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Tennessee May Revive Electric Chair: The Tennessee House has adopted a bill that will allow use of the electric chair as an alternative execution method if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.  Erik Schelzig of the Associated Press reports that the bill would keep lethal injection as the preferred method of execution, but will allow the electric chair if execution drugs are not available or executions are delayed by legal challenges to the protocol.  Last week the state Senate passed similar bill.  Tennessee is currently holding 76 condemned murderers on death row.  The state has not carried out an execution since 2009.

NE Murderer May Receive Death Penalty: A Nebraska man who went on a 10-day murder spree days after being released from prison has been convicted of four murders may receive a death sentence.  Katie Knapp Schubert of Reuters reports that 27-year-old Nikko Jenkins began the killing spree less than two weeks after he was released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence for robbery.  A three judge panel will determine if Jenkins is eligible for the death sentence.  Nebraska has put just three people to death since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld capital punishment in 1976.  The last execution was in 1997.

Heroin Use Increasing Across the U.S.: Law enforcement officials from around the country are beginning to voice concerns about the growing problem of heroin use which in many parts of the county is killing more people than violent crime and car crashes.  Kevin Johnson of USA Today reports that a surge in the availability and purity of heroin has dramatically increased  overdoses. In 2012, roughly half of New York City's 730 drug overdose fatalities were from heroin and other opiates.  That was twice the number of NYC murder victims that year.  A yet-to-be released National Drug Threat Assessment rated heroin as the second highest drug risk behind methamphetamine.  "This kind of sneaked up on us,'' said Attorney General Eric Holder, who supports reduced sentences for drug dealers.   

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PA Mayor to Limit Police Cooperation with Immigration Officers: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is expected to sign an executive order to limit collaboration efforts between his city's police department and federal immigration authorities.  Julie Shaw of Philly News reports that the order would prevent police from honoring detainer requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless the case involves a person convicted of a first or second-degree felony.  Prior to this order, ICE officials were able to request that a person suspected of being a non-citizen be held by city police up to 48 hours until immigration officers could take custody of them.

CO Police Suspect Accused Murderer was Hallucinating from Marijuana: Denver police are investigating to determine if a man accused of fatally shooting his wife Monday was hallucinating from edible marijuana.  Paresh Dave of the Los Angeles Times reports that the man's wife called 911 Monday night and told the dispatcher that her husband was "talking about the end of the world" and hallucinating, and mentioned that he may have eaten some marijuana. During the 911 call, 47-year-old Richard Kirk retrieved a gun from a locked safe and shot his wife in the head while the couple's three children hid in a bedroom.  Kirk was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, but has not yet been officially charged.

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Habitual Offender Accused of Murder: A Georgia man with a lengthy criminal past has been named as the prime suspect in a recent shooting death.  Alexis Stevens of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that 30-year-old Kendrick Cheeves, who was on parole at the time of the killing, has spent the majority of his adult life in prison after being convicted of crimes including child molestation, statutory rape, and several drug charges.  Cheeves has been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, and if found guilty, faces a possible death sentence.

Teen up for Release After Serving Four Months of Eight-Year Sentence: A Texas woman is outraged after the teenager who robbed her home will be eligible for release after spending only four months behind bars out of a possible eight-year sentence.  Jason Whitely of KHOU Houston reports that 19-year-old Brandon Jordan, who was already on probation for theft at the time of his most recent arrest, will be eligible for release under 'shock probation', which allows for a judge to summon a convicted felon back to court up to six months after being sentenced.  This type of probation is rarely used since very few convicts qualify, and was intended as a rehabilitation tool for young offenders. 

Convicted Triple-Murderer Set to Die: A Texas man convicted of the stabbing murders of his ex-girlfriend, her three-year-old son and her mother is scheduled to be executed Wednesday evening after spending nearly 12 years on death row.  Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press reports that attorneys for Jose Villegas are seeking a last minute stay of execution from SCOTUS based on the claim that they have new evidence indicating that their client is mentally impaired.  On Monday the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied that request.  At the time of the killings, Villegas was out on bond for a sexual assault charge.


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CA Murder Suspects had Lengthy Criminal Past: Police in Southern California have arrested two registered sex offenders as the prime suspects in the murders of four women.  The Associated Press reports that both men were being supervised by police after being arrested in 2012 for removing their court-ordered GPS devices and fleeing to Nevada.  Police believe both men targeted their victims because of their ties to prostitution and escort services, and are determining if there are more victims in California and other parts of the U.S.

Felons Able to Buy Guns Amid Background Check Backlog: More than 360 guns were sold in Maryland last year to people prohibited from owning them due to an overwhelming backlog in conducting gun ownership background checks.  Erin Cox of The Baltimore Sun reports that all but four of the guns sold to those prohibited from owning them were recovered by undercover troopers, and police believe there was only one incident to date involving a gun being used by a prohibited buyer.  Just last week, the Maryland State Police were able to clear the backlog of background checks that at one point, stood at 60,000 requests.

White Supremacist Arrested in Triple Homicide: A Missouri man with a history of racist and anti-Semitic activity has been arrested as the person responsible for three murders this weekend, two of which occurred at a Jewish community center and the other at a Jewish assisted living facility.  Fox News reports that 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller has been involved with white supremacist groups for the majority of his life, and was the subject of a nationwide manhunt in 1987 after police say he violated the terms of his bond while appealing a conviction for operating a paramilitary camp.  The Justice Department has announced plans to file hate crime charges against Miller, he is scheduled to be arraigned this week.

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Inmate Arranges Kidnapping While Behind Bars: Federal authorities say a North Carolina inmate was able to use a smuggled cell phone to help orchestrate the recent abduction of  the father of the prosecutor's who sent him to prison.   Michael Biesecker and Allen G. Breed of the Associated Press report that 49-year-old gang member Kelvin Melton used the smuggled phone to send over 123 calls and text messages to a group of five people who assaulted 63-year-old Frank Janssen over the weekend.  Janssen was taken from North Carolina to Georgia by the kidnappers who sent several threatening text messages to Janssen's wife threatening to behead her husband if she notified the authorities.  FBI agents were able to rescue Mr. Janssen Thursday morning. 

Border Patrol Overwhelmed by Migrants Seeking Asylum: Border Patrol agents working in the Rio Grande area of southern Texas have been overwhelmed with the recent increase in migrants illegally crossing the border seeking asylum and a permanent home in the U.S.  Todd Heisler of the New York Times reports that thousands of migrants from Central America are flooding the borders day and night seeking asylum from their native countries, putting a strain on resources and causing a huge backlog in immigration courts.  In the last six months alone, Border Patrol agents made more than 90,000 apprehensions, a 69 percent increase from last year. 

Teen Charged as Adult in Brazen Killing:  A 16-year-old Indiana criminal, whose record includes 29 violent crimes, will be charged as an adult after authorities say he shot and killed a 24-year-old newlywed and father-to-be during a morning walk.  Alex Greig of the Daily Mail reports that Simeon Adams, who laughed and smiled during his murder arraignment, shot and killed the man during a robbery attempt last Tuesday. Police also believe Adams is responsible for a shooting that occurred just two days prior.  Adams has been charged with felony murder and attempted robbery, his trial is scheduled to begin June 2.

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TX Executes Convicted Killer: A Mexican national convicted of murdering a former Baylor University history professor was executed Wednesday evening after spending nearly 15 years on death row.  Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press reports that 44-year-old Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas entered the U.S. illegally after escaping from a Mexican prison where he was serving a 25-year sentence for a murder he committed in 1989.  He had also been linked to the rape of a 15-year-old girl and had been accused of slashing another inmate in the face while awaiting trial.  Hernandez-Llanas was the sixth Texas murderer executed this year.

Murderer May Avoid Death Sentence due to Poor Health: A Missouri man convicted of one murder and suspected in two others may avoid a possible death sentence after a series of delays and his deteriorating health has stalled the case.  Jim Salter of the Associated Press reports that 62-year-old Gregory Bowman was convicted of killing a teenager in 1977.  In a separate case, he was convicted of murdering another teen and a 21-year-old woman the following year.  On appeal, Bowman's convictions in the 1978 killings were overturned, but the Missouri Supreme Court upheld his conviction in the 1977 murder and ordered him to be re-sentenced.  Delays has pushed his sentencing hearing back to April 2015.  Bowman may not be able to attend after the judge was informed that he is suffering from a potentially fatal kidney ailment. 

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DNA Links Illinois Man to Cold Case Murder: Authorities have made an arrest in the 1997 killing of a 14-year-old girl after DNA collected from the scene several years ago linked 36-year-old James Eaton to the crime.  The Associated Press reports that investigators linked Eaton to the crime after positive matches came from both fingerprints at the scene and DNA evidence collected from a cigarette butt he recently discarded.  14-year-old Amber Creek's body was found in a marsh two weeks after she was reported missing in January 1997.  She had been beaten, sexually assaulted and suffocated with a plastic bag.  Eaton has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse, he is currently being held on $1 million bail.

Drug Cartel 'Enforcer' Confesses to Dozens of Murders: Jose Manuel Martinez, a self-proclaimed drug cartel enforcer, is facing nine murder charges in California after authorities say he confessed to at least 30 killings in several states across the country.  Russell Goldman of ABC News reports that Martinez, who is currently in custody in Alabama on a murder charge from 2013, has confessed to a string of crimes he committed dating back to the 1980's including several murders for hire.  Aside from the murder charges, Martinez is also facing allegations of lying in wait and kidnapping, making him eligible for a possible death sentence.

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Convicted Killer Arrested Shortly After Release: A Missouri man convicted of murder and sentenced to spend thirty years behind bars was arrested and charged with burglary shortly after he was released from prison.  KMOV St. Louis reports that Daniel Blount was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a murder he committed in 1991 and was supposed to serve at least 85 percent of that sentence, bit was release two years early.  Shortly after his release, Blount broke into a home that he was hired to work on and stole several high-dollar tools, he was arrested and charged with burglary and likely faces more prison time.

Buenos Aires Overwhelmed by Increasing Crime: The governor of Buenos Aires, Argentina's largest and most populated province, has declared a 12-month state of emergency in order to address an overwhelming crime rate.  Merco Press reports that Governor Daniel Scioli introduced a series of anti-crime measures including a multi-million dollar investment in security equipment and an 'immediate call' to retired police agents to rejoin preventative action aiming at a 5,000 member force. Magistrates are also being accused of being too lenient toward criminals, and are arguing for legislation providing tougher sentencing.

Supreme Court Denies Execution Drug Claim.  The U.S. Supreme Court has denied review of a murderer's claim that he is entitled to a hearing to determine what type of drug will be used in his upcoming execution and where it was acquired. In a surprisingly biased news article Richard Wolf and Gregg Zoroya of USA Today report that Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1993, appealed to the Supreme Court after the state of Louisiana reported that either pentobarbital or a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone would used for his execution.  Sepulvado's attorneys argued that their client has the right to know which drug will be used.  The high court has denied similar requests twice this year. 

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Bills Introduced to Address Realignment: Members of Coachella Valley law enforcement have teamed up with California State Assemblyman Manuel Perez to introduce AB 1449, one of four bills designed to address the issues surrounding prison realignment.  Reza Gostar of The Desert Sun reports that if passed, AB 1449 would allow the courts to consider an offender's full criminal history when deciding if they should be supervised at the state or county level and also allows for anyone convicted of three serious probation violations to be sentenced to one year in prison.  The bills are scheduled to be heard by the state Senate's public safety committee later this month.

Repeat Sex Offender Released from Prison: A Southern California community has become the new home for a repeat sex offender with a lengthy history of violent sexual assaults.  Sarah Wright of the Liberty Voice reports that Christopher Hubbart has been behind bars for nearly 20 years after being found guilty of violently raping more than two dozen women over the course of several years.  Hubbart has been in and out of police custody since 1972 for his repeated sexual assaults against women, he has been paroled twice before and re-offended both times less than a year after his release. 

Crime up 30 Percent in Housing Projects: Public housing developments in New York are proving to be a dangerous place to live after members of the New York Police Department report that crime has increased by 30 percent over the last five years.  Lisa Evers of Fox 5 News reports that the crime rate in public housing developments is 10 times higher than the rest of New York City, and residents say it's the living conditions and economy that are contributing to the increasing rates of crime and violence.  Reports of domestic violence assaults have also increased in the neighborhood, however, police believe that may be a response to recent awareness campaigns.



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Marijuana Black Market Thriving in CO: The black market for marijuana sales is still thriving in Colorado despite a recently passed law making the drug legal.  Cheryl Chumley of The Washington Times reports that legalizing marijuana in the state has actually enhanced the black market, as marijuana "customers" are able to purchase the drug tax-free from black market dealers as opposed to buying it in a state regulated store.  Police are also worried that recent increases in violent crimes are connected to the drug's legalization. 

'Warning Shot' Bill Approved by Florida Lawmakers: Members of the Florida Senate have passed what is being called the 'warning shot bill' in an effort to revise a state law which punishes the use of a gun.  The Associated Press reports that the bill is in response to a 1999 law that required a mandatory 10-20 year sentence whenever a gun was displayed or used during a crime-even if it was in self-defense.  The 'warning shot bill' would distinguish the use of a gun in self defense from use by a criminal during the commission of a crime.  The bill now heads to Governor Rick Scott's desk for final review.

CA Senator Indicted on Corruption Charges: California Senator Leland Yee was formally indicted this morning on several corruption charges stemming from his March 26 arrest.  The Associated Press reports that Yee, along with 28 others, have been officially charged in connection with an organized crime investigation that involved exchanging illegal weapons for campaign contributions as well as trading political influence for cash.  Yee is out on $500,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday.

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TX Set to Execute Convicted Killer: A Texas man convicted of killing a 13-year-old girl and attempting to kill another girl is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening after an appeals court rejected his final challenge.  Brendan O'Brien of Reuters reports that 49-year-old Tommy Lynn Sells went to the home of a man who owed him drug money and sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl and stabbed her to death before he slit the throat of another little girl sleeping in the bed above her.  According to media reports, Sells has also confessed to 70 additional murders which he claims to have committed since the age of 16.  If his  execution is carried out, he will be the 15th murderer put to death in the U.S. this year.

Murder Defendant Accused in Cellmate's Death: A Phoenix man who told authorities that he murdered his 12-year-old half-brother last month because he "felt like it" is now accused of stabbing his cellmate to death in a Maricopa County Jail last night.  Paul Davenport of the Associated Press reports that officers found the body of 27-year-old Andrew Ward's cellmate Wednesday evening after hearing reports of an inmate fight.  33-year-old Douglas Walker had been stabbed in the eyes with a pencil and had his throat cut with a plastic playing card before he was beaten to death in the cell he shared with Ward.  Ward admitted to officers that he was responsible for Walker's death.   
 
Shooting at Ft. Hood Leaves Four Dead: A shooting yesterday at Ft. Hood in Texas left several injured and four dead, including the gunman.  Dana Ford of CNN reports that the suspect, an Iraq war veteran who had been transferred to Ft. Hood in February, opened fire on the Army post Wednesday afternoon killing three and injuring 16 more before turning the gun on himself.  A similar mass shooting incident took place at Ft. Hood in November 2009, that incident left 13 dead and 32 injured.  The suspect in the 2009 shooting, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was convicted of murder and the jury has recommended a death sencence.

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Convicted Killer Accused in Another Murder: An Oregon man who spent 27 years in prison for murder will now face another trial for a second killing authorities say he committed after being released.  Greg Bolt of the Register-Guard reports that 58-year-old David Taylor was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 for the murder of a female gas station attendant, but a parole board voted in favor of releasing him in 2004 after serving just 27 years of his sentence.  Police say Taylor went on a months-long crime binge in 2012 and is responsible for several crimes including bank robbery, kidnapping, and the murder of a 22-year-old man.  If convicted on the murder charge, Taylor faces a possible death sentence.

FL Governor Signs Tough Sex Offender Laws: Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed four new bills aimed at toughening sex offender laws aimed at making Florida the most "unfriendly state" for sex offenders and predators.  ABC 3 reports that the new legislation will require homeless offenders to let police know where they will be spending their time and make it easier for authorities to keep sex offenders in treatment programs after serving their prison sentences.  The new laws also mandates that the most serious sex offenders be sentenced to a minimum of 50 years to life as opposed to the current law which set the minimum at 25 years. 

Woman Arrested After April Fools' Prank: A South Carolina woman was arrested after an April Fools' prank resulted in local police swarming a community college campus in response to a fake school shooting.  Fox Carolina reports that the woman, an employee at the college, sent a text message to her daughter saying there was a gunman on campus and that she could hear gunshots while hiding in the bathroom.  The woman's daughter called 911 and several officers headed to the school preparing for the worst, only to discover there was no gunman and the entire situation was a prank.  54-year-old Angela Timmons was charged with disturbing a school campus, aggravated breach of peace, and two counts of unlawful use of a telephone.

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Louisiana House Votes to Expand Death Penalty: Members of the Louisiana House overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill that would make the murder of correctional worker punishable by death.  Lauren McGaughy of NOLA.com reports that House Bill 278 adds correctional facility employees to a list of first-degree murder victims, allowing prosecutors to pursue the death penalty or an automatic life without the possibility of parole sentence.  The bill, which was approved by a vote of 73-19, now heads to the Senate committee. 

Convicted Killer to get New Trial: Mississippi death row inmate Michelle Byrom, who was scheduled to be executed last week for the murder of her husband, will get a new trial after a rare ruling was made by the state's high court.  The Associated Press reports that attorneys for Byrom say they have new evidence in the case that points to her son being the killer, alleging that he even confessed to the crime during conversations with a forensic psychologist.  Byrom's son originally testified against her as part of a plea bargain, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison with 20 years suspended.

D.C. Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill: Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has signed a bill that decriminalizes possession of up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the nation's capital.  Ian Simpson of Reuters reports that the new law makes possession of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine, possession used to be classified as a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.  The measure will now undergo a 60-day congressional review.

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Thousands of 'Criminal Aliens' Released in 2013: Internal documents obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies  (CIS), a group advocating stricter immigration enforcement, have revealed that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents released nearly 68,000 foreign nationals with criminal covictions rather than pursing deportation.  Judson Berger of Fox News reports that ICE agents came in contact with 193,000 'criminal aliens' last year, but only targeted 125,000 of them for deportation.  CIS also revealed that in 2013, ICE charged less than 200,000 of the 722,000 "potentially deportable aliens" they came in contact with.

White House Shooter Sentenced Today: An Idaho man who in 2011 shot at and hit the White House several times is set to be sentenced today after agreeing to plead guilty.  The Associated Press reports that 23-year-old Oscar Ortega-Hernandez hit the White House roughly eight times and did nearly $100,000 in damage, the prosecution has asked that he spend the next 27 years behind bars.  Ortega-Hernandez was originally charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama, but prosecutors agreed to drop the charge in exchange for a plea deal in 2013.

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Mississippi Execution Delayed: A Mississippi woman sentenced to death for the murder of her husband was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening, but was granted a temporary reprieve while the state Supreme Court reviews her post-conviction motion.  Marlena Baldacci of CNN reports that after the delay, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a motion with the state's high court to schedule another execution date for 57-year-old Michelle Byrom, but that motion was ultimately denied.  If the execution is carried out, Byrom would become the first female prisoner executed in the state in 70 years.

Repeat Felon Arrested in Navy Ship Murder: The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has identified 35-year-old Jeffrey Savage as the person responsible for killing a Navy sailor on board the USS Mahan earlier this week.  WAVY News reports that Savage has a violent criminal past and was sentenced to almost four years in prison for a manslaughter conviction in 2008, but was released after serving only a year and a half behind bars.  Officials say Savage attempted to board the USS Mahan Monday evening and was confronted by a sailor on the ship, a struggle ensued and Savage killed Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo.  Authorities are still unsure why Savage, a civilian truck driver, was trying to board the Navy ship.

Newlywed Sentenced for Murdering Husband: A Montana woman who pushed her husband off of a cliff just eight days after their wedding day will have to spend the next thirty years of her life behind bars.  Sasha Goldstein of the New York Daily News reports that 22-year-old Jordan Graham pled guilty to second-degree murder and admitted to pushing her husband off a 200 foot cliff during an argument at Glacier National Park last summer.  Graham, who was convicted in federal court, will have to serve her entire 30 year sentence without the possibility of parole.


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