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What really happened at the lake that night?

The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2014 - 18 comments

"I sincerely regret the loss of the life of Ms. Frago"

Jury acquits escort shooter. Texas Penal Code s. 9.42 has been interpreted to possibly allow the shooting of sex workers who accept money at night but do not then perform sexual services, and Ezekiel Gilbert was therefore found to have the legal right to shoot at a sex worker over a $150 dispute. This interpretation of the defence of property has come under some criticism, and although the jury may have reached their decision on a different ground, the possibility of this defence under state law appears to be sound.
posted by jaduncan on Jun 11, 2013 - 167 comments

Faster and Furiouser

"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
posted by andoatnp on Jun 27, 2012 - 63 comments

The Brand

David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
posted by reenum on Jan 23, 2012 - 20 comments

Now what am I going to do with all these signs

After almost 30 years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Philadelphia prosecutors have abandoned attempts to impose the death penalty on Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing police office Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. Background, previously.
posted by anigbrowl on Dec 7, 2011 - 56 comments

Troy Davis execution imminent

In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2011 - 432 comments

Unfit counsel

"This conflict of interest hits at the heart of the attorney-client relationship." Robert Caulley has served 14 years of a life sentence for the murder of his parents, a crime he says he didn't commit. Some hope that unknown DNA found on a gun at the crime scene will prove his innocence, citing similar exonerations in other high-profile Ohio cases, but so far Caulley's attempts to revisit his case with further DNA testing have failed. But look, Caulley already had his day in court with his lawyer by his side, doing everything possible to clear him, right? So he thought -- until he learned that his defense attorney was sleeping with his wife during his trial.
posted by escabeche on Apr 21, 2011 - 20 comments

Conviction

Betty Anne Waters's brother Kenny was sent to prison for first degree murder and armed robbery in 1982. Over the next 16 years, Betty Anne got her GED, college degree, and law degree, all in an effort to prove Kenny was innocent. With the assistance of the Innocence Project, Betty Anne was able to use DNA evidence to show Kenny was innocent. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Mar 24, 2011 - 28 comments

ATF: Fast and Furious

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 7, 2011 - 66 comments

Most Horrible & Shocking Murders

The National Library of Medicine has put a selection of murder pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s online.
These pamphlets have been a rich source for historians of medicine, crime novelists, and cultural historians, who mine them for evidence to illuminate the history of class, gender, race, the law, the city, crime, religion and other topics. The murder pamphlets in the NLM's collection address cases connected to forensic medicine, especially cases in which doctors were accused of committing-or were the victims of-murder.
[more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 7, 2010 - 7 comments

Gaile Owens

Three months from today, Gaile [Part I] Owens [Part 2] will be dead in Tennessee after 25 years on death row. The mother of two boys went to the rough side of Nashville to find a hitman to kill her abusive and cheating husband. Due to a series of events, the jury never heard of or believed the abuse. She pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence, but will die on September 28. [more inside]
posted by daninnj on Jun 28, 2010 - 38 comments

Childhood cruelties

Andrew O’Hagan writes in the London Review of Books on the James Bulger murder. It really should be read in conjunction with his earlier piece from 1993 to fully appreciate his stance. Previously [1] [2] [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Mar 25, 2010 - 25 comments

...And Justice For All

New WM3 Defense Letter Imprisoned since 1993, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. filed new appeals in Oct. 2007 - previously - only to have them thrown out less than a year later. But a recent article in the Arkansas Law Review, which came on the heels of support from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Conviction, has the Arkansas Supreme Court reconsidering the appeals. Meanwhile, Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims, had his lawsuit against the Dixie Chicks tossed out earlier this month. [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Dec 17, 2009 - 19 comments

Don't shoot a man when he's down?

In a case reminiscent of Bernard Goetz, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was held up by two gun-wielding men, shot one of them in the head, and then, when the other had left, shot the prone man several more times, killing him (store security video). Now he's being charged with first-degree murder, and is the center of intense controversy about whether he engaged in legitimate self-defense by making absolutely sure his attacker was incapacitated or in an unjustifiable vigilante-style execution. Complicating matters is the fact that Jerome is white and the robbers black.
posted by shivohum on May 30, 2009 - 178 comments

A Mother's Love

With that meeting, Mr. Allo took his first step into an intricate trap. The deeply strange tale of one very determined woman's quest to overturn her son's conviction for murder.
posted by digaman on Nov 29, 2008 - 57 comments

Life and death of a black and white

Texas executes Mexican national who was denied consul visit. [more inside]
posted by mrducts on Aug 6, 2008 - 121 comments

Convicted by Statistics?

Dutch nurse Lucia De Berk has had her case reopened 5 years after her conviction for multiple counts of murdering her patients. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Jan 4, 2008 - 6 comments

Martial law on-demand in Baltimore

Public gatherings restricted? Check. Shutdown of independent businesses? Check. Lockdown on traffic and transportation in the area? You bet. Lawmakers in Baltimore trying to curb the city's homicide rate (already 108 this year) have come up with some "desperate measures" of questionable constitutional legality, including heightening police presence in order to lockdown streets in "emergency areas." It has been called, "partial martial law" by some, and one has to wonder if the city of Baltimore may not do better to take a page from The Wire's Hamsterdam for a solution to their inextricably linked drug and homicide issues.
posted by dead_ on May 17, 2007 - 60 comments

Jens Soering appeals to documentary makers

Any aspiring filmmakers want to help exonerate a geeky German guy with no legal options left, falsely convicted of murder in Virginia? In 1985, Jens Soering confessed to the murder of the parents of his American girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom. He claims he was madly in love and confessed to protect her. Since 1995, Jens' very detailed description of events and the flaws in the case against him have been posted on the internet along with the former Virginian deputy attorney-general's (now his lawyer) endorsement. Jens' personal site maintains a list of articles and books Jens has written in prison. Elizabeth also has her own column.
posted by zaebiz on Dec 29, 2006 - 28 comments

Who Killed Ryan Harris?

Who Killed Ryan Harris? Eight years ago the body of eleven-year-old Ryan Harris was discovered in a poor neighbourhood on the South Side of Chicago. What followed was a saga involving the youngest children in U.S. history to be charged with murder; the subsequent dropping of the charges after exculpatory evidence surfaced and allegations of coerced confessions; another (adult) suspect allegedly faking a low IQ and entering an Alford plea; lawsuits against the prosecutors on behalf of the boys, later settled out of court; and, earlier this year, one of the boys coming back into the news after being charged in connection with a double shooting, with lawyers insinuating that his earlier ordeal was to blame for his criminal activity. One of the sadder stories I've heard in some time.
posted by Johnny Assay on Oct 31, 2006 - 9 comments

Violence Begets Violence Begets Violence or: What the Hell is going on in Alabama?

Man Sentenced to Death in Alabama. but not just any old death sentence. This is the fellow who killed two cops and a police dispatcher, then blamed his actions on Grand Theft Auto, which is a popular video game. Alabama, the state whose residents fought so hard to keep the 10 commandments on display in a courthouse. Maybe they should have been allowed to display that monument, to remind them that murder is a crime - no matter how you dress it up.
posted by the theory of revolution on Oct 7, 2005 - 66 comments

"There was no one ever in American life who was remotely like Truman Capote", says Norman Mailer

Truman Capote's Blood Work Two soon-to-be released films on Truman Capote's life, Capote and Have You Heard? begin as the novelist drops into rural Kansas to begin work on what became "In Cold Blood". More inside.
posted by matteo on Aug 18, 2005 - 11 comments

Child Abuse: Forensic Pediatrician Faces Misconduct Charges

In the emotive world of child abuse, Professor Sir Roy Meadow became a celebrity in the last 25 years. He described Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy in which parents were said to have confabulated symptoms in their children in order to obtain medical treatment. Among child and health workers, Police and Social Workers, his eponymous law held that multiple childhood deaths in individual families were indicative of abuse and infanticide.
He was of course a popular forensic expert and his testimony resulted in murder convictions and removal of at-risk children from their families. But the Court of Appeal in UK has found that Prof. Meadow's statistical assertions and scientific reasonings were themselves confabulated and there have been a number of convictions overturned. He is now fighting for his professional reputation before the General Medical Council in London. [More Inside]
posted by peacay on Jun 28, 2005 - 17 comments

"We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live"

"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955.
Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till in Alsip, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death 50 years ago. Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here and here)
posted by matteo on Jun 1, 2005 - 5 comments

Told you so

I hate people who say I told you so... But.... Edgar Morales shot a little girl, does that make him a terrorist? Other gang members were prosecuted before this for terrorism, other groups who maybe should have haven't - so what's the new law for? Is this the first of many prosecutions under new laws which some said would do one thing but are actually doing something else?
posted by Smedleyman on Dec 28, 2004 - 60 comments

Crimes of the century

Homicide in Chicago: 1870-1930
July 25, 1899 Murphy, James, 28 years old, shot dead, saloon 1210 Wabash Av., by Lorezo Sodini, proprietor. Murphy refused to pay for drinks and ran out of saloon and threw stone through window. Sodini ran out and fired at him, killing him instantly. Harrison St. Station. Held by Coroner's Jury, July 29. Acquitted Dec. 9, 1899, by jury in Judge Baker's court. Case number: 1498
posted by tcp on Jul 2, 2004 - 1 comment

Conservatives Win Big With Fetus Bill

Conservatives Win Big With Fetus Bill
posted by SpaceCadet on Mar 27, 2004 - 26 comments

Justice, Las Vegas Style

Framed for defending herself. On August 28th, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada a woman named Kirstin Lobato was sentenced to life in prison. She was the victim of an attempted rape in May 2001, and had defended herself against her rapist. prosecutors used this "confession" of self defense to convict her of a murder that happened months later and in a town where she didn't even live. How "innocent until proven guilty" can you be if prosecutors are willing to use known perjurers and refuse to allow expert testimony?
posted by dejah420 on Nov 26, 2003 - 17 comments

Durst Admits to Killing, Still Found Innocent

Robert Durst Admits to Killing but is found innocent because the jurors didn't think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Durst intentionally murdered, cut his ex-friend up and then threw the body parts in a lake.
I'm sure the fact that he's got like $9 billion had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But since he's got a history of killing, I suppose they'll just wait for him to "accidentally" kill someone else and then try to dispose of the body without getting caught.
But isn't an accidental killing still prosecutable? Isn't the fact that he admitted to chopping the body up and throwing it in a lake prosecutable?
Are you wondering what ever did happen to his wife too?
posted by fenriq on Nov 11, 2003 - 21 comments

Wall of trouble?

Phil Spector arrested, booked for investigation of murder. via Drudge
posted by 111 on Feb 3, 2003 - 31 comments

This week, two boys in Florida were tried for the bludgeoning-murder of their father. With accusations raised of the actual killing to have been done by another, adult male with alleged sexual ties to the two boys, the boys were found guilty only of a lesser second-degree murder charge, claiming the adult must have done the actual deed... yet the jury was unaware the adult accused and being tried for that very idea was acquitted of all charges the previous week. The issue? Both trials were handled by the same prosecutor who presented completely different theories to each jury... in other words, not settling on a confident belief of who actually performed the killing, the prosecution tried to get both the adult and the pair of boys convicted for it. Isn't that risky? Or, if you like a different flavor of debate, isn't that completely unethical?
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Sep 7, 2002 - 40 comments

Convicted Hockey Dad Killer to get only 3- 5 years?

Convicted Hockey Dad Killer to get only 3- 5 years? i know he only threw a few punches, but he was 275 lbs and his victim was 165 lbs. I'm sorry, but killing a guy nearly half your size in front of children - in front of both of their children even - is reason enough for throwing the book at this thug. 20 years = 10 years if he stays cool in the pokie - a pittance if you're the victims kids. Hopefully the Mass judge will make an example out of this totally unneccessary tragedy.
posted by tsarfan on Jan 11, 2002 - 48 comments

Man who started campfire charged with two counts of murder

Man who started campfire charged with two counts of murder Got a few questions for any legal scholars in the house. In a nutshell: How does a guy who neglected to put out a fire wind up getting charged with murder when two pilots accidentally crash into each other? The un-nutshelled version inside.
posted by Shadowkeeper on Aug 29, 2001 - 9 comments

Kill your five children, go to jail.

Kill your five children, go to jail. So, what to do to a mother that decides not to be a mother any more?
posted by dwivian on Jun 20, 2001 - 39 comments

San Francisco couple has been charged with murder and manslaughter from the January 26 fatal mauling of a neighbor by two dogs they were caring for.
posted by crushed on Mar 27, 2001 - 16 comments

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