TIME Crime

Detroit Mom Who Killed Her 2 Kids and Stuffed Them in Freezer Gets Life in Prison

Mitchelle Blair during a custody hearing in Detroit on June 4, 2015.
Clarence Tabb Jr.—AP Mitchelle Blair during a custody hearing in Detroit on June 4, 2015.

She admitted to killing her 13-year old daughter and 9-year old son

A Detroit mom who killed two of her kids and stuffed their bodies in a freezer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Mitchelle Blair pled guilty to the murders of her 13-year old daughter Stoni and 9-year old son Steven, and told the court she killed them because she believed they had sexually abused one of her younger children.

She told the court she “definitely meant to kill” Stoni, but murdered Steven by accident. “If I had killed Steven intentionally I definitely would be proud to say I did, but I didn’t,” she said in court last month. “I don’t feel no emotion for the death of them demons.”

The judge told Blair she “imposed the death penalty” on her own children according to the Detroit News.

The children had likely been killed in 2012 or 2013, but their bodies were found in March while bailiffs were evicting Blair and her two surviving children from their Detroit home. The kids were home-schooled, which is one reason why their deaths went undiscovered for so years, according to the Detroit News. Prosecutors say neither of the surviving children were sexually abused.

Blair expressed no remorse during her sentencing hearing Friday. “As horrendous as everyone thinks I am, that’s fine. But I’m the only one not lying about anything,” she said according to NBC.

[Detroit News]

 

TIME Crime

Colorado Gunman’s Notebook of Ramblings Becomes Evidence

Holmes Shooting Notebook
AP A portion of Aurora shooter James Holmes' notebook, after it was presented as evidence in the Holmes murder trial on May 26, 2015, in Centennial, Colo.

Copies of a journal kept by the man on trial for the Aurora theater shooting have been distributed to the jury that will help determine his fate

A notebook containing James Holmes’s ramblings, sketches and thoughts on topics ranging from the meaning of life to murder was presented on Tuesday at his trial for the 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

It’s a key piece of evidence for prosecutors trying to prove the 27-year-old plotted the killings and for defense lawyers who argue he was experiencing a psychotic episode on July 20, when he opened fire on moviegoers at a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes’s notebook reveals references to violence and death and is stepped in nihilism. He writes about a “self diagnosis of broken mind” and several pages are covered with the question “Why?” over and over again. “When mankind can’t find truth,” he mentions at one point, “untruth is converted to truth via violence.”

The former doctoral student in neuroscience is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Holmes sent the notebook to his University of Colorado psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, eight days before the shooting, but the package was not discovered until several days after the massacre. Fenton had warned authorities that Holmes was a danger to the public.

Holmes describes in the journal a number of fantasies about different ways to kill, but quickly rules them out. He says a bomb is too regulated and suspicious, biological warfare requires extensive knowledge of chemicals and serial murder is “too personal, too much evidence, easily caught after few kills” before settling on a “mass murder spree.” He writes that he chose this method because it would provide “maximum casualties, easily performed with firearms, although primitive in nature. No fear of consequences, being caught 99% certain.”

At one point, he rules out certain venues, like airports, because he didn’t want his mass killing to be misinterpreted as a terrorist act. Airports have “too much of a terrorist history,” he writes. “Terrorism isn’t the message. The message is there is no message.” The journal also includes diagrams of different theaters within the movie complex, as well as pros and cons for each one.

“And finally, the last escape, mass murder at the movies,” he writes. “Obsession onset: > 10 years ago.”

Holmes describes his psychological struggles as “the real me is fighting the biological me,” and notes that work and romantic failures aren’t the reason for his action, although both are “expediting catalysts.” Instead, he claims, his “state of mind for the last 15 years” is to blame for his actions.

He notes a particular set of symptoms and behaviors that accompanied his self-diagnoses of a “broken mind,” including a “recurring return to mirror to look at appearance, particular attention focused on hair styling. 10+ times a day.” At the time of the shooting, Holmes’s hair was dyed a bright red-orange. He also describes at least one childhood accident that injured his genitals, which he alleges led to an “allergic reaction to sex.”

In one particularly chilling passage, Holmes alludes to the name of the movie he selected for the attack: “I was fear incarnate. Love gone, motivation directed to hate and obsessions, which didnt disapear for whatever reason with the drugs,” he writes. “No consequences, no fear, alone, isolated, no work for distractions, no reason to seek self -actualization. Embraced the hatred, a dark knight rises.”

TIME Israel

Israel Sentences Palestinian Kidnapper to Life for Killing of 3 Teenagers

Rally Held In Tel Aviv For Missing Israeli Teenagers
Lior Mizrahi—Getty Images Israelis hold a poster showing the three missing Israeli teenagers, as they attend a rally under the slogan 'Bring Our Boys Home' on June 29, 2014 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The killing quickly escalated into 50 days of conflict in last summer's Gaza war

An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man to life in prison on Tuesday, for the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers, which rapidly escalated into a wider regional war last summer.

Hussam Kawasmeh, a member of Hamas, was sentenced to three life terms for devising the plan to abduct three Israeli teenagers hitchhiking along a road in the West Bank, Reuters reports. The youths were lethally shot and found buried in the West Bank some three weeks after their disappearance.

Two members of the Hamas cell behind the attack were killed in a firefight with Israeli troops, while Kawasmeh, one of the sole survivors, was arrested in a West Bank raid in August.

The killing was quickly followed by a revenge attack against a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem and flared out into 50 days of sustained conflict in the Gaza war last summer.

Read more at Reuters.

TIME Crime

3 Key Takeaways From Amnesty International’s Ferguson Report

Ferguson St. Louis Protests
Joshua Lott—AFP/Getty Images Police officers in riot gear hold a line as they watch demonstrators protest in St. Louis on Oct. 12, 2014.

It's the first time the human rights group has documented abuses inside the U.S.

Correction appended Oct. 24, 1:25 p.m. ET

Amnesty International made headlines in August when the international human rights organization dispatched a team of observers and advocates to document the unrest in Ferguson, Mo. that followed the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, the first time a delegation of its kind had investigated human rights abuses in the United States.

The resulting report was released Friday. It doesn’t shine any light on the altercation between Brown and police officer Darren Wilson or what led Wilson to kill the unarmed teenager. But there’s value in reading about the events in Ferguson through the lens of human rights. Here are three key claims made in the Amnesty report:

1) Lethal force was not justified

The report acknowledges that there are conflicting accounts of the physical altercation between Brown and Wilson, but says that none of them rise to the level that would have justified lethal force. “International standards provide that law enforcement officers should only use force as a last resort…Irrespective of whether there was some kind of physical confrontation between Michael Brown and the police officer, Michael Brown was unarmed and thus unlikely to have presented a serious threat.” But several witnesses testified in front of a grand jury that Brown and Wilson did struggle over Wilson’s gun, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. If Brown had tried to take Wilson’s gun, as some evidence suggests, then Wilson may not have broken the law.

2) Ferguson police violated the human right to peaceful assembly

Amnesty notes that according to international law, the right of peaceful assembly is a basic human right. The report notes that law enforcement imposed several restrictions on this right, including a curfew and the “keep walking” rule, which was imposed on Aug. 18 to deter groups from massing. The report says that in the 12 days after Michael Brown’s death, 132 people were arrested for “failing to disperse.” The Amnesty delegation also condemned the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to break up protests, and the threats made against journalists and legal observers. But the protests in Ferguson weren’t always peaceful– there were reports of protesters shooting at police cars, throwing bottles at police, and numerous other violent encounters.

3) There is not enough data on police shootings

The report calls for data on police shootings to be broken out by race, ethnicity and gender in order to give a complete picture of how many black men are killed by police per year. Amnesty also recommends that Congress pass the End Racial Profiling Act and the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

You can read the full Executive Summary of the report here: Ferguson Report Executive Summary

The original version of this story misstated the nature of Amnesty International’s work in the United States. The group has researched human rights abuses in the United States previously. This August was the first time the organization sent a delegation of observers, advocates and trainers to document unrest anywhere in the United States.

TIME U.K.

U.K. Teacher Stabbed to Death by Teen Student in Front of Class

Darren Staples—Reuters A photograph of teacher Anne Maguire, third from left, sits on floral tributes outside Corpus Christi Catholic College after she was fatally stabbed in Leeds, northern England, on April 28, 2014

Shocked schoolchildren in the U.K. witnessed a classmate stabbing their 61-year-old Spanish teacher to death. The boy has been taken into custody, and police have launched a murder investigation

A 15-year-old boy was detained by school staff and later arrested on Monday after a teacher was fatally stabbed in northern England.

Anne Maguire, 61, died after she was taken to the hospital.

“The incident itself was over very quickly, and no other pupils or staff were threatened or injured. However, this has clearly been a very traumatic situation for those involved,” chief superintendent Paul Money of West Yorkshire Police said in a statement.

Witnesses told the BBC that some children fled the scene at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds, running and screaming after the attack.

A murder inquiry has now been launched. “Specialist detectives who are highly experienced in treating child witnesses sensitively are being used to interview them,” said Money.

Katie Gallagher, 15, told media that she was in a nearby room when Maguire, a Spanish teacher, was hurt.

“I heard her scream. I was in a meeting at the time but I heard it,” Gallagher said, according to the London Evening Standard.

Police have said the teenage boy remains in custody.

TIME Crime

Woman Arrested After 7 Dead Babies Found in Utah Home

Megan Huntsman at Pleasant Grove County Jail in Pleasant Grove, Utah on April 13, 2014.
Pleasant Grove County Jail/Reuters Megan Huntsman at Pleasant Grove County Jail in Pleasant Grove, Utah on April 13, 2014.

A woman was arrested after seven bodies, thought to be children she gave birth to between 1996 and 2006, were found in cardboard boxes in her home near Salt Lake City that she shares with her husband, who police say is not suspected of any involvement

A woman was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of killing seven babies found dead in her former home, south of Salt Lake City.

The grisly discovery was made in the former abode of Megan Huntsman, 39. On Monday, police released a probable cause statement in which Huntsman confirmed to authorities that she gave birth to the seven babies between 1996 and 2006, and that she either strangled or suffocated them as soon as they were born. She then wrapped them in a towel or shirt, put them in a plastic bag, and placed them in boxes in her garage. Six of the seven babies were born alive, one was stillborn.

Her husband, believed to be the father of the infants, apparently alerted police after stumbling across one in a cardboard box. The six other corpses were discovered once officers arrived at the scene.

So far, police have not commented on either a motive or Huntsman’s reaction to her arrest. Police Captain Michael Roberts has said the husband, who the Associated Press reports is named Darren West, is not suspected of any involvement.

Huntsman’s three daughters, aged around 13 to 20, are still understood to live with their father at the house.

The bodies are currently at the state medical examiner’s office in Salt Lake City, where they are undergoing tests to reveal the cause of death and the parentage of the deceased.

[AP]

TIME Crime

Stiletto Killing Case Ends With Murder Conviction

Prosecutor John Jordan sets down a stiletto shoe entered into evidence during the trial against Ana Lilia Trujillo Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Houston.
Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle / AP Prosecutor John Jordan sets down a stiletto shoe entered into evidence during the trial against Ana Lilia Trujillo Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Houston.

Ana Trujillo of Texas faces life in prison after a Texas jury found her guilty of murdering her boyfriend by stabbing him in the face 25 times with a 5.5-inch stiletto heal during an argument after a night of drinking

A jury found a Houston woman charged with stabbing and killing her boyfriend with a 5 ½-inch stiletto heel guilty of murder on Tuesday.

Ana Trujillo, 45, faces up to life in prison for killing Alf Stefan Andersson at his home in June, the Associated Press reports. Andersson, 59, was a professor and researcher at the University of Houston at the time of his death.

Prosecutors said Trujillo hit her then-boyfriend 25 times in the face during an argument that occurred after a night of drinking. Trujillo’s attorney Jack Carroll argued that Trujillo was defending herself, but the prosecution pointed out she had a history of violence and had no injuries herself. James Wells, a former romantic partner of Trujillo’s, testified during the trial that the Mexican native had previously attacked and threatened him unprovoked.

[AP]

TIME Crime

Accused Craigslist Killer: I Murdered 22 More

Miranda K. Barbour
Mike Staugaitis—The News-Item/AP In this Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 file photo, Miranda K. Barbour is led into District Judge Ben Apfelbaum's office in Sunbury, Pa., by Sunbury policeman Travis Bremigen

Miranda Barbour, in jail on charges of murdering a man with whom she connected on Craigslist, said that she has killed at least 22 other people from Alaska to North Carolina in the name of a satanic cult

A Pennsylvania woman charged for one murder told a local newspaper she has killed almost two dozen people across the country as part of her involvement in a Satanic cult.

Originally charged along with her newlywed husband for the murder of a man she connected with on Craigslist, Miranda Barbour said in a jailhouse interview that she has killed at least 22 other people from Alaska to North Carolina, and said that if released she would kill again, reports the Associated Press.

The 19-year-old claimed she joined a satanic cult in Alaska at the age of 13 before moving to North Carolina, and said she has killed people in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California.

Barbour and her husband Elytte Barbour, 22, admitted Miranda had stabbed the Craigslist victim in the front seat of her car while Elytte held a cord around his neck.

“I feel it is time to get all of this out. I don’t care if people believe me. I just want to get it out,” Barbour told the Daily Item.

[AP]

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