Tag Archives: Murder in the First Degree

Five Years Isn’t Enough for Murder?

Pistorius Appeal Five Year

Not according to South Africa’s prosecutors. The lawyers will appeal the verdict and sentence of Oscar Pistorius, who received a five-year prison term for culpable homicide last week.

Prior to the sentencing, prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defence had argued for community service and house arrest. Judge Thokozile Masipa ultimately decided that five years in jail was plenty for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. And, to add insult to injury, under the terms of the sentence, Pistorius may be released into house arrest after 10 months.

“A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy,” the judge declared.

The element of mercy? You mean what was missing from Oscar Pistorius’ brain when he repeatedly shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door?

Although Reeva Steenkamp’s parents say that have “already forgiven a long time ago” and are “satisfied by the sentence”, the prosecutors are not. A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the organization “will be appealing both the conviction and sentence.”

 “The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law,” NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said in a statement.

“The merits and the demerits of the NPA’s argument in this regard will become evident when we file papers for leave to appeal.”

I don’t know, eligible for house arrest after 10 months in prison seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. They might want to just leave it at that…

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Florida DOESN’T Let Someone Get Away With Shooting an Unarmed Black Teen… And Other News

Florida Dunn Trial

Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a dispute over loud music, has received a life sentence (plus 105 years) without possibility of parole. Hopefully there’s no loud music in prison…

Michael Dunn shot and killed Davis outside of a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store in what he claimed was self-defense but everyone else claimed was just plain crazy. According to Dunn’s version, Davis and his buds were listening to some super loud rap music in their SUV. When he asked them to turn it down, he claims that one of them pulled a shotgun on him. Instead of overreacting, Dunn got his loaded gun from his car and shot 10 rounds into the SUV. The only catch? Davis and his friends were unarmed. At his sentencing Dunn publicly apologized for the first time, saying, “If I could roll back time and do things differently, I would. I was in fear for my life and I did what I thought I had to do. Still, I am mortified I took a life, whether it was justified or not.” Spoiler alert: it wasn’t justified. USA Today

K PopAt least 16 South Korean pop music fans were killed and 11 seriously injured Friday after a ventilation grate buckled under the weight of concertgoers in Seongnam, South Korea. The victims fell about 20 meters into a parking structure after the gate they had been standing on to get a better view of the performance by the popular South Korean girl band 4Minute collapsed. There were 700 people at the concert and while witnesses said many of the spectators were female students, most of the dead were men in their 30s and 40s who stopped to watch the concert, which was part of a local festival, after leaving work. Although standing on a flimsy metal grate with a group of people looks no safer than licking a frayed electrical cord, at least they were smart enough not to attend a PSY concert. Imagine the last words they ever heard were “Oppa Gangnam Style”? AP

boko-kidnapAnd six months later, the Nigerian schoolgirls are coming back – but in what state? The Nigerian government says that it has come to an agreement with Boko Haram, the militant group that kidnapped the almost 300 schoolgirls back in April. Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce, telling his troops to stand down for a ceasefire. Boko Haram has not yet made a public statement but the negotiations are said to have the blessing of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. The government would not reveal what concessions it made to Boko Haram in order to bring the girls back, but I bet it was something good. BBC News

EbolamaniaEbolamania is sweeping the nation! After a vomiting passenger died (from non-Ebola realted causes) on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight, tension in the sky is high. On Thursday, a middle-aged African-American woman was locked in the lavatory of an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Chicago after she began vomiting. According to another passenger on the flight, after the woman vomited in the aisle, the crew feared the spread of Ebola and forced her to reveal all her recent travel and remain in the bathroom for the last 45 minutes of the trip. But was it really fear of Ebola that prompted this overreaction… or was it fear of black people? The witness, a University of Texas professor, thinks the latter, chalking the incident up to racial profiling. “If I had puked on the plane, would they have they done that to me? I’m a 60-year-old white woman with gray hair. No, they would not have,” she said. Actually, they probably would have. Ebola seems to bring out the hysteria in people. I’m surprised they didn’t push this woman out the door at 35,000ft. Houston Chronicle 

MEXICO SPRING BREAKThe French want to bid adieu to binge drinking. A draft health bill presented to French ministers on Wednesday aims to target binge drinking by hitting people who incite it with €15,000 fines and sentences of up to a year in jail. “It will be made illegal to sell products that make alcohol appear pleasant,” French health minister Marisol Touraine reportedly told RTL radio, such as “telephone cases or T-shirts that show amusing scenes based on drunkenness.” While France is among the world’s most liberal countries in terms of alcohol consumption, some feel the Irish-style binge-drinking has gotten out of control. “We see more and more seriously drunk young people in the emergency room, who will stay for 24 hours, sometimes two days, to sober up,” a French doctor told TV channel France24 last year. The proposed law presented to the Assemblée Nationale early next year, but hopefully legislators will be too drunk to pass it. Washington Post

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Thai Prime Minister: Wearing a Bikini is Unsafe

Thailand bikinis

According to Thailand’s new military ruler, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, wearing a bikini in Thailand will get you killed… unless you’re ugly – then you’re in the clear.

In the wake of the brutal murders of two British tourists, PM Prayuth Chan-ocha warned “beautiful” Western visitors that wearing a bikini in Thailand may attract unwanted attention… from murderers.

“Tourists think that Thailand is beautiful, safe and that they can do anything they want here. That they can put on their bikinis and go anywhere they want. I ask, can you get away with wearing bikinis in Thailand? Unless you are not beautiful?” Prayuth said in a televised speech.

The PM’s comments were made following the death of two British tourists, David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23. The duo were found dead after attending a beach party on the island of Koh Tao last Monday. Apparently both were wearing bikinis??

This is not the first time Prayuth Chan-ocha has suggested that the victims were to blame for their demise. On Tuesday the army general said that the “behaviour” of Witheridge and Miller should also be investigated.

“We have to look into the behaviour of the other party too because this kind of incident should not happen to anybody and it has affected our image,” he told reporters.

The Prime Minister has since apologized for his bikini remarks, telling a press conference on Thursday:

“I apologize that I have spoken too harshly…I didn’t mean to criticize or look down on anyone. Today I can guarantee that Thailand is still safe … I wanted to warn [the tourists] to be careful.”

So if you’re a female tourist headed to Thailand, leave the bikini at home… or be really ugly. Preferably both. Although, this advice is coming from the same Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha who thinks his enemies are using black magic against him, so maybe take it with a grain of salt…

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Oscar Pistorius Found Guilty of Manslaughter, Jail Time TBD

OScar Pistorius Boogers

The judge who cleared Oscar Pistorius of murder charges yesterday found him guilty of manslaughter, or culpable homicide as they call it in South Africa, in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

In her ruling, Judge Thokozile Masipa said that Pistorius was negligent when he fired several shots into that locked toilet room, but ultimately the state had failed to prove he intended to kill.

“A reasonable person, with a similar disability, would have foreseen that the person behind the door would be killed, and the accused failed to take action to avoid this,” the judge declared.

So while Pistorius acted “negligently” when he shot his girlfriend through a toilet door, the judge believed he really thought there was an intruder inside. Cut to Ray Rice kicking himself for not coming up with that excuse first – “I totally thought my fiancée was an elevator intruder!”

Judge Masipa also granted Pistorius bail after the conviction so now he’s free to roam the countryside until his sentencing on October 13. The athlete could receive up to 15 years in prison or he could just get a small slap on the wrist, pay a fine, and avoid jail entirely – in which case we can all congratulate South Africa on their first O.J Simpson.

As for Reeva Steenkamp’s family, they were less than pleased with the verdict, telling reporters of their “disbelief” that the court had believed Pistorius’s version of events.

“This verdict is not justice for Reeva,” June Steenkamp said. “I just want the truth. He shot through the door and I can’t believe that they believe it was an accident.”

And neither can anyone else…

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Oscar Pistorius Found NOT Guilty!?

Oscar Pistorius Not Guilty

“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius was found not guilty of the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Thursday after a South African judge dismissed the most serious charges against him.

Judge Thokozile Masipa made the announcement in a hushed courtroom Thursday as she summed up the evidence presented to the court. The judge said prosecutors had not proved Oscar meant to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but said he acted hastily, had been negligent and a reasonable person would not have fired. No kidding.

“The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder,” Thokozile Masipa said.

“Viewed in its totality the evidence failed to establish that the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased let alone with premeditation.”

Judge Masipa, clearly a fan of courtroom dramas, knew just how to leave the crowd hanging. After dismissing the murder charge, the judge abruptly adjourned for the day, leaving it to Friday to announce whether the athlete is guilty of culpable homicide. But word on the street is that Judge Masipa appears to be leaning towards the lesser charge of manslaughter, known in South Africa as culpable homicide, so Pistorius won’t likely get off scot-free.

The South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter has long denied murdering his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he mistook her for an intruder and shot her through the bathroom door by mistake. Obviously in South Africa intruders break in and lock themselves into a bathroom all the time, so it makes sense to grab a gun and start shooting before checking to see if your girlfriend got up to take a leak.

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Justice: Chicago Style… And Other News

Chicago Loop Shoot

There’s been a shooting in Chicago and for once it wasn’t in the south and it wasn’t gang related. Nope, this time it was a disgruntled downtown executive. Chicago must do something about their WASP on WASP violence!

The gunman, a 59-year-old executive of the ArrowStream, went to the company’s downtown office and demanded a one-on-meeting with the CEO – during which he pulled out a gun and shot the CEO in the head and stomach. So much for all those “no gun” stickers on downtown buildings… The company has been downsizing and has demoted a number of people. Apparently the gunman was pissed about his demotion. But just how upset was he at the demotion? Well, after critically wounding the CEO, the disgruntled executive shot and killed himself – so I’d say he was pretty upset. Chicago Tribune

TunnelsThere’s only one thing Benjamin Netanyahu hates more than Palestinian civilians – TUNNELS! Speaking before a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on Thursday, the Israeli Prime Minister decalred that “with or without a cease-fire” the Israeli military will NOT stop its operation in Gaza until all the tunnels constructed by Hamas militants have been destroyed. After air strikes began, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) discovered an extensive network of tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel that Hamas has been using to launch attacks. So far, Israel has destroyed most of the 32 tunnels it has found, but the job won’t be done until the entire tunnel network is destroyed. To aid “Operation Tunnel No More” (or “Operation Protective Edge” as they call it), Israel is calling up another 16,000 reserves. Meanwhile, the Palestinians have bigger things to worry about – well, not really. The Israeli offensive is pretty much the biggest thing they have to worry about. BBC

EbolaEven worse than the reviews for the 1995 movie Outbreak is the latest Ebola outbreak in Liberia. West African leaders are stepping up emergency efforts in response to the worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Leaders have canceled travel plans and authorized measures to combat the disease – including house-to-house searches and the deployment of the army and the police. Liberia announced it will close some of its schools and is even considering taking the drastic step of quarantining some communities. The country also ordered all nonessential government workers to 30-day compulsory leave. The World Health Organization said the death toll in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and now Nigeria has risen to 729 from 672. Plus, things have gotten so serious that the Peace Corps said it will be withdrawing its 340 volunteers from the three countries most affected by the virus. You know things are getting bad when white people start fleeing the country… New York Times

Seattle potPot smokers of Seattle rejoice! A Seattle police officer, who was found to have single-handedly dished out roughly 80 percent of the ‘smoking marijuana in public’ tickets issued this year, has been reassigned. The unnamed officer, who referred to Washington’s voter-approved changes to marijuana laws as “silly”, attached notes to the tickets including one in which he noted he had flipped a coin to decide whether to issue the citation. The Seattle Police Department’s first biannual report also revealed that African Americans in Seattle were ticketed disproportionately to their population for using pot in public. About 36 percent of the tickets were handed out to black people, who make up just 8 percent of the city’s population. A cop with a vendetta against black people and pot smokers? Seems about right. Reuters

ginsbergParents Male Justices just don’t understand! In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reaffirmed her criticism of the recent Hobby Lobby decision and said that five of her male counterparts on the court have “a blind spot” when it comes to women’s issues. After noting that all three female justices were in the minority in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, Couric asked Ginsburg if the five male justices in the majority truly understood their decision, to which Ginsburg responded, “I would have to say, no.” But on the bright side, Ginsburg said she expects the decision to be overturned one day. Perhaps the day Antonin Scalia dies? MSNBC

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Japanese Schoolgirl Decapitates Classmate

Japanese Schoolgirl

Teenage schoolgirls? Gruesome decapitation? It’s a Japanese horror movie come to life!

A 16-year-old Japanese girl was arrested on suspicion of murdering a classmate by hitting her repeatedly, strangling her, and then dismembering her body.

The teen reportedly confessed to killing and decapitating her fellow classmate and leaving the mangled body in a bed in her apartment where she lived alone. Apparently she didn’t pass Hiding Evidence 101. But she did pass Creepy Motives with flying colors. The teen reportedly told investigators she killed her classmate because she “wanted to dissect” someone.

“I wanted to kill someone. I bought tools by myself,” the girl was quoted telling the police.

The accused has admitted she strangled the victim before severing her head and left hand, “using tools … and something like a cord”, a police investigator said.

“The victim was found decapitated, with her left wrist chopped off,” the investigator added. Her belly was also cut open.

The two girls attended the same high school in Sasebo, a city that hasn’t seen a schoolgirl crime this violent since a primary school girl stabbed her classmate to death in 2004.

Violent crime is relatively rare in Japan, but when it rains, it pours.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Seven Dead Babies

Current EVent Cat - Seven Dead Babies

Police is Pleasant Grove, Utah arrested a 39-year-old woman after they found seven dead babies packaged in cardboard boxes in her garage.

Authorities believe Megan Huntsman gave birth to the babies over a 10-year-period, killed them one by one, and stored them in the garage.

Megan’s ex-husband, Darren West, believed to be the father of the seven dead babies, discovered the first body in the garage and alerted authorities. Officers responded to the call on Saturday and after searching the garage they discovered six more tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes. Hunstman was promptly arrested and charged with six counts of murder. Not seven? Nope, only six.

Darren West, who was in prison recently on drug-related charges, was apparently too hopped up on drugs to figure out where his seven missing babies disappeared to.

We don’t believe he had any knowledge of the situation,” police spokesman Michael Roberts said of West.

When asked how the husband could not have known his wife had given birth to seven children, Roberts replied: “That’s the million-dollar question. Amazing.”

Neighbours in the middle-class neighbourhood were shocked and appalled by the situation. None of them even knew Megan Huntsman was pregnant in recent years and couldn’t understand why Huntsman’s three grown children, who were still living in the house, didn’t notice infants going missing left, right, and centre.

“What’s shocking is the three older ones living there and not noticing that their mother was pregnant,” one neighbour said.

“It’s shocking and kind of morbid and strange.”

But no one was more shocked than the officers who responded to the initial call.

“They got more and more shocked each box they opened,” Roberts said.

I suppose… but after finding the sixth dead baby, is a seventh one that much more shocking?

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