Entries in Courthouse (11)


Texas Courthouse Gunman and Brother Accused of Sexual Assault

Thinkstock/Comstock(BEAUMONT, Texas) -- The woman who police say was shot and run over with a truck by her father in front of a Texas courthouse had accused both her father and her uncle of sexually assaulting her, authorities told ABC News Thursday.

Bartholomew Granger, 41, was scheduled to appear in a Beaumont, Texas, court Wednesday afternoon and his 20-year-old daughter was expected to continue her testimony against him that she began Tuesday in his sexual assault trial, police said.

Granger, sitting in his truck, opened fire at the courthouse as his ex-wife and daughter were about the enter the building, wounding both of them, police said. He then drove his truck over his daughter, according to police.

His daughter, whose name is being withheld by ABC News since she is the alleged victim of sexual assault, is hospitalized in critical condition with "numerous extensive injuries," according to Beaumont Police Department Officer Carol Riley.

"She is still critical," Riley told ABC News Thursday. "She's still hanging in there."

The suspected gunman's brother Lyndon Granger had been out on bond for sexually assaulting the same woman, but after the shooting, a judge revoked the bond Wednesday and issued a warrant for his arrest, Riley said.

Granger was arrested in front of cameras during a news conference on Wednesday night. "I didn't do anything," Granger said as a sheriff's deputy handcuffed him and took him away.

When asked if Bartholomew and Lyndon Granger were accused of sexually assaulting the same child, Riley responded, "Yes, the same child," and confirmed that the child was Bartholomew Granger's 20-year-old daughter.

Bartholomew Granger's attorney Rife Kimler did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

The shooting at the courthouse erupted at 11:21 a.m. Wednesday when Granger allegedly began firing from a truck in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

In addition to his daughter and ex-wife, Granger shot at two bystanders, killing 79-year-old Minnie Ray Seabolt, police said.

Nine officers responded when the shooting started.

After Granger's truck was disabled, he ran about one block to a business and took hostages inside the establishment.

The hostages, however, refused "to be victims," said Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary at a press conference. "They took the gun away from him and unlocked the door for the SWAT team."

Singletary added, the hostages did "a great job and we want to thank them." The hostages' names have not been released.

Granger suffered some gunshot wounds during the confrontation with law enforcement, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods. He has been released from the hospital and is in custody in the Jefferson County Jail.

He has been charged with one count of murder and his bond for the aggravated sexual assault charge was revoked.

He is expected to be arraigned on murder and attempted murder charges, but no court date has been set.

Granger's ex-wife and the second injured bystander have both been treated and released from the hospital.

This is the second courthouse shooting over this past week. On March 7, a shooting outside the Tulsa County Courthouse in Oklahoma left one deputy and three others injured. A barefoot man went to the courthouse plaza and apparently began shooting randomly.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gunman Kills One, Critically Wounds Daughter at Texas Courthouse

12newsnow/ABC(BEAUMONT, Texas) -- A Houston man on trial for aggravated sexual assault opened fire on Wednesday in Beaumont, Texas, leaving his 20-year-old daughter in critical condition and wounding her mother, according to police.

Bartholomew Granger, 41, also shot at two bystanders, killing 79-year-old Minnie Ray Seabol and wounding the other, police said.

The incident began at 11:21 a.m. when Granger began shooting from a truck in front of the Jefferson County courthouse.

His daughter, Samantha Jackson, and ex-wife were witnesses against him in his sexual assault case; Jackson had already begun her testimony in the case and was scheduled to resume at 1:00 p.m.

After shooting his daughter, Granger ran her over with his vehicle, authorities said.

Later, when Granger's truck was disabled, he ran about one block to a business and took hostages inside the establishment.

The hostages, however, refused "to be victims," said Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary at a press conference later in the day.  "They took the gun away from him and unlocked the door for the SWAT team" to enter.

Singletary added that the hostages did "a great job and we want to thank them."  Their names have not been released.

Granger suffered some gunshot wounds during the confrontation with law enforcement, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods.  He has been released from the hospital and is in custody in the Jefferson County Jail.

He is expected to be arraigned on murder and attempted murder charges, but no court date has been set.

Granger's ex-wife and the second injured bystander have both been treated and released from the hospital.  Granger's daughter remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gunman Opens Fire at Texas Courthouse

12newsnow/ABC(BEAUMONT, Texas) -- A shooting at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, Texas, has left one person dead and four injured, according to the Beaumont Police Department.

Five people were shot, including the gunman. The gunman has been taken into custody, but police have not yet disclosed his identity.

Rod Carroll, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department deputy, told ABC News the shooting was part of a hostage situation at the courthouse.

A county employee told ABC News' Beaumont affiliate KMBT that the victims were visitors, not courthouse employees.

Beaumont Police Officer Doug Kibodeaux declined to identify the suspect, but told ABC News' Houston affiliate KTRK that the gunman was going to court with his family this morning when he opened fire and shot several rounds. Kibodeaux could not say whether any of the victims were related to the suspect.

The shooting reportedly occurred outside the courthouse, near the entrance.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Judge, Sheriff’s Deputy Shot, Stabbed in Wash. Courthouse

Comstock/Thinkstock(MONTESANO, Wash.) -- A judge was stabbed in the neck and a female sheriff’s deputy was shot and stabbed inside the Grays Harbor District Courthouse in the tiny town of Montesano,  about 100 miles southeast of Seattle.

The suspect fled the scene following the attack, temporarily sending local schools and many businesses into lockdown.  Police and a SWAT team quickly surrounded a house on the east side of town, where they believe the suspect is hiding.  Aerial footage supplied by KOMO-TV shows several snipers positioned around the house.

Court was not in session at the time of the attack, and exactly where the shooting and stabbing took place within the 100-year-old courthouse is not known.

Both the judge and the deputy are reported to be in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Several Injured in Shooting at Tulsa County Courthouse

Hemera/Comstock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- A shooting outside the Tulsa County Courthouse has left at least one Tulsa County deputy and as many as three other people injured.

The gunman has been taken into custody and is being taken to the hospital for an unknown injury, according to ABC News affiliate KTUL.

The gunfire erupted about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the vicinity of the courthouse and the nearby Tulsa City-County Library, KTUL reported.

One bloodied man was seen being carried out of a building on a stretcher. The person had blood on their head and leg. Another man was brought out of another building with a bandage on his leg.

The total number of victims and the extent of their injuries is not yet known.

The area surrounding the courthouse has been closed to traffic.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Enough Is Enough’: Lawmaker Lambastes $400M Los Angeles Courthouse Plan

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A vacant lot in Los Angeles is about to become a $400 million money pit, one lawmaker says, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“I think we should save $400 million and then actually sell the property,” Rep. Jeff Denham, R.-Calif., told ABC News. “Both parties need to come together and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

The U.S. government is building a massive, new federal courthouse on the site, even though there are two current courthouses nearby -- Spring Street and the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building -- that work just fine. Denham said it was “a blatant waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Denham, who chairs the subcommittee overseeing public buildings, has asked the Obama administration to halt the construction of the Los Angeles site and sell the property.

Despite Denham’s protests, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., said the courthouse is needed in her district. Roybal-Allard said the Spring Street building wasn’t secure enough.

“Right now, the way the situation is, you have dangerous criminals having to go into public elevators and go down public corridors in order to get to the courtroom,” she said. “We don’t have enough courtrooms. We have to bring in visiting judges -- [there are] not enough judges to handle all the cases. It’s a dangerous situation which was to be addressed.”

In Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S., the federal government has been on a courthouse-building spending spree. A brand-new courthouse was just built in Miami for about $163 million. The old one now sits padlocked and abandoned down the road.

And in Washington, D.C., a few blocks from the Capitol building, the federal government spent $105 million on a shiny, new courthouse that has left the old site open and operating but for the most part empty.

In November 2011, the Government Accountability Office released a report saying that the federal government had spent $835 million on unneeded courthouse space and an estimated $51 million a year in rent, operation and maintenance fees.

The report also said that there was nearly four million square feet of excess space in the 33 courthouses built since 2000. The GAO report attributed the extra space to “courthouses exceeding the congressionally authorized size, the number of judges in the courthouses being overestimated and not planning for judges to share courtrooms.”

Denham said that a private developer should be allowed to buy the L.A. lot from the federal government.

And Wednesday, the U.S. government announced that Donald Trump had been selected to transform its Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington  -- listed on the National Register of Historic Places -- into a luxury hotel.

“You could have a private developer come in and develop that area … creating thousands of jobs in L.A. and actually putting the property back on the tax rolls,” he said. “Here, you want more revenue. … L.A. is one of those areas. There’s a huge shortage of space. [There are] plenty of industries that could build there.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gunman Dead following Shootout at NY Courthouse

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MIDDLETOWN, N.Y.) -- A gunman fired at least one shot inside City Hall in Middletown, N.Y., Wednesday morning before a court officer shot and killed him.

The alleged shooter, a male who arrived on a dirt bike without license plates, entered the courthouse with a rifle bag before a shootout occurred at the metal detector in front of the courtroom -- situated just down the hall from the mayor's office and next door to the police department.

He and an injured court officer were first taken to Orange Regional Medical Center. At least one other court officer was being treated for shock.

Between three to five shots were exchanged in all, including the one fired by the gunman.

A possible motive was not immediately made available.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three Wounded in Minnesota Courthouse Shooting

AbleStock/Thinkstock(GRAND MARAIS, Minn.) -- A shooting at the Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais, Minn. Thursday injured three people, and police say one suspect is in custody.

Doug Neville of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety did not immediately provide details about the shooting victims or their condition, but says one victim was released after being treated at the Cook County North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais.  The other two victims were transported to Essentia Health Hospital in Duluth, Minn. where they remain hospitalized.

With one suspect in custody, Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk says authorities are not looking for any other suspects as there appears to be no further threat to public safety.

It is unclear what may have led to the shooting, but Neville says an investigation is underway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ala. Lawyer Against Courthouse Christmas Tree

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DOTHAN, Ala.) -- “I’m not trying to be Scrooge here,” said an Alabama defense attorney who wants his cases postponed until a courthouse Christmas tree decorated with photos of violent-crime victims is removed.

“I have four Christmas trees in my own house,” Billy Joe Sheffield II, of Dothan, Ala., was quick to point out.

He believes the tree—decorated with photos of victims—jeopardizes his clients’ right to a fair trial.

The tree was put up by the local chapter of Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL), a statewide organization that supports crime victims and seeks to balance victims’ rights against those of defendants, according to its website.

“If I was on a jury, and on my way into the courtroom I saw a Christmas tree and a display with the words ‘against leniency’ alongside pictures of murder victims, I might be influenced,” Sheffield said. (The “a” in VOCAL stands for “and,” not “against,”  a mistake that an Internet search showed to be common enough,  even appearing in the Dothan Eagle’s Dec. 1 article on Sheffield.)

“No one would want a sign outside a courtroom saying, ‘DNA has exonerated these 2,000-plus people,’ with their photos,” or a Mothers Against Drunk Driving poster outside a DUI trial, he said.

Sheffield filed motions that “10 to 15” trials scheduled for next week be deferred until after the holidays, when the display would be gone. Judges have already denied several of the motions, which he has renewed, he said. Other motions have yet to be decided, he said, adding that “two [trials] are probably going forward.”

“I had to put something on the record” that might bolster an appeal on jury-bias grounds if one of his clients is convicted, he said.

Sheffield has not asked that the tree be removed, saying, “I’m a longtime supporter of VOCAL and have donated money to them.”

“I just don’t think a pro-D.A. organization—one that’s funded by the D.A.—should turn a Christmas tree into a statement against leniency,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Courthouse Suspects: Sombrero Wearing, Dancing Drunks

Bexar Co. Sheriff's Dept.(BEXAR COUNTY, Texas) -- Authorities investigating a break-in at a Texas courthouse overnight now believe the incident was little more than a "prank" by drunken 20-somethings, officials said.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told ABC News the three men arrested in what the FBI initially considered a "high-priority" situation were spotted on the court's surveillance tapes dancing in the hallways and waving the court's gavel, all while wearing sombreros.

Wolff said they appeared to be "having a good time" and "could just be some guys on a prank."

The men, who a senior FBI official said appear to be of Moroccan descent, reportedly forced their way into the courthouse around 1 a.m. Two other men, who were outside the courthouse, were also arrested, Bexar County Sheriff's Department spokesman Louis Antu said.

In the course of their investigation, authorities uncovered pictures of courthouses and water systems from around the U.S. in the van used by the men, law enforcement officials said. Bomb-sniffing dogs were called to the scene as a precautionary measure but no explosives were found, Antu said. One FBI official said there did not appear to be an immediate threat to public safety.

An official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who is also assisting in the investigation, told ABC News that two of the men had names similar to two that appear on an FBI watchlist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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