February 5, 2007

Man Charged With Murder of 18-Year-Old's Unborn Child

A man was charged with the murder of his girlfriend’s unborn child after she miscarried within hours of being brutally beaten by him inside an apartment elevator.

Dino Scott, 20, was charged on Tuesday with third-degree assault and with second-degree murder of an unborn child, according to Ramsey County prosecutors.

Namrata Ceisel, Scott’s 18-year-old girlfriend, miscarried just hours after being beaten unconscious by Scott. A security camera captured the entire incident, which took place after 7 a.m. Sunday inside an elevator at the Maple Pond Homes, 1854 Beebe Rd. in Maplewood, where Scott’s father lives.

Scott was apparently aware that he was on camera during the entire beating, according to Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner. “He obviously knew the camera was there,? Gaertner said. “He obviously assumed the camera was working. He went ahead and brutally assaulted his girlfriend anyway. That’s very brazen and despicable.?

Scott smirked and displayed his middle finger to the camera before he began to assault Ceisel, according to the criminal complaint. The report then describes the grisly beating: “For 20 seconds, he continually punches and kicks Ms. Ceisel until she appears to be knocked unconscious. Mr. Scott can be seen dragging Ms. Ceisel’s limp body off of the elevator by one arm.?

The criminal complaint also reports that Scott returned a minute after the beating to wipe the blood from the elevator walls. No motive for the beating was given in the complaint.

Ceisel was listed as being in stable condition at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, doctors said Tuesday. Doctors at St. John’s told investigators that Ceisel had been 12 weeks pregnant and that the miscarriage was a direct result of the beating.

Scott was charged under a law that acknowledges a separate victim in cases involving acts of violence against women who are pregnant, Gaertner said.

Since its enactment in 1986 four people have been charged in Ramsey County under the statute. Ceisel represents the county’s first case in which the mother survived.

Death Penalty Will Not Be Sought for New Orleans Police Officers

If convicted, four New Orleans police officers charged with murder in shootings that took place in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will not face the death penalty, a prosecutor said.

Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius Jr., Officer Anthony Villavaso II, and former officer Robert Faulcon Jr. are being charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder for their involvement in a Sept. 5, 2005 shooting which left two dead and four wounded.

During the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina police shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man, and James Brissette, 19, on the Danziger Bridge.

Madison’s brother, Lance Madison, was on the bridge at the time of the shooting and was arrested on charges of attempted murder. He was later cleared of all charges after serving a month in jail.

Three other officers are also facing charges for their involvement in the shooting. Robert Barrios and Mike Hunter Jr. were charged with attempted first-degree murder, and Officer Ignatius Hills was charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Six of the officers were allowed to continue workings and returned to low-profile jobs on Monday. They are not allowed to wear uniforms, carry weapons, or make arrests, and are being monitored by ankle bracelets.

The family of Madison is outrage with the decision to allow the officers to continue working.

"My brother Lance has still not been able to return to work," said Lorna Humphries, sister of Madison. "It's been hard on him. First he watched his brother gunned down then he was arrested. He's been out of work 17 months now, but the police are back. Is that fair?"

Romell Madison, another Madison brother, called on Wednesday for Mayor Ray Nagin to overturn the police superintendent’s decision to allow the officers to return to work.

International Fugitive Caught During Routine Traffic-Stop

A routine traffic-stop in New York led to the arrest of an international fugitive from Ecuador, who is suspected in the deaths of a politician and two others.

Police in Palenville, New York pulled over Christian Steven Ponce, 36, of Quito, Ecuador, on Saturday for not wearing his seatbelt, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

When police ran a license and warrant check on Ponce they discovered that he was wanted in Ecuador for triple homicide. He was arraigned in Catskill Town Court and is being held in jail without bail as he awaits extradition.

Ponce, along with two associates, was suspected of fatally shooting former Ecuadorean presidential candidate Jaime Hurtado on Feb. 17, 1999, in Quito. Pablo Vicente Tapia, Hurtado's nephew, and their bodyguard, Wellington Borja Nazareno were also killed in the shooting.

Ponce was arrested two days after the shooting and shortly afterwards fled from Ecuador.

121 Killed by Suicide Bomber in Baghdad

As many as 121 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a market in a
Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday. The bomber drove a food-supply truck into a crowded, outdoor market and then detonated a ton of explosives.

The blast, which occurred sometime in the late afternoon, destroyed stores and market stalls. In addition to the 121 people killed, an additional 226 were wounded, according to police and hospital officials.

The attack was the latest in a series of attacks aimed at Shiite commercial areas in Baghdad. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, officials suspect that it was the work of Sunni insurgents.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki released a statement in which he blamed the attack on "Saddamists and taqfiris," which are Sunni extremists.

"The forces of terror and evil have united together against our dear Iraqi people," he said. "We were shocked today, and so were all Iraqis and honest people around the world by this despicable crime."

The death toll is expected to rise, according to Maj. Gen. Jihad al-Jabiri of the Interior Ministry. "There are still bodies under the rubble." Al-Jabiri said.

Intruder Kills Two Family Members and Wounds a Third

Two members of a Waseca family were killed and a third wounded by an intruder at their farmhouse Saturday morning. After responding to a 911 call reporting an intruder at 3:23 a.m., police found Tracy Kruger, 40, and his 13-year-old son, Alec, dead at their family farmhouse located 6 miles south of Waseca.

Hilary Kruger, 41-year-old wife and mother, was found wounded at the scene. She was listed to be in critical condition at North American Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where she was flown Saturday.

When Alec called 911 he informed the dispatcher that there was an intruder on the property. Shortly after, the dispatcher heard gunshots in the background and the line went dead, according to Waseca County Attorney Paul Dressler. It is believed that the family had been shot, though autopsies have yet to confirm this, Dressler said.

A younger son of the Krugers was spending the night at a friend’s house when the killings occurred and is now reported to be in a state of utter shock, a sheriff’s official said.

Investigators began questioning a man Saturday evening who was connected to a vehicle found at the Krugers’ farmhouse. The man is believed to be a stranger to the Kruger family, investigators said. He was linked to a pickup truck which was found in a ditch outside the farmhouse on 320th Avenue.

Authorities believe that the man stole the truck from one of the Krugers’ neighbors. The truck was found about 10 to 15 miles away in Byron Township in southern Waseca County. A sports-utility vehicle belonging to the Krugers was also found in the ditch.

The man was taken into custody for questioning in Byron Township Saturday morning. No information was given as to whether or not an arrest was made.

January 29, 2007

Navy Ends Search for Missing Crewmembers

The Navy called off the search for three missing crewmembers of a Navy helicopter that crashed in the ocean last Friday. The helicopter crashed about 50 miles off of California’s southern coast during a training mission, killing one sailor and leaving three others missing.

The Navy searched for the remaining crew members through the night and into Saturday afternoon before putting an end to the search. "The cold water temperature and the time that elapsed since the crash occurred led Navy officials to conclude that aircrew survivability is extremely unlikely," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Meydenbauer.

The Navy knows the location of the sunken helicopter, which went down at about 4:30 p.m. CST Friday, but they are unsure of whether or not the wreckage will be recovered, Meydenbauer said.

The helicopter was based at the Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, and was on a mission off the USS Bonhomme Richard at the time of the crash. According to a Navy spokesperson, the pilot radioed a Mayday, but gave no indications of mechanical malfunctions or a fire.

The names of the sailors onboard the copter have not yet been released, pending family notification.

Wisconsin Man Scheduled to Leave Hospital After 16-Story Fall

The Wisconsin man who fell 16 stories from a hotel window in downtown Minneapolis is expected to return home from the hospital on Saturday.

Joshua Hanson, 29, fell from a window on the 17th floor of the Hyatt Regency on Nicollet Avenue at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 20.

Hanson, who survived the fall with a broken leg and a collapsed lung, will go home to his parents’ house in Blair, Wis., where he co-owns and operates a sports-bar.

Hanson is breathing on his own, talking, walking with assistance, and undergoing physical therapy, said Nancy Kindschy, Hanson’s aunt. He is expected to make a full recovery in an unspecified amount of time, Kindschy said.

Oakdale Man Killed in House Fire

A 61-year old man died Saturday morning while trying to escape from a house fire in Oakdale.
A neighbor saw smoke billowing from the mobile home located on Scarlet Oak East in the Whispering Oaks Manufactured Home Community and called 911 around 9:30 a.m.

When firefighters and police arrived at the scene the mobile home was in flames. "There was fairly significant flames when the officer and firefighters first arrived," said Oakdale Police Sgt. Jack Kettler. Firefighters found the man lying unconscious within a few feet from his door and pulled him out of the burning house. They attempted to revive him with CPR but were unsuccessful, Kettler said.

Investigators believe that the fire started in the kitchen around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, though the official cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

The victim’s name has not yet been released, pending notification of the family.

At Least 250 Insurgents Killed by Iraqi and U.S. Forces

Iraqi and U.S forces have killed at least 250 insurgents in the Shiite city of Najaf during heavy fighting on Sunday, according to an Iraqi interior ministry official. The insurgents killed were part of a group of about 600 gunmen who were stationed outside of the Shiite holy city.

According to officials the gunmen were planning to take control of Najaf and to kill Shia clerics including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

During the fighting the gunmen fired a missile at a U.S helicopter causing it to crash just north of the city, killing two American soldiers, the U.S military said.

At least three Iraqi security forces were killed and 15 others wounded in Sunday’s fighting, Iraqi police Col. Ali Jraiwi said.

Heavy fighting still continues today in Najaf, which is located about 100 miles south of Baghdad.

Sword-Wielding Teen Shot to Death by Police

A high school student and his mother are dead and three others injured after a sword attack involving police in Huron, S.D. John Gilchrist, a 16-year-old sophomore at Huron High School, was shot to death by police after attacking an officer with a sword early Friday morning. The officers then searched the home to find the body of the boy’s mother, Betty Gilchrist, 49.

Four Huron police officers arrived at 1461 McDonald Drive at 5:48 a.m. in response to a 911 call. At the home they found Josh’s 14-year old sister, Rebekah Gilchrist, injured with cuts to her arms and hands.

Police then encountered Josh Gilchrist who, according to officers on the scene, was wielding a three-foot long sword. Gilchrist then turned on the police and struck officer Dan Kight multiple times with the sword, prompting two of the officers to open fire on Gilchrist, killing him.

After shooting Gilchrist police found the dead body of the boy’s mother and an injured foreign-exchange student who had been living with the family.

Kight, 34, was treated for his injuries at Huron Clinic and released. The foreign-exchange student was treated at Huron Regional Medical Center and released.

Rebekah Gilchrist was taken to a hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. “To all those concerned and praying for Bekah, she is stable and improving with non- life-threatening injuries," her father, Jon Gilchrist, said.

The two officers who fired their guns are on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation by South Dakota authorities. No motive for the attacks is known at this time.