Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boys will be boys sometimes

When someone else told him the he was a "nerd", that was the final straw he felt. Like kids in the schoolyard, he had to settle it and the settling is going to be a long seven years now.

It seems that when John G Anderson, 59, of Elm Mott TX, joined a picture-sharing Web site, it was a good place to share his artwork and political views. After sometime though, he chose to block certain people from his page because of insults and foul language. Some of those people retaliated by making obscene digitally altered pictures of him and posting them. Anderson, who went by the screen name "Johnny Darkness" began to trade barbs with Fire Controlman 2nd Class Petty Officer Russell Tavares, 27, of Dahlgren VA. Tavares went by the screen name "PyroDice" and things evidently boiled over when Anderson called him a nerd and posted a digitally altered picture of Tavares looking like a nerd.

Now most reasonable people would have just let it go as just being a silly, online argument, something that happens all too often these days. Tavares though, obtained Anderson's real name and hometown from Anderson's Web page about his Museum of Horrors Haunted House and set out to right the "wrong." He took leave from his post as a weapons systems operator at the AEGIS Training and Readiness Center in Virginia and hit the road. He said that he had only planned on pointing a shotgun at Anderson and then shooting his computer.

All along the 1,300 mile trip from Virginia to Texas, Tavares posted photos he had taken of various "welcome" signs he passed at the state borders, as if to prove he meant business. Tavares's attorney, Susan Kelly Johnston, had said that his trip to the Waco area was a last minute decision on a cross-country trip to visit family in Arizona and he had never intended to do any harm.

"I didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to try to kill anybody over an Internet fight," stated Anderson.

Instead of doing what he had planned and childishly "get back" at Anderson, Tavares posted a final picture of a "Welcome to Texas" sign and then threw a gasoline soaked piece of plastic foam into the back of Anderson's mobile home and lit a fire. The 2005 fire caused $50,000 in damage to his trailer and computer equipment and Anderson, an ex-Marine who had served in Vietnam, suffered smoke inhalation while trying to put the fire out.

James Pack, an investigator with the McLennon County Sheriff's Office tracked Tavares down after contacting several other people involved in the dispute and then matching phone records to place him in the Waco area. Tavares told investigators that Anderson had insulted his online friends for too long and that he had spread viruses.

Tavares was discharged from the Navy in 2006 after a nine year career with them. He was sentenced this week to seven years in prison after pleading no contest to arson and admitted he had set the fire. He couldn't let the feud end even at his sentencing, he was ordered to erase photos he had taken with his cell-phone of Anderson, while they were in the courtroom.

"He lost everything - all over an Internet squabble," said an investigator.

I wonder if Tavares has ever heard the old saying. "sticks and stones may break my bones....... but names will never hurt me." That 1,300 mile drive has gotten him seven years to ponder the deeper meaning of that wisdom.

Beware the "Pumpkin Man" ?

In June 2007, David Cobb, 71, was released from a state prison in NH. He had finished serving the eleven year sentence he had received and has moved to Cape Cod.

Cobb was an English teacher at the prep school, Philips Academy in Andover MA, for 30 years, until his arrest in 1995 in Framington NH. He had been arrested for possessing hundreds of child-pornography images and attempting to assault a young boy. He is best known as the "Pumpkin Man" because of the pumpkin mask he wore while soliciting children.

He was convicted of attempted sexual assault on a twelve year-old boy and for possessing hundreds of images of child pornogrphy. He has now moved to Dennis MA and is registered as a sex offender as required by the state.

I can only hope that the combination of his advanced age and years in prison will prevent Cobb from relapsing. The recent arrests worldwide for child pornography, have shown how widespread it is and how the threat of prison doesn't seem to prevent these animals from continuing to be a part in abuse of child. It wouldn't surprize me if the "Pumpkin Man" returns.

Monday, July 30, 2007

007 meets R2D2, maybe....

Technology is racing forward faster than it seems we buy an"old" model. These days, 70 percent of the nation's estimated $48 billion dollar intelligence budget is heading right into the pockets of private contractors along with a large part of the $58 billion set aside for homeland security.

The best money can be made still in landing government contracts and it still seems that it helps to have friends in high places for that to happen. It seems that a number of former Bush Administration officials and insiders are signing on as directors of obscure companies that are now competing with their old agencies for those dollars. Those companies don't seem to be concerned that their "new" directors may have screwed up their former duties with taxpayers dollars, just so long as they are able to do a bit of nest feathering of their own.

Included in this bunch are George Tenet, ex-CIA director who stated that the Iraq WMDs are a "slam dunk". His new job with QinetiQ has landed him $2.3 million in salary and stock since his retirement. L Paul Bremer who received a Medal of Freedom while somehow letting $9 billion in cash go free and missing in Iraq now works for BlastGard. Wayne Downing who is serving a second run on the board of Metal Storm after leaving his post as Deputy National Security Advisor, over seeing an electronic supershedder gun.

These and several others are certainly enjoying it seems, the spoils of their former jobs and of the war on terror, to the tune of millions os dollars in government contracts.

For a better view, go here.

Tour de Farce

The Tour de France thought it was doing a fair job of handling the growing chorus of doping rumors targeting Lance Armstrong and had hoped in 2006 to lay them to rest with his retirement from racing. Then came word that the winner that year, Floyd Landis was charged with doping. Those charges left him at the curb when he wasn't allowed to participate in 2007.

The race began this year in London on July 7 and UCI and tour organizers must have let out a large sigh of relief then. The first week of the Tour's 94th edition belonged to sprinters and interesting crashes within the pack including a "dog-hit-and-crash." Things quickly raced towards disaster when Patrik Sinkewitz was found to have tested positive for male testosterone in a sample taken while he was training in June.

This past week, as the race was heading towards the finishline, all it took was 48 hours to turn the race and whatever "honor" the Tour had, upsidedown. Alexandre Vinokourov, a pre-race favorite was found to have had a banned blood transfusion. Cristian Moreni of Italy tested positive for male testosterone and both racers and their teams packed up and ran, leaving the police to raid their hotels for doping products.

Just five days before the finish, with the race still reeling from ousters, race leader Michael Rasmussen was the bombshell they never expected. His Robobank team accused him of violating team rules by lying about his whereabouts in the months before the Tour, to avoid drug testing. On the last day of his racing, teams from France and Germany refused to start the race with him, opting to stay at the line as he rode away.

From all the scandal though, some young riders emerged victorious. Alberto Contador, 24, riding for the American Discovery Channel team become the youngest rider to win the tour since Jan Ullrich did in 1997. Until Rasmussen was booted, he seemed destined for a solid second place finsish and his only goal he said was to take home the white jersey for being the best young rider.

The organizers of the race were at the throats of the UCI, the governing body and several groups have declared the race "dead" from this year's scandals. There may still be years of rumors about Lance Armstrong but that is all they are..... rumors, he never failed a drug test while he was competing. This year, it was more than rumor... it was a proven fact.

This is a race loaded with history, a challenge that few can meet and it is a shame to think that it may never recover from this year's doping cases. It is a shame as well, that the young riders coming up, ones who may not be considered true champions because of the team pull-outs this year, may not have a chance again to race for the glory of winning the Tour de France.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Singing like a canary

Most of us at some time have watched a crime drama on television, so we can agree that usually the criminals try to all stick to the same story and wait the authorities out. If they can't get the evidence to put them all away, then the next best thing is to have one of the gang break that silence. It would seem, Michael Vick has a lot more worrying to do now.

There is a plea agreement hearing now schedualed for Monday, July 30 in the federal dogfighting case he is involved in. Vick should be worrying now, since it isn't him making the agreement. Tony Taylor's hearing was added to U S District Judge Henry E Hudson's docket Friday, a day after all four men had been in court pleading not guilty.

Prosecutors claim that Taylor found the Surry County property that Vick purchased and set up as "Bad Newz Kennels." He is also alleged to have helped purchase dogs for fighting and of having killed at least two dogs who "failed" in test fights.

Vick claimed that he was someone who had trusted the wrong people when the allegations first came to light but the evidence in the indictment states otherwise. It states that the four decided to start the kennel with the purpose of fighting dogs in 2001 and in May of 2001, Taylor found the property at 1915 Moonlight Rd, near Smithfield VA. The four then set out to purchase dogs, four from an individual in North Carolina, one fron New York and six dogs and six puppies from an individual in Richmond VA.

In September 2001, Vick and two others purchased four puppies from an individual who has since testified before the grand jury. In 2002, Vick and Pierce bought four pit bulls from another person in Virginia who is also cooperating with the government. In early 2002, they began fixing the property, training and killing dogs and it is said, Vick sponsored the first dogfights there.

As brutal as dogfighting is, it is the alleged way in which many of the dogs were killed that has many groups and sponsors concerned. These four went to great lengths to inhumanely kill dogs, rather than just shoot them as most involved in the sport would do.

Nike has suspended its contract with Vick and Reebok has stopped selling his No 7 jersey to stores. Donruss, a trading card company, has decided to pull Vick's card from any future 2007 card releases and at the moment, Vick is sitting out training camp at home.

While Vick is innocent until proven guilty, the indictment shows that he was involved in dogfighting from 2001 until April of 2007, as long as he had been in the NFL. The allegations are stomach turning for most and if they are proven to be true, I find it difficult to imagine that no one knew about his involvement and impossible to believe him when he tries to say he just "knew the wrong people."

One canary has taken the "first come, first served" offer and he may well be the nail in Michael Vick's "coffin." No one singled Vick out for prosecution, he put himself in that position it seems. He is just probably the highest profile person in a long line of dogfighters to have been arrested.

Update: posted July 30

Tony Taylor will be sentenced on December 14 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to aid in unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dogfight. He told Judge Hudson that he had agreed to plead guilty with no promises of a sentence and that he was prepared to cooperate fully with the U S goverment in their case against the remaining three.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine under the federal sentencing guidelines but Hudson is free to depart from that and choose a lesser sentence if he chooses to. Taylor and his attorney, Stephen A Hudgins of Newport News VA, refused to answer reporters questions after the brief court appearance.

Today, leaders of the NAACP spoke out against the rush to convict Vick in the court of "public opinion." Georgia NAACP President Edward Dubose thanked Vick for his community service, money and the excitement he has brought to Georgia while playing for the Falcons. R L White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, stated that Vick has been vilified by animal rights groups, talk radio and the news media. He also feels that Vick has been prematurely punished by his team and by coporate sponsers. As I have posted before, many of Vick's major sponsors have pulled back the support.

The sponsors have every right to protect their product name and future profits by doing what they have done. Vick is innocent until proven guilty but public opinion can be freely expressed in this country and we are free as well to buy or not buy products based on our opinions. The case against Vick is a federal one, not made by an unknowledgable dogcatcher locally. They moved slowly in their investigation, as they have with previous arrests for dogfighting over the years and the U S government has a very high rate of conviction.

I don't believe the public opinion is fueled by an issue of race, rather by the feelings American's have for their pets. Michael Vick is a very public person who now has been accused of years of dogfighting, a bloody, cruel "sport" that many prefer to believe exists today to the extent that it does. The charges against him also reopen the old questions of athletes and the law, not just the opinions on his specific charges.

Vick is entitled to due process of the law and he will get that.... one part of it now includes Tony Taylor deciding to plead guilty within days of appearing with his other three co-defendents and assist the government. Taylor was the first to "grab for the brass ring" and I am sure Michael Vick is more than sweating what evidence Taylor will reveal.

Risking it for the news

Friday, July 27 2007, two local TV station helicopters in Phoenix AZ, collided and crashed into a grassy park while covering a police chase on the ground. All four aboard the helicopters died but fortunately, no one else was injured.

Police were chasing Christopher J Jones, 23 while he was driving a flatbed pickup and just before the collision, he had jumped out of that nearly disabled vehicle and carjacked another truck. He was later captured by the SWAT team after he had barricaded himself within a home.

There will be an investigation into how the two helicopters collided and crashed. Mike at the Lamplighter has a very good explaination of what could very well have happened to them. Jones right now, was booked into jail on two counts of vehicle theft, four counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest and other charges against him are expected. Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris has suggested that Jones may also "be held responsible for any of the deaths from this tragedy."

As tragic as this crash is, I do not understand how Jones can be held liable for deaths that occured, quite possibly from pilot error while they were doing their job. I can certainly understand if he had been shooting directly at the helicopters or doing something else directly to them to cause the collision. They were doing their job of reporting news and quite possibly, misjudged their distance. If two photographers were covering a ground fire and one slipped into a culvert and was injured, I think it is a very long legal stretch to blame the event they were covering for the injury, that photographer simply misjudged the distance to the edge and slipped........ part of the job. Either way, it was very fortunate that no one else was injured by the crash, when it certainly seems that there was a very real possibility of it happening.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

"As much as we miss them, God weeps with us."

"Thank you all for coming out today to honor the memory of the girls. I would really like to say thank you to people from all over the state of Connecticut and all over the country," stated Dr William Petit Jr today at the public memorial for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela.

People may wonder or admire William's strength in attending today's memorial but it wasn't as easy as he let on. He said that part of him wanted to stay within the safety of the hospital and hide there, not facing things. His message to the attendees was simply:

"It's for us to go forward with the inclination to live with faith and help a neighbor, fight for a cause, love your family, I'm really expecting all of you to go out and do some things with your family in your own little way to spread the work of these three wonderful women."
William went on to describe how he met his wife at Children's Hospital in Pittsburg and eventually married her 22 years ago. He described her as an amazing mother and friend. She was involved in all aspects of their daughter's lives, she was their confidant, more like they were three sister's.

He shared portions of Hayley's entrance essay titled " My Dad", an essay that his wife shared with him after Hayley was accepted to Dartmouth College. Of his younger daughter, Michaela, he said that once you had the smile from his shy daughter, you were in. She also played basketball like her father and they shared a love of oldies music. She loved cooking and the food channel and William found out from her teachers, that she would always be the student who stuck up for another if they were being picked on. He described her as a wonderful little girl who would have grown up to be a wonderful woman.

The service lasted more than two hours and was more than just a time to share grief, it was a celebration of how to rise above simply living life day to day, how to make a small difference in the world. The Petit family should be remembered not just for the tragedy involving them but for the good they accomplished together. Today, the community gathered to celebrate them and support William, the lone survivor... instead of a devastated man, he stood as an example of how inner strength and faith allow you to face the future after such a terrible event.


Dr William Petit Jr speaks at the memorial, go here.

William Petit Sr and family speak at the memorial, go here.

Friends and family share readings at the memorial, go here.

Rev Volpe, Petit family pastor offers prayers, go here.

The excerpt of Hayley's essay, go here.

For my previous post, go here. For my newer posts, go here, here and here.

Update: posted July 30

A second public memorial service for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela will be held today at 7 pm. It is being organized by the Plainville Town Manager's office and will be held at Veteran's Park at the intersection of Whiting and Maple Streets, directly across from Dr Petit's office, in Plainville CT.

Update: posted July 31

Dr William Petit Jr grew up in Plainville CT and hundreds came out Monday evening to attend the memorial held there on Whiting St, near his office. He did not speak at this memorial but other family members did.

"We need to go on for them," stated Bill Petit Sr.

Reports that it took the police 30 minutes to arrive at the Petit home, Cheshire police say are "absolutely false." At 9:30 am, Jennifer was withdrawing money at the bank and it was immediatelt afterwards, that the Cheshire police were notified by bank officials about the "suspicious withdrawal." The prosecutor in this case has asked that the exact time that police were dispatched to the scene not be immediately released. Cheshire police spokesman Lt Jay Markella denies that it took police a half-hour to get to the home.

Most importantly I feel, is that, according to William Petit Sr, the family does not have a problem with how long it took for the police to arrive. The Cheshire police are working with the Connecticut State Police in the continued investigation of the case and say that they expect more charges to be filed against the two suspects. While it is easy to make judgements after the fact, until the full reports are released, I will believe Bill Sr's statement that the police did not take "too long" to arrive at the scene. From what has been said so far, they were dispatched on the report of a "suspicious withdrawal" made by Jennifer and even if they had dispatched every available officer to the Petit home immediately, this is real life and not TV, I do not believe 30 minutes is an incredibly long time to respond to an "unknown" crime.

The Petit family has set up a memorial fund with the MS society, where all three women were active. It is called the "Hayley's Hope and Michaela's Miracles Memorial Fund" and while the fund has only been set up for a few days, it already has received over 100 donations totaling more than $7,000.

For the Cheshire police public statement, go here.

Update: posted July 31 - memorial and new standards for parolees requested by the Gov Rell

The town of Plainville planned the second memorial for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela, expecting 500-700 members of the community to mourn with the approximately 90 members of the Hawke and Petit families. The Petit family has deep roots within Plainville, William Jr has his office across from the park where the memorial was held and his father, William Sr owns a general store down the street from there. The family addressed the public in their hometown, where they have long been known for their involvement and civic-mindedness.

Monday night, the community returned the favor. One of William's former classmates stated that the community was their for the family, in any way they need and for however long they are needed. Near the end of the service, a candle was lit and passed in a symbol of unity. The Cheshire town leaders have said that they are considering a proposal to turn the Petit family home on Sorgum Mill Dr into a memorial park.

CT Gov Jodi Rell said today, that she plans to ask the Legislature to reclassify home burglaries as violent crimes. That would require anyone convicted to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before considered for release to parole. Under the newly proposed new standards, any parolees with convictions of nighttime burglaries or burglaries of occupied will be subjected to unannounced nightime visits at their homes and workplaces.

Rell also said that the Parole Board will begin reviewing the cases of the current 38 burglary II paroles. She said that certain burglars eligible for parole will undergo psychiatric evaluation and that the Board of Pardons and Paroles will receive more information from the police and judicial system. Rell wants lawmakers in Connecticut to examine the issue at a special session rather than wait until February 2008, when the regular sessions begin.

Update: posted Aug 1, sentencing transcript information.

The sentencing transcript made in 2002 for Komisarjevsky on 12 burglary cases, which hadn't been made available to the state Board of Pardons and Parole, details much of his life. At the time of that sentencing, he was 22 and had already been sentenced on similar crimes in Meridan.

"He was not a novice breaking into someone's house. This is a cool, collective person who is not showing, in the state's view, any nervousness breaking into these houses," stated Prosecutor Ronald Dearstyne.

Dearstyne stated that Komisarjevsky explained in detail how he had burglarized homes for over two years. He stated that he had commited them so that he could pay back his drug dealer and that he felt safer in prison.

The prosecutor, the defense and his adoptive parents all agreed that he suffered from mental disorders, including three learning disorders: Attention Deficit Disorder, dyslexia and dysgraphia. He was adopted at the age of fouteen days and his parents supported his being placed in rehabilitation to help him overcome his depression. The defense had argued that he was not having a difficult time in prison and needed treatment.

William Gerace, his defense attorny explained how "Josh had a history that was really different," partially because he had lostfour reletives including his grandfather at age fourteeen. That also was when he found out that he had been adopted and his parents testified that it was traumatic for him. Gerace also added that Komisarjevsky had suffered from eight concussions and sexual abuse at several different levels at various points in his life.

The judge stated that his conduct was predatory and his crimes were calculated and intentional. Komisarjevsky was sentenced then to be incarcerated or on special parole for the next fifteen years and that he had to undergo substance abuse evaluation and a mental health evaluation.

Update: posted Sept 11

NBC Dateline has added small bit of information to the continuing story of the Petit family tragedy. On Monday, Sept 10, they broadcast "Desperate Hours," exposing a large amount of raw footage not available on other local news broadcasts. They also included in their program, information that has come to light from various sources.

Dateline stated that the police do believe that at least one of the two men had followed the Petit car back from the grocery store to find which house it returned to. Authorities though, believe that they entered the home much later than that through the basement and encountered William asleep on the downstairs couch.

It seems that Komisarjevski, in a attempt to explain his absence from work the morning of the fire, called his boss at an East Hartford roofing company and told him that he would not be coming to work because his daughter was sick.

The program also stated that while Jennifer may have felt that the $15,000 may possibly save her family, it seems that both men had already decided what would happen when she returned. The police were already headed to the Petit home after speaking to bank officials when a neighbor of the Petit's called 911. He had heard William's screams for help as he stumbled across the yard, so bloodied that the neighbor had difficulty recognizing him.

William had heard his wife pleading for her life immediately after she returned from the bank and it seems that both men had already planned to cover their tracks by killing the family and burning the evidence. Hayes is said to have strangeled Jennifer as soon as they had returned and her body was later found lying on a coffeetable downstairs.

When the neighbor had called 911 at aproximately 9:45 am, the police were already setting up a perimeter around the Petit home and awaiting the arrival of the SWAT team. While they were setting up, another 911 call was placed by another neighbor to report fire coming from the home and the fire department was dispatched at 9:59 am.

While many still debate the response time of the police department, it should be remembered that there are probably those in the department as well, who are trying to second guess that days events....... especially after finding out that Hayley had broken free from the ropes and attempted to escape and Michaela died tied to her bed.


It has been released that Hayes had been dropped from the drug treatment program a month before the Petit family attack. The Catholic Charities drug treatment program in Torrington had dropped him in late June after he had repeatedly failed to complete a mental health and drug history evaluation.

The assessment of his drug history and mental health had been rescedualed twice and clinical social worker Cynthia Glasser had rated his participation in the program as "unsatisfactory." Correction department spokeswoman Stacy Smith stated that his parole officer, John Viscomi had been notified that Hayes had failed to comply with the drug treatment provision of his parole plan.

"It's not that it was overlooked. He got the notification. It just
wasn't followed up on. There's no explanation for that," stated

Smith did state that Viscomi had been impressed with the enthusiasm Hayes had, he was working two jobs, one in landscaping and another in food service. He had not missed any of his appointment with Viscomi and had been producing paystubs for the hours he had worked.

Hayes had been released from Gates Correctioal Institution at 9:15 am May 3 and less than two days later, was arrested at 6:25 am. He had been pulled over by a state trooper while driving on Rte 8 in Torrington going 84 mph in a 65 mph zone. He was driving his mother's car and Smith stated that the ticket would not have necessarily sent him back to prison on a parole violation.

In regards to Hayes contact with the drug program, Smith stated that he had called when his first appointment had been schedualed for June 4 and cited a conflict with work. He did show up for his reschedualed apointment on June 11 but told them that he couldn't stay because he had to go to work. The apointment was again reschedualed for June 20 but Haynes niether called or showed up for that one, so he was discharged from the program.

Komisarjevsky it is reported, was the model parolee. He never missed any of his 15 face-to-face meetings with his parole officers after his March 21 release and regularly attended cocaine anonymous meetings on Tuesday nights. his last meeting with parole officers was on July 19 and they removed the monitoring ankle bracelet at that time. He had been under a strict reporting system and had a 9 pm curfew.

Records show that he did violate that curfew on two occasions. One time on July 6, he had permission to take his daughter to a local fireworks display and returned home at 9:32 pm and the second was the following night, July 7, when he arrived home at 9:39 pm.

Komisarjevsky was doing a lot better, and he was the more dangerous. The problem is, you have a system where dealing entirely with convicted criminals. To me, the real challenge is to spot the needle in the haystack," stated Rep Michael Lawlor, co-chairman of the judiciary commitee.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, the state's highest ranking senator, called for the firing of Robert Farr, chairman of the state's parole board and the resignation of the seven other parole board members. He has proposed replacing them with a full time professional board.

In answering the question of being to blame for both suspects being paroled, Farr stated that they had made the best decision they could based on the available information. House Speaker James Amann and state victem advocate James Papillo both state that Farr shouldn't be blamed for having to work within a flawed system that obviously needs to be reformed.

"How do you blame Bob Farr if he didn't have the information? People seem to be missing that point," stated Amann.

One of the problems facing any parole board is trying to precdict future behavior. If a person lacks a history of violence, the board assumes that the behavior will continue. There are many crimes commited yearly by people who gave no warning of having that kind of behavior.

In the wake of the Petit murder's, Connecticut is proposing a "three strikes" law that some say could increase the inmate population by 1,000 inmates a year and require a new $110 million prison to be built. The new proposed mandatory life sentnces, tighter standards for parole and other proposals all will come at a price, something that has to be budgeted for or the system will fail.

The Office of Fiscal Analysis has stated that ending parole and transitional supervision would exceed the current prison capacity, which is at 17,000 beds and now has 19,000 prisoners occupying them. The estimated pricetag of monitoring every parolee with GPS technology is a more modest proposal but costly as well. The annual cost for every 30 parolles tracked is $212,000 a year.

Rep Michael P Lawlor, D-E Haven, stated that he hopes that the legislation focuses on providing the courts and prison officials with the information and tools needed to find "the needle in a haystack" and identify the dangerous ciminals before they are released. One fiscal analysis has shown that transcripts can be provided in all cases for the modest cost of approximately $45,000 a year.

They said they liked me

The LAPD received the call around 10:30 am July 26 2007 and when they got there, they found the naked truth of the matter. The police report said that it was three women who robbed him.

Prince Frederic Von Anhalt said that he was driving down Bellagio Dr off Sunset Blvd when three women in another vehicle got his attention. He says that the women said they were fans of his and would he pull over and pose for photos for them. I know, you probably are having much the same difficulty that I am in believing that he is still so popular that anyone would recognise him.

He reported that the women were all between 25-30 years-old and from 5' 1" to 5' 4" tall. Well, now I am buying the part that they could just have been cute enough looking that he was interested in them and maybe didn't care if they really were fans.

Von Anhalt stated that he pulled over, stopped his car and got out for the photos. It was then that he said, the 5' 1" woman pulled a handgun and demanded that he take off his clothing and turn over all his personal property to them. He called the police afterwards to report the robbery and that he wasn't hurt.

I'm thinking that Von Anhalt is missing the limelight a tad too much lately, now that he has been proven to not be the father of Anna Nicole's baby. Maybe I'm wrong though and the young, studly husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor really is still a much in demand picture for every fans collection. These women just managed to get more than an autograph it seems.

Get a ref then

Falcons General manager Rich McKay said Tueday, July 24 2007, that they had absolutely no idea that the indictment for their star player, Michael Vick was headed his way. Vick wasn't indicted a day after the FBI and Virginia authorities searched his Smithfield property...... a grand jury indicted him on July 17.

"We had, clearly, no indications, no signs, no whispers.... of any of this kind of behavior," stated team owner Arthur Blank.

McKay went so far as to say that he never knew that there was such a thing as dogfighting and claimed that maybe he was the only one in the room who didn't know. I am sorry, maybe he didn't know the extent of dogfighting as a sport in the U S but to claim he didn't know anything about it is lame in my view. They had ample time from when Vick's property was raided to when he was indicted to do some research on their own. From what I understood, it wasn't such a hidden thing, Vick's interest in dogfight's and gambling on them....... just his participation in them.

Pit bulls have become an icon of both the "rap reputation" and southern backwoods tradition in recent decades. Dogfighting has operated underground for a very long time but their image use in hip hop music has moved the closer to the forefront and now, Vick's arrest has moved the sport to center stage.

The AKC and various American pit bull groups have struggled for years with an "image " problem for their "excellent family companions." I do believe there are many good dogs out there, those that have been bred and raised for show and companionship. Unfortunately, they are not the only poit bulls out there. To deny that dogfighting isn't as extensive as it really is and that dogs from the breeding of "fighting dogs" don't fall into unknowing or ill-prepared hands is a dangerous lie.

There have been many valid studies of pit bulls and they are not the "land sharks" some believe them to be. I believe though it is a breed, if gotten from fighting "stock" and not properly trained and running as a pack, they can be a lethal weapon. It isn't the sheer strength that damages as much as what they have been bred for in fighting..... to continue on through pain and exhaustion that makes it so difficult to stop them when they do attack.

Tom Garner, who lives outside Raleigh NC, one of the new centers for dogfighting says that his 1985 dogfighting conviction was just from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He stated that he would never knowing sell one of his dogs to anyone who wanted to fight them but that once they leave his yard, he has no control over their care.

His explaination is as lame as McKay's I believe. There is a very good chance he knows what his dogs will be used for, it just isn't voiced openly. In much the same way the bantam chicken owner at the fairs knows that the roosters those men are interested in buying aren't going in a chicken house.... they will be trained and most likely used for illegal cockfights. Those sound like the same claims I have read from illegal gun dealers after their arrest...... I was told he just needed one for "protection" but even I could have guessed that it was needed for something more than that.

Vick went to court and pleaded not guilty and then made his public statement an apology to his mother......... I'm glad he thought that far at the moment but I also hope that if the charges against him are true, he does get hit with the maximum sentence.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I just really need a ride....

About 5 am, July 16 2007, a uniformed officer spotted Joseph Sutton walking along Malabar Rd, Palm Bay FL. It isn't known why Sutton, 26, begged the officer for a ride, but he got more than the ride he thought he would.

"Apparently he was desperate for a ride," stated Sgt. Tim Landers, of the Palm Bay Police Department.

The officer offered to give him a ride home but he informed Sutton that he had to have a pat down search before he could get in the patrol car. It was then that the officer found marijuana on his person. It sems that now that Sutton faced a possession charge, he volunteered the location of the source of it. He admitted that he had gotten it in the woods near the intersection of Fogarty and Angora streets Landers said.

They took him to his home and found six marijuana plants out in the woods there. Those plants were removed after a thorough search and Sutton got an extension on his free ride. He was arrested and taken to the Brevard County Jail in Sharpes. He was charged with cultivation of a controlled substance and possession of cannabis.

I would hope that he will think a little more clearly next time he feels the urge to beg for a ride home.

There are friends and then, there are friends

They aren't the first but recently I have noticed how some people seem to possess a "special" brand of friend. These kind of friends though, aren't what I think I have on my buddylist.

On June 24, 2007, Myisha Ferrell was arrested for hindering procescution. She had helped her friend Bobby Cutts Jr allegedly, dump his pregnant girlfriend's body and then cover up that fact with investigators. I am still wondering how good a friend you are to do that. When you get that phone call that says, I need your help and it's not in changing a tire. I would think that she didn't help him at gunpoint and if he had "tricked" her into meeting him, there had to be a point when she could have refused and turned him in.

At 8:30 am, July 5 2007, Deborah Butryman of Windsor Locks CT, had the opportunity to show her "true colors" as a friend as well. Her friend William waters, 45, of Windsor Locks, showed up at her door "covered in blood." She stated that she had asked him what had happened and he told her that he had "lost it" and stabbed the woman who was stalking him. Butryman, who said she had been "dating" the married Williams for about a month, let him in, let him shower off, got rid of his bloody clothes and was making plans to help him get out of the state. At least in this case, police had used a GPS theft device on his truck to help them track him down to Butryman's apartment and apprehend him there.

On July 24 2007, Felix Rivera, 23, was charged in relation to his "odd" way of showing his friend Charles Gerber, 34, that he cares. According to Rivera, he and Gerber were celebrating their July 17 release from jail after their arrests in Ansonia CT on assault and weapons charges. He said that after smoking angel dust, taking pills and drinking alcohol, Gerber stopped breathing.

Rivera stated that he panicked and rather than call 911 for help, he decided try and stuff his 5 foot 9 inch tall friend's body into a 55 gallon drum. When he couldn't manage that, he used an axe to cut off Gerber's head, hands and feet and then stuffed them all in. He then put the drum in his car, drove to a boat ramp in Seaside Park and rolled the drum into the Pequonnock River. The drum surfaced July 18 and Rivera is now being held in lieu of $100,000 bond on the charge of improper disposal of a dead body.

"I helped Billy when he came to my apartment because I was scared and did not know what I did was wrong and I should have never helped him. I am sorry for what has happened... Next time I will be more careful about who I get involved with," stated Butryman.

I don't think it is so much that these people need to be more careful about who they get involved with, it certainly is a problem with knowing what is right and wrong. We have the popular slogan,"friends don't let their friends drive drunk." Maybe we expand the slogan to ......... "friends don't let their friends drive drunk, real friends help you dump a body," since I can't understand why none thought to just call the police.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This sounds easier than loan forms

On July 17 2007, a Valley Central Savings Bank in suburban Reading IL was robbed. It wasn't long afterwards that two men were arrested for the robbery and police recovered an undisclosed amount of cash.

"He was really struggling, working two jobs here, you know, temp jobs and trying to get the money." said Franki Butler.

Andrew Butler, 19 and Chistopher Avery, 21, both from Cincinnati OH, were both charged with aggravated robbery. It seems that Andew's mother felt that her son's worries about his mounting tuition bills in the past months could actually be a believeable excuse for robbing a bank.

The judge set bond at $50,000 for Butler, a University of Toledo student and for Avery, a University of Cincinnati student. Avery was able to post bond and Butler remained in the Hamiltion County jail as of July 18.

I think Butler now has a few more monetary worries to deal with now, least of which is how to pay for his next semester's books.

Only one struggles on

On July 22 2007, Lucia Rae Morrison, of Minneapolis MN, died after struggling to live for more than a month. Her brother Sylas remains in critical condition, fighting to live as his 5 brothers and sisters had done since their birth.

The Morrison's tried for only one year to get pregnant before they turned to medical science and fertility drugs. When they found that they were expecting six infants, they say they chose to place the decision in "God's hands". That choice now leaves them with one child who is still in critical condition after having been born 4 1/2 months early and 5 who have suffered the minute to minute struggle to live before their deaths.

Sylas may beat the very high odds against him and survive but I have to wonder at what expense. I would have expected medical professionals to have counseled the Morrisons extensively at the risks they faced. The very fact that they were only 24 years-old and had only tried for a year to get pregnant leads me to question why doctors would seemly cave into the "I need it now" philosophy. Have some in the medical profession chosen to give patients exactly what they want with little regard for the very real consequences.

As sad as the results of this have been so far, I can only hope that it may lead some to use more caution when a couple that young feel the "need" to be parents. I do feel that they would have gotten pregnant naturally, if that indeed were "God's will". There were many options available to the Morrisons if being a parent was such a need...... choices that would not have caused the suffering, heartache and expense this choice has.

For my previous post, go here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pull over.... ooops, nevermind

An off-duty New York police detective was driving along a highway on Long Island NY, July 10 2007, when he spotted the flashing lights. Approaching from behind was an SUV fitted with flashing lights, that slowly drove alongside him.

The detective got suspicious when the driver identified himself as a police officer and flashed a small badge at him. The detective showed the driver his own police ID and ordered the driver to pull over. When the driver didn't pull over, the detective followed him and called the local police to make the arrest.

Robert Lane, 25, was then arrested and charged with criminal impersonation and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle by Suffolk County police. Lane said that the detective had cut him off while he was driving.

Lane could not be reached for comment, but then, what could he comment about? It definately isn't your day when you want to "play" cop and pick a real cop to do it with.

I thought she was married

A recent ruling by an Orange County CA judge has brought to light the questions that have existed since the formation of domestic partnerships. The California marriage laws say that alimony ends when a former spouse remarries, not when they enter into a registered partnership it seems.

Ron Gerber knew that his former wife was living with another woman when he agreed to pay alimony. He claims that he didn't know that the two women had registered with the state as domestic partners under a law that was intended to mirror marriage. His ex wife has even taken her partners last name, a similar practice for heterosexual partners to do after marriage.

The judge ruled that a domestic partnership is cohabitation, not marriage, and Gerber must keep paying alimony. Gerber has said that he plans to appeal the decision, while he continues writing out the $1,250 a month check to his ex wife.

The decision does highlight the inequality of partnerships. On the one hand, it was used to support the recent appeals court decision on the validity of the state's ban on same sex marriages. Lawyers arguing in favor of same-sex marriage state that they will use this recent ruling as a reason to unite both gay and heterosexual couples under one system of marriage. Therese Stewart, chief deputy city attorney for San Fransico intends to argue that same sex couples should have access to marriage and that domestic partnership doesn't have the same respect or reverance as marriage right now.

"The irrationality of having a seperate, unequal scheme for same-sex partners." Stewart stated, is shown by this alimony ruling.

I certainly can see the logic to the argument. The state has set up what they claim is a system of partnership for same-sex partners that is equal to marriage without having to politically suffer. This ruling though shows that it is basically smoke and mirrors. If it is said to be an equivalant to marriage, then Garber should be freed from his alimony obligation. The judge's ruling though looks to me as though, the state will allow you to register and think you have something that offers the same benefits as marriage but when it comes down to the dollars and cents of it, it's not equal to marriage.

Whether you believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or not, I don't believe that any state should create a system that promises one thing and when one tries to use it for legal protections, it suddenly becomes worthless.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


It began around 3 am July 23 2007 and by 9:30 am the police had been alerted in Cheshire CT. When the fire was finally extinguished on the 300 block of Sorgum Mill Dr, three bodies were recovered and the fourth resident had been taken to the hospital for treatment.

Dr William Petit Jr, 50, a prominent endrocrinologist and the medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center at The Hospital of Central Connecticut is in serious but stable condition at St Mary's Hospital in Waterbury. His wife of 22 years, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, a nurse at Cheshire Academy and his daughters, Hayley, 17 and Michaela, 11, were found dead in their home.

Police have stated that they believe two suspects entered the Petit home around 3 am and waited until early morning, holding the family hostage, until one of them could take Jennifer to a branch of the Bank of America when it opened for business. While she was there making a withdrawal, Jennifer managed to tell one of the tellers that she and her family were being held hostage in their home. It was the teller who alerted police by calling 911 with that information.

When police arrived at the Petit home, they observed two suspects leave the home, which was already on fire. They attempted to flee in the Petit family car and after hitting the first police car, the following police cars blocked the road and they failed to escape when they rammed into those. Both suspects were apprehended without incident and likely to be charged before their appearance on Tuesday in court in Meridan.

Hayley recently had graduated from Miss Porter's School in Farmington and was planning to attend Dartmouth College, her father's alma mater. While at Miss Porter's, Hayley was the co-editor in chief of her school newspaper, co-captain of her crew team and a member of the cross country and basketball teams. She also began in 2000 at 10 years-old as the team captain of Hayley's Hope MS walk team when her mother was first diagnosed with MS. Her aunt in North Carolina decided to raise money in honor of Jennifer, her sister, in Chapel Hill and it was after that first experience, that Hayley decided to take over the reins of the family fundraising.

She walked in the MS Walk, fundraised and took part in the MS junior ambassador program and personally raised almost $55,000 in the fight against MS, an amount that placed her among the top ten MS fundraisers in CT. Hayley had mentored her younger sister Michaela, who was ready to take over the reins of the family MS fundraising. She had said that her younger sister was excited to have a chance to run the show herself and had planned to rename the team, Hayley's Hope and Michaela's Miracle.

The alumni of Miss Porter's were notified by e-mail that Hayley, Michaela and Jennifer had died. That e-mail stated that she had been loved by all students and teachers and that her family was exceptionally involved, wonderful members of the Miss Porter's community. All of Dr Petit's co workers at the hospital are also stunned by the tragic events.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr Petit as he attempts to recover from this unfathomable occurrence. We cannot express the depth of out sorrow," stated Laurence A Tanner, president of the Hospital at Central Connecticut.

Tuesday morning will reveal more as to who the suspects being held since Monday morning are, what they will be charged with and possible, more of why such a brutal crime targeted a family that has been described as " unusually wonderful people." The quiet town of Cheshire has lost three wonderful individuals, people who gave so much of themselves to the community and I hope that the community can find the way to help William through whatever terrible times he may now face in the future.

For the complete 2007 speech made by Hayley for MS, go here.

Special thanks to Muldoon Photography for the photo of the Petit family, left to right: Hayley, Michaela, Jennifer and William Jr, at the Hartford Medical Assoc annual meeting 2006.

Update: posted 6 am

It is believed that the two suspects are a 25 year-old Cheshire man and a 40 year-old man from the Naugatuck Valley.

Dr Petit was found outside of his home and is being treated in the hospital for head injuries.

Update: suspects charged

This morning, the two suspects were charged and remain in custody. Joshua Komisarjevsky, 26 , of Cheshire and Steve Hayes, 44 , of Winsted are charged with first degree sexual assault, arson, kidnapping, risk of injury to a minor and robbery. Komisarjevsky is additionally charged with assault and both men may face additional charges in the near future.

Both men have been arrested and convicted more than a dozen times on larceny and burglary charges and both were sentenced in 2002 to five years in prison. They were both out on parole when they were arrested and it has been said that they had recently both been staying at the same halfway house.

Their cases have been transfered to New Haven court and their next appearance is on August 7. Hayes is said to be currently on suicide watch and both remain in custody after a judge confirmed their bonds at $15 million each.

Update: complete charges as of July 24

The church that the Petit family attended is schedualed to open it's doors from 3 pm until 8 pm Tuesday through Thursday for a community mourning in the sanctuary of the church.

Cheshire United Methodist Church
205 Academy Rd
Cheshire CT 3-8 pm July 24-26

Charges against Joshua Komisarjevsky per the state police as of July 24:

One count each of the following: first-degree assault, first degree aggravated sexual assault, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree consipiracy to commit arson, first-degree robbery, risk of injury to a child.
Two counts of first-degree larceny and four counts of first-degree kidnapping.

Charges against Steven Hayes per the state police as of July 24:

One count each of the following: first-degree aggravated assault, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree robbery, risk of injury to a child.
Two counts of first-degree larceny and four counts of first-degree kidnapping.

According to police records, both men had extensive criminal records. Komisarjevsky had 18 convictions, mostly for burglary and his last known address was not too far from the Petit home. Hayes had 26 convictions for burglary, larceny, drugs and bad checks. His last known address was the residence of his mother and he had been reportedly in and out of the home in recent weeks. Both men were on supervised probation at the time of this crime because their previous convictions had been deemed as non-violent.

The state police are still combing the Petit home for evidence and are awaiting the results of the autopsy reports before they move forward with any murder charges against the two suspects.

Update: posted 11pm July 24

The CT state medical examiner confirmed tonight that Jennifer was strangled and her daughters Hayley and Michaela died of smoke inhalation. All three of their deaths have been ruled a homicide.

Both suspects had been sentenced to five years in prison in 2002 and had met while they stayed in the same halfway house according to reports. At the time of this horrendous crime, Komisarjevshy was living two miles from the Petit home. He also has been involved in an ongoing custody dispute with Jennifer Norton, of Hamden since April 2005. Last year, she had filed against him in court seeking child support and at this time, it is unclear which adult has custody of the child.

At least one state senator in CT has called for a review of the parole system that evidently felt these two suspects were acceptable for release on parole only a couple of months ago.

State police expect that more charges will be filed against both men by tomorrow, now that they have the autopsy results.

William Petit's pastor, the Rev Stephen Volpe has visited with him in the hospital and said that he is doing ok physically but emotionally, he is devastated and still worried about others. He also added that William's relatives have been keeping certain details of the case from him at this time.

Update: posted July 25

More details of the horrific home invasion trickle out almost hourly. Jennifer Hawke-Petit alerted a teller at the bank when she was being forced to withdraw money and that teller called police with her information. Sadly, by the time that police arrived at the Petit home, it was already on fire and the suspects tried to escape.

William had been found outside the home, after being tied and badly beaten and managing to escape from the basement it has been reported. Jennifer was strangled and found on the first floor, Hayley was found at the top of the stairs and Michaela was found tied to her bed. Both of the Petit children had died of smoke inhalation and all three have been ruled as a homicide. Both suspects now face additional charges that will probably include some degree of a murder charge. A charge of capital murder is possible if there is evidence of other mitigating factors.

"I know the public consensus is that they should be fried tomorrow," stated State's Attorney Michael Dearington.

Dearington has said that he wants to make sure that all the evidence is in place before deciding whether to pursue capital felony charges, which carry only two possible penelties - lethal injection or life in prison without parole. The two men allegedly broke into the home and tied up the family, holding them hostage until one took Jennifer to the bank. Police have not released yet, which of the two suspects took her to the bank to force her to withdraw money.

Helayne Lightstone, spokeswoman for The Hosiptal of Central Connecticut, stated that there would be an employee prayer service for Dr Petit Friday, July 27 at noon. It is not open to the public.

Update: posted July 26

Police now believe that the two suspects were watching the Petit family's white Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot of a nearby Stop & Shop when Jennifer and Michaela bought groceries around 7:30 pm. They followed the Petit's back to their home and returned again, around 3 am.

Between the time they followed the Petit's home and returning, the suspects went to a local Wal-Mart store and purchased rope and an air rifle. They then parked their car about a mile away from the Petit home and entered the home through the cellar bulkhead door. William Petit was most probably unconscious for most of the family ordeal . He had confronted the men and was beaten with a baseball bat, thrown down the cellar stairs, tied and left for dead there.

It is alleged that Hayes left the Petit home at around 5 am or 6 am to fill up four containers with gasoline. He got lost returning to the Petit home and had to call Komisarjevsky at the home for directions back. At around 9 am, Hayes drove Jennifer to the Bank of America in Maplecroft Plaza, the same plaza where she had gone the night before to shop and withdrew $15,000.

The girls, sources said, were both tied to their beds and raped, then left to burn after gasoline was poured around their beds and ignited. Jennifer had been raped and strangled on the first floor and gasoline was poured on her body as well. Sources also say that William woke up to hear his wife screaming and pleading for her life and when the flames started, he managed to hop out of the basement, where he was found by arriving officers.

Det Dennis Boucher was the first Cheshire police officer to arrive on the scene and he stated that he heard at least one of the Petit girls screaming from inside the house. Shortly after he had arrived, the house was said to have exploded in flames, aided by the gallons of gasoline that had spread around the girls and their mother's body.

Hayes is being held at Northern Correctional Institute in Somers while Komisarjevsky is at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institute in Suffield. Both men are being held seperate from the general population. While on parole, both men had been reporting weekly to their parole officers and had gotten jobs. Hayes was reported to have been working for a Farmington Valley landscaping company and police are investigating if they may have done work at the Petit home.

Robert Farr, chairman of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole, said that they board may have decided differently about Komisarjevsky's parole in April if it had all the facts about him then. Hayes had been paroled in May and Komisarjevshy had served three years of a nine years sentence when he was paroled.

Inmate files are supposed to have at a minimum, a police report, a summary of the case, the sentencing transcript and the defense attorney's version of the events and circumstances. Komisarjevsky's file was missing the sentencing transcript, so the parole board had no idea that a Superior Court judge had called him a "cold, calculating predator" when he was sentenced for a string of burglaries in 2002. They also were not aware of news reports that he had worn night vision goggles while he had slashed the screens in those burglaries in the Bristol and Cheshire area. Farr stated that the parole board routinely doesn't get full sentencing transcripts in inmate files.

While both suspects were ruled acceptable for parole, it may have been their meeting that led to the horrific crime. Dr James Monahan, a professor of criminal justice, believes that it may be revealed that drugs could have played a part in the crimes. He also said that the age difference between the two suspects is significant and may be similar to the case of the Washington D C snipers. There as well, neither man was much of a criminal until they paired up and became super-violent.

Komisarjevsky is believed to be the grandson of Theodore Komisarjevsky, a leading 20th century Russian theater director and designer who once oversaw the Bolshoi theater. His grandmother is Ernestine Stodelle, an internationally known author, dancer and dance critic. She has a dance studio in Cheshire and was married to the late author and columnist John Chamberline.

Komisarjevsky began buglarizing homes at age 14, was granted parole in April after being released to a halfway house in June 2006, according to state Dept of Corrections records. Hayes first entered prison in 1980 and was disciplined more than two dozen times while there at various times. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2003 for burglary, was released to a halfway house in June 2006 and returned in November 2006 for using illegal drugs before his parole May 3 2007.

As more facts come to light in this case, the more brutal this crime is. To rape two young girls, one who was only 11 and then, in hopes of covering their horrific tracks, light the house on fire with them still alive..... I think the death penalty is too kind for these two.

Update: Memorials and new charges. posted July 27

A memorial service will be held at Central Connecticut State College
Welte Hall at 11 am

The Bailey Funeral Home in Plainville is in the process of making funeral arrangements.

Memorial Funds have been established as such:

The Jennifer Hawke-Petit Scholarship at Cheshire Academy

The Hayley Elizabeth Petit Scholarship at Miss Porter's School

The Micheala Rose Petit Scholarship at Chase Colligiate School.

On Thursday, July 26, New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington said that he will seek the death penalty for both suspects in the Petit home invasion. Hayes and Komisarjevsky were charged with six counts of capital felony murder. Hayes was charged with the sexual assault of Jennifer and Komisarjevsky with the sexual assault of Michaela. Both men are also now suspects in two break-ins of nearby homes the night before they broke into the Petit home.

Stephen Hayes now has been charged with:

One count each of: first-degree agrravated sexual assault ( of Hawke-Petit), first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree conspriracy to commit arson, first-degree robbery, risk of injury to a minor, first-degree aiding and abetting assault and first-degree robbery.

Six counts of First-degree kidnapping.

Six counts of Capital felony murder:
murder of two or more persons at the same time and in the course of a single transaction. murder of a person under 16 ( Michaela)
one count each of murder of a kidnapped person for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela
murder of a person during a first-degree sexual assault ( Hawke-Petit)

Joshua Komisarjevsky now has been charged with:

One count each of: first-degree assault ( William ), first-degree aggravated sexual assault, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree conspiracy to commit arson, first-degree robbery, first-degree larceny.

Two counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Six counts of First-degree kidnapping.

Six counts of Capital felony murder:
murder of two or more persons at the same time and in the course of a single transaction.
murder of a person under 16 ( Michaela)
one count each of murder of a kidnapped person for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela
murder of a person during a first-degree sexual assault (Michaela)

Komisarjevsky's criminal record shows that he first entered the system on March 11, 2002 when he was 21 years-old. He was arrested on charges linked to 10 burglaries in Bristol. He was also charged with two burglaries in burlington in March, six in Cheshire in May and one in Farmington in November. It has been learned that he once had burglarized the home of a state trooper, which he had chosen by random and stole the officer's shirts and hat, only to give them away later.

He was caught after he pawned several of the stolen items locally and after his arrest in November, state and local authorities found similarities in the other cases he would end up charged with. On January 3 2003, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for second-degree burglary, with six years special probation for the burglaries he carried out using night vision goggles and entered the homes why the occupents slept.

Komisarjevsky had been adopted by Ben and Jude Komisarjevsky, described as a very religious couple but he had become estranged from them during his five years in prison. His uncle Chris released a statement saying that they could not condone anything his nephew has done and asked that justice needs to take place.

Update: July 27

Dr William Petit Jr has been released from St Mary's Hospital today and his family is holding a private funeral for his wife and two daughters today.

The public is invited to attend a memorial sevice for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela schedualed for Saturday, July 28 on the campus of Central Connecticut State University inside Welte Hall, beginning at 11 am. All those who want to share their grief are invited.

Gov Jodi Rell has ordered an assessment of all the procedures that relate to how suspects are charged, sentenced and released. She has appointed a panel to review key steps in the justice system.

While this is probably a very good move for the state, it may not solve the mystery of how two men that were deemed to be fairly non-violent, teamed up and carried out a crime this terrible. As for the ongoing question of why the police response seemed to be so slow, it hasn't been released yet, how soon after the 911 call from a teller at the bank that the police arrived at the Petit home. It also has not been released yet, what that call entailed, so for the moment, I will reserve any judgement as to the speed or lack of that the police responded with.

Update: posted July 28

The public service for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela began with thousands streaming onto the campus of Central Connecticut University today. Welte Hall holds approximately 1,850 seats but the university had made arrangements for overflow in an area outside the auditorium. From the reports of the attendence numbers for the two hour service, their plan was needed.

The memorial today, followed a private funeral held yesterday for the three. Many friends and family members spoke during the memorial as well as William Jr. The three memorial funds that have been established will be used to fund scholarships at those institutions that they hope will provide other talented, socially concious young women, the opportunity to lead lives of similar promise and make their own contributions to a better society.

The Petit family said that they were moved by the sight of people standing along the route to the cemetary with their hands over their hearts on Friday. A second public memorial for Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela will be held Monday, at 7pm. The location has not yet been posted.

"No one ever wants their faith tested, particularly by events such as these. When there is no ability to control your life events and you are required to deal with such a tragedy and loss, however, your faith is all the more necessary," Petit family.

For the complete Petit family statement, go here.
For my post in regards to the public memorial service held July 28 2007, go here. For newer posts, go here, here and here.

Make sure mine's well done

Friday night, July 13 2007, Linda Rhodes, and her son John Jennings apprehended an alleged child rapist in Garland TX. Her method may have been unusual, but it definately seemed to work.

Jennings was barbequeing chicken when he heard a 7 year-old boy calling for help. He said he saw the suspect, Deshuan Ridge, 17, on top of the child, allegedly raping the boy. Linda and her son John went to the boy's rescue..... she stabbed him with a barbeque fork, her son, John, punched Ridge in the face when he stood up and then they "went fighting."

"I stuck him in the butt," Linda told MyFOXdfw.com.

Rhodes called police and then jumped into the fight to help her son apprehend and hold the Ridge until police arrived. Joe Harn, spokesman for the Garland Police, stated that both these people were citizens that jumped in and did a good deed. He felt that they were heroes for acting as they had.

I can only hope that they remain heroes and not end up in court defending themselves in a lawsuit over Ridge's alleged injuries as a result of this.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The hunt is on again

Colombia's highest court ruled on July 5 2007, she must be found first before a final settlement can be made. While this is far from the ruling that Sea Search Armada, a Seattle based treasure hunting company, had hoped for, it does allow them to continue the work they had begun in 1979.

Sea Search Armada, along with 100 U S investors, signed a deal with the Colombian government that gave them the exclusive rights for the wreck of the San Jose and fifty percent of whatever they found. In 1982, Sea Search announced that they had found what they believed to be the shipwreck. In 1984, then Colombian President Belisario Betancur overturned the well-established maritime law of 50% to the finder and slashed Sea Search's possible take down to a 5% "finders fee". Sea Search, which claims to have invested $12 million since beginning the hunt, took the government there to court.

The Spanish galleon San Jose was sunk approximately 10 nautical miles from the port of Cartagena, Colombia, after a mysterious explosion on June 8 1708. She was overloaded with treasure taken from Peru at the port of Portobelo, in what is now Panama and at the time of her sinking, she was trying to outrun an ambushing fleet of British warships. Known as the jewel of the Spanish crown, she is believed to have sunk with an estimated $2 to $10 billion in gold, emeralds and silver and over 600 crew members.

"Without a doubt the San Jose is the Holy Grail of treasure shipwrecks," stated Robert Cembrola, director of the Naval War College Museum in Newport RI.

An underwater video taken in 1982 and used as proof of their find, placed the wreck of the San Jose in 700 feet of water. That video shows what looks to be a coral reef-covered woodpile. Over the years, Colombia's successive governments have argued that it's maritime agency never had the authority to award exploritory contracts to Sea Search because the wreck is part of the country's cultural patrimony. The San Jose has become a national obsession among Colombians even though three lower courts ruled that Sea Search is entitled to half of what it finds.

In 1994, Colombia hired treasure hunter Tommy Thompson to verify the coordinates of the find. He claimed to have found nothing there, which seems to be what investors from a previous deep-sea find have left after he disappeared. Wherever the wreck lies, advances in diving, sonar and metal-detection make it possible to find almost any wreck today.

The final ruling that was handed down this month states that pieces that are declared "treasure" will be split evenly between the Colombian government and Sea Search Armada. items that are classified as part of Colombian cultural patrimony will be awarded soley to the government. The decision came after Bogota's recent rejection of a UNESCO convention on undersea cultural heritage which had backed Spain's claims to its sunken galleons around the world. It does open up the search for more than 1,100 Spanish galleons that sunk in the 17th and 18th centuries in what are now Colombian territorial waters. There are more than 72 resting on the bottom of the bays surrounding Cartegena alone and all treasure hunters have patiently waited over 15 years for this case to be settled before investing time and money in exploring the waters there.

Whether Sea Search has actually found the wreck of the San Jose will left to be seen in the coming years.... the ruling does finally allow other treasures from the deep, both rare metals and precious artifacts to be discovered now.

Quick, turn here.....

It seems that in any "hot pursuit", there are the so many choices to make to try and evade the police. On July 6 2007, two escaping suspects definately took the wrong turn.

George Davis, 47, of Hartford CT and Guy Anthony Williams, 50, of East Hartford CT were running from the law after allegedly robbing a hotel at gunpoint in Cheshire CT. They made their getaway with cash and a laptop computer but it seems that Mapquest would have helped them immensely. During the police chase, they took a turn that they must have believed was a shortcut. It was, it just wasn't the one they probably had been hoping for.

Their shortcut turned out to be a turn directly into the Cheshire Police Department's dead-end parking lot. The passenger was taken into custody at the scene, while the driver, who tried to escape, was found hiding in a nearby wooded area.

Davis and Williams were both charged with robbery, larceny, conspiracy, larceny by possession, and possession of a pistol. Davis, the driver, was also charged with driving with a suspended license and both were schedualed to appear in Meridan Superior Court on July 9th. The pistol turned out to be a toy gun and I think at this point, both men wish they had brought a map with an escape route carefully marked on it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gotta wonder sometimes.......

"Our officers were standing there scratching their heads. He called, standing there in their presence. It's one of our 'truth is stranger than fiction cases'," stated Largo FL Sgt Melanie Holly.

Police officers met Dana Farrell Shelton, 38, after being called to investigate a disturbance at a bar July 15 2007 but found no problems, so they told him to just move along. Shelton, who officers say, looked intoxicated, evidently felt there was a large problem. He called 911 to ask for help since he was "surrounded by Largo police." according to the affidavit. I do wonder though, who he thought in his pickled mind, the dispatch was going to send out to assist him..... non Largo police?

Shelton though, went from "just move along", to let us help you move along with a free ride downtown. He was charged with misdemeanor misuse of 911, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. It is difficult to imagine how full the jails would be if every department did that for the numerous calls they get every week asking what the score was from the game and can someone give the caller directions.

Now over in Omaha NE on June 26 2007, a shooting call came into the dispatcher from near 44th and Chicago St, around 10:30 pm. Omaha officers were sent to the scene and found Richard Daley, 29, there and he had indeed been injured by a gunshot. He had been shot in the rear-end and is expected to be ok, after a quick trip to the hospital.

It seems that someone was showing Daley how to clean a gun and it accidently discharged, into his buttocks. Just imagining how that had to have happened, has me scratching my head. If you are watching a lesson in how to clean a firearm...... how exactly does your butt get in the way?

It doesn't end........

The investigation began in December of 2005 when a Texas City TX woman found a video tape in the cupboard of the apartment she was she lived in. It showed a man sexually assaulting an infant, him instructing a 4 year-old to do the same and a woman assaulting the infant.

It ended July 17 2007, when Julie Lynn Hinds, 35, pleading guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual performance of a child and promotion of child pornography. The apartment that the tape had been found in had been a previous apartment of the Hinds family.

The investigation found that it was both Julie and her husband Darryl on the tape. She was the one who videotaped Darryl performing sex acts on their infant daughter and instructing the older child to do so as well. She appeared on the tape assaulting the infant.

Darryl was sentenced after his conviction in November 2006 to 24 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a child, promotion of child pornography and sexual performance of a child. Julie faces a punishment ranging from probation to life in prison after her plea.

Both of the Hinds children have been adopted and are in new homes.

The good of this may well be that those two children have a chance at a normal life now. I just hope that both of the Hinds enjoy many years behind bars for what they did to their own children, 24 years almost seems too short a term for that kind of depravity.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I think I parked over there

In another example of how careful planning before a crime, can prevent those embaressing moments you will have time to explain, later on the cellblock. Anthony J Madonna, 26, of Hasbrouck NJ, evidently may have just gave himself that chance.

"Thank God for dopey burgelars. It's a good thing that we got this guy," stated Police Chief Ralph Verdi.

Madonna, according to reports, first tried to break into an Ann St home in Little Ferry NJ at about 11:10 am July 12 2007. He was stopped when he was confronted at the door by the owner, who promptly called the police. Madonna made his way over to Mariani Dr and after trying a few doors, finally opened the rear door of one of the houses there.

In the meantime, police responded to the Ann St address and while they were there, a neighbor remarked that a silver Volkswagon parked there, didn't belong. Not only was that Madonna's car but it was in violation of ten seperate motor vehicle summonses. At that point, the car was towed and impounded.

At noon, Madonna was spotted back on Ann St looking for his now towed car. Police arrested him around 12:18 pm with a stolen backpack filled with coins, gold, cash and jewelry. Madonna confessed to counts of attempted burglary, burglary and stolen property and he was arraigned by the municipal judge.

I am sure that he will have a few weeks to tell his new "buddies" in the pen how a get-away car is just that, to get away in.

Any closer and we'd be siamese

Twin brother's Paul and John Bailey, 32, of Swindon England routinely organize fishing trips every six to eight weeks and by their account, they are the best of mates. This past trip in June 2007, they proved just how close they really are.

It was during the rough and rainy conditions four miles off Anvil point in Swanage, in Dorset during a chartered fishing trip that they beat the odds. John joked that one of the other guys on the "Onamission" that day had said that the twins always do things together. They had been fishing for about five hours when, at around noon-time, John set his bait and dropped his line to the bottom.

It was then that he noticed his pole moving and thinking he had hooked the bottom, he grabbed it up. He soon realised that something had taken his bait and within approximately 30 seconds of John's shout that he had a fish, his brother Paul yelled the same. Skipper Malcolm Collins and the six other men on board were left wondering for the 15 minutes the brothers fought their fish, which one would land it first.

When a fish did finally surface, everyone could see it was a big one but it was tangled around several different fishing lines. A closer look revealed who had caught the 17 lb 10 oz blonde ray........both Paul's and John's hooks were in it's mouth, about an inch apart from each other.

"This must be a very rare occurance for anyone to do let alone twin brothers fishing on opposite sites of a boat with six other anglers fishing as well," stated John.

They both consider it special to catch a fish that large and by their estimates, about 30 years-old but to catch it with their twin brother made it extra special. The fish was safely unhooked and weighed in a special sling. Before it was returned to the water though, it had it's picture taken with the twins holding it.

The ray lives on for another day and now the brother's have the proof of their "fish-tale" to back up a story that will probably get them several years of free pub drinks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

She'll be back

On July 18 2007, a judge in suburban Chicago IL, granted Craig Stebic's request to dismiss his petition for divorce from his wife Lisa, 37. His petition was filed July 13, just one day after police named him as a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance.

Stebic had filed for divorce on Jan 16, claiming that the couple had barely spoken in six months and lived seperate lives under the same roof. His petition claimed they had irreconcilable differences. Both parents had sought joint custody of their children, with Lisa the residential custodial parent, child support and division of their marital property.

Lisa's divorce attorney, Glenn Kahn, stated that she had told him April 30 that she had mailed him a petition that day to temporarily evict Craig, 41, from the home while their divorce was pending. She cited that Craig's verbal abuse was affecting her mental and physical well-being and jeopardizing the mental well-being of their children. Police had been called out to the Stebic home since the divorce began to settle a heated argument and it has been revealed that Craig has a record that includes two felony counts from 1995 for unlawful use of a weapon.

"We are doing this solely so we can focus more attention on finding Lisa, and not on this dissolution case," stated Craig's attorney, Dion Davi.

In the days immediately following his wife's disappearance, Craig spoke to a reporter in tears, stating that she would never voluntarily their two children, ages 10 and 12. More than two months after that day, police have narrowed their focus to making Craig the subject of their investigation. He was the last person to see Lisa on April 30 2007 and police now believe she is a victim of foul play.

Craig has declined interviews with the police and the media on the advice of his lawyer for the past two months and has denied two police requests for them to interview the children. It was a neighbor who reported Lisa missing when May 1, Craig called her asking if she knew where Lisa was. He said early after her disappearance that it wasn't like Lisa to miss work and she would never leave the children but it was common for her to go out evenings and not return until 10 or 11 pm.

Only eight days after Lisa was reported missing, Craig filed for temporary custody of the children. Davi stated that even though Lisa had never threatened to take the children, he felt it was necessary, considering the still unanswered questions of her disappearance. Lisa' attorney, Glenn Kahn, filed Lisa's petition along with her response to the custody request in May.

When investigators went to the Stebic home, they found her car in the garage but her cell phone and purse were missing. There have been no calls made on her phone and no activity on her credit cards after her disappearance.

It sounds eerily similar to many "vanishing wives" tales from the past, the most famous perhaps is that of the Craft's which began with a phone call December 1 1986 in Newtown CT. Keith Mayo, a local private investigator, called police to report that his client, Helle Craft had recently disappeared and he suspected foul play. She had supposedly left her home on November 19 to drive to her sister's home but never arrived and her car was later found parked at Kennedy airport.

Craft's stated that he hadn't seen his wife from that date and police weren't all that concerned until they started their interviews. Virtually everyone said that Helle was a devoted mother and would never leave her children. It was also found that Richards Craft had numerous extramarital affairs and Helle had told several of her friends that she wanted to divorce Richard as soon as possible.

Richard Craft's wife though, did not just drive away from her family, as Richard still claims to this day. He was convicted in a second trial of her murder and sentenced to 99 years. Prosecutors stated that he killed his wife, froze her body and then later, after getting the children and au pair out of the house, chainsawed her body and then ran it though a woodchipper. Both Richard and the police made mistakes, Craft rented the woodchipper and left evidence. The police were hampered by the technology available then and the prevailing attitude of "she just needs a break, she'll be back" and lost valuable time to save evidence that may have been available. Both of these seem not to be the case in Lisa Stebic's disappearance.

It is difficult to point a finger of blame without proof but it seems as though the authorities are moving diligently towards finding the proof they need in the Stebic case. People in the early 1990's didn't believe Richard's numerous tales about his wife's disappearance and I don't believe there are many who believe Craig Stebic, especially since the police have revealed another card in their hand and named him as a person of interest.

Lawn ranger

The enforcement officer began writing her a ticket and she tried to re enter her house to try and call a lawyer. That's when the officer tired to handcuff her for refusing to give her name and resisting the ticket. She tripped on the stairs, scraping her nose and elbows, leaving blood on her door, her porch and clothes. She was finally handcuffed, fingerprinted and put in a jail cell for more than an hour.

"I laid down in there. I never seen the inside of a jail before. I didn't know how it looked, I was really scared," she said of her July 6 2007 arrest.
When police brass learned of what had happened, Betty Perry, 70, of Orem UT, was immediately released. She says that the policemen who brough her home, traumatized and shocked, that evening were very courteous and even held the door open for her. The officer in the morning evidently saw Perry's arrest for resisting his enforcement of Orem's nuisance ordinance, something akin to a "try-out" for the TV show "Cops."

Betty Perry was found in violation of an ordinance against neglected yards. Before you envision a yard strewn with rusted cars, piles of trash and assorted junk, take a moment to imagine why her yard was thought to be in violation. Perry, at age 70, said that she can't afford to water her lawn and hasn't done so in more than a year. Her small, white house sits neatly surrounded by a tan colored lawn.

"Don't ever say no to the police when they tell you to do something. You better do what they tell you no matter what, even if you don't have anyone to help you. You've got to do what they tell you or they will hurt you," said Perry.

Lt Doug Edwards, Orem police spokesman, said that every officer faces a situation where by the end of it, they wonder how it could have ended up that way. There clearly other options available in this case. The officer involved in the arrest was sent home for the day and placed on paid administrative leave. They also aren't pressing charges for neglecting her lawn or resisting arrest.

It is a good thing that they aren't going to press the neglect charges........ I am sure that if the color of Perry's lawn was so important to the town, there are volunteers who could easily trim what is left and spray paint it green.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How much is that doggie in the window.......6 years maybe

A federal grand jury in Richmond VA, indicted Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick, 27, Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach VA, Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta GA, and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton VA, on July 17 2007. The conspiracy count alleges that they bought and sponsered dogs in an animal fighting venture and traveled across state lines to participate in illegal activity, including gambling.

According to the indictment, dogs that didn't show enough fighting spirit or that lost matches, were put to death. Prosecutors allege that on one occasion, Vick participated in the killing of eight dogs in April 2007 "by various methods including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground. It also alleges the Vick and his associates "rolled" some of their dogs -- testing them in short fights to determine their fighting ability. The dogs that failed the test were also killed. The indictment notes that most of the killing was done by the other defendents and Vick is alleged to have participated the one time only.

The indictment released on Tuesday charges that Vick was intimately involved in the "Bad Newz Kennels" and that he had bought the property in Smithfield VA expressly for the purpose of going into business with other defendents. It charges also, that between 2001 and April 2007, all of the defendents bought and trained pit bulls and hosted dogfights at that property, as well as taking dogs to six other states to participate in fights.

According to two cooperating witnesses, Vick can be placed in attendence at a dogfight in the fall of 2003 and in March of 2003, Vick personally paid $23,000 to the owner of the winning dog after it beat one of the dogs from their kennel. It is common to collect purses in the thousands of dollars as well as place side bets on the outcome of matches.

While it may have surprised the local Surry County VA officials, who were conducting their own investigation, when federal agents raided Vick's property, the move doesn't bode well for Vick and the others. A new federal law enacted last month ( a bill known as HR137) makes it a felony to organize a dogfight. If they can prove that fighting took place on the property, it will be difficult for Vick to prove that he didn't know. They also face the legal definition of "sponsoring" or "promoting" a dogfight as as the possibility that Vick can be prosecuted under Virginia law if the authorities can show that he was "aware" of the dogfighting.

Until last month, a federal dogfighting charge was a misdemeanor and would likely result in probation and a fine. The new law sets a jail term of three years and a fine of $250,000 per dog, of which, 54 were confiscated from Vick's property.

Vick has claimed that he had no knowledge of any dogfighting but there is a valid license for a kennel and the breeding of dogs for the property. That license is in Taylor's name but Vick's name is tied to a web site for Mike Vick K-9 Kennels located near Smithfield, in Suffolk VA. That website has since been taken down, but it had included a statement that none of the kennel's dogs were used for fighting. If it is found that Vick is tied to that site and that further is connected to the dogfighting, then Vick will have a few more questions to answer.

There is also the very real possibilty of other charges in the future, in relation to gambling, guns, drugs, the illegal sale of alcohol and where all the cash has gone, as in tax problems. Vick isn't the only person being pusued, it is far from just a case of trying to go after someone with a famous name. The USDA continues to investigate dogfighting and make raids in several states. While dogfighting is a felony in 48 states, Idaho and Wyoming being the only two where it is still a misdemeanor, anyone caught up with dogfights could be facing prosecution from the USDA, FBI and IRS.

Vick had been in the process of selling the property to an unknown buyer but that also may be prevented with federal charges filed. Vick could instead face forfeiting the house and the land to the government.

A judge is expected to inform all the defendents of the charges against them July 18 and make arrangemants for them to turn themselves in. If convicted of both portions of the conspiracy charge, Vick could face six years in jail and a $350,000 fine.

Dogfighting has existed for centuries and it may have had a place in society long ago.. it doesn't have a place now. It is not a "macho" sport, nor does it prove you are the best. It is a brutal way to destroy dogs that has no place in a country that has more legal gambling available that it seems we need in the first place. As for Michael Vick possibly losing his job over it....... there have been rumors before of his involvement, that should have been warning enough to him, if he really had wanted to keep playing football.

For a very informative view of the reality of dogfighting, go here.

Update: posted July 18

Michael Vick's initial hearing and arraignment have been set for July 26 2007, the same day that the Falcon's begin training camp. He will have a hearing at 3:30 pm followed by his arraignment at 4 pm in Federal Court in Richmond VA. Vick will have a bond hearing before U S District Judge Dennis W Dohnal and then be arraigned before U S District Judge Henry E Hudson, according to the U S District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The indictment handed down yesterday by a federal grand jury lists at least 30 dogfights that Vick or other members of his Bad Newz Kennels operation are alleged to have participated in or attended between 2002 to 2007. The graphic indictment details how Vick, known as "Ookie" and his three co-defendents, "P-Funk", "Q" and "T" began a dogfighting ring known as BadNewz Kennels at Vick's Surry County property six years ago.