08:11 PM EDT 03/10/2014
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.
Originally posted 11/01/2013 01:15PM
A medical examiner testified he was unable to prove how the wife of a Utah doctor charged with murder died, possibly complicating an eventual decision by jurors in the case.
The witness, Todd Grey, said Thursday that Michele MacNeill's heart may have stopped beating because of a combination of heart disease and drug toxicity, and that it was possible the 50-year-old woman drowned in a bathtub where she was found.
"I didn't believe I had enough to justify homicide," Grey testified about his finding in the case involving defendant Martin MacNeill.
Originally posted 10/30/2013 05:00PM
A second mistress of Martin MacNeill's calmly took the stand in his first-degree murder trial Wednesday in a Provo, Utah courtroom, and revealed he once told her a chilling detail when they were intimate.
"You know, how after you have sex and you're laying there and you feel close and talk a little more open?" testified Anna Osborne Walthall, 48, whose affair with MacNeill lasted about seven months in 2005 after they briefly worked together. "It was like that."
Osborne Walthall, who once ran a laser-hair removal business in Salt Lake City for which MacNeill was an advisor, said MacNeill told her he knew about a substance that could induce an "undetectable" heart attack that would make the incident appear natural.
Originally posted 10/25/2013 12:15PM
According to court documents released Friday in Boulder, Colo., a grand jury voted in 1999 to indict the parents of murdered 6-year-old beauty pageant winner JonBenét Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death and of being accessories to a crime.
The indictment alleges that between Christmas Day and Dec. 26, 1996, John and Patsy Ramsey "unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and feloniously permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child's life or health," which resulted in her death.
But the release of the documents is somewhat of a red herring. Seventeen years after the nation was shocked by news that the precocious pageant queen had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted, JonBenét's case is still considered unsolved.
Originally posted 10/24/2013 09:00AM
With a new trial ordered for Michael Skakel, a defense lawyer for the Kennedy cousin serving time in the 1975 slaying of a neighbor said he will seek his release from prison on bond.
Skakel's conviction was set aside Wednesday by a Connecticut judge, Thomas Bishop, who ruled that Skakel's trial attorney failed to adequately represent him when he was found guilty in 2002. Bridgeport State's Attorney John Smriga said prosecutors will appeal the decision.
Skakel's current attorney, Hubert Santos, said he expects to file a motion for bail on Thursday. If a judge approves it, Skakel could then post bond and be released from prison.
"We're very, very thrilled," Santos said. "I always felt that Michael was innocent."
Originally posted 10/18/2013 11:35AM
A model of the bathtub a former beauty queen died in took center stage inside a Utah courtroom Friday as her husband stands trial on charges of killing her after convincing her to get a facelift she didn't want, then giving her a lethal combination of prescription drugs and helping her into the bath.
Prosecutors hoped to haul the actual bathtub into court for a demonstration of Michele MacNeill's death, but a model was used instead, according to CNN. The trial will continue with testimony from neighbors, police and paramedics who arrived at the couple's home to find Martin MacNeill's wife comatose.
Prosecutors are trying to portray MacNeill, a former doctor, as a lying, manipulative husband who plotted his wife's death to carry on an affair with his mistress, Gypsy, who the doctor invited to his wife's funeral and asked to marry him weeks later. They said he pressed the plastic surgeon for drugs she didn't need and then gave her the fatal dose.
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