Garridos Indicted, To Be Arraigned Friday (Jaycee Dugard)

Amplify’d from www.kcra.com

Phillip, Nancy Garrido Charged In Jaycee Dugard Kidnapping Case

POSTED: 2:22 pm PDT September 30, 2010
UPDATED: 4:32 pm PDT September 30, 2010

PLACERVILLE, Calif. -- Phillip and Nancy Garrido have been indicted in the kidnapping case of Jaycee Dugard and will be arraigned Friday on the charges, sources confirmed to KCRA 3.

Though the specific details of the indictment are unknown, sources told KCRA 3 the couple will be arraigned together.

The Garridos have been in custody for more than a year, charged in the kidnapping and rape of Dugard. She was taken from her home near Lake Tahoe in 1991, only to surface 18 years later in the Bay Area with her two children.

Investigators have alleged that Dugard and two children -- allegedly fathered by Phillip Garrido -- lived for years in the Garridos' backyard shed, under a tarp and undetected by the outside world.

Grand jury proceedings, by law, are secret. Neither the grand jury nor the district attorney's office would confirm or deny an indictment when KCRA 3 first reported about it Sept. 22. Grand jury indictments are sealed and not a matter of public record.

John Myers, a Pacific McGeorge School of Law, speculated that the district attorney would convene a grand jury to avoid a preliminary hearing.

"It may be, if the same charges are contained in the indictment (that are in the criminal complaint), there will be no preliminary hearing, which would mean Jaycee and her kids would not have to testify at all," he said.

Myers said "it's hard to see how they could do that (grand jury) without her testifying."

Myers says grand jury transcripts are by law available to the public 10 days after the indictment is delivered to the defense. That may be the public's first look at what Dugard has to say about the crimes the Garridos allegedly committed against her. A judge may choose to seal the transcript.

Court proceedings for kidnapping suspect Phillip Garrido were suspended Friday after his defense attorney said she doubts her client's mental competency to stand trial.Read more at www.kcra.com
 

FOUND: Human Remains Possibly of Missing Girl (Tia McShane)

Amplify’d from www.wkrg.com
Published: Thu, September 30, 2010 - 5:36 pm CST
Last Updated: Thu, September 30, 2010 - 6:01 pm CST
PENSACOLA, Florida - The Escambia County Sheriff's Office says human remains have been found inside a storage unit belonging to the deceased mother of a missing special-needs child.

Deputies searched the mother's home today with cadaver dogs, but found nothing.

While talking to friends and neighbors, someone mentioned the mom had a storage shed. Deputies located one in her name. It had not been paid since March 09. They got permission to search, and found a plastic bin with bones in it.

The medical examiner was called out and determined that the bones are human.

Tia McShane, 11, who has cerebral palsy, was last seen in 2006.

She was reported missing by her father, who began looking for her after her mother passed away in June in Mobile.

The father told investigators he was told Tia had been given over to foster care. There are no records to support that.

During their investigation, investigators searched a storage unit that belonged to Tia's mother on Lillian Highway in Pensacola. There they say they found remains inside a storage bin.

DNA testing will be conducted to determine whether the remains belong to the child.

11-year-old Tia McShane was last seen living on Continental Court in Pensacola around the fall of 2006. She is a young girl with cerebral palsy, and her Medicaid has not been used since 2006 when the last doctor visit was made.

37-year-old William McShane contacted the Escambia County Sheriff's office to report that his daughter was missing. The sheriff's department responded to the call on August 30, 2010and visited 6101 Chicago Ave in reference to the missing person report.

McShane stated to deputies that he had been separated from his wife, Alicia McShane for several years. He stated that on July 27, 2010, he found out that his wife had died in June in Mobile.

McShane stated that no one seemed to know the whereabouts of his daughter, eleven year old Tia McShane. William McShane stated that Tia is confined to a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy.

Friends told McShane that the mother had placed the child in foster care in Alabama due to the medical needs of the child. Attempts to locate the child by way of the Department of Children and Families, Social Security Office and the Medicare Office met with no results.

Escambia Sheriff Missing Person’s Investigator Troy Brown was assigned the case and contacted the Alabama Department of Human Resources who advised that the father would need to file a petition with DFC in Florida to legally locate his daughter.

Mr. McShane advised that he would go that route and contact the Sheriff’s Office at a later date if the search turned up nothing.

On July 27, Mr. McShane contacted the Sheriff’s Office and advised that Alabama had no record of Tia in their system. Investigator Brown and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had contacted the Alabama Bureau of Investigation who advised that Tia was not in any legal foster care in their state. She is also not in any type of legal foster care in Florida.Read more at www.wkrg.com

Search for suspect who beat woman with hammer - DNA linked to brutal crime against 2 yr old

Casey Defense To Search Docs For New Witness

Amplify’d from www.wesh.com

Lawyers Hoping To Find Volunteer Who Searched Area, Found Nothing

POSTED: 4:18 pm EDT September 30, 2010
UPDATED: 5:01 pm EDT September 30, 2010
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. --
Next week, Casey Anthony’s defense team will search through thousands of Texas Equusearch records.
Anthony’s lawyers are hoping to find a credible volunteer who will say that he or she searched in an area where Caylee Anthony’s remains were later found but nothing was discovered at the time.
Prosecutors already have several sworn statements from volunteers who say that the area was submerged, increasing the likelihood that the remains were placed there before the rains came and Casey Anthony was locked up.
This week, Anthony’s defense argued successfully to do its own trace DNA testing on a laundry bag and a pair of shorts believed to be Caylee Anthony’s. Both items were found with her remains off of Suburban Drive.
Defense attorney Richard Hornsby said the defense hopes to argue that a third party put the girl’s remains in the woods.
“That's what the defense is banking on: third-party DNA and DNA still being there. It rebuts what prosecutors have been saying the whole time,” Hornsby said.
Prosecutors say the laundry bag contains no DNA, because the site where the bag and remains were found was under water for weeks.
Hornsby said the defense’s strategy could backfire.
“Either you find someone else's DNA, the only DNA you find is the Anthony’s, or you find none at all. The last two exclude the defense's argument that there was a third party. That can hurt them more than help them,” he said.Read more at www.wesh.com

Forensics expert: Child's DNA is consistent with accused blueblood's

Amplify’d from www.northjersey.com
Thursday, September 30, 2010
BY JOHN PETRICK
The Record
Staff Writer
A New Jersey State Police forensics expert testified in state court Thursday that based on DNA profiles, Aswad Ayinde is the father of his own grandchild, conceived by Ayinde and his 14-year-old daughter and born in 2001.
Ayinde, 52, is on trial on charges he deliberated impregnated his young daughter in an attempt to keep his bloodlines pure.  
Lynn Crutchley, a forensic scientist with the New Jersey State Police Laboratory, told jurors and state Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin in Paterson that the child's DNA "is consistent with being an offspring" of the defendant and his now-23-year-old daughter. Crutchley  added that she is not a qualified expert on calculating the "paternity probability," or giving what the statistical chances are that the baby is actually Ayinde's, based on the DNA profile.  
The prosecution is expected to present a probability witness next week, to give the DNA results more context for the jury.  While the scientific evidence thus does not unequivocally establish Ayinde as the father, neither does it rule him out. 
When Ayinde was arrested in July 2006, prosecutors described him as a “blueblood,” or someone who believes in keeping his bloodlines pure. In all, five of Ayinde’s daughters were allegedly raped. The self-described filmmaker, soft-drink entrepreneur and landlord allegedly committed the assaults from 1985 through 2002 in Paterson, East Orange, Orange and Eatontown.
Four of the alleged victims were daughters with his wife, Beverly. Three of those four daughters bore six children by their natural father. Ayinde, who also is known as Eric McGill, will be tried in five separate cases for his alleged crimes against each individual victim. This is the first of those trials.
He is charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, lewdness, child endagerment, aggravated criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual contact. He faced 40 years if convicted in this trial and more than 100 years if convicted of all the charges he faces in subsequent trials.
The daughter whom  he allegedly raped and impr3gnated is expected to to take the witness stand next week. Her mother, Ayinde's wife, has already testified to brutal beatings, punishing diets and a cloistered existence away from doctors, schools and friends that were all part of Ayinde's alleged mental and physical abuse of the family.
Read more at www.northjersey.com

Accused in Facebook porn case arrested again

Amplify’d from www.bclocalnews.com
Published: September 30, 2010 1:00 PM
Updated: September 30, 2010 1:17 PM
A Castlegar man arrested earlier in September on child pornography, sexual assault and other charges has been arrested again, this time for breaking the conditions of his release.
As part of his bail conditions from the previous charges, the 24-year-old was prohibited from having contact with his victims or any females under the age of 18. He was also slapped with a curfew and prohibited from accessing the Internet.
Castlegar RCMP arrested the man on Sept. 28 for breaching his conditions, said Cpl. Deb Postnikoff.
The man was initially arrested on Sept. 1 and charged with multiple offences after RCMP received a call from a teenage girl’s family alleging he had taken lewd photos of her posted them on Facebook.
Police searched the man’s home, seized his computer and camera, and later discovered he had been involved in sexual relations with the girl for several months. A search of the computer found more pictures of naked females, all believed to be from the Castlegar area.
The man was charged with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference, possession of child pornography and possession of a prohibited weapon.
His name is not being released to protect the identity of the victims.
Read more at www.bclocalnews.com

Cumberland DA: DSS covered itself in probe of girl's death (Shaniya Davis)

Amplify’d from www.wral.com
Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis said Thursday that the county's social services department went to great lengths to protect its image during the investigation of the death of Shaniya Davis last year.
Shaniya Nicole Davis
The 5-year-old girl was reported missing from her Fayetteville home on Nov. 10. Her body was found in a patch of kudzu off a rural road near the Lee-Harnett County line six days later.
Grannis and Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine expressed concerns that Cumberland County Department of Social Services managers were withholding information during the investigation of Shaniya's death, and they asked for a state investigation.
DSS previously worked with Shaniya's family regarding her older brother, according to family members. The case was later closed without action, they said.
Grannis said DSS was "uncooperative" with police during the murder investigation, turning over information only after a judge ordered them to do so. Social workers told investigators that DSS Director Brenda Jackson told them to print copies of all e-mails about the case and then delete the e-mails and to limit written communications about the case.
The actions suggest DSS was more interested in protecting its image than in protecting children, Grannis said, adding that he no longer trusts the agency.
Jackson has declined to discuss her office's involvement with Shaniya's family, citing confidentiality regulations.
Grannis said he wouldn't pursue criminal charges, saying it would be difficult to prove Jackson or others intended to destroy evidence.
Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child and first-degree kidnapping in the case. Police have characterized him as a family acquaintance.
An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.
Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, has been charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis "did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya."
Read more at www.wral.com

Burned Body ID'd As Santa Barbara County Teen

Officials unable to ID remains found in Idaho lake

Amplify’d from www.kval.com
Story Published:
Sep 30, 2010 at 8:17 AM PDT
COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — The Bonner County Sheriff's Office has been unable to identify human remains recovered from the bottom of Priest Lake six years ago and has classified the case as unsolved.

Sgt. Gary Johnson said Tuesday the agency didn't want the investigation to end that way. But scientists at Boise State University and other scientific laboratories were unable to extract any human DNA from the samples found in 322 feet of water off the tip of Eight Mile Island.

"We're kind of at a standstill at this point," Johnson told the Spokesman-Review. "I still have 12 people presumed lost or missing in Priest Lake."

The investigation began in 2004 when an underwater recovery company was contracted to find a lost Kennewick firefighter whose boat was found floating in the area.

The remains were discovered using sonar, but investigators concluded the remains had been in the water longer than the missing firefighter.

Johnston said the outcome of the case is disappointing because so many family members of people presumed drowned in Priest Lake are waiting for closure. Johnston said the sheriff's office will continue to investigate any new leads regarding missing persons.

The sheriff's office has a list of 12 missing persons dating back to the early 1900s.

"For us and the resources we have at hand, that was the best we could do," Johnson said.
Read more at www.kval.com
 

Jennifer Kesse's father to host online radio show

 

Mineshaft search for boy's remains after 35 years (Terry James Floyd, 12)

Amplify’d from www.thecourier.com.au
BY MARCUS POWER
01 Oct, 2010 01:34 AM
EXCAVATION of a mineshaft near Avoca will start this month in a bid to solve the 35-year-old mystery of a missing boy. 
Terry James Floyd, 12, disappeared from a country road at Avoca on Saturday June 28, 1975.
He was last seen at the intersection of the Pyrenees and Sunraysia Highways about 5pm that day. 
A 2001 coronial inquest found Terry had likely died from unknown causes at an unknown place at an unknown time. 
Terry's brother Daryl, who was 10 at the time of Terry's disappearance, believes an old mineshaft at Bung Bong may hold the answer to the mystery. 
Information he has received in recent months has led him to believe his brother's body may have been dumped down the shaft. 
He said the search for Terry had taken a toll on his family. 
He said the stress had contributed to the premature death of his mother, Dorothy Floyd.
She died, aged 56, 12 years to the day after Terry went missing. 
''Every year that comes around we don't have just the one anniversary for Terry it's also my mum's anniversary as well,'' Mr Floyd said. 

Mining records indicate the mine, which is in a state forest, was last active in 1920. 

But it was used as a dump for sewerage in the 1960s and early 1970s. 
Mr Floyd has the approval of Victoria Police and the Department of Sustainability and Environment for the excavation. 
He also has permission from the South Australian mining company which holds the lease on the mine. 
A Maldon-based mine excavation company will perform the excavation. 
Once the excavation begins, a vet will be on site to identify animal bones at the site. 
In the event any human remains are found, police will be called in.
Read more at www.thecourier.com.au 

Van der sloot "living in luxury" tabloid claims

Amplify’d from www.cbs42.com
Birmingham, Al  (WIAT)  Is the prime suspect in Natalee Holloway's 2005 disappearance on Aruba living in relative luxury in a Peruvian prison?  That's what the National Enquirer claims.

According to the tabloid, van der Sloot is using money he was paid for a recent interview for Dutch television to live the high life in Lima's usually rough Castro Castro prison.

"...prison guards are Joran's personal servants. He plays cards with them, and they even allowed him to buy fancy shoes and clothes for his prison pal Hugo Trujillo Ospina - "The Clown" - a paid assassin who's been protecting him from other inmates' sexual attacks, The ENQUIRER has learned.

Joran is ensuring his safety by becoming the prison "Santo Klaus" - buying cigarettes and garments for the most dangerous inmates and donating to their favorite charity to send a 3-year-old Peruvian girl for medical care in the U.S."

Van der Sloot is facing murder charges in Peru after the corpse of 21 year old student Stephany Flores was found in his Lima hotel room earlier this year.  He has confessed to killing her after Flores found material relating to Natalee Holloway on his laptop.  Van der Sloot is appealing to have that confession thrown out on a variety of procedural charges.

In the meantime, Natalee's mother, Beth, has launched a company she says will provide assistance to families of children travelling abroad.  Mayday360 says it will provide 24/7 contact and help to parents.Read more at www.cbs42.com

Supreme Court upholds convictions - widely considered to be one of Canada's most horrific child-abuse cases

Amplify’d from www.torontosun.com

By QMI Agency

Last Updated: September 30, 2010 1:41pm

The Supreme Court has upheld the second-degree murder convictions in what is widely considered to be one of Canada's most horrific child-abuse cases.

The court declined to hear an appeal Thursday from the father and stepmother of Randal Dooley.

Dooley died in September, 1998, from a brain injury likely caused by a blow to the head or severe shaking. The seven-year-old was covered in bruises and weighed just 41 lbs. with 13 fractured ribs, a damaged liver, four brain injuries and a tooth in his stomach.

A jury convicted Tony and Marcia Dooley in 2002.

The boy had come to Canada from Jamaica about 11 months before his death to live with his father.

The Supreme Court didn't provide reasons for dismissing the appeal, which is normal practice.

The couple had argued in the Ontario Court of Appeal last year they should be granted a new trial.

They argued the judge had made legal errors in explaining second-degree murder versus manslaughter and used language that included "cruel stepmother" and "worst case of a battered child in Canadian penal history" that prejudiced the jury and resulted in a verdict based on emotion not evidence.

The couple's lawyers also argued the jury had considered past acts of abuse as evidence in delivering the murder convictions.

Marcia Dooley is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 18 years. Her husband is serving a life term with no chance of parole for 13 years.

Read more at www.torontosun.com
 

Couple charged with beating, starving 30-pound 6-year-old

Amplify’d from www.9news.com
posted by Dan Boniface    48 mins ago
JEFFERSON COUNTY - A couple accused of beating and starving a 6-year-old adoptive son was formally charged on Thursday morning.
Christine and Randall Arnold were charged with felony child abuse resulting in bodily injury and misdemeanor child abuse. The Arnolds skipped their Thursday court appearance, allowing their attorney to handle it instead.
The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office says on Sept. 17, Littleton firefighters responded to the Arnolds' home in the 6500 block of South Reed Way on a report that a young child had fallen down the stairs and was unresponsive. An EMT examining the boy observed bruises and abrasions all over his body, according to the affidavit.
Investigators say Christine Arnold reported she was cooking dinner when the boy fell.
The affidavit says the medical staff at Littleton Hospital Emergency Room determined the boy, who weighed only 30 pounds, had blood on his brain and his brain was swelling.
A doctor at the hospital says the boy suffered from "serious bodily injury" and "severe malnutrition." The boy also suffered from various straight line, u-shaped and horseshoe type markings across his body consistent with the buckle of a belt found at the house, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit reports the Arnolds took custody of the boy on a foster-to-adopt program when he was two and a half years old. That adoption was completed in 2006, according to the affidavit.
According to Jefferson County Social Services, the boy was examined prior to his adoption and was measured and weighed. In 2006, the boy was in the fifty to seventy five percentiles for his height and weight. At age 3, he weighed 31 pounds. On September 17, 2010, the boy weighed 30 pounds at the age of 6, according to the affidavit.
The Arnolds are due back in court on Dec. 2. They have been released on bond.
Read more at www.9news.com

New Development In Theresa Parker Case

Amplify’d from www.newschannel9.com
September 29, 2010 5:44 PM
     NewsChannel 9 has learned the G-B-I has completed its work on Theresa Parker's skeletal remains. Last Monday, a farmer discovered her jawbone on the banks of the Chattooga River.
  Officers searched about a 25 square foot area around the jawbone and found more than 100 bones. Investigators sent those remains to the G-B-I crime lab in Decatur.
    GBI Public Information Officer John Bankhead confirmed specialists completed the examination today. The next step is coordinating with Walker County coroner Dewayne Wilson and returning the remains to her family.
     On September 3rd, 2009 a jury convicted her estranged husband and former LaFayette police Sam Parker of murder. The jury was selected out of Bartow County because of all the publicity surrounding this case. That jury returned a guilty verdict without a body at the time of trial. Parker's serving a life sentence in a state prison in Reidsville, Georgia.
Read more at www.newschannel9.com

News conference to be held on Shaniya Davis case 3pm today

Amplify’d from charlotte.news14.com
SANFRORD, N.C. — Officials said we can expect an update Thursday on the investigations surrounding the Department of Social Services in connection to the death of Shaniya Davis.
She is the 5-year-old girl from Fayetteville whose body was found in a ditch in Lee County last November. Officers charged her mother, Antoinette Davis, with human trafficking, prostituting her daughter and filing a false police report.
Mario McNeill faces charges of kidnapping, raping and murdering the child. Recently, Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis said he asked the sheriff's office for help with the investigation into the DSS.
Grannis had the SBI launch the probe in 2009 after Fayetteville police voiced concerns they had not received complete records in the Davis case. Grannis will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m..
Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina for more details.
Read more at charlotte.news14.com

Child witness tells trial Violet ‘just went dead’ (Violet Mullen)

Amplify’d from menmedia.co.uk
Chris Osuh
September 30, 2010
Violet Mullen died from internal injuries
Violet Mullen died from internal injuries
A young child has given a graphic account in court of the collapse of toddler Violet Mullen.
Violet died from internal injuries allegedly after being struck with ‘severe force’ at her home on Huddersfield Road, Oldham.
Bruising all over her body and other injuries suggested she had been beaten and possibly shaken at least three times in the three weeks leading up to her death, the jury was told.
Her 22-year-old mother, Claire Flanagan, and boyfriend, Gary Alcock, 28, deny murder and causing or allowing the death of a child in a Manchester Crown Court trial.
The child witness was playing at the house at the time Violet collapsed. Clutching a teddy, the witness, who cannot be named, was cross-examined by Flanagan and Alcock’s lawyers, and then re-examined by Vanessa Thomson, prosecuting.
Describing what the child knew of events, the witness said: “Violet wasn’t breathing at all and then she went in an ambulance, went to the doctors and then she got checked out, then when it were bedtime she just went dead. The doctor tried to make her better but he couldn’t.”
In the police tape the witness went on to claim that they had seen bruising on Violet.
“She had bruises on her neck and bruises on all her legs, all over her,” the witness said. Asked if they had seen how the toddler got the bruises, the witness added: “No, I didn’t see her, I didn’t see her banging the bruises, but I saw the bruises.”
The witness had claimed to have seen them ‘when I was upstairs’. But, cross-examined by David Fish QC, representing Alcock, the child admitted that they had not gone upstairs at the time when Violet was ill.
The child had told police that Alcock was the only person who went up to Violet’s bedroom before her collapse. But, cross examined by Mr Fish, the child said they had twice seen Flanagan go upstairs to see Violet. Asked again about this point by Andrew O’Byrne QC, defending Flanagan, the child said Flanagan had gone upstairs after Alcock shouted to the woman. At that time, Violet had collapsed. Once an ambulance had been called Violet was taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital.
Doctors and nurses battled to revive her unsuccessfully for 40 minutes. The jury was told that the child’s bruises raised concerns with hospital staff, and that police were called in line with hospital protocol.
Read more at menmedia.co.uk

Mother hinted girls didn't have a future, court told (on trial for drowning her 2 daughters)

Amplify’d from www.simcoe.com
  • Rosie DiManno, Torstar Columnist
  • Sep 30, 2010 - 7:00 AM
BARRIE - The expensive coat her in-laws had bought as a christening gift for their older grandchild: “Serena will never grow big enough to wear it."

The Dora the Explorer twin bedsheets for both little girls: “They will never be out of their toddler beds.’’

On the very day that Elaine Campione is alleged to have drowned her two young daughters -  purportedly to avoid losing custody of the children to her estranged husband - she was making comments to a neighbour suggestive of a nonexistent future for the girls, asking if anyone might have use for these items.

It was the morning of Oct. 2, 2006, and Campione had just used Ruth Robinson’s computer to compose a legal letter. Asked later, after meeting with her lawyer, how the custody matter seemed to be going, the stay-at-home mom responded that the outcome looked “iffy.”

Late that afternoon, Robinson told court on Monday, she spotted Campione and the girls outside the complex, their daily fresh air routine. It was the last time Robinson ever saw the youngsters alive.

The prosecution maintains Campione, that evening, drowned three-year-old Serena and 19-month-old Sophia in the bathtub, then dressed the dead girls in pretty clothes, dried their angel-fine hair, laid them out on her own big bed, arranged with small hands clasping, a rosary woven through their fingers.

The jury has already seen a home video that Campione made that night - before and after the alleged murder - at first playing with the children, then an hour later, alone on the couch, looking straight into the camera and declaring the girls had “gone to heaven,” taunting her husband with the fact of their deaths.

Robinson, a 70-year-old retired nurse, testified Monday that she phoned Campione that night. “We carried on a normal conversation. Then she said someone was at the door.”

Robinson said she couldn’t reach Campione the next day on the phone but wasn’t alarmed. Twenty-four hours later - shortly after Campione had called police to tell them her daughters were dead - Robinson heard the sirens, watched cruisers pull up to the building.

She called the superintendent. “I don’t know why but the first thing I asked him was, is Elaine OK?” And then, “Are the girls OK?” Summoning her downstairs, the superintendent told Robinson the children were dead. “I went up to my apartment and burst into tears.’’

Robinson was called as a witness for the prosecution. It was clear, however, that the woman had a warm relationship with Campione prior to the tragic events and still appears to have affection for the accused.

In fact, during the many months between Campione’s arrest and the preliminary hearing, the two women spoke frequently over the phone, the defendant placing her calls from jail, sometimes daily, their conversations occasionally lasting two hours.

In one of those chats, Robinson told court, Campione described how she’d killed the children. “I asked her what happened to the girls. She said she drowned them. They were in the bathtub blowing bubbles. She drowned them by putting their heads in the water. She dried their hair, dressed them and put them down in the big bed, Serena in her blue princess dress and Sophia in her christening gown.

“She spoke very softly. She wasn’t crying. She felt that the children were in a better place.”

Following the preliminary hearing, where Robinson also testified, Campione never phoned her again.

With Robinson on the stand, the defendant’s lawyer, Mary Cremer, referred to statements the witness had made to police in two separate interviews after the murder, pointing out inconsistencies in the timeline and other details between what the neighbour said then and what she recalled Monday.

The witness appeared somewhat confused about when Campione had made the alleged confession to her. But she was firm about the gist of the conversation, as originally repeated to investigators: That Campione said she’d played a game with the girls, telling them to put their heads under water and see who could hold their breath longer.

In another telephone exchange from prison, where she was being held in solitary confinement, Campione mentioned to Robinson a third child, an older son - Damien Leonardo - who’d allegedly been adopted by a couple living in Italy. Her husband’s name is Leonardo Campione. It’s the first the jury has heard of this boy, who may or may not exist. Yet Robinson claimed she’d seen the boy at the apartment building during the year that Campione lived there, after separating from her husband and going to a women’s shelter.

At another point in their telephone conversations, Campione told Robinson that she had performed a strip tease at night for other inmates.

The defence has conceded, before the jury, that 35-year-old Campione “caused the girls to drown’’ but was not sane at the time and shouldn’t be held criminally responsible.

Yet there were echoes, as Robinson recalled for the court, from months earlier that Campione had morbid thoughts on her mind.

In May of 2006, when Robinson asked Campione how she was doing, the defendant replied: “Pretty good for my last day on Earth.’’

The superintendent, who’d overheard the remark, asked Robinson whether he’d understood the comment correctly. Yes, he had, Robinson told him.

That was shortly before Campione made an apparent suicide attempt - her husband calling for an ambulance after receiving a phone call from his wife - and was hospitalized for depression, her in-laws moving in to take care of the children. The family came under the scrutiny of the Children’s Aid Society, but Campione’s daughters were returned to her by early July of 2006. As she wrote in her diary: “GOT US BACK. Your Aunt Mary gave me a real hard time, but I got them back.’’

Campione claimed her husband had hit her and also Serena. The jury has heard Leonardo Campione was at one point charged with assault. Robinson testified Monday that Elaine Campione told her about being hit by her husband but never mentioned that Serena had been struck.

Yet Robinson further recalled Campione telling her she was still in love with her husband, after the separation. “But she was afraid there’d be a custody battle. She didn’t want him to have the children. She wanted to bring them up on her own.’’

On Serena’s third birthday, Robinson noticed Campione was wearing “the most gorgeous outfit.”

Campione told her: “Leo bought me that dress. I’ve never worn it before but Serena wants me to wear it today.’’

Added Robinson: “She looked beautiful.’’

In the defendant’s box Monday, Elaine Campione wore dark trousers and a purple cardigan, her long hair gathered in a single braid falling over her right shoulder.

Before taking the stand, Robinson studied the accused intently, then sighed under her breath: “She’s changed so much…”
Read more at www.simcoe.com

Nashville court to decide who gets insurance money in death of starved baby

Amplify’d from www.tennessean.com
By Erin Quinn • THE TENNESSEAN
• September 30, 2010
An insurance company has asked a Davidson County court to decide who should receive the $20,000 life insurance payout from the January 2008 starvation and hypothermia death of 17-month-old Jerald Hicks Jr.
The toddler's mother, Chisa Hughes, 25, is serving a 30-year prison sentence after she pleaded guilty in July to murder and aggravated child neglect.
Tennessee law prohibits a murderer from inheriting insurance money from the person he/she was convicted of killing.
The child's father, Jerald Hicks Sr., also is charged with murder, aggravated child neglect and aggravated child abuse in connection with his son's death.
Police said Hicks did not have electricity, heat or food in his apartment when the baby died.
He will appear next week in Davidson County Criminal Court.
The boy's grandmother, Katina Ballard, 52, is charged with failure to report child abuse.
Ballard said she bought the life insurance policy through Gerber Life Insurance Co. and paid premiums on it every month but said she forgot to name a beneficiary on the account.
"I took the insurance out," she said. "That's just what you do, naturally. I never expected him to pass away. That was the least of my worries."
Ballard wrote an angry letter telling the insurance company that neither her daughter nor her son-in-law deserve the money.
"They are not to get anything,'' she wrote.
The grandmother said her daughter did not know she had taken out a policy on the child.
Ballard said either she or her 5-year-old granddaughter, LaTarvia Hicks, who she said is being cared for by her paternal grandparents, should receive the insurance money.
The insurance company has asked the Davidson County Circuit Court to decide what to do with the money.
Read more at www.tennessean.com

Couple Arrested After Baby Taken to Hospital with Broken Femurs

 

Jury Gets Up Close Look At Box Where Baby Shannon Found

Amplify’d from www.fosterfollynews.com

Thursday September 30th, 2010
by Kathy Foster
The eight jurors seated in the trial of the State of Florida versus Susan Baker had the opportunity Wednesday to get a good look at the un-vented wooden chest where law enforcement officers found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick on Nov. 4, 2009. 
The box (shown above) was discovered hidden under a hospital bed in a room at the home of Susan Baker.  Giving testimony at Baker's trial Wednesday, Sgt. Kenny Brock with the Washington County Sheriff's Office said the five member team was winding down their search inside the residence when the box was uncovered.
Baker was charged in connection with the October 31, 2009 disappearance of seven month old Shannon Dedrick from her home on Brown Street in Chipley.  Baker was charged with aggravated child abuse, giving false information to law enforcement officers and interference with parental custody after the infant was finally found in a wooden box under a bed in the Baker home.
Attorneys for both the State and the Defense continued to delve into the living conditions of the Dedrick/Mercer household and the couple's apparent lack of parenting skills as they moved into day two of  the trial.
Another of those taking the stand to testify at the trial Wednesday was James Baker (right), husband of Susan Baker.  He said at no time did he know there was a baby in the house. 
Baker said to his knowledge  his wife didn't leave their home the night of Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 ... the night the baby disappeared.  However, he did admit he was a heavy sleeper and might not have known if Susan Baker got out of bed.
Baker said when he got up around 7:30 a.m. the next morning (Oct. 31st) Susan was there and he was sure she hadn't left their property between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. that day. 
According to James Baker,  a Washington County Sheriff's deputy came to their house around 1 p.m. and then they went to the Sheriff's Office in Chipley.
Baker testified that he and his wife were together that night and Sunday when the went to church and then to the Sheriff's Office where they stayed until around 6 p.m.
Baker said he and Susan had been married for over 20 years at the time of the incident, but since then have been divorced.  However, he said they still live together.
Others giving testimony on Wednesday included:
*  Donna Shirley, sister of Susan Baker and Rusty Dedrick and Baby Shannon's aunt.  Shirley stated that she had never seen the baby mistreated and added that Rusty was "Tina's world".
Defense Attorney Rachel Seaton-Virga pointed out to the court that the Dedrick/Mercer residence was not handicap accessible and as such the wheelchair bound Shirley had never seen the inside of the single wide trailer where the family lived and did not know its condition.
*  FBI Special Agent James Stewart (Pensacola) described Susan Baker as very cooperative throughout the investigation and said she agreed to let her home be searched.
*  FBI Special Agent Steve Hooker (Mobile, Alabama) said Susan Baker was generally co-operative when he interviewed her for three hours.
*  Troy Roper, Special Agent in Criminal Investigation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), was another describing Susan Baker as very cooperative and said she had given him a copy of an e-mail she had sent to Governor Charlie Crist attempting to get him involved regarding Baby Shannon's home life.
Roper was part of the five-member team that entered the Baker house the night of Nov. 4, 2009 to search for clues leading to the recovery of the infant. He said he was searching one side of the small 'computer room' where the baby was found, while Investigator Kenny Brock was searching the bed area on the other side of the room.
Roper said the closed box containing the child was shoved to the back area under the bed and he didn't feel there was any way the lid of the box could have been kept open to get air to the baby.
Roper said he remained at the scene to search while others took the baby to Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley.
Seaton-Virga questioned Roper as to why the baby was taken to hospital around 10 p.m., was taken to the sheriff's press conference at 1 a.m. and was then returned to the hospital.
Roper indicated he didn't have that information.  However, he did respond when asked if he had been to the Brown Street address where Dedrick/Mercer lived and described it as "very dirty".
* Washington County Investigator Kenny Brock said he had interviewed both Tina Mercer and Rusty Dedrick on Oct. 31st to get basic information about the baby for a BOLO (Be On The Lookout For).
Brock said during the interviews he saw that Rusty Dedrick was very upset, while Tina Mercer appeared very calm.
Brock said there were similarities in the couple's stories up to the point when the baby went missing and then their stories diverged.
The State Attorneys office played a 45 minute tape of Christian Mercer's initial interview with authorities where she said when she woke up at 9 a.m. she thought baby Shannon was still asleep and she went back to sleep herself.  Then when she work up at 11 a.m. she realized the baby was missing.  She woke Rusty Dedrick and went to check with neighbors before calling 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house.
Brock said he held the baby on the trip to the hospital and stayed with her throughout the subsequent examinations.  He said Shannon's diaper was very dirty and when she was cleaned up they discovered she had a very bad diaper rash.
 The picture to the left was shown in the courtroom and shows Baby Shannon on the examining table at Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley.  Kenny Brock is shown standing beside her.
Read more at www.fosterfollynews.com
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