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Contract Killings


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Mark Benschop, who has alleged that he was informed that persons were contracted to kill him.

Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene has expressed concerns over allegations of persons being contracted to kill others.
The top cop has since launched investigations into such allegations.
This follows a two-hour meeting with Mark Benschop, who has alleged that he was informed that persons were contracted to kill him.
According to an article that appeared on Benschop’s website,, the community activist, who was once charged for treason, has learnt of a plot to kill him but has chosen not to report the matter to the police, since he believes that the force cannot be trusted.
Benschop alleges that a man went to his Robb Street office and informed him that money has been paid to have him killed.
In a press release issued last evening, the police said that, cognizant of an article in the print media on Friday, which stated that community activist Mark Benschop had said that a man had gone to his office and informed him that money had been paid to kill him, and that he had chosen not to report the matter to the police, the acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Henry Greene, has since met with Mark Benschop.
The police said that Benschop related his concerns for his own safety, based on the reports he had received that persons had been contracted to take his life.
The police say that efforts are also being made to locate trade unionist Lincoln Lewis, who has said publicly that he was fearful for his life, after attempts were made by persons to enter his home, and who appears to have gone into hiding.
Lewis has also expressed his reluctance to report the matter to the police.
In an invited comment late last night, Benschop told this newspaper that, despite his meeting with the top cop, he is still concerned about the negative public perception of the police and the Commissioner himself.
According to Benschop, he is unwilling to name the ‘drug lords’ who are allegedly involved in the plot to kill him.
However, he indicated that he has disclosed the names of these persons to other law enforcement agencies outside of Guyana.
“As such, I have expressed to the Commissioner of Police my disappointment about how the police force handles these matters. I also expressed to him that there are still some contract killings in Guyana,” Benschop told this newspaper.
He said that the threat to his life is something that he is taking very seriously.
“This is no publicity stunt. I have all the publicity I want to last for a lifetime. I don’t need this kind of publicity,” Benschop said.
He indicated that he believes that the Police Commissioner has acknowledged that the threat is real.
“He has to take a position on these phantom killers. Rein them in! I also spoke about rogue cops who are also a part of the phantom killers,” he added.
Benschop said that his meeting with the commissioner was as a result of a request by the top cop, and, as such, he used the opportunity to let Greene know about his concerns.
Last week veteran trades unionist Lincoln Lewis had expressed similar sentiments about trusting the Guyana Police Force, following allegations that his home was visited by unknown characters, forcing him to flee to safety

100 police officers staged a raid against the Hariri crime family in Umm el-Fahm

100 police officers staged a raid against the Hariri crime family in Umm el-Fahm on Wednesday morning. The police searched three buildings owned by the infamous clan, known for their involvement in protection rackets and arms dealing, police said.
"This is directly linked to the upswing in criminal activity in Netanya, and we believe that some members of the Hariri crime family have been helping the Netanya mobsters in their ongoing feuds," Sharon District Police spokesman Yitzhak Shemer said. Shemer said he was not at liberty to discuss what was uncovered in the raid, but said it was successful. Taking on the Hariri family in Umm el-Fahm, however, is no easy task.The Israeli Arab clan, which police sources have described as a "strong, family-based organization," dominates the underworld in the country's north, and has been accused of gun running, drug dealing, extortion and racketeering, among other crimes. The Hariri name has also been linked to a series of gangland assassinations in recent years, including the June 11 car-bombing death of Tel Aviv attorney Yoram Haham, who was involved in a case that ended with the conviction of several Hariri family members. Umm el-Fahm is also regarded as somewhat hostile by security forces. Police raided an Islamic center in the city last month, shutting the center down for alleged ties to terrorist activity. These are some of the reasons a large force was deployed in the area on Wednesday. Police said the sensitivity of the area, combined with the number of buildings that needed to be searched, resulted in the "overwhelming force" brought by various police units, including local police officers, special Yasam officers, and members of the National Investigations Unit. Moshe Mizrahi, the former head of the police's Investigations Department, said that the Hariri family has long been a major player in the county's organized crime scene, and that pressuring them was the right thing to do. "This is exactly what the police have to do," Mizrahi said. "They have to keep pressure on the large families all of the time and not let up.
"Just like the security forces work against terrorists around the clock, we have to do the same thing with organized crime." Mizrahi also said police were likely looking for weapons in the Hariri-owned buildings on Wednesday, echoing assertions that the clan is known for their sales of arms to various crime syndicates across the country. "They've also begun teaming up with other families," Mizrahi said. "There's been more and more cooperation between certain groups, and the map of those relationships is known to police." Mizrahi said that one outcome of such cooperation is a greater ability to build alliances in mob feuds and engage in contract killings throughout the country. "Let's say [a particular crime family] wants to take someone out in Jerusalem, well, they approach the right people who have a guy in Jerusalem, and they can get it done, even if they're up north, or somewhere else," he said. Hariri family members have been assassination targets themselves. In 2004 the family's boss, Yihye Hariri, was gunned down outside an auto shop in Taibe, where the family was once based, relocating years ago to Umm el-Fahm and Jaljulia. That hit, apparently part of a feud with the Israeli-Arab Abdel Khader syndicate, brought the two families dangerously close to the brink of an all-out war. Mizrahi stressed that the only way to keep the families from battling in the streets of the country's cities is to constantly crack down on them.
"If we let up, then they'll only have time to get stronger," he said.

James Sullivan, who is serving life in prison for paying a hit man $25,000 to gun down Lita Sullivan.

James Sullivan, who is serving life in prison for paying a hit man $25,000 to gun down Lita Sullivan.The appeal was a last-ditch attempt to toss a 2006 murder conviction against Sullivan. A man carrying a dozen long-stemmed roses shot Lita Sullivan on the doorstep of her Atlanta town house in 1987, on the day of a hearing to discuss property distribution in the couple's divorce.Her death _ and the 19-year effort to prosecute her killer _ is one of the most high-profile cases in modern Atlanta history.James Sullivan's attorneys had argued that a search warrant used to get crucial evidence from Sullivan's $5 million Florida mansion was full of omissions and half-truths and relied on testimony from a confidential informant who had been arrested 38 times. The search yielded a diary and financial documents used in Sullivan's trial.Prosecutors defended the affidavit as "truthful and complete with the best information at the time." They said there was ample reason to search Sullivan's home even without the informant's testimony.In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Harold Melton, the court rejected Sullivan's claims.
"This evidence was sufficient to enable the jury to determine that (the) defendant was guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted beyond a reasonable doubt," he wrote.The case has gone on for more than two decades. In 1992, a federal judge dismissed charges that Sullivan violated interstate commerce laws by arranging his wife's murder through long-distance phone calls. Lita Sullivan's parents later won a $4 million wrongful death lawsuit _ which they say still hasn't been paid _ but James Sullivan wasn't charged with his wife's murder until 1998.
That was when Belinda Trahan told authorities Sullivan paid her ex-boyfriend, a trucker named Phillip Anthony Harwood, $25,000 to kill Lita Sullivan. Harwood was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a lesser crime.
Sullivan, who fled to Thailand after hearing of Harwood's arrest, was arrested four years later after a local resident spotted him on "America's Most Wanted." Georgia's top court Monday upheld the murder conviction of a millionaire for hiring an assassin posing as a flower delivery man to kill his 35-year-old socialite wife.
The Georgia Supreme Court's unanimous ruling rejected arguments for a new trial from attorneys representing James Sullivan, who is serving life in prison for paying a hit man $25,000 to gun down Lita Sullivan.

Monday, 15 September 2008

13 mercenaries 'Los Rastrojos' killed by the Colombian military

The Colombian military said it had killed 13 mercenaries in clashes with the ultra-right-wing death commando 'Los Rastrojos' in the country's south-west region.
A military spokesman said that the recent clash took place in Argelia, in the province of Cauca. The paramilitary unit was formed after the dissolution of the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) starting in 2004, when the government of President Alvero Uribe launched a reconciliation and amnesty programme with AUC.
The new 'Rastrojos' unit went to work for the drug cartel of Norte de Valle after 2004 and is blamed for a number of contract killings. Colombia is the world's largest producer of cocaine, which earns hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Both AUC and the left wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which still operates, have been inextricably linked to the drug trade during decades of the South American country's civil conflict.

Miguel Angel Servando opted for guaranteed life in prison and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Facing a possible death penalty if convicted, one of two men charged in the alleged murder-for-hire of an elderly Troy couple opted for guaranteed life in prison and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Miguel Angel Servando agreed to the plea just before a hearing and trial was to begin. Attorneys said Servando hoped to avoid a possible death sentence in the March 11 contract killings of Brij Chhabra, 65, and his wife, Aasha, 56, in their home. A co-defendant, Nelson Mendoza, who Servando said Monday drove him to Michigan, awaits state charges. Federal murder-for-hire charges in Detroit are pending against two Texans, Narayan Thadani, 60, of Richmond and Doug Tabor, 40, of Houston. A condition of Servando's plea is that he cooperates in all related cases "It's very unusual for someone to plead guilty to life in prison without chance of parole, but it is an effort to avoid the death penalty," assistant Oakland County prosecutor Ken Frazee said later outside the courtroom. "He (Servando) knows a lot about these other men and the roles they played in the case."
The victims were killed because Aasha Chhabra had sought a $2 million inheritance embezzled by Thadani, investigators said. She and Thadani had been childhood friends in their native India and had both moved to the U.S. Several relatives and friends attempted to comfort the victims' daughter, Suman, in the courtroom. As Servando answered questions about what he did on March 11, she buried her face in her hands, knelt forward and sobbed. The family declined to be interviewed. Servando, 41, of Katy, Texas, and Mendoza, 37, of Houston were pulled over on Interstate 94 by Taylor Police for illegal dark tinted windows and rapid lane changes, police said.
When Mendoza consented to a search of the car -- his attorney, Howard Arnkoff, said Mendoza doesn't understand English and could never have given lawful consent -- police said they found a handgun under the passenger seat, a map to the Chhabra home, bloodstained documents and gloves, and Aasha Chhabra's passport.
Troy Police were contacted and went to the Chhabras' home, where officers found the couple found dead from gunshot wounds. Thadani asked his landscaper, Tabor, to find someone willing to kill for pay, and Tabor recruited Servando and Mendoza, both El Salvadoran nationals, according to court documents. Thadani and Tabor, both arrested by the FBI in Texas, are jailed without bond and scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court Sept. 25. Both could receive the death penalty if convicted. In a separate hearing Monday, Mendoza was advised of Servando's plea and that federal charges are pending. Servando will be sentenced on Oct. 24 before Judge Rae Lee Chabot. Although Michigan forbids the death penalty, under federal law, a person can be sentenced to death for certain crimes once transferred to the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

“My personal opinion is that these are so called contract killings,” Focus quoted Dimitrov as saying.

Two men were shot at around 8.35pm near Nikola Vaptsarov Boulevard, the Interior Ministry announced in a media statement.The two were parking a vehicle in front of a residential building when a third man opened fire. The assailant managed to escape after the shooting, according to the ministry’s official reports. One of the victims had managed to alert police after the attack. Both victims are aged 33. They are both hospitalised and their lives are in danger, the ministry’s media statement said.
According to Dnevnik daily, one of the victims was shot in the back of the neck. He had a criminal record for financial and credit crimes and had been fined as a result. The other victim was less seriously wounded. The newspaper quoted unofficial information that there was a third person in the car, who was the actual target of the assault, but who managed to escape.According to, the condition of the second victim, who had been shot seven times in the chest, was more serious. The first victim had been shot in the head but his life was not in danger. The two were attacked while parking a car in front of the residential building where one of them lived, said.The Interior Ministry’s chief secretary Pavlin Dimitrov was quoted as saying that the victims were business partners. One man apparently served as bodyguard to the other. The shooting probably stemmed from a financial dispute, Dimitrov said as quoted by news agency said that one of the victims was shot twice. One of the bullets injured his face, neck and left palm. He was conscious but his life was in danger. The second victim was shot seven times on the right side of the chest. Medics still had to extract two of the bullets. His fourth cervical vertebra was shattered, meaning he could be facing paralysis.
Focus quoted Dimitrov as confirming that one of the victims had a criminal record. Police had not received any tip-offs regarding threats to the victims. Dimitrov denied reports that a third person was in the car.Dimitrov said that he could not speculate on reasons for the assault. The contacts and the acquaintances of the victims were to be clarified. The weapon used in the crime had been identified. The victims were also carrying weapons, but this was legal, Dimitrov told journalists.
The situation in Sofia was dire, Dimitrov said when asked to comment on the fact that it was the city’s second serious attack within two days. Two blasts went off almost simultaneously in bars in Sofia on the evening of September 7 2008, injuring six people, including a pregnant woman. According to police, the bars were illegal brothels.“My personal opinion is that these are so called contract killings,” Focus quoted Dimitrov as saying.

Dominican Police arrested the son of Barahona senator Noe Sterling Vásquez, in connection with the execution of seven men

Dominican Police arrested the son of Barahona senator Noe Sterling Vásquez, in connection with the execution of seven men in Paya, Baní (south), and drug trafficking in the zone. Martin Sterling was turned over to Police by the lawmaker at 8 a.m., after the commission that investigates the massacre linked him to the drug trafficking case said to involve 1,300 kilos of cocaine, which led to the killings of seven Colombians. “He (Martin Sterling) is being interrogated, and if his involvement with the case is verified he’ll be taken to court restrictive measures placed against him,” said a source quoted by newspaper El Dia after the Police interrogation yesterday.Officials and “important” people are investigated in the case, whose names won’t be made public until information found by investigators is verified. In a related development, Armed Forces minister Pedro Rafael Peña yesterday said a military unit protects Peravia province senator Wilton Guerrero, whom drug traffickers have reportedly put out a RD$10 million contract on his life. "We have been providing him the necessary protection to prevent any kind problem with his physical integrity."Interviewed in the National Palace, Peña said the military services are collaborating regarding Guerrero’s denunciations of conspiracy by the Baní authorities with drug traffickers.

list of journalists who have been killed in Russia during the Putin presidency, compiled based on data of Russian-based Glasnost Defense Foundation an

Concern about the killings of Russian journalists in the several years up to 2007 has been voiced in many quarters. Russian authorities have been repeatedly criticized for not arresting and prosecuting the murderers, and critics have noted that many of the journalists killed were critical of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. [3]list of journalists who have been killed in Russia during the Putin presidency, compiled based on data of Russian-based Glasnost Defense Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists[1] [2] This list consists of journalists who died from all possible reasons.According to Reporters Without Borders, an international organization of journalists, 21 journalists have been murdered since March 2000. In 2007, the International News Safety Institute said Russia was the country with the second largest number of journalists killed in the previous 10 year
Ilyas Shurpayev, Dagestani journalist responsible for news coverage of Northern Caucasus on Channel One, was strangled with a belt in Moscow.[7]
Gaji Abashilov, chief of Dagestan outlet of VGTRK, shot in his car.
Magomed Yevloyev, owner of, shot in police custody[11][12][13].
Abdulla Alishayev, Dagestani journalist fatally wounded by unknown assailants.[14]
Konstantin Brovko, journalist of TV company "Gubernia" (Russian: "Губерния"), killed in Khabarovsk
Ivan Safronov, Military columninst of newspaper "Kommersant". Died in Moscow on March 2 - cause of death disputed.[15]
Vadim Kuznetsov, editor-in-chief of journal "World and home. Saint Petersburg", killed in Saint Petersburg
Vaghif Kochetkov, newspaper Trud (Labor), killed in Tula;
Ilya Zimin, he worked for NTV Russia television channel, killed in Moscow by an acquaintance;
Vyacheslav Akatov, special reporter, "Business Moscow" TV show, killed in Moscow Region;
Anton Kretenchuk, cameraman, 38th TV Channel, killed in Rostov-on-Don;
Yevgeny Gerasimenko, newspaper "Saratovsky Rasklad", Saratov;
Vlad Kidanov, freelance journalist, Cheboksary;
Alexander Petrov, editor-in-chief, "Right for Choice" magazine, killed near Omsk - in Altai Republic;
Vyacheslav Plotnikov, reporter, 41st TV Channel, Voronezh;
Anna Politkovskaya, observer, newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Moscow, shot in her apartment building's elevator;[16][17][18][19]
Anatoly Voronin, business chief of ITAR-TASS; Moscow, stabbed to death in his home
Pavel Makeyev, reporter for TNT-Pulse Company, Rostov-on-Don;
Magomedzaghid Varisov, Makhachkala;
Alexander Pitersky, Baltika Radio reporter, Saint Petersburg;
Vladimir Pashutin, newspaper Smolensky Literator, Smolensk;
Tamirlan Kazikhanov, press service head, Anti-Terrorist Center of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs's Main Department for the Southern Federal District, Nalchik;
Kira Lezhneva, reporter, newspaper "Kamensky Worker", Sverdlovsk Region.[20]
Yefim Sukhanov, ATK-Media, Archangelsk;
Farit Urazbayev, cameraman, Vladivostok TV/Radio Company, city of Vladivostok;
Adlan Khassanov, Reuters reporter, killed in Grozny;
Shangysh Mondush, correspondent for newspaper Khemchiktin Syldyzy, Tuva Republic;
Paul Klebnikov, editor of Russian version of Forbes magazine, Moscow;
Payl Peloyan, editor of Armyansky Pereulok magazine, Moscow;
Zoya Ivanova, BGTRK broadcaster, Republic of Buryatia;
Vladimir Pritchin, editor-in-chief of North Baikal TV/Radio Company, Republic of Buryatia;
Ian Travinsky, Saint Petersburg, killed in Irkutsk;[21]
Aleksei Sidorov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye, October 9, 2003, Togliatti. He was the second editor-in-chief of local newspaper, "Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye" to be shot to death. His predecessor, Valery Ivanov, was shot in April 2002. The newspaper was known for reporting on organized crime and corruption in the industrial city of Togliatti. [8]
Yuri Shchekochikhin, Novaya Gazeta, July 3, 2003, Moscow. Deputy editor of the Novaya Gazeta, he died just a few days before his scheduled trip to USA to discuss the results of his journalist investigation with FBI officials. He investigated "Three Whales Corruption Scandal" that involved high-ranking FSB officials. Shchekochikhin died from an "acute allergic reaction" to a substance that was presumably identified as thallium. [9]
Dmitry Shvets, TV-21 Northwestern Broadcasting, April 18, 2003, Murmansk. He was deputy director of the independent television station TV-21 Northwestern Broadcasting. He was shot dead outside his station offices. Shvets' colleagues said their station had received multiple threats for its reporting on influential local politicians. [10]
Natalia Skryl, the Nashe Vremya newspaper, Taganrog town;
Konstantin Pogodin, the Novoye Delo newspaper, Nizhni Novgorod city;
Valeri Batuev, Moscow News newspaper, Moscow;
Sergei Kalinovski, the Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Smolensk;
Vitali Sakhn-Val'da, photojournalist, Kursk town;
Leonid Shevchenko, the Pervoye Chteniye newspaper, Volgograd;
Valeri Ivanov, the chief editor for the Tol'yattinskoye Obozrenie newspaper, the Samara region;
Sergei Zhabin,the press service of the governor of the Moscow region;
Nikolai Vasiliev, Cheboksary city, Chuvashia;
Leonid Kuznetsov, the Mescherskaya Nov' newspaper, the Ryazan region;
Paavo Voutilainen, a former main editor of the Kareliya magazine, Kareliya;
Roddy Scott, the Frontline-TV TV Company, from Great Britain.
Alexandr Plotnikov, the Gostiny Dvor newspaper, Tyumen city;
Oleg Sedinko, the founder of the Novaya Volna TV and Radio Company, Vladivostok city;
Nikolai Razmolodin, the general director of the Europroject TV and Radio Company, Ulyanovsk town;
Igor Salikov, the chief of the Department of information safety of the Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper in Penza;
Leonid Plotnikov, the publishing house "Periodicals of the Mari-El", Yoshkar-Ola.[22]
Eduard Markevich, 29, editor and publisher of local newspaper Novy Reft in Sverdlovsk Region, was found dead (shot in the back) on September 18. He often criticized local officials and had received threatening telephone phone calls prior to the murder. [11] [23]
Vladimir Yatsina, February 20, 2000. A correspondent for ITAR-TASS, he was kidnapped and later killed by a group of Wahhabis in Chechnya [24]
Aleksandr Yefremov, May 12, 2000, Chechnya. A photojournalist of the western Siberian newspaper Nashe Vremya was killed in Chechnya when rebels blew up a military jeep in which he was riding. On previous assignments, Yefremov had won acclaim for his news photographs from the war-torn region. [12]
Igor Domnikov, from Novaya Gazeta, July 16, 2000, Moscow. Unknown assassin hit him repeatedly on the head with a hammer in the entryway of his apartment building in Moscow. The killer was never found. It is believed that the assailant mistook Domnikov for a Novaya Gazeta reporter Oleg Sultanov who received threats from the FSB for his reporting on corruption in the Russian oil industry.[13]
Sergey Novikov, Radio Vesna, July 26, 2000, Smolensk. He was shot and killed in the stairwell of his apartment building. He often criticized the government of Smolensk Region. [14]
Iskandar Khatloni, Radio Free Europe, September 21, 2000, Moscow. He was killed at night with axe in his Moscow apartment by an unknown assailant. The motif of the murder is unknown, but Khatloni work on stories about the human-rights abuses in Chechnya.[25]
Sergey Ivanov, Lada-TV, October 3, 2000, Togliatti. He was shot five times in the head and chest in front of his apartment building. He was director of Lada-TV, the largest independent television company in Togliatti, which was an important player on the local political scene. [15].
Adam Tepsurgayev, Reuters, November 21, 2000, Chechnya. A Chechen cameraman, he was shot at a neighbor's house in the village of Alkhan-Kala. He produced most of Reuters' footage from Chechnya in 2000, including shots of Chechen rebel Shamil Basayev having his foot amputated. [16].

Russia, which saw 88 reporters murdered over the past 10 years, is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work.

Russia ranks second in the world in terms of the number of journalists killed on the job over the past decade, a global report said Tuesday.The report is titled "Killing the Messenger," and is based on the world's most comprehensive survey of deaths among journalists and other news media professionals, conducted between January 1996 and June 2006 by the International News Safety Institute (INSI).According to the report, 1,000 news media personnel have died while covering the news around the world in the past 10 years, but only a quarter of them died in wars and armed conflicts.The majority of those killed died while reporting in their own countries.
"In many countries, murder has become the easiest, cheapest and most effective way of silencing troublesome reporting, and the more the killers get away with it the more the spiral of death is forced upwards," Rodney Pinder, Director of INSI, said in the report.Russia, which saw 88 reporters murdered over the past 10 years, is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work. It is second only to Iraq, where 138 media personnel have been killed over the same period. The most recent high-profile murder of a Russian reporter occurred in October 2006, when investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in an elevator in her apartment bloc in Moscow, the victim of an apparent contract killing.
Politkovskaya, 48, known for her criticism of the Kremlin's policy in Chechnya, had written a book on the widespread abuse of local civilians by federal troops in the North Caucasus republic.INSI is a coalition of media organizations, press freedom groups, unions and humanitarian campaigners dedicated to the safety of journalists and media staff.

fifth suspect has been arrested in the slayings of five men believed to be illegal immigrants from Mexico who were beaten, electrocuted and slashed

fifth suspect has been arrested in the slayings of five men believed to be illegal immigrants from Mexico who were beaten, electrocuted and slashed in an alleged drug hit, authorities said Wednesday.Another man also was charged with hindering prosecution, though he wasn't directly accused in the killings. Investigators have described the slayings as contract killings carried out by a drug ring over at least $400,000 in missing money.With four men already jailed in the slayings, investigators said Derreck Renone Green, 32, of Birmingham was arrested Tuesday evening by federal agents and local police near Nashville, Tenn. He was jailed without bond on capital murder charges until he returns to Alabama.
Meanwhile, Marteze Terman Radford, 26, of Birmingham was being held on $500,000 bond after being charged Tuesday with hindering prosecution in the case. Authorities did not return calls seeking details on the charge.It was unknown Wednesday afternoon whether the two suspects had attorneys.Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said prosecuting the cases would tie up resources for years."The complexity and the far-reaching extent of this investigation have made it very unique for our sheriff's office," he said in a statement.Curry has appealed to the Hispanic community for help in solving the killings, and officials offered rewards totaling $30,000. Curry has said the victims were illegal immigrants, apparently from Mexico.The bodies of five men were found Aug. 20 inside an apartment off U.S. 280 in Shelby County. The men apparently were dead for about three days but weren't found until deputies responded to a call from someone who could not reach one of the victims.Investigators said the men were bound with tape, beaten and shocked with an electrical current. Four of the victims had their throats slashed. Police haven't said whether the fifth victim's throat was cut.Details of the slayings could emerge during a preliminary hearing set for Sept. 19.Officers said they have seized numerous weapons during the investigation, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.

James Ford Seale, 73, had spent just over a year in prison after being convicted in June 2007 on kidnapping and conspiracy charges

Attorneys said Wednesday they are working to free a reputed Ku Klux Klansman after a federal appeals court overturned the three life sentences he was serving for the 1964 abduction of two black teenagers who died after being beaten and thrown in the Mississippi River.James Ford Seale, 73, had spent just over a year in prison after being convicted in June 2007 on kidnapping and conspiracy charges related to the abductions of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee.A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jackson, Miss., found late Tuesday that the statute of limitations for kidnapping had expired in the four decades between Seale’s alleged crime and the federal charges.

Undercover Janesville police officer posed as a contract killer and met with the 46-year-old on Tuesday.

Undercover Janesville police officer posed as a contract killer and met with the 46-year-old on Tuesday. Police said the man gave an undercover officer $2,000 to kill his estranged wife and Janesville City Council member Yuri Rashkin, who have been dating. “When faced with the deadline that he needed to proceed with the paperwork to finalize things, he decided to go in a horrible direction,” Rashkin said.Police said it started with a call from an informant. The 46-year-old suspect was looking for someone to “whack” his wife and her boyfriend, police said. Investigators then set up a meeting and recorded it.“The undercover officer posed as a Hells Angel as a contract killer,” Janesville Police Chief Neil Mahan said.A second meeting was planned for the following day, but the suspect postponed the killings, which he initially wanted to occur this weekend, because of alibi concerns, police said.
Officers arrested him at his Janesville apartment on tentative homicide and conspiracy charges Wednesday. Online court records show formal charges haven't been filed yet. The man is expected to appear in court Friday afternoon. He said his uncle married his wife about a year ago in Russia and that the two met on the Internet.Rashkin said he is worried the man will be released on bond after an initial court appearance Friday afternoon. He said the couple can't live under police protection.
"Will our lives be in jeopardy again?" Rashkin asked.

slayings in Shelby County as contract killings carried out by a drug ring over at least $400,000 in missing money

Five suspects have been arrested in the Alabama slayings of five men believed to be illegal immigrants from Mexico. Investigators have described the slayings in Shelby County as contract killings carried out by a drug ring over at least $400,000 in missing money. The bodies of five men were found Aug. 20 inside an apartment. Investigators said the men had been bound with tape, beaten and shocked with an electrical current. Four of the victims had their throats slashed.
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