Articles Posted in Crimes of Violence

931789-Crimes-of-Violence-callout-08-20-10Saint Petersburg, Florida

What started as a simple disagreement led to a bar fight for two local men on February 10.  A 39-year-old man and the 52-year-old victim got into an argument at Angelo’s Bar and Grill in downtown St. Pete. The two men went outside and the older man was punched.  He then fell backwards, hitting his head on the curb.  He became unconscious.  He was hospitalized at Bayfront and the suspect was arrested and charged with felony battery.

This all changed March 7 when the victim, who was in hospice died.  The coroner determined that the blow to the head was the cause of death.  While the victim’s family mourned, the suspect got an enormous shock.  His charges were upgraded to manslaughter.

Based on the victim’s death, the defendant is now charged with his unintentional killing.  Despite the defendant having no intent to kill the man, his punching the victim was an intentional act done with “culpable negligence” and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison in the state of Florida.

While this is an overall tragedy, it is also a powerful reminder- any argument can lead to a fight, any fight can lead to a death.  Teenagers fighting is ridiculous, grown men fighting is embarrassing.  Now because two men couldn’t settle their differences by walking away, one man is dead and another man is almost assured to go to prison.  These two men have left behind children and families…all because they couldn’t walk away. Continue reading

Pinellas violent crimes

I like the movie version better…In San Francisco, three Sheriff’s office deputies are charged with running their own “Fight Club” at a jail.  They would allegedly force inmates to fight each other while law enforcement watched.

Former Officer Scott Neu and Officers Eugene Jones and Clifford Chiba are now facing various felony and misdemeanor criminal charges.  The San Francisco DA claims that the deputies forced the fight between two inmates with a weight difference of over 200 pounds on March 5 of last year.

The two inmates, R. Garcia and S. Harris were threatened with a transfer to a stricter jail unless they fought each other.  Deputies also threatened the men with beatings and mace unless they fought.  One of the inmates suffered a cracked rib and both men suffered bruises and cuts.

Scott Neu was the ringleader and also forced inmates into gambling in exchange for cleaner clothing and food.  The losers were punished by solitary confinement and extreme exercise bouts.

These crimes came to light when an inmate told his public defender about them.  An investigation revealed all of the odd details.

“We call this sort of a “Game of Thrones” gladiator fight…they were betting money on the winner” the DA said in a prepared statement.

Neu’s criminal defense attorney disagreed, saying that there was never any fight club.  Rather he claimed his client allowed two inmates to wrestle in order to settle a disagreement.

Scott Neu was charged with four counts of assault, four counts of making threats and multiple counts of inflicting cruel and unusual punishment.

Eugene Jones is charged with two counts of felony assault and Clifford Chiba was charged with one count of obstruction. Continue reading

Saint pete violent crimes defenseFrom the Washington Post, it looks like troubled singer Chris Brown is starting 2016 like he ended 2015…with allegations of a battery and yet another police investigation.

Talented but troubled pop/R & B singer Chris Brown is now being named a suspect of an alleged battery of a female fan in Las Vegas.  This comes right after his history of violence caused his overseas tour to be canceled along with a canceled television appearance.

In his latest incident, after Chris Brown performed in a Las Vegas nightclub, police received a call from the alleged victim.  The woman claimed that Chris stole her phone and hit her after she tried to take his picture.  By the time police arrived at the Palms Casino Resort, Brown had fled.  As of the time of this writing, he is a suspect in a misdemeanor battery and petit theft.

The singer has not commented on any allegations other then a cryptic instagram photo of himself with a caption that read “I’m going to be hella rich after all the lawsuits I file from these crazy individuals who keep lying on my name…”.

A spokeswoman for the singer has called the allegations completely false and said the alleged victim was escorted out of a private after-party for being disruptive.  Once kicked out of the party the woman began threatening people and slamming her purse to the ground.

The spokeswoman further claimed that the victim has a history of making false accusations.

As for Chris Brown, he is perhaps most well known for his beating of Rihanna, a fellow singer.  Brown pled guilty to assaulting her in 2009 and photos of her badly beaten face were all over the internet.  Despite the injuries, Brown only received probation.  He quickly violated probation by punching a man in the nose in Washington.  This led to multiple anger management programs, a few months in jail and a major lawsuit.  Not learning his lesson, Brown continued feuding with fellow singers Frank Ocean and Drake. Continue reading

Florida violent crimes defenseThis blog has previously wrote several articles involving the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case that captivated the country back in 2012 and 2013.  The volunteer neighborhood watchman shot teenage Trayvon Martin.  Prosecutors called it murder, George Zimmerman’s criminal defense attorney called it self defense.  After much media attention, multiple protests and new phrases being introduced into our vocabulary (such as “white hispanic” and “stand your ground”-which was never even used in the trial by either side), the trial ended with a not guilty for Zimmerman.

Now George Zimmerman prepares for ANOTHER trial...but this time he is the alleged victim and the new defendant is charged with his attempted murder!

Same courtroom, same judge; but this time George Zimmerman is back in court as a victim.  Unlike his previous trial in 2013, this time George elected to take the stand and testify.

After hearing testimony, the judge ruled that the attempted murder charge can go to trial.  The allegations are frighting.  On May 11, Winter Park, Florida resident Matthew Apperson fired his .357 revolver at Zimmerman as they drove in separate vehicles.

As a result, Apperson was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

On the witness stand George Zimmerman testified that he was driving on a street alone in his car.  Another vehicle, driven by Matt Apperson, approached him rapidly while flashing his lights and honking his horn.  The defendant pulled up next to him and began yelling at George.

trayvon“Do you remember me, you fat f___?  You owe me your life”!  Zimmerman testified that after hearing that, he laughed and called Matthew a clown.

At that time he saw into the defendant’s car, noticed a barrel of a gun and then heard a loud bang.

George continued his testimony, claiming that the gunshot went through his windshield, leaving blood on his face and clothes.  At first he feared he was shot but a trip to the emergency room confirmed that shattered glass caused the minor injury.

Zimmerman further told the judge that he kept driving until he saw a parked sheriff’s deputy whom he flagged down.

Further testimony suggested that this was not the first time that Apperson and Zimmerman had a confrontation.  There were reports back in September 2014 that Matt began taunting and pushing George about his role in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

In an ironic twist, Matthew’s criminal defense lawyer told reporters that his client most likely will claim self defense and may even do a stand-your-ground motion to dismiss. Continue reading

Saint pete violent crimes defenseA major case gets going this week as a man prosecutors accuse of killing not one but two of his wives goes to trial in Colorado.  Did Harold Henthorn murder two of his wives for insurance money or is he a victim of horrible luck?

59-year-old Harold Henthorn went to trial this week, accused of pushing his second wife off a cliff in the Rocky mountains.  Per the federal prosecutor, the suspect might also have killed his first wife in what appeared to be a freak accident almost 20 years earlier!

In both deaths, Harold was both the only witness and made out with large life insurance policies twice.  Harold’s criminal defense lawyer countered the prosecutors arguments, saying these were mere tragic accidents.

Henthorn is charged with first-degree murder Continue reading

Pinellas sex crimes defense

A local man was arrested for an attempted sex assault and kidnapping of a realtor.  The attack caused plenty of fright and had real estate agents on edge until the suspect was captured…

63-year-old Bruce Kotter was arrested and charged with kidnapping and attempted sexual battery of a realtor that took place Monday afternoon.

Post lunch Monday, deputies responded to an attempted sexual battery of the 69-year-old realtor near Bradenton in Manatee County.

During the showing, deputies claim that Bruce went into a bathroom of the house and flushed the toilet.  He then called out to the realtor and told her that the toilet was leaking.

When the realtor went to check on the bathroom, the suspect tried to force himself on her.  He fled the scene when she told him that the homeowner was on his way and would be there any minute.

Detectives put out an A.P.B.  describing the suspect as a white male, alias of Jim. He was described as middle aged, approximately 6’0”, chunky, bald or balding hair, last seen wearing camo shorts, a grey polo shirt with high socks and white sneakers.

The shook up’ed victim said the suspect reeked of cigarette smoke. He was driving a newer model full size extended cab pick-up truck, either black or navy blue in color.  The truck proved to be his undoing.

Sarasota police officers located his Dark Blue Ford 150 in nearby Sarasota.   It matched the description of the suspect vehicle and Bruce Kotter was found inside a home at the address and was immediately arrested.

Based on more information that came in, the detectives believed the suspect had intentions of doing the same to another realtor about an hour after the first incident.

Connecting the cases, Sheriff Deputies were contacted by another female realtor later that same morning saying she showed a property to a man at approximately 2:35 p.m. Monday who fits the same physical description of the suspect. He was also driving a dark blue or black pick-up truck, possibly a Ford F-150.

The potential victim said she had a weird feeling about him because he seemed creepy and originally told her he was bringing his wife.  He showed up alone Monday afternoon and made statements that made the realtor feel uncomfortable.

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At the time of this writing, Mr. Kotter was awaiting to see if charges would be filed.  A look at public records in Manatee county shows that he had a prior felony battery charge that was dismissed and did probation for possession of a controlled substance.

He may have had priors in Sarasota, where he currently resides.

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A quick blurb from a BayNews9 article about a local crime that shocked the community. Three suspects are now in custody in a killing where there is more then meets the eye…

Bradenton police have arrested three suspects in last weeks double homicide that shocked the community. Security footage showed three masked men break into a private home and kill two homeowners. Five children between one and 11 years old were present and at least one kid was thought to have witnessed the shootings.

Police announced the arrests of Jimmie Mcnear, Terez Jones and Trey Nonombre as the three masked murder suspects. Two of the suspects are 18 and one is in his 30s.

As police discovered more evidence they speculated that the trio sought out 29-year-old Kantral Brooks and his girlfriend, Ester Deneus, happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

While at first glimpse this seemed to be a suburban nightmare and a random break in, authorities now believe the house was targeted as it served as a drug den and the murdered man had a large amount of drugs in the house.

During the investigation, police said narcotics were found in the home – specifically, 14 ounces of powder cocaine and “a couple of bags of rock cocaine.”

Making a bad scene even more tragic was that one of the suspects, 33-year-old Terez Jones,was released from the Manatee County jail on $18,000 bond three days before the homicides occurred.

He had been arrested three days earlier on charges of possession with intent to sell heroin and cocaine, tampering with evidence and attempted escape, according to jail records.

A Detective for the Bradenton police department was outraged. “I understand the justice system,” “… We put them in and they bond out, they do something again. That’s going to be a big topic. Should this guy be in jail? Yeah, he should still be in jail. And now he gets out and he’s able to commit a murder. It’s ridiculous.”

The 18-year-old suspects also had criminal histories, each had several convictions for burglary and controlled substance.

The two youngest suspects were caught in a series of early morning SWAT raids in four locations, part of a joint task force between the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Bradenton Police Department.

Police arrested Trey Nonnombre and Jimmie Lee Mcnear, both of Bradenton, and charged them with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted home invasion.

At their first court appearance on Monday afternoon, a judge denied all of them bonds and called them both a danger to the community.
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What happened, while sad, actually sounds like a country song come to life! A bounty hunter, a desperado and a gun fight…that sounds like old school country.

In Lynchburg, Tennessee a bounty hunter got into a shoot out with country singer Randy Howard leaving the singer dead. While details were still coming in at the time of this writing, the shootout is believed to have happened over a DUI charge!

Randy Howard was an early member of country music’s “Outlaw” movement, which rejected traditional country music in favor of a rougher sound. Howard shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr., and has written songs for Hank Williams III, according to his LinkedIn site.

The “All American Redneck” singer had been charged with fourth-offense DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license. A warrant was issued for him when he missed a court date.

A friend had earlier offered to drive him to his court date but Randy told him he wasn’t going back to jail.

A bounty hunter by the name of Jackie Shell showed up at Howard’s home to take him into custody. It is alleged that Howard opened fire and Shell shot back. Jackie Shell is reported injured (undergoing surgery) while Randy was killed in the exchange of gunfire.

Tennessee authorities are investigating the bounty hunter to determine if he had the right to enter Randy’s home, an event which precipitated the shootout.
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Saint Pete violent crimes defense lawyer.jpg CBS News has another case where a suspect is alleging police misconduct. Is this just another in a flurry of police brutality cases or was the cop a hero who saved innocent lives by his action?

It was like a scene from an action movie. The suspect is walking down a street, holding a large gun and threatening to shoot himself and others. A lone cop sees his chance and disarms the man…by hitting the man with his patrol car! While in an action movie, that would just be a cutaway, in real life the cop may be faced with termination and a lawsuit.

On February 19, Mario Valencia had a stolen rifle and had already fired once near Tuscon, Arizona.

Seeing a brief opening, Officer Michael Rapiejko drove his cruiser on the sidewalk and rammed the suspect. The police chief later claimed it almost certainly saved Mario’s life.

According to the local police, Mario was fleeing from a Walmart where he had already stolen the rifle. The police caught up to him near a post office, where he then pointed the rifle at his head multiple times and threatened suicide before firing the gun in another direction and fleeing. It was not clear if he was intentionally shooting at the police or not.

The standoff came to an arupt end nearby when Rapiejko hit him with this cruiser. The police have since released the dashcam footage that shows the officer ramming into the man.

The local police srgt. told a newstation back in February.”This was a dangerous felon who’d been on a crime spree throughout the morning. He’d just stolen a weapon, loaded it, was not obeying commands from officers and was walking toward occupied businesses. It’s a busy time of morning, a lot of employees at work, a lot getting ready to come out for breaks, he’s walking toward those businesses. So we had to take immediate action and make sure he didn’t get inside those businesses.”
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The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital for several days before he was booked into jail. Besides the armed robbery, assault and arson charge, the suspect is also connected to multiple crimes including a convenience store robbery, grand theft auto and a home invasion.

Mario’s criminal defense attorney made no statement other then to mention that his client was in crisis and the car ramming was not necessary. “I’ve also heard them say that they saved his life and I find that to be a very strange statement — to then use the deadly force to almost kill them by plowing them into with your vehicle,” he said.

He made mention of a possible civil lawsuit against the officer.

The local police say they treated this case in the same way as an officer-involved shooting.

Officer Rapiejko was unhurt and placed on paid administrative leave for the standard three days. While the state attorney’s office has already cleared him and he won’t be facing charges, he is still being investigated by his own agency while he is back to work.
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harold-and-toni-henthorn1 Pinellas violent crimes defense.jpg Once is a tragedy but is twice murder? Colorado prosecutors think so and is charging a man with the death of both his first AND second wife. A local CBS story has more information.

58-year-old Harold Henthorn is accused of pushing his wife off a cliff in Rocky Mountain park in Colorado. Prosecutors now think he also murdered his first wife 17 years earlier under similar circumstances.

“We don’t believe it was his first murder,” the Assistant U.S. Attorney told the judge. “He committed an earlier murder of his first wife in remarkably similar circumstances.”

The Judge appeared to agree with the prosecutor and ordered the suspect to be held without bond. The state had requested the hearing, calling Harold a “flight risk” with a large amount of disposable income he could use to flee.

So far Henthorn has only been charged with the murder of his second wife, pleading not guilty to the charge.

Per the police, the suspect is accused of pushing her off a 140 foot cliff in a remote part of the trail back in September of 2012. Ironically, he had taken the victim on a surprise trip to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary!

There were no other witnesses to the fall other then the suspect himself. Family members of the victim becam suspicious and contacted the police. After an extensive police investigation, including an asset check showing the defendant was living off millions of his dead wife’s money, a grand jury indicted him on her murder.

Henthorn’s story unraveled under further investigation of his assets. He told multiple people that he was a professional fundraiser but his tax return found no information of employment. Most experts found this very unusual.

The Judge agreed: “To have ready access to $1.5 million in cash is very troubling in a case of this kind because it means the defendant has the means to flee,” Also disturbing, the judge mentioned, were recent transfers of large amounts of money into accounts belonging to Henthorn’s brother. That is a sign of someone hiding money for a nest egg for a sudden flight.

Toni’s family members also found other evidence. Toni was a well-off doctor in Mississippi when she met Harold. Harold convinced her he was wealthy and together they moved to Colorado. Once there, the “wealthy” man became controlling and obsessed with money according to the deceased’s family.

It was only after their daughter’s death did her parents realize that she was covered by three different types of life insurance totaling almost five million dollars. The first claim came in only a few days after she died.

This was not the suspect’s first go-around with life insurance. In 1995 he collected $500,000 in life insurance from the death of his first wife. Sandra Henthorn was killed when a car slipped off a jack while she and Harold were changing a flat tire. That first death is still under investigation but police and prosecutors noticed many similarities between the two “accidents” involving Harold’s wives.

Ironically, the suspect had no prior criminal record other then a theft charge involving underwear back in the 90’s.
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