Death Penalty Considered for Child Murderer: Prosecutors in Missouri are considering seeking the death penalty in the case against accused murderer and kidnapper Shawn Morgan, 43. Morgan is accused of suffocating his three-year-old neighbor Breeann Rodriguez with a white plastic trash bag, holding it over her face and mouth after he spotted the girl standing by his backyard pool. According to a court document, "Morgan states that he felt like it took an hour for the girl to die." Morgan told police he put the girl's body into the same trash bag, and threw it over a railing into a floodway ditch. Morgan has not yet entered a plea. Chris Perry of CNN has this story.
Optimistic New Strategy for Philadelphia Police: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey released a plan today that continues to encourage the city's officers to look for creative ways of preventing crime, such as asking the city to fix broken streetlights or clean up overgrown lots. The plan stresses community cooperation and relies on the realization that small problems and the big are interconnected. Ramsey explains: "Law enforcement is a very small slice of what we do. We're not here to feed the criminal-justice system; we ought to be here to starve it. You have got to be able to come up with ways to keep people out of the system and to keep people on the right side of law." Allison Steele of the Philadelphia Inquirer has this story.
Jury Recommends Death Sentence: Steve Fry of The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that after 55 minutes of deliberation, a Osage County jury decided on a death sentence for James Kraig Kahler for the murders of his estranged wife, two teenage daughters, and estranged wife's grandmother. Kahler shot to death the victims during a 2009 rampage through the grandmother's home. He allowed his son, Sean Kahler, then 10, to escape unharmed. When urging jurors to chose a death sentence, assistant attorney general Amy Hanley said the victims "all died with an awareness that gave them the torture of slow death." Under Kansas law, the presiding judge must now determine whether the evidence supports the verdict.
Guilty Verdict in Major San Francisco Gang Trial: A federal jury in San Francisco jury yesterday returned with guilty verdicts for six members of the MS-13 gang in the city's biggest gang trial in many years. During the four-month trial, prosecutors portrayed the men as as leaders of a heavily armed gang that controlled the San Francisco's Mission District through fear and violence. The prosecutors' case largely relied on informants and secretly-taped conversations with the defendants. MS-13 is a violent gang that originated in Los Angeles by El Salvadoran immigrants, and now has 8,000 to 10,000 members in the U.S. Bob Egelko of the SF Chronicle has this report.