The Trial Diaries

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Amanda Bynes arrested on suspicion of DUI, dad unaware of her whereabouts


It seems Amanda Bynes may be struggling once again.

The actress, who had a very public breakdown and has since been doing better with the help of her parents, was arrested on Sunday after police determined she was driving under the influence, authorities said.

Bynes’ father told X17 that he learned of his daughter’s arrest through the press and that he and his wife had not heard from Bynes outside of the occasional “greeting” since their conservatorship ended earlier this month.

Bynes, 28, was stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer after she stopped in the middle of an intersection in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles around 4 a.m. on Sunday. Police determined the former child star was under the influence of an unidentified drug after being evaluated at a nearby police station, the CHP said in a statement.

TMZ reported that Bynes had taken Adderall before getting behind the wheel. According to the gossip site, she was prescribed the drug by a doctor.

The release states that Bynes, who has had a series of driving-related arrests, was cooperative but appeared disheveled when she was taken into custody.

Bynes was released hours later after posting $15,000 bail. A phone message left by The Associated Press for her criminal defense attorney, Richard Hutton, was not immediately returned.

The one-time actress remains on probation for a 2012 case filed after she clipped a Los Angeles County sheriff’s patrol car and was arrested for driving under the influence. Bynes pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving in February.

In June, a New York judge dismissed a criminal case filed after Bynes was accused of throwing a bong out of her 36th-floor apartment. The case was dismissed after Bynes complied with orders to receive counseling and stay out of trouble.

Last year, Bynes resolved a misdemeanor hit-and-run case in Los Angeles after entering a civil settlement with other drivers.

She received psychiatric treatment last year after authorities said she set a small fire in the driveway of a home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. She later entered a rehab facility and was released after a lengthy stay. Her parents had been caring for her until their conservatorship ended, and she has been spotted taking fashion design courses at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Diego.

Once out of rehab, Bynes deleted her controversial tweets from last year, which included some vulgar messages she wrote about rapper Drake and nearly nude pictures.

In April 2013, the former actress revealed she had shaved her head, but her recent photos show her sporting long, blond locks once again.

Bynes first began acting in commercials at the age of 7 and was thrust into the limelight when she later became one of the stars of Nickelodeon’s comedy show “All That.” She then starred in Nickelodeon’s “The Amanda Show” from 1999-2002. Since then, her acting career has waned, and her last major role was in 2010’s “Easy A,” which starred Emma Stone. Before that she appeared in films like “What a Girl Wants” and “Hairspray.”

She has publicly stated that she has retired from acting.



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Mayor of Bell Gardens Dead After Being Shot in Domestic Dispute; Wife Detained


The mayor of Bell Gardens was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon in a dispute with his wife, who was in custody, authorities said.

Authorities on the scene of the shooting told reporters that Mayor Daniel Crespo died after being shot multiple times in the torso by his wife, who was identified as Levette Crespo.

Their 19-year-old son tried to intervene in an argument between the couple, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Steve Jauch said.

The father and son struggled, then Levette Crespo shot her husband, according to Jauch.

She was detained, the lieutenant said.

Homicide detectives were assisting the Bell Gardens Police Department with the shooting in the 6300 block of Gage Avenue (map), Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Deputy Crystal Hernandez said. She did not initially identify the victim of the shooting.

A Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman confirmed that first responders arrived to a report of a gunshot victim about 2:30 p.m.

Aerial video showed investigators on scene at the Gage Avenue address just before 5 p.m. They appeared to be working inside a gated residential complex called Viñas la Campana.

Crespo relocated from New York City to Bell Gardens in 1987, according to his biography on the city’s website.

“In 1986, Mayor Crespo, a young teenager, married his high school sweetheart and has been married ever since,” the bio page states.

He had a daughter born in 1987 and a son in 1994.

Crespo was elected to City Council in 2001.

Los Angeles County CEO Bill Fujioka said on Twitter that he was “thinking about” Crespo, calling him a longtime county probation employee with more than 21 years on the job.

Bell Gardens is a city of about 43,000 residents around 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Source: Melissa Pamer KTLA5


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Virginia police: Forensic evidence links 2 cases


RICHMOND, Va.— They both were walking alone, separated from their friends late at night on or near the University of Virginia campus. One was found dead nearly five years ago. The other is still missing.

And now police believe they have found a link between the 2009 slaying of Morgan Harrington and the Sept. 13 disappearance of Hannah Graham: Forensic evidence found in the arrest of a hospital worker and former taxi driver who fled the state when he learned police wanted to question him about the Graham case.

Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, was arrested on a beach near Galveston, Texas, last week and was brought back to Virginia to face a charge of abduction with intent to defile — or sexually molest — the 18-year-old sophomore from northern Virginia. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison. His bond hearing is set for Thursday.

Virginia State Police said Monday that Matthew’s arrest provided a new forensic link for investigators to pursue in the Harrington investigation. In a written statement, they called it a “significant break” but did not elaborate on the precise nature of the evidence and said they would make no further comment. Charlottesville police and Matthew’s attorney, James Camblos, did not return messages.

Harrington’s mother, Gil Harrington, issued an appeal to Matthew on Tuesday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I would like to appeal to him to please give the family information where Hannah is. We need to find Hannah,” she said.

She said police have not given her family any information that has not been publicly released.

Since their daughter was slain, Dan Harrington said the couple has worked to prevent crimes against young women by promoting personal safety.

“It is sad and we’re sad that this has happened,” he said, referring to Graham’s disappearance.

He said Graham’s case might help prevent future occurrences in Virginia.

The latest development may also help solve a 2005 sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman in Fairfax City, since the FBI previously said DNA from Harrington’s attacker matched that of the person who committed the sexual assault. On Monday, police spokeswoman Natalie Hinesley said that in order to maintain the integrity of their investigation, they are not going to comment on whether the developments in the Graham and Harrington cases affect their case.

Leading up to Matthew’s arrest, police had searched his car and home and removed items, including clothing, they consider evidence. The items were sent to the state crime lab for testing, but Charlottesville police have not divulged any results.

Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student from Roanoke, attended a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena on the Charlottesville campus on Oct. 17, 2009. She left during the concert and vanished. A farmer found her remains three months later in an Albemarle County hayfield, which was among the places searched shortly after Graham disappeared, police have said. At the time, Matthew had a license to drive a taxi, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Graham disappeared after meeting friends for dinner and attending two off-campus parties. She left the last one alone and was captured on video surveillance walking or running past a pub, a service station and onto Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, where police say witnesses reported seeing her with Matthew at a bar. Graham had sent friends several text messages, including one saying she was lost.

Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler, said he was struck by the similarities between the two disappearances. He said both women were separated from their friends in areas they apparently did not know well, and perhaps were offered assistance by a predator.

“Their looking for help was turned against them,” he said.

He also said he was not surprised by the new evidence.

“Since this most recent victim disappeared, I said time and again that if they could find out who was responsible there was a good chance the same person would be responsible for Morgan Harrington and a number of others,” he said.

He said he was “not trying to indict the guy” but added that police likely will investigate Matthew for other crimes against women, including the 2005 sexual assault. At least two other women from the Charlottesville area are missing. Police previously said they had no reason to link those cases to Graham’s disappearance.

Matthew was a defensive lineman on the Liberty University football team from 2000 to 2002. He was accused of raping a student on campus, but the charge was dropped when the person declined to move forward with prosecution, Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette said Friday.

Matthew, who was returned from Texas late Friday, is being held without bond at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. He is scheduled to appear via a video link for a bond hearing in Charlottesville General District Court on Thursday.

Source: Larry O’Dell AP


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Jury sentences woman to 10 years in poisoning case


HOUSTON — A jury sentenced a Texas cancer researcher to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of poisoning her colleague, who was also her lover, by lacing his coffee with a chemical found in antifreeze.

Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, 43, a breast cancer doctor based at Houston’s famed Texas Medical Center, had been involved in a sexual relationship with her fellow researcher, Dr. George Blumenschein.

Prosecutors said the affair turned into a “fatal attraction” and she poisoned him with ethylene glycol after Blumenschein spurned her in favor of Evette Toney, his longtime live-in girlfriend with whom he was trying to start a family. Blumenschein survived the poisoning.

A jury on Friday convicted Gonzalez-Angulo of aggravated assault.

During closing arguments in the trial’s punishment phase, prosecutors asked jurors to sentence Gonzalez-Angulo to at least 30 years in prison, saying this should be treated as a murder case as she stole years from Blumenschein’s life. Blumenschein testified last week his life span was shortened by the poisoning as he now has only 40 percent of his kidney function.

“Don’t feel bad for one second about sending her to prison. She did that herself,” said prosecutor Justin Keiter.

Defense attorney Derek Hollingsworth asked jurors to sentence Gonzalez-Angulo to probation, saying she should not be judged solely by this one event in her life. He pointed out the work she had done helping patients during her career. On Friday, several patients told jurors Gonzalez-Angulo was a compassionate person who had tirelessly worked to treat them.

“It’s not the right result to send her to prison for a lengthy period of time … When you look at the entirety of her life, (probation) makes sense,” he said.

Hollingsworth said probation will not be easy for Gonzalez-Angulo as her conviction means she will never practice medicine again.

Keiter said Gonzalez-Angulo’s good work as a doctor should not excuse her actions. He said probation would not fix what is wrong with Gonzalez-Angulo.

“You cannot fix evil, you can’t. You can’t fix someone who is cold and calculating and manipulative,” he said.

Blumenschein told jurors that he became sick Jan. 27, 2013, not long after he and Gonzalez-Angulo had been intimate, and that he immediately suspected his lover of spiking his coffee. Witnesses testified that Gonzalez-Angulo had access to ethylene glycol at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she and Blumenschein worked.

The defense team had noted a prosecution expert’s testimony that Blumenschein could have ingested the poison two days earlier.

Gonzalez-Angulo’s attorneys had argued during the trial that other people, including Toney, might have been responsible for the poisoning, an allegation that Toney has denied.



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Police: Michael Phelps arrested for suspicion of DUI


Michael Phelps is back in the news, but it’s not for his return to competitive swimming.

The highly decorated Olympic star was arrested early Tuesday morning for suspicion of driving under the influence, according to Maryland Transportation Authority police — per WBALTV 11 in Baltimore.

TMZ first reported the story, saying multiple calls to Phelps reps also went unreported.

The TV station says MTA police originally pulled Phelps over after catching him going 84 mph in a 45 mph zone and that Phelps cooperated throughout the process and was later released.

Here’s the police statement:

On Sept. 30, 2014, at approximately 1:40 a.m., Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 in Baltimore. He was later released.

A Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police Officer was operating stationary radar on southbound I-395 leaving Baltimore City when a White 2014 Land Rover entered the radar’s area of influence at excessive speed (84 mph in a 45 mph zone). The Officer followed the vehicle onto northbound I-95, through the tunnel and initiated an enforcement stop just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza. Mr. Phelps was identified as the driver by his driver’s license and appeared to be under the influence. He was unable to perform satisfactorily a series of standard field sobriety tests. Mr. Phelps was cooperative throughout the process.

Phelps was also arrested for DUI in 2004, when he was 19, but took a plea deal that gave him 18 months probation.

Source: FoxSports


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Body of missing Arkansas estate agent found


Police have discovered the body of an Arkansas real estate agent in a shallow grave after she was reported missing last week, a law enforcement official said.

Police found the body of 49-year-old Beverly Carter shortly after midnight on Tuesday in a Little Rock suburb about 25 miles (40 km) north of the area where she was reported missing, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Carl Minden said.

Before going missing, she told associates she was meeting a possible buyer at a property in Scott.

A 33-year-old Arkansas prison parolee whom police arrested hours earlier after an intensive manhunt on suspicion of being responsible for the disappearance would now face a capital murder charge, Minden said.

Aaron Lewis admitted to the kidnapping after police questioning but would not divulge Carter’s whereabouts, Minden said. Police following other leads found her body on a property on Highway 5 in Cabot.

Lewis, whose name is spelled “Aaron” and “Arron” on different government records, remains in jail and is to appear in a Pulaski County court on Tuesday, Minden said.

Lewis, whose picture had been widely circulated, was named in an arrest warrant issued on Sunday. He was taken into custody in suburban Little Rock after office workers spotted him at a bus stop and alerted police.

He fled to a nearby apartment complex but was soon arrested, the sheriff’s office said.

Carter’s husband alerted authorities after she failed to return home on Thursday night. Over the weekend, more than 200 volunteers helped deputies comb the area near the house where her car was found.

Arkansas officials said Lewis was on parole for theft convictions in Arkansas and also had a criminal history in Utah and Kansas.

Source: Reuters


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Jurors to determine sanity in Daniel Marsh case

After reaching a unanimous guilty verdict, jurors in the Daniel Marsh case are now tasked with determining the teen’s mental state when he stabbed an elderly couple to death in their Davis home.

“You must decide whether he was legally insane when he committed the crime,” explained Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Reed on Monday.

After only two hours of deliberations last week, the four-man, eight woman jury found Marsh guilty for the murders of Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, who were found in their Cowell Boulevard condominium the night of April 14, 2013.

The jury also agreed to the enhancements for lying in wait, torture, and use of a deadly weapon, in this case a six-inch hunting knife used to stab the victims more than 60 times each.

Marsh changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity on June 2, allowing a continuance of the long-awaited trial. Though Marsh was 15 at the time of his arrest, he is being tried as an adult.

As friends and family of the couple celebrated the verdict, Marsh, now 17, fought back his emotions — his face turning red, both eyes shut tight as one-by-one jurors agreed he was guilty of first degree murder, which requires a finding of premeditation and deliberation.

Jurors left the courtroom Friday afternoon knowing their work was unfinished.

In light of Marsh’s change in plea, the jury will hear further testimony and evidence to help determine Marsh’s mental state while committing the murders, bringing them back to what Public Defender Ron Johnson said weeks ago.

When he delivered his opening statement, Johnson told jurors not to focus on what happened the night of the murders, but why it happened, and this is the question jurors will be asking themselves for the remainder of the trial.

“Sanity is a different animal,” Johnson said during opening statements Monday, briefly reviewing the proceedings.

Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor also kept her opening remarks brief, thanking jurors for their time and effort in the lengthy trial.

“Heinous crime does not equal insane,” she said. “Mental illness does not equal insane.”

Although Zambor agreed Marsh had major depressive disorder, she said there is no evidence of psychosis, delusions, or a “dissociate state,” which Johnson’s defense hinged upon.

“There is no causal link between depression and whether he was capable of understanding his actions,” she said.

“He was well organized and had a specific plan on how to commit the murders.”

In particular, Zambor noted Marsh’s use of gloves and the duct-tape on the bottom of his shoes — both forensic countermeasures used to leave no trance behind for investigators to follow. He also hid the knife, cleaning it off after the crime, and decided he would use a different weapon for the next murder, to help avoid arrest.

“All those steps before hand show he knew what he was doing,” she concluded.

Moving forward with the trial, Johnson called defense expert James Merikangas, a Maryland-based neurologist and psychiatrist, who expanded on his prior testimony.

During the guilt phase of the proceedings, Merikangas told jurors Marsh was in a “dissociative” or “dream-like” state when he committed the murders, resulting from Marsh’s continued use of antidepressants.

“It is like they are floating,” he said. “They are seeing themselves doing something they cannot control. The brain is being overwhelmed by emotions, wanting to be somewhere else.”

On Monday, Merikangas reviewed an MRI scan of Marsh’s brain, pointing out abnormalities.

“It looks like a brain of someone who is more my age,” said Merikangas, who is in his late 50s. “There is too much space in the brain for a 17 year old.”

Specifically, when a person ages, they begin to lose brain cells and tissue, which shows up as dark spaces in the MRI image.

“There is a change in volume in his brain compared to a normal 17 year old,” Merikangas said.

According to Merikangas, these abnormalities could be caused by abusing alcohol and marijuana, or could result at birth. Regardless of the source, these abnormalities may have contributed to Marsh’s depression.

“People with brain abnormalities are more likely to suffer from mental illness in general,” he said. “Their brain impairs their thinking, emotions, and impulse control.”

Turning back to the antidepressants, Merikangas admitted side effects were not the “sole cause” of Marsh’s actions, but definitely made his condition worse, increasing the risk of “intrusive, violent thoughts” leading to “seething anger and feelings of hopelessness.”

Changes made in the brain by the SSRI class of antidepressants can remain for weeks and have been known to cause homicidal thoughts in patients, Merikangas said.

“It’s not a standard thing, it’s not a common thing, but it is a thing that happens,” he added. “He could not overcome the thoughts he was having. I think he felt he was doing the moral thing at the time.”

Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral declined to cross examine the witness, whom he spent hours questioning in the guilt phase of the trial.

Closing arguments will begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in Department 3, after which the case will once again be in the jury’s hands.

Source: Sarah Dowling Daily Democrat


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Prosecution rests in loud music killing case


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Prosecutors have rested in the first-degree murder retrial of a white Florida man who fatally shot a black teenager after an argument over loud music outside a convenience store.

State Attorney Angela Corey on Monday ended her case against 47-year-old Michael Dunn by interviewing the medical examiner, who discussed bullet wounds found on the victim’s body.

Prosecutors say Dunn killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis, of Marietta, Georgia, by firing 10 times into an SUV occupied by four teens in November 2012.

A previous jury found Dunn guilty of attempted second-degree murder for firing the shots, but deadlocked on first-degree murder.

Dunn faces at least 60 years in prison for the convictions.

The defense can now present its case to the jury, and Dunn is expected to testify.

Source: AP


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Police report lead from missing US student case


RICHMOND, Virginia— Police in Virginia say the investigation into the case of a missing university student has turned up a lead in the 2009 disappearance and death of another young woman.

Virginia State Police said in a written statement Monday that the arrest of 32-year-old Jesse Matthew Jr. provided a forensic link for investigators to pursue in the case of Morgan Harrington. The 20-year-old disappeared while attending a concert at the University of Virginia five years ago. Her remains were found in nearby Albemarle County.

Matthew is charged with abduction with intent to defile 18-year-old Hannah Graham. The British-born student hass been missing since Sept. 13. Matthew is being held in jail without bond.

Source: AP


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Slight shift in search for trooper ambush suspect


CANADENSIS, Pa. — Police say the search for the suspect in the deadly ambush of state police troopers is shifting slightly in northeastern Pennsylvania’s woods.

Trooper Adam Reed said Sunday that the focus of the search remains in the same general area as it was for the past two days, but has moved slightly to the southeast.

Reed says police are constantly following up on information they’re receiving. He says he can’t go into specifics about why the shift occurred or what new information police have.

The search for 31-year-old Eric Frein is in its 16th day. He’s charged with killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson on Sept. 12 and seriously wounding another trooper outside the Blooming Grove barracks.

Authorities believe they have Frein contained within a 5-square-mile perimeter around his parents’ home in Canadensis.

Source: AP