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CO Fourth Graders Sell Pot at School: School officials in Colorado are urging parents to keep their newly-legalized marijuana locked up and in a safe place after two fourth graders were caught selling the drug at their elementary school.  Clayton Sandell of ABC News reports that the two boys involved took the marijuana from the grandparent's home and began selling and trading it to other students.  One of the young boys took in $11 and an edible marijuana treat.  The students involved are expected to be suspended for a lengthy period of time. Officials have not said if any criminal charges will be filed.  

FL Executes Convicted Double-Murderer: A Florida man convicted in the double murder of his cousin and his cousin's wife was executed Wednesday evening after spending more than 20 years on the state's death row.  Susan Jacobson of the Orlando Sentinel reports that 47-year-old Robert Hendrix brutally murdered the young couple in an effort to prevent his cousin from testifying against him at burglary trial.  Hendrix became the fourth person executed by the state of Florida so far this year.

PRCS Offender Arrested in Major Drug Bust: A California man free on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) under the Governor's Realignment law was arrested Wednesday afternoon in what Citrus Heights police are calling the city's largest drug bust.  Kim Minugh of the Sacramento Bee reports that 31-year-old Jeremy Zahn was arrested and charged with several felonies after officers searched a "stash house" and found multiple firearms, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and 858 pounds of marijuana-which authorities say has an estimated street value of nearly $2.5 million.  Officers believe this trafficking operation began in September, around the time Zahn was released on PRCS.

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Convicted Double-Murderer Put to Death: The state of Missouri executed 57-year-old William Rousan early Wednesday morning for his role in the 1993 murders of an elderly farming couple.  Carey Gillam of Reuters reports that Rousan, along with his son and brother, orchestrated the killings in an effort to steal the couple's cattle.  Missouri has executed one death row inmate each month since November, the next scheduled execution is set to take place May 21.

Man Wants 'Murder' Tattoo Removed Before Trial
: A Kansas man awaiting trial for first-degree murder is asking to have a tattoo with the word 'Murder' removed from his neck, fearing that the tattoo may negatively affect his case.  Jessica Chasmar of the Washington Times reports that Jeffrey Chapman's defense attorney has filed a motion asking that a tattoo artist be allowed to either remove or cover up the tattoo across his client's neck before the trial begins on Monday.  Prosecutors aren't opposed to Chapman removing the tattoo, but county police have said they will not transport the man to a tattoo parlor for removal.  State law only permits tattoo artists to work in a licensed facility- eliminating the option removing Chapman's tatoo in jail.  Prosecutors have instead suggested that Chapman cover up his neck with a bandage or some type of clothing instead. 

Georgia Law Expands Gun Rights: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed what many are calling an 'unprecedented' bill expanding gun rights for licensed owners.  Fox News reports that the bill increases the list public places where licensed gun owners are allowed to carry guns, including bars, churches, and some government buildings.  The bill also allows for school districts to decide whether or not employees will be allowed to carry firearms under certain conditions, and eliminates the fingerprinting requirement for those renewing weapons carry licenses.

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Murder Suspect Accused of Shooting Witness While on Bail: An Alabama man free on bail for a murder charge has been arrested and his bail revoked after authorities say he robbed and shot a witness that was set to testify against him.  Scott Johnson of the Montgomery Advertiser reports that 24-year-old Satarus Smith was charged with murder in December 2013, but was released after posting a $75,000 bond, police say he shot a witness to the December killing in the face earlier this month, leaving that man with a broken jaw.  Smith now faces additional charges of assault, robbery, and intimidating a witness.

OK Court Puts Two Executions on Hold: In a 5-4 decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of two death row inmates seeking to delay their upcoming executions.  Tim Talley of the Associated Press reports that the two inmates, both convicted murderers, were granted a stay of execution after challenging Oklahoma's secrecy protocol concerning the source of  its lethal injection drugs.  One of the inmates, Clayton Lockett, convicted of murdering a 19-year-old woman, was scheduled to be executed Tuesday evening.  Charles Warner, convicted of killing an 11-month-old child, was set for execution on April 29.

Thousands of Crack Cocaine Offenders Expected to Apply for Clemency: Thousands of federal prisoners serving sentences for crack cocaine offenses are expected to apply for release when the Justice Department announces new clemency rules later this week.  Bill Mears of CNN reports that the new criteria is aimed at addressing disparities between powder and crack cocaine sentences.  Attorney General Eric Holder is anticipating a dramatic increase in the number of individuals eligible for early release.  In addition to the changes regarding clemency, Holder has been encouraged prosecutors to be more flexible when charging  certain non-violent offenders, urging rehabilitation rather than incarceration for those offenders.

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Chicago Police Accused of Altering Crime Statistics: An impressive decrease in Chicago's crime rate has the city's Police Superintendent celebrating while members of the community are questioning the validity of the numbers and accusing the police of 'cooking the stats'.  Warner Huston of Breitbart reports that an investigation conducted by Chicago Magazine revealed that the city's Mayor and Police Superintendent misrepresented some murders and other violent crimes for example, listing a homicide as a "non-criminal death" after the coroner couldn't determine exactly how a victim was killed.  Investigators also discovered that serious felonies such as robberies and assault were sometimes misclassified, downgraded, or removed from the crime stats all together.

Serial Rapists Remain Free due to Rape Kit Backlog: A report published by the Detroit Free Press has revealed that a backlog in testing more than 10,000 rape kits has allowed serial rapists to remain free on the streets and in some cases commit more attacks.  The Associated Press reports that 11,000 untested rape kits were found in a Detroit police storage facility in 2009, since then, only 2,000 of them have been tested. The Michigan state Legislature recently approved a $4 million measure that will send the remaining  kits to private labs to be tested by the end of the year.  The backlog has been blamed on the 2008 closure of the Detroit's crime lab.

Nebraska Impacted by Colorado Pot Legalization: Nebraska law enforcement officers are growing frustrated with the money and time being spent on the arrest and prosecution people buying legal pot in Colorado.  David Hendee of the Omaha World-Herald reports that law enforcement agencies in western Nebraska have become exponentially busier dealing with cases that involve marijuana that was purchased legally in Colorado, but still remains illegal in the state of Nebraska.  State Attorney General Jon Bruning has said he hasn't ruled out the possibility of taking Colorado to court over increasing Nebraska's law enforcement costs.


 

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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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