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Entries in Sentencing (29)

Wednesday
Mar202013

How Ohio School Killer TJ Lane Snuck 'Killer' T-Shirt Past Authorities

ABC News(CHARDON, Ohio) -- Chardon school shooter TJ Lane likely got up in the middle of the night before his sentencing to scrawl the word "killer" across a prison T-shirt, a brazen move that shocked his attorney, victims' families and even the judge, according to the Geauga County Sheriff's Office.

After the convicted killer arrived in court for his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, he unbuttoned his blue button down shirt to reveal the T-shirt. There were gasps in the courtroom.

Shortly after, Lane, 18, spewed vile and unprintable words at the families of three students he killed, gave them the finger and then laughed and smiled as they described him as an animal and a monster.

Lt. John Hiscox, Jr. of the Geauga County Sheriff's Office said that inmates at the jail are allowed to have three t-shirts, underwear and socks in their room. They also have pliable rubber pens for writing letters and filling out commissary forms.

"What the sheriff thinks happened is in the middle of the night, prior to him going up to court, he had taken one of his T-shirts and wrote the word on it, put the T-shirt on under his jail uniform," Hiscox said.

Inmates wear street clothes to hearings, Hiscox said, so Lane's clothes were brought to the jail, checked and put in a changing room.

"Then they're patted down as they're being put in the back of the cruiser, but no one would have seen the writing on the shirt because it's already now concealed under his shirt for court," the lieutenant said. "Everybody in the whole courtroom was completely taken aback by that. No one in a million years would have guessed that that would happen."

Hiscox said that the shirt and Lane's statement both showed a "total disrespect" for the victims and their families.

"It was probably one of the ugliest things I've ever witnessed," he said.

Lane was waiting for a bus to an alternative school when he killed three students during a Feb. 27, 2012 rampage at Chardon High School. Daniel Parmertor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, and Russell King Jr., 17, died in the attack. Three other students were injured.

Lane chuckled when the judge sentenced him to three life terms in prison with no chance for parole.

Lane was transferred today to Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton, Ohio. The state will decide at what prison he will serve out his three life sentences from there.

When asked if Lane could be punished in any way for the T-shirt, Hiscox said, "It's pretty hard to punish somebody when you just gave somebody three life sentences."

Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fuhry released a statement saying that he did not notice the T-shirt in the courtroom since Lane was seated for the sentencing aside from when the judge entered the chamber.

"Had the court noticed the shirt, the court would have immediately stopped the proceedings, adjourned the court and the court would have ordered the defendant to put on proper attire," the judge's statement said, according to ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS.

In regards to Lane's verbal statement, the judge wrote, "However disgusting it may be, the defendant has a right to make a statement at sentencing."

Lane's attorney Ian Friedman was also stunned by the vulgarity.

"I think everyone in that courtroom was shocked," Friedman told WEWS. "It was something that was not expected and something that I hope no one ever has to experience again."

Friedman expressed his sympathy for the victims and their families, saying that it was "painful" to be in courtroom, even as a defense attorney with a job to do.

"I've stood in a lot of emotional courts, but this specific act and turning to the families of the deceased like that with a message similar to that, I have not seen that before," he said

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec072012

Elizabeth Johnson Tells Judge She Deserves 'Max' at Sentencing, Gets 5 Years

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Elizabeth Johnson -- who at one point admitted to killing her son, the missing infant Gabriel Johnson, before saying she gave him away -- told a judge she "deserved the maximum" sentence, before receiving a prison term of 5.25 years, half of the max.

In October, Johnson, 26, was found guilty of custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment stemming from the disappearance of her 8-month-old son, last seen on Dec. 24, 2009. The baby's whereabouts remain unknown.

"I am brokenhearted over my son still being missing," said Johnson, wearing a striped prison jumpsuit. "I'm at a loss because I do deserve the max. What I have done is unconscionable. I would convict myself."

"I do deserve the maximum, I do," she said through tears. "[But it] wasn't how [the prosecution] made it out to be. It wasn't like that. That's all I have to say."

Judge Paul McMurdie said he wished he could design a sentence that would compel Johnson to disclose Gabriel's whereabouts, but could only "sentence her for the offenses [for which] she's been convicted."

Johnson, 26, will serve 5.25 years in an Arizona state prison, followed by four years of probation.

At Friday's sentencing hearing, prosecutor Angela Andrews called Johnson' actions "despicable," but said the state would drop its request to see Johnson serve out a maximum sentence if she would tell authorities where her son could be found.

Johnson, who has been in jail for the past three years, faced a maximum of 9.5 years in prison on the two convictions. In October, the jury did not reach a verdict on a third charge of kidnapping.

Before Gabriel's disappearance, Johnson had been embroiled in a custody battle with the baby's biological father, Logan McQueary. The couple differed on putting their infant son up for adoption. Johnson had wanted to, McQueary did not.

"I think Elizabeth should be held accountable for her actions, for making my son disappear," McQueary told the court. "She should stay in jail until Gabriel is found or be given the maximum sentence as possible."

While she was fighting with McQueary over custody of their son, Johnson left Tempe, Ariz., with Gabriel and traveled to San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 18, 2009. Johnson failed to bring Gabriel back to visit with McQueary two days later, violating a court custody order.

Gabriel was last seen with his mother on Dec. 26, 2009. The following day, Johnson sent text messages to McQueary saying she had killed him. Johnson was recorded telling McQueary that she suffocated their son with a towel until he turned blue. She said she then put his body in a diaper bag and put the bag in the trash.

Later, Johnson told authorities she gave Gabriel to a couple she met in a park in San Antonio, though she has never named who she gave the child to.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Mark Kelly: Loughner's Sentencing 'Not Exactly Closure, But It Is Resolution'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Ex-astronaut Mark Kelly spoke to ABC's Diane Sawyer Thursday night about what it was like to be in the courtroom with his wife, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as Jared Lee Loughner was sentenced.

Loughner, 24, went on a shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Giffords, who was forced to retire due to the severity of her injuries.  

On Thursday, he was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years, without parole.  Loughner pleaded guilty in a deal that allowed him to avoid the possibility of a death sentence.

Kelly said on World News with Diane Sawyer that he and Giffords now had “some sense of resolution.  Not exactly closure, but it is resolution.”

Loughner, he said, was “a little defiant in the way looking at us and looking at Gabby.  I got the sense he was trying to intimidate us, especially my wife.”

While her husband addressed the court on her behalf, Giffords stared into Loughner’s eyes.

”She stared into his eyes the entire time.  I saw a person [Loughner] who certainly has major mental illness, but who knew where he was and why he was there,” Kelly said.

Loughner, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the shooting, is under orders to forcibly receive anti-psychotic medication.  He is currently being held at a prison medical facility in Missouri.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov072012

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly to Appear at Loughner Sentencing

Valerie Macon/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- A source close to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly tells ABC News exclusively that both Giffords and Kelly will be at the sentencing of Tucson gunman Jared Loughner Thursday.

It is expected that Kelly will make a statement in court on behalf of the couple with Giffords standing at his side.

This will be the first time the couple see Loughner in person.

On Jan. 8, 2011, Giffords was shot in the head while meeting constituents at an Arizona supermarket. In August 2012, Loughner pleaded guilty to the mass shooting that left six dead.

Giffords, who made a remarkable recovery, stepped down from the House in January 2012.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct092012

Jerry Sandusky Will Declare Innocence at Sentencing Tuesday

Patrick Smith/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Jerry Sandusky released a recorded statement Monday night declaring his innocence. In the three-minute statement, the former Penn State football defensive coordinator urged people to "evaluate the accusers and their families, realize they didn’t come out of isolation," suggesting that their claims were motivated by fame or monetary reasons. You can listen to the entire jailhouse statement here.

(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- Jerry Sandusky didn't take the stand during his child sex abuse trial last summer, but he will at his sentencing to declare that he is innocent of the 45 verdicts finding him guilty, his lawyer said Monday.

The former Penn State defensive coordinator faces anywhere from 10 years to more than 400 years in prison when Judge John Clelands hands down his sentence at the end of Tuesday's hearing. At age 68, any significant sentence could mean life in prison for the former Penn State defensive coordinator.

Before Cleland decides on prison time, however, Sandusky and his victims will both have the opportunity to make statements.

According to defense attorney Joe Amendola, Sandusky so regretted not taking the stand during his trial that he is anxious to speak directly to the court Tuesday.

Sandusky's family members have also written letters to the judge on his behalf, Amendola said. Sandusky's wife Dottie, who has insisted on his innocence throughout the trial, will be present in the courtroom, Amendola said.

Victim 5, who was approached from behind by Jerry in the shower in the Penn State locker rooms, is expected to testify. Sandusky lifted the boy up to the shower head and held him around his stomach, though Victim 5 said during the trial he doesn't remember any sexual abuse.

The statements from both Sandusky and the victim will follow a 9 a.m. hearing to determine whether Sandusky will be classified a sexually violent predator. If he is found to be sexually violent, he will be mandated to register as a sex offender if ever released from prison.

After Cleland decides Sandusky's status as a sexual predator, and hears the testimony from both sides, he will decide on a sentence. He could choose to sentence Sandusky to as few as 10 years in prison if he orders concurrent prison time, in which Sandusky would serve the sentence for each count at the same time.

But if Cleland instead chooses to sentence him to consecutive terms, Sandusky could face more than 400 years in prison.

Sandusky will undergo extensive evaluations after sentencing, including his medical and mental health needs, health care, security level, and program needs, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Sandusky's security will likely be an issue as authorities decide where to place him in the state prison population, as his case could make him a target for other inmates.

There are 25 prisons for men in Pennsylvania that Sandusky could be sent to, none of which have a special housing unit or facility for sex offenders, the department said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep052012

Jet Skier Who Killed 16-Year-Old in Hawaii Crash to Be Released

Comstock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- A 20-year-old man who crashed his jet ski into a 16-year-old girl and killed her is set to be released from jail in Hawaii Wednesday.

Tyler Dagley, an Australian citizen who was vacationing in Hawaii when he crashed his jet ski into Kristen Fonseca on Aug. 5, was sentenced Wednesday to time served, according to ABC News affiliate KITV. He was also ordered to pay a restitution fee of $78,000.

According to police, Dagley was speeding on his rented jet ski and posing for pictures for his girlfriend at Keehi Lagoon when he slammed into Fonseca, 16, of Vacaville, Calif. She died the next day.

Dagley pleaded no contest to negligent homicide charges in August and was held in Oahu county jail.

Fonseca's family appeared at the sentencing hearing in Honolulu Wednesday, where her mother, Evangelina Canton, read a poem that her daughter had written. According to the report, the poem focused on whether Fonseca would grow up to have children and become a doctor.

Dagley appeared to be crying in court during the reading of the poem, according to KITV.

Mario Canton, Fonseca's stepfather, also addressed the court.

"Our family's life is turned upside-down. We are unable to function at home. We go to sleep crying, wake up crying," he said.

Her mother told the court, "I cry in the morning, I cry before I go to sleep, I cry randomly during the day looking for justice."

"I mean I'm not trying to make this guy suffer, but I need for him to understand that there's a consequence to every decision we make. That's the kind of daughter my daughter was, a very forgiving child, and so I know that it's what she would want me to do," Mrs. Canton said.

Dagley is now set to be released, KITV reported.

Monique Sanchez told ABC News that she witnessed the crash that killed her sister.

"He was just speeding really fast and then just came up and just slammed right into her," Sanchez told ABC News after the crash.

Kristen's mother and stepfather were also present when the accident happened.

As part of the investigation, police examined a digital camera belonging to Fonseca's girlfriend, Natasha Ryan, to look for scenes of the crash. Ryan said she was driving straight ahead on her jet ski and did not see the accident, but police investigators recovered deleted videos on her camera that showed Dagley standing and someone yelling, "Watch out."

Ryan was arrested and charged with obstructing justice. She is due in court on Friday.

Fonseca's parents have filed suit against Dagley and the jet ski rental company, Aloha Jet Ski Tours, seeking money for damages.

Dagley's father, Alan, told ABC News he feels for Kristen's family, but added that what happened was a tragic accident.

"He's a great kid, doesn't do anything wrong," Dagley's father said in August, speaking of his son.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug302012

UVa. Lacrosse Killer George Huguely V Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

Albemarle/Charlottesville Regional Jail(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- A Virginia judge Thursday sentenced convicted University of Virginia murderer George Huguely V to 23 years in prison for the beating death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.

He will serve 23 years, plus one concurrent year for the grand larceny conviction, ruled Judge Edward Hogshire of Charlottesville Circuit Court. He also ordered three years of probation after completion of the 23-year term.

Huguely, 24, was convicted of second-degree murder on Feb. 22 for the beating death of Love in 2010.

Before the judge's ruling, Huguely briefly addressed the court.

"To the Loves, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope that you are able to find peace. To my family and friends, thank you for your love and support," Huguely said through tears.

The Love family sat somberly with their heads down as the sentence was announced and left the courtroom soon after. The Huguely family remained stoic through the judge's decision.

Huguely's attorneys told reporters outside the court that they plan on appealing both the conviction and the sentence.

"Our client, Mr. Huguely, remains optimistic," the attorneys said.

In a statement, the Huguely family wrote, "Today is a sad day for our family. The past twenty-eight months have been the most difficult in our lives. We love George and will always support him."

They maintained that Love's death was "an accident with a tragic outcome," and said that "Yeardley will always be in our hearts."

Love's mother and sister, Sharon and Lexie Love, also released a statement in which they thanked prosecutor David Chapman and everyone who helped them through the past two years.

"We find no joy in others' sorrow. We plan to work diligently through the One Love Foundation to try and prevent this from happening to another family," they wrote. "We are relieved to put this chapter behind us. Again, we would like to thank everyone for showing us such kindness during the most difficult time of our lives."

Huguely's attorneys asked a Virginia judge Thursday to consider reducing the former University of Virginia athlete's sentence to 14 years in prison, from the 26 years recommended by a jury. The judge cut the recommended sentence by three years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug172012

Texas Teacher Gets 5 Years in Prison in Group Sex Scandal

ABC News(NEW YORK) - A Texas high school teacher and mother of three was sentenced Friday to five years behind bars after a jury found her guilty of having sex with five male students, four of whom she had group sex with while being videotaped.

Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the young men were all 18 at the time, she was not charged with statutory rape.

The jury did not recommend a fine or community supervision.

The case against Colleps has been filled with graphic testimony and cellphone video that allegedly showed Colleps having group sex with the four students in her home during April and May 2011. The fifth student had a sexual encounter with Colleps on a separate occasion.

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Prosecutors said the group sex occurred while her children and husband, an Army specialist, were away.

The video was shown to the jury this week.

Colleps's mother and husband both testified during the sentencing hearing after she was convicted.

"Have mercy on her as someone who has done nothing wrong except in that time period," Shirley Bush, Colleps's mother, said in court. "Have mercy on her kids; they don't understand this. She's a generous person. When I went through cancer she was seven months pregnant and she shaved her head. She is a loving daughter, a loving wife, regardless of what happened in this situation."

Christopher Colleps, Brittni's husband, said that he was working to forgive his wife for what she did. Though the couple had engaged in legal group sex with other adults together, he felt wronged by her actions with her students, he said.

"I'm asking you to give her probation. It's not my fault or her children's, and taking her away from us is punishing us," he said. "Brittni saved my life before I met her. I was doing bad things and when I met Brittni she gave me someone to love and care about."

Christopher Colleps said the couple's children had been staying with his sister for the past week. The couple told their children that their mother "did bad things and might need to go away." He said that the couple would work through Colleps' punishment together, whatever it was.

During the trial, students from Kennednale High School, where she taught and coached sports, testified about how the relationships began.

One of those students said his relationship began with an innocent text message. "Hey… It's Coach Colleps. Do you know what time the baseball game starts?"

Soon after that the student said that he and Colleps were exchanging almost 100 texts a day. The prosecutor said that the relationship progressed into explicit text messages and then an agreement to meet for sex.

One of the young men she was accused of sleeping with publicly stated that she didn't commit a crime.

"She said that she craved, that I had something that she wanted," said another.

The men were not identified during the trial.

One student testified during sentencing, telling the judge that he did not want to see Colleps go to jail.

"I don't want to see her do jail time, probation is enough for me," said the man. He said he felt responsible for what had happened to Colleps.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

12 Years for Woman Who Snatched Baby 20 Years Ago

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Connecticut woman who dressed as a nurse before snatching an infant from a New York hospital more than 20 years ago was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday on kidnapping charges.

Ann Pettway admitted in February that in 1987, she took a train from her home in Bridgeport, Conn., dressed up in a nurse’s outfit at Harlem Hospital, and took 3-week-old Carlina White, who was brought into the hospital by her parents for a fever.

Pettway told the girl’s parents she was taking the baby for treatment in another part of the hospital, and then took off, raising White as her own daughter for 20 years, according to statements made during the February hearing.

In her late teens, White became suspicious of how she became Pettway’s daughter and searched on an FBI website of missing children for information, leading her to reconnect with her birth family in 2011.

Pettway went on the lam from authorities trying to charge her with kidnapping before eventually surrendering and facing charges. She pleaded guilty in February, avoiding the possible sentence of life in prison if she were to stand trial.

Pettway, now 51, appeared for sentencing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Monday. Following her time in prison, she will face three years of probation for her crimes.

Carl Tyson, the father of Carlina, said that his daughter is now living in Atlanta and the two chat occasionally. Carlina does not speak with her birth mother, Joy White, Tyson told ABC News last year.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun152012

Steven Powell Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years After Voyeurism Conviction

ABC News(PIERCE COUNTY, Wash.) -- Steven Powell, the father-in-law of a missing Utah woman, Susan Powell, was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in prison for taking inappropriate photos of neighborhood girls using the bathroom and showering.

In May, a Pierce County, Wash., jury found Powell guilty of all 14 counts of voyeurism after only six-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Powell, 62, faced up to five years in prison for each of the 14 counts.

Prosecutors were asking the judge to sentence Powell to 10 years in jail, and the mother of one of his victims in a quavering voice asked the judge to give Powell a maximum sentence.

Powell's defense was asking for a sentence of zero to 12 months in jail, noting that the pictures could have been taken before the state ranked voyeurism a felony in 2006. It also argued that, though the pictures were inappropriate, Powell never left his home or interacted with the girls.

Powell was arrested in November 2011 after Utah police searched the home he shared with his son, Josh Powell, and grandchildren, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Josh Powell's wife, Susan Cox Powell.

Josh Powell was the only named person of interest in the investigation, sparking a two-year war of the words between Josh Powell and his father, Steven Powell, and Susan Cox Powell's parents and the police that investigated the case.

Steven and Josh Powell publicly threatened to post Susan Powell's girlhood diaries to a website, sparking the police raid on the house in September 2011 to obtain the diaries. The search yielded dozens of computer disks that contained images of women and young girls that focused on their private parts, according to prosecutors.

Following Steven Powell's arrest, Josh Powell lost custody of his two sons and later killed the boys and himself in a fiery explosion at his home during a supervised visit.

Investigators working on the Susan Powell case asked to talk to Steven Powell about the case following Josh Powell's death, but he has denied those requests.

Alina Powell, Steven Powell's daughter, was saddened by the verdict.

"My family was automatically convicted two and a half years ago; since then, I have lost a sister-in-law, a sister, a brother, two darling nephews, and a great Dad, to an immeasurably complicated situation that even I don't fully understand," she wrote in a statement to ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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