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Tag: Tennessee

Steve Cook Elected President of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Steve Cook

Steven H. Cook, chief of the Criminal Division in the Eastern District of Tennessee, has been elected president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

Cook has been a prosecutor in the Eastern District of Tennessee for 28 years. Over the years, he has worked in the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, the General Crimes Section handling white collar crime, fraud and public corruption cases and as chief of the Narcotics and Violent Crime Section.

“NAAUSA’s first priority is eliminating the large pay gap between new and mid-career AUSAs and their DOJ trial attorney counterparts, improving security for AUSAs and their families and assuring AUSAs have the necessary tools to perform their responsibilities,” he said in a statement.

Others newly elected to the Executive Committee include:

  • Vice President of Policy: John Nordin, Central District of California
  • Vice President for Operations and and Membership: Larry Leiser, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Secretary: Kathleen Bickers, District of Oregon
  • Treasurer: Steve Wasserman, District of Columbia
  • At-Large: Greg Bowman, Eastern District of Tennessee
  • At Large: Karen Escobar, Eastern District of California
  • At-Large: Craig Haller, Western District of Pennsylvania

Ex-FBI Investigator Claims Bureau Hid Evidence in 2001 Anthrax Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former director of the FBI’s anthrax investigation claims the bureau hid evidence that would punch holes in the case that Army scientist Bruce Ivins mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and sickened 27 others in 2001, Fox News reports. 

Richard Lambert claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tennessee that investigators used flawed scientific methods to arrive at a conclusion to charge Ivins in the anthrax attacks. Ivina later committed suicide before any charges were filed.

Lambert alleges there’s a “wealth” of evidence casting doubt on the case, which “the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people. ”

While he headed up the investigation, he focused heavily on scientist Steven Hatfill.

The FBI declined to comment because of the litigation.

FBI Arrests homicide fugitive in Delaware After 13 Years on Run

Ignacio Constantino

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Victor Castillo lived a quiet life as a maintenance man for an apartment building in Wilmington.

Turns out, Castillo’s real name is Ignacio Constantino, and he was wanted for first-degree murder in Tennessee for 13 years, the USA Today reports.

The FBI, along with local police and the U.S. Marshals Service, arrested Constantino on Thursday without incident.

“Our community is very happy that he has been taken into custody and we look forward to him facing the first-degree murder charges,” said Morristown police Maj. Michelle Jones, a spokesman with the department.

Local police said cooperation among law enforcement agencies was key.

“This arrest is a demonstration of the effectiveness of law enforcement working together throughout our country,” Police Chief Roger Overholt said in a statement. “It is important to our community that Constantino faces the charges brought against him in this violent crime.”

Lawmakers Call for FBI Investigation of Private Prison in Idaho Over Understaffing, Falsified Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A private prison in Idaho is under fire for possible criminal wrongdoing.

Top Democratic lawmakers in the state are urging the FBI to investigate Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company based in Tennessee, because the state lacks the manpower and expertise to handle such a large inquiry, the Associated Press reports.

The company admitted last year that it understaffed the Idaho Correctional Center, the largest prison in the state, and that employees falsified records to cover up the vacancies.

“We request that the FBI investigate whether CCA, its employees, or its officers and leadership engaged in criminal conduct and defrauded the state of Idaho and our citizens by falsifying time sheets over many years to hide chronic understaffing. We also ask that you use your expertise to define the nature and scope of any investigation since the full nature of the potential criminal activities is, at present, unknown,” a group of lawmakers wrote.

Most Dangerous States Are Not What You Might Expect

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Think of the most dangerous states in the U.S. and you’re likely to name places like Michigan, New York, California and Texas.

They have large cities with reputations for violence.

But newly released FBI statistics show the most dangerous states are Tennessee, Nevada and Alaska, the USA Today reports.

You are more likely to be a victim of violence in those states than any other in the country, according to the stats.

DEA: Tennessee Sheriff’s Deputy Charged in Undercover Cocaine Bust

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A sheriff’s deputy in Tennessee found himself on the wrong side of the law this week.

The Murfreesboro Post reports that Rutherford County Deputy Louis R. Parra-Flores, 36, was busted following an undercover drug investigation involving cocaine.

The DEA accuses Flores of attempting to deliver 7 kilograms of cocaine, the Post reported.

“The actions of a few corrupt law enforcement officers harms the reputation of the many dedicated men and women who wear the badge with honor,” said U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin.

Column: The FBI, Some Gay Murders and a Fingerprint Examiner Named Thurman Williams

Greg Stejskal

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.
 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

I was seated, facing Michael Lee Sprague as I interviewed him. We were on the same side of the table. As an FBI agent on the fugitive squad in the Detroit Division, I never liked having anything between me and the person I was interviewing. It was  easier to observe body language, and it didn’t  give the person being interviewed the psychological shield of having an object between them and me.

I was transfixed by Sprague’s eyes. He had just confessed to a double homicide, but his eyes revealed nothing. I knew the aphorism, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Sprague’s eyes were more like black holes – they didn’t reflect light they absorbed it.

But how did Sprague come to be arrested and interviewed by the FBI?

The story really begins in Jackson, Tennessee. Sprague was a drifter, and he had met Thomas Menth on the road. They had decided to travel together. In December, 1975, they picked up two gay professors from Bethel College which is near Jackson. They had all gone to a room at the Holiday Inn where Sprague and Menth overpowered the professors. They bound and gagged them, stabbed them multiple times and slit their throats – their throats weren’t just slit, the professors were nearly decapitated.

The murder scene was extremely bloody. When Sprague and Menth left the room, one of them put his hands covered with the victims’ blood on the wall near the light switch. This left impressions of several of his fingerprints from both hands. These prints were” identifiable,” but there was a problem.

There was a common myth at the time probably propagated by the movies and TV, that a fingerprint found at a crime scene could be matched with someone if their fingerprints were on record. The reality was, at the time, fingerprints were classified using all 10 fingers. The US central repository for all the fingerprint records was the FBI Identification Division in Washington, DC. (In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI, was responsible for the establishment of a national repository for fingerprints.)

ice photo

When a person was arrested their inked prints were put on a fingerprint card which had pre-marked spaces for each finger. At the Identification Division, the card was classified by fingerprint examiners using the Henry classification system. Each fingerprint is unique like a snowflake. All fingerprints have common characteristics referred to by terms like loups, arches & whorls. Using these common features with their infinite variations, each of the fingerprints is classified with numbers and letters. These individual classifications are written in sequence determined by the order of the fingerprints on the card. The total sequence of all 10 fingers is the classification.

If an investigator were lucky enough to find an identifiable fingerprint at a crime scene, that is, one that was at least partially classifiable, the investigator could compare the single print to the fingerprints of a suspect. But only if a suspect was developed through investigation, a suspect could not be identified with just the found fingerprint.

Read more »

FBI Probes Dozens of Bomb Threats that Shut Down Buildings in 30 Tennessee Counties

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a rash of telephone bomb threats to buildings in 30 counties in Tennessee, Reuters reports.

Public facilities such as courthouses were shut down Tuesday following the threats.

“There were no devices found,” Dayla Qualls, spokeswoman for the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security, told Reuters.

Among the targets were the FBI and Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, both of which were evacuated.

Officials are trying to determine whether the bomb threats are tied to others around the country.

“We are working with the other divisions of the FBI in the other affected states to make a determination if there is a connection,” and if that is found the FBI will investigate any violations of federal law, said Joel Siskovic, spokesman for the FBI in Memphis.