Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kenneth ‘Mike’ Dooley, cop who sought headstones for slain officers, dies at 65

Kenneth ‘Mike’ Dooley, cop who sought headstones for slain officers, dies at 65 

Kenneth "Mike" Dooley, a detective with the youth division of the Chicago Police Department, made it his mission to see that the graves of officers killed in the line of duty had headstones. He became an unofficial historian for the police department, visiting graveyards and tracking down relatives of officers slain on the job. Mr. Dooley died July 7 at 65.
It wasn’t right, Mike Dooley thought. There were Chicago police officers, killed in the line of duty, who were buried in unmarked graves, “lying in complete anonymity, in mud,” he told a friend.

So Mr. Dooley, a detective with the youth division of the Chicago Police Department, made it his mission to see that they received headstones or that their broken headstones were replaced. He helped collect funds and drummed up interest in the cause.

He became an unofficial historian for the police department, visiting graveyards and tracking down living relatives of officers slain on the job — “and he did that on his own time,” said former police Supt. Phil Cline.

“He thought that these people deserved recognition for what they did. They gave up their lives,” said his wife, Sandy Dooley. “They went from cemetery to cemetery, and what they did was make sure the police officers who were killed in the line of duty had a headstone, and it was in good shape.” Chicago’s Gast Monuments provided more than 50 monuments, either free or at reduced rates, said Jay Cunningham, a Gast designer.

The headstones were delivered to graves as far away as Kentucky and Ohio, Mr. Dooley’s wife said.
“He went all over the country,” said Dave MacFarlan, a retired youth division investigator who worked on the effort. Mr. Dooley and his co-workers often arranged for local sheriff’s police officers to escort them to the ceremonies to install the monuments, along with the Pipes and Drums band of the Chicago Police Department.

In 2003, band member John Ryan, a retired member of the police SWAT team, accompanied Mr. Dooley to Campbellsville, Ky., to play the bagpipes at a ceremony to honor Cornelius Wilson, Chicago’s first African-American officer killed in the line of duty. He migrated to Chicago for work but was killed in a shootout with robbery suspects in 1919.

“We were honored to be part of this. You think about police officers who sacrificed their lives for us,” Ryan said. Mr. Dooley helped track down a niece and nephew who attended the service, along with 150 others. “They were in awe.”

In 2000, he told the Chicago Sun-Times his research into police history was “a labor of love.”

Mr. Dooley and fellow officers sent out 700 letters to officers whose surnames were the same as those who were killed in line of duty.

They asked cemeteries to forward letters to families, and they visited graveyards.

“He was going to the libraries, and that was the days before you had ProQuest,” MacFarlan said. “He had miles and miles of microfiche.”

To obtain headstones, Mr. Dooley would drop by Gast Monuments on Peterson Avenue, with cookies and doughnuts from Dinkel’s Bakery in hand. “He was old-school in that way, very charming,” Cunningham said.

In 2007, when the Haymarket Memorial was being refurbished, he helped track down relatives of the police killed at Haymarket Square during 1886 labor unrest. A bombing and gunfire killed seven officers and wounded 59 — still the most devastating day in Chicago police history.

“We were interested in the old morgue books,” MacFarlan said. “We managed to find the Haymarket entries and [former Cook County Medical Examiner Edmond Donoghue had his worker copy the pages and bring it to the office. They were the official records. It said the names of the officers who were killed.”

Some of their research wound up in the book “End of Watch” co-authored by Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th).
Mr. Dooley attended St. Gregory High School and earned a bachelor’s from Northeastern Illinois University, master’s degrees from Chicago State and Loyola universities and a doctorate in philosophy from Loyola. He taught criminal justice at Wright Junior College.

He joined the department in the early 1970s and worked in neighborhood relations, as a youth division detective and as an Officer Friendly. He also taught Spanish at the police academy in the 1970s, when Spanish-speaking officers were few.

He enjoyed the music of 19th century Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and travel. In Egypt, “He went to the Valley of the Kings, and that’s where we saw King Tut’s tomb,” his wife said. He also visited Hawaii, London, Mexico, Paris and Rome and the Panama Canal. “He always wanted to see the locks on the Panama Canal,” she said.

In 1972, he lost his 16-year-old brother. He had coached Daniel in CYO football at Paul Revere Park, but after an injury on the field, Daniel died of an undetected ruptured spleen. Doctors didn’t catch it, and Daniel had begged to go back and play. “I know my parents took it bad, and ‘Mick’ took it real bad, because he was the coach,” said Mr. Dooley’s brother, Pat, a member of the Chicago Fire Department.

“He was a good family man,” his brother said. “Outside of the police department, everything revolved around his family.”

In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by his daughters, Laura Dooley-Taylor and Sharon Rusk, and his grandson, Liam.
Services were held.

Undercover officer killed in traffic pursuit of suspect

Undercover officer killed in traffic pursuit of suspect

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - An undercover officer with the Metro Narcotics Task Force has died after a fatal car crash on North Veterans Parkway in Columbus.

Local law enforcement officials, and Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan, confirm that 53-year-old Corporal Thomas Keith Slay, known as Keith, was heading to provide back-up to an officer who was in pursuit of a suspect.
Columbus police say while they were in pursuit, a car pulled out in front of the officers. They swerved to miss the car, running off the road and smashing into a utility pole.
The accident took place across the street from B. Merrell's restaurant on Veterans Parkway.
Agent Slay was a 32 year veteran of the Columbus, Georgia Police Department. 
Another officer, Russell County Sheriff's Deputy Brad Evans with the Metro Narcotics Task Force, was also in the vehicle with Slay and is listed in critical condition in the ICU at the Medical Center.
"I was in there working until about 3:15, I heard a big boom," said Alan Brown, who works next door at a car repair shop. "I looked outside and I just seen the poles go over and a cloud of dust."
That's when Brown went outside to find this scene at Veterans Parkway across from B. Merrells: a mangled undercover police vehicle with two officers in desperate need of help inside.
"We were waiting for the ambulance because we didn't want to hurt anybody because they were seriously injured," said Brown.  
Still in shock, Brown says it's not just drivers but this busy stretch of Veterans that seemingly has a mind of its own.

"The road right here is crazy anything can happen, where your seat belt, always pay attention...anything can happen," Brown said. 

Police are still investigating this case. We did speak to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, who asks that all local communities band together for the families who lost a loved one or had a loved one injured in Tuesday's tragic accident.
Meanwhile, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson had this to say about Corporal Slay's death:
"Corporal Slay was much loved by his fellow officers," said Mayor Tomlinson. "He was serving this community to the end. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. We continue to pray also for the Russell County deputy who was injured and wish him a speedy recovery."
The Columbus Police Department also sent us this press release Tuesday night:
It is with great sorrow that the Columbus, Georgia Police Department acknowledges that Corporal Thomas Keith Slay, 53 years of age, died this afternoon in the line of duty. Corporal Slay was a 32-year veteran with the Columbus Police Department where he was a Special Agent assigned to the Metro Narcotics Task Force.
At approximately 3:00 p.m. Corporal Slay was responding, while running full emergency equipment, to a request for assistance from another unit. His vehicle was headed north bound on Veterans Parkway and collided with another vehicle. Corporal Slay was pronounced dead at the Columbus Regional Medical Center. Special Agent Brad Evans of the Russell County, Alabama Sheriff's Department, and also assigned to the Metro Narcotics Task Force, was injured in the collision. Evans is listed in critical condition at the Medical Center.
The Motor Squad of the Columbus Police Department is investigating the incident.
"Obviously, this is a devastating time for the families of those lost and injured and for the brethren of officers that served with these men," said Columbus Chief of Police Ricky Boren. "We ask the entire community to lift Special Agents Slay and Evans up in prayer, as well as their families. We are talking about true public servants and law enforcement officers and this is just devastating to us all."
We will update this story with additional information as it becomes available.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Longtime Moorestown police officer killed in crash

Longtime Moorestown police officer killed in crash 

MOORESTOWN — An off-duty police officer has lost his life in a motorcycle accident in the town he patrolled for more than 20 years.

Ptl. Craig Berner, 52, died after his eastbound motorcycle overturned on Westfield Avenue shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday.

The accident threw the Moorestown man from his bike into the path of an oncoming pickup truck, according to a preliminary investigation.

Berner was pronounced dead at the scene.

No injuries were reported to the other motorist, William McGovern, 60, of Mount Laurel.

McGovern, a detective with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, also was off-duty at the time of the

Township officials expressed shock and sadness as news of Berner’s death spread through the

“It’s such a tragedy,” Moorestown Mayor Stacey Jordan said Sunday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to
his family.”

Berner, the father of three, joined Moorestown’s police department in 1987, according to information at a
website for Moorestown High School alumni. He was a member of the school’s Class of 1979.

“Berner lived his life giving back to others, not only as a police officer but as a former U.S. Marine,”
members of township council said in a joint statement. “There are no words that can adequately express
our gratitude for his service to Moorestown, or our sorrow for his loss.”

Details of the accident were provided by the New Jersey State Police. The agency was asked to take over
the investigation by the prosecutor’s office, said State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman.

“They wanted to avoid a conflict of interest (with law enforcement agencies in Burlington County),” he

Grossman said it was not known what caused Berner to lose control of his 1995 Honda motorcycle.

Staff writer Carol Comegno contributed to this report. Reach Jim Walsh at or
(856) 486-2646.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trooper dies of rescue injuries

Trooper dies of rescue injuries

A state trooper who was hurt more than two years ago while responding to a plane crash has died of his injuries according to the state police.
Here is the announcement from the State Police web site, officials were scheduled to hold a press conference this afternoon in Middletown.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico is saddened to announce the death of Trooper Winston I. Martindale, Jr. of Troop F-New Hampton.
Trooper Martindale died Wednesday, July 24, 2013, of complications from an on-duty injury he sustained in 2011. On May 9, 2011, while responding to the crash of two small airplanes in the Town of Waywanda, Trooper Martindale fell on a piece of equipment, causing internal bleeding to his abdomen. Though seriously injured, Trooper Martindale struggled with heavy wreckage to assist victims of the plane crash and stayed at the crash scene for six hours. Ultimately, both pilots of the single engine airplanes were killed.
After suffering through several serious medical procedures to combat his injuries and further complications, Trooper Martindale lost his courageous battle following surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He was 40 years old.
Trooper Martindale was a seven-year veteran of the New York State Police and as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, he served in Operation Enduring Freedom. He is survived by his wife, Michelle, 19-year-old son, Kyle, 16-year-old daughter, Moriah, his parents, Barbara and Winston, Sr., his sister, Camille, and his brother, Owen.
Funeral arrangements will follow.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Man who killed NYPD officers gets death penalty

Man who killed NYPD officers gets death penalty 

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City street gang member was given the death penalty on Wednesday in the execution-style slayings of two undercover police officers in 2003 - the latest chapter in a case that's seen his original death sentence overturned, his behind-bars affair with a prison guard exposed and the massive cost of his defense questioned.
It took a jury just one day to deliberate in federal court in Brooklyn before deciding the fate of Ronell Wilson.
Another jury had found Wilson guilty in the point-blank shootings of undercover officers James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews. The gunman shot both men in the head after one pleaded for his life.
The first jury also sentenced Wilson in 2007 to die by lethal injection, making him the first federal defendant to receive a death sentence in New York City since the 1950s. But an appeals court threw out the sentence in 2010 and prosecutors chose to repeat the penalty phase rather than let Wilson serve an automatic life term.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis questioned the decision, saying that it put taxpayers on course to spend millions of dollars more on Wilson's defense. He noted that he had just presided over a capital case for a mobster where the defense bill was $5 million and the jury chose to impose a life sentence.
Officials revealed in February that, after being transferred from federal death row in Indiana to a Brooklyn lockup to await the proceedings, the 31-year-old Wilson fathered a child with a jail guard. She's since pleaded guilty to an illegal sex act.
The new set of jurors, though not deciding Wilson's guilt, once again heard about how the victims were posing as illegal gun buyers. The pair met with Wilson for what they thought was a deal to buy a Tec-9 submachine gun. But Wilson decided to rob them instead and ended up shooting them.
Prosecutors cited a scrap of paper Wilson was carrying when he was arrested as proof he was a cold-blooded killer. It had the rap lyrics saying that if he was ever crossed, he would put "45 slugs in da back of ya head" and "ain't goin stop to Im dead."
The government also argued that Wilson's conduct behind bars, including having sex with the jail guard and threatening a gay inmate, made him a bad candidate for a life term.
In asking to spare his life, Wilson "wants you to use your humanity," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Celia Cohen said in closing arguments. "He has shown through his actions that he has absolutely no humanity."
The defense conceded Wilson had committed a horrible crime. Wilson's lawyers instead sought to focus jurors on his background as the product of a crack-addicted mother living with a dozen relatives crammed into an apartment at a crime-infested housing project.
Defense attorney David Stern argued that a life sentence was sufficient punishment for a "limited" and "impulsive" defendant who was never taught right from wrong.
"One day he'll die wearing the same khaki clothes he's worn for 20 or 30 or 40 years," Stern said in closing arguments.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Officer killed in fall while rescuing hiker from marked area of Mount Charleston near Vegas

Officer killed in fall while rescuing hiker from marked area of Mount Charleston near Vegas 

A Las Vegas police officer who was rescuing a hiker stranded in an off-limits area of a mountain northwest of the city died after falling from a helicopter hoist line Monday night.

At an emotional news conference Tuesday, police offered new details about the accident that killed search and rescue officer David Vanbuskirk, 36, at Mount Charleston.
Rescuers responded shortly before 9 p.m. to reports that a hiker was disoriented and stranded on a rocky ledge just above Mary Jane Falls. The area was marked with signs warning hikers to stay out or face fines, according to Jay Nichols, spokesman for Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
A wildfire now entering its third week has been burning in the area, and park workers have closed some trails in the interest of public safety. The fire is still throwing off smoke and glows at night, Nichols said. Some trails are closed to protect hikers from smoking material, ash pits and falling trees. On Monday night, conditions were breezy with a bright moon, officials said.
After landing, Vanbuskirk attached a safety harness to the stranded man, who was hiking alone. He signaled to the four rescue workers in the helicopter above to hoist them both up from the craggy ledge, but then somehow detached from the line in midair and fell a "non-survivable" distance to the ground below, officials said.
The hiker was safely rescued and is being interviewed, police said.
The mood was somber among officers, who have not lost one of their own in the line of duty since 2009. Officers Tuesday wore black bands over their badges in honor of their fallen comrade.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies are investigating.
"We're a big family, a close family, and this is going to be trying on us for quite a while," Las Vegas police Assistant Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters shortly after the accident. "We will survive it. We'll come back together, and hopefully in my lifetime, it will never happen again."
Vanbuskirk grew up in the Las Vegas area, was married and lived in Henderson. He had worked for the department since 1999, and had served on the search and rescue team since 2007.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Vanbuskirk had performed "dozens" of rescues like the one that killed him Monday. Las Vegas rescue workers have completed 130 helicopter rescues in the past 12 months.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Vanbuskirk's death was "a tragic reminder of the dangers our first responders are exposed to on a daily basis."
"His service to his community, state, and country will not be forgotten," Sandoval said in a statement.
On Twitter, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada called Vanbuskirk a hero.
Others in the police department also praised him.
"He was an exceptionally fine officer," police spokesman Bill Cassell said.
Associated Press writer Michelle Rindels contributed to this report.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sanford, Fla. Police Chief Cecil Smith Has Been a Calming Influence

Sanford, Fla. Police Chief Cecil Smith Has Been a Calming Influence

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith was hired to lead the central Florida department just as it was thrust into the national spotlight by the George Zimmerman case.
And last week, after a jury acquitted Zimmerman, sparking a new round of national protests, it fell to Smith to keep the peace in town.
The previous chief had been fired by city commissioners for failing to arrest Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, in February 2012. Soon after, protesters rallied online and in streets across the country for Zimmerman's arrest. The governor appointed a special prosecutor, who charged the neighborhood watch volunteer with second-degree murder, laying the groundwork for the high-profile trial.
Smith's first months felt like triage, he said -- coping with perceptions of racial bias among the black community as well as low morale within the department of 128 officers.
Smith, 52, who is African American and was raised on Chicago's west side, where he had seen riots in 1968, knew what lay ahead if the city didn't address unrest before the verdict.
So he began taking to the streets each Thursday for what he calls "walk and talk." He and about a dozen officers walk around different neighborhoods, doubling back to revisit certain areas, including Goldsboro, the historically black part of town.
As the trial wound down, Smith met with the Seminole County sheriff and other local law enforcement officials to create contingency plans for the verdict. When the acquittal was handed down, Smith activated the local emergency operations center, doubling the number of police in the streets to about 50 at a time.
Some demonstrations across the country were marred by violence, including melees in Los Angeles and Oakland. But Sanford, a city of 54,000 about 25 miles north of Orlando, remained peaceful.
The streets stayed clear, the protests small and peaceful, with no arrests or clashes with police -- a credit to the new chief, many said, including city commissioners.
Still, Smith said that the Police Department needed to keep improving its community relations.
"We can choose to stay where we were, or we can say we don't like what's happened. But we need to come together and move on," Smith told about 70 people, mostly black Sanford residents, who gathered for an interfaith service at a local church Monday.
Smith looked more like a minister than a police chief in his glasses and sharp suit, pacing before the altar, exhorting the crowd. He told them he knew many were unhappy with the department and the verdict.
A few residents lobbed questions about an arrest during a protest at a lakefront park. Smith said the arrest took place in Goldsboro and was unrelated to the verdict.
"What we have to do is have people stop thinking every time police arrest somebody it's racist," he said. "We're trying to be as transparent as we can."
One woman told him that as news spread of the verdict, she saw police line young black men up on the boulevard that runs through Goldsboro, searching them without cause, even well-behaved youths who attend college.
"You can't feel our pain," she said.
Smith said he heard that a lot.

"People tell me you're not from around here, you can't understand," he said, asking them to work with him.
After talking for a few minutes, the woman decided to give Smith the benefit of the doubt.
"He walked into the lion's den," Rose Casey said. "We have to give him a chance to straighten things out."
Copyright 2013 - Los Angeles Times
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Five years ago first Okaloosa deputy was killed in line of duty - Local - Northwest Florida Daily News

Five years ago first Okaloosa deputy was killed in line of duty - Local - Northwest Florida Daily News

Five years ago Monday, Joey Forgione knocked on his mother’s door to tell her that his brother, his best friend, would not be coming home again.
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Forgione had been shot and killed by an escaped mental patient that morning.
“It was a nightmare,” said Joey Forgione, who was a Niceville police officer at the time. “It was a long day, hard to process. You never think you’d have to do notification on a family member.”
On July 22, 2008, Anthony Forgione and other members of the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Response Team were called to a home on Plymouth Avenue in the Ocean City area of Fort Walton Beach where Mark Rohlman had barricaded himself.
Rohlman’s family had told officials he likely was armed and had escaped from Fort Walton Beach Medical Center twice in the previous 24 hours.
Deputies had tried to persuade Rohlman to come out of the house, but after three hours they decided to enter before he hurt himself.
As SRT members walked into a bedroom, Rohlman fired a shotgun. Forgione was hit in the upper chest and was killed.
Rohlman then shot himself in the head and died.
Forgione was the first Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy to be killed in the line of duty.
In the aftermath, people struggled to figure out just what had happened and how to prevent it from happening again.
Change came both locally and statewide.
Since 2008, sheriff’s deputies have attended crisis intervention training to prepare them for worst-case scenarios involving mentally unstable people. The training helps them identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness and offers advice on how to deal with those people.
Sheriff Larry Ashley said protocol on how law officers approach scenarios similar to Forgione’s also has changed. Deputies now have more equipment and technology to protect them.
“It was so sobering,” Ashley said. “This is certainly a dangerous job and we’ve had our share of close calls, assaults battery. Those come with the territory.
“But to lose a friend, co-worker, a life, it was a surreal ordeal.”
One year after Forgione’s death, the Florida Legislature passed the Forgione Act. It outlines the duties of law enforcement officers and mental health facilities when they deal with patients who have been detained involuntarily under the state’s Baker Act.
Forgione, who was 33, was just shy of his three-year anniversary with the Sheriff’s Office when he was killed. He was with the Fort Walton Beach Police Department before that.
“He helped everyone he could. He was such a hard worker,” said his mother, Charlene Forgione Dietz. “He had such a good personality. He was so fun to be with and he loved being a police officer.”
Forgione left a wife, two children who were 10 and 5 years old, and other family and friends in the local area where he grew up.
 “Even five years later it’s hard,” Joey Forgione said. “You’re still learning to deal with it. It’s like losing your right arm. You never get that back, but you get used to it.”
“Sometimes I think the time between it is worse than when we first learned about Tony,” Forgione Dietz said. “I go to the gravesite and put flowers down for my son and think, ‘I have to do this for the rest of my life.’
“It’s a struggle.”
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Angel McCurdy at 850-315-4432or Follow her on Twitter @AngelMnwfdn.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jackson police officer Bruce Jacob hit, killed on I-55 | The Clarion-Ledger |

Jackson police officer Bruce Jacob hit, killed on I-55 | The Clarion-Ledger |

A Jackson police officer was struck and killed Saturday while removing debris from I-55.
Jackson police spokeswoman Colendula Green identified the deceased officer as Bruce Jacob of Precinct 4, a five-year veteran of the department.
Chief Lindsey Horton said Jacob received a call at approximately 1:30 p.m. about debris on I-55 South near Northside Drive.
Horton said Jacob found a barbecue grill that had fallen onto the roadway.
WJTV-TV reported that Jacob had retrieved the grill from the interstate and was placing it into his trunk when a motorist hit the officer and his vehicle from behind.
Jacob was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he died of his injuries, Horton said.
“It’s always tough to lose anyone, and not just the death of an officer but even an injury,” Horton told WAPT-TV.
“We knew and we know that this job is very dangerous. He was a public servant doing what we do when we receive calls for service.”
In the statement Mayor Lumumba said, "Our police officers put their lives on the line every minute of everyday day. Today, we suffered another tragic and senseless loss of one of Jackson's chosen.  I acknowledge and appreciate the commitment and service of Officer Bruce Jacob. May God bless his loving wife and family and may God bless our officers."
Assistant Chief Lee Vance said the driver of the vehicle that hit Jacob was injured and also transported to UMC and still was undergoing treatment late Saturday afternoon. The driver’s name, condition nor any information on possible charges were released.
Horton said an investigation is continuing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Texas executes Quintanilla for shooting death of retired sheriff's deputy during 2002 holdup

Texas executes Quintanilla for shooting death of retired sheriff's deputy during 2002 holdup

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A Texas man convicted of fatally shooting a retired sheriff's deputy during the robbery of an amusement center more than a decade ago was put to death Tuesday.

John Manuel Quintanilla received lethal injection for gunning down 60-year-old Victor Billings at a game room in Victoria, about 125 miles southwest of Houston. The 2002 slaying came just a few months after Quintanilla had been released from prison after serving a sentence for several burglary convictions.
Asked to make a final statement before his execution, Quintanilla told his wife he loved her.

"Thank you for all the years of happiness," he said.

He never acknowledged his victim's friends or relatives, including two daughters, who watched through a window.

As the lethal drug began taking effect, he snored about a half dozen times, then stopped breathing. At 7:32 p.m. CDT — 15 minutes after being given the drug — he was pronounced dead.

Quintanilla's wife, a German national who married him by proxy while he was in prison, watched through an adjacent window and sobbed.

Quintanilla, 36, became the ninth Texas inmate to receive lethal injection this year and the 501st since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. His was the first of two executions set for this week; the other is planned for Thursday.

Quintanilla's punishment was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court refused two last-day appeals.

His lawyers contended his confession was coerced by authorities threatening to also charge one of his sisters and that the statement improperly was allowed into evidence at his trial in 2004. The lawyers obtained affidavits from two jurors who said the confession was a key to their decision to convict him.
"It is clear that Quintanilla would not have been convicted of capital murder if his confession had not been admitted — a fact confirmed by two of his jurors," appeals lawyer David Dow told the high court.

The appeal also argued Quintanilla had deficient legal help during his trial and in earlier stages of his appeals, and that his case would give justices the opportunity to define filing rules in light of recent death penalty rulings from the court.

The Texas attorney general's office said the appeal was without merit and improperly filed, and that the juror affidavits also were improper.
"There wasn't any coercion whatsoever," Dexter Eaves, the former Victoria County district attorney who was lead prosecutor at the trial, recalled last week. He also said that while the robbers, who fled with about $2,000, were masked, witnesses were able to "describe very clearly who the triggerman was."

Court records show Billings, a retired chief deputy from nearby Edna in adjacent Jackson County, was at the game center with his wife on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2002 when the gunmen came in through a back door. Billings approached one of them and grabbed the barrel of the gunman's rifle "so no one else was going to be hurt and paid for it dearly," Eaves said.
He said Billings was shot three times, the last one fired while he was on his knees.

"A very cold killing," Eaves said.
During questioning by detectives for an unrelated robbery some two months later, Quintanilla made references to the still unsolved Billings case, then led authorities to a canal where divers recovered items used in the holdup.

"They had the mask, the guns and his statements saying who did what," Jim Beeler, Quintanilla's lead trial lawyer, said. "He told them everything."

Beeler said the trial judge overruled his objections and ruled the statements proper and admissible into evidence. He also said Quintanilla signed affidavits ordering that his defense team present no mitigating evidence during the punishment phase of his trial, where jurors deciding his sentence could have considered he had virtually no parental supervision while growing up.

"You want to argue your case, completely and totally," Beeler said. "In that situation, we're not being allowed to present our case, based on our client.
"It's extremely frustrating."

Prosecutors bolstered their case for Quintanilla's future dangerousness by presenting evidence he attacked a jailer with a homemade weapon while awaiting trial.

"He did not do himself any favors," Eaves said.

Quintanilla's accomplice, Jeffrey Bibb, 33, is serving 60 years for murder and 50 years for aggravated robbery.

On Thursday, another Texas inmate is set for lethal injection. Vaughn Ross, 41, is to be executed for a double slaying in Lubbock in 2001.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

North Shore police officers to honor life of MIT officer killed by Marathon bombing suspect in upcoming bike ride

North Shore police officers to honor life of MIT officer killed by Marathon bombing suspect in upcoming bike ride 

Police officers from the North Shore are set to participate in an upcoming bike ride honoring fallen MIT officer Sean Collier.

Collier was was killed in the line of duty on April 18, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Local officers will join cyclists from the Tour de Force, a 9/11 memorial bike ride that benefits the families of policemen that were killed in the line of duty, in the last 65-mile leg of the course.

Organizers of the local event have named the last stretch of the race, "Sean's Ride."

"I'm excited about this," said Danvers Police Officer Kevin Wood. "I'm honored to do it. we knew Sean personally because he worked here in town. He was a really nice kid so we're looking forward to doing it."

On September 8, about 250 participants will depart ground zero and cycle through New York City, across Long Island, up the Connecticut coast and into Rhode Island. They will then be joined by Sean's Ride to cycle from Providence to Boston, finishing at the Boston Marathon finish line on September 11, in honor of the victims of the Boston bombings.

Thus far, about 10 officers from the Beverly Police Department and Danvers Police Department have signed up.

Each participant is required to individually raise at least $200 for the ride. In order to do so, officers are hosting a fundraiser on Saturday July 27 at the Hastings House on Oak Street in Beverly from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The event will include music, a silent auction, raffle prizes, food and beverages.

"It's going to be a really good time celebrating Sean's life and supporting a good cause," Wood said.
Members of the community are eligible to participate in Sean's Ride should contact Officer Kevin Wood at 978-882-1084 to do so.

Terri Ogan can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter.

Monday, July 15, 2013

SWAT Officer Robert Hornsby KPD EOW 7/14/13

SWAT Officer Robert Hornsby KPD EOW 7/14/13

It is with deep regret we report the loss of a fallen Brother from the Killeen Police Department in Texas in the Line of Duty. Officer Robert Hornsby was shot and killed while performing his duties as a SWAT team member. A second Officer was shot and injured during the incident and remains in serious condition at the time of this posting.

Officer Hornsby is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and two children. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they struggle through their loss.

Officer Hornsby, tonight we will shine our blue lights towards the night sky to guide you home. We honor your service and sacrifice in the line of duty by ALWAYS keeping a blue light glowing. Your family and the Killeen Police Department are in our thoughts and prayers. Rest easy Sir... we will take the watch from here.

A memorial page to honor Officer Hornsby is located below to post memories and sympathy.

There is also a fundraising page that has been set up and approved by his wife located here.



Photo Credit: -Herald/TJ MAXWELL