West Palm Beach Florida
The jury of six took barely three hours to come back with a guilty verdict on the one count of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.
The 29-year-old Dippolito barely showed any emotion as the verdict was read. Dippolito, who now faces up to 30 years in prison, was led quietly out of the packed courtroom in handcuffs by sheriff’s deputies.
Earlier, the alternate two jurors who sat through today’s closing arguments, said after they would have voted the Boynton Beach woman guilty. The two, who were dismissed this afternoon, said that they were not swayed by defense attorney Michael Salnick’s arguments.
“He can take a steel girder and bend it into a pretzel,” Sandra Clutter said she would think while hearing Salnick speak during the high-profile trial. “Dalia is certainly getting her money’s worth.”
Clutter said she observed Dippolito’s demeanor and noticed her giggling on Thursday. But today the reality set in, and she observed her crying.
The remaining jurors had asked to see two videos as they began deliberations.
Both the defense and prosecution had two hours to sum up their cases for jurors this morning.
Chief Assistant State Attorney Elizabeth Parker: “The evidence is overwhelming… they can’t say she didn’t do it.”
She likened Dippolito to poison candy: attractive outside, deadly inside.
Salnick, the defense attorney, said there are many unresolved questions. “Dalia Dippolito is asking you to let her wake up from this nightmare,” Salnick said, asking jurors to find her not guilty.
The defense case, predicted earlier in the trial to last two days, was over in less than two hours Thursday.
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL — Two women accused of bringing their infant children along with them on a shoplifting outing at a Walmart SuperCenter each faces a felony child abuse charge, according to recently released arrest affidavits.
Chelian Monique Sinclair, 19, and 25-year-old Kimberly Elizabeth Buchanan on Saturday went into the Walmart SuperCenter in the 1600 block of Northwest St. Lucie West Boulevard, investigators said.
The affidavits gave this account:
A loss prevention manager spotted them concealing items in a diaper bag and a tote bag under their shopping cart. Next, they chose some other goods and went to a check out counter, making no attempt to purchase the hidden items.
“Kimberly and Chelian had their two infant children with them while they were shoplifting in Walmart,” an affidavit states.
The items were valued at $195.34.
Police arrested Sinclair, listed as an unemployed Port St. Lucie resident, and Buchanan, of Fort Pierce, each on a felony child abuse charge and a misdemeanor retail theft charge.
The affidavits did not specify what happened to the infant children following the arrests.
MIDDLETON, CT — According to the Associated Press police in Connecticut say they’ve executed search warrants on a person of interest in the slaying of a Yale University graduate student.
They say two search warrants for DNA and other physical evidence have been served at the apartment of 24-year-old Raymond Clark III. Clark was handcuffed and escorted out of the apartment building and into a silver car. No charges have been filed.
Authorities say Clark will be released after police get the evidence they need from him and his apartment. The New Haven police chief isn’t describing Clark as a suspect. He says police are hoping to compare DNA taken from him to more than 150 pieces of evidence collected from the crime scene.
Graduate student Annie Le vanished one week ago. Her body was found in the basement of a research building at on campus at Yale.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Multiple national news networks reported Monday that police investigating the murder of a Yale University graduate student have a suspect in the case.
ABC News and MSNBC reported that the person failed a lie-detector test and had what could be defensive wounds.
Police are hunting for the killer who stuffed a body believed to be that of a Annie Le behind a wall in the high-security laboratory building where she worked.
Police found the body around 5 p.m. Sunday, on what was to have been 24-year-old Le’s wedding day.
An autopsy was underway on Monday to verify the identity of the body, found in a cable duct in the Yale medical school building. Police would not say Monday if they have a suspect, but said that nobody is in custody.
“We’re not believing it’s a random act,” said Officer Joe Avery, a police spokesman. He would not provide any further details, but said no one else is in danger.
The building where the body was found is part of the university medical school complex about a mile from Yale’s main campus and is accessible to Yale personnel with identification cards. Some 75 video surveillance cameras monitor all doorways.
“It’s a frightening idea that there’s a murderer walking around on campus,” said 20-year-old Muneeb Sultan, a chemistry student. “I’m shocked that it happened in a Yale building that had key-card access. It’s really sad.”
Police have not provided any details on the condition of the body found or how the woman died.
A friend said Monday the doctoral student never showed signs of worry about her own personal safety at work, although she did express concerns about crime in New Haven in an article she wrote last year.
“If she was concerned about (it) she would have said something to someone and they would have known,” Jennifer Simpson told CBS’ “The Early Show.” ”And Jon (her fiance) would have known, her family would have known, friends would have known.”
Simpson called Le, a pharmacology student from Placerville, Calif., friendly and affable to everyone.
“She was a people person,” Simpson said. “She loved people. She loved life. We just can’t imagine anybody wanting to harm Annie.”
Another friend, Laurel Griffeath, echoed those thoughts on NBC’s “Today” show.
“I can’t even imagine someone mad at Annie, much less wanting to hurt her,” Griffeath said.
Police are analyzing what they’re calling “a large amount” of physical evidence.
They will not discuss suspects, other than to say Le’s fiance is not a suspect and has assisted in the investigation.
Campus officials have said that the security network recorded Le entering the building by swiping her ID card about 10 a.m. on Sept. 8, and have been baffled before Sunday’s gruesome discovery that she was never seen leaving.
The university planned a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Monday at the Ivy League university. The Yale Daily News says an e-mail to the Yale community invites participants to “bring a candle and join us in solidarity.”
Yale President Richard Levin offered support to Le’s family and her fiance, Columbia University graduate student Jonathan Widawsky. The couple was to marry Sunday in Syosset, N.Y., on Long Island’s north shore.
“The family and fiance and friends now must suffer the additional ordeal of waiting for the body to be positively identified,” Levin said.
Le wrote an article that was published in February in the medical school’s magazine. The piece, titled “Crime and Safety in New Haven,” compared higher instances of robbery in New Haven with cities that house other Ivy League schools. It also included an interview with Yale Police Chief James Perrotti, who offered advice such as “pay attention to where you are” and “avoid portraying yourself as a potential victim.”
“In short, New Haven is a city and all cities have their perils,” Le concludes. “But with a little street smarts, one can avoid becoming yet another statistic.”
Le, who worked in a laboratory in the five-story building’s basement, was reported missing Sept. 8. Her ID, money, credit cards and purse were found in her third-floor office.
More than 100 local, state and federal police had been searching the building for days, using blueprints to uncover any place where evidence or Le’s body could be hidden.
Investigators on Saturday said they recovered evidence from the building, but would not confirm media reports that the items included bloody clothing.
Authorities also sifted through garbage at a Hartford incinerator Sunday, looking through trash that was taken from the building in the days since Le went missing.
No one answered the door at the Widawskys’ gray, ranch-style in Huntington, N.Y. on Monday.
“He is a very nice young man,” next-door neighbor George Mayer said of Jonathan Widawsky. “His family, they’re all just wonderful people — very, very nice people.”
Both families belong to the same temple.
Mayer, whose mother had been invited to the wedding, said he hopes whoever committed the crime “gets justice — that he gets whatever he deserves.”
Yale students on Monday called the finding sad, but some said the discovery doesn’t make them feel less safe at Yale.
“Obviously it’s a city and there are safety concerns,” said 18-year-old Peter Spaulding, a student from Maryland. “It can happen anywhere. You have to go on with life.”
Law student Lindsay Nash of West Chester, Pa., said she doesn’t sense a heightened level of fear on campus.
“There’s always an attention to safety here,” she said. “I think there’s perception that you need to be careful regardless.”
(CNN) — When pro quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to bankrolling a dogfighting operation in 2007, there was a spike in reports of dogfighting in the United States.
But when the headlines faded, the blood sport grew stronger and went even more underground, with thugs taking inventive precautions to keep police at bay, animal cruelty experts say.
“They know it’s just not smart to have large crowds anymore, so we’ve seen fights where you’ve got the two handlers, a referee and Web cams everywhere broadcasting the fight on the Internet,” said Mark Kumpf, an investigator based in Ohio who directs the National Animal Control Association.
Fights are also being staged on the move — in 18-wheelers. “These guys are very sophisticated,” Kumpf said. “If you’re driving down the road, there could be dogs in that truck driving next to you that are dying.”
Dozens more dogfighting cases have been investigated and prosecuted since the Vick case, said Alison Gianotto, who runs the database PetAbuse.com.
The computer programmer, horrified when a neighbor’s cat was set on fire eight years ago, created the California-based organization to track animal cruelty cases and animal abusers.
The database, which logs media stories, has also become a popular place for law enforcement to send reports.
“There’s not a central body keeping track of what’s happening nationally, which is unfortunate when you consider that a lot of these cases cross state lines,” she said.
Still, detectives, animal welfare professionals and prosecutors agree that the attention the Vick case has brought to dogfighting has been positive because more people are inclined to report their suspicions. Dogfighting is illegal in all states; penalties vary but usually include heavy jail time or steep fines.
The National Football League suspended Vick indefinitely in August 2007 after he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in Virginia. Vick, 29, was freed from federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 20 and returned to Virginia to serve the last two months of his 23-month sentence in home confinement.
“At the height of attention on the Vick case, things quieted down across the country with some of these dogfighters getting out of the business,” veteran animal abuse investigator Tim Rickey said. “But then, the headlines went away, and people thought the attention was off. It just started right back up, almost stronger than before.”
“Every Saturday night in every county in Missouri, there is a dogfight going on,” Rickey said.
While the Vick case was making its way through the court system, Rickey, who directs the animal cruelty task force at the Humane Society of Missouri, was initiating what would become an 18-month investigation linking dogfighting rings in eight states.
That probe led to the July 8 arrest of 28 people from eight states. As many as 400 dogs were confiscated in raids coordinated by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Rickey said. He said it was the largest such case involving dogfighting in the U.S.
While those involved with the national case declined Monday to give details about that investigation, CNN spoke with several detectives across America who have worked other dogfighting cases. Among the abuses they’ve uncovered:
• Dogs with missing ears and patches of skin
• Animals with teeth shaved down to the bone
• “Vets” who have used leg splints that are to tight to “treat” animals in dogfighting rings
• Contraptions, usually fashioned out of wood, much like a treadmill, that force chained dogs to run or be choked.
Detective Keith Coberly of the police vice squad in Dayton, Ohio, described a case he recently investigated that resulted in the convictions of three men.
A neighbor called police when she saw a mangled dog that had apparently escaped from a home where investigators found 60 chained pit bull terriers, many being starved and wallowing in their own waste. There were thousands of hypodermic needles scattered across the ground.
“They were using steroids on the animals,” he said. “There was one dog — in such bad shape, man — tethered to a logging chain, and another was kept in a two-foot shed without ventilation or food.”
The suffering is incalculable, and the cost of caring for the animals is steep.
Because the national investigation originated in Missouri, the state is harboring about 400 of the rescued dogs, some that have had puppies recently.
“These dogs are bred to attack each other, so just caring for them is a tremendous job. You have to keep them separate, and you have to protect volunteers who are devoting 12, 14 hours of their day,” Rickey said. “And we’re doing all of that in this economy.”
Investigating dogfighting is dangerous — and hugely popular in Russian mafia circles and with drug traffickers in Mexico, experts say.
Dogfighting is reliant on word of mouth, and on what one undercover officer described as “bad character” references. “If you can get someone to vouch for you, a match is set up,” Kumpf said. “They’ll have everyone go to a hotel and come pick you up and drive you around in an unmarked van.” Driving around town helps shake any police tail, he said.
Those betting on fights aren’t likely to get paid on site any more. Money is often kept at another location, making it more difficult to make arrests.
In late July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated Vick, who said on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night that he cried in prison because of the guilt he felt about dogfighting.
Vick’s agent announced Thursday that the former Atlanta Falcon signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, which reportedly could be worth more than $6 million.
“I hope people realize [dogfighting] is not just about Michael Vick,” Rickey said. “It’s a lot bigger than him.”
13-Year-Old Met Man At Auburndale Church
LAKELAND, Fla. — A church volunteer who is HIV positive has been arrested on charges that he sexually battered a 13-year-old boy and had intercourse with him.
Jere Michael Temple began spending time with the victim about six months ago after meeting him at the Rainbow Promise Community Church in Auburndale. Rev. Karen Ducham said Temple attended services and was a volunteer.
According to the Lakeland Police Department, Temple spent weekends with the teen and acted as a mentor. The victim told a detective the 58-year-old man had unprotected sex with him on multiple occasions. The teen told his mother about the incidents on Friday, and she reported the allegations to police. Temple is being held on $1.25 million bond.
PORT ORANGE, Fla. — Port Orange police are searching for a man who exposed himself to three girls and yelled obscenities at them.
According to police, the girls were walking near the Port Orange Amphitheater, located at 2001 City Center Circle, on Aug. 6 when a man got out of a car that was parked nearby.
The man exposed himself to the girls and screamed an obscene question at them before driving away in a red or burgundy four-door car, possibly a late 1990s Honda, police said.The mother of one of the girls then called police, but a search failed to locate the man, police said.The culprit was described as a white man in his mid to late 30s with a buzz cut. He was wearing a red hat, aviator sunglasses, a blue shirt, baggy blue jeans and flip flops.Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call the Port Orange Police Department.