Posts by Jeff Stacklin
A neighbor of convicted Cleveland kidnapper-rapist Ariel Castro pleaded not guilty Monday morning to charges of murder, rape and kidnapping in connection with two cold case murders.
Elias Acevedo, 49, appearing in orange jail clothes, remained mostly quiet during a brief court hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. A judge set bond for Acevedo, who is being held in the county jail, at $5 million.
Acevedo was indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury and charged last week with the kidnapping, rape and murder of his 30-year-old neighbor, Pamela Pemberton, found strangled in 1994, and Christina Adkins, a pregnant 18-year-old who disappeared in 1995. He also is charged with the rape of two young girls.
The indictment against Acevedo has 293 charges.
Acevedo became a suspect in the unsolved cases of Pemberton and Adkins when FBI agents re-examined missing-persons cases after Castro's arrest.
Torrential downpours near Boulder, Colo., have left at least three people dead and forced the evacuation of hundreds of other people. Many residents turned to social media to share their stories, pictures and video.
Heavy rains fell in Colorado's biggest urban areas, stretching 130 miles along the eastern slopes of the Rockies from Fort Collins near the Wyoming border south through Denver and Colorado Springs, reported the Associated Press.
"There is water everywhere," Andrew Barth, the spokesman in Boulder County, told the AP. "We've had several structural collapses. There's mud and muck and debris everywhere. Cars are stranded all over the place."
This video, from Zach Green, shows roaring water in Boulder.
In a world filled with violent protests, a group of musicians who were part of a demonstration in the Romanian capital of Bucharest offered up a peaceful musical moment.
This footage shows the string quartet taking an informal stage in the middle of the street and playing its version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”
The video was uploaded by videographer Cosmin Andrei on Monday. The demonstrators have been protesting a government proposal to allow Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company, to make it easier for it to seize people’s property and obtain permits for a gold mining project in the Transylvanian village of Rosia Montana.
On Monday, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta gave in to protesters and admitted that a bill to allow the proposal likely would fail in the nation’s Parliament, AFP reports.
And for those of you who miss the lyrics to Metallica's hard rocking gem, feel free to sing along. Here are the final lines to the song:
The Cleveland home where three women were held captive and brutally beaten and sexually abused for the past decade met its fate on Wednesday — a wrecking crew.
It came only 93 days after the women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — were able to escape their captor, Ariel Castro, 53, who has been sent to prison for the rest of his life.
Before the demolition, Knight, holding a bunch of yellow balloons, visited the home one last time. She released the balloons, hugged and spoke with neighbors and the media briefly. She said she will become a motivational speaker.
"I feel very liberated that people think of me as a hero and a role model," Knight said, adding that it was important to her to be there today "because nobody was there for me when I was missing." She also said she's going to be a victim's advocate. "I want people out there to know, including the mothers, that they can have strength," she said. "They can have hope, and their child will come back."
“This was one evil guy,” Cuyahoga Prosecutor Tim McGinty said of Castro as demolition crews began working.
CLEVELAND — Ariel Castro was sentenced to life without parole on the charge of aggravated murder Thursday and received multiple years on various other charges related to kidnap and rape that totaled 1,000 years. Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo emphasized that Castro would never leave prison and that the multiple sentences would be consecutive because of the severity of his crimes. Russo told Castro that the extreme sentence is meant "to punish you." "You don't deserve to be out in our community," Russo told Castro. Russo also told Castro that he was to never try to contact his victims — Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus — or Berry's daughter, whom Castro fathered.
He also claimed he lived in "harmony" with the three women and the daughter he had with Berry, and he told the judge that sex with the women was consensual.
Ariel Castro, who pleaded guilty last week to kidnapping, raping and beating three Cleveland women, will find out his fate Thursday at a sentencing hearing, though it’s no mystery where he’ll spend the rest of his life.
The bigger mystery is who will speak at the hearing.
Among those who could address Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo — and Castro — are the three victims: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight or their appointed representatives. The women also could choose to make written or video-recorded statements. It also is possible that the court will not hear from the women at all.
The three, for the most part, have maintained a low profile since May 6, when Berry escaped the home with her 6-year-old daughter and called for police. In July, the women released a YouTube video to thank the community. Berry also surprised a crowd last weekend, when she walked onstage during a Cleveland concert and was greeted by cheering fans. She later returned to the stage at the invitation of rapper Nelly.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been acquitted of aiding the enemy when he shared classified documents on U.S. military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan with WikiLeaks, but he was convicted of lesser charges, including espionage. Military Judge Col. Denise Lind issued her verdict early Tuesday afternoon. She found Manning guilty of five espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions. The aiding the enemy charge was the most severe and carried the possibility of life in prison.
Manning, though, isn't likely to avoid prison time. His sentence hearing will begin Wednesday, and the charges he was convicted of could mean 128 years behind bars, according to the Associated Press.
Bottom-line: #Manning did not embody the 7 Army values. Instead he acted selfishly, in collusion w/ Assange, endangering lives. Burn Manning
Manning faces 136 year MAX punishment on the crimes he was found GUILTY-- sentencing begins tomorrow.
In what might be the first act of mercy shown to his victims, the man charged with kidnapping, raping and beating three Cleveland, Ohio, women agreed to a plea deal on Friday that would spare the women the agony of reliving the horrific details of their years in captivity during a jury trial.
He also fathered Berry’s 6-year-old daughter while he held Berry captive, authorities say. When he impregnated another of the women, he beat and starved her until she miscarried, which led to an aggravated murder charge. It was that charge that could have resulted in the death penalty. Castro previously had asked that his 6-year-old daughter be able to visit him, but McGinty said after the hearing that the plea agreement stipulates Castro is a sexual predator and he cannot see the girl.
The man accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women and repeatedly raping them will appear Friday in court and could agree to a plea bargain that would spare him the death penalty.
If Ariel Castro, 53, of Cleveland, does agree to a deal brokered by his defense attorneys and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, it also would spare the three women the agony of reliving the horrific details of the past decade on the witness stand.
The women were at times chained in his basement, endured beatings and sexual assaults, and permitted outside his home on only a couple of occasions, according to police and court documents.
The terms of a proposed deal have not been revealed, but late Thursday, a spokeswoman for Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo, who is presiding over the case, announced that the final pretrial hearing would be this morning and noted that the parties in the case have entered into plea negotiations. WKYC-TV in Cleveland reported Friday morning that Judge Russo said there will be no sentencing at the hearing.
McGinty's office declined to confirm whether a deal had been reached, and attorneys for Castro did not return phone messages left for them.
A plea deal has been offered to the man accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women and raping them repeatedly while he held them in captivity at his home during the past decade, according to a Cleveland TV station. If Ariel Castro, 53, of Cleveland accepts the deal, he would avoid the death penalty, according to a report by WKYC-TV in Cleveland. The deal, however, has not been finalized.
A final pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Friday morning, said a spokeswoman for Judge Michael Russo, who is presiding over the case.
Maria Russo, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s spokeswoman, said she could not confirm if a formal deal had been offered to Castro.
Phone calls to Castro’s defense attorneys were not immediately returned.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys met in Russo’s courtroom on Wednesday and said they were working toward a plea deal.
The women — Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry, 27 — were freed from Castro’s home on the west side of Cleveland on May 6, along with Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, who was fathered by Castro during her captivity.