TIME Crime

Hannah Graham Case Suspect Jesse Matthew Charged in 2005 Sex Attack

From left: FBI agents escort Jesse Matthew into the custody of the Charlottesville Police Department September 26, 2014 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
From left: FBI agents escort Jesse Matthew into the custody of the Charlottesville Police Department September 26, 2014 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Handout—Getty Images

DNA recovered during the Harrington investigation matches material from the 2005 assault

The suspect in Hannah Graham’s kidnapping will be charged with a 2005 sexual assault — a crime that has been linked by DNA to the slaying of yet another woman in Virginia. Jesse Matthew is charged with attempted capital murder and abduction in an indictment obtained by NBC Washington. Prosecutors have scheduled a 4:30 p.m. briefing to announce the charges.

Matthew, 32, was previously charged with abduction with the intent to defile in connection with the Sept. 13 disappearance of Graham, who was last seen in Charlottesville. Police are investigating whether human remains found over the weekend are those of the University of Virginia…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Crime

Police: Indiana Suspect Hints at More Killings

Darren Vann is a suspect in the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwestern Indiana over the weekend.
Darren Vann is a suspect in the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwestern Indiana over the weekend. Texas Department of Criminal Justice/AP

(GARY, Ind.) — Police investigating the slayings of seven northwestern Indiana women whose bodies were found over the weekend said Monday it could be the work of a serial killer, and that the suspect has told them his victims might go back 20 years.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a news conference that the suspect is 43-year-old Darren Vann of nearby Gary, Indiana, who was convicted of a sex offense in Texas in 2009. His confession to the slaying of a woman in Hammond led police to the grisly discovery of six other bodies in Gary, including three in on the same block, authorities said.

He said the Gary slayings appear to have happened recently, though Vann indicated there could be earlier victims. He said police are not actively looking for more bodies and have no indication that any murders have occurred in another state. He said Vann is cooperating with investigators in the hope of making a deal with prosecutors.

“It could go back as far as 20 years, based on some statements we have, but that has yet to be corroborated,” Doughty said.

Charges were expected to be filed later Monday in the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose body was found about 9:30 p.m. Friday at a Motel 6 in Hammond, Doughty said. The Lake County coroner’s office said she was strangled.

Doughty said she was involved in prostitution and had arranged to meet Vann at the motel through a Chicago-area website. Police were called by someone who attempted to reach Hardy and “was provided suspicious text responses that she believed to be from the suspect while he was still inside the motel room.”

Police said they took Vann into custody Saturday afternoon after obtaining a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary.

Vann allegedly confessed to killing Hardy, then told investigators where more bodies could be found in abandoned homes in Gary, a deteriorating former steel town about 30 miles southeast of Chicago, police said.

Police found the body of 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville, Indiana, on Saturday night in an abandoned home. She had been missing since Oct. 8.

Five more bodies were found on Sunday in other homes, said Doughty, who identified two of the women as Gary residents Teairra Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36. Police have not determined the identities of the other three women, including two whose bodies were found on the same block where Jones’ body was found on Saturday.

Hardy’s mother, Lori Townsend, said police told her that Vann asked that she perform a certain sex act, and “when she said ‘no’ and put up a fight, he snapped and strangled her,” she said, speaking from her home in Colorado. “This man is sick.”

Hardy graduated from high school in late 2013 and planned to go on to college to study music, Townsend said.

“She was full of life. She lit up a room with her smile and her beauty,” she said. “And she had a voice like a songbird.”

Gary, once a thriving steel town of 178,000 where thousands worked in the mills, has been struggling for decades. Its population has shrunk to just over 78,000 and its poverty rate hovers around 40 percent. Thousands of homes are abandoned, many with weeds choking broken sidewalks — often on the same streets where other homes are tidy and well-kept.

One of the houses where police found a body was overgrown with trees in the front and there was trash strewn in the back of what looked like a falling down garage or shed.

On Monday, people in Gary tried to make sense of the tragedy.

“That’s devastating. That’s sick,” said Jay Jackson, 25, a health care worker visiting a woman a few houses from where one of the bodies was found. “All we can do is pray for the city and hope for recovery.”

TIME Crime

Woman Gets Trapped in Chimney Allegedly Stalking Her Online Date

Mary Poppins would not approve.

A woman rescued from a chimney was arrested and charged with allegedly using the chimney to try and break into the home of a man she had met online.

The Ventura County Fire Department was called to a Thousand Oaks, California, home early Sunday morning, when it was reported that a woman was stuck in a chimney.

Firefighters used a jackhammer to break apart the chimney and lubricated the flue with dish soap in order to lift the woman out of the chimney. She was then placed in a basket and lifted off the roof by a ladder truck, according to Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindbery’s tweets regarding the incident.

The woman, who remained conscious during the misadventure, was taken to the hospital for examination. Her condition was not immediately known, according to KTLA.

The so-called “entrapment patient” was later identified as Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, 30, and the home’s resident, who did not wish to be identified, said he met Nunez-Figueroa online and had gone on several dates with her, but had recently ended the relationship, according to the local ABC news affiliate.

The woman’s “intent was unclear,” according to police, but as Christmas is still months away, she was probably not playing Santa Claus or chimney sweep, as this is the second time Nunez-Figueroa was found on the man’s roof. Two weeks ago, she was spotted, but disappeared when police were called.

Nunez-Figueroa was arrested for allegedly illegally entering a residence and providing false information to a peace officer, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release.

The home’s resident wanted other online daters to learn from his cautionary tale. “Before you have somebody come in your house really check them out … really give it some time before you let somebody in, because they might want to stay,” he told KTLA.

TIME Crime

Indiana Authorities ID Suspected Serial Killer in Custody

Darren Vann is a suspect in the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwestern Indiana over the weekend.
Darren Vann is a suspect in the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwestern Indiana over the weekend. Texas Department of Criminal Justice/AP

Seven bodies found over the weekend

Authorities on Monday identified the suspect held in connection with seven bodies that were found across northwest Indiana over the weekend.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said in a press conference on Monday that Darren Vann, 43, of Gary, was detained after officers discovered the strangled body of a 19-year-old woman in a motel on Friday evening. Vann, who Doughty said was a convicted sex offender in Texas, had solicited Afrika Hardy in a “pay-for-service prostitution scheme” through a website.

“He admitted his involvement in the Hammond incident and had expressed an interest in notifying police of other criminal incidents he was involved with,” Doughty said, specifically about six more female victims in Gary.

One of those victims was Anith Jones, 35, who had been missing since Oct. 8 and whose body was discovered Saturday night. Five more bodies were discovered on Sunday, according to NBC Chicago, with two victims identified as Teairra Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36.

Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. posted on Facebook before the press conference that the suspect was an “admitted serial killer” and “convicted sexual offender,” who “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond back in 94 or 95.”

TIME Crime

Virginia Woman First to Be Charged Under New Revenge Porn Law

She and the victim were allegedly fighting over a boyfriend

A Virginia woman who allegedly posted a naked photograph of her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend has become the first person to be charged under the state’s revenge porn law.

Waynesboro police say Rachel Lynn Craig, 28, admitted she took the image of the 22-year old victim off her ex-boyfriend’s phone and posted it to Facebook. The victim says she took the picture herself and sent it to her boyfriend, and that his ex (the accused) stole the photo and posted it on Facebook. Craig is being charged with one misdemeanor count of “maliciously disseminating a videographic or still image of another person in totally or partially nude state with the intent to coerce, harass or intimidate,” which is what the state of Virginia calls “revenge porn.”

MORE: A New Strategy for Prosecuting Revenge Porn

Virginia passed the new law earlier this year, and it went into effect on July 1. The law stipulates that anybody who disseminates nude or semi-nude content with intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate faces a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Virginia is one of many states to enact revenge porn laws as unauthorized distribution of photos becomes more common. Since 2013, California, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, have also enacted laws to fight revenge porn.

No court date is set in Craig’s case and she hasn’t commented publicly.

TIME Crime

Students Involved in Pumpkin Festival Riots May Be Expelled

Keene State College president Anne Huot said the rioters were not representative of the college's entire student body

New Hampshire’s Keene State College will take serious action against students who participated in recent riots, and may even expel some, according to a statement from college president Anne Huot.

College authorities are “actively working to identify the individuals who participated in unlawful behavior,” read the statement, and the most serious offenders would face “interim suspension, followed by conduct action up to, and including, expulsion.”

Thirty people were injured and 20 taken to the hospital on Sunday, as things got out of hand at the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival and police had to intervene. Officers made at least 12 arrests and had to resort to riot gear and tear gas to control the rowdy revelers — many of whom threw rocks, bottles and even overturned cars and uprooted street signs.

Huot stressed that the rioters are not representative of the Keene State College student body. “I am proud of the positive contributions that many of our students, faculty and staff offered to the community this weekend,” she added

In fact, the Associated Press reports that more than 200 student volunteers descended on the site later on Sunday to help clean up damage caused by the mob.

TIME Crime

Police May Have Found Body of Missing UVA Student

"Thousands of hours have been spent by law enforcement and volunteers … we think they have proved their worth"

Police may have found the body of Hannah Graham, the University of Virginia student who has been missing for several weeks.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo announced Saturday evening that a body had been discovered at an abandoned property, though he said an official identification was pending, USA Today reports.

“Countless hours, thousands of hours have been spent by law enforcement and volunteers in an effort to find Hannah,” said Longo, who added that he made a “difficult” phone call to Graham’s parents to tell them about the “preliminary discovery.” “We think they have proved their worth.”

Graham, a straight-A student and college sophomore, went missing in the early hours of Sept. 13 after attending a party.

Last month, police arrested Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. and charged him with abducting the 18-year-old with intent to defile. Police say the capture of this suspect was also a “significant break” in the unsolved case of another murdered college student.

[USA Today]

TIME celebrities

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Star Nicholas Brendon Arrested

Ada County Sheriff's Office

The actor was charged with two misdemeanors and showed "signs of intoxication"

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Nicholas Brendon showed signs of intoxication when he was arrested in Boise, Idaho on Friday following a hotel disturbance, police announced.

The actor, best known for his role as Xander Harris on the Joss Whedon TV show that ran from 1997 to 2003, was charged with resisting or obstructing officers and malicious injury to property while in town to attend Tree City Comic Con, CNN reports.

Brendon had damaged a decorative dish, according to the staff at hotel, who said they wanted to press charges.

“When officers arrived, they found the suspect who showed signs of intoxication and repeatedly refused officers commands to stay seated while officers tried to speak with witnesses,” the police statement said about the actor, who has entered rehab before for alcohol dependence. “When the suspect continued to try and walk away, officers took him into custody for resisting and obstructing.”

On Saturday a Twitter account associated with the actor said Brendon was “doing well” and thanked fans for their “love, support and positive vibes.”

TIME Crime

Annual Pumpkin Festival Goes Horribly Wrong

Dozens were injured and arrested

At least 30 people were injured and 20 taken to the hospital as police used riot gear and tear gas to break up an annual pumpkin festival that went awry near Keene State College in New Hampshire early Sunday morning.

“People were just throwing everything they could find — rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins,” student Ellery Murray told the Boston Globe about a party Saturday night that got out of control. “People just got too drunk.”

At the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival, locals usually try and set a world record for the greatest number of jack-o-lanterns in a single spot, USA Today reports. This year, people overturned cars, ripped down street signs and ran from tear gas clouds as riot-gear-clad police tried to halt the disturbances. At least 12 arrests had been made.

“We deplore the actions of those whose only purpose was to cause mayhem,” Anne Huot, the college president, said in a statement. According to the college officials, both out-of-town guests and students were involved in the incident.

[USA Today]

TIME Crime

Police Say MMA Fighter Who Beat Porn Star Girlfriend Tried to Kill Himself

Jonathan Koppenhaver
Johathan Koppenhaver who appeared in UFC's Ultimate Fighter TV show in 2007. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department/AP

"War Machine" is accused of beating Christy Mac

A mixed martial arts fighter accused of brutally beating his porn star ex-girlfriend attempted suicide this week in his Las Vegas jail cell, authorities said.

A jail official found Jonathan Koppenhaver, 32, unresponsive on the floor of his cell Tuesday with linen around his neck and a suicide note in the room, News 3 reports. Koppenhaver, also known as War Machine, is accused of beating Christy Mack in August. He was reportedly in talks for a potential plea deal.

Prior to the suicide attempt, Koppehaver defended himself in a series of tweets.

[News 3]

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