<< The Ghost, and Ghosts, of Lockerbie | Main | A Confession of Error >>


News Scan

| 1 Comment
Utah Sex Offender Finds Perfect Loophole to get Off the Hook:  Convicted Utah sex offender Lonnie Hyrum Johnson, 38, who has been charged with almost two dozen counts of child sex abuse may soon be released from a Utah State Hospital.  Doctors say he no longer poses a danger to society, despite the fact that he's mentally incompetent to stand trial.  Johnson was charged in 2007 with rape, sodomy, and aggravated sexual abuse of a child for alleged acts with his niece and her step-cousin between 2001 and 2006.  In 2006, Johnson was convicted of raping a teenage girl in Washington state and was sent to prison, where he served less than a year.  If convicted of the Utah rapes, Johnson could face life sentences for every count.  Instead, he may be released following a hearing this afternoon.  Several weeks ago, a judge found that Johnson is unlikely to become competent to stand trial and doctors do not believe he would pose a threat to society if released.  District Attorney Craig Johnson sought to have the defendant civilly committed, but doctors say he doesn't meet the necessary legal requirement.  For civil commitment under Utah law, a doctor must find that a person's mental illness makes them a danger to himself or others.  "I am just floored," said Christy Danner, the mother of one victim. "I don't understand how he's competent enough to let go but not competent enough to stand trial. It's not fair to the girls. It's almost like they are victimized again.  He's found the perfect loophole and the scary thing is now he's got it figured out if he ever does something like this again," she said.  AP writer Jennifer Dobner has this story.

Murder Charges Dropped for Serial Killer after Death Penalty Repeal:  Rummana Hussain of the Chicago Sun Times reports on a decision made by Cook County prosecutors to drop three murder charges against alleged serial killer Paul Runge, due to the state's recent abolishment of the death penalty.  "In light of the state's recent decision to abolish the death penalty in Illinois, the State's Attorney's Office reluctantly concluded that with the death penalty no longer an option for Runge in these brutal murders, there was no other course of action but to drop the remaining murder charges in these cases," the office said in a statement.  The murder charges dropped against Runge included the 1995 killing of Stacy Frobel and the 1997 murders of Dorothy Dziubak and Kazimera Paruch.  Runge, 41, was taken off death row along with 14 others earlier this month when Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill repealing the death penalty in Illinois.  Runge continues to serve a life sentence for the 1997 sexual assault and murders of 35-year-old Chicago resident Yolanda Gutierrez and her 10-year-old daughter Jessica Muniz.

Massachusetts' Highest Court Rejects Killer's Plea for New Trial:  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday  rejected a killer's claim that his lawyer deprived him of his right to appeal by telling him he would likely face the death penalty in a new trial.  John Petetabella has been serving a life sentence for nearly 50 years for fatally shooting bar owner Jean Thibeault in 1963, and did not appeal his conviction until May 2008.  During his 1964 trial, Petetabella admitted to shooting Thibeault in the back with two other men as they robbed the bar.  He claimed he was drunk and insane.  Persuaded by Petetabella's attorney, the jury sentenced him to life in prison, sparring him the death penalty Massachusetts then had in effect.  The state abolished the death penalty in 1984.  "This defendant has admitted to committing the murder, and today's ruling by the SJC affirms our view that he knowingly testified to his guilt at trial and voluntarily waived his right to a direct appeal more than four decades ago,'' Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter said.  Denise Lavoie from the Boston Globe has this story.

Hunt for Serial Killer Continues as Police Discover More Human Remains on Long Island Beach:
  Police discovered more human remains on a Long Island, New York, beach approximately one mile from where the bodies of four other women were discovered last year.  The hunt for a potential serial killer continues, as does the search for Shannan Gilbert, 24, whose disappearance led to the discovery of the other bodies.  All four women found dead were prostitutes offering services on Craigslist.  Nina Golgowski of CNN has this story.

1 Comment

They say Johnson suffers from a "cognitive disorder." Like what? Thinking children what to have sex with him???

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives