Wednesday, December 10, 2014
"We all knew he was going to snap eventually," stated Edwards's 17 year old daughter Jordyn.
Alan Dean Edwards, 46, rammed his 1997 Honda Accord into the back of a parked semi on December 8 2014 at about 1 am. The high speed crash at the Whitaker Brake Check area off I-5 north of Castaic Lake CA killed him and his two children, Erick Edwards, 9 and 5 year old Alona Edwards. Police spent the next day investigating how he could have accidently crashed into the legally parked semi truck.
The evidence reveals that Edwards meant to kill himself and his two children, most likely because his life seemed to be spinning out of control. Edwards had been involved in a very bitter custody fight and divorce with his estranged wife and was on the losing side so far. He picked his two children up on Friday December 5 after school in accordance with their agreement and headed to the family home.
His wife of eight years, Sherri Edwards, had sold the Lancaster home that day but had not told Edwards that she had. He arrived there to find the home sold and virtually empty of the family belongings. Sherri states that she was unable to reach Edwards by text afterwards and on Dec 7 she filed a complaint at the Lancaster Sheriff's station stating that he had kidnapped the children.
Police are certain that the accident is a murder-suicide based on the evidence that they have found. Edwards left the family home unlocked and left his driver's license, his keys, Erick's asthma medicine and the Honda's air bag sensors inside. The children, Erick in the front seat and Alona in the backseat, were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
Police do not believe that Edwards could have fallen asleep at the wheel because he also was not wearing a seatbelt and he had to dodge several obstacles at the brake check to hit the rig. Police added that they all died instantly in the high speed crash that sheared most of the roof off of the car. Balbir Singh, 45, of Yuba City was asleep in his truck at the time of the crash and was not hurt. Police stress that he was legally parked at the pull-off at the time of the crash.
Sherri stated that the children must have been asleep at the time of the crash and that they both usually rode in the back seat. Her step daughter Jordyn stated that Edwards had lost custody of her earlier and that he had threatened to kill both her and her mother previously. She added that several people had felt that her father would snap one day and it is believed that the pressure of being homeless, not having a job and losing custody of the children may have been enough to push him over the edge.
No funeral plans have been announced yet but there has been a fund set up on go fund me to help with the expenses for the children.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
"You are going to ruin my life," stated Nora Longoria.
Justice Nora Longoria, 49, was stopped at 1 am on North 23rd Street in McAllen Texas for going 69 in a 55 mph zone on July 12 2014. She admitted to the police that she had five beers in the past three hours before getting behind the wheel but she thought flashing her court badge would give her a "get out of jail free" card.
She had the misfortune it seems to have been pulled over by an honest cop and at that time, she started begging. While slurring her words, she pleaded with the police to let her drive home the few miles she had left. She added that she had worked very hard for 25 years to get to her position of 13th Court Justice of Appeals.
She failed the sobriety tests miserably and refused to submit to a blood test or breathalyzer test. The police dash cam caught her struggling to walk a straight line and stumbling during the test so it looked like it would be a fairly easy case to prosecute. She was charged with driving while intoxicated and released from jail on a $2,000 bond the same morning.
Her case was heard in court on November 20 2014 and it was promptly dismissed. It seems that the only video that was shown in court was the one that had been made while she was in the police station and she was a bit more "sober" looking in that one. The judge felt that there was not enough evidence to prove that she was intoxicated when she had been pulled over and he gave her that "get out of jail free" card afterall.
The McAllen police stated that they don't know why the dash cam video was not in the hands of the prosecutors when her case was heard. Odd but stranger still was their ability to make it available for release to the public shortly after Longoria's case was dismissed. Somehow her tape of a very lame imitation of dirty dancing must have gotten lost in the mail? I guess that it is true.... having powerful friends can save your ass in a time of need.
Best qualified to beat the charges?
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
To blame him for the riots "goes way too far and is as wrong as the decision itself," stated Louis Head.
Louis Head, Michael Brown's stepfather, has evidently now sent an apology to CNN for the comments that he made on Nov 24 2014 outside of the Ferguson police department. Oddly though, it seems that he has only apologized for the words he used directly after the grand jury announcement and only after a national debate has begun as to whether he should face charges for inciting the riots that night.
Head apologizes in a way but only for the words he spoke. He does not apologize for the over 12 commercial businesses that went up in flames. He does not apologize for the people who have lived their lives in the same community as him and they have now lost their businesses or their jobs because of the riots. It seems that he did not become concerned until word got out that others want him and others who demanded that the cities and nation burn because of the legal system did not decide the way they believed it should have.
I believe he should be charged as well as all those that can be identified on film for looting and burning the city businesses. Burning your neighbor's business to the ground does nothing to further the pursuit of the justice you claim to be seeking. The court has decided that there was not enough cause to bring the case to a courtroom............. Michael was not gunned down like a dog in the street, kneeling with his hands up in the air. Michael may have changed his mind as to what he chose as a path that day moments before the last bullet hit him but it was sadly, too late by then.
Head may have yelled what he did in the heat of the moment and I don't fault him for being upset but life is built on action and consequences and it may be time for him to face the consequences for what he yelled to the mobs to do.
Every child's life is valuable.......... let us see the protests on the streets for the children that day almost daily in drive-by shootings.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
"Our officers at times are required to make critical decisions in a split second," stated Chief Calvin Williams.
On November 22 2014, two people in Cleveland OH made critical decisions in just a few seconds that will forever change lives. The Cleveland police received numerous reports of a boy in a local park who was waving around a handgun in public view. There was one 911 caller who did state that the handgun that the gun was probably fake. That was one caller among many who were reporting the same incident and it is unknown at this time if the responding officers had that information passed on to them.
What did happen was that Tamir Rice, 12, was confronted by a police officer and had been told to put his hands up. Another officer had reportedly seen the pistol laying out as they approached and saw Rice grab it and put it in his waistband. When Rice was told to put his hands up, he chose in that split second to grab at his waistband and the officer reacted by shooting Rice. Rice died from his injuries the following day and once again, a community is faced with the death of an "unarmed" young person.
Rice was armed with a replica Airsoft BB pistol, so it is inaccurate to claim that he was unarmed. The pistol had the orange tip removed from it so that any warning that it was a "toy" gun had been taken away from the officer's or caller's view. The gun looked very real and while some have stated that it was obvious that it was fake because it was made of plastic, Those types of pistols are made of several materials and are not all that light.
Rice also did not follow the officer's statement of putting his hands up. We have been watching for several months the protests in Ferguson MO that stress... "Hands up, Don't shoot" but Rice did not make that choice when he was confronted. The officer who fired has been described as distraught after the shooting and both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
What is known is that Tamir was in the park with some of his friends on Saturday afternoon and he had been flashing the air pistol in public. He was not in his own yard playing war games, was not in a designated area for using air guns in simulation games and he was not flashing a brightly colored water pistol. He was flashing a pistol that looked real enough that numerous people called 911 to report a boy with a gun in a park. It may be entirely true that one caller stated that it "probably" was a fake but looking at the pistol that was recovered, it does not look all that fake at a glance.
Tamir also was in a very public location where there probably were other families and children so their concern for public safety is understandable. It is also not unheard of for young people to have and/or use very real guns while committing very real crimes these days. Whether the handgun looked "light" when handled does not really give the person on the other end of a gun a very solid belief that it is in fact..... a fake gun. Lastly, while the handgun is designed to handle plastic pellets and have a softer hit than firing regular metal BBs, it can still cause physical damage. Locations that offer simulated play with this type of gun require safety equipment to be wore by those participating.
The pistol that Tamir had on him has been called a toy gun by many and that brings a certain picture to many people's minds. The imitation guns of today are not the little plastic guns of several decades ago nor are they the undersized metal six-shooters that fired caps while children played. Imitation guns can look very real and have a price range of $25 to $1500 and in some states, they have to be treated almost like a "real" gun. It is illegal to openly carry an imitation gun in NJ and many states require the owner of such a gun to treat it as if it were a real gun since they are considered a real gun.
They have become very popular among children and adults because of their design. Paint guns are still popular but the cost of using a plastic pellet air gun is dramatically cheaper, less painful when hit and cleaner to play with. They are imitation so they are not usually a cheap, light plastic but rather, they are constructed of composites, metal parts and other materials. The fact that many have an actual heft to them is also a draw to those who want to feel as though they are using the real thing.
I do feel for the family of Tamir and I also feel for the family of the officer involved. I do not believe that the officer went out to that park to try and gun down an innocent child. I do believe that the officer went there to try and prevent a possible shooting and Tamir made a poor choice in the confrontation.
It is difficult to think that the officer could tell in an instant that the handgun in his waistband was a toy. We will never know what Tamir was thinking when he did not just freeze and put his hands in the air. He may have just been afraid that he was going to get in trouble for having the air pistol in the park. The officer may not have had any time to try and figure out if the gun that may end up pointed at him in seconds was real or fake. Honestly........ do you think that if you were facing a handgun like that, you could immediately decide that it was fake and you would be ok?
While we as a nation are busy burning down parts of a city and protesting the deaths of young people during confrontations with the police.......... where is the outrage and protesting for the hundreds of young people who are injured or killed by gunfire that originates with another civilian? Before you fault the officer, should we not ask why he had the gun in public, why he did not just leave it where it was and why he did not just raise his hands like we have been shown to do in the past few months?
Related stories on this blog:
Update Feb 28 2015:
The family of Tamir Rice had filed a lawsuit against the police and the city that stated that Tamir suffered "terror and fear" right before he was shot dead. The response from the city, according to Tamir's family is that his death is is directly and proximately due to both the actions of him and his family. The police are still investigating the shooting and have chosen not to comment on the recent claims by Tamir's family.
It is difficult to believe that the officers who responded to the 911 calls "knew" for certain that the gun tamir had and spent minutes playing with in public and pointing at others was fake. There has only been one report from the several 911 calls that stated that it might not be a real gun. Unfortunately, a young boy died but if it had been a real gun and police had not shot him..... would there have been as much public outcry if an innocent bystander had been shot in an exchange with Tamir? Common sense dictates that you don't "play" in public with a gun that looks very real from a short distance away.
On November 24 2014, the grand jury released it's decision that no probable cause exists to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO. The peaceful protests erupted into mayhem , looting and numerous fires. The rioters fired over 150 shots into the night air, looted numerous businesses and set about 25 structural fires during the evening hours.
Evidently, when some believe that an injustice has been perpetrated upon them, indirectly, the answer is to destroy whatever is nearby.......... even if these are businesses that are owned and operated by people who live in their own community. Dozens of cars were set on fire at the Auto by Credit dealership, a Conoco service station convenience store was destroyed by fire as well as Title Max, Auto Zone and Fashions R Boutique which had been in business for over 20 years.
Red's Barbecue, Sam's Meat Market, Family Dollar Store and the building that houses the community outreach program #HealStL were also destroyed by fire. O'Reilly Auto Parts, Toys R Us, Energy Express and Dellwood Market and Ferguson Market were looted, the Ferguson Market had been looted before as well as being the store that Brown reportedly stole items right before his death. The public storage was broken into before being set on fire and a Little Ceasar's, Hidden Treasures, the St Louis Fish, Chicken and Grill and Walgreen's were burning during the night as well as several police cars. Many other business's were damaged in some way while others were reportedly protected by groups of armed residents or owners.
I can understand why people were upset that the grand jury did not decide how they believed they should have but I don't understand what any of the business's that were looted or burnt to the ground had to do with the decision. I also am not going to believe that all of the damage was caused by a few people who were from out of town and only there to cause trouble.
Some businesses were lucky enough to have citizens gather together, lock arms and try to prevent others from looting or destroying them. The police and fire department could not be everywhere in the city and there were reports from the scene that the fire department at times had to leave the scene of a fire because of gunshots in the area. I don't believe that the destruction that occurred was because of the pain from the grand jury decision.......... what does destroying a car parts store have to do with a police shooting?
What happened that first night was chaos created by a feeling of entitlement. The feeling that I can do whatever I want to do because I want to and if I get injured or arrested later, well, they police are picking on me. The evidence slowly emerged in the Brown shooting case............ he was not shot in the back while he was running away.
Officer Wilson probably was not a "nice" as he could have been by not asking Brown to please leave the center of the street and kindly walk on the sidewalk that the city provided for him. What was shown by the evidence was that there was a confrontation at the window of the police car, two shots were fired while Wilson's gun was still within the car and somewhere near his waist. Brown prevented Wilson from exiting his car, traded words... not so nice words, with Wilson and then took off running.
So now we have a young man, a large young man who is a possible robbery suspect, someone who has no problem with wrestling with an officer for a gun while he is seated in his patrol car. For me, color of either one's skin has gone out the window because the young man is a danger to the public. The evidence showed that Brown ran away from Wilson but he was not shot numerous times in the back then. Instead, the blood evidence shows that Brown did turn around and ran about 21 feet back towards Wilson who was now out of his car and pointing a gun at him. He ran back at Wilson almost the distance of four nose-in parking spaces before he was fatally shot.
Wilson testified that Brown was within 8-10 feet of him when the last shot struck him. Brown, a young man the size of an average pro football lineman was running at Wilson, while the officer was still firing his gun. Many people try to believe that he should not have fired or felt that his life was in danger but I wonder how many would feel the same way if they were standing in his shoes. This was a young man who already showed that he did not fear wrestling with a cop for his gun or slamming a door on him.
The looting and fires............ they had little to do with the "pain" the community feels and a lot to do with just destroying or stealing because it is there. I do believe that there is much to fix in Ferguson as well as this country starting with basic respect and dropping the belief that we are all entitled to more than what we put the effort into gaining. Ask the woman who worked very hard for three years to create and grow her "Hidden Treasures" business........... did looting and burning it to the ground do anything to change the verdict created by Michael Brown's actions on that day? She is faced with rebuilding, if she can financially and why would she want to rebuild in a community that did not care about the success of one of their own?
Where are the parents and why are there not more protests or calls for a return to the respect for self and others that seemed to exist a couple of decades ago? What happened to the understanding that your actions will lead to consequences, sometimes consequences that you are not going to like? Where is the outrage when it is an officer who is gunned down........... or when it is an innocent, unarmed black child that is gunned down by another black person? Is that child's life not "worth" as much as Michael Brown's?
Related stories on this blog:
Monday, November 24, 2014
Sadly, there was even a response to the release of the original video because it had to be explained that they had not been attacking the education available there. It was done to show how little political events or news plays in the life of an average student. Yes I do believe that most of them could have answered the questions correctly if they were on an exam. I fail to understand how they could get them incorrect when questioned on the street.
Do today's young people realize how dumb they appear to young people world-wide and do they really care?
Hats off to the Bluebird of Bitterness for posting the first video
Friday, November 21, 2014
|Front row: Adam Hardman, Michael, Trudi and Kaci Hardman. |
Back row: Aaron Hardman, Dakota Watson, Andrew Harman, Hunter Watson
"We must lift each other up during this difficult time," stated Terrell Independent School District Superintendent Michael French.
The Hardman family had always talked about taking their blended family to Disney World and on Nov 19 2014, they and their six children left their Terrell TX home sometime after 7 pm headed to Florida. At approximately 10:45 pm their 2005 Chevy Tahoe crashed on Interstate 20 just west of Calhoun LA and five members of the family were dead.
The police report that they believe the driver, sixteen year old Andrew Hardman apparently fell asleep at the wheel and the Tahoe veered to the left. He then overcorrected the vehicle to the right and the SUV rolled over, ejecting six people who were not wearing seatbelts. Five of the Hardman family were pronounced dead at the scene. The dead were identified as Michael and Trudi Hardman, Dakota Watson, 15, Adam Hardman, 7 and Kaci Hardman, 4. Andrew was wearing a seatbelt and only suffered minor injuries while Aaron Hardman, 12 is in critical condition. Hunter Watson also suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital the next day.
Michael and Trudi married five years ago and brought their children from previous marriages together. Kaci was the youngest and the only child that they had together as a couple. Michael taught second grade in the TISD and had been employed by them for two years. He also coached Little League baseball and is said to never turn a kid away from participating. Trudi was a kindergarten teacher at Willis Point Primary School and had worked for the WPISD for ten years. The couple had been planning the trip for the past nine months and were excited to be able to take all six of their children there.
Andrew has been charged with reckless operation of a vehicle and the police do not believe that he was impaired even though they did take a sample for a toxicology test. They have stated that they believe that he may have just fallen asleep while driving. They did add that they believe that more of the family could have survived the accident if they had been wearing seat belts as required by law in both Texas and Louisiana. I do believe that it probably was just an accident due to to inexperience but the damage it may have caused could last a lifetime.
There has been a go fund me site set up to help with expenses for the surviving children. No funeral arrangements have been announced as of yet.
Related story on this blog:
Update Nov 22 2014:
The police have stated that Andrew had to be charged with a motor vehicle infraction as a point of law but he has only been charged with the misdemeanor of careless operation. This charge means that he would only be facing a small fine and a mark on his newly acquired driver's license. They added that there is a very good chance that the charge will be dropped in the future since he has certainly suffered more than any punishment could do for what looks to be just an accident.
There has not been any announcement as to funeral arrangements but people in Wills Point have gathered to remember the five who died in the accident.
Update Nov 23 2014:
The only arrangements that have been planned as of this date is a memorial sometime after Thanksgiving.
Update Nov 24 2014:
The memorial service for the Hardman family has been set for Wednesday Nov 26 2014. It will be held at the Lakeshore Church, 5575 Highway 205 in Rockwall. The family will begin receiving friends at 10 am that morning.
The district attorney in Louisiana has stated that all charges against Andrew have been dismissed. Aaron is still reported to be in critical condition but stable at Shreveport Hospital in LA at this time.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
The newest buzz around the workplace is about a new podcast series called "Serial." This is not something absolutely brand new..... it is as old as story telling itself. People love to puzzle over a mystery, wonder who had pulled off the whodunit and tried to be the one to solve the mystery before an author reveals the answer. The podcast is just the newest, hottest venue for presenting a possible mystery to a very broad audience.
The series is focusing on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who had been convicted of her murder. The podcast is the brainchild of journalist Sarah Koenig and releases a new episode every Thursday. If this sounds very familiar to you......... it darn sure is. It is just the same as reading a murder mystery novel or a true crime book. I may know the outcome from the book jacket but I don't know how it got to that conclusion. There have been dozens of books released as to who the "real" Jack the Ripper" was, all with their particular analysis of the evidence.
Stephen King even went so far as to release a serialized novel in an attempt to recreate the same experience that readers have had off and on since Victorian times. The concept was used in film as far back as the silent pictures and were continuing stories or cliff hangers for the audience to enjoy and keep returning to the theater to discover the next installment. I would say then, that is why I have not been collected up and driven along by the craze over "Serial".......... been there, done it.
It does not surprise me though that so many people in this world of instant access would be bonkers over a program such as this. The problem for me though is that it has been done before and done better. The viewers may buy that what is presented is all fact and therefore relevant because a journalist is digging her way through the minutiae of the case. There are plenty of websites in existence already that are very active in analyzing bits of evidence or reported evidence in hundreds of cases and are completely interactive because of the discussions posted.
A person can certainly spend a lot of time discussing tiny bits of evidence such as how many steps the victim was from a point along their travel route or how the suspects choice of brand of shoes may have affected his actions. All of this though doesn't really add up to a hill of beans in relation to the crime or suspects. Well balanced reporting of a case requires balance and that comes from interviewing those involved. You can use your personal interpretation of what you have read of testimony and/or evidence but is that really balanced or unbiased?
The case being discussed in "Serial" is not the first case to be questioned on any number of television programs or in books and it will not be the last either. I do find it sad that so many people will swallow what is presented on the podcast as being the whole truth and not really question the significant flaws in the presentation. The fact that a case is being presented for an audience to analyse also does not mean that everyone now has the "right" to insist on having personal interviews or have their own questions answered by individuals involved. You do have the right to try and uncover as much evidence on your own in whatever has been made available prior to the trial or afterwards.
Just because you saw it or heard it on the internet does not mean that all of it is true or that it is all of the facts.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
"I put Jimmie where he belonged," stated Angela Stoldt.
On April 3 2013, Angela Stoldt, 42, gave her neighbor James Sheaffer, 36, a ride back from his limousine job to her house. Sheaffer never made it back across the street to his home on Horseshoe Terrace, Deltona FL.
Stoldt had stated that her and Sheaffer did not live together but had some sort of financial arrangement in which she handled his Social Security disability check monthly. The funds were placed in a joint account and she managed the money to some degree. She drove Sheaffer to her home that night when he finished his shift at Blue Diamonds Limousines so that they could discuss the financial problems that had developed recently.
She stated that Sheaffer had asked her to ask her father to loan him about $4,000 and he had reportedly repeatedly overdrawn the joint checking account. Stoldt shared drinks with him and at some point mixed Flexeril that she had stolen from her father in with Sheaffer's vodka and peach schnapps drink. She added that she knew that it would make him drowsy and that the alcohol would probably increase it's effects on him.
After Stoldt had spiked his drink, they discussed his overdrafts of the account and she told him that her father was considering loaning him the money he had asked for. She then loaded him in her car along with her two children and dropped the children off at her parent's home that morning. She then drove the drunk and drugged Sheaffer to Osteen Cemetery, about 6 1/2 miles from her home. She stated that he was confused when they stopped at the cemetery and asked again if her father really was going to loan him the money. She asked him then how it felt to be lied to and that was when he began yelling at her, swinging his arms and threatening to kill her.
She told police that she felt very scared and then snapped. She stated that she took an ice pick out of a box in the backseat of the car and stabbed him in the right eye. He did not stop swinging at her so she said that she took a device she claimed to have made for climbing trees and used that. The device was a rope with two plastic handles on each end that she looped around his neck and strangled him with.
Sheaffer reportedly kept grabbing at her legs while she was strangling him and she stated that she knew he was dead when he stopped moving. Stoldt then stabbed him with the ice pick in the other eye and covered his head with a plastic bag to keep him from bleeding into the car. She parked her car in the garage when she got home and pushed Sheaffer's body out of the car and into a plastic kiddie pool before going to bed.
The next day, Stoldt started cutting up Sheaffer's body with a hacksaw, placing his torso in one of the plastic pools and the other body parts into another kiddie pool. Her plan was to cook and cremate all of the body parts so she put some in pots on the stove and a leg in the oven. When that plan failed, she loaded the body parts into plastic bags and got her now 18 year old son to help her dispose of the bags. She told her son that she had hit a deer and brought it home but it was rotten so she had to throw it away.
Over the next few days, she buried his cellphone and driver's license in different parks, tossed the pots and pans behind a fish house in New Smyrna Beach and tossed the rug from her car in a lake. The trashbags with the body parts she dumped in dumpsters and some at the cemetery. When her now 16 year old daughter questioned the smell in the house, she stated that a rat had gotten into the oven. She eventually told her daughter what she had done to Sheaffer though.
Stoldt originally told the police that she had not seen Sheaffer for some time when they began investigating his disappearance. He had never returned to work after driving a client to Tampa and it was three weeks later that Stoldt finally confessed to killing him. Her sister called 911 on April 21 2013 when Stoldt showed up at her parents home, confessed the killing and appeared to be suicidal.
Stoldt was arrested and charged with second degree murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a dead body. She has been held without bond since the arrest. In May 2013, she was found competent to stand trial and in Sept 2014, her lawyer filed a motion claiming self defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law. That was rejected because the judge felt that she had used unreasonable actions for a person using self defense. She has now been charged with first degree murder after a grand jury reviewed the evidence in her case which may mean that they felt that she had planned the murder more than originally thought. The prosecutors have stated that they are not going to seek the death penalty.