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News Scan

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Bakersfield Crime Surges After Realignment: Bakersfield Now News reports the Bakersfield Police Department saw overall crime spike in almost all crimes in the city in 2012. The 2012 overall crime rate for Bakersfield was 556 reported crimes per 10,000 citizens, compared to 475 in 2011. Crime had been dropping over the past five years.  In the first full year after the implementation of Realignment, homicides increased to 34 from 18 in 2011. Of the 2012 murders, 15 were gang related.  Crime increases in 2012 included rape by 43.6 percent, robbery by 23.4 percent, larceny by 17.4 percent, burglary by 15.6 percent, and auto theft by 35.7 percent. The only exception was the 9.5 percent decrease in assaults. Assembly Bill 109 has transferred dangerous criminals to overcrowded county jails, leaving many on probation due to lack of space.  According to the Kern County District Attorney's Office, crime for the entire County increased by 15 percent compared to 2011. Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green blames the rise in crime on Governor Jerry Brown's Realignment.

PA Death Sentence Sought Torture Killing: WTAE Pittsburgh reports that alleged killer Ricky Smyrnes, 26, is facing the death penalty for the February 2010 murder of mentally disabled Jennifer Daugherty, 30.  Monday, a judge rejected a defense attorney's claim that his client cannot face execution due to mental problems and a low IQ.  Last year, one accomplice,  Melvin Knight, pleaded guilty to the murder and received a death sentence.  Amber Meidinger, testified that Knight stabbed Daugherty and then, with Smyrnes' assistance, choked her to death with a strand of Christmas lights. Another accomplice, Angela Marinucci, is serving a life term for her role in killing Daugherty. Crime details are in this News Scan. Two others in the apartment, Peggy Sue Miller, 30, and Robert Masters Jr., 39, are accused of failing to stop the killing. They will stand trial but will not face the death penalty. Smymes' trial is expected to last approximately four weeks.

TX Execution Date Set for Killer: KWTX Waco reports that an execution date of May 7 has been set for convicted killer Carroll Joe Parr, 35. Parr was sentenced to death on May 26, 2004 for the Jan. 2003 fatal shooting of Joel Dominguez, 18. Another teen, Mario Chavez, 18 at the time was also shot, but survived. Parr and Earl Whiteside demanded the two teenagers' wallets, shooting them after they told their assailants they had no more money. The shootings happened outside of a North Waco convenience store, during an apparent drug deal. Whiteside pleaded guilty for his role in the shootings in March 2004.

Parole Hearing Set for MA Child Killer: Fox News Boston's Bob Ward reports that the Massachusetts Parole Board has set March 19 as the hearing date for Charles Jaynes. He was convicted in 1998 on second-degree murder and kidnapping charges. A year earlier Jaynes and Salvatore Sicari were convicted of abducting Jeffrey Curley, 10, near his home. The boy resisted Jaynes' sexual advances and was suffocated to death with a gasoline soaked rag.  After Curley died, his body was taken to an apartment and sodomized. The body was found at the bottom of a Maine river stuffed in a container. Sicari was convicted of first-degree murder and is currently serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole. The case nearly resulted in a reinstatement of the death penalty by the state legislature, but the bill failed to pass by a single vote. This will be Jaynes' first chance for parole.

Racist GA Killer's Insanity Plea Rejected:
Erica Ritz of the Blaze reports that Nkosi Thandiwe was sentenced Thursday to life without parole in Georgia. Thandiwe avoided the death penalty by admitting to a shooting spree in July 2011 which resulted in the death of Brittany Watts, 26.  He also shot bystanders Lauren Garcia and Tiffany Ferenczy, both 24. Garcia was left paralyzed. At trial Thankdiwe blamed his crimes on the University of West Georgia for teaching him about European colonialism and slavery. He asserted that he intended to make white people "answer for slavery." All three victims were white. Thandiwe's lawyers tried to broker a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Linda Dunikoski compared Thandiwe's racist ideology to ideas held by the Ku Klux Klan, and refuted the suggestion that "race disorder" was a mental illness.

CA Inmate Attacks Correctional Officers in Prison: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reports that prison inmate Tavis Ray Thompson, 36, attacked a correctional sergeant Saturday. Thompson slipped off his cuffs while in the shower and assaulted the sergeant using a sharpened piece of aluminum attached to a cardboard handle. In addition to inflicting several wounds on the sergeant, Thompson injured the two other officers who subdued him. Thompson is serving a 55-years-to-life sentence for multiple crimes including assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery by a prisoner, assault with a firearm and various other assault charges.

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