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News Scan

VA Executes Killer in Old Sparky: Frank Green of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that convicted killer Robert Charles Gleason Jr. was executed by electrocution in Virginia Wednesday night. He was pronounced dead at 9:08 p.m. While serving a life sentence for a 2007 murder, Gleason killed two inmates, earning him a death sentence. In 2009, he bound, beat, and strangled his cellmate Harvey Gray Watson Jr. at the Wallens Ridge State Prison. In 2010, Gleason strangled  inmate Aaron Alexander Cooper at the Red Onion State Prison. He had pleaded guilty to Cooper's murder, which he carried out as a favor to another inmate. He also refused to appeal his death sentence, saying that was the only way to stop him from killing again. Virginia has executed 110 people since resuming executions in 1982. Gleason was the seventh person to die by the electric chair since 1995 when the option between that and lethal injection became available. Gleason's former lawyers had filed a stay of execution. The U.S. Supreme Court denied it Wednesday. The order is here.

Oakland Named Third Most Dangerous City 2012: A Los Angeles Police Officer, under the pseudonym Jack Dunphy, reports in City Journal that Oakland, CA was ranked third among Forbes ten most dangerous U.S. cities of 2012. As of December 16 of last year, the Oakland Police Department reported an increase in murders by 21 percent, robberies by 23 percent, assaults by 11 percent, and burglaries by a whopping 44 percent from 2011. Due to financial trouble the city laid off 80 police officers and 21 cadets in 2010 and the number of officers has continued to dwindle. Former Los Angeles police chief and New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton has been hired to develop crime fighting strategies and police reforms. Bratton will report to U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson.

Oakland Police Elaborate on Violent Crime Statistics: Demian Bulwa of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the Oakland Police Department walked back Chief Howard Jordan's Monday statement that an estimated 90 percent of the violent crime in East Oakland since last summer has been retaliatory. Jordan linked most of  the uptick to a gang feud that stemmed from the August 8, 2012 murder of 16-year-old Taiteanna Turner. His statement is discussed in this News Scan. From August 13 to December 31, Oakland had 57 murders and 1,784 robberies. Jordan's figure would mean about 51 of the murders and 1,600 robberies stemmed from Turner's death. Jordan's chief of staff, Sgt. Chris Bolton, says 58 percent of the city's murders were from East Oakland. Of those, about 65 percent were linked with gangs. So, while the murder was not the cause of 90 percent of the violent crime, Bolton said  it was responsible for a high percentage.

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