Categoria: homicide

Alex Murdaugh Gets Life In Prison In Murder Of Wife, Son


WALTERBORO, S.C. — In the culmination of the once-prominent lawyer’s fall from grace, Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday after being convicted of murdering his wife and son.

Judge Clifton Newman asked Murdaugh if he had anything he wanted to say before sentencing him to two consecutive life terms, and the South Carolina attorney maintained his innocence.

“As I tell you again, I respect this court. But I am innocent. I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife Maggie and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son Paul-Paul,” Murdaugh responded.

“And it might not have been you. It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person,” Newman replied, noting Murdaugh’s decades-long addiction to painkillers.

Alex Murdaugh stands in the courtroom at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Thursday, March 2, 2023. Murdaugh was found guilty on two counts of murder in the shooting deaths in June 2021 of his wife Maggie and son Paul. Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison without parole when he is sentenced. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)

Alex Murdaugh, center, is handcuffed in the courtroom after a guilty verdict of his double murder trial was read aloud at Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Thursday, March 2, 2023. Murdaugh was found guilty on two counts of murder in the shooting deaths in June 2021 of his wife and son. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)

Alex Murdaugh, center, is handcuffed in the courtroom after a guilty verdict in his murder trial was read at Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Thursday, March 2, 2023. Murdaugh was found guilty on two counts of murder in the shooting deaths in June 2021 of his wife and son. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

Buster Murdaugh, the son of Alex Murdaugh, listens as Alex Murdaugh’s verdict is read at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Thursday, March 2, 2023. Alex Murdaugh was found guilty on two counts of murder in the shooting deaths in June 2021 of his wife Maggie and son Paul. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

Alex Murdaugh is led outside the Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff’s deputies after being convicted of two counts of murder Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C., in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Alex Murdaugh , center, is led out of Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff’s deputies after being convicted Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C. Murdaugh was found guilty Thursday on two counts of murder in the shooting deaths in June 2021 of his wife and son. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson talks to the media after the conviction of Alex Murdaugh outside the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C. The 54-year-old attorney was standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Members of the media and onlookers watch as a van leaves with Alex Murdaugh outside the Colleton County Courthouse after he was convicted on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C. The 54-year-old attorney was standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Alex Murdaugh is led to the Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff’s deputies for sentencing Friday, March 3, 2023 in Walterboro, S.C., after being convicted of two counts of murder in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Alex Murdaugh is led to the Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff’s deputies for sentencing Friday, March 3, 2023 in Walterboro, S.C., after being convicted of two counts of murder in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Buster Murdaugh arrives at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Friday, March 3, 2023 for his father Alex Murdaugh’s sentencing on two counts of murder. Alex Murdaugh was convicted in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of his wife and son. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Newman asked Murdaugh what he meant when he said “oh, what a tangled web we weave” while on the stand in his own defense.

“I meant when I lied, I continued to lie,” Murdaugh replied.

“And the question is when will it end? You continued to lie and lie throughout your testimony,” Newman said.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters said none of the victims of the crime — members of Murdaugh’s family and the parents and relatives of his wife — wished to speak on behalf of the prosecution before sentencing.

“The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes are stunning. The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he is, including here, sitting right over there in this witness stand — your honor, a man like that, a man like this man, should never be allowed to be among free, law abiding citizens,” Waters said.

Prosecutors asked for a life sentence to hold Murdaugh responsible for what they say are decades of lying, stealing and using his family’s considerable clout in their tiny county to his advantage. Any sentence would have no chance of parole.

As Murdaugh stood before the judge to learn his fate, he was in the same courtroom on the circuit where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases as the elected prosecutor for more than 80 years. His grandfather’s portrait hung in the back of the room until the judge ordered it taken down for the trial.

Katie Dearybury came from Charleston with her 1-year-old daughter for the sentencing.

“Everyone knows a well-connected person whose status has helped them escape consequences for wrongdoing,” she said. She was interested that the system finally acted in a case she has followed from the start.

The Colleton County jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Murdaugh guilty of killing his 22-year-old son, Paul, with a shotgun and his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, with a rifle on June 7, 2021.

Juror Craig Moyer told ABC News that when deliberations began, the jury immediately took a poll that came back with nine guilty votes. It didn’t take long to convince the other three.

The juror agreed with prosecutors that the key piece of evidence was a video locked on his son’s cellphone for a year — video shot minutes before the killings at the same kennels near where the bodies would be found.

The voices of all three Murdaughs can be heard on the video, though Alex Murdaugh had insisted for 20 months that he hadn’t been at the kennels that night. When he took the stand in his own defense, the first thing he did was admit he had lied to investigators about being at the kennels, saying he was paranoid of law enforcement because he was addicted to opioids and had pills in his pocket the night of the killings.

“A good liar. But not good enough,” Moyer said.

Prosecutors didn’t have the weapons used to kill the Murdaughs or other direct evidence like confessions or blood spatter. But they had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, including the video putting Murdaugh at the scene of the killings five minutes before his wife and son stopped using their cellphones forever.

Through more than 75 witnesses and nearly 800 pieces of evidence, jurors heard about betrayed friends and clients, Murdaugh’s failed attempt to stage his own death in an insurance fraud scheme, a fatal boat crash in which his son was implicated, the housekeeper who died in a fall in the Murdaugh home and the grisly scene of the killings.

The now-disbarred attorney admitted stealing millions of dollars from the family firm and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug habit. Before he was charged with murder, Murdaugh was in jail awaiting trial on about 100 other charges ranging from insurance fraud to tax evasion.

When he took the stand last week, Murdaugh appeared to cry as he denied again and again that he killed his wife. But juror Moyer said he saw through yet another lie.

“He never cried. All he did was blow snot,” Moyer said. “No tears. I saw his eyes. I was this close to him.”

Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina.

Florida Gunman Allegedly Kills 3, Including Reporter Covering Initial Shooting


A gunman accused of killing a woman in the Orlando area returned to the neighborhood hours later and shot four more people, killing a journalist covering the original shooting and a 9-year-old child, Florida police said.

Spectrum News 13 identified the slain reporter Thursday as Dylan Lyons. Photographer Jesse Walden was also wounded.

The two were in an unmarked news vehicle on Wednesday afternoon covering the first homicide when a man approached and shot them, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said in a news conference. The man then went to a nearby home where he fatally shot a girl and critically wounded her mother.

The sheriff said police have detained Keith Melvin Moses, 19, who they believe is responsible for all of the shootings.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina addresses the media during a press conference about multiple shootings, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. A central Florida television journalist and a little girl were fatally shot Wednesday afternoon near the scene of a fatal shooting from earlier in the day, authorities said. Mina said that they’ve detained Keith Melvin Moses, 19, who they believe is responsible for both shootings in the Orlando-area neighborhood. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel via AP) Mina said police didn’t immediately know the motive for the shootings. He said Moses was an acquainted with the first victim but did not appear to have a connection with any of the others. He said it was not clear if Moses knew that two of the people shot were journalists and noted their vehicle didn’t look like a typical news van or have the station’s logo on it.

It was not immediately known whether Moses has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

“I want to acknowledge what a horrible day this has been for our community and our media partners,” Mina told a room full of reporters. “No one in our community — not a mother, not a 9-year-old and certainly not news professionals — should become the victim of gun violence in our community.”

On Wednesday morning, deputies responded to the Pine Hills area, just northwest of Orlando, after reports that a woman in her 20s was shot.

Lyons and Walden were shot hours later while covering that shooting, followed by the mother and daughter, according to police and witnesses. WFTV crews, who were also reporting on the morning shooting, tried to give medical aid to the Spectrum 13 journalists.

Mina said Moses has already been charged with first-degree murder for the initial victim, and charges are expected soon for the other four victims. Moses’ criminal history includes gun charges, as well as aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft offenses, the sheriff said.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the crew member injured in Orange County, Florida, as well as the whole Spectrum News team,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.

“Please, please, say a prayer tonight for our co-worker who is in critical condition. And while you’re at it, please say a prayer for every victim of gun violence in this country,” Spectrum 13 journalist Celeste Springer said during her live on-air report Wednesday evening.

In a story published early Thursday, the station identified Lyons and Walden.

“(Lyons) took his job very seriously. He loved his career. He loved what he did,” said Spectrum Sports 360 reporter and friend, Josh Miller. “He loved the community, telling the stories of people, reporting on the news, and he was just passionate about what he did.”

Lyons was born and raised in Philadelphia, and graduated from the University of Central Florida, the station said. Before joining Spectrum News, he worked for a station in Gainesville.

Rachel Lyons, the reporter’s older sister, is raising money for his funeral in a GoFundMe account. She wrote that Lyons would have turned 25 in March. He is also survived by his parents and fiancée.

Worldwide 40 journalists were reported killed last year, plus another two this year before Wednesday, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Only one of those was in the United States.

Jeff German, who covered politics and corruption for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was found dead outside of his home in September after being stabbed multiple times. Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, who had been a frequent subject of German’s reporting, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

In 2015, Virginia reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed during their live TV broadcast for CBS affiliate WDBJ7. The suspect, a former reporter for the TV station, died by suicide during the law enforcement search for him.

Frisaro reported from Fort Lauderdale, Fischer reported from Miami; Associated Press writer Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

7 People Arrested In 2020 Killing Of 15-Year-Old Boy In California Park

VISALIA — Seven people between the ages of 16 and 51 have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a teen boy in a central California park two years ago, authorities announced Wednesday.

Fifteen-year-old Justin Molina was was shot once on Dec. 13, 2020, in Visalia’s Ruiz Park and died at a hospital a week later.

Tips from the public helped investigators with the Visalia Police Department, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Justice identify the suspects, law enforcement officials said.

Officers on Tuesday executed six search warrants, arresting six men and women and one juvenile, while seizing several weapons, the police department said in a statement.A 20-year-old man is charged with homicide and the others face various charges including accessory to homicide, conspiracy and obstructing an officer, police said.

“While we cannot erase the pain and trauma experienced by those involved in this case, we hope that these arrests bring some level of closure for the victim’s family and to the Visalia community,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

Officials didn’t announce a motive for the shooting.

Associated Press The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative, serving member newspapers and broadcasters in the U.S., and other customers around the world. The Southern California News Group is one of them. AP journalists in more than 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting to visual storytelling. Since 1846, AP has been covering the world’s biggest news events, committed to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism. Learn more about policies and standards in AP’s Statement of News Values and Principles.

Massachusetts Woman’s Husband Cried: ‘SHE KILLED THE KIDS’

The Duxbury, Masachusetts, mom accused of strangling her three children with exercise bands told her panicked husband the kids were in the basement where he “begged them to breathe” after discovering their bodies, a prosecutor said.

Screengrab of Lindsay Clancy arraigned from her hospital bed. “She killed the kids,” husband Patrick Clancy cried out to first responders the evening of Jan. 24, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague added Tuesday.

The prosecutor asked that the mom, Lindsay Clancy, be held without bail — adding that soon after the 32-year-old woke up at the hospital she wrote on a whiteboard: “Do I need an attorney?”

Sprague also said Lindsay Clancy used mapping software to track how long it would take her husband to run errands she sent him on that evening — including a trip to a nearby CVS for stool softener for kids and take-out dinner.

That dinner, the prosecutor added, was called in by Lindsay Clancy to ThreeV Restaurant in nearby Plymouth, where she ordered a Mediterranean power bowl for her, scallop and pork-belly risotto for him.

He arrived at the CVS at 5:32 p.m. and ThreeV at 5:54 p.m. and headed back home “within a minute” with the food arriving just after 6 o’clock, Sprague said.

“When he arrived home,” the ADA added, “the first thing he noticed was the silence.”

A bedroom door was locked; there was blood on the floor upstairs; and then Patrick Clancy found his wife on the ground outside, her cuts no longer bleeding.

“What did you do?” he asked her, Sprague said.

“I tried to kill myself and jumped out the window,” the wife responded.

“Where are the kids?” he added.

“In the basement,” the mom said.

“Guys?” the dad called out as he went searching for his children, Sprague added.

“He could then be heard screaming in agony,” Sprague said, and “begged them to breathe” as he pulled the bands from their necks. And when first responders arrived and met him in the basement, he yelled out to them “She killed the kids!”

The older two children, Cora, 5, and Dawson, 3, would be pronounced dead at area hospitals that night while 7-month-old Callan would hold on until that Friday, Jan. 27, when he, too, was pronounced dead at Boston Children’s Hospital.

They were killed, Sprague said, by ligature strangulation, in which Lindsay Clancy would have had to hold the ligature in place for up to 5 minutes per child to cause death.

“Therefore she had to strangle each of them to unconsciousness and then make sure the bands were squeezing their little necks for several minutes,” Sprague said. “She could have changed her mind at any point during that time and removed those bands from their necks and she did not.”

Sprague added Lindsay Clancy “killed the kids because she heard a voice and had ‘a moment of psychosis.’” When her husband asked “what voices” Sprague said she responded that she “heard a man’s voice telling her to kill the kids and kill herself because it was her last chance.”

Lindsay Clancy appeared for her Plymouth District Court hearing Tuesday over Zoom from her hospital bed in Boston to be arraigned on two counts of juvenile murder and three counts each of strangulation or suffocation and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Defense attorney Kevin Reddington said his client is a “paraplegic” — paralyzed from the waist down — who “can’t walk” after jumping out a second-floor window that night and who was pumped full of drugs as she tried to cope with postpartum complications after the birth of her third child.

Reddington added the one-time labor nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital now needs someone with her “24/7” out of “concern she will commit suicide.”

Reddington asked for her to be sent to Spaulding Rehab with a GPS monitor if the court orders more safeguards. The prosecution sought an alternative, Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain.

At that, Reddington groaned and threw up his hands calling the Shattuck “dismal and dank … like something out of Iran.”

Judge John Canavan ordered that Clancy be held at the unnamed hospital she’s at now and will “likely” be sent to Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown once she is cleared by her doctors to do so. But, he added, she needs to keep receiving mental health care and is due back in court May 2 — a date that will probably be moot once the case is bumped up to superior court.

Reddington stressed that Lindsay Clancy had been over-prescribed meds in the run-up to the aweful night.

From just October until January, Reddington said, Clancy had been prescribed various mixtures of drugs including the antidepressants Prozac, Remeron, amitriptyline and Trazodone; Seroquel, which the National Alliance on Mental Illness said treats schizophrenia and is an atypical antispychotic; and the anti-anxiety drugs Ativan and benzodiazepines. He also said that she was on Valium at some point and had been taking Benadryl.

“Our society fails miserably in treating women with postpartum depression, or even postpartum psychosis,” he said. “It’s medicate, medicate, medicate. Throw the pills at you and then see how it works. If it doesn’t work, then increase the dose or decrease the dose. Then end up trying another combination of medications.”

He said that holding her without bail is an “inhumane order” for a woman in her condition.

“She was so bad she turned herself in … to the McLean Hospital,” Reddington added. “This is really a tragedy, this case.”

A GoFundMe drive organized to help Patrick Clancy “pay for medical bills, funeral services, and legal help” in the wake of the tragedy has sailed past its goal of $1 million to reach $1,041,610 by 10:06 a.m. Tuesday.

Joe Dwinell contributed to this report.

Lindsay Clancy is seen on screen from inside Plymouth District Court yesterday. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald) Judge john Canavan. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald) Prosecutor Jennifer Sprague. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald) Duxbury residents leave teddy bears, flowers and more in memory of the Clancy kids near their home. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Two Weeks Later, What We Know — And Still Don’t Know — About Monterey Park Shooter

Regulars at Monterey Park’s Star Ballroom Dance Studio were line-dancing to a catchy version of the Chinese ballad “Light Rain in March” at around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, when a series of rapid pops rang out, signaling the start of one the most horrific chapters Los Angeles County history.

At first, some patrons thought the sound was that of firecrackers from a Lunar New Year celebration outside the ballroom. But then bloodied dancers began to collapse on the wooden floor.

Those who were fortunate to survive the onslaught cowered under tables or hid in a back room. Some watched as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, a bespectacled, disgruntled former dance instructor in a distinctive black-and-white toboggan cap who had last visited Star Dance more than five years ago, sprayed the venue with 42 bullets from a semi-automatic pistol.

When the five-minute rampage ended, 10 people lay dead while 10 more were wounded. One of the patrons later succumbed to injuries, bringing the body count to 11.

Fleeing the Star Dance, Tran’s fury was unquenched.

He quickly drove about two miles to Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, but was blocked from entering by the owners’ son, 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, who heroically wrestled his gun away during a fierce struggle.

Tran ran off and remained at large for more than 12 hours until police pulled over his white van with a stolen license plate in a Torrance strip mall parking lot. As officers closed in, Tran fatally shot himself in the head with a Norinco 7.62×25-millimeter pistol.

Authorities have not offered an explanation as to Tran’s whereabouts between the time of the shooting and his subsequent suicide or a motive for the crime.

“What drove a mad man to do this? We don’t know, but we intend to find out,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna vowed just after the shootings.

In the two weeks since the slaughter, authorities still can’t answer that question. Details have trickled out about Tran’s troubled life along with delusions and paranoia that might have pushed him to commit the largest-ever mass shooting in Los Angeles County. But much of it is speculation.

So far, here’s what we definitively know — and still don’t know — about the gunman.

A divorced immigrant Tran submitted a naturalization petition to the U.S. Department of Justice in 1990 indicating he was born in 1950 in Vietnam.

However, he immigrated from China, according to a copy of his marriage license provided by his ex-wife to CNN. The couple divorced in 2006 and there is no indication they had any children. Information was not immediately available regarding when Tran came to the U.S.

Tran’s former wife, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the case, told CNN she met Tran about 20 years ago at Star Dance, where he gave her free dance lessons. The couple was apparently smitten and married soon after.

However, Tran was a taskmaster on the dance floor. The woman said that while Tran wasn’t violent, he became angry if she missed a step while dancing because it made him look bad, according to CNN.

Business owner and landlord Tran formed Tran’s Trucking Inc. in 2002 and listed himself as chief executive officer, However, the company was dissolved two years later with no assets.

Tran also dabbled in real estate, renting out his home on Manor Way in San Gabriel, while continuing to live on the property.

A former tenant, who doesn’t want to be identified to avoid public exposure, described Tran, who visited Star Dance nearly every evening, as distrustful, angry and delusional, believing dance instructors there were jealous of him. A friend said Tran believed instructors said “evil things” about him, according to CNN.

But authorities said Tran had not been to Star Dance in at least five years, suggesting that if he held a grudge, he carried it for a long time.

The tenant said that after Tran sold his home, they moved into an apartment in Alhambra, but had a falling out over the rent security deposit. He eventually won a judgment against Tran for $700.

Vigilante and crime victim Prior to the Star Dance massacre, Tran was barely a blip on police radar.

His only documented arrest occurred in 1990, when he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm in San Gabriel after attempting to chase down a man who stole beer from a liquor store.

Tran purported to be a frequent crime victim as well.

He reported to San Gabriel police in 1992 the sister-in-law of the married woman he was dating threatened to have a Taiwanese gang kill him if he didn’t end the relationship and likely planted 49 shotgun shells in his yard to intimidate him. Investigators couldn’t prove the allegations and closed the case.

Seven years later, Tran notified San Gabriel police that he had received numerous calls from someone who did not say anything when he answered the phone. In the police report, Tran listed his occupation as “dancing instructor/self-employed.”

Conspiracy theorist and gun aficionado More recently, Tran visited the Hemet police station on Jan. 7 and Jan. 9, claiming his family had engaged in fraud and theft and more than a decade ago tried to poison him. He promised to return to the station with documentation to prove his allegations, but never came back.

When law enforcement officers searched Tran’s residence at The Lakes at Hemet West mobile home park hours after the Star Dance shooting they made an ominous discovery, recovering a .308-caliber rifle, items for manufacturing firearm suppressors and a large amount of ammunition.

It’s still unclear how Tran obtained the weapons.

Authorities have not released information detailing Tran’s trip from Hemet to Monterey Park to carry out the attack. It’s also unknown if the massacre was spontaneous or meticulously planned. However, it seems that Tran may have had an escape plan, stashing a motorcycle near the dance studio as an alternative getaway vehicle.