Archive for January, 2012

Cold Case DNA Identified Homicide Suspect After More Than 32 Years In Bridgewater, Pennsylvania

Homicide suspect was boyfriend who admitted to police in 1979 he hadn’t had sex with the victim at her apartment for over a month before her death.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 31, 2012

Bridgewater, Pennsylvania – On Monday, Beaver County District Attorney Anthony J. Berosh during a press conference announced the arrest of Pennsylvania builder Gregory Scott Hopkins, 65, on Sunday for the September 1, 1979 murder of Catherine Janet Walsh, 23, of Monaca. Hopkins was Walsh’s boyfriend at the time. After more than 32 years ago, police had questioned him just seven hours after Walsh’s body was found at her apartment by her father, according to cold-case records.
Police determined Walsh’s death as a homicide caused by strangulation, according to an autopsy.
Hopkins told police in 1979, that he hadn’t had sex with the victim at her apartment for over a month before her death. Police in 2010, resubmitted DNA evidence found in a light-blue bandana around Walsh’s neck, a rope, which was used to bound her hands behind her back, nightgown and bedsheets at the crime scene to a state crime forensic lab for analysis. A break resulted in the cold-case, after the crime scene DNA matched Hopkins. DNA technology didn’t exist back then, according to Berosh.
Hopkins has operated a local building and construction business since Walsh’s homicide and was elected as a Republican to the Bridgewater City Council in 2010. Hopkins is expected to plead not guilty in the case.

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Gregory Scott Hopkins

Photo: AP

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Cabrera Files Appeal With Arizona Supreme Court To Vacate Lower Court Decision To Keep Her Off The Ballot

Cabrera’s lawyers claim state law doesn’t provide standards for English proficiency to hold public office and keeping her off the ballot violates her Constitutional rights.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 31, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona – The Yuma Sun reported that lawyers for Alejandrina Cabrera, a San Luis City Council candidate had confirmed, that an appeal was filed with the Arizona Supreme Court challenging a lower court decision to keep their client off the March primary election ballot due to a lack of English proficiency. On Monday during a press conference, Attorneys John Garcia and John Minore repesenting Cabrera said, that last Friday an appeal was filed and they’re expecting for the high court to decide by February 7, if it will hear Cabrera’s case. They are claiming, the state law requiring English proficiency doesn’t provide specific guidelines to determine proficiency to hold public office. The lower court decision to keep Cabrera off the ballot violates her Constitutional rights, according to attorneys.
On January 25, Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson ruled that Cabrera should be taken off the ballot after William Eggington, a sociolinguistics expert determined she lacks English proficiency skills to run for public office as required by state law.
Cabrera, a U.S. citizen graduated from Kofa High School in Yuma. She apparently dominates the Spanish language, but does know enough English to defend her right as an American to run for public office and stand her ground against all odds.
Cabrera’s challenge to determine, if she can actually understand, speak and write English to hold public office was first brought up by Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla. Escamilla filed a complaint in court claiming Cabrera lacks sufficient English skills to hold a four-year San Luis City Council position. All the work such as city ordinances, minutes, public agenda, legal documents, committee and council meetings are done in the English language. Cabrera, if elected could struggle to understand some of the council’s work, but could very well represent those who elected her.
At least 90 percent of the population in San Luis City can speak both languages, English and Spanish. But Spanish is the dominent daily life language for a majority of people living in San Luis. Spanish is used and spoken in stores, restaurants, churches, and many other areas of the city due to close proximity to the Mexican border.
Cabrera’s plight to run for the city council began after she initiated a recall against Mayor Escamilla for approving a utility price hike and laying off 12 city employees inorder to balance the city budget deficit.
She plans to continue to campaign for office, despite the lower court challenge.

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Alejandrina Cabrera

Photo: Yuma Sun dot com

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35-year-old Zeta Member Confessed To Have Participated In 75 Bus Passenger Homicides In Nuevo León

Zeta in charge of the municipalities of Cerralvo and General Treviño implicated in 75 murders.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 30, 2012

Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico – On Monday, Jorge Domene Zambrano, spokesman for the state of Nuevo León Security Department announced the arrest of Enrique Elizondo Flores, 35, aka, “El Arabe or El Cuervo,” who allegedly confessed to killing at least 75 bus passengers. Flores, originally from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas was arrested on January 20, and is accused of killing, burning the bodies of a mother and her child after kidnapping them on May 2, 2010. He also kidnapped 50 bus passengers traveling through the municipality of Cerralvo and participated in murdering 15 of them with an AR-15 rifle.
In March 2011, Flores also murdered at least 35 bus passengers travelling through Celaya, Guanajuato. The victims were all from the state of Guanajuato.
Flores was in charge of controlling Zeta operations in the municipalities of Cerralvo and General Treviño. He and other Zeta members committed other homicides involving rival cartel members. They stopped buses travelling from Reynosa going through Cerralvo and checked, if suspected rival Gulf Cartel members were trying to take over Flores’ Zeta region.
Flores’ arrest wasn’t  reported earlier, because Mexican state authorities had to confirm the series of homicides committed by the suspect, said Adrián de la Garza, the Nuevo León Attorney General during a press conference.

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Enrique Elizondo Flores

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Santa Maria Police Officers Banned From Fellow Officer Covarrubias Funeral, Father Says

Officer Covarrubias’ father told local media that Santa Maria police officers are not welcome at son’s funeral later this week.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 30, 2012

Santa Maria, California – On Sunday, Albert Covarrubias Sr., the father of slain Santa Maria Police Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr., 29, told KSBY dot com News that fellow officers and supervisors from the Santa Maria Police Department would not be welcome at his son’s funeral. Officer Covarrubias was shot and killed on early Saturday by his best friend Officer Matthew Kline, after Covarrubias allegedly tried to resist arrest for sexual misconduct of a 17-year-old high school girl.
Several police supervisors went to where Officer Covarrubias was working at a DUI sobriety checkpoint just after 1:20 a.m. to take Covarrubias into custody when he allegedly resisted, struggled with the arresting officers and then fired his weapon at them. His best friend, Officer Kline who was working with Covarrubias in the police motorcycle unit fired his weapon at Covarrubias once, striking him in the chest.
Officer Covarrubias was taken to a hospital, but was later pronounced dead at the Marian Medical Center.
Officer Kline, an eight year veteran with the department was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Officer Covarrubias worked for the department for four years and had been married for only three weeks.
Covarrubias Sr. and family members are now left asking questions about how police handled the attempted arrest of Officer Covarrubias. No word, if Covarrubias’s family will ask the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for an inquest concerning Officer Covarrubias death.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Saturday’s shooting incident.

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Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr.

Photo: Family/KSBY dot com

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Santa Maria Police Officer Shot By Fellow Cop After Resisting Arrest For Sexual Assault Of A Minor

29-year-old officer became aware of internal investigation about allegations of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 29, 2012

Santa Maria, California – On early Saturday, Santa Maria Police Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr., 29, was killed by a fellow officer when he resisted arrest and shot at officers. Several police supervisors with a warrant were sent to take Officer Covarrubias, who was on-duty into custody after the internal affairs unit discovered that Covarrubias became aware of an investigation that raised allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old girl and trying to intimidate a witness.
Officer Covarrubias apparently had tried to contact the teenager and investigating officers believed, if Covarrubias left his assigned work area, the public could have been at risk. It became paramount to take Officer Covarrubias into custody as soon as possible, according to a police report.
Officer Covarrubias resisted arrest after 1:08 a.m. and struggled with arresting officers. Covarrubias then fired his weapon at the officers. One of the officers at the scene, Officer Matthew Kline returned fire once and fatally wounded Covarrubias in the chest. Officer Kline, who was working the shift with Covarrubias was put in administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation. Kline has worked for the police department for eight years.
Covarrubias was taken to the Marian Medical Center for treatment, but expired, according to Santa Maria Police Chief Dan R. Macagni. Macagni confirmed, that the internal investigation targeting Officer Covarrubias began on Thursday. By Friday, Covarrubias engaged in “witness intimidation” after he learned of the internal investigation against him, according to Macagni.
Shortly before Covarrubias was shot, it was revealed that he had an “inappropriate” and “very explicit” relationship with a teenager.
Officer Covarrubias was married and worked for the department for four years. He was stationed at a driver’s license and sobriety DUI checkpoint when Covarrubias was approached by arresting officers.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting incident.
Covarrubias’ family released his named, provided a photo of the officer and granted an interview with KSBY dot com News, according to KSBY.

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Albert Covarrubias Jr.

Photo: Family/KSBY dot com

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Barefoot Bandit Gets Maximum Federal Prison Term For Crimes And Signs Hollywood Movie Rights

Barefoot Bandit sentenced to more than 6 years in a federal prison, including a Hollywood movie contract by 20th Century Fox.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 28, 2012

Seattle, WA – On Friday, Colton A. Harris-Moore, 20, aka, “Barefoot Bandit” of Camano Island, received a maximum sentence under a plea agreement after pleading guilty to seven federal felony counts for aircraft thefts, including interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft during a two year crime spree. Harris-Moore was sentenced in Seattle by U.S. District  Judge Richard A. Jones to 6 1/2 years in a federal prison and three years supervision. The federal sentence under a plea agreement will be served concurrently with a seven year state sentence, according to courts records.
Harris-Moore in December pleaded guilty to 33 felony counts of theft and other related crimes.
Harris-Moore stole vehicles, boats, and at least five planes. He flew a plane from the U.S. state of Indiana to the Island’s off the Florida coast, with no flight training, according to the federal indictment.
The charges stemmed from the theft of an airplane from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, on September 29, 2009. The plane crash landed after running out of fuel 260 miles away near Snohomish, Washington.
Harris-Moore had a $10,000 reward offered by the FBI for information leading to his arrest and was considered armed and dangerous. He was serving a three year sentence for trasspassing while inside a vacant home in 2007. He was first convicted at age 12, after Moore was caught with stolen property and a year later at the age of 13, he was convicted of several other crimes.
Harris-Moore was wanted for escaping from a Renton Washington, group home in April of 2008. He had been ordered to stay there after pleading guilty to three felony charges in Island County, Washington, and being sentenced to three years of confinement. As a result of this escape, on March 12, 2009, a felony warrant was issued for Harris-Moore’s arrest on October 2, 2009.
He was arrested in Harbour Island, Bahamas on July 2010 while docking a boat. Harris-Moore was labeled the Barefoot Bandit after leaving chalk marks of bare feet inside a convienent grocery store where he broke in to steal items.
Harris-Moore is now the subject of a movie and has signed movie rights of his life to 20th Century Fox in August, according to ABC.

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Colton A. Harris-Moore

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Morales-Rodriguez Competent To Stand Trial For Double Homicide In Milwaukee

Morales-Rodriguez killed pregnant mother to cut out baby.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 28, 2012

Milwaukee – On Friday, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Borowski ruled that Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 33, is competent to stand trial. Judge Borowski set a motion hearing for March 8 and a trial date for April 30. Morales-Rodriguez is charged with two felony counts of first-degree intentional homicide, including of unborn in the deaths of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, 23, and her unborn child on October 6th. If convicted, Morales-Rodriguez is facing a double life sentence without the possibility of parole. She remains at the Milwaukee County jail unable to post a $1 million dollar bail.
She pleaded insanity and was examined by two doctors who confirmed in their medical reports that she does not suffer from mental defect or disability, according to court records.
On Oct. 6, 2011, Morales-Rodriguez met Ramirez-Cruz and offered her a ride. She lured Ramirez-Cruz to her house in Milwaukee’s southside. Once inside her residence, Morales-Rodriguez beat Ramirez-Cruz with a baseball bat until she died and then used an exacto knife to extract Cruz’ child. The child also died when extracted from Ramirez-Cruz.
Morales-Rodriguez wanted a baby boy to keep her boyfriend, but she couldn’t have one.
Both Morales-Rodriguez and Ramirez-Cruz have three other children. Ramirez-Cruz did not know Morales-Rodriguez, according to the criminal complaint.

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Annette Morales-Rodriguez

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