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Emails, Lust, and Forbidden Sex As Expert Testifies for Defense in Jodi Arias Retrial

dr fonseca

Last week in the Jodi Arias trial we finally had a defense witness on the stand we could see and hear without being shunned to the hallway. The expert for the defense was psychologist Micia Fonseca, and she was there to explain why Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias were drawn together, and their unconventional sexual proclivities. Yet, most of her testimony was about Travis whom she never spoke to or interviewed because the defendant she was vouching for killed him. Dr. Fonseca said in order for her to render her opinion she looked at Travis giving speeches, emails, text messages, testimony from the first trial, victim impact statements from Travis’s siblings and the sex tape. Kirk Nurmi begins with asking Dr. Fonseca if the relationship between Travis and Jodi was full of “love, lust and forbidden sex?” The Dr. states that it was indeed, and Kirk Nurmi moves to admit  emails between Sky, Chris Hughes and Travis Alexander. We would spend countless days listening to Kirk Nurmi and Dr. Fonseca break this email down line by line. Sky and Chris Hughes were close friends of Travis Alexander, and had also befriended Jodi Arias since Travis had immersed her into many parts of his life. In an email that continued on for 3 days  between Travis, Sky and Chris, the defense used this private conversation between friends to their advantage. Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander had only been together for 3 months when this email from the Hughes was sent.

Nevertheless, Kirk Nurmi went on to set foundation that Travis was a devout Mormon respected in his church. Jodi who was hungry for spirituality was drawn to this part of Travis, it was something she craved and needed, and Travis provided it. Travis would be the one to baptize Jodi Arias into this religion, and according to Jodi she and Travis were engaged in more than bible study. Kirk Nurmi states that Travis and Jodi were already having sexual encounters and Travis was sending Jodi nude photos of his lower half. While the public has done a comparison of Darryl and Travis’s hands that are in the photo, the opinion is that the lower half photo doesn’t belong to Travis. But the defense is getting this expert to tell the jury it is. With nothing short of a “lower half” line up, proving who’s this part belonged to it makes this tricky to prove in a court of law. But we haven’t heard from Juan Martinez yet and who knows what kind of exposing of this testimony he will uncover. Kirk Nurmi went on to suggest that a good Mormon and someone so respected wouldn’t send photos, engage in sexual encounters and be a “master manipulator.” Dr. Fonseca stated that Travis wrestled with his faith and sexual desires, he felt he had to hide it from his friends and family. That’s where the Hughes’s email comes into play. They didn’t know Travis was already involved deep with Jodi Arias, and they were lacking some key information at the time these emails were sent. Jodi Arias had gone to the Hughes with her concerns, and as good friends to Travis in a faith that operates under strict rules they felt compelled to confront him…based on part by what Jodi Arias had told them.

All the same, Kirk Nurmi tells the jury Travis Alexander is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of person. Kirk uses a nickname that was given to Travis out of fondness, and takes the jury down a rabbit hole of Travis Alexander/Dr. Jekyll and T-Dogg/Mr. Hyde to describe a double life he suggested Travis lived. The Dr. went onto to say that Travis never really got over his long time love Deanna Reed. Deanna wanted to marry and at the time Travis just didn’t want to settle down. In the email from Chris and Sky Hughes they told Travis they counseled Jodi Arias when she came over to discuss her situation with them. The Hughes went on to tell Travis they told Jodi to move on or she would be like Deanna waiting forever for Travis to marry her. Travis responded he was very “messed up in the head.” While the Hughes didn’t approve of how Travis lived his life when it came to women they expressed a love for him and only wanting the best. The Hughes felt Travis just wouldn’t commit and settle down, and if he was going to involve these women into his life they deserved commitment. Jodi Arias wanted that commitment and Travis Alexander just didn’t see her as the one he wanted to give that too. Her pain of not being the woman Travis wanted to marry lead her down the road of trying to rope his friends into helping her make it so. Travis told the Hughes, “I’m not mean to Jodi, I adore Jodi,” but the Hughes continued to hammer him on why he kept their love affair so “closeted.” Jodi had told the Hughes Travis only called her around 1am in the morning and never during the day to just say hello. She went on to tell them Travis wouldn’t be affectionate in public situations or declare her his girlfriend to most of his friends. Jodi said she didn’t feel valued, and that he only showed her love behind closed doors. The Dr. told the jury this caused Arias a lot of low self esteem and turmoil when she was only recognized in a sexually manner and “closeted”, away from Travis’s friends and family. One telling phrase from Travis Alexander to the Hughes was he told them he was about to “have a nervous breakdown,” and I can’t help but wonder if the intensity of Jodi and his life outside of her just became too much to handle this early on in their relationship. The Hughes told Travis he was being a “jerk” to Jodi, and Travis responded he felt hurt they took Jodi’s side and “kicked him” while he was down. Sky went on to state that “everyone Jodi has confided in have told her the same thing…move on.” Travis told Sky he was still in love with Deanna Reed and when it came to Jodi it just “wasn’t there.” Yet, Jodi Arias can’t move on, and while the Hughes try to give Travis and Jodi advice on how to proceed in this secret love affair; the expert on the stand is explaining Travis was abusive emotionally to woman and that, “love is powerful and can make people do crazy things.” Kirk Nurmi responds it can make someone “snap,” and the Dr. agrees.

Granted, Chris and Sky Hughes knew Travis had a hard time committing. When Jodi Arias came to them with a story line they somewhat had seen before they warned her that her feelings may be stronger than his. When Travis gave them a deeper glimpse into what he was dealing with when it came to Jodi Arias they apologized for getting involved and expressed to him they just wanted to see him settle down. In a religion that views a single man in his 30’s as behind the 8 ball when it came to marriage how they viewed his choices were based on their lifestyles. In a world outside of Mormonism a man playing the field and “pulling chicks,” as Chris Hughes references, is considered somewhat normal behavior. But inside that lifestyle it’s frowned upon and misunderstood. Chris and Sky referred to Travis as, “rough around the edges,” and those that were close to him knew it. The defense used this to have the expert communicate to the jury Travis was “abusive and mean.” Dr. Fonseca went onto say that Jodi and Travis “are two people that care for each other but how they do it is unconventional.” Chris and Sky Hughes ended their conversation with Travis by telling him they are “concerned” with his relationship with Jodi Arias and they aren’t “angry” with him. While the defense picked apart every word, and every phrase it left me feeling bad that an email that was never intended for the public was exposed, and used against the very friend the Hughes were trying to help, Travis Alexander.

As the days past, and the testimony continued on with Dr. Fonseca another email that would come into play against Travis Alexander was an email from his love interest Lisa Andrews. Before Kirk Nurmi would get to that he used Travis’s own words in court to tell the jury how he had a childhood filled with neglect and violence from his own parents. Dr. Fonseca stated this kind of upbringing leaves an “imprint,” on someone and it stays with them through adulthood. She also expressed “scars” are left on someone from an abused home and they themselves can become abusers. Fonseca says maybe not to the level of the parents but she believed Travis Alexander was abusive. The jury also learned through this expert of Jodi’s abusive past of being beat with a wooden spoon by her mom, knocked out by her dad, choked, and cheated on by boyfriends in her past. All information gathered on this matter for the expert came from Jodi Arias herself, and as she explained it she was just another victim at the hands of an abusive person. The Dr. conveyed to the jury that people with abusive pasts tend to gravitate toward one another, and a lot of times someone being abused has a hard time leaving. Kirk Nurmi played testimony from Travis and Jodi Arias’ friends Desiree and Dan Freeman from the first trial saying they saw Travis and Jodi argue. The testimony seemed like a mute point and nothing that rose to the level of an abusive man treating Jodi so bad he deserved to be killed, and in my opinion was a semi flop. A story came out from Desiree Freeman that when Jodi got out of the car during a road trip the 4 of them took, and tried to get back in Travis would drive off a little and stop, drive off, and stop. When Jodi got back in they had words, and Desiree felt Travis was over the top mad while Jodi stared out a window. This left me reflecting on all the times my dad did that to my brother and I for fun. We would chase after the car as he was laughing and stopping, and then driving off. One time he just drove off! My brother and I began to wonder if he’d come back as we walked down the dirt road blaming each other for fighting and getting kicked out in the first place. His Chevy came blazing down that dusty road as we jumped up and down we wouldn’t have to walk home! Abuse….nah. Mom irritated at dad..well yeah.  It just wasn’t strong testimony in the defenses favor but Nurmi did express the Freeman’s were the only friends that Travis let have a window into his relationship with Jodi Arias.

As the jury’s eyes begin to gloss over with a lot of redundant information from this expert, things begin to heat up as the email from Lisa get’s admitted into evidence. Lisa expresses to Travis that what he may want she isn’t ready for when it comes to being in a relationship with him. Lisa was years younger than Travis and seemed more ready for a long term commitment that would end in a marriage. Lisa tells Travis he “grabs her butt” too much in public and doesn’t act as respectful of her as he should. Lisa goes on to tell Travis she wants someone more serious, more into her goals in life, more ready to be the father of her children, and she just didn’t think Travis was ready for that. Dr. Fonesa tells the jury this is all part of Travis’s “intimacy deficit and how he treats women.” What she hasn’t told the jury is that Lisa and Travis were under enormous pressure from Jodi Arias’ watchful eyes as Travis moved on and she began to stalk him. With tire slashing’s, knocks on Lisa Andrews’s door from an unknown stranger, and even an anonymous letter, Lisa Andrews found herself wanting distance from Travis and his love struck ex girlfriend. But we will have to wait for Juan Martinez to tackle that one when he’s up for cross. The email all came down to Lisa Andrews telling Travis Alexander he wasn’t the man for her. A scenario many of us have been through and many of us have walked away from. The difference was Jodi Arias didn’t walk away when Travis and others were telling her he wasn’t the man for her. Instead she pushed, and stayed, and was convicted of murdering him in his bathroom while he showered. While the defense lays out a picture of a woman who was abused by this man so badly she couldn’t leave his control even 1000’s of miles away; I can’t help but wonder if the jury will find this a reach. Right now the ball is in Kirk Nurmi’s court as he continues with direct examination of the witness and they carry on to portray Jodi Arias as a lost, abused soul that’s only crime was she loved too deep. Love so deep for a man that didn’t love her back the way he should and as the defense says, “Love can make people do crazy things.” See you all back at the courthouse at 9:30am MST for more in the Jodi Arias trial. – Jen Wood, The Trial Diaries

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The Trial Diaries by Jen Wood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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La. teacher pleads not guilty in group sex case

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HAHNVILLE, La. — A 32-year-old teacher accused of participating in group sex with a 16-year-old student and another faculty member has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of having carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1AOSQ5N) that Shelley Dufresne’s attorney entered the plea at an arraignment in Louisiana Tuesday.

Dufresne remains free on $200,000 bond and under house arrest until her trial.

Neither Dufresne nor her attorney, Deanne Williams, had any comment as they left the courthouse in Hahnville.

This charge involves Dufresne having sex with the teen on another occasion at her home.

She and 24-year-old Rachel Respess are also charged with having a sexual encounter with the 16-year-old at Respess’ apartment the night of Sept. 12.

Both are teachers at Destrehan High School, about 23 miles west of New Orleans.

Source: St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office/AP/

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Kass recalls a strange Thanksgiving incident at the family grocery

My favorite heartwarming Thanksgiving story involves a 24-pound frozen turkey that a strange woman hid between her thighs.

We never knew her name. But what does a name matter?

Logic dictates that there must be a beginning and an end to attempted thigh-mastery over frozen poultry. And I’ll get to the end when I get to it.

But in the meantime, please stop yelling “Urban Myth!” at your newspaper or electronic reading device, because this is no urban myth.

I was there. I saw it. I heard the Homeric thunk of it and the echo. And so did my late aunts Fannie and Betty who were at the cash registers

Uncle George was around, and Aunt Mary and cousins Angie, Faye and Joanne; and my dad and mom and my brothers Pete and Nick. And if they didn’t see it directly, they heard firsthand.

When holidays approach, I think about those times in our family-owned supermarket, Gage Park Finer Foods, on the South Side of Chicago when we were kids.

The days before Thanksgiving are crazy in a family store. Uncle George was in the front, my dad was in the butcher shop, our moms worked the registers, and we kids had tasks. This was Greek day care.

The kids work on weekends and after school, we didn’t have time for baseball or for clubs. The store was our baseball. The family was our club. And we thought this was all quite normal.

When we got older, we broke off into specialties, the girls in the office or at the registers, the boys in the butcher shop or up front.

As a boy I remember how proud I was to carry the trays of ducks blood, for the making of the famed and delicious sweet and sour soup called czarnina.

I must have been in third or fourth grade, in my white apron, in a sea of Polish women reaching for the cups on my tray as if they were full of milk from the gods.

We kids sliced lunch meat, we ran errands and made deliveries, and drove our parents crazy. We stocked shelves and cleaned the milk cooler, we swept and broke the boxes and bound them.

We were all together then, and our parents were nervous, because if business fell there would be no government bailout. We weren’t too big to fail. We weren’t on Wall Street. We were on 55th Street.

Our folks worked so very hard, they literally did nothing but work, and they told us day after day how we must go to college so we wouldn’t have to work like that.

But looking back on it now I see how happy we were then, all of us, the extended family, cousins and brothers and aunts and uncles rushing around that little store.

We worked together. And on Sunday we’d go to each others houses for dinner.

We knew our customers, and gave them names, like Dimestore Helen and Dimestore Sophie, two women of much perfume who worked, naturally, in the dime store.

And Sophie Polonia, her true name was Sophie Oblazny, but she owned the Polonia Restaurant across the street. As a young girl in the Tatra Mountains she made pierogi for a certain young priest who would someday become the pope.

There was a drunk named Whitey who’d wander by in the mornings when he was sober. There was Mrs. Polo — at least that’s what I called her — the woman who ran Polo’s tavern next to the bank.

One we called Czar Nicholas’ Wife, although I can’t remember why we called her that since there were few Russians in the mostly Polish, Irish and Lithuanian neighborhood. But she was a whiner.

In the days before Thanksgiving, the customers would arrive like the tribal hordes of old and overwhelm us. They came from other lands, but they were determined to celebrate the quintessential American holiday as Americans. They’d fill carts with turkeys and sweet potatoes and so on, then stand in great lines that snaked from the front to the back wall.

And we kids bagged, making tight corners, hardly ever looking up, the only thing we knew was that the groceries would never stop coming down that conveyor.

But then I heard Aunt Fannie say in her accented English, “Miss? Where’s the turkey?”

A rather large woman, well over 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, had an order of celery, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries and so on. But no turkey.

“You forgot the TURKEY?” asked Aunt Fannie, all 5 feet 3 inches of her, hands on her hips, peering up at the giantess. “Where’s the turkey?”

The frozen Butterball thunked to the floor.

Aunt Fannie started yelling for my dad and uncle, “Spiro! George! She’s stealing turkey! She’s stealing turkey! Stop!!”

And the large woman, astonished, hands waving, fingers fluttering as if struck by some spirit, kept shrieking “Jesus! How did that turkey get there? Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

Meanwhile the turkey kept skittering, sliding toward the front door, triggering the pad that opened the automatic exit, before sliding out on to the sidewalk. It nicked the curb and flipped out onto 55th Street toward the Chinese restaurant.

“Jesus!” said the woman, who started running. She had the decency to leave the turkey where it fell.

I took a shopping bag and went out and rescued the turkey. It was still quite cold. What did we do with it?

I can’t say. That was an executive decision. And I was just a kid.

Source: John Kass Chicago Tribune

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Judge denies Boston bomb suspect request for triple murder evidence

Boston

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for evidence in the ongoing investigation of a 2011 Massachusetts triple murder, saying the information wouldn’t help their case.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers had asked the judge to force prosecutors to hand over information about the killings, which may have involved Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan and which they argued could help show Tamerlan was a bad influence.

“After review, it is my judgment that, contrary to the defense speculation, the report does not materially advance that theory,” U.S. District Judge George O’Toole said in his decision. He said the information could also undermine the ongoing investigation.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to federal charges he and his brother placed bombs at the finish line of the world-renowned race on April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260. His trial is due to begin in January and he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who prosecutors argue was the ringleader in the worst attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, was killed days after the bombing in a shootout with police.

Ibragim Todashev, an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s, told investigators in May 2013 that Tsarnaev had taken part in a triple murder in Waltham, in which three men were stabbed to death, according to federal prosecutors. Todashev provided a confession and was later shot dead by law-enforcement agents who said he lunged at them, according to the FBI.

Prosecutors said at a hearing earlier this month they have already shared the substance of Todashev’s confession with Tsarnaev’s defense team, and were not privvy to the details of the local police investigation into the Waltham killings.

Source:  FBI Photo/ Reuters

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Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial delayed

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A judge Tuesday granted a motion to indefinitely delay a double-murder trial for Aaron Hernandez scheduled for next May, although the former Patriots star still faces trial on another charge of murder early next year.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said the judge granted a motion by Hernandez’s attorney to continue the trial Tuesday, but did not set a date for a new trial. Hernandez was scheduled to begin trial for allegedly killing Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado on May 28.

Prosecutors say Hernandez “stalked and ambushed” ‘the victims after one of them bumped into Hernandez at a nightclub causing him to spill his drink on the night of July 16, 2012.

Hernandez has been held without bail in Massachusetts since June of 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a friend of Hernandez who was dating the sister of the former player’s fiancee.

Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park blocks from Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, Mass. Two other Bristol men, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, also face murder charges in the shooting. Jury selection in the Lloyd trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 9.

Source: CJ Gunther, Pool/AP/ David Moran Hartford Courant

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Grand jury reaches decision in case of Ferguson officer

FERG

A grand jury has reached a decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson, Mo. police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked days of turbulent protests, sources close to the process said.

Sources said that press conferences are being prepared by the county prosecutors’ office and the Missouri governor. Those press conferences will likely come later today.

The announcement gave no indication of whether Wilson, 28, will face state charges in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, which triggered a frank conversation about race and police interaction with African-Americans.

The grand jury’s decision is the latest turn in a case marked in the national consciousness by the stunning images of protesters looting stores and police wearing riot gear and deploying tear gas in the days after Brown’s death. Details of the grand jury’s deliberations have leaked out in recent weeks, angering the Brown family and protesters who saw it as a signal there would be no charges filed.

Althought a parallel federal civil rights investigation of the shooting is continuing, federal investigators have all but concluded they don’t have a case against Wilson, law enforcement officials have said. Federal investigators are also counducting a broader probe of the Ferguson Police Department.

If Wilson is not charged, government officials are bracing for protests in the St. Louis area and nationwide. They have discussed emergency plans in the event of a violent reaction, while protest and community leaders have mapped out their response in the hopes of avoiding the unrest that exploded after Brown was killed.

Source:  WASHINGTON POST

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Vatican prosecutor didn’t report abusive priest

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BOSTON — An American priest named by Pope Francis as the Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor in September was among church officials who failed to report an abusive priest to law enforcement before the now-jailed and defrocked man committed other acts of sexual abuse, according to legal documents reviewed by The Boston Globe.

The Rev. Robert Geisinger, the second-highest-ranking leader of the Chicago Jesuits in the 1990s, knew as early as 1995 about abuse complaints against the Rev. Donald McGuire, and he advised church officials as late as August 2002 on how to discipline McGuire, the Globe (http://bit.ly/1FfOFh7 ) reported in Sunday editions. The newspaper cited legal documents including church records produced during lawsuits by McGuire’s victims.

Court documents also show that abuse complaints against McGuire date back to the 1960s, but the Jesuits failed for years to tell police.

McGuire, 84, is in federal prison serving a 25-year sentence. The former spiritual adviser to Mother Theresa, who once commanded a worldwide following as a gifted teacher and philosopher, is considered one of the most influential figures convicted in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal.

Geisinger declined to comment late Sunday, citing the late hour. He referred questions from The Associated Press to the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Lombardi said in a statement that Geisinger has a “solid and proven record in child protection dating back nearly two decades.” Lombardi said that Geisinger, while serving with the Chicago Jesuits, “voiced concerns” about McGuire’s conduct and was the canon lawyer who prepared the case that led to McGuire’s dismissal from the clerical state.

“The Holy See fully expects Father Geisinger to continue to do an excellent job as Promoter of Justice, based on his prosecution record, his commitment to justice, and his concern for victims,” Lombardi said.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released a statement Sunday urging Pope Francis to rescind the appointment of Geisinger as sex crimes prosecutor.

“Why on earth would Francis pick a priest with a problematic track record on abuse in the U.S. to deal with abuse worldwide?” Clohessy said. “Why choose one who so clearly and repeatedly refused to call the law or tell the truth about a notorious, now-imprisoned serial predator?”

Bishop Charles Scicluna, Geisinger’s predecessor as chief sex crimes prosecutor, or “promoter of justice,” told the AP that Geisinger’s previous work in the church as procurator general in Rome for the Jesuits was excellent.

“He is a fine canonist dedicated to serving as a very strong promoter of justice,” Scicluna said.

A Wisconsin jury convicted McGuire of five counts of indecent behavior with a child in 2006, three years after two men came forward to report they were abused by McGuire during trips to Fontana, Wisconsin, in 1967 and 1968. At the time, McGuire taught the boys at the Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The Wisconsin case helped pave the way for federal prosecution and the 25-year sentence against McGuire in 2008 on charges of traveling outside the U.S. and across state lines to have sex with a teenager.

Federal authorities alleged in court documents that McGuire sexually molested boys in their teens and men in their early 20s throughout the 1990s and up until 2003.

Last year, Jesuit officials agreed to pay $19.6 million to settle a lawsuit by six men who alleged they were abused by McGuire, according to the men’s lawyer. The men, ranging in age from their 20s to 40s, said they were molested between 1975 and the early 2000s.

Source: AP

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Judge to rule on 1979 missing boy case confession

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NEW YORK — The suspect in one of the nation’s most haunting child disappearances is poised to learn whether his confession can be used at a potential murder trial.

A judge was due to rule Monday on a key piece of evidence in the case surrounding the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, one of the first missing children ever pictured on a milk carton. The anniversary of his disappearance became National Missing Children’s Day.

The suspect, Pedro Hernandez, 53, has pleaded not guilty to killing the 6-year-old, who vanished while walking to his school bus stop. After decades of investigation that stretched as far as Israel, Hernandez emerged as a suspect only in 2012. He’d been a stock clerk at a store in Etan’s neighborhood when the boy disappeared.

The Maple Shade, New Jersey, man confessed on video after more than six hours of questioning, telling police he lured Etan to the store basement with the promise of a soda, choked the boy, put the body in a bag and a box and left it on the street several blocks away.

“I was nervous; my legs were jumping,” Hernandez says in the tape. “I wanted to let go, but I just couldn’t let go. I felt like something just took over me. I don’t know what to say. Something just took over me, and I was just choking him.”

In the 1980s, Hernandez also allegedly told a prayer group and others that he’d harmed a child in New York. But authorities have not pointed to any physical or scientific evidence against him, and his defense has said there is none.

Defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein says Hernandez is mentally ill and his admissions were imaginary. The Manhattan district attorney’s office says the confession was real and legally obtained.

State Supreme Court Judge Maxwell Wiley isn’t deciding whether the admissions were true — just whether Hernandez was properly advised of his rights and mentally capable of waiving them.

At about 70, Hernandez’ IQ puts him in the bottom 2 percent of the population, a defense psychological expert testified during a weeks-long hearing this fall.

His lawyer has said Hernandez’s medical records mention schizophrenia dating back years, he’s taken anti-psychotic medication for years, and since his arrest, he’s been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder. Its effects on him include “cognitive and perceptual distortions,” including hallucinations, Fishbein has said. In one of the confessions, Hernandez says he has had visions of his dead mother.

A defense psychologist told the court he believed Hernandez wouldn’t have fully comprehended what he was agreeing to in saying he understood his Miranda rights.

But a prosecution expert differed, noting that Hernandez scored not much below people of average intelligence on a specific test of how well someone understands the function of the familiar Miranda rights warning during police interrogation.

“The evidence convincingly demonstrated that he knowingly waived those rights and voluntarily provided a statement,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon later wrote in a court filing.

Hernandez had gone through 11th grade without special education or remedial summer school, represented himself in a prolonged divorce and child support proceeding, participated in his church, and successfully applied for Social Security disability benefits, the prosecutor noted.

Etan’s parents haven’t commented.

Source: COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

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Aaron Hernandez Set For Pre-Trial Hearing On Double Murder Charges Nov. 25

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Disgraced former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 25 related to drive-by murder charges he faces in connection with a 2012 double slaying.

The 25-year-old former New England Patriots tight end is expected to go to trial in the case sometime next May. Hernandez is charged as the triggerman in killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a downtown Boston nightclub. Prosecutors have alleged Hernandez opened fire on the two unsuspecting victims after one of them accidentally spilled a drink on him inside the club and failed to apologize.

Hernandez has also been charged in the June 2013 slaying of on one-time associate Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found not far from the former Patriots’ North Attleborough mansion. Attorneys for Hernandez and prosecutor recently agreed to the pre-trial date in the courtroom of Suffolk Superior court Judge Jeffrey Locke. Hernandez was not present at the hearing.

Hernandez is charged with murder in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. The former Florida star has pleaded not guilty in both the double shooting and the Lloyd case. In the Boston shooting, prosecutors paint a picture where they allege Hernandez essentially stalked the two men all the way to their vehicle and opened fire as they sat at a red light in traffic. In all, Hernandez is alleged to have fired at least five shots in the vehicle, instantly kicking both of the victims.

Just six weeks prior, Hernandez had signed a five-year, $40 million extension with the Patriots, who have since voided. Hernandez has been jailed without bail since June of last year on charges related to the Lloyd killing.

The Patriots formally severed all ties with Hernandez shortly after he was taken into custody in June of 2013.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall

Source: Glenn Minnis Business to Community

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3 years later: No charges in missing toddler case

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PORTLAND, Maine — The blood found throughout the home where Ayla Reynolds was last seen nearly three years ago is all her mother needs to demand charges — any charges — be brought against the child’s father and two other adults who were with the toddler the night she disappeared, setting off the largest investigation in Maine’s history.

Though investigators believe Ayla is dead and the three adults know more about what happened that night than they’re telling, no charges have ever been filed.

Now the clock is running out on some of the lesser charges the girl’s mother believes could have already been brought. The statute of limitations on misdemeanors like child endangerment expires in a matter of weeks, on the third anniversary of Ayla’s disappearance.

“All of them should be put in jail,” said Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds.

But she said she isn’t in regular contact with police and has little confidence that charges are imminent.

“I don’t see that happening any time soon,” Reynolds said.

Ayla was 20 months old when she was reported missing by her father, Justin DiPietro, on Dec. 17, 2011. The toddler had been living with DiPietro and his girlfriend, sister and mother in Waterville.

Ayla’s disappearance set off a massive search with FBI, police, wardens and volunteers combing through the woods and searching streams. Investigators ultimately announced Ayla was the victim of foul play but said there is no evidence she was abducted.

Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland said the investigation remains “active and ongoing.” DiPietro, who has denied knowing what happened to his daughter, couldn’t be reached for comment and a lawyer who represented the family did not return a phone call.

Maine has no statute of limitations for homicide and there’s a six-year limit for other felonies. But the limit is only three years on lesser charges — misdemeanors like simple assault or endangering the welfare of a minor, said Jim Burke, a professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

Burke said he sympathizes with the mother but said prosecutors likely don’t want to put their homicide investigation at risk for the sake of pursuing misdemeanors.

Bringing lesser charges would expose evidence central to the homicide investigation and could allow the defense to try to prevent harsher charges by claiming double jeopardy, said Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea. She said prosecutors are keeping “an eye toward the more serious offenses.”

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, who has reviewed the available evidence but is not involved in prosecuting the case, said prosecutors from the attorney general’s office are best suited to direct the investigation and to decide whether there’s enough evidence to win at trial.

“They’re absolutely devastated by this case that has consumed them. They’re trying to do everything they can. I have 100 percent confidence in them,” she said.

Ayla was placed in her father’s care after Trista Reynolds entered a substance abuse rehabilitation program, and the Reynolds family has questioned the care he provided.

As months turned into years, Reynolds has sought to put pressure on DiPietro and law enforcement agencies while trying to keep her daughter in the public eye. She and others even chased DiPietro following an unrelated court appearance last year, with the crowd shouting “murderer!” and “Where’s Ayla!”

Maloney said she doesn’t blame Reynolds for pressing for justice and for being frustrated. “What she’s going through is the worst thing a parent could go through,” she said.

But Burke said law enforcement investigators have to be patient because criminal investigations don’t play out as quickly as they do during a TV show or movie. Sometimes they take years, he said.

“The state is not going to go away,” he said. “Sometimes it takes 20 years for someone to slip up. So they sit and wait. They never give up.”

Source: AP Photo/Trista Reynolds, File/ DAVID SHARP, Associated Press

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Motion To Strike From Juan Martinez in the Jodi Arias Penalty Phase

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travis

Juan Martinez is asking the court to strike the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss all Charges with Prejudice and/or in the Alternative to Dismiss the State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty due to Recently Purposeful and Egregious Prosecutorial Misconduct. “It’s apparent that the continuing failure to provide and exact copy of the hard drive is for the sole purpose of thwarting the State’s attempt to investigate defendant’s claim.”  Read more below…

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