Day: June 22, 2012

George Zimmerman’s Reenactment Of Trayvon Martin Shooting (VIDEO)

june 21, 2012 Source :

ORLANDO, Fla. — George Zimmerman appears believable when he re-enacts for police what he says led to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, but some of his statements are questionable, lawyers who reviewed the footage Thursday said.

Watch here : video 

Even a detective who interrogates the neighborhood watch leader in an audio recording points out inconsistencies in his story, particularly Zimmerman’s claim that Martin confronted him, punched him and slammed his head onto the ground when the teenager had no prior history of violence.

Detective Chris Sereno asks Zimmerman whether he was profiling Martin because he was black, a claim Martin’s parents have made.

“You know you are going to come under a lot of scrutiny for this,” Sereno said. “Had this person been white, would you have felt the same way?”

“Yes,” said Zimmerman, who father is white and his mother Hispanic.

The video and audio tapes released by Zimmerman’s attorney give Zimmerman’s most detailed account yet of what led to the Feb. 26 shooting. They were released almost a week before Zimmerman’s second bond hearing on a second-degree murder charge, and on the heels of unflattering telephone calls capturing Zimmerman and his wife talking in code about using money collected for a defense fund to pay credit cards.

Zimmerman claims he shot the unarmed 17-year-old Martin teen in self-defense, under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Martin’s parents have said Zimmerman was the aggressor. They said Martin was walking back from a convenience store through the gated community in Sanford when Zimmerman spotted Martin and started following him.

In the video ( ), Zimmerman said he grabbed his gun from a holster on his waist before Martin could get it, and shot Martin once in the chest as they fought on the ground outside townhomes in a gated community. After firing, Zimmerman said he thought he missed.

“He sat up and said, `You got me. You got me, or something like that,'” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said Martin had been on top of him, slamming his head against the ground and smothering his mouth and nose with his hand and arm. The tape shows two butterfly bandages on the back of Zimmerman’s head and another on his nose. There are red marks on the front of his head.

It felt like my head was going to explode,” he said.

Criminal defense lawyers who reviewed the video for The Associated Press and have no connection to the case said there were some parts that didn’t add up.

“He came across as being straight-forward,” attorney David Hill said. “I didn’t see him being too slick on the details.”

Hill said the video didn’t show him to be the zealous “cop-wannabe” that Martin’s parents have portrayed.

Zimmerman claims Martin confronted him after the neighborhood watch leader had given up searching for him and was walking back to his truck. But there doesn’t appear to be a place to hide in the area where Zimmerman says Martin suddenly appeared, Hill pointed out.

Zimmerman’s injuries also don’t appear to be consistent with the severity of the attack he described, Hill said.

Attorney Blaine McChesney said he found parts of Zimmerman’s re-enactment difficult to envision, such as his account of how he was able to reach for his gun with Martin on top of him. Zimmerman said he got on top of Martin after the shooting to restrain him.

“I also find it strange that Zimmerman would have attempted to use both his arms to hold Martin facedown, re-holstering his firearm, given those circumstances,” McChesney said. “Once out from under Martin’s alleged attack, it would have been more logical to hold Martin at gunpoint from a few feet away until police arrived.”

In one of the audio recordings, Sereno tells Zimmerman three days after the shooting that Martin was a “good kid, mild-mannered kid.”

Sereno tells Zimmerman that Martin, an athlete with an interest in aeronautics, was “a kid with a future, a kid with folks that care.” The detective said Martin only had a bag of Skittles and an iced tea on him when he died.

“Not a goon,” Sereno said.

He asked Zimmerman to explain why he doesn’t have bruises on his body or broken ribs. The two dozen punches Zimmerman claims he took are “not quite consistent with your injuries,” Sereno said.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s parents, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday. But appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Crump said Zimmerman’s credibility is the issue.

“Everybody’s going to have to look at this for what it is,” Crump said. “You’ve got objective evidence, and then you’ve got George Zimmerman’s versions. You put them up against one another and we know that written statement that he did that night doesn’t match up to that 911 tape.

“And there are other inconsistencies, and when we see the lie, we’ve got to call it out and say, there’s his credibility again, and that’s the important thing.”

Zimmerman called police after spotting Martin walking around the neighborhood and the dispatcher told him not to follow the teen. For reasons that are still unclear, Zimmerman kept up his pursuit, even getting out of his truck. He lost sight of Martin and was walking back to his truck when Martin confronted him, Zimmerman said.

“Do you have a problem?” Zimmerman said, quoting Martin.

If Zimmerman’s account his accurate, he has a viable “stand your ground” defense, McChesney said.

Zimmerman’s attorney has the option of asking for a “stand your ground” hearing in which he will present Zimmerman’s account to a judge and ask that the charge be dismissed without going to trial.

Zimmerman’s second bond hearing will be June 29. His $150,000 bond was revoked earlier this month after prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court about how much money they had available for bail. Shellie Zimmerman was charged last week with making a false statement.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said his client will be shown to have told the truth about the incident, even though the statement regarding the Zimmermans’ finances was shown to be false.

“The attacks on Mr. Zimmerman’s credibilities are going to pale in comparison to the undeniable, objective evidence,” he said.

Luka Magnotta’s Lawyer Doesn’t Want Psychiatric Evaluation For Alleged Cannibal, Necrophiliac

June 21, 2012 Source :

MONTREAL — A Canadian porn actor accused of dismembering his Chinese lover and mailing his body parts around the country appeared in person before a judge for the first time and requested a trial by jury.

The parents of Luka Magnotta’s alleged victim watched on a video screen at the Thursday hearing.

Magnotta’s lawyer did not seek a psychiatric evaluation for his client at the hearing in Montreal, even though the defense team had said it would. Defense attorney Luc Leclair offered no explanation about why no evaluation was requested.

Magnotta, 29, has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of university student Jun Lin.

The hearing focused on setting the date for Magnotta’s next court appearance. The suspect was told he would face a preliminary hearing in March when evidence against him will be disclosed.

That means it will be well into next year before the trial starts in a case that horrified Canadians and sparked an international manhunt that led to Magnotta’s arrest in Berlin earlier this month.

Jean-Pascal Boucher of the Quebec prosecutors’ office said it was “normal delay” and the court date was “relatively soon considering the availability of both counsel and the judge and room.”

Leclair asked for trial by jury, which would take longer than a trial before a judge. He also told Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer he was concerned his client wasn’t receiving proper care.

“I want to express my concern for his physical well-being and his mental well-being,” Leclair said.

The judge agreed to make a request to ensure that Magnotta received medication, but he placed a publication ban on the type of medication.

Magnotta’s physical appearance in court was a surprise. Security around the suspect has been very strict, and he entered his plea of not guilty via videoconference at his arraignment Tuesday.

Wearing a plaid shirt and jeans, Magnotta kept his eye on the judge from behind a glass partition, flanked by two guards. Four other guards stood outside the glass box.

Lin’s parents, who traveled to Canada from China upon learning of their son’s death, watched the proceedings on a screen in a separate room, Boucher said.

The case emerged after a package containing a severed foot was opened at Canada’s ruling Conservative Party headquarters on May 29. Other body parts were later found at a postal facility, a garbage dump outside Magnotta’s apartment building in Montreal, and in packages mailed to two schools in Vancouver.

Investigators say Magnotta posted a video online showing him having sex with the dismembered corpse. A second, unedited version of the video seen by police shows him eating parts of the body.

DNA tests have confirmed that all the body parts belong to Lin, a Chinese national studying computer science at Concordia University. His head is still missing.

New York Law School professor Robert Blecker says life on death row is TOO COMFORTABLE

June 21, 2012  Source :

Most people expect life on death row to be harsh and isolated but a prison expert claims many convicted murderers are living the life of Riley behind bars.

Killer Danny Robbie Hembree Jr sparked a public uproar in January when he wrote to his local newspaper, the Gaston Gazette, gloating about how cushy his life was at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.

‘Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of leisure, watching color TV in the A.C., reading, taking naps at will, eating three, well-balanced, hot meals a day,’ Mr Hembree wrote in the letter, which he concluded with ‘Kill me if you can, suckers. Ha! Ha! Ha!’

Gloating: Convicted killer Danny Robbie Hembree Jr, pictured, bragged about how cushy life was in prison Danny Robbie Hembree Jr

But New York Law School professor Robert Blecker believes this level of comfort is the norm for prisoners inside America’s maximum-security prisons.

He said life can be undeservedly pleasant for many of the country’s most dangerous rapists and murderers.

They’re playing on softball fields with lined base paths and umpires in uniforms, while other guys are hanging out, getting a suntan,’ he told ABC News

‘Those who committed the worst crimes, who deserve to suffer the most, generally suffer the least.’

Mr Blecker said some inmates even claimed to have killed purely to get put behind bars.

‘I can play pool or basketball,’ said Robert Pitts of Woodbury, Tennessee, who told Mr Blecker he bludgeoned to death a 63-year-old grandmother so he could go to jail.

‘Softball when it’s softball season. Run, you can go out and jog, lift weights, play cards.’

But the murder victim’s families are struggling with the revelation that prison is something of a paradise for their loved ones’ killers.

Nicholas Catterton and Stella Holland’s 17-year-old daughter Heather Catterton was strangled to death by Mr Hembree, 50, in 2009, and then he dumped her body in a ravine.

Ms Holland told ABC that hearing her daughter’s murderer was so content with his living arrangements was like Mr Hembree ‘sticking a knife in there and just turning it all over again’.

‘We can’t even take care of our own poor people, but we can take care of him sitting on death row. Come on,’ Mr Catterton told the station.

You might be able to read a few books. But sit there and watch color TV and watch your favorite Jerry Springer Show? When you start caring and giving more rights to the criminals than you do the victims there’s something wrong with America.’

Such privileges are routine and help create a safe environment, prison officials told ABC, while advocates for the rights of prisoners said being deprived of freedom was punishment enough and that most inmates were not ladies or ‘gentleman of leisure’ as Mr Hembree claimed to be.

‘These prisons are just absolutely horrific places to be, there is violence throughout them, absolute overcrowding, the noise is deafening, no one would voluntarily choose to be there,’ Jon Gould, a criminal justice professor at American University said.

‘We are fooling ourselves if we allow ourselves to believe that one picture of a domino’s game suggests this is a something other than a horrific life to live.’

But Blecker said the public needed to be aware of some of these conditions and while prisoners shouldn’t be stripped of their rights the punishment should better fit the crime.

‘For the worst of the worst of the worst, the ones who are raping and murdering children, there should be punishment,’ Mr Blecker told ABC.

‘That quality of life that they experience day to day should be a direct reflection on the heinousness and seriousness of the crime.’

ARKANSAS – Death-row inmate wins new hearing – Ray Dansby

June 21, 2012 Source :

LITTLE ROCK — A federal appeals panel Thursday partially reversed a federal judge’s denial of the appeal of an Arkansas death-row inmate.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis sent Ray Dansby’s appeal back to the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Arkansas for new proceedings.

Dansby was convicted of two counts of capital murder and sentenced to die for the Aug. 24, 1992, fatal shooting of his ex-wife, Brenda Dansby, and her boyfriend, Ronnie Kimble, at Brenda Dansby’s home in El Dorado. Witnesses testified they saw Dansby shoot both victims.

A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court upheld the dismissal of some of Ray Dansby’s claims on appeal Thursday but reversed the dismissal of two claims. The panel did not address the merits of those claims but said the federal judge’s reasons for dismissing them were erroneous.

Among the witnesses who testified at Dansby’s trial was his former cellmate, Larry McDuffie. The trial judge allowed Dansby’s lawyer to ask McDuffie if prosecutors had offered him leniency in exchange for his testimony, but the judge did not allow other questions about McDuffie’s past dealings with prosecutors.

Dansby argued on appeal that he should have been allowed to try to show that McDuffie was biased by his past dealings with prosecutors. A federal district judge dismissed that claim, saying Dansby had failed to raise the point in state court before raising it in federal court.

In its opinion Thursday, the 8th Circuit said Dansby specifically referenced the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment in a brief to the Arkansas Supreme Court, so the district judge’s ruling that Dansby had not previously raised the claim was in error.

The 8th Circuit also overturned a ruling by the district judge that Dansby’s claim of prosecutorial misconduct — he alleged that prosecutors withheld evidence regarding the credibility of McDuffie — was procedurally faulty. The appeals court said the district judge reached this conclusion without allowing either side to present arguments on the issue.

“The parties were not afforded adequate notice and opportunity to be heard on the issue of procedural default,” Judge Steven Colloton wrote in the 8th Circuit’s opinion.