Friday, September 8, 2017

'I think I did it': Man says he stabbed wife while on cough meds

(CNN)The male voice on the 911 call sounded flat and slightly confused.
"I think I killed my (wife)," the caller said.
"What do you mean? What happened?" the operator said.
    "I had a dream, and then I turned on the lights and she's dead on the floor," he said. "I have blood all over me, and there's a bloody knife on the bed. And I think I did it."
    The caller, identified by police as Matthew James Phelps, grew increasingly distraught as he explained that he had taken Coricidin Cough and Cold medicine and awakened to the bloody scene.
    "Oh my God," he said, crying. "Why?"
    Phelps, 28, has been charged with murder in the September 1 stabbing death of Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, 29, in North Carolina, the Raleigh Police Department said.
    Phelps appeared in court on Wednesday and no bond was issued, according to the Wake County Clerk of Court's Office. He could face the death penalty if convicted. His next court appearance is set for September 25.
    Joe Cheshire, an attorney for Phelps, said it was a "very tragic" situation but asked that people withhold judgment.
    "There's a lot to this story, I believe that will be told in the future," Cheshire said. "But I don't want anything I say to diminish the sadness and sorrow that everyone feels for the death of this lovely young lady."

    Cough medicine

    In the 911 call, Phelps said he didn't know what time it was or when he had woken up. He said he took "more medicine than I should have" and woke up to the grisly scene.
    "I know it can make you feel good, and a lot of times I can't sleep at night, so I took some," he said.
    Cough medicines like Coricidin target symptoms of the common cold, and can also cause drowsiness. When abused or taken in high doses, the cough medicine ingredient Dextromethorphan can cause hallucinogenic effects, including "sensations of physical distortion and hallucinations," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
    Bayer, the maker of Coricidin, released a statement extending its "deepest sympathies" to the family.
    "Patient safety is our top priority, and we continually monitor adverse events regarding all of our products," the company said. "There is no evidence to suggest that Coricidin is associated with violent behavior."
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    Friday, September 1, 2017

    Man arrested in 1999 cold case murder of prosecutor in Denver

    Colorado police believe they cracked a cold case murder after finally arresting a suspect nearly two decades after a prosecutor was found dead in the bathtub of her apartment, officials said Wednesday.
    Robert Williams, 70, was arrested Tuesday and charged in the death of Rebecca Bartee, who died in June 1999, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office said. A reporter from Denver TV station KCNC-TV contacted investigators after receiving a call from a man claiming he lived in the apartment complex when Bartee was murdered. 
    "New leads may be the only way to solve these crimes," the department said. "We, along with the victim's family, are thankful someone came forward with new information, even after 18 years."
    The man told the station he remembered seeing Williams leaving Bartee's apartment around the time she was killed. Police did not disclose other details about the arrest and Williams' warrant affidavit was sealed. He is expected to appear in court Thursday.
    Bartee left work on a Friday in 1999 and never returned to the office. A coworker discovered Bartee's body after going to her apartment to get a case file, police said. 
    Investigators initially thought Bartee killed herself because of an antidepressant medication found near her body. But clues -- including a full wine class on the table and pills in the bathroom -- led them to believe someone broke in and murdered her. Autopsy results revealed Bartee did not have alcohol or drugs in her system and hand marks were found on her neck. 
    "I never thought the fact that there might be someone living here that could be tied to murder as far as that long ago," a neighbor told FOX31 Wednesday. 
    Arapahoe County Sheriff spokesperson Julie Brooks also said making an arrest years after a case is extremely rare. 
    "To make an arrest in a cold case, it is difficult because people's memories fade, people move, people who might have information don't realize they have information," Brooks said.
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    Thursday, August 24, 2017

    Three arrested for murder of 23-year-old Alabama mother

    A 16-year-old boy and two other suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old Alabama mother.
    The body of Jennifer Raven Nevin was found Monday on a rural road near a gas well in in Tuscaloosa County, according to authorities.
    Koran Rashad Lewis, 23, Vida Milagros Confetti, 20, and teen Kendrick Ky'Andre Marshall have been charged in her killing.
    All three suspects have been jailed, and cops say additional arrests are possible. Authorities have not released details on how or why they believe Nevin was killed.
    "We developed some leads last night, worked on them all day today," Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit Capt. Gary Hood said Tuesday, according to the Tuscaloosa News. "We interviewed multiple people, several witnesses. We were able to develop a timeline and recreate the last days of Miss Nevin's life."
    Nevin's mother last saw her on Friday when she picked up her 5-year-old son in Tuscaloosa, according to the Tuscaloosa News. Her brother told local media outlets that Jennifer battled mental illness and struggled with drugs.
    "On her good days, she was beautiful and creative," Will Nevin told "She had a thousand questions about everything. She was smart. But she had her not good days, and this weekend was a string of them."
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    Friday, August 18, 2017

    Deadly Barcelona attack is worst in a day of violence in Spain

    Spain saw one of its most violent days in recent memory as a spate of incidents throughout the country appeared to be connected to a terror attack Thursday in Barcelona that left 13 people dead and more than 100 injured.
    Authorities said they are working under the assumption that two other deadly events, a terrorist incident in the seaside city of Cambrils and a house explosion farther down the coast in Alcanar, were linked to the van attack in Barcelona that had ISIS taking credit.
    Also Thursday, two police officers in Barcelona were hurt when they were hit by a car, but police were unsure whether that was related to the other incidents.
    The deadly events began in the early evening with a van plowing through crowds on the renowned Las Ramblas avenue, a popular tourist section of Barcelona. Authorities said of the 80 people taken to hospitals, 15 were seriously hurt.
      As police searched for the van driver, Spain's Prime Minister called it an act of "jihadi terrorism."

      Here are the latest developments in a tragic day: 

      • Two suspects -- one from Morocco, one from the Spanish enclave of Melilla -- were arrested in connection with the Barcelona attack, Catalan Police Chief Josep Lluis Trapero said.
      • One suspect in the Barcelona attack is on the run. "The driver abandoned the van and escaped from the area," Trapero said. 
      • About 115 kilometers to the southwest, there was a second attack early Friday. Catalan police tweeted that five suspected terrorists were killed in Cambrils. Emergency officials said six civilians and a police officer were injured. 
      • One person was killed in an explosion at a house in Alcanar, around 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Barcelona.
      • Catalan police said early Friday they are "working under the hypothesis that the terrorists taken down in Cambrils were related to the events that took place in Barcelona and Alcanar." 
      • A driver ran over two police officers at a security checkpoint in Barcelona, police said, and the driver was found near the city. The two officers suffered minor injuries and did not need hospital treatment, police said. It was unclear whether that incident was related to the terror attack. 
      • ISIS' media wing, Amaq, said the perpetrators of the Barcelona attack were "soldiers of the Islamic State." However, ISIS has not explicitly claimed responsibility. 
      The Barcelona attack was one of the most deadly in Spain since more than 190 people were killed in a March 2004 attack against commuter trains.

      Terror in the streets of another European city

      It was the latest in a series of attacks in Europe in which vehicles have been used to mow down pedestrians in public spaces. More than 100 people have died in similar attacks in Berlin, London and Nice.
      Reports of the incident emerged on social media about 5 p.m. (11 a.m. ET). Photographs and videos showed people fleeing the area. About two hours later, police confirmed a terror attack.
      As the incident unfolded, police told everyone in the vicinity of Pla├ža de Catalunya and Las Ramblas to remain indoors until told it was safe to go outside. Footage posted to social media by witnesses showed chaotic scenes with people lying in the street, apparently dead or injured.
      Information about most of the victims has not been released, but one Belgian was killed in the attack, Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jose de Pierpont said. 
      Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke of his grief and offered condolences to the families of the victims. 
      "I want to also express my solidarity with all of Spain to the city of Barcelona, today hit by jihadi terrorism, like other cities have been in the world," Rajoy said.

      Witness reports gunshots

      One witness told local media the situation was "very tense" and that all surrounding shops were evacuated. The witness said at least eight ambulances were at the scene. Emergency services said the area had been cordoned off and all public transportation stopped.
      Another witness who was hiding in a shop nearby heard gunshots, according to state-run broadcaster TVE24. A third said he saw a van driving "around 80" kph, or 50 mph. He said "there is no doubt it was intentional," according to TVE24.
      Ali Shirazinia, who was cycling alongside Las Ramblas at the time, told CNN he heard "a lot of screams" and saw the crowds split along the busy promenade.
      Then he heard what sounded like the driver flooring the accelerator and saw a white van with blue markings come hurtling down the street. "It literally came right down the Ramblas and ran into people on every side," he said. 
      "The Ramblas is full of pedestrians, street merchants, street performers, and I saw people flying into the air and everyone was running into the shops on either side of the Ramblas, a lot of people were shocked."
      Tourist Susan McClean told CNN she saw a "tidal wave" of people running away from Las Ramblas after the incident.
      She ducked into a nearby shop and the shutters were pulled down while police sped toward the scene.
      "There was clearly a lot of distress," she said.
      McClean said she returned to her hotel one street away after leaving the shop.

      Two arrests, one deadly explosion

      Two suspects who were arrested were taken into custody hundreds of kilometers apart.
      One suspect was arrested in Alcanar, around 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Barcelona.
      Also in Alcanar, one person was killed in an explosion at a house, Trapero said, adding that incident was connected to the Barcelona attack. But Trapero didn't say whether the arrest and explosion were tied to each other.
      He did say the victim is Spanish and was not on police radar.
      The other Barcelona suspect was arrested in Ripoll, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Barcelona and 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Alcanar.

      Government officials respond

      The Catalan regional government said it was holding an emergency meeting to discuss the incident.
      To facilitate police operations, the Catalan emergency services urged people via Twitter to avoid going out or undertaking any other type of movement that was not "strictly necessary."
      The Spanish royal family tweeted: "They are assassins, simply criminals who are not going to terrorize us. All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will return to be everyone's."
      The Union of Islamic Communities of Catalonia expressed "condemnation and repulse" for the Barcelona attack. 
      "Faced with this criminal fact, the union of Islamic communities in Catalonia reiterates its full commitment to the fight against any type of terrorism, and it is expected that those responsible for these attacks may be detained and brought before the courts as early as possible," its statement said. 
      Barcelona officials ordered all public events to be canceled, and metro and train stations in the area were closed.

      NATO chief: We stand united

      World leaders were quick to voice their condemnation of the attack and offer support to Barcelona via Twitter.
      "My thoughts are with all those affected. We stand united in the fight against terrorism," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
      US President Donald Trump said: "The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!"
      German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack in Barcelona "revolting," her spokesman tweeted. "We are mourning the victims of this disgusting attack in Barcelona -- in solidarity and friendship side by side with the Spanish."
      European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker branded the Barcelona attack "cowardly," adding: "We will never be cowed by such barbarism."
      Las Ramblas is a predominantly pedestrianized street popular among tourists in Barcelona. Extending for about three-quarters of a mile through the center of the city, the tree-lined street is especially crowded in the summer, the height of tourist season.
      The promenade passes by kiosks, flower sellers, pavement cafes and bars. It includes a number of the city's most popular sites.
      Article Source:

      Wednesday, August 2, 2017

      A 40-Year Mystery Ends: Teenager Was Killer’s 24th Victim

      MAYWOOD, Ill. — It was a painful mystery that had simmered just below the surface for about 40 years, and last month, the family of James Byron Haakenson finally got their answer. As had been long feared, the funny, good-natured 16-year-old they called Jimmy had been a victim of John Wayne Gacy, one of the country’s most notorious serial killers.
      But the revelation by Chicago-area law enforcement officials opened up a new set of haunting questions for this family as it imagined his final days, now with just enough certainty to be horrifying.
      “How did this 16-year-old kid get to Chicago, and how in the heck did he run into this awful man?” Lorie Sisterman, Jimmy’s older sister, said from her home in North St. Paul.
      The story of Jimmy’s identification, decades after his death, is a remarkable quest that spanned the country. It took a curious nephew in Texas with a knack for digging around online, siblings in Minnesota and South Dakota who had never stopped wondering what had happened to their brother, and a sheriff-detective team in Illinois determined to close cold cases.
      Originally, Cook County investigators had little to go on but the body of a young man, between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 10, discovered with dozens of others at Mr. Gacy’s house in 1978. He was known only as Victim No. 24.
      The Disappearance
      One summer day in 1976, Jimmy appeared in the kitchen of the Haakenson house in St. Paul, his brown hair bleached blond. Carrying no backpack or suitcase, he told his family that he was off to Chicago. Jimmy had been known to leave home before, seeking fun and relief from a crowded house with four children, a mother who held as many as three jobs and a father who worked as a plumber but also drank heavily. Jimmy had always come back.
      “I just said, ‘Why is your mom letting him go to Chicago?’” said Jackie Haakenson, who was then dating Jimmy’s older brother, Donald (they later married). Nobody else in the room seemed to share her worries.
      “It was so loose and easy back then, you could just hitchhike and not worry about it,” Ms. Sisterman said. “If he thumbed it all the way to Chicago, we don’t know.”
      Word that he had made it there safely came on Aug. 5. Jimmy called home and spoke to his mother, June Haakenson, assuring her that he was fine.
      But then weeks passed with no word from him. Ms. Haakenson, a quiet, reserved woman, reported Jimmy missing to the police. In a message dated Sept. 7, 1976, the St. Paul police alerted the Chicago Police Department. “Mother thinks he may be in company of gays in Chicago,” the letter said. Family members said he was seen wearing makeup that summer.
      “When he didn’t come back, we knew something had to have gone wrong,” Jackie Haakenson said. “What are the chances he met up with Gacy?”
      The Serial Killer
      The news out of Norwood Park Township, Ill., in December 1978, was grisly. The police arrested Mr. Gacy, a 38-year-old owner of a construction firm who was known in the neighborhood as a businessman and amateur clown.
      A search revealed 29 bodies in or near Gacy’s house, 26 of which were found in the home’s crawl space. Four more were found in the nearby Des Plaines River. Mr. Gacy had abducted and raped some victims, and lured others to his home by promising them construction jobs or sex. Then he killed them, often by strangulation.
      Hearing about the murders, Ms. Haakenson thought of her son, who had now been missing for more than two years. “After the story broke, my mom and I had a conversation and said, ‘Well, what if?’” Ms. Sisterman recalled.
      Her mother told the St. Paul police, who passed along her theory to officials in Illinois, according to police records. The Cook County police asked for Jimmy’s dental records. For reasons unknown, none were sent.
      “What could a woman in the Midwest with three more kids to raise, what could she do?” Ms. Sisterman said.
      After that, there would be no more conversation about Jimmy at home. “Every once in a while I would say something about Jimmy,” Ms. Sisterman said. “She just would close her eyes. It was something you didn’t talk about.”
      The Nephew
      In the house in Sioux Falls, S.D., where Jeff Haakenson grew up, he never saw a picture of his Uncle Jimmy. But when he was a child in the 1980s, his mother, Jackie Haakenson, told him what had happened before Jeff was born.
      “John Wayne Gacy got him,” she would say.
      Mr. Haakenson often read about true crime, including books about the Gacy killings and the Jeffrey Dahmer murders in Milwaukee. And from the time he was 19 and in the Air Force, he would spend hours searching for his uncle online.
      “I could never find him,” Mr. Haakenson, 37, said from Lubbock, Tex. “It just really bothered me that nobody cared, that somebody went missing and it’s like, nobody’s doing anything about it. If it was my brother who went missing, I would be turning over every rock looking for him.”
      His mother was the only person who talked about Jimmy. “Time went by, and I kept asking,” Ms. Haakenson said from her home in Sioux Falls. “I would ask Don, ‘Why doesn’t your mom look for him, do something?’ If it was my dog I would look harder.”
      Last year while working in Los Angeles, Jeff Haakenson came across a page online from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department. It said the authorities were trying to identify the remaining unknown Gacy victims. Mr. Haakenson filled out a form with his uncle’s name, birth date, last known location. Then he waited.
      The Detective
      As a boy growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s, Jason Moran would hear about the serial killer from the suburbs who targeted young people. As a seasoned detective in Cook County trying to close Gacy cases, he saw the agony left behind.
      “It’s quite devastating to see how much death and pain he has caused for so many people,” he said. “This was a new experience with human pain.”
      In 2011, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced a new push to close cold cases in Cook County, particularly the Gacy case, which had left eight unidentified victims at the time. Mr. Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994.
      Sergeant Moran and Sheriff Dart started digging, beginning with the warehouse where boxes and materials on the Gacy case were kept. They gathered everyone they could find who was involved with the original investigation. And they acknowledged the challenges ahead — after decades, many families have long given up on finding their missing relatives.
      But DNA evidence was making it easier to link unidentified bodies with names, and DNA was extracted from the bones of the unidentified people who were discovered in a crawl space beneath Mr. Gacy’s house. There was also hope that families who did not want their missing loved ones to be associated with Mr. Gacy back then might come forward now.
      After publicizing their quest, hundreds of tips poured in, including from Jeff Haakenson.
      From there, the investigation moved swiftly, Sergeant Moran said. Nothing revealed that Jimmy was alive, and his description — a young, unsupervised man in Chicago during the period when Mr. Gacy was killing people — suggested a possible link.
      He then asked Donald Haakenson and Ms. Sisterman to submit DNA samples; Jimmy’s parents had both been dead for years.
      The results from the lab were convincing enough that Sergeant Moran asked the Haakenson family if family members could meet in person to discuss them.
      With family members assembled around Ms. Sisterman’s dining room table in North St. Paul in July, Sergeant Moran broke the news. Shock rippled through the room as the family absorbed it.
      “I didn’t want him to be dead, and especially dying the way he did,” Jeff Haakenson said. “But I’m relieved that he’s found, that he’s not missing anymore.”
      Ms. Sisterman said she was grateful that her mother was not alive to hear it. “It would have killed her, literally,” she said.
      On the wall of his office in Maywood, Sergeant Moran has hung Jimmy’s photo on a poster of the unidentified Gacy victims.
      “I got more leads and I’m hopeful,” he said of the victims. “The next six are going to be tough.”
      Article Source:’s-24th-victim/ar-AApg8w0

      Friday, July 28, 2017

      FBI: Man says he killed wife on cruise over her laughing

      ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Utah man killed his wife aboard an Alaska cruise and told an acquaintance who later walked into the blood-splattered cabin that he did it because she would not stop laughing at him, the FBI said in documents released Thursday.

      Kenneth Manzanares was found in the couple's room on the Princess Cruises ship Tuesday night with blood on his hands and clothes and blood spread throughout the cabin, according to a criminal complaint by FBI Special Agent Michael L. Watson.
      The agency said the 39-year-old woman, identified only as K.M., had a severe head wound but didn't reveal any other details about her death. Manzanares was arrested aboard the 3,400-passenger Emerald Princess that had left Sunday from Seattle.
      Before medical workers and security officers responded, a man and others went into the cabin and saw the woman on the floor covered in blood, according to court documents. Manzanares grabbed his wife's body and dragged her to the balcony before the man stopped him, Watson wrote.
      A ship security officer handcuffed Manzanares in a nearby cabin, and he was taken into custody late Wednesday.
      The ship was diverted to Alaska's capital city because of the investigation, which the FBI is leading because the death occurred in U.S. waters. The ship docked in Juneau on Wednesday morning, and passengers were kept on board for hours before the cruise departed late that night for the southeast Alaska town of Skagway.
      Princess Cruises said in a statement Thursday that passengers will receive $150 onboard credit because of the effect on their vacations.
      "You feel sorry for the family but a lot of people had to wait," said Lloyd Barrows, a passenger from Alberta, Canada.
      The U.S. attorney's office announced it would hold a news conference with representatives of the FBI and Coast Guard on Thursday in Anchorage to announce federal charges against Manzanares.

      Thursday, July 20, 2017

      Sheriff's deputy, 7 others killed in Mississippi shootings

      (CNN) A sheriff's deputy and seven other people were shot dead overnight in southern Mississippi, authorities said Sunday.
      Authorities identified Lincoln County Sheriff's deputy William Durr, 36, as the slain officer according to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
      The MBI said the shootings started around 11:30 p.m. at an address in Bogue Chitto, where the deputy and three females were found dead. 
        Another crime scene was found in Brookhaven, where the bodies of two boys were found. There also was a third crime scene, where a man and a woman were found dead. The identities of the other victims are pending notification of next of kin.
        A man identified as Willie Godbolt, 35, of Bogue Chitto, was taken into custody and was being treated at a Jackson, Mississippi, hospital, for a gunshot wound, the MBI said. 
        Bogue Chitto is an unincoporated part of Lincoln County and Brookhaven is the Lincoln County seat, about 60 miles south of Jackson.
        The MBI said its agents and Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies and the district attorney were investigating.

        'He was just there'

        News photos showed authorities apprehending and cuffing Godbolt. 
        While he was in custody and awaiting treatment, the suspect spoke to a reporter at The Clarion-Ledger, the daily newspaper based in Jackson.
        In the video and recounted in a story on the paper's website, Godbolt said he had gone to a residence to talk with his wife, her mother, and her stepfather about taking his children home.
        "Somebody called the officer. People that didn't even live at the house. That's what they do. They intervene. It cost him his life. I'm sorry."
        "My pain wasn't designed for him. He was just there," Godbolt said, referring to the lawman.
        When he was asked what the future holds for him, Godbolt said, "Death."
        "Suicide by cop was my intention. I ain't fit to live. Not after what I've done."
        In addition to the sheriff's deputy, family members told affiliate WAPT that the victims at the first location included the mother, aunt and sister of Godbolt's estranged wife. Godbolt's wife escaped with their two children. At the the third location, they said, the victims were another of Godbolt's wife's sisters, as well as her husband.
        A statement from the MBI said Godbolt's charges include one count of capital murder and seven counts of first degree murder.
        Godbolt has a history with the law. In 2005, he was arrested for armed robbery and aggravated assault after allegedly striking a man over the head with a pistol before stealing his jewelry and cash. In 2013 he was charged with simple assault. In April 2015 he was arrested for driving with a suspended license and and later that year for disorderly conduct. Most recently he was was arrested in 2016 for contempt of justice court and an additional assault charge.

        'A senseless tragedy'

        Durr served in the sheriff's department for two years and the Brookhaven Police Department for four years, the MBI said.
        In a Facebook post, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant mourned the victims, including the sheriff's deputy who died, in what he called a "senseless tragedy."
        "Every day, the men and women who wear the badge make some measure of sacrifice to protect and serve their communities. Too often, we lose one of our finest. I thank the law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work," he said.
        According to the MBI, other agencies involved in the case include the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Narcotics, Pike, Walthall, Franklin, Copiah, Lawrence, Amite counties sheriff's departments, the Brookhaven Police Department and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
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