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Entries in Cleveland (15)

Wednesday
Sep042013

Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Found Dead in Prison Cell

Angelo Merendino/Getty Images(ORIENT, Ohio) -- Convicted Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro has died after he was found hanged in his prison cell, Ohio Department of Corrections confirmed to ABC News.

Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell at Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, on Tuesday at approximately 9:20 p.m. local time, corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

Upon finding Castro in his cell, facility staff tried to resuscitate him, according to Smith.  Castro was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.

"Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 p.m. at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient.  He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals," Smith said in a statement.

"A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation," the statement concluded.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years by an Ohio judge on Aug. 1.  Castro, a former school bus driver, kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004 and imprisoned them, sometimes restrained by chains, in his Cleveland home.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder.  The plea deal spared Castro the death penalty because he was accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus after forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims that he is accused of impregnating.

The women escaped on May 6, when Berry broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help.  Castro was arrested that evening.

The home where Castro held his victims was torn down last month as part of the plea deal.

At Castro's sentencing hearing last month, he shocked a Cleveland court by saying he was "not a monster," "lived a normal life" and that the sex he had with the three women he held captive for more than a decade was "consensual."

Castro's statement came after Knight confronted him for the "hell" she endured in his house for 11 years.

Castro showed no reaction to the remarks by Knight.  Instead, he gave a rambling speech in which he depicted himself as a person who had "everything going" for himself but was plagued by an addiction to porn.

During the hearing, detectives told how he captured the three women and subjected them to a decade of torture, which one woman wrote in a diary was like being held as a "prisoner of war."

While in captivity, Berry gave birth to her now 6-year-old daughter, who Castro fathered.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov272012

Ohio Mom Arrested After Son Found in Garbage Dump, Police Say

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- A Cleveland woman has been arrested in the death of her 3-year-old son after police found what they believe is the body of the young boy at a waste treatment plant, according to authorities.

Cleveland police said on Monday they're holding Camilia Terry, 20, at Cuyahoga County Jail to await charges in the death of her son, Emilliano Terry.

"We come here with heavy hearts, I'm sure you understand.  Today, at approximately 4 o'clock, a body of a small child matching the description of Emilliano Terry was discovered at a waste treatment plant in Oakwood Village," Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said, according to ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV.  "So, in other words, right now, currently, we are treating this as a homicide, rather than a missing person or abduction."

An autopsy will be performed later on Tuesday to determine how Emilliano died.  Camilia told police her son vanished on Sunday just after 5 p.m. as she was pushing one of her other children on a swing in Kossuth Park.

"I'm calling you because I'm at a park and my son is missing," She told a 911 dispatcher.

"How long has it been since you last saw him?" a 911 operator asked.

"Fifteen minutes ago.  I was looking everywhere for him, I can't find him," the mother of three told the dispatcher while sobbing.

Police and the FBI began searching for the boy on Sunday.  A volunteer group, the Guardian Angels, searched garages and abounded homes in the area, according to WEWS.

While the authorities were in Emilliano's neighborhood on Monday, they noticed a garbage truck leaving the family's home, Det. Ed Tomba told reporters at a news conference Monday evening.

Police took down the truck's information and contacted Waste Management Inc.  FBI agents went to the facility and found a body believed to be that of Emilliano's inside trash bags, according to police.

Cleveland Police Cmd. Deon McCauley said Camilia's story changed during questioning Monday.

"Some time during the day, of today, the statements of Miss. Terry became very inconsistent and we decided that we would further investigate her involvement in this situation," he said.

Officers told WEWS that Camilia has not admitted to any crime.  Her other two children are now with Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.

Cleveland police said they plan to search the family's home again, according to WEWS.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

Ohio Woman to Wear ‘Idiot’ Sign for Passing Bus on Sidewalk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- The Cleveland woman who was caught on camera swerving onto a sidewalk in order to pass a school bus full of children will have to stand at the intersection wearing an “idiot” sign, a judge has ruled.

Sheena Hardin, 32, received her sentence Monday in a Cleveland Municipal Court where she pleaded no contest to the charges of not stopping for a school bus and reckless operation on a street or highway.

Judge Pinkey S. Carr ordered Hardin to stand at the intersection of E. 38th Street and Payne Avenue next Tuesday and Wednesday mornings wearing a sign that says “Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus,” court records show.

The sign, according to the judge’s orders, must be written on 22 x 22 white poster board with the text written in all capital letters in black marker.  Hardin must wear the sign from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. both days.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District bus driver Uriah Herron captured the video of Hardin driving on the sidewalk last September so that she wouldn’t have to stop to wait for the children in the school bus to load and unload, according to local ABC News affiliate NewsNet5.

Hardin pleaded not guilty to the charges at a court hearing in September but reversed her plea in court Monday.

Judge Carr also ordered Hardin to pay $250 in court costs and suspended her license for 30 days, according to court records.

Neither Hardin nor her attorney, Eric Levy, returned messages for comment placed by ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug272012

Amish Beard-Cutting Trial: Jury Selection Underway in Cleveland

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND, Ohio) -- Jury selection began Monday in the hate crimes trial of Samuel Mullet Sr. and 15 followers of his breakaway sect, who are accused of forcibly cutting the beards and hair of other Amish men and women.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster began the morning interviewing 81 people in the jury pool, asking them their views on whether the government has the right to file charges based on religion, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The defendants have maintained the alleged attacks were a matter of internal discipline and not connected to any religious bias. All 16 defendants have pleaded not guilty, many rejecting plea deals that would have sent them to prison for two to three years.

But at least one of the criminal complaints filed against bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. and members of his family claimed that the group was waging a violent campaign targeted at community members on the other side of a church feud.

The government revealed Friday that horse mane shears, along with hair samples, recorded jailhouse phone calls, and a camera they say was used to photograph the victims have been entered in the Cleveland court as evidence in the case.

The trial of members of a breakaway Amish sect charged with hate crimes for cutting off the beards and hair of other Amish men and women is set to begin Monday in an Ohio court.

They now face potentially lengthy federal prison sentences if they are convicted of conspiracy to violate the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The Amish believe the Bible instructs men to wear beards and stop shaving once they marry and for women grow their hair long.

"Victims will testify that the loss of their beards caused them great distress and embarrassment and altered their life activities to the point that they did not want to appear in public," prosecutors said, seeking to back their hate crimes charge.

Court documents trace the root of the conflict back to 2005, when members reportedly began leaving Mullet's sect because of his controlling behavior.

His former daughter- and son-in-law told investigators that Mullet exercised complete authority over the group, causing physical injury to those who would defy him. This included, they said, forcing members to sleep for days at a time in a chicken coop on his property and suffer public beatings.

He also allegedly "counseled" married women by having sex with them in his home.

Prosecutors say Mullet, accompanied by his sons, sons-in-law, and nephews, hired a driver -- the Amish cannot operate motor vehicles and often travel by horse-drawn buggie -- to take them to the home of one of the church bishops who had spoken out against him.

They then allegedly knocked on the door, pulled the man out of his house and assaulted him and his son, who tried to intervene. Prosecutors say the group pulled at and cut their beard hair, then took photographs of the victims before fleeing the scene en route to another attack.

An updated 10-count indictment tendered in March alleges that the men and women -- also members of the same extended family -- had tried to hide or destroy evidence, including a pair of shears and a bag of hair. Mullet was also charged with lying to federal agents when he denied knowing of an October assault. He faces life in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug262012

Amish Hair-Cutting Hate Crime Trial Set to Begin

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND, Ohio) -- The trial of members of a breakaway Amish sect charged with hate crimes for cutting off the beards and hair of other Amish men and women is set to begin Monday in an Ohio court.

The government revealed Friday that horse mane shears, along with hair samples, recorded jailhouse phone calls, and a camera they say was used to photograph the victims have been entered as evidence in the case.

All 16 defendants have pleaded not guilty, many rejecting plea deals that would have sent them to prison for two to three years. They say the alleged attacks were a matter of internal discipline and not connected to any religious bias.

But at least one of the criminal complaints filed against bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. and members of his family claimed that the group was waging a violent campaign targeted at community members on the other side of a church feud.

They now face potentially lengthy federal prison sentences if they are convicted of conspiracy to violate the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The Amish believe the Bible instructs men to wear beards and stop shaving once they marry and for women grow their hair long.

"Victims will testify that the loss of their beards caused them great distress and embarrassment and altered their life activities to the point that they did not want to appear in public," prosecutors said, seeking to back their hate crimes charge.

Court documents trace the root of the conflict back to 2005, when members reportedly began leaving Mullet's sect because of his controlling behavior.

His former daughter- and son-in-law told investigators that Mullet exercised complete authority over the group, causing physical injury to those who would defy him. This included, they said, forcing members to sleep for days at a time in a chicken coop on his property and suffer public beatings.

He also allegedly "counseled" married women by having sex with them in his home.

Prosecutors say Mullet, accompanied by his sons, sons-in-law, and nephews, hired a driver -- the Amish cannot operate motor vehicles and often travel by horse-drawn buggie -- to take them to the home of one of the church bishops who had spoken out against him.

They then allegedly knocked on the door, pulled the man out of his house and assaulted him and his son, who tried to intervene. Prosecutors say the group pulled at and cut their beard hair, then took photographs of the victims before fleeing the scene en route to another attack.

An updated 10-count indictment tendered in March alleges that the men and women -- also members of the same extended family -- had tried to hide or destroy evidence, including a pair of shears and a bag of hair. Mullet was also charged with lying to federal agents when he denied knowing of an October assault. He faces life in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun142012

Obama Makes Surprise Stop at Boys and Girls Club

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- On his way out of Cleveland Thursday afternoon, President Obama stopped by the local Boys and Girls Club, sneaking into the back of a gym and surprising a room full of kids.

The children, who were playing basketball, jumping rope and hula-hooping, didn’t notice the president as he walked in the back door, according to reports, but squealed with excitement when they recognized their famous visitor.

The president chatted and mingled with a small group of kids on the basketball court, telling one of them he was “glad they were doing something positive this summer.”

“Your name’s really Lebron?” Obama said to one young man on the court, before asking the coach how their game was shaping up. “We got some hoopers out here,” he said.

The president then headed outside to greet another group of students and pose for pictures. “You guys having a good summer?… Everybody minding their teachers and grandparents?” Obama asked.

“No rabbit ears over me,” Obama said as he posed for a group photo. “Everybody say cheese!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May192012

Fatally Stabbed Woman Runs Over Alleged Assailant’s 2-Year-Old Daughter

Image Credit: Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND, Ohio) -- An Ohio woman who was allegedly stabbed by her best friend as she sat in a running car, stepped on the gas before she died and ran over her alleged attacker’s two toddlers, killing one, police said.

The bizarre chain of events began with an argument Thursday between Kimberly Black and Sharice Swain, both 29, as they were sitting in a car outside of Black’s Cleveland home. Police said it was unclear what started the argument between the two old friends.

According to police, Black got out of the car, went into her house and came back with a knife, and then stabbed Swain several times in the face and neck.

Swain stepped on the gas pedal, apparently trying to escape her attacker, and instead hit Black’s two children and a house.

Kimshia Ruffin, 2, was killed, while 1-year-old Taraji Ruffin suffered injuries police described as not life threatening.

It was unclear whether Swain intentionally struck the children.

Black removed her clothes and fled the scene on foot.  She was arrested blocks away from the crime scene.

Black was charged with murder and is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

FBI Arrests Five In Alleged Ohio Bomb Plot

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI has arrested a group of anarchists who allegedly plotted to use high-powered explosives to blow up a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio, and enlist homeless people to attack financial institutions in downtown Cleveland.

Douglas Wright, 26, Brandon Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, all self-described anarchists, have been charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Two other men Conner Stevens, 20 and Joshua Stafford, 23, were also arrested and may face similar charges.

According to the criminal complaint, last October the men began discussing plans to knock bank signs off of buildings in Cleveland. The men allegedly discussed the idea of using smoke grenades on the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Cleveland to create a diversion while they carried out their plan to topple the bank signs.

Wright, the alleged ringleader, had also discussed trying to recruit homeless people from shelters to carry out his plans to attack symbols of corporate and financial institutions.

The men were identified after a paid FBI informant alerted the FBI to their alleged plans to target the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge on Route 82, which spans the Cuyahoga River south of Cleveland.

According to the complaint, the FBI informant recorded numerous conversations with Wright in which he discussed the need to obtain explosive devices or make them using the book The Anarchist Cookbook.

Brandon Baxter allegedly told the informant that destroying a bridge would cause great financial harm.

"Taking out a Bridge in the business district would cost the … corporate big wigs a lot of money," Baxter allegedly said.

Wright and Baxter also discussed trying to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland.

The FBI said they used the informant to facilitate the men getting C4 explosives that they would use to target the bridge. According to the criminal complaint, Stevens and Stafford were recruited towards the end of their planning to help them execute the attack. The men were arrested as they allegedly arranged to pick up the explosives.

"The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot," said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. "The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb222012

Animal Rights Activist Charged in Hiring a Hitman to Kill Fur-Wearers

U.S. Department of Justice(CLEVELAND) -- An animal activist planned to pay a hitman $730 to gun down a random person wearing fur outside of a Cleveland library. A criteria for any gunmen considering the offer was that they do not wear, "anything that looks remotely like fur," according to a police affidavit.

"I would like to create an online community on Facebook which would allow me to find someone who is willing to kill someone who is wearing fur toward the end of October 2011 or early November 2011 or possibly in January 2012 or February 2012 at the latest," Meredith Lowell allegedly wrote on a Facebook page she had established under the alias Anne Lowery.

Lowell, 27, was arrested Tuesday on one charge of conspiracy to commit murder. According to an affidavit filed by federal authorities, Lowell solicited a hitman to kill the first person he saw outside of a Cleveland Heights library who was wearing fur and, "preferably 14 years old or older but should be at least 12 years old."

The FBI took notice of the posting last November and assigned an undercover employee to correspond with Lowell, pretending to agree to get the job done. 

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A 14-page affidavit that detailed Lowell's alleged correspondence with her "hitman," which took place over the course of several months, was filed in U.S. District Court.

After exchanging messages on Facebook, Lowell began to open up to the FBI operative and revealed that Anne Lowery was a pseudonym. The two moved their correspondence to email since "it is easier for us to communicate," Lowell wrote.

Lowell sent many of the emails from the Coventry Branch of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, where authorities claim she planned to have the murder take place. In those emails, she wrote of her desire to escape a home where her family ate meat, wore wool, and used animal products, the affidavit states.

Jennifer Kaden, co-founder of the Cleveland Animal Rights Alliance, said she checked her membership records and found that no one in her organization had ever dealt with Lowell, who she called "misguided" and "dangerous."

Lowell remains in federal custody and faces a detention hearing next Tuesday to determine whether she will be offered bail.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug112011

Riot Fear: Could U.K.-Style Destruction Happen in the US?

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- With riots breaking out across the U.K., some are wondering if the unrest could spread to America.  Already in the past few months, youth mobs have wreaked havoc in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Cleveland.

The rioting in Britain, now entering a sixth day, has prompted authorities to add 16,000 police in the streets of London.  Mob rule has taken place across the capital and quickly spread to smaller British cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool.  On Wednesday, three men were killed when they were hit by a car while reportedly defending their neighborhood from looters.

Now that youth mobs in Philadelphia have led to new government action, questions remain: why is this happening, and what is the likelihood of such activity amongst American youth?

The city of Philadelphia has now begun a coordinated response to flash mobs and teen violence that has recently plagued the city and terrorized residential areas.

On June 23, a few dozen young people looted several hundred dollars worth of merchandise in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.  On Monday, Philly Mayor Michael A. Nutter reduced the citywide curfew to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for all minors under the age of 18 in targeted enforcement districts.

"This nonsense must stop," Nutter said on Sunday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.  "If you wanna act like a butthead, your butt's gonna get locked up.  If you wanna act like an idiot, move; we don't want you here anymore."

And Philadelphia is not alone: this weekend, Milwaukee shuddered as a mob stormed the fairgrounds at the Wisconsin state fair; some eyewitness accounts say race was a strong element, and whites were being targeted. And on July 4 in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, a group of 1,000 youths organized through social networking sites to fight and disrupt an event.

Adding to the contagion for the young people participating in such wanton destruction are the bleak economic outlook, seemingly unending high unemployment and a deep distrust of government.

ABC News consultant Brad Garret, who was an FBI agent in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, says that he's not sure if he's seen a combination of conditions like today's facing the youth of America.

"When you get people on the edge anyway, and you pull one brick out of their wall, it can collapse," he said.

There are signs of hope for the U.S. though. The chaos seen in Britain is less likely to occur here, because American cities are generally less segregated than Britain's.  In addition, police forces in America have gotten much better at fighting and preventing crime and antisocial behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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