11:03 AM EDT 12/11/2013
Originally posted 12/10/2013 12:40PM
The murder trial of a Montana woman accused of pushing her new husband to his death began with the jury seeing a smiling Cody Johnson, looking dapper in a blue shirt and striped tie.
That photograph was replaced minutes later with one of Johnson's body lying face-down in a pool of water at the bottom of a cliff in Glacier National Park.
There were no witnesses to what happened the night of July 7, when Johnson and Jordan Graham argued over their 8-day-old marriage at a popular spot in the park, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean told jurors Monday in a Missoula, Mont., courtroom.
Originally posted 12/04/2013 02:50PM
Steven King II and Angela Steinfurth pleaded guilty Tuesday in the killing of her 18-month-old daughter, whose remains were found in a box in a garage three months after she was reported missing.
Prosecutors said the mother tossed the toddler across her bedroom in early June because she wouldn't stop crying, severely injuring the girl.
King, the 24-year-old ex-boyfriend, told a Toledo judge that he had found the girl, Elaina Steinfurth, injured in her bedroom and that he tried to resuscitate her. He said he then covered her mouth until she stopped breathing and put her in a bag.
The girl's remains were found in September in the rafters of a garage that belongs to King's family.
Originally posted 11/25/2013 05:45PM
Why Adam Lanza went on his murderous shooting rampage at a Newtown elementary school is a mystery and may never be known, prosecutors said Monday in a report that closed out their yearlong investigation.
Lanza, 20, was obsessed with mass murders and the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in particular, but investigators found no evidence he ever told others of his intentions to carry out such an attack, according to the summary report by the lead investigator, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III.
Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. He also shot his mother to death inside their home before driving to the school, and committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived.
Originally posted 11/25/2013 08:30AM
In October 2009, Joseph McStay excitedly e-mailed a friend about the house he and his wife had purchased in the San Diego suburb of Fallbrook, Calif. He boasted it had a "loft/game room & big yard for kids to go crazy," referring to their rambunctious preschoolers, Gianni and Joe Jr. "Love it."
So when the family seemingly disappeared four months later without telling any relatives, friends or business associates, and their car turned up four days later at the Mexican border, many people who knew them feared the worst.
"My fear is that I'm looking for two adult shallow graves and ... my two nephews' crosses," Joseph's kid brother, Michael, told the Orange County Register a few weeks after the Feb. 4, 2010, disappearance.
Originally posted 11/23/2013 05:30PM
Is she a victim or a cold-blooded killer?
That's the question being asked about psychology professor Norma Patricia Esparza, who was taken into custody in Orange County, Calif., last week for the 1995 murder of Gonzalo Ramirez.
Prosecutors say that eight years ago, Esparza, then a student at Pomona College, went to a bar with a group that included her boyfriend and pointed out a man who she said had raped her.
That man's body was later found dumped on a nearby road.
Originally posted 11/21/2013 12:55PM
Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel was granted bail Thursday and expected to be released from prison while prosecutors in Connecticut appeal a ruling giving him a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley.
Skakel, the 53-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel, touched his hand to his chest and looked back at his supporters in the courtroom, his brothers among them, as the judge set bail at $1.2 million. He has been in prison more than 11 years on a sentence of 20 years to life but his lawyers said bail would be posted immediately – meaning that he would be freed shortly after the hearing in Stamford Superior Court.
Originally posted 11/16/2013 07:00PM
Four skeletons found in shallow graves in the Southern California desert are believed to be those of a San Diego County family that vanished three years ago, police said Friday, resolving one mystery and raising a host of new questions about what happened to the seemingly happy couple and their two young sons.
The McStay family – Joseph, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their sons Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3 – were apparent homicide victims, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.
Originally posted 11/13/2013 02:45PM
Did Jordan Graham blindfold her newlywed husband, Cody Lee Johnson, before allegedly shoving him off a cliff to his death in Montana's Glacier National Park?
That's what federal prosecutors believe happened, according to a new court filing by Graham's defense team.
"In support of this new theory, the government is awaiting DNA test results being run on a piece of cloth found on a shoal in the river in the same general vicinity as where Cody's body was recovered," says the motion by Michael Donahoe, a senior litigator with the Montana federal defender's office.
Originally posted 11/11/2013 02:05PM
Moments before the guilty verdict was read against her father Martin MacNeill in a hushed Provo, Utah, courtroom just after 1 a.m. Saturday, his daughter Alexis Somers was already overcome with emotion.
"My whole body was trembling, I was so nervous and scared," says Somers, 31, who led a five-year crusade to get her father convicted of murdering her mother, Michele, 50. "My aunts and I were just clinging to each other. We had no idea how the verdicts would turn out."
As a court clerk announced the two guilty verdicts – for murder and obstruction of justice – Somers, her sister and aunts, cried out with relief as MacNeill, 57, stood at the defendant's table, stone-faced.
"It was a collective gasp," says Somers, whose chest heaved with emotion in the courtroom. "We'd been living in fear of our father for so long. He'd threatened to destroy us for standing up to him. To finally get justice for our mom was overwhelming."
Originally posted 11/02/2013 07:50AM
The father of the young man suspected of carrying out Friday's fatal shooting at Los Angeles International Airport called his local police chief around the time of the shooting to report that his son had sent a suicidal text message to a sibling and he needed to find him, a New Jersey police chief said.
Paul Ciancia, the owner of an auto-body shop in southern New Jersey and father of the 23-year-old suspect of the same name, called Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings in the early afternoon to tell him one of his children had received a text message from the younger Ciancia "in reference to him taking his own life," the chief told The Associated Press.
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