MO Family Charged in Fake Kidnapping of Child

February 10th, 2015

Family members in Troy, Missouri plotted a fake kidnapping of a six-year-old boy to teach the child a lesson because he was “too nice” to strangers.

According to authorities, the boy’s aunt, Denise Kroutil, 38, recruited co-worker Nathan Firoved, 23, to stage a kidnapping of her nephew. The boy’s mother, Elizabeth Hupp, 25, and grandmother, Rose Brewer, 58, agreed to the plan to teach the child a lesson about strangers.

On Feburary 2, Firoved waited for the boy to exit a school bus and persuaded him into his truck. Fivored allegedly showed the child a gun and told him he would never “see his mommy again.” He tied up the sobbing child, covered his face with a jacket, and drove around.

Fivored took the blindfolded child to the family’s home. Once in the basement, the boy’s aunt allegedly took off his pants and told him he could be sold into “sex slavery.” She also reprimanded the child for not resisting her or Firoved.

The boy was left in the basement with both feet and hands bound in plastic bags; his face was covered with the jacket. Eventually, the child was taken upstairs and lectured about the dangers of being too trusting of strangers.

The incident lasted roughly four hours. The child’s mother and grandmother stayed in contact with Firoved via cellphone.

According to police, no one involved felt they did anything wrong by staging the kidnapping, since they were merely attempting to teach the child a lesson.

Authorities were alerted on February 4 after the child told school officials of the incident. The boy was taken from the home and placed in protective custody.

Firoved, Kroutil, and Brewer have all been charged with felony kidnapping, felonious restraint, and felony abuse and neglect of a child. Hupp has been charged with felony kidnapping and felony abuse of a child.

All four remain in custody and are being held on $250,000 bond.

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Suspect in Ohio Double Homicide Arrested in Arizona

February 5th, 2015

A man wanted in the double homicide of an elderly Ohio couple and in three armed robberies was arrested Thursday morning in Arizona after a high speed chase.

Robert Clark, 29, was arrested by the Mohave County sheriff’s department, according to an FBI spokeswoman. Tabatha Hazel, his 26-year-old companion suspected in the armed robberies, was arrested with him.

Clark has been charged with one count of murder for the death of Doyle Chumney, 88, and his wife Lillian, 79, who were reported missing on January 21.

The chase began when local authorities spotted Clark’s green 2003 Dodge Caravan. The suspected did not stop when police attempted a traffic stop.

Clark, Hazel, and a third suspect, Jeffrey Caley Jr, fled on foot, but authorities captured Clark and Hazel at 1:55 am.

Caley was found in a desert area around 10:00 am; he threatened suicide.

During the episode, a brush caught aflame, consequently causing three police vehicles to catch fire.

Police found the Chumney’s Tuscarawas County home ransacked. The remains of their bodies were found in their incinerated car on a country road on January 22.

A second suspect in the murders, 21-year-old Jeffrey Stewart, was arrested Saturday. Police stated that Stewart has implicated himself and Clark in the killings of the Chumneys. Stewart has been charged with one count of murder and is being held on $2 million bond.

In addition to the grisly killings, Clark, Hazel, and Caley are wanted in the armed robberies of gas stations and convenience stories in West Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia on Saturday and Sunday. There were no injuries in these incidents.

The FBI became involved the manhunt on Tuesday, offering a $20,000 reward for information that lead to an arrest.

“I am very relieved. I thank God he hasn’t killed anyone else,” said Tuscarawas County Sheriff Walt Wilson.

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Modern Teenage Bonnie and Clyde Arrested

January 19th, 2015

A teen couple being compared to Bonnie and Clyde have been arrested after two weeks on the run, following a series of car and gun thefts.

Dalton Hayes, 18, and Cheynne Phillips, 13, were arrested Sunday morning in Panama City Beach, Florida according to authorities.

The couple is suspected of stealing three cars in various states stretching from Kentucky to Georgia. Two of the cars contained guns inside. Hayes is also wanted on charges of custodial interference for enticing Phillips to leave home.

Panama City Beach police found the pair asleep in a Toyota Tundra they stole in Georgia, according to a Grayson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post. Local authorities were acting on a tip from the U.S. Marshals Service, who had been looking for the teens after the truck was seen in a Kirkland’s parking lot.

“The vehicle was surrounded by law enforcement, and both Hayes and Phillips were taken into custody without further incident,” the sheriff’s office said. The statement also noted that “throughout the multi-state hunt for them, no civilian was injured, neither one of them were injured and no police officer was injured.”

Hayes was taken to Bay County Jail, while Phillips was placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, according to NBC.

Phillips’ father reported her missing from her Clarkson, Kentucky home on January 3. Hayes’ family told police they last heard from him via text message on January 6.

The couple reportedly stole a truck in Clarkson from a garage; they sped down the road, crashed the vehicle into a fence, and fled on foot—causing $7,100 in damage. One hour later, they stole a Toyota Tacoma with a firearm inside; the truck was recovered in Henry County, Georgia.

Last week the couple was seen on security camera tape at a Walmart store in Manning, South Carolina, according to authorities. A Toyota Tundra was reported stolen from the area shortly after. That vehicle had two handguns inside.

Hayes’ mother, Tammy Martin, said the two had been dating for around three months; she believed Phillips was 19. It is unclear if Phillips’ parents knew Hayes was 18.

As of Monday afternoon, Hayes agreed to sign paperwork waiving extradition proceedings; he will face criminal charges in Kentucky.

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Two Albuquerque Officers Face Murder Charges

January 12th, 2015

Two Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed a homeless man have been charged with murder, prosecutors said Monday.

Former detective Keith Sandy and officer Dominique Perez will both face a single count of murder in for the death of James Boyd, 38. Boyd was a mentally unstable man who was illegally camping in foothills outside Albuquerque.

Investigators said Perez and Sandy fatally shot Boyd, who was allegedly holding a knife, during a standoff on March 16, 2014. Video of the event captured by an officer’s helmet showed Boyd appearing to surrender before the officers fired.

Sandy’s attorney Sam Bregman told The Associated Press that the decision to bring charges against the officers was “unjustified,” stating Sandy acted appropriately.

“He followed his training and probably saved his fellow officer’s life,” Bregman said.

Luis Robles, Perez’s lawyer, said, “Sadly, this day has come. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez’s actions in this case.”

Because Second District Attorney Kari Brandenburg did not use a grand jury to bring an indictment against the officers, there will be a preliminary hearing so a judge can determine if there is sufficient evidence for a criminal trial. Brandenburg stated that no preliminary hearing has been scheduled yet for Sandy and Perez.

The FBI is still investigating the incident, but federal authorities have not stated if they will bring federal charges against the officers.

Boyd’s death sparked numerous protests last spring in the Albuquerque area, some which turned violent. The incident occurred during a federal investigation into Albuquerque’s police department practices.

A year-long examination found Albuquerque police had wrongly killed suspects and used excessive force on those with mental illness on several occasions. The department has had over three dozen police-involved shootings since 2010.

Albuquerque city officials recently signed an agreement with the justice department to provide better training for police officers and to disassemble problematic police units.

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Actor Dustin Diamond Arrested in Wisconsin Bar Fight

December 29th, 2014

Actor Dustin Diamond, 37, was arrested early Friday morning after a stabbing incident at a bar in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

The former “Saved by the Bell” star is facing charges of felony second-degree recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon. His fiancée Amanda Schutz, 27, was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The couple was reportedly confronted by a group of people who were allegedly insulting and rude at the Grand Ave. Saloon. According to BBC News, Diamond and Schutz got into a physical altercation with two men and another woman.

After Schutz was apparently bloodied after fighting with the other woman, Diamond allegedly stabbed a man with a switchblade knife in an attempt to defend his fiancée. Officers later found a stiletto folding knife with a 3.75-inch blade in Diamond’s SUV, with blood still on the tip, according to BBC News.

When questioned by police, Diamond first confessed to the stabbing, clarifying the incident was accidental, but later said he wasn’t sure if he stabbed the man with a pen or a knife. Diamond did admit he brandished the switchblade during the altercation to protect Schutz.

The victim, who suffered non-life threatening injuries, told police he never saw the knife. Police found a “significant amount of blood” under the man’s armpit, where he was punctured.

He appeared in Ozaukee County court Friday, where his bail was set at $10,000. Diamond has not yet entered a plea and is expected in court today for his next hearing.

If Diamond is found guilty, the felony second-degree recklessly endangering safety charge could have him facing up to 10 years in jail, according to ABC News.

Cult classic teen sitcom “Saved by the Bell” aired from 1989 to 1993. Diamond appeared in a handful of spinoffs before starring in several reality television shows, such as “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Celebrity Big Brother.”

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Ex-USC, FBI Fugitive Gets Five Years for Child Sex

December 16th, 2014

A former University of Southern California professor once on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives list was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Monday for traveling to the Philippines and sexually assaulting underage boys he had met online.

Walter Lee Williams, 66, was apprehended by Mexican authorities in Playa del Carmen in June 2013. He will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after his prison sentence is finished. Williams will also be supervised for 10 years.

In court on Monday, Williams stated he took full responsibility of his actions and apologized to his victims and their families before he was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals.

Williams was a well-respected professor who taught anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, and history at USC for roughly 20 years before his 2011 resignation.

Claiming his travel was for academic studies, Williams flew to the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia to have sex with underage boys. The FBI has connected 10 victims between the ages of 9 and 17.

In 2010, before his travel, Williams instigated webcam sex meetings with two boys in the Philippines, aged 13 and 14 and expressed his wish to visit them. When he flew overseas next year, he participated in sex acts with both boys, as well as a 15-year-old boy, and took sexually graphic photos of one of the boys.

When Williams arrived in Los Angeles International Airport on February 11, 2011, authorities stopped him and found child pornography in his possession.

According to Los Angeles Assistant police Chief Michel Moore, the case against Williams began roughly three years ago, when a Los Angeles resident contacted authorities, claiming he was worried about the safety of area children.

In June 2013, a lawyer for the USC offered the FBI materials Williams had donated to the school’s gay and lesbian archives, which reportedly contained “lascivious visual depictions of minors.” The FBI found similar images in Williams’ home.

In September, Williams pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one federal count of engaging in illicit sexual contact in foreign places.

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Stephanie Moseley and Husband Found Dead in Murder Suicide

December 10th, 2014

Dancer Stephanie Moseley and her husband, rapper Earl Hayes, were found Monday in a suspected murder-suicide.

Los Angeles police responded to reports of shots being fired in an apartment building in Park La Brea on Monday morning. They found Moseley, 30, and Hayes, 34, with gunshot wounds.

Both were pronounced dead at the crime scene. Police suspect Hayes shot Moseley to death and then took his own life.

Moseley was a dancer and an actress who starred in “Hit the Floor,” VH1’s drama about NBA cheerleaders. Hayes was a rapper and associate of professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear the news of the passing of Stephanie Moseley,” VH1 said in a statement. “VH1 and the entire ‘Hit the Floor’ family send our thoughts and condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.”

Residents of the Los Angeles apartment complex where the couple resided told police they heard a woman screaming before gun shots rang out on Monday morning. Officers were called around 7:30am by a female resident.

When officers arrived at the building, they heard screams and more gun shots. They decided to enter the unit and found a back bedroom door closed. On the verge of entering, police heard two more gunshots.

A SWAT team later entered the bedroom and found the two bodies inside.

TMZ reports the couple was in the process of breaking up and that Hayes had accused Moseley of cheating on him with “a famous singer,” according to sources.

“We shared life circumstances, and what we’ve been going through,” said model and actress Eva Marcille, who was close with Moseley. “Her life hasn’t exactly been rosy, as of late… but I didn’t think it was going to come to this.”

“No one seen this coming — because, again, Hayes is not a violent guy,” said friend Burrell Wilks. “We’re all devastated. We’re at a loss for words on this one.”

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

Man Charged in Detroit Foreclosure Double Homicide

December 3rd, 2014

A man was charged Monday in relation to a Detroit double homicide at a foreclosed home in the city’s Rosedale Park district.

Alonzo Long Jr., 22, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of discharge in a building and one count of felony firearm in the lethal shootings of Howard Franklin, 72, and his daughter Catherine J. Franklin, 37.

He was arraigned on Monday and remanded to jail without bail.

Authorities state Long shot the victims around 7:30pm on Friday, November 28 at a home owned by Howard Franklin. Long fled the scene and was later apprehended by Detroit Police.

Long allegedly did not live at the home but was helping relatives move out. His relatives had previously agreed to move, but an argument broke out when the Franklins arrived at the property.

Police allege Long and other men were removing fixtures from the residence when Howard Franklin confronted them.

Franklin and his daughter obtained a court order to evict the occupants after the home was sold in October at a tax auction; he purchased the house for $36,000 in taxes and fees.

Franklin had allowed the residents to stay in the home until they found another place to stay, or until the eviction process was complete.

Long and the Franklins were all legally permitted to carry guns, according to authorities. They would not, however, confirm if there was an exchange of gunfire.

A woman called police Friday afternoon for assistance in carrying out a court-ordered eviction, according to Detroit Sgt. Michael Woody. When police came, the occupant agreed to leave, but stated he needed to obtain a truck to move his property.

Detroit dispatch received several more calls from the woman after she noticed man removing the house’s fixtures. According to Woody, area police were unable to respond as they were attending to higher priority calls.

“I hope some good can come out of this terrible incident,” said Pam Weinstein, of the Rosedale Park Improvement Association.

“There’s a gap in resources available to make sure there’s an orderly and peaceful transfer of properties that are sold in these auctions. Because right now it’s clearly not being managed well.”

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

NYPD Shooting of Unarmed Brooklyn Man Ruled Homicide

November 25th, 2014

The death of an unarmed Brooklyn father who was shot by a rookie NYPD police officer in an apartment stairwell has been ruled a homicide.

Akai Gurley, 28, and his girlfriend walked into a darkened stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York around 11:15pm on Thursday November 20. Their movement startled Officer Peter Liang, who was patrolling the housing stairwells with his partner.

According to an internal report obtained by the New York Post: “almost instantly, Officer Liang discharged his service weapon one time directly outward.”

Liang fired a single shot from the landing above the couple, which struck Gurley in the chest. Gurley’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler, tried to administer first aid, according to authorities.

The report also states that after firing his weapon, Liang told his partner: “I think I’m going to get fired.”

Gurley later died at Brookdale hospital in eastern Brooklyn.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Gurley’s death to be a homicide on Sunday.

“His death resulted in whole from actions of another person, not from natural causes like disease,” the medical examiner’s office said in a statement.

The lethal shot was “an accidental discharge,” according to police officials. After the shooting, Liang radioed to his supervisors to alert them to the shooting.

The medical examiner’s decision came soon after Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson stated he would be launching a full investigation of Gurley’s death.

The ruling also came a day before a highly charged decision from a St. Louis Grand Jury to not indict a Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Liang, 27, is still on modified duty. NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is also investigating the incident.

Neither the union nor the NYPD has released an official statement on the medical examiner’s ruling.

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

NYC Subway Murder Suspect Arrested and Charged

November 19th, 2014

New York police have arrested a man in the fatal pushing of a subway rider in the Bronx late Tuesday after he was identified by a previous victim.

Kevin Darden, 34, was charged with murder in the death of Wai Kuen Kwok, 61. Darden allegedly shoved Kwok into the path of an oncoming train Sunday according to police. He is believed to appear in surveillance video leaving the scene.

The incident sparked a three-day manhunt. Another victim, also Asian, came to police and identified Darden as the person who shoved him in on the West Fourth Street subway platform on November 6.

“You shouldn’t walk in front of me,” Darden cautioned the man, according to authorities, before pushing him to the ground. “I’m warning you.”

Investigators believed Darden was the same man casually leaving the 167th Street station just minutes after Kwok was killed around 8:45am. Kwok had been standing on the platform with his wife.

There were no witnesses to the attack, but other subway riders told police they saw the same man in the video leave the station. He boarded a bus two minutes after the attack.

On November 9, Darden was arrested for pick-pocketing a tourist in Times Square, according to police. At his arraignment, his bail was set at $1,000.

However, the complaining witness left the country before a court hearing five days later and could not be reached. Darden was then released without bail.

Before pushing Kwok, Darden allegedly robbed two men at the 167th Street subway station, roughly thirty minutes before the fatal incident.

Darden has a substantial criminal record, as reported by the New York Post. He spent four years in a New York state prison for a 1999 robbery and in 2011 was charged with arson in Texas for attempting to burn down his brother’s home. He was not prosecuted.

Joyce Jones, Darden’s mother, says her son is mentally ill. “I’m glad they got him off the streets and I’m glad he’s not dead. I feel so, so sorry for those people and what happened. I know that won’t bring him back, but I am so, so sorry.”

Copyright © 2015 Total Criminal Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.

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