Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson said that because of AB 109 many drug addicts and parolees are released back into society, with the hope that they will receive treatment.

“The focus is has shifted to rehabilitation and intervention for people and the problem with that is that not everybody wants to be rehabilitated and so they're turning out all these people who have no desire to change and no care to rehabilitate and they turn the burden on the local communities and they we suffer,” Johnson said.

And it’s not just law enforcement who's noticed the lack of accountability for criminals.

Many local groups such as Take Back Redding and Redding Crime Watch are full of people who don't feel safe anymore.

Redding residents even filed a petition called “Dear Governor Brown, we are taking a stand.”

Many people I spoke with today agree that we have a broken system, but we as a community can make a difference with our votes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gov. Moonbeam’s plan to keep low-level offenders out of prison seems to be working rather well. Criminals are set free to continue committing property crimes, breaking into vehicles, stealing vehicles, stealing credit cards, etc. The justice system may not be working for law abiding citizens, but it sure is working for the criminals..


A restored WW2 P-51 Mustang fighter plane named Bad Angel that sits in Hangar 4 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson is credited with shooting down an American plane for which its pilot was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross

Here is the story of the Bad Angel and the heroic pilot who flew it.

In 1942, the United States needed pilots for its war planes lots of war planes; lots of pilots. Lt. Louis Curdes was one. When he was 22 years old, he graduated flight training school and was shipped off to the Mediterranean to fight Nazis in the air over Southern Europe.

He arrived at his 82nd Fighter Group, 95th Fighter Squadron in April 1943 and was assigned a P-38 Lightning. Ten days later he shot down three German Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters. A few weeks later, he downed two more German Bf -109's. In less than a month of combat, Louis was an Ace and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

During the next three months, Louis shot down an Italian Mc.202 fighter and two more Messerschmitts before his luck ran out. A German fighter shot down his plane on August 27, 1943 over Salerno, Italy. Captured by the Italians, he was sent to a POW camp near Rome. No doubt this is where he thought he would spend the remaining years of the war. It wasn't to be. A few days later, the Italians surrendered. Louis and a few other pilots escaped before the Nazis could take control of the camp.

One might think that such harrowing experiences would have taken the fight out of Louis, yet he volunteered for another combat tour. This time, Uncle Sam sent him to the Philippines where he flew P-51 Mustangs.

Soon after arriving in the Pacific Theater, Louis downed a Mitsubishi reconnaissance plane near Formosa. Now he was one of only three Americans to have kills against all three Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Up until this point, young Lt. Curdes combat career had been stellar. His story was about to take a twist so bizarre that it seems like the fictional creation of a Hollywood screenwriter.

While attacking the Japanese-held island of Bataan, one of Louis wingmen was shot down. The pilot ditched in the ocean. Circling overhead, Louis could see that his wingman had survived, so he stayed in the area to guide a rescue plane and protect the downed pilot.

It wasn't long before he noticed another, larger airplane, wheels down, preparing to land at the Japanese-held airfield on Bataan. He moved in to investigate. Much to his surprise the approaching plane was a Douglas C-47 transport with American markings.

He tried to make radio contact, but without success. He maneuvered his Mustang in front of the big transport several times trying to wave it off. The C-47 kept head to its landing target. Apparently the C-47 crew didn’t realize they were about to land on a Japanese held island, and soon would be captives.

Lt. Curdes read the daily newspaper accounts of the war, including the viciousness of the Japanese soldiers toward their captives. He knew that whoever was in that American C-47 would be, upon landing, either dead or wish they were. But what could he do?

Audaciously, he lined up his P-51 directly behind the transport, carefully sighted one of his .50 caliber machine guns and knocked out one of its two engines. Still the C-47 continued on toward the Bataan airfield. Curdes shifted his aim slightly and knocked out the remaining engine, leaving the baffled pilot no choice but to ditch in the ocean.

The big plane came down to it wings. in one piece about 50 yards from his bobbing wingman. At this point, nightfall and low fuel forced Louis to return to base. The next morning, Louis flew cover for a rescuing PBY that picked up the downed Mustang pilot and 12 passengers and crew, including two female nurses, from the C-47. All survived, and later, Lt. Curdes would end up marrying one of these nurses.

For shooting down an unarmed American transport plane, Lt. Louis Curdes was awarded his second Distinguished Flying Cross. Thereafter, on the fuselage of his P-51 "Bad Angel", he proudly displayed the symbols of his kills: seven German, one Italian, one Japanese and one American flag.


Business was terrible and not picking up. The boss had to fire somebody, and he narrowed it down to one of two people, Debra or Jack. It was an impossible decision because they were both excellent workers. Rather than flip a coin, he decided he would fire the first one who used the water cooler the next morning.

Debra came in the next morning with a horrible hangover after partying all night. She went to the cooler to take an aspirin. The boss approached her and said: "Debra, I've never done this before but I have to either lay you or Jack off."

"Could you just jack off?" she says. "I feel like shit."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Melvin Adalberto Morales-Rivas was charged in the Liberty County shooting death of Vincente Rodriguez

By Dale Lezon

Houston Chronicle
June 27, 2016

A suspect was arrested early Monday, a day after the fatal shooting of a 45-year-old man in a dispute about a weed trimmer at his home in north Liberty County.

Melvin Adalberto Morales-Rivas, 28, is charged with murder in the slaying of Vincente Rodriquez about 12:10 a.m. Sunday in the 500 block of Road 3405 in the Bella Vista subdivision, according to the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Rodriguez brought home a weed trimmer that he told his wife he had found on the side of the road. Investigators later learned that the weed trimmer apparently belonged to Morales-Rivas and his partner, who have a lawn-care business together.

Morales-Rivas' partner, who has not been charged in the case, told investigators he and Morales-Rivas went to talk to Rodriguez at his home about getting the machine back. While they were speaking with Rodriguez's wife, Rodriguez's van burst into flames. When Rodriguez ran outside the house to put out the fire, deputies said, Morales-Rivas shot him several times, fatally wounding him.

Deputies said Rodriguez apparently was lured outside with the burning van.

Morales-Rivas and his partner left after the shooting.

The partner later told investigators he had a license to carry a concealed weapon, but had left his gun in his car while he and Morales-Rivas went to Rodriguez's front door. The man told investigators he believed Morales-Rivas grabbed the gun and shot Rodriguez.

Morales-Rivas surrendered to deputies after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the case.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shucks, this ain’t no big deal. This is just how we deal with a thieving varmint in the wild west state of Texas.


By Bob Walsh

Early yesterday morning a 33-year old Oregon mother arrived home with her five
and ten-year old children. She encountered a 59-year old man hiding in the
bedroom of one of her children. She pulled her pistol and shot the man to death.

The local constabulary and the D.A. are investigating.


Gabi Grecko called herself “Candi” and briefly tried playing the part of a flight attendant before getting down to business once the plane took off from New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport

By Shawn Cohen and Bruce Golding

New York Post
June 24, 2016

The hooker at the center of the NYPD corruption scandal has revealed to The Post how she engaged in mile-high group sex with two cops and three other men during a wild private-plane trip to Las Vegas.

Gabi Grecko donned a skimpy flight attendant outfit to service now-disgraced NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, since-fired Detective Michael Milici and the others while flying over the American heartland in February 2013, she claims.

She was hired by a pair of businessmen to entertain Grant in exchange for official favors, according to a federal corruption case filed against him this week.

Grecko, 27, told The Post she performed oral sex on each man in the cabin — sometimes simultaneously having sex with more than one of them.

“I was doing it while they were in their seats,” Grecko recalled.

“It was me on top the whole time. Front, behind, side. They all seemed really comfortable to take their pants off in front of each other and laugh about it. It’s like they’d done this before.”

Grant’s co-defendant, Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg, directed the sexcapades, shouting out instructions and providing running commentary, she said.

“He wasn’t really part of the action. He was just like setting it up and watching. He got serviced for part of the time, but he was mostly just egging it on and saying nasty comments, instructing me what to do sexually,” she said.

“He’d call me a dirty slut while smacking my a- -.”

She said she had no idea Grant and Milici, who were in civilian clothing, were cops, although they jokingly swung handcuffs.

“I didn’t think they were real,” she said. “They were just waving them around, like to put them on me. I was like, ‘No way.’ ”

Grecko, who is cooperating with the feds against Grant and Reichberg, said her outfit came from a costume shop near Union Square. Reichberg took Grecko there and helped her pick it out before the trip, she said.

“I was supposed to be a sexy stewardess. I’d ask: ‘Tea or coffee?’ ” she said.

“They all wanted me, I guess, and not the tea or coffee.”

Grecko initially thought the in-flight entertainment would be limited to “sitting on people’s laps and drinking with them.”

“I didn’t think it would be as extreme as it was, but then because I obviously couldn’t get off the plane, I had to do what they were telling me,” she said. “More than one would try to get my attention at once. They were really creepy and very rude and offensive.”

Grant kept shouting, “Ma’am, I need service over here!” she said.

And they were a bit picky.

“One of them told me that I wasn’t giving a good b- - -job,” Grecko added.

Grecko’s tale expands on allegations in the criminal complaint unsealed Monday that Grant and Milici joined the Mile High Club during the “first-class plus” flight.

It also expands on other allegations in the complaint against Grant, Reichberg and NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, who is not alleged to have been on the flight.

The feds say Reichberg and a cooperating witness — identified by sources as his pal Jona Rechnitz, a Manhattan real estate investor — invited Grant to join them in Sin City from Feb. 2 through Feb. 4, 2013, for Super Bowl XLVII.

Also on the trip was Grant’s friend Milici, referred to in court papers as “Detective-1,” an unidentified male “associate” of Rechnitz’s and Grecko, whom the feds call “Prostitute-1.”

The four identified men are all married with children.

Reichberg and Rechnitz arranged for Grecko “to come on the private jet and spend the weekend with the group in Las Vegas,” the Manhattan federal court complaint says.

Law enforcement agents who interviewed Grecko “confirmed, among other things, that [she] was engaged to accompany the persons on the trip and that Grant and others took advantage of her services during the trip,” the complaint says.

Rechnitz footed the $59,000 bill for the jet and scored comped rooms for the cops and paid for their meals, the complaint says.

Grant shared his room with Grecko, according to the feds.

Rechnitz wasn’t reimbursed, but the feds say Grant performed “numerous official acts” for him and Reichberg, including “regularly” providing them with police escorts.

Grecko said the group stayed at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Most of the men shared a huge duplex penthouse suite, equipped with a hot tub on its terrace, while Grant and Grecko shared a smaller penthouse, she said.

The group watched the Super Bowl in a private section of a large party room in the hotel, where they were joined by a bevy of local hookers, Grecko said.

Everyone binged on champagne and catered food, and Grecko said the men bet heavily on the San Francisco 49ers — who lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.

The group then returned to the large penthouse for a late-night orgy with other hookers, who got naked and hopped into the hot tub, Grecko said.

“When I came in, there were all these nude girls . . . They were walking in and out from the balcony,” Grecko said.

“They didn’t pressure me too much into doing it that time because there were all these girls.”

Following a flight back to Teterboro the next day, Grant drove her to her Harlem apartment. He handed her around $1,500 for her services, she said.

“If our team had won, you would have made more,” Grecko recalled him saying.

Grecko said she had not agreed on a price but had been hoping for $5,000.

“It was very small for what I thought it would be. He made it sound like it was some kind of management decision that they all made,” she said.

“I was really offended, but I didn’t really argue with him. I was really tired. I was just, honestly, really glad the weekend was over and that he was dropping me off. It was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. I was just overcome with relief that it was over.”

Grecko said she was solicited for the trip by Reichberg, whom she met along with Rechnitz at a sexed-up bachelor party at an Upper East Side hotel, attended by several ultra-Orthodox Jewish men.

Grecko had given Reichberg her phone number, and he hired her to work another sex party in Manhattan a few weeks later, she said.

The fifth man on the plane was a friend of Rechnitz, Marco Franco, who told The Post he had been interviewed by the feds. He said Thursday night that he and Rechnitz did not engage in sex with Grecko, and that he was the one who drove her to and from the airport and paid for her services.

Grecko said the Vegas trip convinced her to quit as a call girl.

“I just want people to know that because [of] the way I was treated, I stopped doing it,” she said. “It’s a dark thing that happened to me, but I don’t think it defines me.”

Lawyer Robert Baum, of the Federal Defenders of New York, confirmed he was representing Grecko as a potential witness against Grant and Reichberg.

“If called upon as a witness, she will testify truthfully about events that occurred on the plane and in Las Vegas,” he said.

Grant’s lawyer, John Meringolo, called Grecko’s claims “an assassination of my client’s character,” adding, “The evidence will show it has nothing to do with the alleged quid pro quo.”

Rechnitz’s attorney, Marc S. Harris, called Grecko’s allegations “false and unfounded.”

Reichberg’s lawyer declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.


Disarmed and dangerous: Officers across the Bay Area and state are losing firearms at an astonishing rate — and the consequences can be deadly

By Thomas Peele

The Mercury News
June 26, 2016

Nine-hundred and forty-four guns.

From Glocks, Sig Sauers and Remingtons to sniper and assault rifles, some equipped with grenade launchers.

They used to belong to law enforcement officers across California, but a new Bay Area News Group investigation found hundreds of police-issued weapons have been either stolen, lost or can’t be accounted for since 2010, often disappearing onto the streets without a trace.

A year after a bullet from a federal agent’s stolen gun killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier, this news organization surveyed more than 240 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and discovered an alarming disregard for the way many officers — from police chiefs to cadets to FBI agents — safeguard their weapons.

Their guns have been stolen from behind car seats and glove boxes, swiped from gym bags, dresser drawers and under beds. They have been left on tailgates, car roofs and even atop a toilet paper dispenser in a car dealership’s bathroom. One officer forgot a high-powered assault rifle in the trunk of a taxi.

The tally includes Colts, Rugers, Smith & Wessons, a Derringer, a .44-caliber Dirty Harry hand cannon and a small snub-nosed revolver called a “Detective Special.”

In all, since 2010, at least 944 guns have disappeared from police in the Bay Area and state and federal agents across California — an average of one almost every other day — and fewer than 20 percent have been recovered.

Little attention had been paid to the issue before Steinle’s highly publicized death. But at least 86 weapons were snatched from officers’ vehicles between January 2010 and last June’s smash-and-grab burglary of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger’s gun recovered after Steinle’s shooting. Police have not determined who stole it, but an illegal immigrant is charged in her killing.

“You just can’t leave a gun alone in a vehicle,” said retired FBI Agent Jim Wedick. “You just can’t do it. It has to be in a compartment, or in chains an inch thick wrapped around a lead box, because, God forbid, someone gets hurt.”

Even after Steinle’s death, law enforcement agents have continued to leave guns available in their cars: Four FBI guns have been stolen from vehicles in the Bay Area this year, including three in Benicia; Salinas police had three stolen from cars in a six-week period in April and May. And a San Jose Police cadet resigned on the eve of becoming an officer after his gun was stolen from his car in late October while he was in the Benihana restaurant at Cupertino’s Vallco Shopping Mall.

A breakdown of the missing 944 guns: 600 semi-automatic pistols and revolvers, 251 shotguns, 27 assault rifles, 16 rifles, 15 sniper rifles, 12 grenade/tear gas launchers, 1 submachine gun and 22
not disclosed or unknown.

Scope is ‘staggering’

The thefts are revealed in records obtained from government agencies in one of the most comprehensive examinations of missing police guns of its kind. While last year’s highly publicized killings of Steinle and Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos brought attention to the tragic consequences of stolen police guns, the scope of the problem has been far less clear — until now.

The numbers “are staggering,” said Frank Pitre, an attorney representing Steinle’s parents, Jim Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan, in a federal lawsuit over their daughter’s death. The BLM is one of three defendants.

This news organization’s investigation also uncovered that a gun stolen from a Tracy cop in 2010 was used to kill a man in Contra Costa County four years later, and a now-retired Piedmont police chief’s stolen gun in 2012 was used in a San Francisco gang shooting that year.

Many departments have struggled to keep track of weapons. Oakland police, for example, lost track of 370 weapons since 2011, including 30 this year that later turned up. It’s unclear how many other guns could be missing from local departments that haven’t bothered to audit their inventory of weapons.

While police agencies documented the majority of missing guns in this news organization’s analysis as lost or unaccounted for, 192 were listed as stolen.

“This needs to stop,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who is sponsoring legislation that would make it illegal in California for a cop to leave a gun in an unattended car unless it is locked inside a hidden compartment or secure case.

Officers become complacent with their weapon, because they are so used to it always being there, Hill said. “They don’t take it as seriously as they should, and what the effects of it could be if it gets lost to the wrong hands.”

Late last year, after Steinle and Ramos were killed, U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, urged President Barack Obama to issue an executive order requiring all federal guns left in parked vehicles to be locked down. The White House took no action, DeSaulnier said in an interview.

Regulations for gun storage in vehicles vary widely across the more than nearly 100 federal agencies that employ armed agents, DeSaulnier said. He said he will soon introduce legislation to make regulations uniform by requiring lockable compartments in any parked vehicle where a government gun is left.

He is also considering adding a requirement that any police department in the country that receives federal funding have strict policies in place about safeguarding guns in unattended vehicles.

“It was very staggering for me to find out that there is no set, universal policy at all for state, local and federal government,” DeSaulnier said. “That’s crazy.”

Most thefts from vehicles

The records that show from where a theft occurred highlight a distinct pattern: 60 percent were swiped from vehicles, almost always from a personal car or truck where a gun was left vulnerable, this news organization found.

Rather than securing their guns, officers sought to hide them under or behind car seats, placed them in glove boxes and center consoles, or stowed them in exposed equipment bags and backpacks before dropping into coffee shops, health clubs, grocery stores, bars, a Bass Pro Shop, a Nordstrom or their homes.

“It’s a movie that keeps getting repeated,” said Pitre, who also represents Ramos’ parents in a claim against the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department in their son’s death.

Ramos, the Oakland street artist, was painting an anti-violence mural on West Street under an Interstate 580 overpass when he was shot, purportedly by Marquise Holloway, 22, with a gun stolen from an ICE agent’s parked car in San Francisco. It had been left in a bag, Pitre said.

But Steinle and Ramos weren’t the only ones killed with stolen police weapons in the region since 2010, this news organization found. In March 2014, a gun stolen from the vehicle of a Tracy police officer was used in the death of Jesus Orozco, 34, a laborer and father of two, in a dispute over a woman that a prosecutor called “a little love triangle.”

Three men were arrested, but not charged. Orozco had been carrying an air gun that looked like an assault weapon, and the men raised self-defense claims, said Contra Costa deputy district attorney Mary Knox.

A cousin of Orozco said his family never knew a police gun was involved. The gunman wasn’t charged with possessing the officer’s stolen weapon because “we have to prove that he knew the gun was stolen,” Knox said.

New Tracy police Chief Larry Esquivel, the former San Jose chief, said “the circumstances were truly unfortunate for everybody involved. I can’t stress enough the importance of proper storage (and) care of any weapon.”

Running the gamut

Across the state, the officers whose guns were lost or stolen run the law enforcement gamut, from ICE and DEA agents to forest rangers, alcoholic beverage control officers, sheriff’s deputies, game wardens, welfare fraud investigators and parks police. A CHP officer’s gun was even stolen from his wife after she took it without his knowledge.

Losing a gun — especially when it was left vulnerable — is one of “the worst things to have happen to a police officer,” said CHP Captain Josh Ehlers.

Forty government-issued and personal guns were stolen from CHP officers during the period this news organization analyzed. Three more were reported missing.

CHP Officer Antonio Garrett left six guns — two shotguns, two pistols and two assault rifles — inside his personal Chevrolet Tahoe while he stopped at a Claim Jumper restaurant in Southern California in 2013. He didn’t notice the cache of weapons was gone until he got home and found a lock on the SUV was broken. The guns have not been found, Ehlers said. Garrett had been returning from a CHP gun range.

Stolen police guns have ended up in the hands of members and associates of notorious gangs like the Bloods, The Aryan Brotherhood and NorteƱos. One fell into the hands of a Reno pimp after a prostitute took a Kensington police officer’s Glock pistol and badge from his hotel room when he fell asleep. That gun was recovered when the pimp accidentally shot himself in the leg during an altercation.

That’s not the only bizarre discovery of an officer’s stolen gun: In 2014, a Washington woman driving through a Seattle suburb was pounding on the rattling glove compartment of a used car she just bought when it popped open and out fell a .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol that had been hidden in the air-bag compartment. Three years earlier, a thief had swiped it from a Stockton police officer’s car.

Weapon thefts

San Francisco police and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which includes Dublin police, topped local agencies with 10 stolen weapons each. All of the sheriff’s gun thefts were swiped from vehicles, including one where a deputy’s personal car flipped over in an accident and a passer-by snatched a bag from the wreckage as the injured officer waited for help.

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern said the thefts led him to issue an order earlier this year mimicking one by former San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr that prohibits officers from leaving weapons in vehicles overnight.

Former Piedmont police Chief John Hunt could have used the same policy.

He drove home to Danville after work on March 9, 2012, and as was his custom, left his briefcase in his car — with his Sig Sauer pistol inside. Hunt, who now lives in Idaho, said his wife didn’t want the gun in the house as a precaution because they have children.

The next morning, poof, the briefcase was gone.

Hunt said he instantly “felt sick. We lived in a safe community. The (driveway) gate was locked. It was so embarrassing.”

Four months later, two San Francisco police officers were driving along Mission Street shortly after midnight when they heard four or five gunshots, saw people scattering, then ran down a gang member who had tossed a weapon under a car.

When police ran that gun’s serial number through a statewide database that traces weapons, up popped the Piedmont Police Department.

It was Hunt’s gun.

Piedmont police were notified of the recovery, but Hunt, who had retired weeks earlier, said he was never told the gun was found until a reporter called.

In a phone interview he said he was surprised this news organization had traced the gun to the San Francisco shooting.

“At least it’s off the streets,” Hunt said. “I am so relieved. At least no one was hurt.”

Discipline appears rare

Strong discipline would help curb thefts, experts say, but it isn’t clear whether such discipline happens; California’s secretive police personnel laws often make it difficult to find out what happened to cops who left guns unsecured.

A few cases show punishment is far from severe.

When an unidentified Napa police officer left an assault weapon in the trunk of a taxi — the driver later turned it in — the discipline was a written reprimand, Chief Steven Potter said. When another cop had a weapon stolen from his home, he received a lecture and was told to buy a gun safe.

A cop leaving a gun unsecured in a vehicle can be “gross negligence,” Stephanie Wheaton, a senior DMV investigator, wrote in a January memo after investigating an underling whose gun was stolen in Los Angeles County last year.

Wheaton found the investigator “changed his story,” first claiming he left a bag containing the gun in the car, then saying he took the gun in his house.

She wrote that, at a minimum, the investigator’s punishment should be to pay the state the cost of the weapon — more than $700. A DMV spokesman would not say if or how the investigator was disciplined.

Alameda Sheriff Ahern said that none of the guns stolen from his deputies’ personal vehicles resulted in the kind of internal affairs investigations that can lead to serious discipline. Rather, he said, the department took administrative measures, such as “an informal counseling session” and what he called a “formal record of conversation.”

Most missing guns unaccounted for

Far more guns are listed as lost, missing or unaccounted for than stolen ¬— designations that can seem charitable, with police saying they sometimes use that listing when they suspect but aren’t sure that the weapon might have been stolen.

Stockton police list two Colt assault rifles as lost, although Lt. Rodney Rego said they were probably stolen when a police building being closed was burglarized.

“We just don’t really know what happened to them,” he said. The department also listed 15 12-gauge Remington shotguns and two Bushmaster assault rifles as unaccounted for in 2014. Two of the shotguns have been found. Some of the others “might have been cannibalized for parts,” lost, traded in for newer weapons, or stolen, Rego said.

San Jose lost track of 324 guns, with records showing the city’s lax controls failed to track whether officers took their weapons with them when they retired. The city recovered 14 of the missing weapons, records show. Like Oakland, San Jose’s numbers are eye-popping, but experts argue that other large departments would likely show similar numbers of missing weapons if they conducted similar audits. San Francisco, the region’s other large department, keeps documented track of rifles and shotguns, a spokesman said, but not pistols.

Oakland police have historically “done a very poor job” of keeping track of weapons, working with “a system that is really lousy,” said Lt. Sekou Millington, commander of the department’s training office.

A 2011 report showed 305 missing weapons, and follow-ups have added to the total. Forty-seven have turned up, but most are gone, Millington said, sold, perhaps, but not documented. The department has little idea where they might be and in whose hands. Millington said he hopes the city will buy software to track when guns enter or leave the station and signal alerts when one is gone too long.

“As bad as this is,” Millington said, “I hope it is going to get us the technology we need to fix it.”

Human error

Some departments are exploring technology that would help track down lost and stolen guns, similar to GPS trackers that help people locate missing cellphones, Ahern said.

That could have helped in a variety of scenarios where guns vanished in a flash. A Gilroy cop and a Marin County deputy each left weapons on the tailgates of their trucks. They fell off. The Marin gun was found in a field and returned.

Sometimes guns were temporarily misplaced. An investigator for the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency reported his weapon stolen to Fresno police after he put his state vehicle through a local carwash.

Cops interrogated carwash workers and searched their homes as part of a full-scale investigation, documents show. Days later, the investigator was cleaning at home when he found a bag.

“Surprise surprise,” he began an email to his bosses. The gun had been inside the bag all along.

Then there was what Wedick, the retired FBI agent, called an unfortunate fact about gun holsters: It’s difficult to use a toilet without taking one off.

“People have to go to the bathroom,” Wedick said.

Last year, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Kearnan ¬— a homeland security expert with a recent master’s degree from the Naval Intelligence School in Monterey — left his duty weapon on the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom of a Dublin car dealership.

He drove away, but raced back as soon as he realized he was unarmed.

The gun was gone. It remains missing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 15 sniper rifles? I’ll bet those suckers are tucked away in the closets or attics of some hunter-happy cops.

Here is a list of agencies in the Bay Area with the most lost guns:

California Highway Patrol 40 (Statewide)
California Department of Fish and Wildlife 16 (statewide)
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency 13 (statewide)
San Francisco Police Department 10
Alameda County Sheriff’s Department 10
Oakland Police Department 8
Calif. Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection 8 (statewide)
San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department 6
Calif. Dept. of Parks and Recreation 6 (statewide)
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department 5

Those 944 lost law enforcement guns are in California only. I wonder what the tally is for the rest of the country?


After 35 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for marriage counseling.

When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the years they had been married.

On and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured.

Finally, after allowing this for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to stand, he embraced and kissed her long and passionately as her husband watched - with a raised eyebrow.

The woman shut up and quietly sat down in a daze.

The therapist turned to the husband and said, "This is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week. Can you do this?"

The husband replies, "Sure, you bet! I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays. The only problem in the schedule is . . . . I Play Golf ON FRIDAYS - maybe you can pick her up on that day?"

Monday, June 27, 2016


The lead Baltimore police detective in the Freddie Gray investigation said she reluctantly read to grand jurors a summary of evidence provided by prosecutors that she believed was misleading

By Justin Fenton

The Baltimore Sun
June 26, 2016

The lead Baltimore police detective in the Freddie Gray investigation said she reluctantly read to grand jurors a summary of evidence provided by prosecutors that she believed was misleading, according to police records reviewed by The Baltimore Sun.

Hours later, the grand jurors issued criminal indictments against six police officers in the arrest and death of Gray.

Detective Dawnyell Taylor said in a daily log of case notes on the investigation that a prosecutor handed her a four-page, typed narrative at the courthouse just before she appeared before the grand jury.

"As I read over the narrative it had several things that I found to be inconsistent with our investigation," Taylor wrote, adding: "I thought the statements in the narrative were misquoted."

But, she wrote, she was "conflicted" about challenging the state's attorney on the narrative in the courtroom. "With great conflict I was sworn in and read the narrative provided," she said in her notes.

When the jurors asked questions, including whether Gray's arrest was legal, Taylor wrote that prosecutors intervened before she could give an answer that would conflict with their assessment.

The claims in her account underscore a rift between prosecutors and police that began in the spring of last year, when the two agencies worked together on parallel tracks to investigate Gray's death.

Some police officials believe prosecutors moved too quickly and have questioned their findings, while prosecutors have raised questions about whether police were seeking to absolve the officers of wrongdoing. Prosecutors have accused Taylor in court of trying to sabotage their case.

Taylor's case notes were provided to The Baltimore Sun anonymously, and Sun reporting verified their authenticity. Portions of the notes, which span a four-month period beginning with Gray's death on April 19, 2015, were discussed in court during testimony at the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. Taylor's account of the grand jury proceedings was not discussed.

The trial concluded Thursday with Judge Barry Williams acquitting Goodson on all counts, including second-degree murder. Goodson drove the transport van in which Gray suffered fatal spinal injuries.

State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby must now decide within days how to proceed with the trial of the next officer, scheduled to begin July 5.

Mosby's office declined to comment. Prosecutors, defense lawyers, witnesses and others involved in the case are under a gag order that prohibits them from publicly discussing it.

Taylor testified in the Goodson trial that she turned her notes over to defense lawyers, who objected that prosecutors didn't provide them first. Prosecutors said in court that they didn't have the notes. Taylor later testified that she offered to provide her notes but that prosecutors didn't want them.

Williams faulted prosecutors for not obtaining the notes and turning them over, as required under discovery.

During an exchange in court, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow accused Taylor of "sabotage" and said that he had sought to have her removed from the investigation last summer.

In the final days of Goodson's trial, Taylor sat in the courtroom — with the defense team.

The city's police union took to social media the day after the Goodson verdict, posting a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass and the text: "Here's to the Baltimore 6 defense team, the FOP and Detective Taylor." In another post with a photo of Mosby, the union wrote, "The Wolf That Lurks."

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis responded Saturday with a statement: "Inappropriate, insensitive remarks or attacks that serve to detract from our necessary relationships with our community and criminal justice partners have no place in our City."

The Fraternal Order of Police posts have since been deleted.

Prosecutors worked with police investigators as well as the city sheriff's office on the Gray case. But in a court filing this month, a top sheriff's commander, who obtained the warrants for the police officers' arrests, played down his office's role.

The commander said in an affidavit that he had "no involvement whatsoever" in the investigation by the state's attorney's office. He said prosecutors provided him a narrative that formed the basis for the charging documents.

Taylor's case notes shed light on the grand jury process, which by law is secret.

She said that Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe handed her a narrative on the afternoon she appeared before the grand jury. She thought she would have a chance to talk to Bledsoe before testifying, but that didn't happen.

Bledsoe could not be reached to comment.

Taylor wrote in her notes that she believed some portions of the narrative were misleading, likening the situation to telling grand jurors that investigators had shown a witness a photo lineup but not telling them that the witness failed to pick out a suspect. She didn't specify what evidence she felt was misrepresented.

When members of the grand jury began to ask questions about the case, Taylor wrote, prosecutors intervened and answered from their perspective.

"It was at this time that I realized that she did not intend for me to answer any questions because all of my answers would obviously conflict with what I had just read to them," Taylor wrote.

Taylor noted that she told the grand jury she was only reading the statement and that this was not her investigation.

A grand jury is made up of citizens who decide whether to indict someone suspected of a crime, and the burden of proof is lower than what's needed to secure a conviction in court.

In most cases, the state's attorney's office chooses an uninvolved officer to present the case to the grand jury by reading from charging documents prepared by police, according to former Baltimore homicide detective Joshua Ellsworth, who is not involved in the Gray case.

"I have never heard of the [state's attorney's office] providing an investigator with a prepared statement," said Ellsworth, who is now an associate instructor at Indiana University's department of criminal justice.

In homicide cases, Ellsworth said, the process is far more intensive, with detectives and prosecutors working together to present their case. He said members of the grand jury would often pepper him with questions, with some skeptical of the case and others wondering why authorities weren't seeking more charges.

"The grand jury is a great place to explain the totality of the facts you know, warts and all, and their questions will help you fill in what reasonable people will ask" when the case goes to trial, he said.

Police and prosecutors may differ on their theory of the case, he said, but detectives are there to answer questions in an unbiased manner. He said it's the responsibility of prosecutors to take those facts and "come to some sort of conclusion about whether to seek charges."

Robert Bonsib, a former state and federal prosecutor who has extensive experience with grand juries, said there is "no standard answer" for how witnesses should be handled by prosecutors. He said prosecutors often meet with witnesses before they appear in grand jury proceedings to discuss how they plan to convey what they know and how to handle certain questions.

But Bonsib, who is not involved in the Gray case, said prosecutors should tread carefully.

"Clearly a prosecutor isn't supposed to tell a witness what to say, in the sense of saying anything that isn't true or accurate or a product of their own knowledge," he said.

Taylor's notes indicate that she had concerns about prosecutors early on. She complained that in meetings before charges were brought, "it was clear that [Bledsoe] did not need to listen to any of the evidence as she had made up her mind to charge these officers."

The Sun, which was given exclusive access by the Police Department to observe its investigation last spring, reported that police believed unanswered questions remained in the case when they were caught off-guard by the prosecutors' decision to charge.

The day after the Police Department turned over its preliminary investigative findings to prosecutors, Mosby announced the charges against the officers.

The medical examiner had ruled Gray's death a homicide, and prosecutors alleged that officers disregarded their duty to keep Gray safe by failing to secure him with a seat belt and seek prompt medical attention after he was injured.

Goodson faced the most serious charges. Prosecutors said he deliberately drove the van in a reckless manner, causing Gray's injuries. Williams said he found no evidence of a so-called "rough ride."

So far, Goodson and Officer Edward Nero have been acquitted after bench trials, while jurors deadlocked on charges against Officer William Porter. In a rebuke of the state's case, Williams said Thursday that prosecutors were asking him to make assumptions and lacked evidence for their conclusions.

Taylor's notes became an issue in Goodson's trial because she wrote in them that the medical examiner had told police that Gray's death was an accident — a claim that the medical examiner disputed on the stand.

When Taylor took the stand, Schatzow questioned whether she wrote the notes only after her falling-out with prosecutors. He then asked her to confirm that she was removed from the Gray investigative team upon his request.

She said that never happened. "You made the request, but you don't have the authority to remove me."

According to her case notes, Taylor ceased contact with the state's attorney's office in August. But she said on the stand that police commanders kept her on as the lead investigator in the case.


By Annalies Winny

June 23, 2016

It's getting less and less likely that anyone will see jail time for the death of Freddie Gray.

Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the van inside which the 25 year-old black man sustained a fatal neck injury last year, was by most accounts the state's best chance of holding anyone criminally accountable for his death, which sparked protests and riots across Baltimore and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a crushing defeat for the prosecution, Goodson was acquitted Thursday on all seven charges, which ranged from misconduct in office to second-degree murder, in a packed Baltimore courtroom as State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby looked on sternly.

Barry Williams, the black judge who was the sole decider in this case, told the court that the state had "failed to meet its burden" in proving Goodson killed Freddie Gray in a "rough ride" by deliberately driving recklessly in order to inflict harm on the young man. There was no evidence that Goodson "knew, or should have known" Gray needed urgent medical attention as he was driven around cuffed, shackled and without a seatbelt, Williams ruled.

The outcome came as little surprise to many legal experts, who have said from the get-go that the prosecution's case against Goodson was weak. Nor did it shock the few dozen protesters gathered outside, who have witnessed months of delays and three trials of officers involved in the Gray case—a mistrial and now two full acquittals.

"I'm disgusted as usual, especially in a judicial system that's supposed to be fair and transparent," said activist Tawanda Jones, speaking outside Courthouse East.

The city gave Gray's family a $6.4 million settlement, but many Baltimoreans want to see individual officers held accountable—a rarity in the annals of police misconduct and brutality cases. Still, many observers say the verdict itself is less meaningful than the systemic failings it represents.

Tessa Hill Aston, the president of the NAACP's Baltimore chapter, said she was disappointed in the verdict, and that it illustrates a need to pursue new police reforms.

"We have to go back to the drawing board here in Baltimore and Maryland with rules and regulations and laws that affect the police behavior," she told VICE. "It's clear that they can do action that we feel is not correct, but in the courtroom is not a criminal act."

While it's becoming less and less likely that accountability in Gray's death will come in the form of a criminal conviction, "this acquittal is in no way an endorsement of the officer's actions," said David Jaros, a University of Baltimore law professor. "It doesn't mean (Goodson) didn't make horrible decisions. This case is an indictment of the entire system." Jaros added that this called for "massive policy intervention."

In the short term, Judge Williams's decision could persuade Mosby to drop the charges against the three officers still awaiting trial, as police union officials were calling on her to do. (Mosby is also facing defamation lawsuits from several of officers charged.)

"If she can find a graceful way to exit she should probably do that," said Warren Brown, an attorney familiar with the cases.

Officer Edward Nero, who testified in Goodson's defense, was acquitted last month on four misdemeanor charges relating to Gray's initial arrest; Officer William Porter, who was forced by the state's highest court to testify against Goodson, will be re-tried in the fall following a hung jury in December.

The prosecution had several problems during Goodson's trial. The "rough ride" the driver allegedly gave Gray took center stage in the state's opening arguments but was seldom mentioned again. And perhaps more importantly, during a confrontational cross-examination, prosecutors and a lead police detective questioned each other's integrity in open court.

During the exchange, Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow accused Detective Dawnyell Taylor of attempting to sabotage the case they were building against the six officers. Taylor attacked right back, accusing State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe of picking and choosing the evidence she took from police, as the two glared at each other from across the courtroom. Taylor also called into question the state medical examiner who ruled Gray's death a homicide, saying she had at one point called Gray's death a "freakish accident"; earlier in the trial, Dr. Carol Allan told the court she said no such thing.

The incident threatens "the entire integrity of the process," said Jaros, the law professor. "We're left now with less confidence that the process worked out as it's supposed to with regard to these criminal charges—and that's a real loss."

"This demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to deal with prosecutors needing to prosecute police officers, and police officers being investigated by other police officers," Jaros added.

Outside of the courtroom, the city of Baltimore has embraced some police reform measures. Officers have received more training in how to interact with communities, and mandatory body cameras have been issued.

As is common throughout the country, however, police unions are fighting these sorts of changes. In March, the Fraternal Order of Police filed a lawsuit alleging that it is illegal for the Baltimore Police Department to share police records with the city's Civilian Review Board, asking that the body be prohibited from investigating FOP members or officers "in any manner."

That sort of institutional antagonism is a step backward in repairing fraught relations between poor minority communities and the police, according to David Rocah, an ACLU lawyer with a focus on police reform. He said the demand for criminal accountability in police brutality cases stems from an utter lack of civil accountability, which has also fueled mistrust of the cops.

"The entire topic of police discipline is legally a black box about which the public is entitled to know little to nothing," Rocah said. "The mantra is simply, 'Trust us, we'll do the right thing.'"

EDITOR’S NOTE: What the latest not guilty verdict in the Freddie Gray case really means is that it proves State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby rushed to judgement by persecuting six cops in order to appease an angry black community.


By Bob Walsh

There was a Battle of the Demonstrations this morning (06-26) on the Capitol steps in Sacramento (CA). One group, the Traditionalist Workers Party, is described in the media as “racist” and “Nazis.” The other group, Antifa Sacramento, is self-described as anti-racist and anti-fascist on their own FaceBook page.

When the whole magilla was over there were seven people down with stab wounds. The early media reports said that all the injured “looked like” they were associated with Antifa. I don’t know if that means they were non-white, looked like super-annuated hippies or were all waving Mexican flags.

There is no information on the condition of those injured.

I guess now California will be looking hard at knife control.


Detectives were convinced Michael Jackson molested his nephews

By Stacy Brown

Page Six
June 25, 2016

Investigators were convinced Michael Jackson preyed on his own nephews, several sources involved in the criminal probe told The Post.

Santa Barbara County detectives interviewed two of Jackson’s nephews and another family member while investigating the King of Pop for child molestation in 2004-2005, but believe Jacko silenced his family with gifts and threats.

“We received a credible tip about the nephews and, as with many things that happened during the investigation, Jackson’s people got wind of it and Jackson spirited the one boy off to an island,” said a former county detective. “Well, when that boy returned, Jackson had also purchased him a brand new car which we understood, along with the trip, was to shut the nephew up.”

But the then-18-year-old nephew still hinted something was amiss.

“He was home alone and invited two detectives in, offered refreshments and he also offered that he would be unwilling to talk bad about his uncle,” a prosecution source said.

“It was odd that he wasn’t upset with the visit, he wasn’t upset that the detectives told them what they had suspected happened between he and Michael and he never gave a real denial,” the source said.

Another nephew denied being assaulted by the “Dangerous” singer.

One family member “said he feared there were several nephews who had already been victimized and that he also feared that Jackson’s own son [Blanket] was being groomed by Jackson for unsavory behavior,” the detective told the Post.

Investigators never charged Jacko because the relatives wouldn’t cooperate, investigators said.

The police interviews took place before Jacko’s molestation trial was beginning in Santa Maria, Calif. Jackson was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old cancer patient, but was acquitted. Four years later, the singer died of a drug overdose.

Last week, Radar Online reported that Jacko hid a twisted sex addiction as well as deviant artifacts like a Jon Benet Ramsey doll with a noose around her neck and torture magazines at his Neverland Ranch.

The website said police also found scantily clad photos of young boys including that of Jackson’s nephews, Taj, Terrell and T.J. — the sons of Jacko’s brother Tito — who formed the 1990s pop group 3T.

One private investigator with direct knowledge of the police raids told the website: “The detectives report cites Michael even used sexy photos of his own nephews … in their underwear to excite young boys.”

Jackson attorney Brian Oxman said the Radar Report mischaracterized art as porn: “Terrell is standing naked with a shirt in front of him. It is reminiscent of Kim Kardashian on the cover of GQ magazine. He had the photo done for an album cover. There were 50 people there at that photo shoot.”

Jacko recorded and produced music with his nephews and, as revealed in a family member’s tweet last year, eerily wrote a letter to the boys’ late mother – his sister in law – warning her to “please read this article about child molestation and please read it to Taj … it brings out how even your own relatives can be molesters of children, even uncles or aunts molesting nephews or nieces. Please read. Love MJ.”

Jacko estate lawyer Howard Weitzman told The Post Jacko “never molested anyone. And, whomever would say that he would harm his own children is ridiculous.”

Before the acquittal and in their attempts to uncover more family secrets, authorities flew to Las Vegas and met with an “immediate” family member of Jacko’s.

“What he told us was eye-opening. He told us that Jackson had for years tried to hide his predilection for prepubescent boys.” However the family member said Jackson had also been addicted to all kinds of drugs and often was too screwed up to even realize that others were witnessing his touching little boys.

This family member said he feared that there were several nephews, including his own son and Jacko’s own son, who may have been victims.

Jacko had a total of 23 nephews and nieces. Oldest brother Jackie, 65, has two children, including one son; Tito, 62, has three sons; Jermaine, 61, has nine children, including seven sons; Marlon, 59, has three children, including one son; Randy, 54, has three children, including one son; sister Rebbie, 66, has three children, including one son.

Jacko had three children, Prince, 19; Paris, 18, and Blanket, 14.

“The family member … told us that [family matriarch] Katherine Jackson more than anyone else knew about her son’s activities with boys but was too embarrassed to do anything about it. He told us that Katherine implied that Hollywood turned Jackson gay, which had nothing to do with his being a pedophile,” the prosecution source said.

The family member declined to testify at trial, telling investigators and friends that such testimony would lead to an unwanted divorce from his wife and he’d be ostracized from the family or even killed if he did so.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fame and money prevented Jackson from getting the long prison term he deserved. He may be the King of Pop to his admirers, but what he really was is the King of Pedophiles.


Emma Coronel Aispura, the wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, traveled to Washington earlier this month to seek an international investigation into her claim that Guzman’s human rights are being violated while he awaits extradition to the U.S.

By Josh Gaynor and Evan Perez

June 20, 2016

The wife of Mexican drug cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman traveled to Washington earlier this month launching her efforts to seek an international investigation into her claim that Guzman's human rights are being violated while he awaits extradition to the U.S.

Emma Coronel Aispura, a former beauty queen and a U.S. citizen who lives in Mexico, spent several days in Washington, where she held a meeting at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an arm of the Organization for American States.

A spokeswoman for the commission, Maria Isabel Rivero, confirmed the meeting with Aispuro but, citing privacy issues, would not discuss the purpose or details of the visit.

"Every single person who asks for a meeting at the IACHR is received under rules of confidentiality for the security of the persons involved," she said.

U.S. officials questioned Coronel during her entry and departure from the U.S. as part of the customs process, according to a U.S. official. But the dual U.S. and Mexican citizen is not charged with any crimes, so she was allowed to enter and leave.

Andres Granados, an attorney for Guzman, told CNN in a telephone interview that the purpose of Coronel's visit was to file a petition with human rights commission and to seek an investigation into the conditions of his imprisonment in Mexico.

In February, Coronel told Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo she feared for her husband's life in Mexico's Altiplano prison, saying, "They want to make him pay for his escape."

"They say that they are not punishing him. Of course they are," Coronel said. "They are there with him, watching him in his cell. They don't let him sleep. He has no privacy, not even to go to the restroom."

Mexican authorities, citing security concerns, have since moved Guzman to a prison in Juarez, Mexico, near the U.S. border.

Granados says Coronel noticed being followed during her visit by what she assumes to be U.S. government agents.

"That's how it is for her, she knows they always have her under surveillance," Granados told CNN.

Coronel, more than 20 years Guzman's junior, met the drug kingpin when she was just 17, in 2007, and they were married the following year. She gave birth to twin daughters in Lancaster, California, in 2011. She was with her husband when he was arrested in the Mexican resort town of Mazatlan in 2014.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


June 25, 2016

FULSHEAR, Texas -- Police say a Houston-area woman fatally shot her two adult daughters before officers shot and killed her.

The incident happened about 5 p.m. Friday in front of a home on the fringe of the Houston suburb of Fulshear. Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls says a motive was still under investigation, but it appeared the shooting was the climax to a family argument.

Nehls says the daughters had already been shot when a Fulshear police officer arrived and saw the mother with a gun in her hand, apparently preparing to shoot one of her daughters again. The officer shot and killed the woman.

Officials identified the mother as Christy Sheats, 42, and her daughters as Taylor Sheats, 22, and Madison Sheats, 17, CBS affiliate KHOU reported.

"It's just crazy," Austin Enke, a neighbor who said he went to high school with one of the victims, told KHOU. "The neighborhood's never seen this kind of thing before. It's always quiet. This is surprising. They never showed any kind of thing that was wrong with them whatsoever."

Detectives told the station the woman's husband was in the home at the time of the shooting and ran to a neighbor's place for help.

"I think it would be shocking for anyone, anywhere, whether you're in Fort Bend or Harris or anywhere in the country." Nehls said.

Detectives also said they recovered a handgun from the scene and are looking into whether the mother fired at responding officers before she was shot.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It looks like after she shot her daughters, she committed suicide by cop.


By Bob Walsh

There is currently a push in the U.K. to redo the Brexit vote. Those pushing are sniveling that the vote was influenced primarily by older voters, while the younger voters are going to be the ones who mostly will have to pay the consequences of the vote.

Boo-fuckiing-hoo. Life is not a rehearsal and elections have consequences. Grow a pair and deal with it.

It now looks as though there is a fair chance the French and the Dutch may very well vote on the same question in the foreseeable future and that Scotland may hold yet another secession referendum and attempt to stay in the E.U. Spain has said they would oppose the entry of an independent Scotland into the E.U.

I believe that current E.U. members can veto future prospective members, so that would kind of let some of the wind out of those Scottish sails. Real life is hard.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There are also rumblings for a vote to leave the E.U. in Denmark, Sweden, Italy and bankrupt Greece.


By Bob Walsh

Jenna Wall, 35, was an Atlanta area kindergarten teacher. She was married in 2004 and had two children. She filed for divorce last year. She was living at her parent’s home when on Thursday she was shot to death within earshot of her children, allegedly by her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Wall, 63.

The cops assert that Elizabeth went to the home late in the morning on Thursday and loaded the boys, ages 7 and 8, into the car. She then called her son Jerrod, an investigator with the DA’s office, to come get the kids. She then went into the kitchen and shot Elizabeth to death. When Jerrod got there he (again allegedly) found his mom in the house, holding a gun to her head. She didn’t pull the trigger.

The divorce was less than amicable. Allegedly Jenna was involved with an old high school boyfriend.


By Bob Walsh

A Philadelphia mother is being charged with the shooting death of her 4-year old daughter and the cops are looking for the mother’s boyfriend in connection with the death.

Shakela Holmes, 25, is facing charges of third-degree murder and an attempt to cover-up the circumstances of the death. Her boyfriend, Demetrius Williams, is being sought for involuntary manslaughter and other charges.

The girl died of what appears so far to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right eye. They believe the shooting took place in an upstairs bedroom about noon on Thursday.


By Bob Walsh

Two L. A. County Deputies are in critical condition after a running gun battle with a man who evaded a DUI checkpoint and took a hostage in the early hours of Friday (06-24).

The shooter has been identified as Juan Manuel Martinez, 39.

A motorcycle officer pulled Martinez over after he ignored the DUI checkpoint. Martinez stopped, bailed out and opened fire, hitting the deputy several times. The deputy returned fire, and Martinez beat feet. He was then spotted by responding deputies who engaged him, leaving another deputy wounded.

Martinez fled the immediate scene and took a man hostage in a converted garage space at a nearby house. The hostage was able to get out leaving Martinez cornered. After about an hour the cops gassed the crap out of him and took him into custody, alive.

He is being held pending a $10,000,000 bail. Both officers are likely to survive and one has already been upgraded to fair condition.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shit, in my day Martinez would not have been taken alive. Now they try to sweet-talk a cop shooter into giving up.


By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
June 24, 2016

The calls started rolling in about people at Hermann Park who appeared to have "altered states of mind" around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Houston Fire Department Captain Ruy Lozano told reporters.

The victims were spotted in an area of the park so notorious for synthetic marijuana users that it's nicknamed "Kush Corner." And when firefighters showed up, Lozano said, they found packets of the fake pot, commonly known as kush, scattered around more than a dozen people who needed hospitalization.

By 6 p.m., paramedics had found 16 people in Hermann Park — many of them homeless, Luzano said — who had apparently overdosed on the drug and were taken away in ambulances.

The Harris County Attorney's Office and the Texas Attorney General's Office have been cracking down on head shops or convenience stores that sell synthetic marijuana for this very reason.

Officials will likely cite the incident in the next lawsuit they file against a local Houston shop selling the drug — a dangerous combination of herbs and chemicals that is actually nothing like marijuana. According to the DEA, severe side effects can include seizures, psychotic episodes or random outbursts of violence. Lozano said yesterday that the heat only makes side effects worse and that many of the patients were dehydrated.

The county attorney and the attorney general most recently obtained a temporary injunction against Good Timez Boutique and Smoke Shop, which sold packets of kush claiming it was "not for human consumption," prosecutors said. Often, kush is branded as "potpourri" or "incense" and sold in brightly colored packages with comic-book-like graphics and catchy names such as "Galactic Head Trip" or "Klimax."

This is the ninth lawsuit the agencies have filed against a local smoke shop, attempting to eradicate the dangerous synthetic drug. Earlier this month, Jams Smoke Shop was ordered to pay $878,000 in penalties after losing one such suit.

Other bizarre incidents in the Houston area that county attorneys blame on synthetic marijuana in these lawsuits include: an incident where two men got angry about finding a piece of cold chicken on their neighbor's lawn during a barbecue, then attacked and shot at those neighbors; another in which a man allegedly smoked a "bad batch" of the drug, then stabbed, beat and choked his girlfriend to death during an argument; and a third when a man suspected of being high on kush ran over a woman walking on the sidewalk, then continued driving and rammed into another driver stopped at a red light.

Looks like they have another to add to their collection.


A grand jury has declined to charge former McKinney Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, who drew his gun on unarmed teenagers at a pool party and threw a 15-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2016

HOUSTON -- A grand jury has declined to charge a Texas police officer who drew his gun on unarmed teenagers at a pool party and threw a 15-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground, officials said Thursday.

Cpl. Eric Casebolt resigned a year ago this month. He was suspended after the release of a video in which he can be seen aggressively confronting black teenagers in McKinney, a Dallas suburb.

The bystander's video, which garnered millions of views on YouTube, showed Casebolt shouting and cursing at teenagers who did not appear to be acting violently or aggressively. Casebolt, who is white, wrestled some black youths to the ground. Officials said residents had called the police to complain about an out-of-control party and fighting. Some teenagers said they had permission to be at the pool and said residents had harassed them.

Protesters called for Casebolt's firing. While city officials condemned the officer's conduct, he was allowed to resign and keep his pension and benefits. The episode fed a national furor over police mistreatment of African Americans.

At one point in the video, Casebolt walked up to the 15-year-old in a bikini and wrestled her to the sidewalk, forcing her head down with his hand. Kim T. Cole, a Dallas-area lawyer representing the girl, Dajerria Becton, and her family, said the grand jury's decision not to indict the officer was "no surprise."

"We currently live in a time in which the public servants who are hired to protect and serve are not required to uphold the very law they are sworn to enforce," Cole said. "The message is clear. Police are above the law. This must change. They must be held accountable."

Casebolt's attorney, Tom Mills, said the former officer was "very happy" about the grand jury's decision.

"I'm sure other people are disappointed, but what was presented in the media is not the full picture of what happened. The videos make it seem so bad, that he's grabbing the girl and throwing her on the ground out of nowhere," he said. "Our position was that he had a duty to arrest for criminal trespassing and when she resisted, he had to pull her back."

On Monday the McKinney Police Department announced a meeting with community leaders called "Moving Forward: Strengthening Police and Community Relationships."

"Through this forum, we aim to establish another line of communication with citizens to hear directly what they would like to see from their police department," said Police Chief Greg Conley, who is scheduled to attend. "By having citizens working in cooperation with police, we can begin to solve problems in our community."

June 24, 2016

A 37-year-old man was convicted Friday in the killing of his ex-boyfriend in Sun Valley in what authorities said was a plot to collect on a $2.5 million life insurance payout.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about seven hours before finding Hovanes “John” Maskovian guilty of first-degree murder and attempted kidnapping for the April 24, 2013, killing of Joshua West, 33.

Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain, murder while lying in wait and murder during an attempted kidnapping.

Maskovian’s younger brother, Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian, 31, was convicted Thursday by a separate jury of the same charges, with the panel finding true the same special circumstance allegations. That jury rejected allegations that Hachik Maskovian personally discharged or used a handgun during the commission of the crime.

The two brothers — who are facing life in prison without the possibility of parole — are due back before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen for sentencing in late August.

In his opening statement in the brothers’ trial, Deputy District Attorney Geoff Lewin called the attack on West “brutally horrific.”

“Joshua West would not go quickly and he would not go quietly,” Lewin told jurors, noting that a tire iron, a cutting instrument, a car and a gun were used to “finally silence his screams.”

West had broken up with Hovanes Maskovian, but the two continued living together for financial reasons as Hovanes Maskovian’s bills continued to mount up, the prosecutor said.

“There is one bill that John will pay,” Lewin said, referring to life insurance policies that Hovanes Maskovian and West had applied for in 2009. Two life insurance policies were issued — $2.5 million on West’s life and $3.5 million on Hovanes Maskovian’s life. Hovanes Maskovian was the primary beneficiary on West’s policy, while the second beneficiary was the victim’s brother, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor called the evidence against the Maskovians “absolutely overwhelming,” noting that a pair of gloves found in a canyon about two miles from the murder scene tested positive for DNA linked to Hachik Maskovian and the victim.

Hovanes Maskovian’s attorney, Albert DeBlanc Jr., told jurors in his opening statement his client had “no intent to hurt Josh ever” and maintained that the two had a “close, loving relationship” and were still living together.

He said he believed the case would show that his client intended to rescue West.

“You’re going to know that my client John Maskovian is not guilty,” he said.

Hachik Maskovian’s attorney, Alex Kessel, told jurors, “My client had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with shooting the victim. Kriss did not conspire with anyone to kill the victim.”

He said his client and his older brother had separate lifestyles and that Hachik Maskovian had financially helped his brother in the past, but wasn’t particularly close to him.

Co-defendant Nazaret “Nick” Bayamdzhyan, 22, is awaiting trial separately in connection with the killing.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Officer Caesar Goodson, the driver of the paddy wagon in which Freddie Gray died, is acquitted of all charges, including “depraved heart” murder

By Juliet Linderman

Associated Press
June 23, 2016

BALTIMORE -- A judge acquitted a police driver of all charges on Thursday in the death of 25-year-old arrestee Freddie Gray, whose broken neck on the way to the station set off Baltimore's worst riots in decades.

Six officers were charged in Gray's death, but only Officer Caesar Goodson was accused of "depraved heart" murder. Gray was fatally injured after officers bound his hands and feet and Goodson left him unprotected by a seat belt that prosecutors say would have kept him from slamming into the van's metal walls.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams also found Goodson not guilty of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment after five days of testimony in the non-jury trial.

Williams said the state failed to show that Goodson knew he'd harm Gray by leaving him unbuckled, or that he was aware of the injury.

"The state failed to prove the defendant knew or should have known that Mr. Gray needed medical care," the judge said.

"Unlike in a shooting or a stabbing, or a car accident, this injury manifests itself internally," Williams said, citing conflicting testimony from medical experts. "If the doctors weren't clear, how would a person without medical training know?"

The judge also said the state failed to prove Goodson gave Gray a "rough ride."

"The state had a duty to show the defendant corruptly failed in his duty, not just that he made a mistake," the judge said.

Outside the courthouse, a small group of protesters chanted: "We can't stop. We won't stop, till killer cops are in cell blocks."

Protests and rioting after Gray's death on April 19, 2015 set the city on fire, forcing Maryland to bring in the National Guard. The unrest forced the city's mayor to abandon her re-election campaign, and the Department of Justice opened an investigation into allegations of widespread police abuse.

The Democratic nominee to become Baltimore's next mayor, State Sen. Catherine Pugh, issued a statement pleading for patience.

"Protests are a vital part of democracy, but to destroy the homes and businesses many people have worked very hard to build is unacceptable. Although people may disagree with the verdict, it is important to respect each other and to respect our neighborhoods and our communities," Pugh said.

Prosecutors said Goodson was criminally negligent when he failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt or call for medical aid after Gray indicated that he wanted to go to a hospital. But Goodson wouldn't talk to investigators or take the stand at trial, leaving the state with slim evidence of intent to harm.

The acquittal of Goodson, 46, is perhaps the most significant blow to State Attorney Marilyn Mosby's efforts to hold police accountable for Gray's death.

Last month, the same judge acquitted Officer Edward Nero of misdemeanor charges, and in December, he declared a mistrial after a jury failed to agree on manslaughter and other charges against Officer William Porter.

Porter faces a retrial in September, and three other officers have yet to be tried.

Gray was arrested April 12 after running from an officer on bike patrol outside a public housing project not far from the Western District station house. A neighbor's video showed him handcuffed behind his back and hoisted into Goodson's van.

The van made a total of six stops that day, and Gray was unresponsive on arrival at the station house 45 minutes later. Prosecutors said Goodson was there throughout and checked on Gray during the third and fourth stops, so he should have known Gray was in distress. They said his failure to call a medic amounts to murder.

A prosecution expert testified that Gray could not possibly have broken his own neck. Prosecutors said the injury happened somewhere between the second and fourth stops, when Goodson and Porter lifted Gray off the floor.

Porter testified that Gray was lethargic, but could breathe and speak, and didn't seem injured. Prosecutors countered that the initial injury became critical as the trip continued.

Second-degree "depraved heart" murder, which carries up to 30 years in jail, would mean that Goodson was so negligent in his inaction that he cast aside any consideration for Gray's life.

During opening statements, prosecutors for the first time accused Goodson of giving Gray a "rough ride," intentionally leaving him unbuckled "to bounce him around in the back of the van."

But by closing arguments, they all but abandoned the theory, saying Goodson's failure to belt Gray in under the circumstances was sufficient to prove the intent necessary for a murder conviction.

"Officer Goodson never calls a medic, he never takes Freddie Gray to the hospital," said Deputy State's Attorney Jan Bledsoe. "He has breached his duty, and because of that breach Freddie Gray's life was shortened."

The judge seemed skeptical, peppering prosecutors with questions and asking what evidence they had supporting the "rough ride" theory. What if Gray had emerged from the van unhurt, despite being unbuckled, and was found to be falsely claiming injury in order to avoid jail?

Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow said the failure to belt him in would still be a crime, although a difficult one to prosecute.

Goodson's attorney Matthew Fraling fiercely rejected the allegations, telling the judge that Goodson was a "gentle" officer who didn't buckle him in because Gray was exhibiting "violent and erratic" behavior, citing witness testimony that he was making the wagon shake back and forth by kicking and flailing inside.

Fraling also said Gray said yes when Porter asked if he wanted to go to a hospital only because Gray hoped to avoid jail.

"They have failed to cobble together any type of case with reasonable inferences, let alone evidence," he said. "The mere fact that harm resulted doesn't mean the Officer Goodson's conduct is the cause of that harm."

Goodson's acquittal may impact the remaining cases. Officer Garrett Miller and Lt. Brian Rice are scheduled to stand trial in July on charges of assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office; Rice also faces a manslaughter charge.

All the officers but Goodson have filed defamation lawsuits against Mosby and Maj. Sam Cogen of the sheriff's office, who signed the charging documents. The officers claim the criminal charges amounted to false and damaging information.