Monthly Archives: February 2016

Ashley Richards Sentenced (Sort of) in Federal Crush Case

Ashley Richards Sentenced (Sort of) in Federal Crush Case

The Houston woman who’s one of  the first people in the country charged under a federal animal torture video statute was sentenced February 25 to 33 months in prison, but given credit for the 42 months she’s already spent in jail.  

Ashley Richards, 25, pleaded guilty to the charges in 2014, and she was also sentenced to ten years after pleading guilty to related state animal cruelty charges. Her co-defendant, Brent Justice, pleaded not guilty to both federal and state charges, and was recently sentenced to 50 years for the latter, following a week-long trial in which Richards testified against him. 

Federal prosecutor Sherri Zack asked U.S. District Court Judge Sim Lake to sentence Richards to 84 months, according to Courthouse News:

 “I believe the crime is so heinous that 84 months is appropriate,” Zack almost yelled

Read more at: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/ashley-richards-sentenced-sort-of-in-federal-crush-case-8196973

News13 Investigates: Missing person databases – WBTW

JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WBTW) – Harriett Kelly is a proud mom of four boys.

“I’ve been their mom and I did what I had to do,” she said.

However, her middle son 23-year-old Julius Gamble was the kind of guy she says that would do anything to help.

“He’s just a giving person.  He has a big heart.  He was just a friendly person,” Kelly mentioned.

It was morning of August 29th, 2014 that Kelly got the news no mom wants to hear.

She woke up to numerous calls from Julius’ girlfriend.

“I had got up and called her back and said you were trying to call me.  She said Ju didn’t come home.  I said what do you mean?  I’m trying to analyze what’s going on.  I’m calling Ju’s phone, I’m texting his phone, I’m calling, I’m texting, I’m calling, I’m texting.  It was scary from that point on,” she explained.

Kelly had just seen her son

Read more at: http://wbtw.com/2016/02/25/news13-investigates-missing-person-databases/

Arleta man surrenders Kindle to police after taking ‘selfies’ with mom

A man and a woman appear in selfies taken with a Kindle tablet stolen from a car in Van Nuys on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Photo via LAPD
A man and a woman appear in selfies taken with a Kindle tablet stolen from a car in Van Nuys on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Photo via LAPD

A 26-year-old Arleta man depicted along with his mother in selfie snapshots taken on a stolen Kindle reader turned the device in at the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Valley Station and is facing possible misdemeanor charges, but his mother has been cleared of any involvement.

Michael Soto showed up at the station about 7 p.m., Thursday, according to the LAPD. He was accompanied by his brother and turned in the Kindle and a smart phone that was also taken.

Police had earlier circulated images

Read more at: http://mynewsla.com/crime/2016/02/19/arleta-man-surrenders-kindle-to-police-after-taking-selfies-with-mom/

Space Archaeologist Wants Your Help to Fight Looting

For Parcak, the study was a call to action. Rather than just counting holes in the ground, she wanted to develop a new way to protect ancient sites. “The reality is we are losing the battle against looting,” Parcak says. “Archaeologists have limited resources, and we need to scale up big time.”  

Read more at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160216-ted-prize-sarah-parcak-satellite-archaeology/

What We Learned From the Crush Video Trial – Houston Press

Brent Justice shortly before his 2012 arrest.

Update, Feb. 15: Brent Justice has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. 

On February 10, a Harris County District Court judge found Brent Wayne Justice guilty of animal cruelty — specifically, the filmed torture and slaughter of a pit bull puppy that Justice and co-defendant Ashley Richards sold as part of their “crush” video business.

But Justice could just have been easily been found guilty of a slightly less heinous crime: wasting everyone’s freaking time.

Representing himself, Justice prolonged a guilt phase of the trial that was inevitable; and continues to prolong a punishment phase — after five days, the trial still isn’t over. 

The pair were charged with animal cruelty in 2012, and subsequently charged in federal court under a 2010 statute criminalizing the sale and distribution of crush videos. Richards ultimately pleaded guilty in both cases, and she testified against

Read more at: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/what-we-learned-from-the-crush-video-trial-updated-8158284

What We Learned From the Crush Video Trial — UPDATED

Brent Justice shortly before his 2012 arrest.

Update, Feb. 15: Brent Justice has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. 

On February 10, a Harris County District Court judge found Brent Wayne Justice guilty of animal cruelty — specifically, the filmed torture and slaughter of a pit bull puppy that Justice and co-defendant Ashley Richards sold as part of their “crush” video business.

But Justice could just have been easily been found guilty of a slightly less heinous crime: wasting everyone’s freaking time.

Representing himself, Justice prolonged a guilt phase of the trial that was inevitable; and continues to prolong a punishment phase — after five days, the trial still isn’t over. 

The pair were charged with animal cruelty in 2012, and subsequently charged in federal court under a 2010 statute criminalizing the sale and distribution of crush videos. Richards ultimately pleaded guilty in both cases, and she testified against Justice

Read more at: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/what-we-learned-from-the-crush-video-trial-updated-8158284

Mom’s trial for ’91 killing highlights cold case challenges

NEW BRUNSWICK – An anonymous tip that went nowhere and a 25-year-old blanket could be responsible for solving one of New Jersey’s most enduring murder mysteries — was 5-year-old Timothy Wiltsey killed by his own mother?

Jury selection is scheduled this week for the murder trial of Michelle Lodzinski, whom authorities have portrayed as a struggling single mom who blamed her son for a pair of failed romantic relationships. A conviction would provide a measure of vindication for generations of investigators who never bought Lodzinski’s claim that Timothy was abducted from a carnival in May 1991.

In an age when countless true-crime shows depict suspects routinely tripped up by DNA extracted from a microscopic fiber or bead

Read more at: http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/new-jersey/2016/02/15/coldcase-jersey-child/80419550/

Mom’s trial for ’91 NJ killing highlights cold case challenges

NEW BRUNSWICK — An anonymous tip that went nowhere and a 25-year-old blanket could be responsible for solving one of New Jersey’s most enduring murder mysteries — was 5-year-old Timothy Wiltsey killed by his own mother?

Jury selection is scheduled this week for the murder trial of Michelle Lodzinski, whom authorities have portrayed as a struggling single mom who blamed her son for a pair of failed romantic relationships. A conviction would provide a measure of vindication for generations of investigators who never bought Lodzinski’s claim that Timothy was abducted from a carnival in May 1991.

In an age when countless true-crime shows depict suspects routinely tripped up by DNA extracted from a microscopic fiber or bead of sweat, the case against Lodzinski — with no DNA evidence and no eyewitnesses — will focus attention on the challenges inherent in prosecuting and gaining convictions for long-ago crimes.

“I have seen cold cases with

Read more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/mom-s-trial-for-91-n-j-killing-highlights-cold-case-challenges-1.1512336

Website dedicated to finding Asha Degree

Wendy Hughes is a mother who just wants to help another mother. Hughes, of Charlotte, launched the online blog,www.findingashadegree.wordpress.com, which began garnering public attention at the beginning of January. She wants nothing more than to help the Degree’s find Asha.

Wendy Hughes is a mother who just wants to help another mother.

Hughes, of Charlotte, launched the online blog,www.findingashadegree.wordpress.com, which began garnering public attention at the beginning of January. She wants nothing more than to help the Degree’s find Asha.

“What I want to accomplish is, I want the Six Degrees of Separation theory to come to fruition. I want that person who knows someone, who knows someone, to see the blog and talk themselves into coming forward,” Hughes said. “It could be that simple to end 16 years of questions, and good or bad, bring Asha home.”

The 55-year-old has no ties to the

Read more at: http://www.shelbystar.com/article/20160213/NEWS/160219529