Entries in Murderer (3)


Escaped Double Murderer Eluded Bloodhounds, Choppers in NC

WTVD/ABC News(TILLERY, N.C.) -- Bloodhounds that tracked an escaped double murderer were able to follow his scent for only a short distance, making authorities fear on Monday that the convict could have been picked up by an accomplice and could be "hundreds of miles away."

James Ladd, 51, slipped away from the Tillery Correctional Center, a minimum security prison farm, on Sunday morning while doing farm work.  Authorities found his abandoned tractor at 10 a.m., said Keith Acree, a North Carolina prison spokesperson.

A helicopter flew over rural Tillery, N.C., Sunday night searching for the convicted murderer, who was given three consecutive life sentences in 1981.  Bloodhounds also assisted in the ground search, however Acree said they were only able to follow Ladd's scent for a short distance.

"At this point it's been 24 hours, so if he got a ride he could be hundreds of miles away at this point," Acree said.

Ladd was convicted of robbing and fatally shooting two men on a farm 31 years ago.  His prison behavior included only minor infractions, most recently for unauthorized tobacco use, and had won Ladd assignment to the farm, which allowed him to work outside of the prison's walls.

"He's been a good worker on the farm, a very trouble-free inmate," Acree said.

Ladd is now considered dangerous and should not be approached, Acree said.  Anyone who spots the inmate is instead asked to contact local authorities.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sex Change Approved for Convicted Murderer

Kevin Horan/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A federal judge ordered Massachusetts prison officials Tuesday to provide sexual reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer, calling it the only way to correct the "prolonged violation" of the inmate's Constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment.

Michelle Kosilek, who was born Robert, had filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections seeking an injunction that would require prison officials to grant her the sexual reassignment surgery that was recommended by prison doctors as treatment for her gender identity disorder. Robert Kosilek was convicted in the strangulation death of his wife, Cheryl, in 1990.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that Michelle Kosilek, who lives as a woman in a male prison facility, had experienced "intense mental anguish," and said there was a "serious medical need" for her to have the procedure.

"It has long been well-established that it is cruel for prison officials to permit an inmate to suffer unnecessarily from a serious medical need," the judge wrote in his 128-page decision.

He called it "unusual" to treat a prisoner with gender identity disorder differently "than the numerous inmates suffering from more familiar forms of mental illness."

Kosilek has tried to castrate herself and has attempted suicide twice, Wolf noted in his ruling.

Prison officials have said if Kosilek had the surgery she could be a target for sexual assaults, among other security risks, according to court documents.

Wolf said those concerns were "either pretextual or can be dealt with."

The court left the decision of where to house Kosilek after her surgery to the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections offered no immediate comment but said it planned to explore its appellate options.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tulane Law Student Exposed as Convicted Murderer

Dick Luria/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- For a first-year law student at Louisiana's Tulane University, Bruce Reilly has an impressive resume. He is a leader in the movement promoting human rights and social justice in prisons. He is a screenwriter that has worked in film and theater. He has also received two scholarships for Tulane.

But one part of Reilly's past is not on his resume: he is a convicted murderer.

This piece of his life was revealed recently when popular law blog, "Above the Law" did an extensive story on Reilly, including his thoughts in addition to the concerns of other students.

When news of Reilly's past began to spread, people he did not know began to friend him on Facebook and try to make contact with him.

"We live in a passive-aggressive culture of curiosity and fear," he wrote in a now-removed post on his website Unprison. "Let's cut to the chase: I killed a man 19 years ago."

In 1993, Reilly, now 38, was arrested for the murder of Charles Russell, an English professor at Community College of Rhode Island. He allegedly stabbed Russell to death and stole some of his property, according to The Times-Picayune. Reilly pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and robbery and spent 12 years in jail.

In a letter to "Above the Law," an anonymous Tulane student wrote a scathing criticism of the school, expressing anger that students had been compared to Reilly in the admissions process and that he received scholarships.

The student also wrote about the possibility that "when placed in one of the most stress-inducing environments in the United States, Mr. Reilly will reach his tipping point and live up to his violent past, pulling a Virginia Tech-esque move and [harm] fellow students."

Reilly responded to all of the talk in a letter to the website.

"I understand that some of my classmates have probably never had any known interactions with people who have committed a violent crime or been imprisoned," he wrote. "This is yet another opportunity for society to learn that we need everybody involved if we are truly going to build a strong and equitable community."

While Tulane would not comment specifically on Reilly's situation, David Meyer, dean of Tulane's School of Law, said the following in a statement: "We evaluate each law school applicant as an individual, taking into account all available information bearing on their character, life story and academic qualifications. Our admission process also allows for exceptional circumstances if the prospective student's experience and background will contribute to his and his peers' study and appreciation of various aspects of the law."

While Reilly defends his motivations and right to attend the law school, he is also candid about living with his crime.

"In some ways I deserve this. I brought this on myself," Reilly told The Times-Picayune. "For the last 19 years I've had to come to grips every day with the terrible thing I've done. I took a man's life. How can I possibly brush that off, or make up for it?"

While in prison, Reilly became interested in the law and emerged wanting to be an advocate for prisoners' rights. After coming out of prison, he worked for several nonprofits involved with prisons, parolees and prisoners' families. He also honed his artistic skills in illustration, graphic design, tattoo art and acting, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He received a Dean's Merit Scholarship and an NAACP Legal Defense Fund scholarship for Tulane and is a member of the law school's class of 2014.

There is also a question about whether Reilly would even be able to practice law as a convicted felon. According to the Louisiana State Supreme Court, felons are not automatically precluded from practicing law, but they have the burden of proving "good moral character and fitness to practice."

Reilly insists that he was upfront with Tulane about his past and is determined to earn his law degree.

"By the time I apply to a state or federal bar, my last criminal activity will be as a teenager, and over two decades passed. I will be presenting a model case for rehabilitation, an impressive resume, and a substantial list of esteemed supporters," he wrote in his letter to "Above the Law." "I have found that a majority of our society believes in forgiveness and second chances, and all I can do is keep doing what I'm doing."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio