A Neighborhood Watch sign stands outside the gated The Retreat at Twin Lakes community where Trayvon Martin was shot by George Michael Zimmerman while on Neighborhood Watch patrol March 20, 2012 in Sanford, Florida.
A Neighborhood Watch sign stands outside the gated The Retreat at Twin Lakes community where Trayvon Martin was shot by George Michael Zimmerman while on Neighborhood Watch patrol March 20, 2012 in Sanford, Florida.
Victims: Amber Mederos with her daughter Lilly, two, were shot and killed as was Ready’s girlfriend Lisa Mederos, 47, who had been living with him at the time
Slaying: Amber Mederos, 22, and her boyfriend Jim, also 22, were killed in the shooting, as was their two-year-old daughter Lily
Although not officially confirmed by police in Gilbert, it is thought that J.T Ready shot and killed his 47-year old girlfriend, Lisa Mederos, Lisa’s daughter 22-year-old Amber Mederos, Amber’s 22-year-old boyfriend Jim and Amber’s 2-year old daughter Lilly.
Listed as the treasurer of the J.T Ready for Sheriff of Pinal County, Lisa Mederos had been living with Ready at her home for the past two years.
Dispute: Police have said that there had been a reported incident of domestic violence between Ready, pictured left, and Lisa Mederos earlier in the day
Family: Amber Mederos, boyfriend Jim Hiott and daughter Lilly were all shot. Lilly was still alive when police arrived but died later in the hospital
‘There were a few weapons in the house and we don’t know if there was a gun battle or if it was a murder-suicide,’ said Sgt Bill Balafas of Gilbert Police.
Police have said that there had been a reported incident of domestic violence between Ready and Mederos earlier in the day.
It has also been revealed that Mederos’ other 19-year-old daughter was not at home at the time of the killings and is now being interviewed by police.
Explaining the scene that confronted emergency workers, Sgt Balafas said that the toddler was taken to hospital by the first responders.
‘There were signs of life, that’s why we transported her,’ said Sgt Balafas.
‘This is a domestic situation. We do have witnesses that our investigators are interviewing.’
Horror: Gilbert police officers walk inside the police tape outside a crime scene on Wednesday after four people, including a toddler, were fatally shot
Tragic loss: Neighbours in the residential street have expressed their shock at the massacre with some saying they feel sick
In January of 2012, he even announced his candidacy to run as a Democratic Candidate for Pinal County Sheriff.
‘I am sick to my stomach, as you can tell everyone driving by is absolutely shocked,’ said DeAnn Rawson.
Another neighbour who witnessed the police and emergency services reaction to the crime was equally upset.
‘There’s no excuse for taking a child’s life,’ said Gary Davis.
‘Nothing ever happens in this neighbourhood. It’s a shock to us.’
Gilbert police Lt John Lyle told The Arizona Republic that authorities aren’t looking for a suspect in Wednesday afternoon’s shooting at the home.
Identified as the killer, Ready is a former Marine and the founder of the prominent, Arizona-based nativist extremist organisation ‘Americans First’.
He has stated in the past that ‘I firmly believe in having a minefield across the border,’ he says in a widely distributed video.
‘This is 100% effective.’
Ready has in the past spoken at National Socialist Movement rallies in Omaha and is a vocal opponent of unchecked immigration in to the United States.
The former military serviceman had recently set up the U.S Border Guard, a militia-style group that routinely patrolled the southern Arizona desert searching for illegal immigrants.
And in January 2012, he announced his candidacy to run as a Democratic candidate for Pinal County Sheriff.
A statement of organisation filed on January 11 has an Amber Maderos listed as the treasurer of the Committee to Elect J.T Ready.
However, her name was not mentioned in amended paperwork filed by Ready on March 12 of this year.
Part of the burgeoning volunteer militia scene in Arizona, neo-Nazi Ready was known around Phoenix as a man who was keen to take matters into his own hands.
Declaring war on ‘narco-terrorists’ and illegal immigrants, Ready’s reputation made local law enforcement officials nervous, especially given his association with the National Socialist Movement (NSM).
Subscribing to the belief that only non-Jewish, white hetro-sexuals should be American citizens and that all non-white people should leave the country, Ready readily admitted identifying with the NSM.
‘We’re not going to sit around and wait for the government anymore,’ said Ready in an interview with the Associated Press in 2010.
‘This is what our founding fathers did.’
Twice court martialed, Ready received a bad-conduct discharge from the Marines in 1996 for conspiracy and assault.
In 2004, the Arizona native decided to adopt a career in politics and ran for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.
One of his main campaign pledges was to defeat the threat posed to America by undocumented immigrants.
He told a reporter during the run up to the election that Arizona could improve its education if it would ‘deal with this mass illegal influx of foreign students who not even embrace the same language and culture as Americans and who spread tuberculosis, whooping cough, lice, and other third-world biological diseases to other children.’
He lost the election.
And in March 2006, Ready made headlines when he opened fire at a Latino man with a BB gun when running for the Mesa City Council.
No charges were pressed over the incident and his second run for office was derailed when he volunteered to act as master of ceremonies at the Mesa Veteran’s Day parade.
It was revealed before hand that he had been twice court-martialed and kicked out of the Marines.
Creating the anti-immigration group ‘Americans First’ in 2006, Ready marched on the Mexican consulate in Phoenix.
‘We are advocating that the government of Mexico should be designated a ‘threat nation’ because they are openly subverting our laws and sovereignty,’ said Ready at the time.
Finally in 2006 running as the only candidate Ready became the Republican precinct committeeman in a west Mesa district.
But in September 2007, he marched under a swastika banner in Omaha, Nebraska with brown-shirted NSM leaders.
Coming to the attention of the Arizona legislature, attempts were made to expel Ready from his position as a committeeman, but these failed.
Claiming to have left the NSM in 2010, Ready had indicated to the media that he was concentrating on his volunteer militia work and his personal life
The shootings occurred after 1pm Witnesses say a SWAT team sealed off part of the area and investigators told residents to remain indoors.
A middle school near the scene of the shooting was locked down and students weren’t allowed to come in or out of the campus.
Gilbert is a quiet bedroom community south-east of Phoenix that was named the safest city in Arizona, and one of the safest in the whole country by CQ Press.
Citing ‘insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers’ the U.S. Justice Department decided not to reopen its investigation into the deadly 1970 shootings by Ohio National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University.
Four Kent State students died, and nine were hurt in the shootings, which contributed to the change in the public’s attitude toward the war.
Standoff: A number of National Guardsmen opened fire on the crowd of unarmed student protesters
Mr Canfora, who now directs the Kent May 4 Center, said the government’s decision is disappointing but not surprising.
‘I request your further independent investigation utilizing more objective analysis of this crucial digital, forensic evidence,’ he wrote to the Attorney general’s office.
The events of that chaotic day in Kent, Ohio, are still not fully understood, and interest in the case was reignited recently because of a recently enhanced audio recording.
A 2010 analysis of the recording concluded that someone may have ordered National Guard troops to prepare to fire on students during the campus protest.
That didn’t convince Mr Perez, however, writing to Mr Canfora that a government review was inconclusive in determining whether the recording provided such evidence.
The original reel-to-reel audio recording was made by Terry Strubbe, a student who placed a microphone in a window sill of his dormitory that overlooked the anti-war rally.
Fatalities: Four students were shot and killed while nine others were injured by bullets, including one who was left paralyzed
Mr Canfora found a copy of the audio tape in a library archive in 2007.
The recording was enhanced and evaluated by Plainfield, New Jersey-based audio experts Stuart Allen and Tom Owen at the request of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Both concluded that they hear someone shout, ‘Guard!’ Seconds later, a voice yells, ‘All right, prepare to fire!’
This is particularly interesting because of the conflicting reports of whether or not there was a specific order for the guards to open fire.
On the issue of a command to fire, Mr Perez said the government’s analyst showed ‘no military-like voice commands to fire or otherwise were heard; rather, many of the words heard were probably uttered by several different individuals located closer to the microphone.’
Anguish: The shooting prompted outcry across the country
In 1974, eight guardsmen tried on federal civil rights charges were acquitted by a judge.
‘Get down!’ someone shouts, presumably in the crowd.
A voice then says, ‘Guard! …’ followed two seconds later by a booming volley of gunshots.
Mr Allen removed extraneous noises – wind blowing across the microphone, for example – that obscured voices on the recording.
Allen’s review also had uncovered four ‘thuds’ more than a minute before the guardsmen opened fire, which he believed could have been the sound of a revolver firing.
In the letter, Mr Perez said the sounds were likely Strubbe’s door opening and closing. That conclusion is consistent with voices inside Strubbe’s room, Mr Perez said.
Police continue to look for a possible motive in the shooting death of Gretchen Crooks, allegedly by her 13-year-old son Noah.
Police responding to the Crooks home, in Osage, Iowa, on Saturday night, found the woman shot multiple times after her teenage son – the alleged shooter – called 911.
‘We’re at a loss. These are good people,’ sheriff Curt Younker said.
Killer: Noah Crooks, left, allegedly shot his mother Gretchen, right, multiple times in her Iowa home and then called police
There was no history of domestic abuse or criminal records associated with any Crooks family members.
The 13-year-old boy who allegedly shot his 37-year-old mother dead with a hunting rifle is also facing ‘unheard of’ charges that he tried to sexually abuse her.
Now, authorities are saying Noah Crooks also tried to sexually abuse his mother, which mental health professionals say they have never encountered among juveniles.
Shelia Aukes, a licensed social worker in Des Moines who works with young people on a variety of mental health issues told the DesMoines Register: ‘The victims in most sex offenses committed by juveniles are siblings, other juveniles or, more rare, other adults.
‘A child or adolescent sexually abusing a parent is completely out of the norm, totally unheard of.’
Crooks is believed to have fired a .22 calibre at his mother on Saturday at their rural home and four days later a motive has yet to be established.
The teen was said to be calm and emotionless when he called 911 reporting the shooting.
‘The emotions of the young man, from what I’ve been told, is his demeanour was very calm and kind of stoic. Almost like he was in shock also,’ Deputy Greg Beaver told KTTC.
He is currently being held at the North Iowa Juvenile Detention Center in Waterloo and charges are expected to be filed today. He will be tried as a juvenile.
Iowa law allows children ages 14 and older to face crimes in adult court.
Mitchell County Sheriff Curt Younker told the DesMoines Register: ‘We’re at a loss. These are good people, very responsible. It is the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen.’
‘We have lost our daughter. We have lost our grandson,’ Mrs Crooks’ mother Beverly Brahm of Mason City told the Albert Lea Tribune.
Mrs Crooks, who was listed with her husband William Crooks as the rural Osage property owners, had worked as a nurse at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa while also studying toward her master’s degree after accepted at the University of Iowa in 2009.
On her Facebook page back in 2010, she praised her son, one of two sons according to Mrs Brahm, for his musical talents on the saxophone as well as his accomplishment in being accepted into a University of Iowa camp to learn Chinese.
‘So proud of him!’ she wrote.
She had also recently published an application on her page reading: ‘Click “like” if you love your son!’
The Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office says their investigation is ongoing with few further details in the killing reported such as where the weapon came from.
William Crooks’ Facebook page shows his interest in the US Concealed Carry association as well as the Springfield Armory, a company that sells pistols and rifles.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office as well as the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are continuing their investigation as well.
Her family expressed their great sadness by her death while her 35-year-old brother Jason thanked friends and family for their support.
‘I just want to extend my gratitude to family and friends for their support during this time,’ he told the WCF Courier.
Her co-workers at Mercy Medical also released a statement obtained by the Courier, reading:
‘Gretchen was a great nurse and leader. We, as members of her Mercy family, continue to mourn for her and will be holding a memorial service. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends.’
Speaking of her daughter with pride, Mrs Brahm, whom she relishes knowing she was able to say ‘I love you’ to earlier in the day of her passing, described the 37-year-old as studying ‘full time, while she was working full time,’ according to the Courier.
Wanting to make a difference wherever she could, Mrs Crooks previously served among a team of doctors and nurses who travelled to provide medical relief to the Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims in the Gulf in 2005.
Serving as a critical care nurse, she cared for patients in a makeshift hospital.
Her son, an eighth grader at Osage Middle School, the boy’s school’s superintendent told ABC 6 that they have since begun reaching out to the other students’ homes while also offering counseling.
‘It’s gut-wrenching, you know?’ Osage Superintendent Steve Bass told ABC. ‘It’s always tough in a small community when anyone dies for any reason but then you hear that a student is involved in any shape or form, it kind of goes to another level.’
The heartbroken family of Kathia Casseus is seeking answers about how she was allowed to die while in the care of Jackson County juvenile facility officials.
The 16-year-old girl died at Children’s Mercy Hospital after collapsing inside the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center. She had repeatedly and vocally complained of feeling unwell and was left alone for up to two hours before she was discovered as being unresponsive, according to authorities.
Kathia’s brother said the family is devastated and wants to know, “Why didn’t anyone call us?” Attorneys for Kathia’s mother say she found out essential details from news reports and that she is upset she wasn’t called by detention officials when her daughter first needed medical attention.
“She’s in custody,” said Lexington attorney Daniel T. DeFeo. “She doesn’t have the ability to dial 911. She’s relying on those who are charged with her care to do those things for her.”
The Jackson County Family Courts, which oversees the juvenile detention center, is declining to answer additional questions from KCTV5. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders was not at Monday’s meeting of the Jackson County Legislature and the issue did not come up during the meeting.
The 16-year-old girl was admitted to the juvenile facility earlier this month. She reported feeling poorly Saturday morning. Detention officials said they checked on the girl six times over an hour period.
A Kansas City police report doesn’t describe that. Instead, police say the girl was left alone for two hours before she was found unresponsive.
Before that, the girl vocally complained of feeling dizzy to the point that she could not walk, according to the police report.
A jail supervisor said Kathia fell to the ground in an open area.
“The (teen) began rolling around on the ground and screaming, ‘I can’t breathe’ several times,” according to the police report. “She observed (the teen) to be hyperventilating and visibly upset.”
Two male staff members helped the supervisor carry Kathia to a room. Eventually, the girl was able to walk to a water fountain and sip some water, according to the police report.
Once inside a cell, the girl continued to say she felt hot and removed her shirt.
“After being in the room, the (teen) continued shouting at staff members stating that she was not feeling well,” according to the report.
The supervisor tried to reach the on-duty nurse but was unable to do so. Instead, she had to leave a voice mail.
About 90 minutes after the supervisor first heard Kathia complained about feeling unwell, she found her lying on her side on the bed. The supervisor entered the room and discovered Kathia wasn’t breathing.
Another staff member assisted the supervisor in performing CPR while paramedics rushed to the scene, according to the police report. The supervisor told police that Kathia had acted normally earlier Saturday morning and had not been involved in any disputes or physical confrontations.
Neither the jail nor Kathia’s family know of any medical issues. The results of an autopsy by the Jackson County Medical Examiner Office are pending.
DeFeo believes other teens witnessed what happened to Kathia. Because they are juveniles, their identities are cloaked. DeFeo is making a public plea for information.
“If friends and family of juveniles are out there that may have witnessed what happened to her, they certainly have the right to reach out and help this family get answers,” DeFeo said.
If you have any details about Kathia’s death, you are asked to call the DeFeo Law firm at 660-259-9806.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office is now investigating how Kathia died while in the care of Jackson County Juvenile Detention officials.
The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy Tuesday, but determining a cause of death could take up to six weeks.
“We are pushing through and just hoping to get some answers,” said Kathia’s sister, Cynthia Laguerre.
Charges: Mark Edward Mesiti, 43, is accused of raping and murdering his 14-year-old daughter Alycia
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a California man accused to raping and killing his 14-year-old-daughter before burying her body in the backyard of their home.
Mark Edward Mesiti, 44, allegedly drugged and sexually abused his daughter Alycia before killing her in August 2006, just months after a judge granted him custody of his daughter and son, according to court documents.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office said it is seeking the death penalty because of a ‘special enhancement’ to charges against Mr Mesiti. Those charges accuse Mesiti of committing murder ‘before or during’ rape, sodomy and oral copulation, according to court documents.
Prosecutor Annette Rees made the announcement Monday during a pretrial hearing.
Mesiti also faces additional charges of molesting two other girls, one age 8 and the other while she was 16 and 17, according to prosecutors.
Mesiti committed most of the sexual assaults against his daughter while she was drugged, sometimes with anesthesia, according to criminal complaint documents obtained by the Modesto Bee.
The documents claim Mesiti molested Alycia from July 2005 through May 2006.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge awarded Mesiti custody of Alycia and her brother despite Mesiti’s substantial criminal history.
Alycia Mesiti was 14 when she disappeared from her Ceres, California home
Mesiti, records show, had committed several federal and state crimes, including bank fraud and drunk driving. He had also been charged with domestic violence and ordered to attend anger-management classes, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Alycia disappeared from her home in Ceres, California in August 2006. At the time Mr Mesiti told police investigators that his daughter had vanished after setting off on a camping trip with some friends and her pet Chihuahua.
The case was elevated from a disappearance to a homicide investigation in 2009 only after the retirement of a Ceres detective who had been assigned to the case. At that point Ceres police officials ordered a new round of interviews in the case.
Shortly afterwards, police officials obtained a search warrant for Mr Mesiti’s former home. Alycia’s body was found in a grave beneath the backyard by cadaver-sniffing dogs. Three years had passed since her disappearance.
Only days after finding Alycia’s body, police authorities obtained a search warrant for Mesiti’s Los Angeles apartment and found a meth lab.
Mesiti was arrested and later convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Alycia and her brother lived with Mesiti for nine months before she disappeared, despite repeated warnings filed by police authorities and child welfare workers.
Court appointed lawyers recommended only temporary placement with Mesiti due to ‘sufficient issues and risks to these minors,’ the Modesto Bee reports.
The last horrifying moments of an eight-year-old girl’s life were revealed in graphic detail today by a woman who has admitted bludgeoning her to death with a hammer.
Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford was abducted from outside her school in Woodstock, Ontario, on April 8, 2009. Her body was found 103 days later stashed in garbage bags and buried under a pile of rocks.
Terry-Lynne McClintic took to the stand for the second day at London, Ontario’s crown court for the murder trial of her ex-boyfriend and alleged orchestrator of the abduction and brutal murder.
She broke down as she revealed the little girl begged for help moments before she was killed.
Michael Rafferty, 31, is accused in the first-degree murder, sexual assault and abduction of Tori. He pleads not guilty.
McClintic had already plead guilty to a first-degree murder charge and is serving life in prison.
Since the trial started on March 5, the court has heard that the school girl was pummeled with a hammer, sexually assaulted, slain and buried like an animal.
Her body was found naked from the waist down and she had blunt injuries to her body that lacerated her liver and fractured her ribs — injuries that could have been fatal on their own.
From the ploy she used to lure the girl away from school, to the conversations they had when she promised she wouldn’t let Rafferty rape her again, to the rage she said overtook her and led her to beat Tori to death with a hammer, McClintic spared no detail in her gut-wrenching testimony.
As Tori’s devastated parents listened, the 21-year-old described how she and Rafferty singled out the little girl because she was on her own – the first day she was allowed to walk back from school alone – and lured her to the car by saying they had a schitzu puppy.
McClintic was high on Oxycontin, as she was most days, and had also smoked marijuana.
The drug-addicted couple made three stops, she said, to pick up Percocet, a highly-addictive narcotic pain killer, coffee and a hammer and garbage bags before arriving at the remote area chosen to kill the innocent school girl.
McClintic said she ‘knew what was about to happen’, so walked away from the car. When pressed as to what that was, she replied: ‘I believed he was going to rape her.’
After Rafferty sexually assaulted Tori the first time in the front seat of his Honda Civic, during which time she could hear screams and cries for help, he called McClintic to take her to the toilet, she told the court.
The 21-year-old recalled Tori was bleeding and crying and pleaded with her: ‘Just don’t let him do it to me again.’
‘I told her I was sorry and that she was a very strong girl. And she said “Like you?” And I told her she was much stronger’, she testified. The convicted child killer then took Tori back to Rafferty, so he could commit the senseless, depraved act again.
At this point in her testimony, Tori’s parents Tara McDonald and Rodney Stafford broke down in tears.
Rafferty’s former girlfriend told the packed courtroom that as they were walking back to the car, Tori wouldn’t let go of her hand. All she was wearing was her favourite Hannah Montana T-shirt.
‘She asked me to stay with her. I tried to hold on to her hand but I couldn’t stay because I knew what was going to happen,’ said the former drug addict. ‘I couldn’t be there for that. I left.’
As she described what happened next, McClintic broke down. She said she was overcome by an anger and rage that seemed to engulf her as she stood in the distance trying to block out the sounds of the assault. It brought back painful memories of past abuse. Of what she didn’t elaborate.
‘I kept having flashbacks. Sometimes it was like I wasn’t even there,’ she said. ‘I realized I needed to do something so I turned back to the vehicle and . . . when I saw what was going on, all I saw was myself when I was that age and all the anger and hate and rage that I’d had and blame that I still feel towards myself came boiling up out of me.’
She walked back to the car, put a garbage bag over Tori’s head and started to kick her. She then struck her repeatedly with both sides of the hammer on the head, she told the court.
Parents: Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria Stafford walks into court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty trial today, and mother Tara McDonald arrived at court yesterday, right
‘I went back to the vehicle and I savagely murdered that little girl,’ she said to a stunned and horrified courtroom.
They both buried the body, she recounted, before washing themselves and the car so no evidence could be found.
The pair had been dating just over a month when they carried out the gruesome crime. McClintic said it was Rafferty’s idea and said they would be like Bonnie and Clyde.
Last week, the court heard that before she snatched Tori, McClintic went to an employment centre, filling out various forms but citing anger issues and a Grade 9 education as impediments to finding a job.
Before that she had smoked marijuana, got a food voucher from church, bought groceries and shot up some Oxycontin. It was then that Rafferty showed up at her house unexpectedly.
The surveillance video showing Tori walking away from school with a woman in a white puffy coat was released soon after her abduction.
Police received a tip from Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald, who said she heard from a friend that it looked like McClintic.
McDonald has testified she crossed paths with McClintic twice previously when she and her boyfriend bought Oxycontin illegally from her home.
Ms McDonald’s addiction to the painkiller has also been flagged up by prosecutors.
A check turned up a warrant for McClintic’s arrest on a parole violation, breach of custody and supervision. Police arrested her April 12, 2009, and she confessed to Tori’s murder on May 19.
She said today the whole thing was her ex-lover’s idea. She recalled Rafferty urging her to kidnap a ‘young female, because the younger they were the easier they were to manipulate’.
As they drove past Oliver Stephens Elementary school on that fateful day, Rafferty dared her to prove she wasn’t ‘all talk’.
Through tears, McClintic testified: ‘He said it would be easy. “They’re getting out of school now. All you have to do is talk about dogs or candy or something like that”.’
He had previously asked her if she thought it would be weird if he wanted to kidnap somebody. They couple had only met a month before and had sex in his car the first night they met.
McClintic told the court she went along with whatever he said as she ‘badly wanted to meet a good man’.
The trial continues.