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Wednesday, 27 February 2013 13:28

Charges filed in Ebony Jackson murder

Dyanthony Proudie faces multiple charges, including murder in the first degree for allegedly killing Ebony Jackson.

Police say that he and Jackson had reconnected recently. While Jackson and was running a bath at Proudie's apartment, police say the 40 year old shot Jackson in the head. Proudie then allegedly took her body and stuffed it in the trunk of her car.

Police found Jackson's son abandoned in the hallway of a Breckenridge Hills apartment complex on January 4 and Jackson's body on January 8.

Proudie has previous convictions in 1990 for Burglary and 1992 for Assault in the 2nd Degree. He was also on probation for multiple offenses in 2012.

No word on if Prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Published in Local News

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A parolee originally charged with attempted murder in the Alton, Illinois stabbings of two brothers has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated battery.

The (Alton) Telegraph reports that Lavonte Brownlee entered the plea after prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious counts.

Authorities say Brownlee stabbed 40-year-old John Parker and 31-year-old Jay Parker last September outside the B&R Tavern after a dispute inside the East Alton business.

Police say John Parker was stabbed as many as 10 times, and his younger brother sustained two wounds. Both survived.

Brownlee was on parole after prison terms for armed robbery, home invasion and battery.

   

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 01:27

EXPERTS: Pistorius violated basic firearms rules

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Even if Oscar Pistorius is acquitted of murder, firearms and legal experts in South Africa believe that, by his own account, the star athlete violated basic gun-handling regulations and exposed himself to a homicide charge by shooting into a closed door without knowing who was behind it.

Particularly jarring for firearms instructors and legal experts is that Pistorius testified that he shot at a closed toilet door, fearing but not knowing for certain that a nighttime intruder was on the other side. Instead of an intruder, Pistorius' girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was in the toilet cubicle. Struck by three of four shots that Pistorius fired from a 9 mm pistol, she died within minutes. Prosecutors charged Pistorius with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed an argument between the two. Pistorius said it was an accident.

South Africa has stringent laws regulating the use of lethal force for self-protection. In order to get a permit to own a firearm, applicants must not only know those rules but must demonstrate proficiency with the weapon and knowledge of its safe handling, making it far tougher to legally own a gun in South Africa than many other countries where a mere background check suffices.

Pistorius took such a competency test for his 9 mm pistol and passed it, according to the South African Police Service's National Firearms Center. Pistorius' license for the 9 mm pistol was issued in September 2010. The Olympic athlete and Paralympic medalist should have known that firing blindly, instead of at a clearly identified target, violates basic gun-handling rules, firearms and legal experts said.

"You can't shoot through a closed door," said Andre Pretorius, president of the Professional Firearm Trainers Council, a regulatory body for South African firearms instructors. "People who own guns and have been through the training, they know that shooting through a door is not going to go through South African law as an accident."

"There is no situation in South Africa that allows a person to shoot at a threat that is not identified," Pretorius added. "Firing multiple shots, it makes it that much worse. ...It could have been a minor — a 15-year-old kid, a 12-year-old kid — breaking in to get food."

The Pistorius family, through Arnold Pistorius, uncle of the runner, has said it is confident that the evidence will prove that Steenkamp's death in the predawn hours of Feb. 14 was "a terrible and tragic accident."

In an affidavit to the magistrate who last Friday freed him on bail, Pistorius said he believed an intruder or intruders had gotten into his US$560,000 (€430,000) two-story house, in a guarded and gated community with walls topped by electrified fencing east of the capital, Pretoria, and were inside the toilet cubicle in his bathroom. Believing he and Steenkamp "would be in grave danger" if they came out, "I fired shots at the toilet door" with the pistol that he slept with under his bed, he testified.

Criminal law experts said that even if the prosecution fails to prove premeditated murder, firing several shots through a closed door could bring a conviction for the lesser but still serious charge of culpable homicide, a South African equivalent of manslaughter covering unintentional deaths through negligence.

Johannesburg attorney Martin Hood, who specializes in firearm law, said South African legislation allows gun owners to use lethal force only if they believe they are facing an immediate, serious and direct attack or threat of attack that could either be deadly or cause grievous injury.

According to Pistorius' own sworn statement read in court, he "did not meet those criteria," said Hood, who is also the spokesman for the South African Gun Owners' Association.

"If he fired through a closed door, there was no threat to him. It's as simple as that," he added. "He can't prove an attack on his life ... In my opinion, at the very least, he is guilty of culpable homicide."

The Associated Press emailed a request for comment to Vuma, a South African reputation management firm hired by the Pistorius family to handle media questions about the shooting.

The firm replied: "Due to the legal sensitivities around the matter, we cannot at this stage answer any of your questions as it might have legal implications for a case that still has to be tried in a court of law." Vuma said on Monday it referred the AP's questions to Pistorius' legal team, which by Tuesday had not replied.

Culpable homicide covers unintentional deaths ranging from accidents with no negligence, like a motorist whose brakes fail, killing another road user, "to where it verges on murder or where it almost becomes intentional," said Hood. Sentences — ranging from fines to prison — are left to courts to determine and are not set by fixed guidelines.

The tough standards for legally acquiring a gun were instituted in part because of a wave of weapons purchases after the end of racist white rule in 1994, said Rick De Caris, a former legal director in the South African police. Under South Africa's white-minority apartheid regime, gun owners often learned how to handle firearms during military service. Many of the new gun owners had little or no firearms training, which brought tragic results, De Caris said.

"People were literally shooting themselves when cleaning a firearm," said De Caris, who helped draft the Firearms Control Act of 2000.

Prospective gun owners must now take written exams that include questions on the law, have to show they can safely handle and shoot a gun and are required to hit a target the size of a glossy magazine in 10 of 10 shots from seven meters (23 feet), said Pretorius of the Professional Firearm Trainers Council.

In his affidavit, Pistorius said he wasn't wearing his prosthetic limbs "and felt extremely vulnerable" after hearing noise from the toilet.

"I grabbed my 9 mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom, I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch-dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed," he testified.

Legal experts said they are puzzled why Pistorius apparently didn't first fire a warning shot to show the supposed intruder he was armed. Also unanswered is why, after he heard noise in his bathroom that includes the toilet cubicle, Pistorius still went toward the bathroom — toward the perceived danger — rather than retreat back into his bedroom.

"He should have tried to get out of the situation," said Hood, the attorney.
Published in National News
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 01:14

UPDATE: Ebony Jackson murder suspect in custody

Charges could be filed Wednesday against the man police believe murdered an Oklahoma woman whose baby was found abandoned in a Breckenridge Hills apartment building in January. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that police have arrested a man who reportedly had a previous relationship with the victim, Ebony Jackson.

Investigators believe Jackson was killed in the suspect's north city home, not far from where her body was found stuffed in the trunk of her own car. The paper reports that the suspect's current girlfriend lives in the apartment building where Jackson's baby was found.
Published in Local News
The trial of a man accused of murdering two Steak 'n Shake employees in November 2008 is underway.

23-year-old Oundre Akins allegedly killed the two employees during a robbery. Akins decided this week, to waive a jury trial and will allow the judge to decide his guilt or innocence. In exchange for that move, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.

Prosecutors say Akins' brother, Anthony Akins was also involved in the crime. Anthony had murder charges reinstated after he refused to testify against his brother, and prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty is he is convicted.
Published in Local News
Monday, 25 February 2013 07:41

2 men charged in SE Missouri man's death

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Two Southeast Missouri men are charged with first-degree murder in the death of a man whose body was found in a truck in a fast-food restaurant parking lot.

Stoddard County prosecuting attorney Russ Oliver says 29-year-old Matt Cook and 45-year-old Glen Scott Evans, both of Dexter, were charged Sunday in the death of 34-year-old Sean Crow of Bernie. Crow's body was found in a truck in Advance last Wednesday.

The Southeast Missourian reports the men were also charged with robbery and armed criminal action. They are being held in Stoddard County Jail.

Online court records do not show that either man has a lawyer.

Further details about the crime and cause of death have not been released.

 

 

Published in Local News
Sunday, 24 February 2013 08:05

Two men charged in Jennings homicide

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Two men have been arrested in the death of a 27-year-old man who was found shot inside a Jennings home. St. Louis County police said Sean M. Hutchinson was fatally shot Thursday.

Prosecutors have charged with 25-year-old Anthony Primm and 24-year-old Bernard Eric Wilson III with second-degree murder and first-degree burglary. Both are being held in St. Louis County Jail on $500,000 cash bail. Online court records don't list lawyers for either men.

Prosecutors claim Primm entered the home through an attic vent and is accused of taking various items from the home when Hutchinson was shot.
Published in Local News
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - A South African prosecutor charges Olympian Oscar Pistorius with the premeditated murder of his model girlfriend.

The prosecutor said Tuesday that Pistorius shot 29 year old Reeva Steenkamp four times through the bathroom door of his home in a guarded and gated complex in the South African capital, Pretoria. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court the door had been broken open.

The family of the 26 year old Paralympian and Olympic athlete says police evidence will show there should be no murder charge in the Valentine's Day shooting.

Pistorius, in a gray suit, blue shirt and tie appeared grim and solemn in court. He nodded after the chief magistrate asked if he was well.
Published in National News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Missouri man facing a third murder trial after judges overturned two earlier convictions has been freed from jail and says he's overwhelmed.

Mark Woodworth walked out of the Livingston County jail at midday Friday and repeatedly said he was overwhelmed by the prospect of his new freedom. He thanked his friends and relatives for their support, hours after a judge's order releasing him on a $50,000 bond.

Woodworth has been serving a life sentence in the fatal shooting of Cathy Robertson, the wife of his father's farming partner. His latest conviction was thrown out in January when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled state prosecutors had failed to share evidence with Woodworth that could have helped his defense.

Attorney General Chris Koster quickly announced he would try Woodworth again.
Published in Local News
The St. Clair County Cold Case Task Force has made their second arrest in a week today.

Charges have been filed against George Bricking Jr for the 1995 murder of Christine Foster. Bricking had been arrested in '95 but a grand jury determined there was not enough evidence to file charges.

The task force also arrested Carlos Garrett for the 1989 murder of a 16-year-old girl earlier this week.
Published in Local News

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