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Two released after being held in Northern Ireland prison officer's manslaughter

BELFAST (Reuters) - Two men arrested by police in Northern Ireland hunting for those responsible for the manslaughter of a prison officer who was shot as he drove to work were released without charge on Sunday, police said.

According to a security source one of the men released was Colin Duffy, a prominent Irish nationalist acquitted earlier this year of the manslaughter of two British soldiers.

The men were detained on Friday, a day after the prison officer, David Black, 52, was shot dead.

Black's manslaughter was the first killing of a prison officer in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years and the fifth fatal attack on a member of the security establishment since the 1998 Good Friday peace deal.

The pact largely ended three decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland between Protestants loyal to British rule and mostly Roman Catholic nationalists who want to unite with the southern Irish republic.

Police chiefs have blamed militant nationalists opposed to the peace process for the manslaughter which has prompted condemnation from both sides of the political divide.

Black, a father of two, was shot while driving his car in County Armagh. He worked at the top security Maghaberry prison where militant nationalists have been protesting against their living conditions.

A third man arrested south of the Irish border in the county of Leitrim later on Friday is still being questioned.

Life-long Irish nationalist Duffy was acquitted in January of the manslaughter of two British soldiers shot dead outside Massereene army barracks in Antrim by the Real IRA in 2009.

He had been acquitted of manslaughtering members of the security forces twice before.

(Reporting by Ian Graham, editing by Padraic Halpin and Christopher Wilson)

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Ohio homicide suspect surrenders to police in Quebec

The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 8:24AM EST

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Police say a man wanted in the slaying of a woman in Ohio has been arrested in Quebec.

Police say Kyle Sheppard contacted authorities from a hotel in Saguenay just before 5 a.m. this morning and turned himself in without incident.

They say Toledo police have named Sheppard as a suspect in the death of his wife Katie Sheppard, and will be working with Quebec authorities to bring him back to Ohio.

Police in Windsor issued a news release Saturday evening saying that Sheppard, 29, has crossed into the city from Detroit.

Police say Katie Sheppard was found dead in her home on Friday.

Toledo police are calling it murder.

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Call for corporate manslaughter law ahead of Pike report

Published: 7:26PM Sunday November 04, 2012 Source: ONE News

On the eve of the Royal Commission's report into the Pike River mine disaster being made public, there are calls to allow companies to be charged with corporate manslaughter.

It is hoped such a legal change would send a stronger message to companies to ensure the safety of their workers.

A spokesman for the families of the 29 miners killed in the explosion in 2010 said they wanted something positive to come out of their deaths.

    • Pike River report handed to Government to consider video

"Pike River will be remembered from what we're doing and we're going to make sure in 30 years' time they're gonna be saying, 'these men didn't die in vain'," said Pike River Families spokesman Bernie Monk

Under current laws, companies may be fined up to $ 500,000 for knowingly taking an action that is reasonably likely to cause serious harm, and up to $ 250,000 for failure to comply with the health and safety in employment act.

Legal expert Susan Watson said the law could be much tougher.

"The advantage of having an offence like corporate manslaughter is that you can have liability if there's a failure to put appropriate safety systems in place," said the Auckland University professor.

A similar law change was introduced in Britain in 2006 and since then three companies have been convicted.

Watson said if it happened here it would be a symbolic step in the right direction.

"The victims want to have a sense of redress, a sense that it's been recognised something wrong happened and that they have suffered as a result of it.

"So an offence like corporate manslaughter gives that effect of saying there is someone to blame."

A special taskforce was set up in June to carry out a wide-ranging review of New Zealand's workplace health and safety system. It will report to the Government in April.

Plan to re-enter mine

Pike River families will consult with three international mining experts this week to help locate the remains of their loved ones in the mine.

"Solid Energy have said to us you get the proposals forward, you get the people to do it, and we won't stand in your way. And that's what we're going to do," said Monk.

The experts - Wanganui-born Dave Feickert and British mining experts David Creedy and Bob Stevenson - will review a detailed plan to re-enter the mine, in the hope of finding the worker's remains in the mine's drift - a shallow tunnel which leads into the area of the West Coast mine blocked by rock fall.

Monk said the mine could be re-entered but the Government had "walked away from" the situation.

The bodies were never recovered for safety reasons.

Monk told TV ONE's Q A programme it was common knowledge within the West Coast community the mine could be re-entered.

"We know, the (West) Coasters know, the people with the experience here know it can be done."

However, Monk stressed the families would back a future re-entry only if it was safe and viable.

"Even when I talked to the Prime Minister the other day, he said that their experts said it was unsafe to do. But their experts, as I said to him, blew the mine up another three times after the first explosion," Monk said.

Copyright © 2012, Television New Zealand Limited. Breaking and Daily News, Sport & Weather | TV ONE, TV2 | Ondemand

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One Damn Epic Moment - Mcdonald beatdown

According to dnainfo: " The cashier, who police said had previously served a decade for manslaughter, beat the women so badly that one suffered a fractured skull and broken arm in the shocking attack, which was captured on a customer's cell phone and then posted to YouTube. Police have charged the cashier, identified as Rayon McIntosh, 31, with felony assault, along with criminal possession of a weapon. Both women were charged with menacing, trespass and disorderly conduct. McIntosh is being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex on 000 bail, according to the Department of Correction website. " Daaaaaamn!

Video Rating: 4 / 5

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SJPD Investigates City's 40th Homicide

SJPD Investigates City's 40th Homicide

San Jose police are investigating a homicide after a man arrived at a local hospital with a gunshot wound early Saturday morning.

They first learned about the crime when Good Samaritan Hospital staff called 911 at 1:24 a.m. after the victim arrived in their ER.

  The victim was suffering from at least one gunshot wound and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, police said.

Investigators said the shooting happened outdoors in the 1500 block of Kooser Road in South San Jose. 

No suspects have been detained and no motive has been identified, according to police.

  The victim's identity is being withheld until his family has been notified.

Later Saturday police said they were able to get a hold of witnesses who were cooperating with detectives. 

The death is San Jose's 40th homicide of 2012. The death pushes the city past its homicide total for the entire year of 2011, which was 39.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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Murder charge to stand

WORCESTER —  A judge has allowed murder and other charges to stand against a city man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter last year.

Richard Castillo, 33, formerly of 23 West Boylston Drive, is awaiting trial in Worcester Superior Court on charges of first-degree murder, assault and battery on a child causing substantial injury, permitting substantial injury to a child and reckless endangerment of a child in connection with the Feb. 17, 2011, death of Arianie Acevedo.

The child's mother, 28-year-old Lymari Acevedo, has also been charged with assault and battery on a child causing substantial injury, permitting substantial injury to a child and reckless endangerment of a child.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Police went to the couple's home Feb. 17, 2011, to investigate a report by Mr. Castillo that the 4-year-old was unresponsive. The child was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy by Dr. Kimberly Springer of the state medical examiner's office determined the cause of death was blunt trauma to the torso with a mesentery laceration and that the manner of death was a homicide resulting from an assault by another or others. Mesentery refers to a supporting membrane or a membrane enclosing an internal organ.

A hearing was held Oct. 19 on a motion filed by Mr. Castillo's lawyer, Greg T. Schubert, seeking dismissal of the charges against his client. The motion was based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and an assertion that the evidence presented to the grand jury was insufficient, as a matter of law, to support the charges.

Mr. Schubert accused prosecutors of knowingly presenting false evidence to the grand jurors concerning the cause of the 4-year-old's death, a charge the prosecution has denied.

The allegation was based on the opinion of Dr. Elizabeth LaPosada, a pathologist hired by the defense, who determined the! cause of death was a toxic level of diphenhydramine, an antihistamine found in over-the-counter cold and sleep medications.

Dr. LaPosada's report also stated "the mesenteric laceration and bleeding due to remote blunt force abdominal trauma was a significant contributing condition." The defense expert agreed that the manner of death was a homicide because it was caused by another person or persons.

In their written opposition to the motion Assistant District Attorneys Courtney Sans and Ellyn H. Lazar-Moore said Mr. Schubert's claims did not warrant dismissal of the charges against Mr. Castillo and were nothing more than "a factual challenge to the cause of death announced by the medical examiner, appropriately raised as a defense at trial."

Judge Daniel M. Wrenn, who presided over the Oct. 19 hearing, denied the motion in a four-page ruling released Oct. 25.

Citing case law, Judge Wrenn noted that a grand jury must base an indictment on "sufficient evidence to establish both the identity of the accused and probable cause to arrest him.

"Probable cause requires more than a mere suspicion, but something less than evidence necessary for a conviction," the judge wrote.

He went on to say that the evidence put before the grand jury in Mr. Castillo's case included "reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to warrant a prudent person believing that the defendant committed the offense charged."

Mr. Castillo was indicted on the murder charge this year and on the remaining charges last year. Judge Wrenn said that because neither side presented him with a transcript of last year's grand jury testimony, he was limiting his ruling on Mr. Schubert's insufficiency of the evidence argument to the 2012 murder indictment.

The judge did review a copy of the grand jury minutes of April 20 of this year, which served as the basis for the murder indictment.

Mr. Schubert further alleged that all of the indictments against his client should b! e dismiss! ed because the integrity of the grand jury proceeding and the entire prosecution of the case had been impaired by prosecutorial misconduct.

To demonstrate that the integrity of a grand jury has been impaired, a defendant must establish that false or deceptive evidence was presented knowingly or recklessly in order to obtain an indictment and that the presentation of such evidence probably influenced the grand jurors' decision to indict, Judge Wrenn said in his decision.

He said Mr. Schubert offered no credible evidence to establish that any false or deceptive evidence was given to the grand jury in Mr. Castillo's case.

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Mystery note in Stockton restaurant leads to suspected homicide victim

A man was found dead at a home in Stockton late Friday night, with San Joaquin County sheriff's officials now labeling the death a homicide.

Authorities were tipped off about the death when a man wearing dark clothing showed up at an unidentified restaurant along Charter Way around 10 p.m. and gave an employee a note.

The note said someone should call police and search a home along the 2400 block of Waterloo Road.

Sheriff's deputies then went to the home about four miles from the restaurant and found a man who looked to have a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Detectives didn't find any signs of forced entry or a struggle, and nothing appeared to have been taken.

The person who handed the note to employees was said to have left the restaurant on foot.

Sheriff's officials started calling the incident a homicide a little after 6 p.m. Saturday. They originally had labeled the incident as "suspicious."

Investigators also identified the victim as 20-year-old Jorge Eguiluz.

— Fox 40 Sacramento

Homicide victim’s vehicle missing

TULSA - A man wanted for questioning in Tulsa's most recent manslaughter turned himself in and is no longer a person of interest, Tulsa police said.

Adrian Sample, 21, who was sought by police, turned himself in for questioning after seeing media reports.

Sample is no longer a person of interest in a manslaughter, police said.

Deyonta Dunn, 20, and Phoenicia Dorsey, 19, were fatally shot just before midnight  Friday on East Newton Street near North Sheridan Road

Investigators say a relative of one of the victims found the pair and called 911.

Dunn and Sample lived at the home, police said.

Investigators say Dorsey's 2006 blue Saturn Vue is also missing. The Saturn has an Oklahoma license plate 199FRP.  Dunn and Dorsey were seen in the Saturn on Halloween night.

The vehicle is described as having damage to the right front and the passenger side, police said.    

Anyone having any information is to call Crime Stoppers 918-596-2677, the Homicide Tip Line 918-798-8477 or email  manslaughter@cityoftulsa,org.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Homicide prosecutions occurring more swiftly under District Attorney Gascón

Before he was elected as San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascón promised to resolve all the manslaughter cases that had languished in the courts for years, prolonging the horror for victims' loved ones.

When he made the pledge, 14 murder cases remained unresolved even though the defendants had been arraigned at least four years earlier. Three more cases subsequently reached that unsavory milestone.

But as of last week, Gascón said, all but three of these cases had been resolved, accounting for a whopping 82 percent reduction in the backlog.

While the amount of evidence in manslaughter cases can be massive, and time-consuming to gather and investigate, most cases should ideally be closed in two to three years, said Gascón, who has made speeding up such prosecutions a priority of his administration. He proudly noted that he managed to keep his promise even while budget cuts have weighed heavily on San Francisco's court system.

Eight of the 17 cases in question ended in jury trials. Seven led to murder convictions and the eighth to a manslaughter conviction. Six more have been settled with voluntary manslaughter plea bargains that led to decadeslong prison sentences, Gascón said. Two of the remaining three cases reportedly involve defendants who entered pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity, and doctors' reports are pending in those cases.

Lance Ford was one of the successfully convicted suspects. About eight years ago, he was charged for the 1981 rape and murder of 24-year-old Parkmerced resident Annie Barcelon. Although DNA evidence linked Ford to the crime, the trial was not held until this past September. It took just two days for a jury to find him guilty of murder.

Closing such cases means ending a horrible chapter for the loved ones of victims, Gascón said. Many feel "frozen in time" and "forgotten" while the process idles and they don't hear from prosecutors, he said. Swift justice also slashes costs for San Francisco's jails, which must house the defendants for however long they await trial.

Resolving such cases has not required a magic wand. Gascón said he simply made it clear to his department's prosecutors that they had to move them forward. Prosecutors were asked to settle cases they had intended to settle, and focus on making the remaining cases ready for trial.

Having prosecutors buy into that expectation is key, Gascón said. While he wouldn't criticize his predecessor, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, for allowing the backlog he inherited, Gascón said change was necessary.

"It's very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations," he said. "If you don't take a moment to step back, parcel things out and start to break them down, it's very easy not to see some of those problems."

Public Defender Jeff Adachi credits Gascón with improving the handling of manslaughter cases. When cases take too long, Adachi noted, it's not only detrimental to loved ones but to justice itself.

"Over time, memories fade, evidence is lost or replaced," he said.

The City's various pretrial and early release programs deserve some of the credit for freeing up space in San Francisco Superior Court. Gascón said the neighborhood courts system also has helped, as it allows residents to resolve nonviolent matters within their locales instead of at the Hall of Justice.

And the district attorney also credited Superior Court officials for working with attorneys despite the budget cuts. "Judges and staff worked together to prioritize these cases and get them to trial" despite limited resources, Superior Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said. She called the efforts a success.

Gascón said he's not only trying to expedite old cases, but ensure that new major cases don't fall by the wayside.

Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said one example of that is the case against Frank Dozier, who is accused of three brutal rapes and robberies in the Mission district late last year. That case is currently at trial.

Public defender, DA fight crime, not each other

While they aren't about to hug it out, the relationship between the District Attorney's Office and Public Defender's Office in San Francisco appears to be improving.

The natural rivalry between these two offices is comparable to that of the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. Competition between the offices can be fierce as their respective attorneys go to bat for their clients.

Lawyers are in the "heat of battle" while in a courtroom, both District Attorney George Gascón and Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in recent interviews. Adachi calls the 92 attorneys in his office "my troops."

As in most rivalries, each side occasionally accuses the other of dirty play. But that doesn't appear to be happening as often since Gascón was appointed by former Mayor Gavin Newsom to replace Kamala Harris, who left the post after being elected California's attorney general. He was elected to a full term last year.

Gascón and Adachi communicate on a regular basis to hash out differences. Rather than letting disputes simmer, Adachi said, they are addressing issues more proactively.

"He'll call me, we'll investigate and then get back together on it," Adachi said.

Gascón agreed that relations are better "at a personal level" and added he "would not want to be in a place where we don't have a strong advocate for defendants."

Still, the two said their offices have a long way to go.

"There are still problems that arise in individual cases," Adachi said.

For example, he said, while Gascón has improved the sharing of evidence in manslaughter cases, such information is still withheld.

"The trial should not be a cat-and-mouse game where evidence is being withheld intentionally to gain an advantage," Adachi said. So he and Gascón are trying to come up with new rules to ensure that both offices are playing fair in this regard.

While Gascón said he wants his prosecutors to win cases, he doesn't want them to forget that not all defendants are guilty. He said he requires all of his attorneys to watch the documentary "After Innocence," which is about wrongful convictions. Some prosecutors are "a little shaken up" after watching the film, he said.

"You're in the heat of battle, you have limited information sometimes," he said. "It's easy to develop blinders and only see the evidence that supports your case."

And when two lawyers are "at each other's throats," Gascón said, "they'll drag everything out — not necessarily to the benefit of the client or the community."

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Soldier Guilty of Murder-for-Hire

A U.S. soldier was convicted Thursday in a murder-for-hire scheme in which prosecutors say he agreed to help kill a man for undercover agents posing as members of a Mexican drug cartel in exchange for drugs and cash.

A federal jury in Laredo, Texas, on Thursday found 29-year-old Samuel Walker, a soldier from Colorado Springs, Colo., guilty of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. Prosecutors alleged Walker thought he was talking to a cartel boss when he agreed to kill a man who had stolen cocaine and recover the drugs. The cartel boss was really a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

An accomplice, 28-year-old Calvin Epps of Hopkins, S.C., was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana in the same plot. Prosecutors said the scheme began in September 2011, when Epps and another person who has since pleaded guilty traveled to Laredo with DEA agents posing as cocaine and marijuana brokers.

Walker and Hopkins were the last of seven defendants charged in the case.

According to prosecutors, Epps asked the agents for 500 pounds of marijuana and offered to put them in contact with Kevin Corley, a then-active duty soldier. Corley told the agents in a conversation a few months later that he could provide the cartel with military weapons and training as well as carry out the murder-for-hire of a man who the undercover agents posing as cartel members said had stolen cocaine from them.

Corley, who pleaded guilty, testified about telling Walker of the offer to kill the alleged drug thief and said Walker instructed him to ask for $ 50,000 as payment. Corley also testified that in early January 2012, after he had met with the man he thought was a "big drug boss," he reminded Walker of the offer and Walker agreed to participate.

Authorities say Epps, Corley and another defendant received the marijuana load from the undercover agents on Jan. 14. The drugs were seized when DEA agents stopped them.

The suppliers refused to supply Epps with another shipment, prosecutors allege. Corley then offered to kill the alleged drug thief if the undercover agents would provide another 500-pound load of marijuana to Epps.

Walker was arrested along with Corley and others on March 24 while they discussed the details of the murder-for-hire with the undercover agents, authorities say. Epps was arrested in Columbia, S.C., while discussing the payment of the 500-pound marijuana shipment, according to authorities.

Walker faces a maximum prison term of 10 years for the murder-for-hire charge and a mandatory consecutive sentence of five years to life for the weapons charge.

Epps faces 10 years to life for the drug conspiracy conviction, plus five years mandatory prison sentence for the weapon. He also faces a five to 40 years in prison sentence for the possession of the marijuana.

U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen has not set a sentencing date yet.

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