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Archive for November, 2009

Ft. Hood Gunman Charged With 13 counts of Premeditated Murder

The case should be easy to prove. But what will be more difficult is  to figure out what authorities could have done differently to avoid this craziness.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan/dod photo

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan/dod photo

BY Rich Schapiro
N.Y. DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

The blood-thirsty Army major accused of carrying out the Fort Hood massacre was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder, officials said.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan will be eligible for the death penalty, if convicted.

The 39-year-old army psychiatrist will face justice in a military court, and prosecutors are expected to begin setting in motion the military equivalent of a grand jury.

Under the military system, Hasan’s fellow Army officers will decide whether he is guilty of mass murder, and, if so, on his punishment. He would be put to death by lethal injection.

For Full Story

Kansas Man Charged With Shooting at FBI Violent Crime Task Force

olathe-map-ksBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 26-year-old man was charged earlier this week with possession of a firearm after felony convictions after  he tried to avoid arrest by shooting at members of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force in the Kansas City, Ks., area.

According to an FBI affidavit, task force members tried to arrest Nicholas Henry, a convicted felon, on Nov. 1 in the town of Olathe, Ks. He was wanted on an outstanding warrants, and the red Dodge pickup he was driving had been reported stolen.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said when the task force members approached Henry, “he ran to the stolen truck, removed a handgun and a bulletproof vest and began firing at them. They returned fire. He was arrested and treated for gunshot wounds.” No law enforcement people were injured.

Henry’s previous convictions included burglary of a vehicle, forgery, attempted aggravated escape from custody, aggravated assault and felony theft, authorties said.

Read Press Release

Sales Price of Madoff’s Homes Dropping

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let’s just hope Bernie Madoff’s ego isn’t bruised knowing that people aren’t immediately snapping up his swanky properties in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla.

Reuters news service reports that the government has had to lower the asking price, the result of a a soft market.

“Madoff’s 4,000-square-foot duplex Manhattan penthouse, ‘perched atop a distinguished white-glove prewar cooperative’ according to the broker Sotheby’s International Realty, is now being offered for $8.9 million, 10 percent below its initial $9.9 million asking price,” Reuters reported.

The price of the 8,750-square-foot Palm Beach home was slashed 7 percent to $7.9 million, the news agency reported. The proceeds will go to help pay back some of the folks Madoff ripped off.

2 Secret Service Vehicles Hit and Kill Man in D.C. Area

suitland

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A man was killed Wednesday after being hit by two armored Secret Service vehicles on a freeway at the D.C.-Maryland border, the Washington Post reported.  One of the cars, a limo, is sometimes used by Vice President Biden.

The man, whose name had not been released as of Wednesday, was hit by a limousine and a Chevrolet Suburban in Prince George’s County at 2:27 a.m. as “he was crossing rain-slicked Suitland Parkway”, the Post reported.

The two vehicles had just arrived by military plane at Andrews Air Force Base and were headed to a storage facility in Washington, the Post reported. They were not carrying any protectees.

The U.S. Park Police will investigate the crash.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Gotti Case Goes to Jury; Gotti Pulls Last Minute Drama

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The case against mobster John Gotti Jr. went to the jury for deliberations  in Manhattan federal court, but not before  some last minute drama on Tuesday.

Yes, for a while Tuesday morning, the defendant himself did not want to leave his jail cell to show up in court for the closing arguments in a case in which federal prosecutors have accused him of everything from conspiracy to murder to drug trafficking.

The New York Times reported that “in the middle of closing arguments, it evinced a new, unexpected — and rather odd — level of legal fatigue when the defendant himself, perhaps annoyed by the drawn-out process, or maybe just bored by the ordeal — refused to leave his cell and come to court.”

Mr. Gotti “did not wish to continue with the trial,” a United States marshal told the judge, according to the Times.

The paper reported that Gotti’s attorney Charles Carnesi was surprised by his client’s antics, saying: “No one knows anything from Mr. Gotti directly.”

A couple hours later, Gotti, without any real explanation, showed up in a “short-sleeved shirt and an irritated scowl”, the paper reported.

This is Gotti’s fourth trial. The other three resulted in mistrials. The big question is: Will the prosecution give up if it fails to get a conviction this time?

To read more click here.

FBI Accuses Baltimore DEA Task Force Member of Embezzlement and Lying: Harms Drug Cases

Crooked  DEA task force member, Mark James Lunsford, a Baltimore police detective, is causing some big problems.  City paper reporter Van Smith lays it all out in this report.

Detective's Skyville, Md. home the FBI raided/ baltimore city paper photo
Balt. Detective’s Sykesville, Md. home the FBI raided/ baltimore city paper photo

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE —  On Aug. 3, Ira Jimmy Martin was arrested for armed drug dealing in Baltimore City. “Lots of cash [was] recovered in this case,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Margaret Burns says.

But on Sept. 24, court records show, prosecutors dropped all six charges against 33-year-old Martin. The reason, according to Burns: The case rested on the honesty of veteran Baltimore Police Det. Mark James Lunsford.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task-force officer, Lunsford was revealed in federal court as being accused by the FBI of embezzlement and lying (“Baltimore Cop Charged by Feds with Lying and Embezzlement,” the News Hole, Sept. 24 ) on the same day Martin was let off the hook.

Burns explains in an Oct. 7 e-mail that it “turns out that the drugs [in Martin’s case] were handled at all points by Lunsford only, and so we lost this one. There is no way we could get the drugs in [as evidence in court] due to the taint of the officer.”

For Full Story

Bernie Kerik a Free Man Again

Bernie Kerik/facebook photo

Bernie Kerik/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Controversial ex-New York police Commissioner Bernard Kerik is a free man again — at least for now.

A federal judge in White Plains, N.Y., who tossed him in jail Oct. 20 for violating his pre-trial conditions,  released him Tuesday so he could go home to his New Jersey mansion pending his Feb. 18 sentencing.

Kerik pleaded guilty last week to eight felony counts that included tax crimes and lying to the White House during his failed confirmation as head of the Department of Homeland Security.

His plea agreement calls for a sentence of 27 to 33 months, though the judge does not have to abide by that.

“This is not home confinement with morning strolls and afternoon strolls,” U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson warned Kerik, according to the N.Y. Daily News. Kerik will have to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet.

The judge also raised his bail from $500,000 to $1.4 million, the paper reported. To read more click here.

Fort Hood Shooting Raises Questions About Possible Agency Missteps

Could things have been done differently? Let’s hope. Though agencies seem to get defensive at times like this when the finger-pointing starts, it’s necessary to exam and air concerns,  or nothing will improve.
us-army-logo
By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — As the nation mourned the 13 people shot dead last week at Fort Hood, Tex., finger-pointing in Washington intensified Tuesday about whether officials at several agencies had failed to coordinate as they tracked the suspect’s activities or to react to possible warning signs in the months before the attack.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended a somber memorial service at the sprawling Army post, where he spoke about each of those killed.

“Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched,” the president said, adding, “Neither this country, nor the values that we were founded upon, could exist without men and women like these 13 Americans.”

For Full Story