Blog Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • Parents of Colorado movie theater victim living in camper to not miss trial

    Unique arrangement has been “like a refuge to us”

    Sandy and Lonnie Phillips' daughter, 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi, was slain in the July 20, 2012 Colorado movie theater massacre. (Jason Sickles/Yahoo News)Sandy and Lonnie Phillips' daughter, 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi, was slain in the July 20, 2012 Colorado movie theater massacre. (Jason Sickles/Yahoo News)
    CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Lonnie and Sandy Phillips left nearly everything behind when they moved here three months ago to be a voice for their slain daughter during the capital murder trial of Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes.

    In the process, the Texas couple has discovered a bit of peace for themselves — in a 393-square-foot travel trailer.

    “When you lose a child to murder, you learn that nothing else matters — just the time we have together and what we do with it,” said Sandy, 65.

    Jessica Ghawi, 24, aspired to be a national sports reporter. She was killed three years ago in the Colorado movie theater rampage. (AP/Courtesy of the family)Jessica Ghawi, 24, aspired to be a national sports reporter. She was killed three years ago in the Colorado movie theater rampage. (AP/Courtesy of the family)The Phillipses, vowing not to miss a moment of the trial, sold 75 percent of their belongings, rented out their San Antonio home and pulled a just-purchased camper to Denver in time for opening statements in late April.

    “It’s like a refuge to us,” Lonnie, 71, said of the one-bedroom camper.

    The couple has lived in the tight quarters with their two Maltese-mix dogs for nearly three months. Just inside the front door rests a photo of Jessica Ghawi, their 24-year-old daughter who was among the 12 people

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  • Dylann Roof arrest video reveals officers’ emotions after capturing Charleston murder suspect

    It wasn’t long after Shelby, N.C. patrolman Dan Bernat had slapped his handcuffs on alleged Charleston church killer Dylann Roof that officers were able to show their relief.

    The first congratulatory fist bump, in fact, came 45 seconds after Roof was in cuffs.

    Terri Barr, of Columbia, S.C., stands silently against a fence while visiting a sidewalk memorial for the shooting victims in front of Emanuel AME Church. (AP/David Goldman)Terri Barr, of Columbia, S.C., stands silently against a fence while visiting a sidewalk memorial for the shooting victims in front of Emanuel AME Church. (AP/David Goldman)Roof, a 21-year-old avowed white supremacist, had been national news and the subject of an intense manhunt since nine people were gunned down inside a Charleston, S.C. historic black church the night before.

    For Shelby, a rural town of 20,000 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, hooking Roof was a big catch.

    On Tuesday the Shelby Police Department released patrol car dashcam video of the arrest. While the traffic stop and arrest of Roof are fairly uneventful, the officers’ reactions are anything but.

    They brandished big smiles after Roof was in cuffs and the threat of danger had passed.

    “You could tell they were all happy to apprehend this guy and get him off the street,” Shelby police Chief Jeff Ledford told Yahoo News.

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  • Dylann Roof’s arrest: How a small-town police foiled the accused Charleston killer’s getaway

    SHELBY, N.C. — For 13 hours and 44 minutes last week, an unemployed high school dropout just barely of legal drinking age was the most wanted man in the United States.

    Dylann Storm Roof is accused of mercilessly shooting nine African-American people with a semiautomatic handgun equipped with laser sights on Wednesday evening inside a historic church in Charleston, S.C.

    The 21-year-old avowed white supremacist allegedly told one survivor that he would let her live so she could tell the story of what he’d done. Then he fled into the night.

    After that startling scene, Roof’s getaway and the ensuing manhunt ended in an unexpectedly mundane fashion and in an unlikely place: a traffic stop in Shelby, a small town between Charlotte and Asheville in the rolling foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

    Dylann Roof is escorted to court last Thursday by Shelby, N.C. police detectives. (AP/Ben Earp)Dylann Roof is escorted to court last Thursday by Shelby, N.C. police detectives. (AP/Ben Earp)

    “We had no idea the guy would end up here,” said Rusty Stroupe, a local college baseball coach. “Somebody attacks somebody inside a church, we’re all affected by that. This guy

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  • Dylann Roof and Michael Slager are cellblock neighbors in Charleston County jail

    Slager is the white S.C. police officer indicted for murder in the April fatal shooting of unarmed black man Walter Scott

    SHELBY, N.C. — When church shooting suspect Dylann Roof left here on a police-escorted flight to South Carolina Thursday evening, he did so wearing a striped jail jumpsuit compliments of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department.

    Jailers booked Roof in at 7:28 p.m., less than 24 hours after the reportedly self-avowed racist allegedly massacred nine people during a Bible study session, sparking a regional manhunt.

    Roof was assigned Cell 1141B in a part of the jail where suicidal and other high-risk inmates get more oversight.

    Shooting suspect Dylann Roof being escorted by police to an airplane in Shelby, N.C. (WBTV via AFP)Shooting suspect Dylann Roof being escorted by police to an airplane in Shelby, N.C. (WBTV via AFP)

    Out of 937 males currently in the jail, Roof's cellblock neighbor is former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, who is jailed in a high-profile, racially charged murder case.

    Slager, who is white, was indicted this month on charges that he killed an unarmed black

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  • Waco police rarely dispatched to Twin Peaks prior to biker shootout, records reveal

    Attorney: ‘More and more either outright lies or exaggerations’

    The Waco, Texas parking lot where nine people were killed during a lunch-hour shootout involving rival bikers and police. (Jerry Larson/AP)The Waco, Texas parking lot where nine people were killed during a lunch-hour shootout involving rival bikers and police. (Jerry Larson/AP)

    Patrol officers were seldom sent to investigate trouble at Twin Peaks restaurant prior to the May deadly biker shootout in Waco, Texas, records obtained by Yahoo News reveal.

    The scarce number of calls conflicts with how law enforcement portrayed the self-described “breastaurant” immediately after the brazen lunch-hour rampage.

    “We have been made aware in the last few months of rival biker gangs — rival criminal biker gangs — being here and causing issues,” Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton told reporters outside the sports bar turned crime scene last month. “We have attempted to work with the local management of Twin Peaks to get that cut back, to no avail.”

    If Twin Peaks was a powder keg leading up the deadly brawl — there’s apparently not much of paper trail to prove it.

    A police dispatch log shows officers averaged less than one call a month to Twin Peaks between the restaurant’s opening in August and the May 17 shooting.

    Waco, Texas police officer dispatches to Twin Peaks between last August and the May 17 deadly shooting. Click image for larger view. Waco, Texas police officer dispatches to Twin Peaks between last August and the May 17 deadly shooting. Click image for larger view. Out of eight trips, just two of the calls — a car break-in

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  • Dallas suspect had talked of ‘shooting up schools and churches’

    Gunman ‘talks to himself quite frequently and appears delusional,’ his mom once said

    DALLAS — The suspect who attacked Dallas police headquarters overnight with a barrage of bullets and homemade explosives had a history of mental illness and violence, according to court records.

    Police said the man identified himself as James Lance Boulware, 35. The suspect’s hours-long rampage included a sensational standoff at police headquarters in downtown Dallas where he had left two pipe bombs, rammed patrol cars with an armored van, and exchanged a hail of gunfire with officers. One of the bombs exploded when a police technician tried to remove it. Boulware eventually fled that scene and led dozens of police cruisers on a chase south of Dallas.

    “It was very helter-skelter for a while,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

    Patrol cars and buildings were left scarred by bullet holes, but police said no officers were injured.

    A police sniper

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  • McKinney pool party officer’s past includes allegations of racial profiling, questionable police practices

    Records: A look at two cases from Eric Casebolt’s career

    Tommy Brown was jailed by Eric Casebolt, a McKinney police officer, in 2007 for a defective headlight. Casebolt resigned from the department this week after being captured on video wielding his gun at unarmed African-American teens and throwing one of them, a teenage girl wearing a bikini, to the ground. (Jason Sickles/Yahoo News)Tommy Brown was jailed by Eric Casebolt, a McKinney police officer, in 2007 for a defective headlight. Casebolt resigned from the department this week after being captured on video wielding his gun at unarmed African-American teens and throwing one of them, a teenage girl wearing a bikini, to the ground. (Jason Sickles/Yahoo News)
    McKINNEY, Texas — The latest law enforcement officer to fuel the national uproar about race and policing once jailed an African-American man for a defective headlight and was sued by another man for racial profiling, excessive force and other civil rights violations.

    McKinney police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, who is white, was thrust into the country’s ongoing controversy about police conduct this week after a video of him responding aggressively to a disturbance at a suburban pool party went viral on social media. On the footage shot last Friday, Casebolt is seen drawing his gun on unarmed African-American teens and throwing one of them, a 15-year-old girl wearing a bikini, to the ground.

    The McKinney chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution honored Eric Casebolt after he was selected 2008 Officer of the Year. (Texas Society Sons of the American Revolution)The McKinney chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution honored Eric Casebolt after he was selected 2008 Officer of the Year. (Texas Society Sons of the American Revolution)

    Casebolt resigned late Tuesday as civil rights protesters descended on McKinney, a predominately white suburb north of Dallas. At a news conference, his civil attorney Jane Bishkin said the officer left his job of 10 years “with a heavy heart,” and apologizes his actions but maintains, “He was not

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  • McKinney police officer apologizes, blames emotional stress for aggression at pool party

    Eric Casebolt’s attorney said back-to-back suicide calls before being dispatch to the pool disturbance took an emotional toll on the former McKinney police officer. (Photo: Brandon Brooks/YouTube)Eric Casebolt’s attorney said back-to-back suicide calls before being dispatch to the pool disturbance took an emotional toll on the former McKinney police officer. (Photo: Brandon Brooks/YouTube)
    The lawyer for a McKinney, Texas, police officer who has become the country’s latest exemplification of bad cop behavior on Wednesday blamed her client’s aggressive actions on emotional stress.

    Cpl. Eric Casebolt was captured on video Friday evening wrestling a teenage girl to the ground and pointing his gun at two other teens while answering a disturbance call at an unruly party at a neighborhood pool in suburban Dallas.

    “He never intended to mistreat anyone,” his attorney, Jane Bishkin, said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. “He apologizes to all who were offended.”

    Bishkin said Casebolt had worked one suicide and one attempted suicide in the hour prior to being dispatched to the pool party that reportedly involved teens fighting.

    “The nature of these two suicide calls took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt,” Bishkin said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

    Cellphone video of Casebolt responding to the pool incident was published Saturday and immediately went viral. By

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  • Grand jury indicts former North Charleston officer Michael Slager for fatally shooting Walter Scott

    Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was indicted Monday with murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott. (Photo: WSJ/File)Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was indicted Monday with murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott. (Photo: WSJ/File)
    A South Carolina grand jury on Monday handed down a murder indictment against former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, who was filmed shooting Walter Scott in the back during a traffic stop in early April.

    “Just because you have video in a case doesn’t mean it’s the be-all, end-all and the case is over,” Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said at a press conference to reveal the indictment.

    In this April 8, 2015 photo, Anthony Scott holds an undated photo that shows himself, center, and his brothers Walter Scott, left, and Rodney Scott, right, as he talks about Walter at his home near North Charleston, S.C. Walter Scott was killed by a North Charleston police officer after a traffic stop on Saturday, April 4, 2015. The officer, Michael Thomas Slager, has been fired and charged with murder. (AP Photo/Scott Family)In this April 8, 2015 photo, Anthony Scott holds an undated photo that shows himself, center, and his brothers Walter Scott, left, and Rodney Scott, right, as he talks about Walter at his home near North Charleston, S.C. Walter Scott was killed by a North Charleston police officer after a traffic stop on Saturday, April 4, 2015. The officer, Michael Thomas Slager, has been fired and charged with murder. (AP Photo/Scott Family)Slager was arrested and charged with murder on April 7 after a video that gained worldwide attention surfaced showing the officer shooting Scott, who was running from him. Wilson said the case was presented to the grand jury Monday morning, which immediately returned the formal murder charge against Slager, 33.

    According to police, Slager had pulled over Scott for a faulty taillight. Scott's family has said they believe the man ran from the traffic stop because he feared going to jail for owing back child support.

    Police and Slager initially said that Scott, 50, was shot after

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  • Waco police seeking to bar information about Texas biker shooting

    Civil attorney: ‘That’s game-playing by public officials’

    A McLennan County deputy stands guard near a group of bikers in the parking lot of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, last month. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)A McLennan County deputy stands guard near a group of bikers in the parking lot of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, last month. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)
    As questions remain unanswered about last month’s deadly biker rampage in Waco, Texas, police there are trying to clamp down on public information about the case.

    The move comes as scrutiny intensifies over the Waco Police Department’s handling of the sensational shootout that killed nine bikers, injured 18 and saw an unprecedented 175 people arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime.

    By law, crime and arrest reports containing basic data — information such as a detailed description of the offense and the name and a description of the victim — have to be provided.

    While some details about the dead, including identities, have trickled out, officials have been slow to provide information through documented reports as required by the Texas Public Records Act.

    Documents that have been released to Yahoo News appear to be haphazardously redacted. Even though required by law, the names of arresting officers are omitted. But the identities, addresses and other contact information

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Pagination

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