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CA Murderer's Death Sentence Upheld:  The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence on Monday of an Orange County man who organized a fatal robbery and then convinced his girlfriend to kill a witness over two decades ago.  Kelly Puente of the OC Register reports that in 1991, William Clinton Clark, 62, was the mastermind behind a Fountain Valley computer store robbery, in which Kathy Lee was killed as she arrived to pick up her son.  Three years later, Clark persuaded his girlfriend, Antoinette Yancey, to murder Ardell Love Williams, 19, by luring him to a location with a promise of a job before he could testify at Clark's trial.  Yancey was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her role.  Clark was convicted in 1996 of two felony counts of murder.  He will remain on death row.

Another Deadly Weekend in Chicago:  Chicago saw yet another bloody weekend as numerous shootings continue to plague the city, mostly fueled by its incessant gang war.  Warner Todd Huston of Breitbart reports that 51 people were wounded and seven were killed over the weekend, topping 2014 and 2015 records.  There were at least 48 isolated shooting incidents over a four-day period, with 28 occurring on Saturday and 20 on Sunday.  Thus far in 2016, 311 total people have been slain across Chicago, 285 males and 26 females.  In addition to the staggering number of homicides are the 1,375 men and 146 females that have been wounded in the violence.

CA Woman Arrested and Released 41 Times:  The perpetual arrests and releases of a repeat offender have prompted Shasta County residents to question whether the California's justice system is working and if criminals are learning their lesson.  Action News Now reports that Christina Burke of Redding has been arrested and released 41 times, with nine of them occurring in 2016 alone, and local law enforcement cite AB 109 and Proposition 47 as contributing factors in her continual arrests and releases.  AB 109, aimed at maintaining a low prison population, has resulted in habitual offenders like Burke being released much quicker, while Prop. 47 has reduced several property and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.  Law enforcement and residents alike are taking notice to criminals' lack of accountability under the measures, forming groups such as Take Back Redding and Redding Crime Watch.  Residents also filed a petition called "Dear Governor Brown, we are taking a stand."

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OH Struggles to Find Lethal Injection Drugs:  Just over six months ahead of Ohio's first scheduled execution since 2014, and with two dozen other convicted killers scheduled to die over the next three years, the state has not managed to secure a supply of lethal injection drugs.  Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials have attempted to secure a supply through several avenues, including compounding pharmacies and from overseas sources, but all their efforts have been in vain.  The state's biggest hurdle, which affects all states with the death penalty, is resistance from major manufacturers that either stopped making drugs used for lethal injection or refuse to sell them to states for use in executions.  Currently, Ohio law only allows lethal injection for executions, and transitioning to an alternative method, which some officials have suggested, would require changing state law.  The state's next scheduled execution is on Jan. 12, 2017, when Ronald Phillips is set to die.

SCOUTS Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic Violence:  On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the broad reach of a federal law that bans people with a domestic violence conviction from owning firearms.  Fox News reports that the high court ruled, in a 6-2 decision, that reckless domestic assaults can be considered misdemeanor crimes to restrict gun ownership.  The case involved two Maine men, Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, who were both found guilty of misdemeanor domestic assaults which prohibited them from possessing firearms.  Voisine argued that the law only covers intentional acts of abuse and not those committed in the heat of an argument, while Armstrong argued that the ban violates his second amendment rights.  Voisine's argument was rejected and although Armstrong's was not addressed in the ruling, it was questioned during oral argument.

ISIS Targets SF, Las Vegas in New Video:  The Islamic State (ISIS) released an ominous video on Sunday showing footage of San Francisco landmarks and the Las Vegas Strip in what appears to be a threat of attack on the two cities.  Adelle Nazarian of Breitbart reports that in the video, a man providing English voiceover, who introduces himself as Abu Ismail al-Amriki ("the American"), encourages "attacks in San Francisco in the same vein as the Pulse incident in Orlando."  Sunday's video in the third released by the terrorist group that claims responsibility for the Orlando attacks and advocates that others follow the example of the gunman, Omar Mateen.

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Death Penalty Sought in FL Doctor's Murder:  Prosecutors announced Wednesday that they are seeking the death penalty against two suspects in the murder of a Florida doctor.  One of the suspects is the victim's husband.  Fox News reports that Mark Sievers, 48, and Jimmy Rodgers, 26, will face capital punishment in the death of Teresa Sievers, 46, a holistic physician and mother of two who was found bludgeoned to death in her home last June.  A third assailant, Curtis Wayne Wright, 46, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February in exchange for a 25-year sentence and agreed to assist prosecutors in their case against Mark Sievers.  Investigators uncovered a plot last December orchestrated by Mark, in which he directed Rodgers and Wright to attack Teresa and promised them a chunk of the $4.4 million life insurance payout.

45 Foreign Fugitives Arrested this Week:  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a report this week stating that 45 foreign fugitives were arrested this week for serious crimes committed in their home countries.  Maria Biery of the Washington Examiner reports that in an operation dubbed "Project Red II," U.S. Marshals and ICE focused their efforts on individuals with Interpol red notices.  Those arrested were wanted in 22 countries on a multitude of charges, including fraud, homicide, illegal gang activity, drug trafficking, rape, embezzlement, extortion and kidnapping.  A total of 1,789 foreign fugitives have been removed from the U.S. since October 2009.

Cop Stable After Shooting; Suspect in Custody:  The Pennsylvania police officer shot multiple times and seriously wounded Friday morning is in critical but stable condition, and a suspect has been taken into custody.  Dan Stamm and Brian X. McCrone of NBC 10 report that the Folcroft Borough officer, Chris Dorman, 25, was shot in the neck, face and shoulder in the rear of an apartment building while responding to a report of people smoking narcotics.  Dorman is a one-year veteran of the force.

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La. Cop Killed by Probationer:  A Louisiana detective was fatally shot during a pedestrian stop on Wednesday in what the Jefferson Parish Sheriff called "a cold-blooded murder."  Phil Helsel of NBC News reports that Detective David F. Michel, Jr. was shot once in the back and two additional times at point-blank range as he fell by Jerman Neveaux, 19, who is currently in custody.  Neveaux confessed to killing the officer because he was on probation and did not want to go back to jail for possessing a firearm.  Michel had been with the sheriff's office since 2007.

AR High Court Upholds Lethal Injection Secrecy Law:  In a 4-3 decision Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state can continue to administer lethal injections to death row inmates without supplying them with information about the manufacturer, seller or any other information about the drugs, reversing a lower court ruling.  Claudia Lauer of the AP reports that the ruling stems from a challenge to the state's secrecy law by a group of inmates, who argued that it is unconstitutional to have such laws because the lack of disclosure of the information deprives inmates' assurance that the punishment would not be cruel and unusual. Arkansas currently has eight pending executions, though it has not been made clear when the state will be able to resume executions.  It has been over a decade since the state carried out an execution.

SCOTUS Deadlocks on Obama's Deportation Amnesty:  The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in 4-4 vote Thursday on President Obama's deportation amnesty, leaving in place a lower court's ruling that blocked the White House from shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Obama's program broke immigration law, and many agreed that the president attempted to subvert the Constitution.  Obama's program, announced in 2014, would have applied to as many as five million illegal immigrants who either came to the U.S. as children or who have children that are citizens or legal residents, granting them three-year stays of deportation, work permits, Social Security numbers and other taxpayer benefits.

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IN Killer to get Execution Date:  A Gary, Ind., man on death row for murdering his family nearly a decade ago is getting to closer to receiving an execution date.  Ruth Ann Krause of the Post-Tribune reports that Kevin Isom, 50, was given the opportunity during hearings on March 14 and May 2 to sign a petition to file post-conviction relief.  Lake Superior Court Magistrate Natalie Bokota repeatedly informed him that failure to sign the petition would result in the post-conviction appeal being taken off the table, allowing for an execution date to be set.  An order has been issued asking that the Indiana Supreme Court set an execution date.  Isom was convicted of three counts of murder in 2013 for the August 2007 shooting deaths of his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and stepchildren, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, all of whom were shot multiple times.

CA Assemblymen's Bill would close Prop. 47 Loophole:  Two California Assembly members introduced legislation Tuesday that aims to protect small businesses from shoplifting syndicates taking advantage of the reduced sentences under Proposition 47.  The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports that Assembly Members Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) have proposed AB 2287, which would allow prosecutors to use conspiracy laws to target organized shoplifters and charge individual thieves with felonies if they steal more than $950 in a six month period.  Prop. 47, approved by voters in 2014, reduced certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, including theft, so long as less than $950 worth of goods was stolen at a time.  Since Prop. 47's implementation, criminals have become wise to this loophole, which has caused retail theft to almost double.  Wilk describes the legislation as "a common sense reform to fix an unintended consequence of Prop. 47."

Criminal Aliens Being Released into US:  A report released by Homeland Security's inspector general this week exposed major flaws in the immigration system, including the practice of releasing criminal aliens onto U.S. streets when their home countries refuse to take them back.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that this issue stems a 2001 court decision in Zadvydas v. Davis which prohibits the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) from detaining criminals for longer than 180 days in the absence of extraordinary circumstances1 court decision.  ICE states that once 180 days of detention are up, their ability to monitor and supervise individuals is limited, allowing for criminals to return to the streets and commit new crimes.  Last year Jean Jacques, a Haitian immigrant whose home country refused to take him back after he served time for attempted murder, was released from prison and murdered Casey Chadwick within months.  Several thousand  illegal immigrants walk U.S. streets today for this reason, 35,000 from Cuba alone.  ICE says it's working with the State Department to press other countries to comply with repatriating their citizens.

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Obama Administration Lowballs Crimes by Illegal Aliens:  The watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) revealed that the 30,558 criminal aliens released in FY 2014 committed 13,288 additional crimes, a far higher number than the 1,423 reported by the Obama administration last July.  Caroline May of Breitbart reports that the president of FAIR, Dan Stein, criticized the Obama administration upon discovering the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, for attempting to hide the true numbers by providing inaccurate information to Congress and the public "[r]ather than end dangerous politically-driven policies that have put a total of 85,000 deportable criminal aliens back into the streets in the last three years."  In FY 2014, the 30,558 released criminal aliens went on to commit an array of new crimes, including vehicular homicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, DUI, burglary and assault.

Ferguson Effect to Blame for Increase in Murder Rates:  America's largest cities have seen a 17% spike in murder rates over a one-year period, and according to a new study released by the U.S. Department of Justice, the "Ferguson Effect" could be partly to blame.  Richard A. Webster of the Times-Picayune reports that the study focuses on 56 of the nation's most populous cities that consist of more than 250,000 residents, 18 of which have seen homicides spike by more than 25% and 12 that have seen a 50% increase. The study offers two explanations regarding the Ferguson Effect and how it has impacted crime, specifically murder. The first explanation asserts that increased police scrutiny in the wake of highly publicized shootings have caused law enforcement to pull back, allowing for criminals and potential murderers to roam freely, undeterred.  The second emphasizes the distrust and discontent that exists between the police and African American communities, resulting in a lack of cooperation with police investigations.  Another possible explanation for the nationwide murder spike is the expansion of inner-city drug markets fueled by the heroin epidemic.

Petition Submitted to Block Manson Follower's Parole: 
A petition was submitted to California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday in an effort to block the parole of a follower of Charles Manson imprisoned for killings a wealthy grocer and his wife over four decades ago.  The AP reports that Leslie Van Houten was convicted of murdering Leno and Rosemary La Bianca in 1969, one day after other "Manson family" members killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.  Debra Tate, Sharon's sister, along with a nephew and grandson of the La Biancas, turned in 140,000 signatures, taking up three boxes, at Brown's Capitol office.  Van Houten was recommended for release by a parole board in April.  The recommendation will go to Brown in August and he will have until mid-September to decide whether or not to block Van Houten's release.

Serial Killer's Fate Depends on OK Authorities:  A man currently serving a 60-year sentence for abduction could potentially face the death penalty after he was linked to several murders across both Texas and Oklahoma. KFOR reports that William Reece recently led police to the remains of Kelli Cox, whom he abducted and murdered in 1997. Police believe that there are at least five women whom have also suffered the same fate at Reece's hands, though he has only been formally charged with one murder. Texas officials have Reece in custody and have decided not to impose the death penalty if he agrees to lead them to the bodies of other victims. Oklahoma's authorities have yet to make a decision in regards to the death penalty and may still decide to impose it.

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AL Appeals Court Rules Death Penalty Constitutional:  An Alabama appeals court ordered a circuit court judge last week to vacate her rulings made three months ago declaring the state's capital punishment sentencing scheme unconstitutional.  Kent Fault of AL reports that Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Todd was ordered Friday by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to vacate her March 3 order that barred the imposition of the death penalty in the cases of four inmates, who filed motions arguing that the state's death penalty sentencing law was unconstitutional based on the U.S. Supreme Courts January ruling striking down Florida's death sentencing system.  Florida's death penalty law was struck down because justices ruled that judges, rather than juries, had too much power over the decision to impose a death sentence; however, Alabama's law requires a jury to unanimously agree beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one aggravating circumstance exists.  Ultimately, the Court of Criminal Appeals found "Alabama's capital-sentencing scheme is constitutional under (U.S. Supreme Court rulings) Apprendi, Ring, and Hurst and the circuit court (Todd) erred in holding otherwise." 

Several Dead, Injured in Chicago Weekend Shootings:  Over Father's Day weekend in Chicago, 13 people were fatally shot and at lest 42 others were wounded, including a three-year-old boy who was shot while sitting in his car seat.  Alexandra Chachkevitch of the Chicago Tribune reports that in shootings between 8:30 a.m. Saturday and 4:30 a.m. Sunday alone, there were at least 28 people injured and three fatalities, the equivalent of someone shot every 43 minutes.  There have been approximately 1,780 people shot across the city so far this year.

Court Halts TX Man's Execution:  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the upcoming execution of a Texas man last week, who was condemned for killing his two-year-old daughter in 2002.  Johnathan Silver of the Texas Tribune reports that the case of Robert Roberson, who was scheduled to be put to death on June 21, was sent back to trial court Thursday after his attorneys argued that his conviction was based on junk science and he didn't get a fair trial because mental health experts were not permitted to testify that Roberson suffers from mental lapses due to a brain injury.  Roberson is on death row for killing his toddler, Nikki, who experts testified sustained injuries consistent with signs of shaking, bruising and blunt force trauma.  Roberson claims Nikki died after falling from her crib, but other witnesses testified having seen Roberson shake and spank Nikki when she wouldn't stop crying.  The Anderson County District Attorney's office stands behind the evidence against Roberson and his conviction.

Man Charged After 12 Girls Found in his Home:  A Pennsylvania man faces several charges, including sexual assault, after police discovered him living with 12 girls, one of whom is an 18-year-old that he has fathered two children with.  Lorenzo Farrigno and David Shortell of CNN report that a tip from a neighbor led authorities Thursday to the home of Lee Kaplan, 51, who had 12 girls living with him that ranged in age from six months to 18 years.  The teenage girl who was the mother of Kaplan's two children, the first of which was conceived when she was 14, was "gifted" to Kaplan by her parents, Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, for helping them out of financial difficulties.  The couple claims to be the parents of all 10 girls found in Kaplan's home and the grandparents of the other two.  Kaplan is charged with statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor.  The Stoltzfuses both face charges of endangering the welfare of a child, while Daniel faces additional charges of criminal conspiracy and statutory sexual assault.

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Parolee Attempts to Kill CA Civil Sergeant:  A man accused of attempting to kill a Yuba County sheriff's civil sergeant last week is a parolee who remained free despite several violations and disciplinary issues, and also had a history of assaulting police officers.  Monica Vaughan of the Appeal-Democrat reports that Joseph Hazen, 38, assaulted the sergeant unprovoked on June 6 while the sergeant was serving civil papers in a multi-unit home.  Hazen, who was not the subject of the papers, stuck the sergeant with a metal pipe, knocking him out and inflicting a severe head laceration.  Hazen has only been in California for a year, first coming to Yuba County in June 2015 after the state agreed to have him transferred from Wisconsin so he could live with his mother while on parole.  Two months after arriving, parole officers recommended Hazen's parole be revoked after numerous violations.  When Wisconsin refused to take him back, he was released from custody in October and given permission to continue living in Yuba County.  Hazen has pleaded not guilty to the near-fatal attack on the civil sergeant.

Jury to Decide on Death Penalty for 2 OK Men:  A jury heard argument Thursday urging a death sentence for two Oklahoma men who murdered six people attending a party in November 2009.  Seth A. Richardson of the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Denny Edward Phillips and Russel Lee Hogshooter, both 38, were convicted Monday in the deaths of six people, including two pregnant women, during a home robbery nearly seven years ago.  Two other men who participated in the crime, David Allen Tyner, 34, and Jonathan Allen Cochran, 37, were convicted of six life sentences and 25 years as part of a deal, respectively.  Both testified against Phillips and Hogshooter, asserting that Phillips gave orders via cellphone and Hogshooter tortured one of the victims, a 22-year-old woman who was seven and half months pregnant, before shooting her in the head.  Both Phillips and Hogshooter were found guilty on six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, each receiving a sentence of 35 years for the conspiracy charge.  Jurors will decide next whether the two men receive life, life without parole or death in the first-degree murder charges.

Illegal Families Surge Across Border, Breaking 2015 Records:  Homeland Security statistics released Friday reveal that the number of illegal immigrant families crossing the southwest border has already topped all of 2015.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that last month, 6,788 people traveling as families were apprehended at the border, a more than 20% spike over April and putting the total for the first eight months of the fiscal year at almost 45,000.  While the total thus far into the year has not surpassed the exploding surge that occurred in 2014, it has already beat the 2015 yearlong total of fewer than 40,000 illegal immigrants caught.  Several justice officials blame the Obama administration's lax enforcement policies that have enticed more people to migrate to the U.S., with some going as far as abducting children in order to appear as a family unit and take advantage of the policies. 


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CA Man to Face the Death Penalty:  A young man out on probation accused of murdering an elderly woman and raping another in a home invasion Sunday night near San Diego will face the death penalty.  Maria Arcega-Dunn of Fox 5 reports that Eduardo Torres, 20, broke into the Del Cerro home with Ut Nguyen, 74, a 56-year-old man and a woman in her 50s inside.  After the man managed to escape, Torres held the women hostage at knifepoint.  He then raped the woman in her 50s while stabbing Nguyen, who died of her injuries.  Torres faces charges of burglary, torture, rape, and murder, and could receive a death sentence if convicted.

ISIS Working to Send Operatives to the West, Says CIA Chief:  CIA Director John Brennan is speaking to Congress Thursday to inform that Islamic State (ISIS) militants are training and attempting to send operatives to launch attacks on the West.  Deb Riechmann of the AP reports that Brennan says ISIS is likely working to smuggle operatives into Western countries, either among the refugee flow or through other legitimate means of travel.  He notes that the terror group is also calling for followers to carry out "lone wolf" attacks in their home countries.  Although the U.S.-led coalition has made progress curtailing the group both financially and on the battlefield, "our efforts have not reduced the group's terrorism capability and global reach," says Brennan.

NV Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty Against Liquor Store Killers:  The death penalty will be sought against two of the three men accused of gunning down a liquor store clerk in Nevada's southwest valley two months ago.  David Ferrara of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Lee "Dominic" Sykes, 21, and Ray Charles Brown, 24, shot and killed Matthew Christensen, 24, during a robbery on April 20.  Brown, a gang member, has been identified as the defendant who fired the fatal shot.  Sykes and Brown are charged with murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, burglary while in possession of a firearm, coercion with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.  Brown also faces one count each of false imprisonment by body shield and child abuse, neglect or endangerment for using a child to shield himself as an armed SWAT team confronted him.  Sykes' brother, Lee "Murry" Sykes, 22, also faces charges in the fatal robbery but is not facing the death penalty because he was unarmed during the incident and lacks a violent past.

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DE High Court to hear Death Penalty Arguments:  After a months-long debate, arguments over the constitutionality of Delaware's death penalty will be heard Wednesday by the state Supreme Court.  Matt Bittle of the Delaware State News reports that in Rauf v. State of Delaware, the Public Defender's Officer argues that the state's death penalty statute contradicts the right to a jury trial, while the Department of Justice contends that the law does not violate the U.S. Constitution.  Delaware's capital punishment law has some similarities to Florida's, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional in January because it allows the judge to issue a death sentence.  If the court rules that similar portion of Delaware's law unconstitutional, it may not strike down the death penalty entirely; however, if the justices find the law does not comply with the high court's January ruling, capital punishment in the state would be eliminated, at least temporarily, until the legislature adopts a revised  death penalty law.

CA Probationer Almost Hits Cop, Firefighters with Car:  A felony probationer suspected of heroin overdose nearly ran over a Redding police officer and several firefighters with his car last week, before smashing into a parked vehicle and leading the police on an 18-mile chase that ended when he ran out of gas.  Joe Szydlowski of the Redding Record Searchlight reports that police and firefighters responded to a call of a person, Michael Anthony Carter, 25, reportedly overdosing on heroin.  Carter was on probation in a 2013 attempted kidnapping case and was arrested on suspicion of heroin possession and violating his probation just one week before the high-speed chase.  The car that Carter hit during the incident belonged to anti-crime activist Anje Watson, who referenced Proposition 47 and AB 109 when she "thanked" Gov. Jerry Brown and state judges for "the New California."  After surrendering, Carter was arrested on suspicion of felony assault on a peace officer, felony evasion, diving while under the influence, hit and run, possession of heroin, resisting arrest and probation violation.

Judge Upholds Death Penalty for PA Man's Retrial:  A federal judge upheld a District Attorney's authority to seek the death penalty in the upcoming retrial of a Pennsylvania man who was convicted of murdering a young woman over a decade ago.  Phil Ray of the Altoona Mirror reports that last week, U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson refused to issue a certificate of appealability to Paul Aaron Ross, convicted of first-degree murder in the 2004 killing of 26-year-old Tina Miller.  In 2011, a retrial was ordered for Ross by the state Superior Court, after which Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio filed notice that he would seek the death penalty for Ross.  Ross' attorney argued that, because the jury at his 2005 trial did not render a death sentence, seeking the death penalty in his second trial would violate his constitutional right against double jeopardy as he was essentially "acquitted" of a death sentence.  However, another judge who reviewed the request last month held that court decisions permitting the death penalty against Ross at his second trial were "not unreasonable" and cannot be barred. 

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SC Church Shooter will Face Jury:  Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof's upcoming federal death penalty trial will not be decided solely by a judge.  John Monk of the Herald reports that U.S. Judge Richard Gergel ruled Monday that Roof, 22, an avowed white supremacist facing several charges in the murders of nine African-American churchgoers last June, must be tried by a jury, rejecting Roof's request last week to waive his right to a jury trial.  Roof's trial is set to begin Nov. 7, beginning with jury selection.  Opening arguments will commence once the jury is selected, likely later in the month.  He is also scheduled to be tried in state court, set to begin in late January.  He faces the death penalty at both trials.  Friday marks one year since Roof gunned down the nine black parishioners during a Bible study at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church.

AR Murderer Escapes Prison:  A man convicted of murdering a teenager four years ago escaped from an Arkansas prison Monday by walking away from a work crew.  Kelly P. Kissel of the AP reports that Lloyd Jones, 40, was discovered missing by guards around noon at the East Arkansas Unit at Brickeys, a 24-year-old maximum-security prison that has work programs in which inmates perform work in the agricultural fields outside the prison walls.  Jones, who is a registered sex offender after a 2001 rape conviction, met Angela Allen, 16, online in 2012 and picked her up for a rendezvous.  After missing for a week, her body was discovered in a plastic barrel on Jones' brother's property, and an autopsy determined that she had been strangled to death.  Jones was sentenced to 60 years for Allen's murder, plus 20 years on two child pornography charges and 10 years for one child pornography charge and abuse of a corpse.

Man Sentenced for Shipping Metals to Iran for Nukes:  A CEO was sentenced to prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of conspiring to export a specialty metal from the U.S. to Iran to be used in nuclear weapons.  Maria Biery of the Washington Examiner reports that Erdal Kuyumcu, CEO of Global Metallurgy LLC based in New York, will serve 20 years and pay a $1 million fine for attempting to export a metallic powder composed of cobalt and nickel -- used to coat gas turbine components such as turbine blades, aerospace missiles and nuclear applications -- to Iran.  Kuyumcu attempted to ship over 1,000 pounds of the substance to Iran by first having it flown to Turkey, hoping to avoid detection.  His action violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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SF Battles Auto Break-In Epidemic:  Auto glass businesses are booming in San Francisco, one of which is seeing an average of 12 motorists a day come in to replace windows broken by thieves.  Paul Elias of the AP reports that with nearly 26,500 reported auto burglaries, San Francisco has become the city with the most "smash-and-grabs" per capita of any major city in the U.S.  Heightening concerns is the fact that police say arrests are made in a mere 2% of reported cases.  A "flashpoint in the debate" is Proposition 47, the voter-approved measure enacted in 2014 that reduced some crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, including theft.  Three years before Prop. 47's implementation, in 2011, there were 10,369 reported burglaries; in 2014, that number nearly doubled to 19,871.  Former Police Chief Greg Suhr, in a letter to all officers last month, pointed to repeat offenders as a driving force behind the surge.  The city's police department says it needs more officers to effectively combat this increasing problem.

Judge Rules Against FL Death Penalty Law:  A Florida circuit judge has ruled that the state's death penalty sentencing law is unconstitutional because it doesn't require the jury to be unanimous for capital punishment to be imposed, marking the second time in recent weeks that a circuit judge has ruled against the state's new law.  Dara Kam of the Jacksonville Daily Record reports that Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Samantha Ward sided last week with convicted murderer Michael Keetley, agreeing with his lawyers that the new law "runs afoul" of the U.S. Supreme Court decision stemming from Hurst v. Florida.  Under the state's new law, which was crafted last year after the Supreme Court ruled that the old one gave judges too much power, juries must find at least one aggravating factor to exist in order for a defendant to be eligible for the death penalty, and at least 10 jurors, rather than 12, must agree in order to render a death sentence.  Prosecutors argue that finding an aggravating circumstance unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt is sufficient and in accordance with a previous Supreme Court decision, Ring v. Arizona.  At some point, the Florida Supreme Court will make a decision on the issue.

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Five Probationers Arrested this Week in CA City:  Murrieta, Calif., police arrested five probationers this week in two separate traffic stops, Trevor Montgomery of My Valley News reports.  On Monday, Sean Williams McConnell, 25, Ivan Escareno, 36, and another person were arrested and a search of the vehicle they were in yielded heroin, methamphetamine and narcotics-related paraphernalia. as well as 39 pairs of new, designer glasses and sunglasses with the sales tags still attached that officers believed were stolen.  McConnell was found to be on formal probation for robbery and Escareno was out on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) under AB 109 for possession of stolen property.  Both had extensive criminal histories. Murrieta officers made three more arrests around midnight on Wednesday.  All arrestees were on probation with lengthy criminal histories, and found in possession of heroin, concentrated cannabis, narcotics paraphernalia and pepper spray.  Janice May Riepl, 37, was on formal probation for burglary;  Mike Jason Reider, 42, was on formal probation for robbery; and Glen Shawn Ramirez, 25, was on PRCS for burglary.  "(These arrests) demonstrate the impact of [AB 109] on the citizens of Murrieta," said Murrieta Police Lieutenant Tony Conrad.

SC Church Shooter Waives Right to Jury Trial:  The man charged with gunning down nine people at a Charleston church nearly a year ago has waived his right to a jury trial, which would leave his future up to a judge.  Melanie Eversley of USA Today reports that lawyers for Dylann Roof, 22, filed a notice in U.S. District Court Thursday indicating Roof's intent, and also said that they have been informed by a lawyer for the federal government that "the government will not consent to waive a jury at either stage of this case."  Roof shot the nine black parishioners during a Bible study at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last June.  Officials say the victims were targeted because they were black.  Roof's trial is set to begin Nov. 7.  He faces the death penalty.

NC Man's Death Penalty Trial Scheduled:  The death penalty trial of a Winston-Salem, N.C., man accused of fatally shooting a woman during a robbery nearly three years ago is set to begin the three months.  Michael Hewlett of the Winston-Salem Journal reports that Anthony Vinh Nguyen, 24, is facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, burglary and robbery in the 2013 death of Sheila Pace Gooden, 43, and could face the death penalty if convicted.  Nguyen and two other men -- Daniel Aaron Benson, 25, and Steven George Assimos, 24 -- broke into Gooden's house in October 2013, held her against her will and stole a flat-screen television valued at $200.  All three men are charged with the same crimes, but Nguyen is the only one facing a death sentence because he shot Gooden in the head, killing her.  His trial, which is set to begin the week of Sept. 6, will last at least six weeks.

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Mother of FL Murder Victim Wants Killers Executed:  The mother of a Florida woman who was murdered over three decades ago is determined to live to see the remaining two of the four killers executed.  Laurie K. Blandford and Melissa E. Holsman of the TC Palm report that Sally Slater's daughter, Frances Julia Slater, was 18-years old in 1982 when she was kidnapped by four men who had robbed the gas station where she was working, drove her to another location, stabbed her and then shot her in the back of the head.  The man who stabbed her, John Earl Bush, was executed in 1996 at age 38; Terry Wayne "Bo Gator" Johnson, 59, who was passed out drunk in the car and didn't participate in the murder, was sentenced to life but paroled in 2008; and the other two men, J.B. "Pig" Parker, 53, and Alfonso Cave, 57, remain on death row.  All of Cave's appeals are exhausted but Parker's aren't.  Sally Slater has been writing letters to Gov. Rick Scott asking that he order a clemency hearing for Cave so that he can be executed.  As for Parker's appeal, it could be delayed until the Florida Supreme Court decides if the new death penalty law enacted in March applies to his case.  It's also possible that a judge could rule that condemned prisoners with pending appeals be re-sentenced under the new law.  Sally says she's frustrated because too often, "murder victims and their families are forgotten."

SF Homeless Debate Intensifies after Brutal Slaying:  A brutal murder in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park last month has intensified the debate over the city's longtime homelessness problem.  Michael E. Miller of WaPo reports that two homeless men were charged Monday in the death of another homeless man, 66-year-old Stephen Williams, in what authorities believe was a display of "street justice" because the killers, Stephen Billingsley and Nikki Lee Williams, believed the victim had masturbated near children in the park.  The killing is just the latest violence highlighting the ongoing problem with San Francisco's homeless population that people say is turning the city into an "unsafe" and filthy "shanty town."  Others criticize the "very negative element of drug dealing" and note that the homeless population "get[s] the correct impression that they can do anything because there's no consequences."  Williams' May 24 murder comes less than a year after three young transients were arrested for murdering a Canadian backpacker in Golden Gate Park and a yoga instructor on a hiking trail two days later.  "We are all fed up," said editor in chief on San Francisco magazine Jon Steinberg.

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UT Man may Face Death Penalty in Toddler's Death:  Utah prosecutors have until Friday to decide whether to seek the death penalty against a man who beat his girlfriend's two-year-old son to death last year over potty training issues.  Jessica Miller of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Joshua Schoenenberger, 35, is facing charges of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony child abuse in the May 2015 death of James "J.J." Sieger Jr., who died of fatal blows to his stomach after Schoenenberger picked him up, squeezed him hard and dropped him.  Schoenenberger told police that he was upset with J.J. for not listening to him and struggling with potty training.  J.J.'s mother, Jasmine Bridgeman, 24, was charged with second-degree felony obstruction of justice for lying to police about her son's death.  She pleaded guilty last month and sentence to one to 15 years in prison.  Update:  Prosecutors opt not to seek death penalty against Schoenenberger.

SC Church Shooter's Trials Set:  The federal death penalty trial has been set for later this year against the South Carolina man who fatally shot nine people at a Charleston church last June, and the state trial is scheduled to commence early next year.  Bruce Smith of the AP reports that Dylann Roof, 22, will be tried in federal court beginning November 7 on several counts, including hate crimes, for gunning down nine black parishioners who were attending a Bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.  The federal trial will be followed by a trial at the state level, set for January 2017, where he is charged with nine counts of murder and also facing the death penalty.

Illegals Kidnapping Children to Appear as 'Family Units,' Say Feds:  A deputy assistant attorney general told a federal appeals court Tuesday that illegal immigrants are kidnapping children and bringing them across the border in order to appear as family units and take advantage of lax enforcement policies.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that last year, federal Judge Dolly M. Gee ruled that all illegal immigrant children must be quickly processed and released from detention, along with their parents, which has enticed people to kidnap children, says Leon Fresco, the deputy assistant attorney general.  Gee's order has also led to a new spike in illegal immigration, with FY 2016 steadily heading toward setting a record for family units apprehended at the southern border.  In the next few weeks the Supreme Court will rule on the legality of the Obama administration's overall amnesty program.

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