October 2012 Archives

Gang Leader Accused of Coercing Witnesses, charged

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Convicted gang leader Lamonte Rydell Martin, 17, was charged Monday for masterminding a network of intimidation against witnesses who had testified against
Martin at his 2007 trial, telling them to recant their stories, news sources report.

Martin was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole in 2007, Pioneer Press reports. He also made his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court and they rejected him. Martin, along with nine others, resorted to bribes, intimidation and violence, prosecutors claim, Pioneer Press reports.

"Witnesses to the 2006 murder were repeatedly beaten up and threatened; one person had his neck slit. Another was told his children would be killed if he didn't recant trial testimony." Martin's mother and his companions paid or promised thousands of dollars in return, Star Tribune reports.

Martin's mother was taken into custody Saturday and will be charged with being an accomplice and allegedly put money into one of the witnesses' prison accounts, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said at a news conference announcing the charges, Pioneer Press reports.

In a ruling this past summer by the U.S. Supreme Court, "life without parole for juveniles amounts to cruel and unusual punishment". Minnesota is reviewing cases of seven juveniles facing such sentences, including Martin's conviction in 2007 for the killing of 19-year-old Christopher Lynch, Star Tribune reports.

"Martin has now been charged with 12 new felony counts, including bribery, witness tampering and crimes committed in association with a criminal gang," Star Tribune reports.

Marriage amendment signs disappear

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With the election approaching, the main targets this year are lawn signs pertaining to the marriage amendment, with continual theft and vandalism of the signs on both sides of the issue, news sources report.

Sign thefts happen in almost every election, but the marriage amendment is an issue that seems to irritate many people, resulting in new levels of sign theft and intimidation. "There is no statewide tally, but police, citizens and advocacy groups say sign thefts are soaring," Pioneer Press reports.

So far this political season, 33 cases of stolen signs have been reported in Woodbury. That is dramatic increase from the last presidential election where Woodbury police reported one theft of a sign, Pioneer Press reports

Based on the letters to the editor at the Star Tribune, they've been receiving almost daily reports of newly victimized signs. Most pertaining to the marriage amendment, Star Tribune reports.

In Herb Goetsch's neighborhood, lawn signs change almost every day. He worries about what the vandalizers will result to next, "are they going to start breaking windows, harming our property or physically harming us?" Pioneer Press reports.

St. Paul police kill drug suspect in St. Paul neighborhood

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St. Paul police shot and killed a man under investigation, after trying to pull over his car Tuesday in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood, news sources report.

The man, whose identity was not released by police, was pulled over and took "evasive action towards the officers," said St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos, Star Tribune reported.

"It was at that time that officers thought their life was in jeopardy," Paulos said. He declined to elaborate on the driver's actions or whether he was armed, Star Tribune reported.

Minneapolis police Sgt. William Paulson said that the department asked St. Paul police to stop the car in association with a drug investigation, Pioneer Press reported. About a dozen armed officers from both departments were at the scene when the shooting occurred, Star Tribune reported.

Two other men, who had been taken from the back seat, were handcuffed and placed on the curb, witnesses said. They're being detained for questioning, Pioneer Press reports.

Analysis: Wisc. man accused of shooting 7, killing 3 at spa

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"Police: Wis. man accused of shooting 7..."
The writer summarized the important information (gunman, injured/killed, Wisconsin) in the lead, and the nut graph went in to the details of the account and end of the search.

The proximity of the shooting is important in these stories and how it affected people. The writer summarized this right in the beginning for the reader. I thought it was interesting how the next bit of information relayed the step-by-step story of events. The writer assumed the readers would be interested in how exactly the shooting happened rather than the gunman's background. Although, this was effective because the shooting is the breaking news while the gunman's criminal background isn't.

The writer next went into detail about the criminal background of the shooter and what happened days before the event, inferring this could possibly a motive for the shooter.
I didn't think it was effective to have a witness halfway through the story. The quote:

"A witness, David Gosh of nearby West Allis, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was returning from duck hunting with his father and a friend when he saw a woman emerge from the spa, screaming, as she ran into traffic." "She ran right out into the street was pounding on cars," Gosh told the newspaper. Moments later, a man with a handgun ran out. He appeared to be chasing the woman but then went back inside, Gosh said"
This as a whole could be more effective earlier in the story to add some drama. Readers love drama.

After this quote and attribution, another one appears in the story about the lockdown at the mall. This was great in telling the readers how the shooting indirectly affected others who weren't outside or in the spa.

Overall, the information went from facts and statements from police and other important institutions, to the background of the shooter, and ending with eyewitness accounts and updates on the injured. This was effective story telling, but I would have moved the witness account earlier in the story to create a better effect.

Wis. man accused of a spa shooting; injuring 7, killing 4

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A Wisconsin man shot 7 seven women, killing three, in a rampage shooting in a spa near Brookfield, Wis. Sunday, news sources report.

The shooting took place at approximately 11:15 a.m, when the suspected gunman, Radcliffe Haughton of Brown Deer, Wis., 45, came came in looking for his wife who worked there and started shooting, Star Tribune reports.

This set off a confusing, six-hour search for the gunman that locked down a nearby mall, hospital, and country club. He was later found dead in the spa, Star Tribune reports.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a restraining order requested by Haughton's wife was issued against him on Thursday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Haughton was previously accused of domestic violence and slashing his wife's tires, Yahoo News reports.

Police said it would take some time to sort out what happened, and they are still interviewing witnesses and rescuers about the time of events. At a news conference Sunday night, Mayor Steve Ponto called the shootings "a senseless act on the part of one person," news sources report.

According to a spokeswoman from Froedtert Memorial Hospital, the four shooting victims are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at the hospital, Yahoo News reports.

The Transportation Security Administration said 25 agents will be fired and 19 others suspended for failing to search baggage properly, news sources report.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter told CNN these 44 employees all worked in a checked-baggage screening room in Newark's Liberty International Airport, CNN reports.

"Roughly 250 bags affected last November and December were deemed safe by other parts of the screening system, and passenger safety was not threatened," Castelveter said. He could not give details of any security lapses, Reuters reports.

The punishment is the largest removal and suspension of TSA officers in the agency's history, CNN reports. This removal is apart of a larger internal crackdown on improper behavior by TSA agents, CNN.

In June, eight other employees were fired as part of the same investigation, Reuters report.

Minneapolis man convicted of aiding Somali terrorists

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Jurors found Mahamud Said Omar, 46, of Minneapolis, guilty Thursday on five counts of conspiracy and financing a terror operation in Somalia, news sources report.

Omar was convicted for helping the militant Islamic group al-Shabaab "recruit young Minnesota men for a holy war aimed at toppling the government of their native Somalia and imposing a harsh form of Islamic rule across the Horn of Africa" since 2007, Star Tribune reports.

Omar also allegedly provided money to upkeep an al-Shabaab safe house for the Americans in Somalia and bought two AK-47s for them, according to the Pioneer Press.
In the trail, Omar's defense rested without presenting a witness. The government had 17 witnesses and introduced 150 exhibits against Omar. These exhibits included detailed telephone and money records and al-Shabaab propaganda videos, Pioneer Press reports.

Omar, a part-time janitor at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, faces up to life in prison, Star Tribune reports.

St. Paul hockey dad gets six months for attacking coach

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A St. Paul man was sentenced to six months in jail for attacking and threatening his son's youth hockey team last year in Inver Groove Heights, news sources report.

Thomas Angelo Tonda,50, pleaded guilty to one count of felony making terroristic threats, and a misdemeanor fifth-degree assault charge was released, according to the Pioneer Press.

"I'm extremely sorry about what happened," Tonda said before the court Tuesday. "I let the association down. I let the kids down. I let my son down," according to Star Tribune.
The fight erupted at a Dec. 6 practice the when Tonda reportedly confronted the assistant coach after he disciplined Tonda's son for swinging his stick like a baseball bat. Tonda preceded put the coach in a chokehold and threatened to kill him, Pioneer Press reports. Tonda's son was a player on the team, which is made up of boys ages 11-13, Star Tribune reports.

The coach was not hospitalized, but he did miss more than a month of work due to neck pain from the incident, according to the Star Tribune.

In 2009, Tonda faced up to seven years in prison for violating a five-year probation from a 2009 felony drug conviction, reports Pioneer Press.

Judge Timothy McManus also gave Tonda a 21-month stayed jail sentence and ordered him to do 350 hours of community work service and 50 days of sentence to service, Pioneer Press reports.

Picasso, Monets Stolen from Dutch Museum

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Thieves broke into a Rotterdam museum early Tuesday and stole paintings by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Claude Monet, closing down exhibitions, according to new reports.

Police haven't said how the theft took place or how the art was protected but are speaking with potential witnesses and looking at security camera footage,CNN reports. Experts who track stolen art said the robbers clearly knew what they were after, Associated Press reports.

The heist at the Kunsthal museum is one of the biggest in years in the Netherlands, according to Associated Press. It "is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time"


The artwork belonged to a private collection,The Triton Collection, and was put together by multimillionaire Willem Cordia, an investor and businessman, and his wife, Marijke Cordia-Van der Laan, Associated Press reports. It has taken 20 years to assemble and includes more than 150 works of modern art from the "late nineteenth century to the present day," CNN reports.

Kunsthal director Emily Ansenk spoke on behalf of the family in saying "we are shocked, but we will go on." (Associated Press).

Analysis: Skydiver Breaks Record Event

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In the Associated Press article "Skydiver survives 24-mile high jump, breaks sound barrier, officials say," the writer uses three sources to describe the moments before, during, and after the jump.

The sources are scattered in the beginning and in the end, while the middle describes the writers experience at the event. The bulk of the sources in the beginning give statistics and facts about the record-breaking sky dive. This is effective because it is a scientific news article and facts help tell the story in this case.

The information is from specialists and those directly involved in the jump. The specialist reports the facts while the other sources tell the emotional side to the story. It gives the article emotional appeal and logical appeal.

The attributions are done properly in this story by thoroughly describing each person. I would say that I would've liked to see one more factual source to make the article more credible. The writer did source the jumper and got his feed back on the jump which is effective perspective. Overall, the writer could have added one more scientifically source but the quotes were effective in relaying the event.
Article found here: Fox News/ Associated Press

Australian Skydiver Breaks Sound Barrier

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Australian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner landed safely Sunday after becoming the first skydiver to break the sound barrier, news sources report.

The helium balloon departed Roswell, New Mexico and ascended too more than 120,000 ft. where Baumgartner jumped. He landed safely on the ground, eliminating the crowd with cheers, FOX news reports.

Baumgartner was expected to hit a speed of 690 mph, breaking the speed of sound as he falls, according to FOX news. The whole trip took about 10 minutes, half of it being freefall, BBC news reports.

The previous record for the biggest jump was held by US Air Force Col Joe Kittinger over 52 years ago when he jumped from a helium envelop at 102,800ft, BBC news reports. Kittinger was apart of Baumgartner's team and was the only one directly in contact with him throughout the jump, FOX news reports

Baumgartner's medical director, Dr. Jonathan Clark, told reporters "he expected the pressurized spacesuit to protect him from the shock waves of breaking the sound barrier," according to FOX news.

Baumgartner promised this was his final jump. The Australian plans to settle down with his girlfriend and do flying rescue missions in the U.S. and Austria, FOX news reports.

Two Minn. Men Die After Car Rolls into Mille Lacs Lake

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Two Minnesota men died Sunday after their car skidded across Highway 169 and rolled into Lake Mille Lacs, news sources report.

The backseat passenger, Keegan Morrison, was taken to Onamia and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to Star Tribune.

Minnesota State Patrol says the accident occurred just after midnight Sunday, according to MPR.

The driver, Andrew Nickaboine, 37, and front passenger, Ronald Dorr, 42, were heading northbound about 15 miles north of Onamia, according to the Star Tribune. They were pronounced dead at Onamia Hospital, news sources report.

Two Navy Submarines Collide off the East Coast

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The Pentagon is looking into why a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine collided with an Aegis cruiser off the East Coast late Saturday, news sources report.

No one was injured on the submarine USS Montpelier and the Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto, Pentagon officials told NBC News. The news release says the damage is being evaluated and the submarine's propulsion plant was "unaffected by the collision," Associated Press reports.

"We have had circumstances where Navy vessels have collided at sea in the past, but they're fairly rare as to how often they do take place," Lt. Commander Brian Badura of the Fleet Forces Command told Associated Press. "If we do have an incident that does take place, there are folks that swing into action."

Both of the ships are based out of Norfolk, Va. and according to the news release, will continue to operate under their own power (Associated Press and NBC News).

Kill Suffers Seizure After Gopher Loss

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Jerry Kill suffered another seizure Saturday after the Gophers lose 21-13 to Northwestern at TCF Bank Stadium, news sources report.

This loss was very stressful for Kill as the Gopher's numerous mistakes eventually led to a loss against the competitive Northwestern team, according to the Star Tribune. Going forward it's unclear how this seizure will affect the Gophers season (4-2, 0-2 Big Ten).

It's been almost a year since the last incident took place during a Gopher's charter flight from Chicago, according to the Star Tribune. In July, Kill said he was in better shape than he was several years ago and reported no relapses. A series of changes to his routine and medication has helped bring his seizures under control, Kill said.

After last year's game against Northwestern Kill said he wouldn't let his condition "define" him; he would quit coaching if he thought it seriously threatened his career, according to the Pioneer Press.

Dr. Thaddeus Walczak, a neurologist for the Minnesota Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, said to the Pioneer Press that he suspects that Kill's recent episode would not keep him from coaching this week if it was a minor seizure.

Kill was alert and resting comfortably, the university said. No other information about his condition will be released until Sunday, both news sources reported.

Discussion Over Long Syrian Conflict

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Syrian government officials and Russia's ambassador in Damascus discussed ways to make a security committee between Syria and Turkey to control the border, news sources report.
This decision came three days after Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger plane leaving Damascus to Moscow on Wednesday. It detained what was said to be military equipment, CBC reports.
Turkish prime minister criticized the U.N. Security Council on Saturday for its failure to decide on clear steps to end the on going civil war in Syria, FOX news reported.
For the last 19 months of the conflict tensions have continually risen between Syria's neighboring countries over border control, CBC reported.
In May two of the five permanent members of the Security Council, Russia and China, vetoed resolutions that wanted to put pressure on the conflict and agree on a new political agenda for Syria, FOX news reported.

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