Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • Ferguson prosecutor: Some witnesses lied, including woman who didn’t see shooting

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 day ago

    “I’m sure she was nowhere near the place,” McCulloch said during a St. Louis radio interview. “She recounted the statement that was right out of the newspaper.”

    While investigators doubted her story, McCulloch said the woman was allowed to testify because “early on, I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything would be presented to the grand jury.”

    The prosecutor’s appearance on KTRS 550-AM was his first interview since Nov. 24, when he announced that the grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson for killing Brown. The officer, who resigned his position after the ruling, says he shot in self-defense.

    McCulloch’s handling of the death of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer has been criticized from the outset. On Thursday, State Rep. Karla May, a Democrat, called for McCulloch to be investigated for prosecutorial misconduct, the AP reported.

    “Just like any jury, they can believe all, part or nothing of any witness testimony,” he said.

  • James Holmes' parents: Theater gunman mentally ill, shouldn't be executed

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 day ago

    Robert and Arlene Holmes’ two-page letter to the Denver Post editorial section was delivered by Lisa Damiani, one of the gunman’s court-appointed attorneys. The newspaper published the entire letter on Friday.

    The parents are breaking their silence as 9,000 summonses are being mailed to prospective jurors. Jury selection is scheduled for January with a trial to begin in late spring or early summer.

    Holmes, who turned 27 in jail last week, is charged with murdering a dozen people and attempting to murder 70 others inside an Aurora movie theater in July 2012. The former medical student is accused of stockpiling weapons and meticulously planning his rampage for months. Prosecutors — who are seeking the death penalty — say Holmes also wanted to kill police by leaving his Denver apartment booby trapped with explosives.

    Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and has undergone two court-ordered sanity exams, which have not been made public.

    Holmes is “absolutely not” insane, says Marcus Weaver, who was shot in the theater.

  • Ebola cases require rare dual air ambulance rescues

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 9 days ago

    There has been an apparent first in the fight against Ebola this week.

    According to flight records, the private jet company contracted by the State Department to transport Ebola patients flew two air ambulances to West Africa on the same day.

    Until Wednesday, Phoenix Air had flown only one Ebola-fighting mission at a time. A second Gulfstream jet featuring the ability to treat infectious patients in flight had been held back in case of an emergency with the first aircraft. But last month, the Georgia-based operation finished customizing a third jet to handle the specialized medical equipment.

    The increased rescue capacity comes just in time. On Thursday, the Red Cross warned of a possible rise in the rate of Ebola infections in West Africa as people travel across the region during the holidays.

    So far, no information is known about the mission of this week’s second Ebola flight. Messages left for Phoenix Air were not immediately returned on Thursday. A State Department spokeswoman said she could not immediately answer questions from Yahoo News.

  • Attorneys demand Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson be banned from policing in Missouri

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 11 days ago

    In a nine-page petition, the National Bar Association — the country’s oldest and largest group of African American attorneys and judges — asks the Missouri Department of Public Safety to revoke Wilson’s law enforcement license.

    Last month, a St. Louis grand jury declined to indict Wilson, who is white, for the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. A federal civil rights investigation continues, but the likelihood of charges being brought is slim, since Wilson has testified he was in fear for his life at the time of the shooting.

    Missouri's 17,500 officers are licensed by the DPS. By law, the state's top cop can discipline officers who have “committed any criminal offense, whether or not a criminal charge has been filed.”

  • In Darren Wilson's words: Grand jury testimony gives first look at officer's fear before Michael Brown shooting

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 26 days ago

    CLAYTON, Mo. — Michael Brown had the “crazy” look of a “demon” as he barreled toward Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the final moments of his life.

    “He turned, looked at me, made like a grunting noise and had the most intense aggressive face I’ve ever seen on a person,” Wilson told detectives the morning after he fatally shot the unarmed 18-year-old.

    This is a first look at Wilson’s account of what happened in the Aug. 9 shooting, detailed in more than 100 pages of testimony revealed Monday after a grand jury did not indict the officer in Brown’s death.

    Brown never put his hands up in surrender, the officer told grand jurors investigating the case.

    But he did make a fist with his left hand — and reached under his shirt to his waistband with his right — while rushing at Wilson, according to the officer.

    “I shoot a series of shots,” Wilson said. “I don't know how many I shot; I just know I shot it.”

    But Brown kept coming, he said.

    “It looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him,” Wilson told the grand jury on Sept. 16, five weeks after the controversial shooting.

  • No indictment: Grand jury decides Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges in Michael Brown shooting death

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 26 days ago

    FERGUSON, Mo. — Police Officer Darren Wilson, the suburban St. Louis patrolman who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in early August, will not face criminal charges in the controversial shooting death, a grand jury has decided.

    Wilson, who is white, became a national figure after he shot the black 18-year-old multiple times in broad daylight on a residential street. The grand jury deliberated for months, and Ferguson was rocked by violent protests in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

    The decision was announced by prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch, who discussed the lengthy deliberation period of the grand jury, citing consideration of differing witness reports as one reason for the unusually long session.

    President Obama gave a brief statement soon after the announcement, calling for a peaceful response to the decision.

    “To those in Ferguson, there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively,” he said. Progress can be made, he said, but “that won’t be done by throwing bottles, that won’t be done by smashing car windows."

    McCulloch laid out the juror sessions by the numbers: the jurors met 25 times and spent hundreds of hours poring over evidence.

  • Grand jury reaches decision on Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson; will be announced at 8p.m. CT

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 26 days ago

    A spokesman for the St. Louis prosecutor's office alerted media of the decision in a brief email statement and said it would be announced at 8 p.m. at the downtown courthouse in Clayton.

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered remarks ahead of the decision and made a plea for a peaceful response, no matter what the outcome of the grand jury.

    "Our shared hope and expectation is that regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint," he said.

    Meanwhile, officials in Clayton stepped up security measures erecting barricades around the courthouse to prepare for possible protests. A Yahoo News reporter spotted members of the National Guard arriving in military vehicles. Several Ferguson-area schools have announced they will be closed Tuesday.

    “The men and women of the National Guard also will be in the area to provide security at critical facilities like firehouses, police stations and utility substations, and offer logistical and transportation support as needed. This will free up law enforcement officers to do their jobs effectively," Nixon said.

    Anxiety over the decision has kept the St. Louis region on edge.


  • No promise Ferguson grand jury evidence will be made public, court says

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 27 days ago

    For three months, prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch has said he would seek a rare court order from Judge Carolyn Whittington immediately releasing nearly all evidence should Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson not be charged. Grand jury proceedings usually remain secret.

    “We’ve asked the judge to do that, and the judge has agreed that she will do that, if there is no indictment,” McCulloch said during a radio interview with KTRS in September. “There’s no probably about it, it will be released.”

    On Sunday, however, the court said, “Judge Whittington has entered no such order and has made no such agreement,” according to director of judicial admnistration Paul Fox.

    The written statement from Fox comes two days after McCulloch’s office sent reporters instructions on how to connect to a county Web server to retrieve the records.

    “In the event the transcripts are released, this will be the site you will access,” read an email to Yahoo News.

    A spokesperson for the prosecutor didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

  • Reports: Ferguson grand jury still undecided, reconvening Monday

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 28 days ago

    Nearly a week after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency ahead of a decision in the contentious Ferguson police shooting, reports surfaced Saturday that an announcement may not be imminent.

    Local media, quoting unidentified sources, reported that the panel won’t rule before the end of the weekend. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the grand jury is still gathering information.

    Downtown STL Inc., a  civic group that promotes St. Louis businesses, told members in an email Saturday that the grand jury will reconvene Monday, the AP reported. The email did not explain how the group knew the information.

    [Related: St. Louis County fortifies police headquarters before grand jury ruling]

    Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

  • St. Louis County fortifies police headquarters before Ferguson grand jury ruling

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 28 days ago

    Workers scrambled Saturday morning to barricade police headquarters and other government buildings, residents grabbed supplies at a corner store and some shop owners finished boarding up windows.

    “We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Quentin Virgil who repairs shoes across the street from the St. Louis County Police Department. “The law office next door is boarded up. That’s not normal.”

    Nothing in the St. Louis area seems normal as the community anxiously awaits a grand jury’s findings in the case of a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. 

    Brown's death promoted riots in August, and there is a fear among some locals that another round of violence could cost lives and livelihoods.

    “I try not to think about it, but if they break my window, they’ll put me out of business,” Maria Mathias, owner of Busy Bee Alterations & Shoe Repair. “They've really got my heart pumping right now."

    Mathias, a business owner in Clayton for 23 years, watched with angst Saturday morning as workers secured the police department across the street.

    “I can’t afford that,” she said.