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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Nearly a year after a man was shot to death in St. Louis' Ville neighborhood, two men are facing murder charges.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 20-year-old Ralph Alexander and 25-year-old Dontrell Sanders are both charged with first-degree murder and other charges. Both are jailed, Alexander without bail and Sanders on $250,000 cash-only bail.

Authorities say the men were involved in a drive-by shooting on April 5, then another shooting about four minutes later. Police say 47-year-old Tracy Jones died as he sat in a car in the second shooting. A 56-year-old woman survived a wound to the thigh.
Published in Local News
It took under a minute for thieves to grab nearly 20,000 dollars worth of jewelry from a Cahokia pawn shop last night.

The crime was caught by surveillance cameras and the video shows an organized group of criminals. The men--all in masks--broke the front window, walked up to a jewelry cabinet, broke the glass, and started grabbing jewelry. Police said the suspects were in and out of the store within 30 seconds and made off with 150 pieces of jewelry worth around $20,000.

The suspects drove off in Chevy Impala.
Published in Local News
A participant in a knock-out-game beating last year, got the maximum jail sentence this week.

Edward Townsend will spend one year in prison after admitting to his role in the May 2012 attack in the Central West End. Neighborhood residents sent nearly two dozen letters to the judge saying Townsend deserved the maximum penalty and the judge agreed.
Published in Local News
A St. Louis teen faces sentencing later this spring after he admitted to stealing a car at gunpoint.

15-year-old Cameron Coleman walked up to a Jeep in the Baden Neighborhood last May and pulled a gun on the driver. The man behind the wheel was able to free his two kids, aged 6 and 4, from the SUV before Coleman drove off. Two days later, police pulled over Coleman while he was driving the stolen SUV and after a short foot chase, they captured him.

A judge ruled to try Coleman as an adult and he pleaded guilty to several felonies. He will learn his sentence May 5.
Published in Local News
Charges are filed for a fatal stabbing on Laclede's Landing on March 10.

Darael Fentress faces multiple charges after police say he stabbed Kyle Roberts during an argument. Roberts was taken to the hospital where he died in the early morning of March 10. Fentress ran away from the scene, but was arrested later than night.
Published in Local News
Prosecutors cited autopsy results in charging a William Gunter with the murder of his wife Suzanne.

Police were called to the couple's Town & Country home on Monday. When they arrived, they found Suzanne injured and rushed her to the hospital. Autopsy results showed she had died from a blow to the head and this contradicted the statement that William had given to officers. Court documents allege that Gunter is the person who hit his wife in the head and killed her.

William will face 1st degree murder charges and funeral services for Suzanne are set for Friday.
Published in Local News
A 25-year-old man is in custody, accused of asking a 13-year-old and 11-year-old girl for sexual favors after giving them a ride home from the mall.

Police say Samwell Fowler asked the girls if they needed a ride home from the South County Mall on the night of March 8. But when they approached the girls' house, Fowler allegedly drove into an alley, locked the doors, and asked the girls for sexual favors. The girls were able to unlock the doors and escape.

The teenage girl told a police officer at her school, and Fowler was found, arrested, and charged with enticement of a minor.
Published in Local News
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- Two members of the high school football team that is the pride of Steubenville were found guilty Sunday of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl in a case that bitterly divided the Rust Belt city and led to accusations of a cover-up to protect the community's athletes.

Steubenville High School students Trent Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond were sentence to at least a year in juvenile jail, capping a case that came to light via a barrage of morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video. Mays was sentenced to an additional year in jail on a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, to be served after his rape sentence is completed.

The two teens broke down in tears after the verdict was read and later apologized to the victim and to the community. Both were emotional as they spoke, and Richmond struggled at times to talk through his sobs. Richmond's father, Nathaniel, also asked that the victim's family "forgive Malik and Trent for the pain they put you through."

Mays, 17, and Richmond, 16, were charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in the back seat of a moving car after an alcohol-fueled party on Aug. 11, and then in the basement of a house.

The case roiled the community amid allegations that more students should have been charged and led to questions about the influence of the local football team, a source of a pride in a community of 18,000 that suffered massive job losses with the collapse of the steel industry. Their arms linked, protesters who sought guilty verdicts stood outside the courthouse Sunday morning, some wearing masks. The trial opened last week as a contest between prosecutors determined to show the girl was so drunk she couldn't have been a willing participant that night, and defense attorneys soliciting testimony from witnesses that would indicate that the girl, though drunk, knew what she was doing. The teenage girl testified Saturday that she could not recall what happened the night of the attack but remembered waking up naked in a strange house after drinking at a party. The girl said she recalled drinking, leaving the party holding hands with Mays and throwing up later. When she woke up, she said she discovered her phone, earrings, shoes, and underwear were missing, she testified. "It was really scary," she said. "I honestly did not know what to think because I could not remember anything." The girl said she believed she was assaulted when she later read text messages among friends and saw a photo of herself taken that night, along with a video that made fun of her and the alleged attack. She said she suspected she had been drugged because she couldn't explain being as intoxicated as defense witnesses have said she was. "They treated her like a toy," said special prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter. Evidence introduced at the trial included graphic text messages sent by numerous students after the night of the party, including by the accuser, containing provocative descriptions of sex acts and obscene language. Lawyers noted during the trial how texts have seemed to replace talking on the phone for contemporary teens. A computer forensic expert called by the state documented tens of thousands of texts found on 17 phones seized during the investigation. In sentencing the boys, Judge Thomas Lipps urged everyone who had witnessed what happened in the case, including parents, "to have discussions about how you talk to your friends, how you record things on the social media so prevalent today and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends." The girl herself recalled being in a car later with Mays and Richmond and asking them what happened. "They kept telling me I was a hassle and they took care of me," she testified. "I thought I could trust him (Mays) until I saw the pictures and video." In questioning her account, defense attorneys went after her character and credibility. Two former friends of the girl testified that the accuser had a history of drinking heavily and was known to lie. "The reality is, she drank, she has a reputation for telling lies," said lawyer Walter Madison, representing Richmond. The two girls testified they were angry at the accuser because she was drinking heavily at the party and rolling around on the floor. They said they tried unsuccessfully to get her to stop drinking. Nathaniel Richmond urged during the sentencing that parents speak to their children about "the dangers of alcohol and how it can lead to bad decisions that will affect the rest of your life." He said he himself was an alcoholic. The accuser said that she does not remember being photographed as she was carried by Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond, an image that stirred up outrage, first locally, then globally, as it spread online. Others have testified the photo was a joke and the girl was conscious when it was taken. The photograph led to allegations that three other boys, two of them members of Steubenville High's celebrated Big Red team, saw something happening that night and didn't try to stop it but instead recorded it. The three boys weren't charged, fueling months of online accusations of a cover-up to protect the team, which law enforcement authorities have vehemently denied. Instead, the teens were granted immunity to testify, and their accounts helped incriminate the defendants. They said the girl was so drunk she didn't seem to know what was happening to her and confirmed she was digitally penetrated in a car and later on a basement floor. Ohio's attorney general planned to announce later Sunday whether additional charges will be brought against others in the case. Mays and Richmond were determined to be delinquent, the juvenile equivalent of guilty, Lipps ruled in the juvenile court trial without a jury. The length of their sentence beyond the minimum one year will be determined by juvenile authorities; they can be held until they're 21. Lipps said that "as bad as things have been for all of the children involved in this case, they can all change their lives for the better." The Associated Press normally doesn't identify minors charged in juvenile court, but Mays and Richmond have been widely identified in news coverage, and their names have been used in open court. The AP also does not generally identify people who say they were victims of sex crimes.
Published in National News
Saturday, 16 March 2013 11:03

St. Louis area man guilty of sex trafficing

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis County man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking for forcing two women into prostitution, including a mentally disabled woman.

Federal prosecutors say 26-year-old Carl Mathews of Breckenridge Hills pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court and faces sentencing June 12. His sister, 27-year-old Carla Mathews, also of Breckenridge Hills, is awaiting trial on similar charges.

Mathews forced the women into sex in the St. Louis area from 2010 through October 2012. Authorities say the mentally disabled woman was forced to sleep and use the bathroom in a closet, and was supplied with little food. The woman was also beaten and set on fire.
Published in Local News
Police have a suspect in custody after a shooting and chase through North County.

The suspect allegedly shot someone just before 1PM at 314 Hair Gallery on West Florissant. Witnesses told police that suspect ran out of the salon and got into his car. He then led police on a chase that found its way into North St. Louis. That is when the suspect got out of the car and tried to run away, but officers caught him.

No word on the condition of the shooting victim.
Published in Local News

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