Teens accused of killing man with sandbag thrown from overpass charged with murder

Published: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 2:46 PM

Police - Man Killed After Teens Toss Sandbag From Highway Overpass

UPDATE: Dec. 27, 2017  3:00 p.m.: The four Ohio teenagers accused of dropping a sandbag from an Ohio overpass last week, killing a passenger in a vehicle below, entered denial pleas to murder charges Wednesday morning at their arraignments in Lucas County Juvenile Court, according to the Toledo Blade.

The teens, one 13-year-old and three 14-year-olds, remain jailed at the Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center in downtown Toledo.

They were charged with murder Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday on both the murder charges and vehicular vandalism, CNN reported.

(Previous story)

Four teenagers in Ohio are facing charges after police say they deliberately tossed a sandbag off a highway overpass Tuesday night.

>> Read more trending news 

The sandbag struck Marquise Byrd, 22, who was a passenger in a car on I-75, WTVG reported. Police said the sandbag crashed through the car's windshield, striking Byrd. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he later died, WTVG reported.

The four teens were apprehended and charged with felonious assault, but Byrd's death will likely prompt additional charges, police said. The teens, three whom are 14 years old and one 13, are being held at a juvenile detention facility. The teenagers denied the charges.

Related

2 arrested after infant, 4-year-old dumped along freezing roads

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

Khyree Swift, 17, appears in court on Jan. 19, 2018 after being arrested on charges including kidnapping and theft in Clayton County, Georgia.
WSB-TV
Khyree Swift, 17, appears in court on Jan. 19, 2018 after being arrested on charges including kidnapping and theft in Clayton County, Georgia.(WSB-TV)

Authorities have captured two teens they say stole an SUV with two children inside before abandoning them in below freezing temperatures.

>> Read more trending news

Khyree Swift, 17, and an unidentified 16-year-old have been charged with kidnapping, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators said they tracked a stolen iPad to the home of one of the suspects, WSB-TV reported.

>> On AJC.com: SUV thief dumped little girl, 1-month-old baby along freezing roads

Swift was arrested Friday by Riverdale police, according to jail records. He appeared in court later in the day and was denied bond, WSB-TV reported.

Swift told a judge he doesn’t understand the allegations against him, according to the news station. His family told WSB-TV that Swift had nothing to do with the crime.

It is not clear when the other teen was captured.

Swift and the 16-year-old are accused of taking Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox about 5 p.m. Wednesday from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road.

Wilmer left her daughters, 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport, in the SUV with the engine running while she went inside the convenience store, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said.

She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat, police said. 

The girls were later found miles apart. 

Georgia State University police Chief Joseph Spillane found Arya walking on the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, police said.

Channel 2 photojournalist Brian Ferguson found Ava in the middle of South Fulton Parkway, still strapped in her car seat.

>> On AJC.com: Children carjacked in Atlanta saved by passers-by in frigid weather 

At the time, the temperature was in the 20s, but it felt like the single digits.

The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. 

Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s SUV on Metropolitan Parkway. 

In addition to kidnapping, Swift faces charges of theft by receiving stolen property, cruelty to children in the first degree and theft by taking.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writers Steve Burns and Raisa Habersham contributed to this report

Woman shot, killed at Mississippi Walmart by on-again, off-again boyfriend, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

On-Again, Off-Again Boyfriend Shoots, Kills Woman At Walmart

A man is facing a capital murder charge after Starkville police accused him of shooting and killing a woman described as his “on-again, off-again” girlfriend at a Mississippi Walmart where she worked as an optometrist, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The shooting happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Walmart in Starkville. Police Chief Frank Nichols said a man fired several shots after walking into the store and confronting a woman, identified as Walmart Vision Center employee Shauna Witt, 42, the Starkville Daily News reported.

No other injuries were reported.

Witt was taken to a hospital, where she later died from her injuries, police said.

Police said they confronted a man at the scene of the shooting and detained him after a brief struggle. The man, identified as William Thomas “Tommy” Chisholm, was arrested and charged with capital murder.

Investigators believe the shooting was the result of a domestic situation. According to witnesses, Chisholm and Witt were in an on-again, off-again dating relationship.

SPD Press Conference - Walmart Shooting Incident

Posted by Starkville Police Department on Saturday, January 13, 2018

After the shooting, Justin Blaylock, who said he knew Witt for nearly two decades, described her as “a generous, kind soul,” the Daily News reported.

“She will be greatly missed by all,” he said. “(She was) just a genuine friend that cared at all times and was willing to lend a hand at any time.”

At the time of the killing, police said, Chisholm was out on felony bond for an incident related to the victim.

Police continue to investigate the shooting.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Girl convicted of killing friend after Facebook selfie shows her wearing murder weapon 

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:34 PM

Police See Murder Weapon in Facebook Profile Pic, Arrest Friend

A Facebook selfie with her best friend helped put a Canadian girl in prison after investigators spotted her in the photo wearing a belt she used later that night to kill the other teen.

Cheyenne Rose Antoine, 21, of Saskatoon, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday in the March 25, 2015 strangulation death of Brittney Jane Gargol. She was sentenced to seven years in prison.

CBC News reported that Antoine and Gargol, 18, were out partying together the night of the slaying. Gargol was found several hours later, mortally wounded, along the side of a road on the outskirts of Saskatoon near the city landfill. 

The man who found her told police she was cold to the touch, had no shoes on and that there was a belt lying near her body. Gargol died a short time later at a hospital. 

It took days to identify her, a task accomplished after police made public photos of her tattoos, along with images of the jacket and broken watch that were found on her body, CKOM in Saskatoon reported

Antoine initially told police that she and Gargol had gone to several bars before Gargol met a man at one of them and left with him. Investigators said she attempted to lead them on the wrong path by posting on Gargol’s Facebook page several hours after she killed her. 

“Where are you? Haven’t heard from you. Hope you made it home safe,” Antoine wrote, according to the Toronto Sun

She continued to post on Gargol’s page in the months after the homicide, including on a photo that Gargol posted of the pair just hours before she was slain. The victim made the photo, seen below, her profile picture shortly before she died. 


Posted by Dionisio Valentin Cerna Velasquez on Thursday, January 18, 2018

“Aweh, I miss you soo much, Bert! Wish heaven had visiting hours so I could come see you, but I'm so glad you came & visited me in my dream last night,” Antoine’s comment read, according to CBC News. “Looking forward to that day I see you again. Say hello to my mommy up there for me!”

Police investigators worked the case for nearly two years, using social media to create a timeline for Antoine and Gargol’s movements the night of the slaying. It was that last profile photo on Gargol’s page, however, that proved to be the break they needed.

Detectives noticed that Antoine wore a distinctive black belt, visible around her waist in the bottom left corner of the selfie that she and Gargol took together the night of the killing. The belt in the photo was the one found near Gargol’s dying body, CBC News reported.

The photo remained as Gargol’s profile picture for more than a year after her death. It has since been changed by her family. 

With a suspect in their sights, investigators were able to tear apart Antoine’s story about the pair bar-hopping the night of the crime by obtaining surveillance video from at least one bar that failed to show the girls where Antoine said they were. Another break came when a tip led police to a friend of Antoine’s, who told detectives that a panicked Antoine showed up at her house the night of the murder.

Antoine confessed to the friend that night that after getting into a drunken argument with Gargol, she hit her and then strangled her, CBC News said

She was arrested on suspicion of murder in March of last year. 

A plea deal between prosecutors and the defense brought the charge down to one of manslaughter. 

Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter praised the police work that ultimately led to Antoine’s arrest. 

“It’s quite remarkable how the police developed this information,” Ritter said. 

>> Read more trending news

Antoine admitted in court Monday that she killed her friend, but said she does not remember doing so. Her lawyer, Lisa Watson, told the court that Antoine, who suffered years of abuse in the foster care system, had been dealing with serious personal problems prior to the homicide. 

“My client had some very deep, personal issues that she was dealing with, and unfortunately, they turned into a very tragic situation for all involved,” Watson said, according to the Sun

Antoine’s troubled past, which began when she became a ward of the province of Saskatchewan at age 2, factored into her plea deal and sentence. CKOM reported that Antoine was in foster care at age 4 and spent a decade suffering physical and emotional abuse. 

Her criminal record began with car theft at age 12, two years before she reconnected with her mother, the station reported. She was exposed to heavy drug and alcohol use by her mother, who died about a year after being reunited with her daughter. 

At that point, she began moving between relatives, group homes and other institutions.

Ritter agreed with the defense that Antoine has serious personal issues. 

“This young woman has issues, and because of those issues, she is dangerous,” Ritter said, according to CKOM.

Those issues continued even after Antoine killed her friend. She was reported missing in August 2016 to Saskatoon police officials, who sought information on her whereabouts on Facebook.

At the time of her arrest for murder, Antoine was also awaiting sentencing for threatening a store’s loss prevention officer when she was caught stealing, CBC News reported. She threatened the officer with a needle that she claimed was contaminated with the HIV virus.   

Antoine issued a statement through her attorney Monday in which she said she cannot provide the answers she knows Gargol’s family members are looking for.

“She knows the family would like an explanation, a reason, but unfortunately, she can’t provide that,” Watson said. 

Gargol’s family provided victim impact statements during Antoine’s sentencing.

“Most days we can’t stop thinking about Brittney and what happened that night,” her aunt, Jennifer Gargol, said, according to CBC News. “What she must have felt fighting for her life.”

Gargol’s stepmother, Kristi Wickenhauser, also spoke in court, according to CKOM.

“You were her friend. She loved you, she respected you and she trusted you,” Wickenhauser said. “And instead you decided to wrap a belt around her throat and squeeze until you ended her life.”

Antoine apologized to Gargol’s family in the statement read by Watson.

“I will never forgive myself,” she said. “Nothing I say or do will ever bring her back. I am very, very sorry. It shouldn’t have ever happened.”

U.S. marshal killed, officers wounded while serving warrant in Pennsylvania

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 8:26 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:18 PM

U.S. Marshal Shot, Killed While Serving Warrant in Pennsylvania

A deputy U.S. marshal was killed and two police officers were injured Thursday morning when authorities said they were shot while serving a search warrant, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news