Entries in Charged (7)


Suspect in Teen's Abduction Connected to Previous Missing Person Case

FBI/Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail(NEW YORK) -- A man charged with the abduction of a Virginia teenager who is still missing, was one of the last people to speak with another teen before she disappeared in 2010, according to authorities.

Samantha Clarke was 19 when she went missing on the night of Sept. 13 or early Sept. 14, 2010, in Orange, Va. Authorities said one of the last people Clarke talked to before she disappeared was Randy Taylor, now 48, who was arraigned Tuesday in the abduction of Alexis Murphy, 17, who was last seen on Aug. 3.

During a brief appearance in Nelson County Juvenile and Domestic Court in Virginia, Taylor was assigned a public defender but did not enter a plea on an abduction charge in the case of Murphy, who still hasn't been found.

"As Randy Taylor is someone that Samantha spoke with immediately prior to her disappearance, he remains someone we are very interested in learning more about," Diana H. Wheeler, Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney, said in a statement.

Wheeler said authorities in Orange, where Clarke was last seen, are coordinating with their counterparts in Nelson County, Va., to "share whatever information they have to which may be helpful."

Authorities declined to elaborate on what led them to arrest Taylor on Sunday night, however they asked anyone who may have seen Taylor before or just after Murphy's disappearance to come forward.

Murphy was last seen on Aug. 3 at a Lovingston, Va., gas station. Her white Nissan Maxima was located three days later in the parking lot of Carmike Cinemas in Charlottesville, Va.

On Monday, what would have been Murphy's first day of her senior year of high school, her mother, Laura Murphy, made a sobbing plea for her return.

"I want her to come home because today would've been her first day of school," she said at a news conference. "I carried my youngest son to school this morning but I didn't have my daughter to take.

"Please, if the public knows anything, please, please let us know. Please," she said.

Taylor was never arrested or charged in Clarke's disappearance, which police said remains an active investigation.

However, in an interview last year with The Hook, a Charlottesville newspaper, Taylor said police treated him like a suspect and harassed him to the extent that he lost his job, home and custody of his son.

"The case needs to be solved," he told the newspaper, "but the way they're going about it is ridiculous."

Taylor told the newspaper that Clarke had expressed romantic interest in one of his younger acquaintances but had soon shifted her sights to another friend, who happened to have a girlfriend.

"I heard [the girlfriend] saying she wanted to 'beat her ass,'" Taylor said, adding that he heard the second man claim he'd help his girlfriend.

Taylor told the newspaper he called Clarke, who he said he didn't know very well, to warn her to "stay away" from the second man.

Clarke's last words were to her 13-year-old brother late Sept. 13 or early Sept. 14, 2010, before she left their apartment.

"I'll be back," she said, according to Wheeler. Clarke never returned.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


MBA Bank Robber Gets Third Degree

Comstock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Tarik Hooks would appear to be an outstanding citizen. He has an MBA from Strayer University, works at a mental health rehab center and was a key witness who helped solve the shooting of a New York police officer several years ago.

But the FBI and Philadelphia police are saying that Hooks is the brazen bank robber who held up as many as 10 banks over the past month, without bothering to hide his identity.

Hooks, 35, of Philadelphia, was taken into custody on Feb. 22 by Philadelphia cops and the FBI on a car theft charge, Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski said. That car theft eventually led to his arrest for the bank jobs, officials said.

Hooks is facing federal charges for nine counts of bank robbery. A tenth alleged bank robbery was in Wilmington, Del., and charges have yet to be formally filed against Hooks, the FBI said.

According to a criminal complaint, Hooks first robbed a Citizens Bank on Feb. 2, 2013, in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. He continued to rob five more banks in the Philadelphia area and made three failed attempts to rob others, the complaint states. The bank robber’s face is clearly visible on bank surveillance cameras during the heists.

After a bank in Drexel Hill, Pa., was robbed on Feb. 21, Hooks was linked to a stolen black Lexus, the criminal complaint said. Police discovered the stolen vehicle three blocks away from the bank.

Hooks’ own vehicle, a white Lexus, was discovered in the parking lot where the black Lexus was stolen from, police said.

After police impounded both Lexus vehicles, a warrant was issued for Hooks’ arrest and he was taken into custody on Feb. 22 on a count of auto theft.

During the Drexel Hill bank robbery, the thief finally made an attempt to conceal his identity by wearing a wig.

The criminal report states that Hooks handed bank tellers a note stating, “This is a robbery. No bait. No dye. All money.”

Hooks is accused of stealing more than $23,000 in the nine bank robberies and was charged with bank robbery while in jail on the car theft charge.

Hooks’ LinkedIn profile states he is a budgets and contracts manager at Horizon House, Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation center for people struggling with addiction, homelessness and other psychological problems.

A woman who answered the phone at Horizon House said only “no comment” when contacted by ABC News on Saturday.

Hooks is also linked as a key witness in the 2010 case of the shooting of a Syracuse police officer and was said to be extremely helpful in assisting police with the investigation, according

Hooks made an initial appearance in court before a magistrate judge on Thursday.

He is being held at the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center and is awaiting a detention hearing on March 4, 2013, where the judge will decide on bail or continued detention.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Florida's 'Superthief' Charged with Sexual Attacks from 1970s

Broward County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- A Florida convict known as the "Superthief" has been arrested and charged with two armed sexual assaults from the 1970s, and authorities are investigating whether he could be a serial rapist that has eluded authorities for decades.

John Arthur MacLean, 65, was arrested on Friday after being linked to multiple sexual batteries by DNA.

In April 2010, the Boca Raton Police Department Cold Case detectives began investigating unsolved crimes, including a number of unsolved sexual battery cases.  A case of two sisters who were sexually assaulted "piqued the interest of the detectives," police wrote in a news release.

DNA evidence lead them to MacLean, but authorities were informed that there was a four-year statute of limitations for armed sexual batteries that occurred before July 1, 1976, and the attack on the sisters had taken place in February of that year.  There is no statute of limitations on Florida rapes after that date.

But determined investigators began to discover that there were several more possible crimes that had striking similarities.

In the attack on the sisters, the suspect entered a home where the 14-year-old and 18-year-old siblings were living.  He was armed with a revolver and brought a form of lubricant with him, police said.  He threatened the girls, told them not to scream and sexually assaulted them.  One of the girls was wearing a robe at the time of the attack and police used it collect DNA evidence.  An analysis of the DNA matched it to MacLean, according to authorities

Authorities found two similar cases, one from October 1976 and one from February 1977, that were very similar.  They both involved a suspect entering a house through a kitchen, intimidating the victim with a weapon, using a form of lubricant on the women and sexually assaulting them.

DNA evidence connected MacLean to both cases this year, authorities said.  Both victims met with detectives to confirm the details of the attacks and MacLean was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of armed sexual battery.  He is now a person of interest in a series of rapes from the 1970s.

"Throughout the 1970s, there was a common modus operandi in numerous sexual battery cases in the tri-county area," police said.  "It was suspected there was a serial rapist committing these crimes, which were being investigated by several different law enforcement agencies.  MacLean has become a person of interest in these cases."

Even though the first case with the two sisters was past the statute of limitations, authorities could still use it as evidence in a trial, according to Florida's Williams Rule.

MacLean wrote a book called Secrets of a Superthief while he was serving time for a 1979 burglary conviction.  After his release, he moved to Arizona and was arrested for armed burglary and sexual exploitation of a minor, in addition to other crimes.

Police did not know if MacLean had retained an attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ex-CIA Officer Indicted for Alleged Leaks, False Statements

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was charged in a five-count indictment Thursday for allegedly disclosing classified information to journalists and lying to the CIA about information he included in his book The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror.

The indictment charges Kiriakou, a one-time ABC News consultant, with one count of disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer, three counts of disclosing sensitive national defense information, and one count of making false statements to the CIA's Publications Review Board in an effort to trick the board into allowing him to publish classified information in his book. The information was related to individuals allegedly involved in controversial CIA interrogation techniques that some have termed as torture.

Kiriakou, 47, was a CIA intelligence officer between 1990 and 2004, serving at headquarters and in various classified overseas assignments. In March 2002, Kiriakou participated in the CIA's capture of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan.

According to the indictment, Kiriakou disclosed the name of a covert CIA operative, and classified information about that operative and another employee, to a reporter identified as Journalist A.

The indictment also alleges that Kiriakou confirmed the identity of a CIA employee to a New York Times journalist, who published the name of the officer in a June 2008 article that revealed the officer's role in the Abu Zubaydah interrogation. Kiriakou also allegedly told the journalist that Abu Zubaydah was interrogated using a "magic box," information that appeared in the same New York Times article.

Former CIA agents who write books about their operations must submit drafts of the books to a review board for approval before publication. According to the indictment, Kiriakou told his co-author Michael Ruby about the "magic box," but did not include discussion of the box in two early drafts of the book submitted for approval. Kiriakou then allegedly submitted a third draft of the book for approval that included a reference to the box, but told the review board that the box was fictional.

He allegedly told his co-author beforehand by email that he planned to lie to the review board about the box. "What I propose telling them is that we've fictionalized much of it (even if we haven't.)," Kiriakou is alleged to have written. After submitting the draft to the review board, he allegedly told his co-author, "I laid it on thick." The indictment alleges that Kiriakou told his co-author Michael Ruby that he told the CIA review board information in the book had been fictionalized in reference to details about how the CIA tracked al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah.

The investigation into Kiriakou was prompted when a January 2009 defense filing from lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay was found to include information that did not come from official government sources. In spring 2009, investigators also discovered photographs of CIA and U.S. government contractors in the possession of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 2010 as a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation in order to avoid a conflict of interest, since officials at the Justice Department in Washington were working on the cases against the Guantanamo detainees.

Kiriakou is free on bond and is scheduled for arraignment on April 13.  His attorney, Robert Trout, declined to comment to ABC News. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Accused Oakland School Shooter Charged, Could Face Death Penalty

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The man accused of one of the deadliest school shootings in California history was charged with seven counts of murder Wednesday and three counts of attempted murder.

One L. Goh, a former student at Oikos University in Oakland who allegedly shot up a classroom because he was angry at the administration and classmates, could also face the death penalty due to a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.

Court documents reveal that the 43-year-old suspect admitted to bringing a .45 caliber handgun to Oikos last Monday and shooting several people before he fled and surrendered peacefully at a nearby supermarket.

Conversations with people who knew Goh in the past describe him as someone who had both money issues and problems relating to people.

A nursing instructor at the Christian university said that Goh felt that his classmates disrespected him because of his age.  Meanwhile, the nursing program director who says she was Goh's original target believes he was angered by the fact that he couldn't receive a full tuition refund after dropping out of the program last fall.

Meanwhile, the school expelled Goh last January without mentioning the reasons why.

On Tuesday night, friends and family members of the victims along with community members gathered for a candlelight vigil to mourn the dead.

Those killed were: Katleen Ping, 24, of Oakland; Lydia Sim, 21, of Hayward; Bhutia Tshering, 38, of San Francisco; Sonam Choedon, 33, of El Cerrito; Judith Seymore, 53, of San Jose; Kim Eunhea, 23, of Union City; and Doris Chibuko, 40, of San Leandro.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington Man Charged in Wife's 2006 Disappearance and Murder

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Six years after the disappearance and death of his wife Nicole, Martin David Pietz has been arrested in Washington state and charged with second-degree murder.

Nicole Pietz, 33, was reported missing by her husband on Jan. 28, 2006, after she failed to show up to a dinner they had planned with friends.  Her body was found a week later by a hiker in a wooded area outside of Lynnwood, Wash.

The victim's mother, Gael Schneider, told ABC News affiliate KOMO on Thursday that news of the arrest brought her tremendous relief.

"I can't even tell you, I'm so elated," she said.  "My stomach was just like it has bees in it.  And (I was) thanking God over and over and over for finally granting this prayer to me."

Schneider said spending the last five years knowing her daughter's killer was roaming free has been "absolute hell."

"I miss her every day.  Every day that goes by, I think this murderer is enjoying his life, and Nicci's gone," she said.  "I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't cried at some point during the day."

Schneider said she had suspected Pietz all along.

"I knew that it couldn't have been anybody but him," she said, adding her son-in-law never had much to say about his wife's death.  "Right after (she disappeared), he said, 'We weren't fighting or nothing.'"

Pietz is being held on $1 million bail in King County.

According to a statement of probable cause filed by King County Sheriff's officers, police suspected Pietz of the murder almost immediately.  Pietz failed a lie detector test in the first days of the investigation, and then refused to undergo a second lie detector test and instead hired a lawyer.

Police also found Pietz's statements to police to be misleading.  He told police that on Friday night, Jan. 27, he arrived home from work around midnight and briefly said goodnight to his wife, who was already sleeping.  On Saturday morning, he left for work at 8:30 a.m. without speaking to Nicole, and then did not speak to her again, he said.

Pietz told police that he went directly from work to the planned dinner with friends on Saturday night, but his wife never arrived.  He then called police.

But according to police, Pietz's story didn't make sense.  A receipt found in Nicole's car showed that she had purchased a taco dinner around 6 p.m. on Friday night.  When her body was found, the food was undigested, which forensic examiners said showed she had been killed within six hours of ingesting the food.

Police said that Nicole, then, was killed around midnight on Friday.

Phone records also show that Pietz tried to contact his wife only once after reporting her missing -- on Saturday night after she did not show up for dinner.  Nicole's phone was activated once Saturday morning from Pietz's workplace, the document said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three Accused in Alleged Guggenheim Scam

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two men accused of impersonating members of the wealthy Guggenheim family were arraigned in federal court Monday, charged with trying to deceive investors into buying a billion dollars worth of diamonds.  Their accomplice, who pretended to be a countess, remains at large.

The FBI arrested the men, David Birnbaum and Vladimir Zuravel, in New York Monday but agents and California police are on the hunt there for Catarina Pietra Toumei.

Part of Toumei's alleged scam was to tell potential targets she was a "countess" and married to John Ratzenberger, the actor who played the beer-tippling mailman on the 1980s sitcom Cheers, according to federal prosecutors.

The three are accused of running a scam in which they tried -- and failed -- to lure potential investors into deals selling $1 billion worth of diamonds from the "private collection of the Guggenheim family," launching a venture to sell "Guggenheim Vodka," and a $4 billion transaction involving the sale of oil to a Chinese refinery, according to court documents.

After their arraignment and release on bail, Zuravel, 45, insisted that Birnbaum was a legitimate billionaire and scion of the Guggenheims, a U.S. family whose fortune dates from 19th century mining concerns and who have become synonymous with arts, philanthropy and building museums worldwide.

Zuravel, a former cab driver from Russia, told reporters that Birnbaum, 67, allowed him to use the Guggenheim name for business.

The three "used the Guggenheim surname and falsely claimed membership in the famous philanthropic family to gain access to highly regarded and/or wealthy individuals," according to the complaint.  "In reality, however, the defendants are not known descendants of, or have any relationship to, the famous Guggenheim family."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio