Charlotte Home Invaders Looking for Drug Dealers are Breaking Into Wrong Homes

From http://www.wsoctv.com by Tina Terry, February 28, 2014

CMPD Officers are investigating a string of home invasions over the last several weeks.

They think the suspects were targeting specific people but ended up terrorizing innocent families who lived nearby.

Police: Home invaders break into wrong homes

Police said the first two home invasions happened in a west Charlotte apartment complex on Forestbrook Drive.

They said the two suspects were carrying a gun and kicked in Lilly Minter’s front door.

“We were surprised and shocked because we’re a family and we have two small little children,” said Minter.

Fortunately, she wasn’t home at the time but police reports said the men stole two of her computers worth more than $1,400 then they broke into a nearby apartment where police said Joel Velez lives in.

They believe Velez was dealing drugs out of the apartment and said the crooks were searching for his apartment all along.

“There was a note of marijuana in the apartment. At that time we didn’t have any other issues or evidence,” said Lt. Anderson Royston.

They said Velez was evicted and moved into another apartment complex down the street.

“Less than a week later somebody kicks in and robs home next door to him again,” Royston said.

The innocent family in that home was held up at gunpoint while the thieves stole a cellphone.

Police said they found marijuana, a gun and cash in Velez’s nearby apartment and arrested him.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News they’re rattled.

“It does concern me especially when we have our children here as well,” said

Police said incidents like this happen often. They’re warning neighbors to speak up about possible drug activity before crimes take place.

“This could happen to you. You could be at home minding your business and they come to your house. Luckily nobody got hurt,” said Royston.

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Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

North Carolina Cyberbullying Law Raises Free Speech Concerns

From News14 Charlotte, February 27, 2014 by Shawn Flynn

Whether to protect our kids and teachers or protect our first amendment rights is a question being hotly debated in regards to North Carolina’s new cyberbullying laws.

A small central North Carolina town now finds itself in the center of the debate over cyberbullying.

In fourteen months authorities charged four students across the state with the stricter 2012 cyberbullying law. The first and only conviction happened in Lee County.

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter talked about the cyberbullying conviction and explained a bit about what happened with the student. “The student took several pictures of his teacher and posted on his Facebook page,” he said.

The police report shows the student took pictures of one teacher with him doing a sexually explicit motion behind her and another picture and comment of a different teacher’s backside.

Sheriff Carter said, “Just mischievous conduct. He was suspended from school and charged under the new cyberbullying law.”

They are young people and they make bad decisions, but we don’t think it should be criminalized.

The ACLU fought the passage of this law in 2012 and continues the battle.

Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina Sarah Preston said, “If you’re going to infringe on constitutional rights you want to make sure the law is very clear.” Preston points to words like intimidate or torment, with no clear definition.

The civil liberties group is specifically concerned about a section protecting teachers from bullying by students. Especially the part where it prohibits making statements true or false that intends to provoke.“They’re basically saying it’s not OK to criticize government officials, and they’re teaching students it’s not OK to question authority and we think that sets a bad precedent. It’s a slippery slope,” Preston said. The ACLU said this case is an example of a law gone too far.

The young man pleaded guilty in December and was given a prayer for judgment, which means his record will be cleared if he stays out of trouble.

Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Trial for 2008 Triple Murder Goes to Mecklenburg Jury on February 27, 2014

From NBC Charlotte by Rad Berky, February 27, 2014

The triple murder trial of Justin Hurd is now in the hands of the jury.

The jury listened to five hours of closing arguments by defense lawyers over two days, before getting the case late Friday afternoon.

After they picked a foreman, they were all sent home for the weekend.

During their closing arguments Thursday, the prosecution laid out a theory that Hurd was an enforcer for a New York drug gang and that the murders in 2008 were the result of an effort to collect on a debt.

Reputed drug dealer Kevin Young was shot and stabbed in the home of his girlfriend, Kinshasa Wagstaff, on Patricia Ryan Drive.

Wagstaff’s throat was cut before the home was set on fire.

Hours later, the body of Wagstaff’s niece, Jasmine Hines was found in a ditch next to Young’s Toyota in Huntersville.

Prosecutors told the jury there was DNA evidence that linked Hurd to both crime scenes.

Prosecutors also called two prison informants to testify that they had talked about the murders with Hurd.

But in his closing argument that lasted over two days, defense lawyer Alan Bowman ridiculed the prosecution’s witnesses saying, “No fair minded, rational individual would have chosen those guys for anything.”

Bowman called them jailhouse snitches who only came forward hoping to win favor with prosecutors in return for telling a made-up story.

And Bowman said prosecutors went along with their stories for a reason.

“Because there is a desperation factor in this case and without these two guys, Tweedel-Dee and Tweedel-Dum, this ain’t a case.”

Bowman told the jury not to put any stock in the DNA evidence because it could have been contaminated and there was no record of how long it had been on evidence items.

Hurd did not testify or call any witnesses of his own to testify for him.

He could face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women Shoplifters Taking South Park Stores forThousands

From http://www.wbtv.com By Paul Cameron, February 27, 2014

Attention stores around SouthPark– there are two women shoplifting thousands of dollars worth of clothing from various businesses.

“They think they’ve hit a lot of places, they just can’t pinpoint who they are,” said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson.

We may not know who they are, but we know what they look like– two heavyset women who were chased into the parking lot by employees at the Trysports store in SouthPark.

Detective Cuthbertson says the employees gave chase after they spotted the same two woman who shoplifted in their store three weeks prior.

“They had seen them before and they recognized them from the time they were in there previously.” “They tried to confront them and to get their property back. We don’t recommend that. But they did get a good picture of them.”

They are very clear pictures. One woman is shown in a gray sweatsuit carrying a large brown bag. The other has her eyes closed– why the closed eyes?

“She tried to like hide her face by closing her eyes.”

Yes, she actually thought she could disguise herself by closing her eyes.

“Then they threw all the stuff in the trunk and you know where the tag is, they tried to bend the tag, so they couldn’t see the license tag.”

The employees only saw parts of the lettering on the black, four-door Impala. They weren’t able to get the full plate. And, there was a third woman driving the car.

The Detective says all stores in Charlotte should be on the lookout for these women.

“They should all pay attention in this area (SoutPark). They’ve been spotted in this area several times.”

Reward money is available for information leading to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600 and you don’t have to leave your name.

Published in: on February 27, 2014 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Expert: Justin Hurd’s DNA Found at 2008 Mecklenburg Triple-Murder Scene

 

From The Charlotte Observer by Michael Gordon, February 25, 2014

According to his fellow inmates, Justin Hurd bragged that there were no witnesses to the 2008 triple murder with which he is charged.

But on the eighth day of testimony in Hurd’s capital murder trial, a forensic expert told the jury that Hurd left a little of himself at one of the murder scenes: his DNA.

Shere Enfinger, a DNA specialist with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, told the jury that she matched Hurd’s DNA with a sample taken from a steering wheel of a car related to the case.

HURD_DNA

Sheree Enfinger – Photo by TODD SUMLIN

Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones confirmed during a morning recess that the steering wheel sample was taken from a Toyota Camry found Feb. 4, 2008, in Huntersville, next to one of the victim’s bodies.

Enfinger testified that the odds of someone other than Hurd matching the DNA sample taken from the car are more than 1.22 trillion to 1.

Prosecutors hinted Tuesday that Hurd had a hand in the killing of “Lil’ Nate” Sanders, the man police believe helped Hurd wipe out a north Charlotte household in 2008.

Sanders was gunned down in his hometown of Cincinnati, about seven months after three people were stabbed or shot to death after a Feb. 3, 2008, home invasion on Patricia Ryan Lane in Charlotte.

Jones told the court for the first time that Sanders died only three days after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detective showed his picture to Hurd’s girlfriend in Ohio.

Detective Philip Rainwater, the lead investigator in the Charlotte slayings, testified that he talked to Hurd’s girlfriend on Sept. 23, 2008, in Springfield, Ohio. By then, Hurd and Sanders were suspects in the Charlotte case.

Sanders was fatally shot Sept. 26. He was found wearing a bulletproof vest.

Jones laid out the unusual timing of Sanders’ death while the jury was out of the courtroom. It’s unclear what details, if any, Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin will allow the seven men and five women to hear of the 20-year-old’s killing.

Jones’ comment, though, followed highly disputed testimony Monday from a former jail inmate who told the jury that Hurd confided about his case last year.

“The only one who can put me in North Carolina is dead,” Jimmy Williams said Hurd told him while both were jailed. “He was taken care of a few months after.”

Williams said Hurd told him that the Feb. 4, 2008, deaths of Kevin “Fergie” Young, Kinshasa Wagstaff and Jazmine Hines were “a personal hit out of New York” because Young, a reputed drug dealer “owed some big money.”

‘They made it all up’

Defense attorneys derided the accounts of Williams and fellow jailhouse informant Louis Misenheimer, saying the two career criminals had concocted stories in hopes of striking better deals with prosecutors.

“I think they made it all up,” lead counsel Alan Bowman said during a recess.

Bowman also tried to restrict what prosecutors can say about Sanders’ death. Bowman argued that there is no evidence linking Hurd to Sanders’ murder, and that Ohio authorities indicted another man in 2011. (Cincinnati media reports identify that suspect as Dwayne White.)

Jones responded that he’ll try the case “with the facts I have here.

“… I don’t care what the state of Ohio does.”

If convicted, Hurd faces a possible death sentence. Prosecutors believe Sanders and Hurd drove from Atlanta to Wagstaff’s house at 6002 Patricia Ryan Lane six years ago to commit the crimes. A mutual acquaintance, Antonio Harmon of Cincinnati, said the pair hatched the scheme during meetings that January in the Georgia city.

The disputed link between Hurd and Sander’s death was one of the few highlights in a day that bogged down from the start.

Prosecutors had hoped to have a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police DNA expert link the 35-year-old Hurd to both scenes of the Charlotte murders. But the delays and daylong wrangling forced Ervin to close court for the day shortly after Enfinger was sworn in.

Under questioning by Jones, Enfinger did say she had tested a DNA sample taken from a steering wheel of a car. Prosecutors have said Hurd’s genetic blueprint was found on the wheel of a Toyota parked in Huntersville next to the body of Jazmine Hines. She had been gagged, shot twice and doused with gasoline.

Wagstaff was her aunt; Young was Wagstaff’s live-in boyfriend. They were found bound in the burning wreckage of Wagstaff’s home. She had five stab or slash wounds to her throat. Young had been stabbed and shot. Prosecutor believe whoever killed them then set the house on fire.

Under Bowman’s questioning, Rainwater shared further details about what investigators found at the home, including a significant amount of live ammunition. Reading from a police report, Bowman described a “shovel filled with live rounds” under a dresser in an upstairs bedroom.

In a nearby storage locker leased by either Wagstaff or Young, police say they found a handgun, a stolen motorcycle and 5 pounds of marijuana.

Rainwater also acknowledged that police questioned a Charlotte man in connection with the killings who had taken part in a shootout with Young in 2007.

The detective testified that he had been told Isahai Ellington had vowed “to finish what he started” with Young a year earlier.

Rainwater later told the jury that he had no evidence tying Ellington to the three deaths.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/02/26/4725059/expert-justin-hurds-dna-found.html#storylink=cpy
Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

2 Teens Charged on February 25, 2014 Southwest Charlotte Robbery, Carjacking

From The Charlotte Observer by Steve Lyttle, February 26, 2014

Two teens who were arrested Tuesday, February 25, 2014 afternoon in connection with a home burglary now have been linked to a Monday night, February 24, 2014, robbery and carjacking in southwest Charlotte, according to police.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said JaJuan Arnold, 18, and Kaevon Leonard, 17, face a number of charges in the two cases.

JaJuan Arnold, 18.
Kaevon Leonard, 17.
A tip from a neighbor led police to the 12200 block of Savannah Garden Drive about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. The neighbor reported seeing two people carrying a television set behind a home.Police said they found Arnold and Leonard in possession of items taken from the home on Savannah Garden Drive. They were taken to police headquarters for questioning.

That is when detectives linked the men to an incident about 8:30 p.m. Monday, February 24, 2014, when a man said he was approached by two men in the 8800 block of Crump Road. The man said he had just gotten off the light rail system and was getting into his car when the men came up.

The victim said the men robbed him and then took his vehicle. Police found the vehicle several hours later with nobody inside.

In connection with the Monday incident, Arnold and Leonard were charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. They also were charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering and conspiracy to commit breaking and entering. Those stem from the Tuesday incident on Savannah Garden Drive.

Police ask that anyone with information about the suspects contact Crime Stoppers, 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.com.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/02/26/4724889/2-teens-charged-in-sw-charlotte.html#storylink=cpy
Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Officers Arrest 3 Men for February 24, 2014 East Charlotte Murder

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 26, 2014

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested three people in connection to an East Charlotte murder last Monday, February 24, 2014.

Police charged Jose Mannuel Sosa, Edwin Medel and Lindy Kompeak Hoeun in the murder of Tony Van Tran.

The shooting happened Monday, February 24, 2014 on Northgate Trail Drive around 6:30 p.m. According to police, there were multiple shots fired in the area.

Police said when they arrived on the scene they found shell casings but no victim.  Carolinas Medical Center later called authorities after a gunshot victim arrived for treatment.

Tran, 26, died a short time later at the hospital.

Police said the three suspects knew Tran and were conducting a drug transaction when he was murdered.

Sosa, Medel and Hoeun were all charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of armed robbery.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mecklenburg Jurors in 2008 Triple Murder Trial Hear From Hurd’s Jailhouse Friend

From News 14 Carolina by Kate Gaier, February 24, 2014

Jurors in the Justin Hurd murder trial heard from one witness who says the killings were a personal hit, ordered from New York, and it was about drugs and money. The witness says he and Hurd became friends in jail. Hurd is charged with killing Kevin Young, Kinshasha Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines in February of 2008.

Hurd came face to face with a former inmate who says the two were friends. Jimmy Williams says they became friends in jail, playing cards and basketball almost every day. Williams says Hurd came to him asking legal questions.

“If they didn’t have no physical evidence or witness, how would that portray my case?” said jailhouse friend Jimmy Williams.

He says Hurd began opening up about his case. Williams says he told him the murders of Kevin Young, Kinshasha Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines were a personal hit ordered from New York. And it was all over drugs and money.

“He said that he was an enforcer. He said when people owed money that they had to be dealt with, personally,” said Williams.

Williams says Hurd told him there were no witnesses because the other killer, Nate Sanders, was “taken care of” a few months later. And Hurd said innocent people died, but that was all part of the business.

“He said I tried to dispose of the body by putting them in the fire, burn them in the house fire. He said I tried to destroy all the evidence,” said Williams.

The defense spent a large part of the day questioning Williams and his credibility. They asked him about his past convictions in state and federal court, and his beliefs about the government. They also asked about him about his motive for testifying.

So far Williams is the only witness the defense has questioned at length.

Late in the afternoon jurors heard from a forensic chemist. He tested different debris collected from the burned home on Patricia Ryan Drive.

He said they all tested positive for gasoline.

Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Father Confesses to Abusing, Killing Son on February 9, 2014

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 24, 2014

Charlotte-Mecklemnburg Police have charged a father after they say he confessed to abusing his son.

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police the investigation began February 9. When authorities arrived to the home on Cedar Creek Lane, they found  2-year-old Jackobie Morgan unresponsive.

The toddler was transported to Carolinas Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased.

The Medical Examiner’s Office determined Jackobie had been physically assaulted, which led to his death.

Nearly two weeks later, investigators said Jackobie’s father, Travis Jamell Pemberton, confessed to physically assaulting the child.  Pemberton is now charged with murder, felony child abuse.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective.

Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

FBI: Gun Sales at All-Time High, Violent Crime Down

According to FBI statistics, the increase in gun sales coincides with a decrease in crime: “All offenses in the category of violent crime” fell during the first six months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012

From The New American by Raven Clabough, February 21, 2014

The Obama administration’s unfriendly stance toward the Second Amendment has had the opposite effect on the American people, who have been purchasing guns in record numbers. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. reportedly put out a record number of firearms in 2012, according to government data.

Gun Production Continues to Rise

Bloomberg News writes, “More than 8.57 million guns were produced in 2012, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Almost as many guns — 26.1 million — were produced during Democrat Barack Obama’s first term as president as during the entire eight-year presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, the ATF shows.”

The data seem to confirm a trend that more people purchase guns under Democratic administrations than Republican ones, since Democratic presidents are more likely to restrict firearms sales than Republicans. For example, following the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012 and the Aurora movie theater shooting, President Obama pushed for stricter gun measures.

Unfortunately for the president, his efforts have had the opposite effect than those intended. Immediately after the tragic December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun sales soared and companies such as Smith & Wesson and Sturm & Ruger enjoyed significant production increases.

According to the Washington Times, monthly gun purchase background checks set an all-time peak in the same month as the Newtown shooting. But the shooting did little to slow that process, as the next four highest monthly totals for the national background check system all followed the 2012 shooting, in 2013.

“2013 was the best year for firearm sales (commercial, domestic) in history — period! That’s true for NH to Hawaii,” said Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association in Rindge, N.H. “Ruger alone sold well over one million guns this year.”

Some gun advocates even joked that President Obama is the gun industry’s best salesman.

“Barack Obama is the stimulus package for the firearms industry,” said Dave Workman, senior editor of Gun Mag, a publication of the 2nd Amendment Foundation, a gun-ownership rights group. “The greatest irony of the Obama administration is that the one industry that he may not have really liked to see healthy has become the healthiest industry in the United States.”

Following President Obama’s re-election in 2012, shares of Smith & Wesson increased 9.6 percent, while those for Sturm Ruger & Co. rose 6.8 percent. These increases followed an announcement by President Obama that he would consider reintroducing a ban on civilian purchases of military-style assault weapons.

Even worse for the Obama administration, the increase in gun sales coincides with a decrease in crime, according to FBI statistics, which report, “All offenses in the category of violent crime” fell during the first six months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012.

The data show that murders declined by 6.9 percent, forcible rape declined by 10.6 percent, aggravated assaults decreased by 6.6 percent, and robbery offenses dropped by 1.8 percent.

Second Amendment opponents assert that the increasing sales are a result of gun-rights groups “demoniz[ing]” Barack Obama during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Brian Malte, senior policy director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, states, “We see the percentage of households owning guns declining, and that indicates that those who already own guns are buying more of them.”

However, history reveals that President Obama is not the only Democratic president to witness the rise in gun production. Under President Bill Clinton, more than 33 million guns were manufactured, reports Bloomberg News, nearly five million more than were produced under George H.W. Bush’s presidency.

But Mike Bazinet, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, notes other causes for the rise in gun demand, including Supreme Court decisions that have struck down gun restrictions, new laws permitting people to carry concealed weapons, and the growing popularity of sport shooting.

The American people have been given significant cause for concern regarding their Second Amendment rights, reveal investigations into the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal.

Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee that is leading the investigation into the scandal, told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that pertinent e-mails revealed the agenda of the operation was to advocate for greater gun control, not, as was alleged, to pursue criminal prosecutions of drug cartel members.

According to CBS News, “ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called ‘Demand Letter 3.’ That would require some US gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or ‘long guns.’ ”

An e-mail from ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait to ATF Phoenix Special Agent Bill Newell, who was in charge of Fast and Furious, showed Chait asking Newell for “anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales” based on sales included in Fast and Furious.

In addition to these revelations, an article for Investors.com observed that citizens “clinging to their guns” have legitimate concerns:

Less than 24 hours after President Obama’s re-election, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations helped move the U.N.’s Arms Control Treaty a step closer to enactment. America joined 157 other nations in voting Wednesday to finalize the treaty in March. None was opposed and there were 18 abstentions.

U.N. delegates and gun-control activists had complained that talks collapsed in July largely because Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney if his administration was seen as openly supporting the pact. But once the election was over, the Obama administration had more flexibility to pull the trigger on supporting the pact.

And in 2013, the Obama administration had been accused of attempting to crowd out private consumers in the ammunition market after it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security had bought up to 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.

Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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