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Contract Killings


Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Oregon man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday after hiring another man to kill his wife. Susan Kuhnhausen fought off the hit man

An Oregon man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday after hiring another man to kill his wife. Susan Kuhnhausen fought off the hit man and actually strangled the attacker with her bare hands killing him.During Friday's sentencing hearing of Michael Kuhnhausen, Susan Kuhnhausen held up a picture taken of her bruised face after the attack and said, "This is what I would have looked like if I died." In September 2006, Susan found an intruder in her southeast Portland home."I saw a man step out of the shadows and he began to hit me in the head and the face with a hammer," said Kuhnhausen.For the first time publicly, she described how, fearing for her life, she fought back.
"I got the hammer and started hitting him with the hammer several times. My father, the carpenter, always taught me a hammer could be used for self defense, the claw end would work the best," said Kuhnhausen.
The attacker was Ed Haffey, a drug addict who, it turned out, was hired by Michael Kuhnhausen to kill Susan."I yelled 'who sent you here', yelled again, 'who sent you here?'" asked Kuhnhausen.The plan failed as the emergency room nurse relied on her hospital self-defense training and began to bite, hit and choke Haffey.
"He turned blue as I told him you're not going to kill me." said Kuhnhausen.
Instead, she killed Haffey. Police later found notes in Haffey's backpack linking him to Michael Kuhnhausen. Susan called it a cowardly plan.
"If I ever believed you deserved to be dead, I would at least have had the balls to kill you myself," declared Kuhnhausen.
"I hurt a lot of people over the last year and I'm sorry. That's all I can say, I'm sorry," said Michael Kuhnhausen.
After laughing at that statement, Susan Kuhnhausen began to cry. She was grateful her former husband apologized but she was also happy to know he too is suffering. Michael Kuhnhausen pled guilty to soliciting to commit aggravated murder last month and was sentenced to 10-years in prison.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Fifty-eight alleged Ergenekon members are currently in jail pending trial

According to news reports, the indictment in the investigation into Ergenekon, a gang allegedly plotting to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), government, has been completed by the prosecutor and will be submitted to court this week. Fifty-eight alleged Ergenekon members are currently in jail pending trial, and the indictment is reported to charge 85 suspects, including retired Gen. Veli Küçük and Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek -- both currently jailed as part of the investigation -- with various crimes.According to the press, 60 of the document's 2,500 pages are devoted to evidence linking the Council of State attack to Ergenekon. According to press reports Osman Yıldırım, a key suspect in the Council of State shooting, confessed to having taken a gun used in the attack by hit man Alparslan Arslan from ex-army officer Muzaffer Tekin, who is currently in jail over alleged involvement in Ergenekon. Regarding a separate attack that is also related to the Council of State shooting, Yıldırım confessed that hand grenades thrown at the Cumhuriyet daily's offices in 2006 were provided to him by Tekin.
In operations earlier this week that resulted in the detention of more than 20 people in connection with Ergenekon -- including three retired senior army generals -- police seized documents showing that the ultranationalist group planned to begin a bloody campaign in the first week of July. Handwritten by retired Gen. Şener Eruygur, the former gendarmerie commander who now heads the staunchly secularist Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD), the documents speak of a four-stage plan that was supposed to begin with unauthorized anti-government rallies as early as July 7, eventually leading to a coup and the establishment of a new government.As part of the campaign of chaos, public confidence in the government and its economic performance was to be undermined. According to news reports, a search of Eruygur’s house last week yielded a document detailing a plot to assassinate Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, who in March filed an indictment against the AK Party at the Constitutional Court, demanding that it be shut down for promoting Islamism. The AK Party denies the charges.Among other Ergenekon suspects currently in jail pending trial are controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who has filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals at odds with Turkey’s official policies; Fikret Karadağ, a retired army colonel; and Sami Hoştan, a key figure in the 1996 Susurluk affair in which close links between a police chief, an internationally sought-after mafia boss and a southeastern Kurdish tribe leader whose people are funded by the state to fight separatist terrorism were exposed.Prosecutors are to submit a separate indictment for retired senior generals Hurşit Tolon and Eruygur and the powerful Ankara Chamber of Trade (ATO) Chairman Sinan Aygün, as well as four others arrested later in the course of the Ergenekon investigation.İstanbul chief prosecutor to announce Ergenekon indictment
İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin said yesterday that he would announce the indictment of the Ergenekon operation at the courthouse in Beşiktaş. Engin said the indictment was ready but is currently being transferred to the National Judicial Network Project (UYAP). The prosecutor also denied responsibility over the news appearing in the media about the content of the Ergenekon indictment, declining to comment on their factuality.
Meanwhile, an İstanbul court yesterday rejected a request from public prosecutor Zekeriya Öz to detain eight Ergenekon suspects after their release following interrogation.

California is about to begin desegregating its prison cells, and that worries inmates and prison officials alike.

For years, the state’s prison system used race as a criterion when initially designating cellmates. Prisons paired incoming white inmates with white, black with black, Hispanic with Hispanic. The unwritten policy aimed to avoid interracial tensions among gang members. But in 2005, after a 10-year legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California’s prisons can’t use race to determine cell assignments. So, in coming weeks, California plans to start desegregating cells in the largest state-prison system in the U.S. Among the first to be integrated will be Mule Creek State Prison in Ione and Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown. State officials say they expect California’s 28 other state prisons to follow suit by 2010. Some inmates expect an increase in violence to follow. “There’s going to be a lot of killing,” says Randy Torrez, a former Mexican Mafia gang member, in an interview at the Mule Creek prison, where he is an inmate. “These people have been fighting for the majority of their lives, and it just gets worse [in prison]. It’s not going to work.” California is one of only a few states to acknowledge the use of such systematic segregation in cells. Texas and Oklahoma once had similar practices in place but have dismantled them. Some other individual prisons in the U.S. probably use race as a criterion in choosing cellmates, says Chad Trulson, a professor of criminal justice at the University of North Texas, but there are no reliable data. Prof. Trulson, who has studied the effects of Texas’s desegregation program, says state facilities take varying approaches to handling gang activity and violence and few publicly acknowledge their approaches.

Nikica Jelavic aka Boxer and the Boys from Knezija

Nikica Jelavic (38) called Boxer, was born in Gabela near Capljine. He finished high school and served his compulsory military service in Sarajevo. After serving in the army, Jelavic was a boxer for a while in the club “Metalac”, and this is why he gained the nickname “Boxer”. During the eighties, he mainly worked as a bouncer at various discos, and during the nineties he started to trade money. Today, he lives with his wife and three children in a villa worth a few million kuna in Zagreb’s Cmrok.After the death of Zlatko Bagaric, Jelavic was called upon as the suspected successor to Bagaric’s criminal organization, and it is no secret that both of them were godfathers, and that they have always been very close. Shortly after Lazar Rodic killed the “big boss” of Zagreb’s underground in front of a café bar in the suburb of Dubrava, it is considered that Jelavic took over his business.
On the other hand, meaning opposition to Jelavic, is Vjeko Slisko, a man that the media said was the only person that could stand up to Bagaric’s clan.
Slisko slowly built his business with games machines, and started gathering an increasing number of supporters. Allegedly, Slisko started endangering the business that Jelavic was a successor to, and people from Bagaric’s clan were convinced that Slisko order the murder of Damir Dzebe.

It was Jelavic who was a suspect for the attempted murder of Slisko at the start of 1995. At the time, unknown perpetrators fired automatic weapons at Vjeko Slisko and Juraj Dodic on Maksimir Street. Slisko was seriously injured in the shooting, and the first suspect to be arrested was Nikica Jelavic. However, due to a lack of evidence, he was soon freed of charges.
Jelavic was in a similar position after another attempted murder on Vjeko lisko in 1999, after which followed the spectacular arrest of the criminal organization, the infamous “boys from Knezija”.He was accused of firing a handheld rocket (zolja) towards Slisko’s bullet-proof jeep in front of the cultural-information centre in Preradoviceva Street in the centre of Zagreb. The projectile, probably because of the close distance it was fired from, bounced off the car and hit the passer by Zoran Dominij in the stomach. Domini died instantly.
Jelavic was put on trial, a detailed reconstruction of the event was carried out, but he was released again.
After the death of an innocent passer by, the Croatian police embarked on the largest arrest mission on Zagreb’s underground. The morning after the rocket attack in the centre of Zagreb, the following people were arrested: Nikica Jelavic (37), Rajko Momcilovic Riba (31), Velibor Momcilovic Lola (26), Davor Zecevic Zec (32), Djordje Vuletic Djoko (37), Tvrtko Tomicic Tvrdi (38), Radovan Stetic (40) and Miroslav Vukovic Olio (40). They were all considered to be members of Bagaric’s clan. Jelavic was freed of all charges just like many from the “criminal organization”, and he even filed a law suit against Croatia for the time he spent in confinement.It is interesting to mention that after the boys from Knezija were arrested, Slisko told the press on one occasion that he does not know anybody from that group of people, and that he has absolutely nothing against them, and that he would not recognize Nikica Jelavic if they met on the street. In an attempt to explain to the police why there have been four attempted murders on him, Slisko said that it does not have anything to do with crime. Slikso gave the inspector an counter question “They shot at the Pope, does that mean that he is a criminal?”.

From a coffin for Franjo Tudjman to a building in Laniste
Jelavic has also been charged with other things besides running a criminal organization, for which 20 criminal acts are tied. He has been charged with the extortion of four million kuna from Vladimir Hartek and 20 million kuna from the company Kombial, which is owned by Ivan Majher, as well as hundreds of thousands of kuna from the doctor Boris Ljahnicky, which he carried out with his alleged partners Blaz Petrovic and Zoran Pripuz. Jelavic held the company “Palma” with Pripuz, which works with funeral services. Certain sources have given information that says that Franjo Tudjman’s coffin was ordered from Jelavic’s company.
Jelavic was arrested yesterday in Slovenia for deceit in a court proceeding in Germany. According to Interpol, he is also wanted for theft and an illegal stay. Now Jelavic has turned to construction work. According to Globus, he has the main word as far as the construction of the new neighbourhood in Laniste is concerned, which is located next to the Zagreb’s future Arena (sports hall). He is also into a management job by controlling the career of his nephew and former player for the Hajduk football club, Nikica Jelavic.However, now the uncrowned king of Zagreb’s underground will delay his business plans in Croatia, because he will probably face a two month stay in a Slovenian prison, after which he will move to the interior of Germany’s justice system.

Donta Cordell Edwards, 31-year-old owner and CEO of Grownman Records, was found dead April 15, 2007, along a freeway on the west side of Detroit.

A local rap music producer, implicated in an extensive federal investigation involving drug trafficking and its connection to criminal street gangs, is dead and authorities are saying very little about the circumstances of the slaying.Donta Cordell Edwards, 31-year-old owner and CEO of Grownman Records, was found dead April 15, 2007, along a freeway on the west side of Detroit.Whoever killed the man known for his work with local rap group Dope Boy Mafia cut off his hands, shot him in the head and set fire to his remains, authorities said, making the corpse difficult to identify. More than a year elapsed before family members learned he was dead.Edwards, whose mother said he wore a tattoo on his neck that read "BMF" — an acronym for Black Mafia Family, was being sought on an outstanding FBI warrant for drug trafficking.There are no suspects in the slaying and there have been no arrests, Detroit police Officer Leon Rahmaan said last week.Detroit police sought help from television show "America's Most Wanted."Edwards appears on the show's Web site as "Handless John Doe.""The body was dumped on the side of the road, with no effort to conceal it, in the middle of a roadway construction site," according to the posting, the exact date of which is not noted.
"The victim had several distinctive tattoos, but police were not able to learn any other information about this man. That's because after he had been killed by a gunshot to his head, his hands had been cut off and he had been set on fire. Without fingerprints to identify the victim, and with the rest of the body badly burned, it was hard to even know where to start."
The victim was not wearing any clothes when he was found, so there were no clues to be found there, the posting said."Detectives did find pieces of black plastic and duct tape on the victim's arms and near the body. This made it appear that the body had been partially covered by plastic trash bags at one point.
"Once the body has been identified, police believe that they will be much closer to solving this murder mystery, and finding justice for this brutalized victim."
It's a sentiment echoed by Edwards' mother, Carmen Jackson of Dayton. "He was loved by his family," she said.

Mexican police are investigating a number of classified ads on the internet which purport to be from hitmen offering the services.

Mexican police are investigating a number of classified ads on the internet which purport to be from hitmen offering the services. The ads can be found alongside ones for private tuition or domestic help. In one of them, a person describing himself as an ex-military killer offers "discreet, professional services" for $6,000 (£3,000). Hired killers are a problem across a country which has seen at least 1,400 killings this year. Most of the killings are related to drug cartels battling for control of the illegal drugs trade to the US. Reports say the cartels have camps to train killers. The dead include dealers and gunmen as well as more than 400 police officers and other public officials, this year. Some 25,000 troops are now deployed around Mexico to try to break the cartels. But correspondents say an ineffective justice system means many killers are never caught. That may be why they are prepared to publically look for work. In the online adverts on one classified site, one advert reads: "Assassin ex-military professional and discreet. Work guaranteed in 10 days or less. Have worked in Spain. $6,000. Serious requests only" and gives a hotmail address as a contact. Another offering "hitman for hire" asks: "Problems with a certain person? Do you want me to solve it? Write to me. 100% professional, we don't take money in advance." The classified ads site also appears to be a place where those needing the services of a killer might go. One advert in the Wanted section reads: "I need to contact a killer for a probable contract in the DF (Federal District of Mexico) must be reliable. it is a simple job." Police spokesman Miguel Amelio said the problem of hitmen is one that "the whole country is facing: people who offer their service and charge for killing someone".
He told the Reforma newspaper that police had not ruled out the fact that the ads were fake, but all were being investigated.

Philippines corruption and extrajudicial killings

The image of an “activist” Supreme Court, nurtured by Chief Justice Reynato Puno and cultivated by his predecessors, was demolished in just 18 pages.
The two dissenting opinions, penned by Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales, criticized the majority of cop-out when they dismissed for being moot the petition filed by Iloilo Vice Governor Rolex Suplico on the botched $329 million National Broadband Network (NBN) project.
Without holding their punches, Carpio and Morales said the Supreme Court (SC) shirked from its constitutional duty of exercising its check and balance function against abuses, whether these are potential or imminent.
Chief Justice Puno, picking up from what his predecessors had left behind, has been reinforcing the activist image of the court by exercising its rule-making power under the Constitution. The High Court only recently held a summit to improve access to justice by the poor, a follow-up to the extrajudicial killings summit held last year. Two of the outputs from that summit were the writ of habeas data and writ of amparo.The Suplico ruling, however, could further reinforce perceptions that the Court is actually beholden to the President.
In a majority decision written by Associate Justice Ruben Reyes, the High Court junked Suplico’s petition for being moot and academic since the government had already cancelled the controversial contract with ZTE Corp.. Suplico had asked the Court to declare the contract null and void for constitutional violations and bidding violations.The project triggered fresh resignation calls on President Arroyo after it was revealed that First Gentleman Miguel “Mike” Arroyo and resigned Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos allegedly acted in behalf of ZTE in exchange for huge commissions. Jose “Joey” de Venecia, son and namesake of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, disclosed at a Senate hearing that Mr. Arroyo and Abalos pressured him to back out from the project. The younger De Venecia was president of Amsterdam Holdings Inc, which lost out to ZTE in bagging the NBN contract.The controversy prompted Abalos to resign from Commission on Elections (Comelec) and caused the transfer of then National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chair Romulo Neri to the Commission on Higher Education.
It also spawned judicial questions on the nature and extent of executive privilege.Apparently recognizing the political storm generated by the project, the Court said that part of its judicial role is to strengthen political stability. “Pontificating on issues which no longer legitimately constitute an actual case or controversy will do more harm that good to the nation. Wise exercise of judicial discretion militates against resolving the academic issues,” the Court said.“Where there is no more live subject of controversy, the Court ceases to have a reason to render any ruling or make any pronouncements,” it added. Ten other justices concurred with Reyes’s ponencia while three—Carpio, Carpio-Morales and Ma. Austria-Martinez dissented. Justice Minita Chico-Nazario was on official leave.
Outvoted, the minority questioned the new-found judicial prudence of the majority.
In their separate dissents, Carpio and Morales argued that the petition warranted a decision based on the merits and not on technicality. They argued the Court should have made a categorical declaration that the contract was null and void from the beginning.In arguing against the dismissal, Carpio pointed out that the case “puts to the test the efficacy of constitutional and statutory proscriptions designed precisely to prevent such contracts.”He added: “The Court has the duty to resolve the important issues…to prevent a recurrence of government contracts that violate the Constitution and existing statutes.”In his 31-page dissent, Carpio argued that there is no question that the contract was null and void since it was awarded and signed without an appropriation from Congress and without the benefit of public bidding.He reminded his colleagues of their constitutional duty to uphold check and balance, pointing out that such anomalous contracts can be repeated.
“If our democratic institutions are to be strengthened, this Court must not shirk from its primordial duty to preserve and uphold the Constitution,” Carpio said. “It is time to put an end to government procurement contracts, amounting to tens of billions of pesos, exceeding even the annual budget of the judiciary, that are awarded and signed without an appropriation from Congress and the required public bidding.”In her separate dissent, Carpio-Morales reminded the majority that such anomalous contracts are bound to be repeated and that the cancellation of the contract was “not an excuse for the Court to decide the petitions on the merits.”
She also reminded that the Court of three cases, Province of Batangas v. Romulo and Manalo v. Calderon, and most recently, David v. Arroyo, where the Court did not hesitate to resolve the issues despite supervening events that made the cases moot.
In the David v. Arroyo, which was incidentally penned by Reyes, Carpio-Morales pointed out that the “Court decided the case on the merits notwithstanding the recall by the National Police on the restrictive custody orders against the petitioners.”Although the petition was declared moot, the SC ruled on it based on the merits “as the matter is capable of repetition or susceptible of recurrence.”

Contract Killings

Members of JLF are primarily involved in committing dacoity, contract killings and extortion but claim to be Naxalites

The Jharkhand Liberation Front (JLF), which has been active in certain parts of Jharkhand, has been declared outlawed.
However, the government’s action is akin to conceding to the demands of the outfit. The JLF had always wanted to find a place on the list of banned organisations.
Director-general of police Vishnu Dayal Ram said JLF is a gang of robbers and has nothing to do with ideology.
“It is an organisation with the label of Maoists but the members are all criminals. The members of JLF are primarily involved in committing dacoity, contract killings and extortion but claim to be Naxalites,” said Ram.
The government would not have passed the ban order but the “criminal gang” had unleashed a reign of terror in Khunti, Gumla and certain areas of rural Ranchi and West Singhbhum, said the police chief.
Sources in the police headquarters said such outfits, which indulge in criminal activities in the garb of ideology, do not merit to be declared outlawed but the police were facing difficulties in carrying out anti-insurgency operations in Naxalite-infested areas. “JLF members enter Naxalite zones and this cause lots of problems for people and the police. The law-enforcers are unaware if they are dealing with Naxalites or criminals,” explained a police officer.
JLF was known as Jharkhand Liberation Tiger and was headed by Suresh Gope

Bulgaria is struggling to cope with organised crime with a wave of unsolved contract killings and allegations of official collusion in mafia networks

European Union funding worth up to £475 million will be withheld from Bulgaria amid "serious" Brussels concerns that fraud is linked to corruption and organised crime.
European Commission report which criticises Bulgaria over the administration of EU subsidies that are being looted by officials working hand in hand with the mafia.
"Bulgaria itself has to make the commitment to cleanse its administration and ensure that the generous support it receives from the EU actually reaches its citizens and is not siphoned off by corrupt officials, operating together with organised crime," concludes the report. In the run-up to becoming an EU member in January 2007, Bulgaria benefited and continues to receive cash worth £1.7 billion from European programmes – known as PHARE, SAPARD and ISPA - which are designed to help Sofia manage future Brussels funding, not including farm payments, worth £5.5 billion over the next five years.
"Bulgaria is experiencing difficulties in many of these programmes and has this demonstrate that sound financial management structures are in place and operating effectively," the Commission says of the report. "There have been serious allegations of irregularities as well as suspicions of fraud and conflicts of interest in the award of contracts." The Commission is angry at Bulgaria's "lack of or will to use enforcement powers to remedy irregularities and fraud" with public funding aimed at helping the EU's poorest member state by cash transfers from the rest of Europe. "The lack of firm commitment and results in the fight against corruption and organised crime is worrying. It impacts directly on Bulgaria's administrative capacity and hence its ability to ensure the sound management and efficient delivery of EU funds," says the report.
"Bulgaria needs not only to enhance substantially its administrative capacity but also drastically curb opportunities for high level corruption and effectively fight organized crime."
Bulgaria's 7.7 million people face the EU's lowest wages, averaging around £150 a month, the country's and the per capita gross domestic product in 2005 was $3,328, compared with a European average of $29,207.
The country is struggling to cope with organised crime with a wave of unsolved contract killings and allegations of official collusion in mafia networks this year.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Advocate Dewald Reynierse was shot in the head by professional hunter Chris van Wyk

Advocate Dewald Reynierse was shot in the head by professional hunter Chris van Wyk as he left his farm at Molopo-Oog near Mafikeng.North West police said Van Wyk’s live-in lover of 10 years, Lisa Botha, left him about three weeks ago to live with Reynierse.At about 6.30am, Van Wyk intercepted the couple as they left for work.Van Wyk fired one rifle shot and the bullet penetrated the windscreen of Reynierse double cab bakkie.“He was hit in the head and died on the spot.“Botha, who was following, saw the incident. She stopped her Toyota Conquest and started to flee on foot but was shot in the face and fell. She also died on the spot,” the police statement said.Van Wyk then went to his house and shot himself in the chest with the same rifle.Superintendent Keaobaka Moses said police did not know why Van Wyk had committed the murders and suicide.Van Wyk’s younger brother Eric said his brother had been awarded a contract as a professional hunter in Botswana and was to travel there in two months’ time.Meanwhile, North West MEC for community safety Phenye Vilakazi has sent condolences to the bereaved families.“Our stance is that we encourage all South Africans to seek help from professional organisations when they experience personal problems,” said Vilakazi.

Goldy Thompson's aggravated murder trial

Describing the bloody scene inside a boarded-up Ohio Street home as a "horror movie," Toledo police Sgt. Tom Kosmyna testified in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on the first day of Goldy Thompson's aggravated murder trial.
"It almost didn't look real, there was so much blood," he said. "It was like out of a horror movie or something."Sergeant Kosmyna was one of several witnesses to testify yesterday about the 2006 murders of Michael York, Kenneth Nicholson, and Todd Archambeau. The three were killed Oct. 24, 2006, inside Archambeau's house at 410 Ohio St.Thompson, 31, faces three counts of aggravated murder, each with gun specifications for the slayings. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Yesterday was the second time in about a month that a Lucas County jury heard about the triple murder and saw bloody images of the crime's gruesome aftermath. Thompson's brother and co-defendant, Stoney Thompson, 28, was sentenced June 27 to three consecutive life terms without parole after being convicted by a jury of three counts of aggravated murder for the crime.
In his opening statements yesterday, Assistant County Prosecutor Jeremy Santoro said the state would prove Goldy Thompson was equally responsible.
"It took more than one killer to facilitate these brutal killings," Mr. Santoro said.
In the defense's opening statements, Thompson's attorney, Mark Geudtner, said his client was not involved in the deaths."The evidence will not prove Goldy Thompson was present or involved in any way," Mr. Geudtner said.He argued the prosecutors would present no scientific or direct evidence, such as fingerprints, DNA, or fibers, to link Thompson to the scene.
"There's nothing but speculation and innuendos," he said of the case against his client.
In addition to Sergeant Kosmyna, jurors also heard a 911 call about the killings, listened to testimony from other police offers who were at the crime scene, and saw a police video "walk through" of the house where the killings took place. Deputy Coroner Cynthia Beisser testified about the injuries sustained by York, who was shot in the head and partially decapitated.
The trial temporarily was delayed at about 3 p.m. when people were evacuated to the courthouse basement because of a tornado warning. The delay lasted about 45 minutes.
The trial resumes today before Judge Ruth Ann Franks.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Three men were convicted Tuesday in the 2006 contract killing of a mayoral candidate in Russia's far east

Three men were convicted Tuesday in the 2006 contract killing of a mayoral candidate in Russia's far east in 2006 just days before the vote.
Dmitry Fotyanov was gunned down in October 2006 outside his campaign office in Dalnegorsk, a small town some 5,700 miles east of Moscow.
Prosecutors said defendant Alexander Fedotov arranged for Fotyanov's killing over fears that Fotyanov's election would hurt his business interests.
A jury at Primorsky Regional Court in Vladivostok convicted Fedotov and two other suspects of involvement in Fotyanov's killing and illegal possession of weapons, court spokesman Sergei Ignatenko said. They will be sentenced later this month.
The man accused of pulling the trigger remains at large. The jury acquitted two other defendants, citing lack of evidence.

Emergency legislation to prevent the collapse of dozens of murder convictions that depended on anonymous witnesses will be announced within days.

Emergency legislation to prevent the collapse of dozens of murder convictions that depended on anonymous witnesses will be announced within days.Preparations for most murder cases were put on hold last night as ministers scrambled to change the law to allow the use of witnesses too frightened to give their names in court.
New rules – enabling anonymous witnesses to appear in court behind screens or via video links – are being drawn up and will be rushed through Parliament in four weeks.
The crisis follows a judgement by the law lords last week that it was a fundamental principle of English law that a defendant should be able to know his accuser to be able to challenge their evidence.The ruling led to a judge at the Old Bailey yesterday halting the £6m trial of two men accused of murder. Police suggested last night that 40 murder convictions in London alone had depended heavily on anonymous evidence and the number nationwide could exceed 100.Ministers are desperate to avoid a deluge of appeals against convictions in high-profile gangland killings. Whitehall sources added, however, that a relatively small number of convictions wholly relied on anonymous evidence.Lawyers for two of the four men found guilty of killing the Birmingham teenagers Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare said last night they planned to challenge the guilty verdicts.
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, met senior Tory and Liberal Democrat spokesmen to negotiate parliamentary time for hastily-planned legislation. As government officials started work on the measure, Mr Straw described the issue as his top priority.Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, speaking at a meeting of senior police officers in Liverpool, said she shared their frustration. She said: "This is something we are looking at very urgently including, if necessary, looking at whether we can change the law. I certainly accept, and I said some time ago, that there is a problem here that we need to solve."The implications of the Lords' ruling were thrown into stark relief at the Old Bailey when Judge David Paget told the jury that the two-month case had been "derailed" by the decision. He explained: "You have heard evidence from a number of witnesses that you should not have heard."
Douglas Johnson, 27, and David Austin, 41, will be retried over the alleged contract killing of an east London businessman, Charles Butler, 50, next year.
Ravi Sukul, a defence lawyer in the case, welcomed the move, arguing that anonymity put defendants at a "serious disadvantage".He said: "They were never in a position to investigate the character of those witnesses to establish, for example, whether they are credible witnesses, whether their evidence ought to be believed. The bottom line is, in my opinion, that fairness has prevailed."Growing numbers of murder prosecutions have used anonymous witnesses, who were allowed to give evidence through screens, adopt false names and disguise their voices.
Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, head of New Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command, called for urgent government action. He said: "The implications for the fight against organised crime and terrorism are very serious. We urgently need this redressed, by legislation if necessary.
"It is catastrophic. There is too much principle and not enough pragmatism in the criminal justice system."

Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said anonymity had become a vital tool in difficult prosecutions.
He said: "Anonymity has been used in a tiny, tiny minority of cases and the fundamental principle that you are entitled to hear from your accuser has not been breached. These powers are used only in rare and exceptional circumstances – the judiciary have supported them for a long time and there are rigorous checks and balances."
The Crown Prosecution Service said the number of cases which would be affected by the ruling was not known. A spokeswoman said: "We have asked our prosecutors to seek an adjournment on all cases using anonymous witnesses to allow us to assess the implications of the judgment."
Nick Herbert, shadow Justice Secretary, said he shared police concern. "The public must be protected from the most violent criminals. We are already discussing these issues constructively with the Government."

contract was taken out on former boxer Mike Tyson's life

A contract was taken out on former boxer Mike Tyson's life after he ordered the killing of the men responsible for murdering his bodyguard, according to witness testimony on Monday in a gang trial.The plot to kill Tyson was planned to be carried out in the summer of 2000, two months after the June death of minder Darryl Baum, the man accused of shooting rapper 50 Cent nine times in May of the same year.
Gang member Shelby Henderson testified in Brookyn, New York Federal Court in the trial against member Abubakr Raheem. Henderson claimed that when he learned of the $50,000 bounty Tyson had offered to have their members killed, gang leader Damion 'World' Hardy planned a retaliation.The plot was later abandoned.
Gang member Shelby Henderson testified in Brookyn, New York Federal Court in the trial against member Abubakr Raheem. Henderson claimed that when he learned of the $50,000 (£25,000) bounty Tyson had offered to have their members killed, gang leader Damion 'World' Hardy planned a retaliation.The plot was later abandoned.
Raheem is currently on trial accused of driving the getaway car during two killings.
Tyson confessed earlier this month (Jun08) he's convinced he will be murdered because he has so many enemies in his life.The 41-year-old told the New York Post, "I already expect the worst to happen... I expect one day somebody'll blow my brains out over some Bs (bulls**t). No one gives a s**t about Mike Tyson. Someone accuses me of a horrible crime, others say, 'Yeah, he's capable of that. Mike probably did it.'"

Russian investigators say two top public notaries for the Moscow region have been shot dead near the capital

Russian investigators say two top public notaries for the Moscow region have been shot dead near the capital.A spokesman for the general-prosecutor office's investigative staff, Vladimir Markin, says the men were shot in the head and died late Thursday in the town of Solnechnogorsk on Moscow's northern outskirts.
Markin has identified the victims as Vladimir Chelyshev, chairman of Moscow region's Notary Chamber, and its executive director, Oleg Petrinsky.Markin said Friday that investigators believe the killings were linked to the victims' professional activities.Contract killings still occur regularly in Russia, where business conflicts often turn violent and the government is seeking closer control over economic activity.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Sentenced Chiman Rai to life in prison convicted of ordering a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law

sentenced Chiman Rai to life in prison Friday, the day after he was convicted of ordering a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law.Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.
Sparkle Rai, then 22, was strangled and stabbed 8 years ago. And while her breath was being choked from her, she reached toward her baby daughter, Analla.
Those are just some of the facts that make the murder so different from the more than 100 killings that Fulton County suffers every year and why Chiman Rai should be sentenced to death, prosecutor Sheila Ross told a Superior Court jury today.
"This particular murder, outrageous, wantonly vile," Ross said. "The brutal murder of this young mother not only justifies but demands the death penalty."
Rai, 68, had Sparkle killed because she married his son a month earlier, and Rai viewed the young woman as unacceptable because she was black, prosecutors have said.
Sparkle Rai was murdered April 26, 2000 in her Union City apartment and the case went unsolved until a break two years ago indicated that her relationship with Rajeeve "Ricky" Rai, now 27, was the motive.
Defense lawyer Don Samuel argued that while Rai may have hired a hit man, he didn't order such a brutal killing. And while there was evidence that Rai, a native of India, believed his son's marriage would cast a stigma on his family in caste-conscious Indian society, Samuel said Rai wasn't a racist and had strong support in the African-American community in Jackson, Miss., where he had run a grocery and other businesses."It is not necessary for you to kill Chiman Rai," Samuel told jurors. "This was not a crime motivated by greed and while I know the prosecution disagrees with me, this was not a hate crime."He did it out of some perverted belief that it was in the best interest of his son."Donna Lowry, Sparkle Rai's stepmother, testified and asked jurors to think of Sparkle's child Analla, who is being raised by Lowry and Sparkle's father, Bennet Reid.
"I'm here to speak for someone whose voice will not be heard in this courtroom, she is too young," said Lowry, a reporter for WXIA-TV.
She said the last time she saw Sparkle Rai was with Analla at church on Easter Sunday 2000."It is very painful for me to think of what happened to her three days later," Lowry said.On the day her mother's body was found, Analla never cried as if she was in shock, Lowry said. And then for months, the baby would wake up screaming in the night.The family has told Analla that her mother is in heaven and have tried to shield the elementary school student from the details of her mother's death, Lowry said.She noted the Analla is inquisitive but never has asked how her mother died. Lowry dreads the day that changes."Someday she will ask and that will be one of the hardest conversations we'll ever have." Lowry said. "Then she'll know she was there when it happened."

Narayan Thadani and Douglas Enor Tobar are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and using interstate commerce to facilitate murder-for-hire

Narayan Thadani, 60, and Douglas Enor Tobar, 40, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and using interstate commerce to facilitate murder-for-hire. Rosen will hold a hearing in their case at 1 p.m. The charges stem from the murders of Aasha Chhabra, 56, and her husband, Brij Chhabra, 65, who were found dead in their Troy home March 11. Two other Texas men, Miguel Angel Servando-Ortiz and Nelson Mendoza, stand charged with carrying out the execution-style killings. Investigators said in an affidavit that Thadani had managed investments for Aasha Chhabra until she sued him for mismanagement and a court froze his assets. Thadani asked Tobar, his landscaper, if he knew someone who would carry out the killings and Tobar put him in touch with Servando-Ortiz and Mendoza, according to the affidavit.

Mike Tyson's in an obscure racketeering case have linked the once-feared boxer to talk of two murder schemes in his old neighborhood.

Mike Tyson's taking a beating. This time, it's not in the ring or the tabloids.
Instead, witnesses in an obscure racketeering case have linked the once-feared boxer to talk of two murder schemes in his old neighborhood. They claim he bankrolled one. In the other, Tyson himself was considered a potential target, but was spared for religious reasons.Tyson has denied knowing anything about the mayhem surrounding a ruthless drug gang at the center of the case. But his name was dropped several times during recent testimony at the trial of an alleged getaway driver in two slayings.
At closing arguments Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Haran reminded jurors the "evidence was that Mike Tyson put up $50,000 to kill" two men. Defense attorney Richard Levitt cautioned that the witness who described the Tyson murder-for-hire plot is "unquestionably a liar."
Tyson issued a statement calling the accounts "totally untrue." He said he was "tired of people throwing my name around."
Deliberations at the federal trial in Brooklyn were expected to begin Tuesday.
Tyson's name emerged during an investigation of the Cash Money Brothers, a gang led by brothers Damion "World" Hardy and Myron "Wise" Hardy. The gang, which lifted its name from the film "New Jack City," had turned a Bedford-Stuyvesant housing project into a violent drug market, prosecutors said.
Federal authorities in 2004 charged several men in a racketeering indictment with multiple counts of murder, kidnapping, drug dealing and gun possession. Some later pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the government against Abubakr Raheem, the reputed wheelman, and World, who faces the death penalty at separate trial later this year.Raheem has denied the charges. He admits he knew the killers, but as a Muslim, didn't approve of them."Was he at peace with them? Absolutely not," his attorney said Monday.Prosecutors scoffed at Raheem's claims that he sought to steer the men toward Islam."He's sort of the spiritual adviser to perhaps the most dangerous group of gangsters in the city," Haran said.
Authorities have alleged that Wise's killing in 1999 sparked a bloodbath in Bed-Stuy. Among those killed: Tyson's friend and bodyguard, Darryl "Homicide" Baum.
At trial, a turncoat gangster testified after learning Baum was gunned down in 2000 that Tyson put out a $50,000 contract on World. Asked why, the cooperator said the boxer was "close friends with Homicide."
A crew associate also took the stand and described how, after word of the boxer's bounty spread, he overheard the gangsters saying Tyson needed to be rubbed out.
"I said, that's outrageous," the witness recalled.Later, the same witness said, he and Raheem were with a group that spotted a Range Rover they believed was carrying Tyson. One of the men wanted to kill the boxer but the idea was "squashed right there" because "Mike Tyson was a Muslim," the witness said.
In 1986, a 20-year-old Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion. He lost his title four years later, knocked out by Buster Douglas. Tyson was imprisoned for three years after a 1992 rape conviction in Indiana. In 1997, he bit Evander Holyfield's ear during a bout. He since has been beset by legal and financial problems.Tyson interrupted his training in a 2000 comeback bout in Scotland to attend Baum's funeral in Brooklyn. He won his fight against Lou Savarese in 38 seconds and dedicated the victory to the bodyguard.
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