(WFMJ-TV) Pennsylvania's new laws that just took effect in January, will come into play when a mother accused of a severe case of child abuse comes to trial.
Mary Rader, and her parents Dennis and Deana Beighley, who live together in a home in Greenville could receive as much as 20 years in prison if they are found guilty of aggravated assault and other criminal charges.
Police reports state Rader's seven year old son weighed about 25 pounds and was described as a human skeleton, by doctors.
Attorney Matthew Mangino said state lawmakers toughened Pennsylvania's laws after former Penn State University football coach, Jerry Sandusky, was convicted of abusing 10 boys. In the past teachers, coaches and others were not included in the definition of child abuser. Laws were also expanded to include acts of omission.
"So, if you are in a home where you know a child is being abused and you let that abuse continue, that omission could make you responsible as well," said Mangino.
Although Pennsylvania is one of 10 states without a statute specifically addressing torture, Mangino said the laws have always been a powerful tool that allows the county District Attorney to bring serious charges.
"There are certainly situations where torture wouldn't amount to aggravated assault. In this case, prosecutors are pursuing the most serious charge they can with the most serious penalties that are available," said Mangino.
In addition, people accused of abusing a child can be criminally charged whether or not they intended to harm that child.
The boy has gained significant weight but faces serious hurdles due to the alleged neglect.
A preliminary hearing for Rader and the Beighleys is scheduled for July 30.
The 26th execution of 2014
A convicted murderer in Arizona gasped and snorted for more than 90 minutes after a lethal injection July 23, 2014, his attorneys and witnesses said, dying in a botched execution that prompted the governor to order an investigation and the state Supreme Court to mandate that the materials used in the procedure be preserved, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Joseph Rudolph Wood III's execution almost certainly will reinvigorate the national debate over the death penalty. He received an injection at 1:52 p.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. The execution became so prolonged that reporters witnessing the execution counted several hundred of his wheezes before he was finally declared dead at 3:49 p.m. — nearly two hours after the procedure began.
The incident comes in a year in which lethal injections had already triggered controversy over botched procedures and secrecy.
Wood had fought without success to get more information about the drugs and the expertise of his executioners. His request, which was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, prompted one prominent appellate judge to call for the return of the firing squad.
The Arizona Supreme Court ordered officials to preserve the remaining drugs used in his execution and the drug labels.
Gov. Jan Brewer ordered the state Department of Corrections to conduct a full review, saying she was “concerned” about the length of time it took Wood to die.
“One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner, and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer,” Brewer said in a statement. “This is in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims — and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family.”
Wood, 55, was sentenced to death in 1991 for the August 1989 shooting deaths of his estranged girlfriend, Debra Dietz, and her father, Eugene Dietz, in Tucson.
“This man conducted a horrific murder, and you guys are going, ‘Let's worry about the drugs,'” Richard Brown, Debra Dietz's brother-in-law, told reporters. “Why didn't they give him a bullet, why didn't we give him Drano?”
Wood's last words were to his victims' family, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution: “I take comfort knowing today my pain stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any other day you may find peace in all of your hearts and may God forgive you all.”
It took so long for Wood to die after receiving an injection of midazolam combined with hydromorphone that his attorneys filed emergency appeals to save his life.
“At 1:57 p.m [officials] reported that Mr. Wood was sedated, but at 2:02 he began to breathe,” said the legal filing in federal court from public defender Jon M. Sands. “At 2:03 his mouth moved. Mr. Wood has continued to breathe since that time. He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour. At 3:02 p.m. ... staff rechecked for sedation. He is still alive.”
A Wood attorney also went to the state Supreme Court, which was conducting a hearing by telephone when he was pronounced dead.
The question of whether he suffered divided those who watched the procedure.
Another attorney for Wood, Dale A. Baich, was among them. He said that during the 1 hour and 40 minutes Wood was gasping and snorting, he could not tell whether he was conscious. “There was no sound in the witness room, so we could not hear,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Arizona attorney general's office who was also a witness disputed that. “There was no gasping of air. There was snoring,” Stephanie Grisham said. “He just laid there. It was quite peaceful.”
Wood's execution revived memories of those in Ohio and Oklahoma this year.
Ohio used the same drug combination to execute Dennis McGuire in January. Witnesses said that “McGuire started struggling and gasping loudly for air, making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes, with his chest heaving and his fist clenched.” Ohio executions are on hold while a federal court reviews the state's execution protocol.
Then, in April, Oklahoma murderer Clayton Lockett die bout d of a heart attack 43 minutes after his execution began — and after the state had called off his execution as he writhed and gasped. Details about the lethal drugs and those who administer them are kept secret in many states.
To read more Click Here
Killing people is a brutal and messy business, and if Americans can't deal with that, they shouldn't be condemning people to death, said a top federal judge, according to the website Newser. In a strongly worded dissent in an Arizona lethal-injection case, Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, calls the current system "inherently flawed" and says states that want to execute inmates should return to more "primitive—and foolproof—methods" of execution, NBC reports. "The guillotine is probably best but seems inconsistent with our national ethos," he writes. "And the electric chair, hanging, and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps. The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or 10 large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time."
Kozinski says the switch to lethal injections in the '70s was misguided, the Guardian reports. "Subverting medicines meant to heal the human body to the opposite purpose was an enterprise doomed to failure," he writes, adding that drugs are used "to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful—like something any one of us might experience in our final moments. … But executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality."
The use of a firing squad is not far-fetched. In my book, The Executioner's Toll, 2010 I chronicled the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner whose 2010 execution in Utah was carried out by firing squad.
Jury selection has begun in the murder trial of
Theodore Wafer, a 55-year-old Dearborn Heights, Michigan homeowner charged in the shooting
death of 19-year-old Detroit native Renisha McBride last year and whose case has
grabbed national headlines drawing comparisons to the racially charged Trayvon
Martin case in Florida, reported the Detroit News. Like the Martin case, shooter is
white and a the victim black.
Wafer is charged with
second-degree murder, manslaughter and felony use of a firearm in McBride’s
death. Authorities say Wafer shot McBride in the face with a shotgun as she
knocked on the front door to this home in the early morning on Nov. 2, following
a car accident. The home is on the Dearborn
Heights and Detroit border.
Police say they received a 911 call around 4:42 a.m.
reporting a fatal shooting.
“I just shot somebody on my front porch with a
shotgun, banging on my door,” Wafer said on the 911 call. Wafer’s lawyers have
said he believed McBride was an intruder.
FedEx Corp. was indicted on charges of shipping illegal drugs to online pharmacies that ended up in the hands of dealers and addicts. reported the National Law Journal.
The indictment, brought by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, says FedEx has been shipping controlled substances and misbranded prescription drugs, such as Ambien and Diazepam, for illegal Internet pharmacies since 2000. FedEx continued the activities despite warnings from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and members of Congress in 2004.
“The advent of Internet pharmacies allowed the cheap and easy distribution of massive amounts of illegal prescription drugs to every corner of the United States, while allowing perpetrators to conceal their identities through the anonymity the Internet provides,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. “This indictment highlights the importance of holding corporations that knowingly enable illegal activity responsible for their role in aiding criminal behavior.”
The indictment alleges conspiracy and distribution of controlled substances and misbranded drugs.
According to federal prosecutors, FedEx couriers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia had told senior management they feared for their safety, reporting that customers had stopped their trucks on the road, or jumped on them, demanding pills.
The indictment specifically names two online pharmacies, saying they fill orders without requiring a prescription from a legitimate physician.
Prosecutors want FedEx, which is expected to appear in court on July 29, to forfeit $820 million in proceeds from the illegal shipments, according to the indictment.
Last year, United Parcel Service Inc. settled similar allegations for $40 million. To read more Click Here
Missouri inmate John Middleton was executed on July 16, 2014. His execution for the murders of Alfred Pinegar, Randy Hamilton and Stacey Hodge in Northwest Missouri in 1995 was scheduled to have happened at 12:01 Wednesday morning but was delayed through the day by various court filings.
He died peacefully at 7:06 p.m., strapped to a gurney in the Bonne Terre prison’s death chamber after a frantic two-day effort by his attorneys to save his life.
"You are killing an innocent man,” he said in his last statement.
Middleton barely moved as the lethal injection of pentobarbital was administered, turning his head slightly to the right after looking toward three members of his family when the curtains on the execution chambers windows were opened. He showed no signs of distress or discomfort.
“Nineteen years seems like a long time to wait for justice,” said Michael Black, an uncle of Alfred Pinegar, after the execution, “It’s a lifetime for a little girl who had to grow up without her father…Our family has waited all this time, never forgetting that our son, grandson, uncle, nephew, father and best friend is not with us.”
“In those 19 years, we, as a family, have had to live with the thoughts of John Middleton being able to enjoy a meal, the smell of spring in the air or any number of simple pleasures,” he continued, “These are things that Alfred, Randy and Stacey cannot enjoy . These simple things we cannot share with Alfred.”
Black said he can go to Pinegar’s grave “and tell him it’s done now; he has finally been punished for his crimes.”
Middleton, a methamphetamine user and dealer in northwest Missouri, murdered the three, considering them “snitches” who had informed law enforcement about his meth dealings.
Matthew T. Mangino GateHouse News Service
July 18, 2014
The July Fourth weekend was a bloodbath in Chicago. There were 82 shootings and 16 people killed. The shootings brought unwanted national attention to the nation’s third largest city. The attention was not only unwanted but unwarranted.
A look at FBI crime statistics reveals that Chicago has been at or near the top of U.S. cities in the number of annual murders. In 2012, Chicago got the distinction of being the nation’s “Murder Capital” when the city led the nation with 500 murders. Over the last 30 years, Chicago has been among the top three cities with the most murders.
All of that sounds bad. The raw numbers cast a shadow over the city as though it were a killing zone, and everyone living in Chicago or passing through is in danger. According to the Pew Research Center, about 2.7 million people live in Chicago, more than any other city except New York and Los Angeles. The more people, the more murders. Looking at the total number of homicides in a city is too simplistic. It is unfair to label a city as the murder capital without considering the size and composition of the city.
Adjust the raw numbers for population size and determine the murder rate per 100,000 people, and a Chicago’s violence problem looks very different.
Chicago’s murder rate of 18.5 per 100,000 people came in 21st nationwide. According to Pew, that number nearly quadruples the national average of 4.7 but is nowhere near the highest in the country. Flint, Michigan, had the highest murder rate of any sizeable U.S. city. In 2012, there were 62 murders per 100,000 people.
Although Chicago’s murder rate is still high, the city has shown substantial improvement. In 1994 there were 928 murders in the city. According to the Chicago Tribune, that number has been reduced by more than half. There were 440 murders last year.
A bloody stretch like the July Fourth holiday, and the media frenzy that ensued, reinforces the notion of Chicago as the USA’s murder capital and perpetuates the city’s violent reputation, but as National Public Radio suggested, “It’s a particularly gruesome bit of statistical noise.”
“It was an awful, awful horrific weekend,” Yale University Professor Andrew U. Papachristos told NPR. “But you cannot predict a trend based on a weekend. There are spikes and drops. It never goes down in a straight line.”
In fact, in a paper published last year, “Overview: 48 Years of Crime in Chicago,” Papachristos wrote, “Chicago has seen impressive declines in crime over the last four and a half decades … the overall levels of crime and violence have fallen to record lows.”
Papachristos also points to what he calls “the crime gap” — the huge disparity in homicide rates in different areas of Chicago, which is true for most major cities. “Even though the numbers in Chicago are what they are, the gap between the worst neighborhoods and the best neighborhoods is massive,” he told NPR. Papachristos’ research found that between 2000 and 2010, the murder rate for Jefferson Park on Chicago’s Northwest side was about 3.1 per 100,000 residents. In West Garfield Park, on the West Side, the homicide rate was an astounding 64 per 100,000.
In 2012, there were 14,827 murders nationwide — about two murders an hour. That was a slight increase from 2011 but an unprecedented decrease from the high point of 24,700 in 1991.
Criminologists continue to debate the reason for the decline. Theories abound from a decline in the demand for crack cocaine, technological advancements, policing strategies, incarceration rates, even abortion and the decline of lead in the air.
The bottom line — regardless of how the media portrays it, Chicago — and America — are much safer places than they used to be.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book “The Executioner’s Toll, 2010” was recently released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewTMangino.
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An analysis of crime and punishment from the perspective of a former prosecutor and current criminal justice practitioner.
The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or postions of any county, state or federal agency.