Friday, October 13, 2017

Suspect in 4 Ohio slayings arrested while walking along road

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Unarmed, worn out and ready to give up, the suspect in the
fatal shootings of three adult relatives and a 7-year-old boy didn't try to flee when
officers arrested him Friday as he walked along a road in far southern Ohio, a
sheriff said.

Officers were acting on a tip from a resident who spotted 23-year-old Arron
Lawson. Authorities had said he fled into the woods Thursday, shortly after midnight.

Lawson is an outdoorsman and hunter who liked being in the woods, but "I think
he was just plumb worn out from being out in the elements" during a manhunt that
spanned two cool nights, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless said.

The sheriff wouldn't discuss any potential motive or the chronology of the slayings,
and he declined to disclose what Lawson said to the arresting officers.

Lawson is being held on charges of murder and aggravated murder. It wasn't immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

He was arrested roughly 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of where authorities found three adults dead in a house trailer on Wednesday evening.

A fourth adult who came upon the scene after work and was stabbed fled the home and was flown to a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. That victim is recovering well, Lawless said.

The youngest victim, 7-year-old Devin Holston, initially was the subject of a missing-child alert after the adults were discovered. Authorities spent hours searching for him, only to later find him dead in the same house trailer, his body apparently hidden, Lawless said.

A few relatives of the victims said after the arrest that they had seen no sign or warning of such violence by Lawson, who lived just up the road from the trailer home.

Lawson was being questioned by investigators Friday and could face more charges, the sheriff said.
Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been helping Lawrence County with the investigation, BCI spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said.

The initial report about the slayings — violence against multiple people believed to be related — recalled details from a still-unsolved homicide case that rattled rural southern Ohio last year, but the cases didn't appear to be connected, Del Greco said.

The deaths on Wednesday occurred roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of the Piketon area, where eight people from the Rhoden family were found shot to death in four homes in April 2016.
Associated Press writer Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this report.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Las Vegas shooting: What we know

How the attack unfolded:

• At about 10:08 p.m. Sunday, the Route 91 Harvest festival, an outdoor country music concert, was interrupted by the sound of gunfire, witnesses said.
Police said the gunman fired on the crowd of about 22,000 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, several hundred feet southwest of the concert grounds.
    • Country music singer Jason Aldean was performing when the gunshots began, according to witnesses' cell phone video.
    • "The gunshots lasted for 10 to 15 minutes. It didn't stop," said witness Rachel de Kerf.
    • Police say Paddock fired for nine to 11 minutes after the first 911 call came in.
    • Paddock set up cameras inside his hotel suite and in the hallway. Police are not aware whether the devices were transmitting.
    Investigation: Authorities identified the shooter as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, a retired and twice-divorced accountant with no known children.
    • Paddock was alive when officers first made contact with him outside suite 32135. After taking gunfire from him, police backed off and waited for SWAT teams to respond. A security guard was shot in the leg.
    • Officers "breached the hotel room" where Paddock was and found him dead, police said. Authorities believe he killed himself.
    • Police said they believe Paddock acted alone. 
    • Police say they have not determined Paddock's motives. As such, they are not calling the shooting terrorism -- an attack on civilians to intimidate or coerce society for political purposes. "We have to establish what his motivation was first," said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, when asked why the shooting has not been labeled domestic terrorism.
    The FBI says it has determined no connection with an international terrorist group.
    • "We had no knowledge of this individual," Lombardo said of Paddock. "I don't know how it could have been prevented." 
    • Twenty-three weapons were found in the hotel room, including multiple rifles, and some had scopes on them, authorities said.
    • Lombardo says several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, were found in Paddock's car.
    • Authorities searched Paddock's home in Mesquite and found at least 19 more firearms, as well as explosives, several thousand rounds of ammunition, and some electronic devices.
    • The shooter had bought multiple firearms, several in California, a law enforcement official told CNN.
    • So far, investigators believe the firearms were purchased legally. The suspicion, based on initial reports, is that at least one of the rifles used was altered in order to function as an automatic weapon, said the official. 
    • The shooter had been at the Mandalay Bay hotel since September 28, authorities said. Hotel employees had been in his room prior to the shooting and did not notice anything amiss, according to Lombardo. 
    • Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines, but officials don't know precisely when the transfer happened or whom the recipient was, a law enforcement official said Tuesday. The FBI is working with Filipino authorities to determine details, the official said.

    Paddock's background:

    • Besides being a retired accountant, Paddock was a real estate investor who owned apartments and houses. Investigators were looking at several properties in the Reno area associated with him.
    Paddock graduated from California State University, Northridge in 1977, with a degree in business administration.
    • After living for a time in Melbourne, Florida, Paddockmoved to Nevada in 2016, his brother, Eric Paddock, said.
    • Stephen Paddock lived in Mesquite, Nevada, with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, police said. She was out of the country during the shooting, and is not believed to have been involved, police said.
    • Eric Paddock told CNN about Stephen: "He was my brother and it's like an asteroid fell out of the sky." He said the last time he spoke to his brother was when Stephen texted, asking how their mother was after she lost power when Hurricane Irma hit Florida.
    • Eric Paddock said his brother had never shown violent tendencies, and had no affiliations with any terror or hate group. Paddock says he's still in the dark on why his brother would do this. 
    • Stephen Paddock's father was a convicted bank robber who was on the FBI's most wanted list, from June 10, 1969, until May 5, 1977, the FBI said. Eric Paddock said his father, who was arrested in Oregon in 1978, died a few years ago.


    • At least 58 dead and more than 500 people taken to area hospitals, authorities said.
    • Throngs of blood donors lined up outside Las Vegas blood banks all day Monday. US blood banks currently have enough blood to meet the immediate medical needs of patients being treated in the aftermath of the shooting, according to a blood bank official.
    • This is the deadliest shooting in modern US history. The 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, previously was the deadliest, with 49 killed.
    • Victims include a nurse, a police records technician, a special education teacher, and a school office manager.


    • Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a declaration of Emergency for Clark County, which allows state agencies to supplement local efforts.
    • The Department of Homeland Security said there is no credible threat involving other public venues, but security could increase.
    • President Donald Trump described the shooting as an "act of pure evil" and said he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with families of the victims.
    • Trump and first lady Melania Trump led a moment of silence for Las Vegas from the White House on Monday.
    • The Orlando Police Department, which investigated the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, tweeted its condolences to those affected by the Las Vegas shooting.
    This article has been updated to reflect a change in the victim death toll.
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    Friday, July 14, 2017

    Human Remains Found on Pennsylvania Farm in Search for Missing Men

    The body of a missing man has been uncovered on a sprawling multi-million dollar Pennsylvania farm along with unidentified human remains, authorities announced Thursday morning. 
    Dean Finocchiaro, 19, was found deceased on the property of Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, whose son Cosmo, 20, is being held by police as a person of interest in the disappearance of the teen and three others. 
    After a painstaking search in the dark and muggy heat just outside New Hope, Pennsylvania, cadaver dogs led police to a section of the $5.4 million property, where the remains were found buried 12 ½ feet beneath the earth. 
    Finocchairo was reported missing on July 7 along with Thomas Meo, 21, and Mark Sturgis, 22. Another 19-year-old, Jimi Patrick, was reported missing on July 5. It is unclear how the four men may have known Cosmo DiNardo.
    "We're going to see this investigation through to the end," Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said at news conference shortly after midnight. "We're going to bring each of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another." 
    Although Cosmo DiNardo has not been charged with the murder of Finocchairo, he is being held on a $5 million bond. 
    "This is a homicide; make no mistake about it. We just don't know how many homicides," Weintraub said. 
    DiNardo was first arrested on Monday for an unrelated gun charge, stemming back to February when he was accused of owning a firearm despite a history of mental illness. Because of an involuntary commitment to a mental institution, DiNardo was not allowed to possess a firearm. 
    The 20-year-old is schizophrenic, according to his lawyers, who say their client’s mental illness is being exploited by prosecutors, reported. 
    He was held on a $1 million bond in relation to that case and released after his parents posted $100,000 for his bail. He was then taken back into custody on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to sell one of the missing men’s car for $500. 
    DiNardo tried to sell Meo’s Nissan Maxima to a friend, court records show. Inside the car, police found Meo’s diabetic kit, which Meo’s parents said their son could not survive without. 
    The back-to-back arrests bought investigators time as they scoured 90 acres of property and other spots across the county for clues to the men's disappearance, Weintraub said.
    On Thursday morning, Weintraub thanked the tireless efforts of the officers working on the farm in an attempt to uncover any additional evidence relating to the men’s disappearance. 
    Although he has not been charged in relation to the missing men, prosecutors described DiNardo as a flight risk and a “dangerous person.” 
    Officers haven’t disclosed why DiNardo is considered a person of interest, or what led them to begin the search on the family’s farm. 
    With DiNardo in custody, the punishing search continued on the family farm, where veteran officers and brand new cadets worked side-by-side to sift through the dirt with backhoes, hands, metal detectors and buckets. 
    The Pennsylvania FBI and U.S. Marshal as well as local and state police are all working to investigate the case. Officials have suggested the search is the largest in the history of Bucks County. 
    Before human remains were discovered on the property, a family attorney for the DiNardos released a statement saying they are fully cooperating with law enforcement. 
    "As parents, Mr. and Mrs. DiNardo sympathize with the parents and families of the missing young men and they are cooperating in every way possible with the investigation being conducted by law enforcement," the statement said. 
    The DiNardo family earned a fortune off of trucking and concrete, according to NBC News affiliate NBC 10. After buying the farm outside New Hope for $5.4 million in 2005, they purchased a nearby property for $500,000 in late 2008. 
    DiNardo's grandfather, also named Cosmo DiNardo, owned numerous properties and eventually shared a real estate deal with his son Antonio before handing over the business entirely to him. 
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    Friday, July 7, 2017

    Woman Charged With Killing Family Smiles In Court

    LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father smiled and flashed a double thumbs up to news cameras during her first court appearance Friday before telling a judge she doesn't want an attorney.

    Isabel Martinez, 33, appeared before Gwinnett County Magistrate Court Judge Michael Thorpe a day after police said she stabbed the five to death and seriously injured another child at her home outside Atlanta. The injured child, a 9-year-old girl, survived but remained hospitalized with injuries police described as serious.
    Before the hearing began, Martinez sat with other inmates and struck poses for cameras — smiling, giving the thumbs up, putting her hands in a prayer position and spreading her arms out wide.
    As Judge Thorpe listed the charges against her — five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault — Martinez smiled, shook her head "no" and wagged her finger at him. The judge advised her sharply not to perform for the cameras.
    When Thorpe informed her of her right to have an attorney, she said through a Spanish-language interpreter, that she doesn't want one. She later added that her attorney will always be the people and her faith.
    Thorpe advised Martinez to hire a lawyer or to allow one to be appointed for her.
    Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance Friday, July 7, 2017, in Lawrenceville , Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her children and their father. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    "What prompts a person to take the life of such innocent children and her spouse is something we may never understand," Gwinnett County police said in a statement. "This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community."
    Psychologists and others who study cases of mothers accused of killing their children say it's not as uncommon as people might believe. But media coverage often focuses on dramatic cases, such as Andrea Yates who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 2001 drowning deaths of her five children in her suburban Houston home.
    Other cases get less attention, as when a woman kills a newborn or in children's deaths blamed on neglect, said Cheryl Meyer, co-author of two books on mothers who have killed children based on about 1,000 cases during the 1990s.
    That amounts to roughly one death every three days. If anything, the total based on media reports at the time underestimates the reality, said Meyer, a psychology professor at Wright State University in Ohio.
    In cases when mothers kill intentionally, Meyer said there is often another influence, such as mental health issues, postpartum depression or the loss of a close loved one.
    "We like to classify these women as pariahs, that they aren't at all like us," Meyer said. "I found that was not the case."
    Some neighbors in the small, largely Hispanic neighborhood in Loganville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Atlanta, said they had no clue anything was amiss in the home until police mobbed the scene Thursday morning. The neighbors said the Spanish-speaking family had moved to the community recently, and their children seemed happy playing with other neighborhood kids.
    Victoria Nievs said Martinez had recently suffered the death of her father.
    Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Michele Pihera confirmed that the 911 call came from a woman who was inside the home at 4:47 a.m. Thursday to report a stabbing. Police believe Martinez made that call.
    Pihera said the caller was speaking Spanish, which initially made it difficult for 911 operators to communicate with her. The county sheriff's office said Martinez is on a hold for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement but didn't provide further details.
    The hospitalized girl, Diana Romero, was in serious but stable condition Thursday evening, police said.
    The four children killed were identified as Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero, 7; Dillan Romero, 4; and Axel Romero, 2. Their slain father was Martin Romero, 33, Pihera said.
    Early indications are that a knife was used to attack the five, though a medical examiner will make the final determination about the cause of death, she said.
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    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Man pleads guilty to killing 7 in South Carolina

    SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A South Carolina man who admitted killing seven people over nearly 13 years while running a successful real estate business pleaded guilty Friday to seven counts of murder and a number of other charges.

    Todd Kohlhepp admitted his role in the deaths of seven people less than seven months after he was arrested when investigators checking on a missing couple rescued a woman chained inside a shipping container on Kohlhepp's Spartanburg County property.
    The woman had been raped and locked inside the container for more than two months after Kohlhepp shot and killed her boyfriend, authorities said. Charles David Carter, 32, was the last of the seven murder victims.
    According to the plea agreement signed by the 44-year-old Kohlhepp, he will serve seven consecutive life terms plus 60 years on kidnapping, sexual assault and other charges. He will not be eligible for parole, and he also agreed not to appeal the sentence.
    Kohlhepp admitted Friday that he killed four workers at Superbike Motorsports motorcycle store in Chesnee in 2003 after the manager made him angry. The victims were the owner, Scott Ponder, 30; Beverly Guy, 52; Brian Lucas, 30; and Chris Sherbert, 26. Guy was Ponder's mother and worked as a bookkeeper. Lucas was a service manager, and Sherbert was a mechanic at the shop.
    Kohlhepp also admitted guilt in the deaths of a husband and wife who disappeared in December 2015. The bodies of 29-year-old Johnny Joe Coxie and 26-year-old Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie were found on Kohlhepp's land after his arrest. The couple had been hired to do work on Kohlhepp's property.
    Kohlhepp was eligible for the death penalty, but the plea deal took that off the table.
    No one has been executed in South Carolina in more than six years because the state lacks the drugs needed for lethal injections.
    Kohlhepp moved to South Carolina in 2001 shortly after 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping in Arizona. Authorities there said the then 15-year-old forced a 14-year-old neighbor back to his home at gunpoint, tied her up and raped her.
    Kohlhepp had to register on South Carolina's sex offender registry, but told people it was a trumped up charge after a girl's father was angry about a joyride. Kohlhepp also lied about the felony conviction so he could get his real estate license in the state.
    Friends and co-workers at Kohlhepp's real estate business said he was a hard worker with some strange habits. He would watch pornographic videos during work and joked on his firm's website that he motivated workers by not feeding them.
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    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Police: Man Stabs Wife to Death, Drives Self to Jail

    An 81-year-old Dayton man is in the Montgomery County jail charged with murder for allegedly stabbing his 70-year-old wife to death following an argument in their home on Delmar Ave.
    Donald Cleaver was booked in to jail early Friday morning after he showed up at the police department to turn himself in for allegedly killing his wife, Mary Cleaver.
    It was a neighbor that called 911 to alert police to the crime.  “He says he just killed his wife,” the 911 caller said.  “He’s getting ready to head to the jail he says.”
    According to Dayton homicide detectives, the investigation shows the Cleaver’s apparently argued last night and after Mary Cleaver went to bed, Donald Cleaver fatally stabbed her. 
    The case will be presented to the Montgomery Count Prosecutor’s office for formal charges.
    According to a Dayton police report, officers responded to Cleaver’s home in the 200 block of North Delmar Avenue around 1 a.m. Friday.
    The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Mary Cleaver, 70, was killed at the same address officers responded to.
    “He did not say how he did it,” the 911 caller said.
    A knife is listed in the police report as a possible weapon used.
    Cleaver is not yet officially charged.
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    Friday, May 12, 2017

    4 Dead in Topeka Shooting

    (CNN) Four people were killed and another injured in a shooting Sunday afternoon in Topeka, Kansas, police said.
    The suspected shooter was among the dead.
    The killings happened at a home that is part of a business that provides in-home care to people with special needs. All the victims were male.
    The survivor was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
      The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police told CNN affiliate WIBW.
      Lt. Colleen Stuart of the Topeka Police Department said the home was a "private business providing residential services."
      She said the alleged shooter was "associated" with the home but would not elaborate.
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