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Woman admits beating 2-year-old son to death for ‘whining’

Published: Thursday, February 09, 2017 @ 1:08 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 09, 2017 @ 1:08 PM

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A Canadian woman pleaded guilty this week to manslaughter in the 2014 death of her toddler son, who she said she beat to death out of frustration over his “whining.”

 

The Calgary Herald reported that Livia Starlight awaits sentencing in the slaying of 2-year-old Traezlin Denzel Starlight. Starlight’s defense lawyer is seeking mercy, citing her status as a member of the Tsuut’ina Nation, one of the predominant aboriginal peoples of Canada.

 

Starlight, 30, was initially charged with second-degree murder. She was arrested in July 2015 after an investigation into her son’s death.

 

Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou told the Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday that Traezlin was in and out of foster care throughout his short life because of Starlight’s drug and alcohol use, the Herald reported. Starlight was already under investigation for previous injuries to the boy on Sept. 18, 2014, when she said she grew frustrated by his behavior.

 

“When he started whining again, she picked him up off the floor and threw him onto the couch,” Papadatou said, according to the Herald. “While the cushions of the couch are soft, the arms of the couch are quite hard.”

 

When Starlight realized a few moments later that Traezlin was in distress, she texted her mother for help, the newspaper reported. “My baby’s not breathing. I’m scared,” read the text, which also asked Starlight’s mother to call for help.

 

Traezlin went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on the way to Alberta Children’s Hospital and died a week later, the Herald said.

 

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At the time of the fatal beating, Starlight was under investigation for a head injury that Traezlin suffered in August 2014, when she had him out of his foster home for a visit. In that case, Starlight claimed that her son fell out of his car seat and onto his head.

 

There were at least two previous incidents of alleged abuse as well, beginning in June 2014. In those instances, Starlight blamed the bruises on her son’s foster parents and Calgary police investigators could not determine the cause of the injuries.

 

“It was noted Livia Starlight would not cooperate with investigators, and she refused to provide a statement,” read a statement of agreed-upon facts presented in court on Monday. “The children were left in Livia’s care while the investigation proceeded.”

 

Traezlin’s autopsy showed evidence of multiple head injuries, including at least two inflicted in the month between the start of the most recent investigation into Starlight’s treatment of him and the day he suffered his fatal injuries.

 

The Herald reported that the autopsy also found bruises on the toddler’s abdomen and buttocks.

 

Alain Hepner, Starlight’s defense lawyer, is seeking a term of four to six years in prison for his client, who he claims has suffered a lifetime of racism and discrimination as an aboriginal person. Justice William Tilleman has ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Starlight, as well as a Gladue report on her background.

 

According to the Washington Post, a Gladue report is a presentencing report that takes into account the level of prejudice against aboriginal peoples in Canada’s criminal justice system. Proponents of the reports say the documents contribute to a “restorative approach” to justice.

 

Critics liken the reports to get-out-of-jail-free cards that lead to inconsistent administration of justice, the Post reported.

 

“A court worker will delve into the dynamics of Starlight’s life -- the growing-up years, the economic and social issues that surround the family and what contributed to this matter,” Hepner told the Post. “I think a lot of information will come forward from the psychiatric report and the Gladue report that will paint her, in my view, as a very sympathetic person.

 
“Some cases are awful and the people involved are just plain evil. But this is not one of those cases.”

Shots fired near U.S. Capitol after woman flees traffic stop, police say

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:08 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:39 AM

A woman, center, is taken into custody on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Police say a driver struck a U.S. Capitol Police cruiser near the U.S. Capitol and was taken into custody.
Susan Walsh/AP

Officers opened fire on a woman on U.S. Capitol grounds Wednesday morning after she nearly ran over multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers while fleeing from a traffic stop, authorities said.

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No injuries were reported.

Officers spotted a woman driving erratically around 9 a.m. on Independence Avenue and attempted to stop her car, Capitol police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said. The unidentified woman made a U-turn and fled.

She stopped the sedan near the intersection of Washington and Independence avenues, where authorities apparently fired shots at the woman. Malecki declined to say where the bullets landed or how many shots were fired.

The incident did not appear to be related to terrorism.

“This appears to be criminal in nature with no nexus to terrorism,” Malecki said.

Troy police started pursuit, terminated it before deadly crash

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 8:25 PM

Nine Troy police officers responded to the report of a stolen vehicle that spurred Monday’s high-speed police pursuit that ended with the death of an innocent driver in Harrison Twp.

Troy police — who have a pursuit policy requiring an “immediate need for apprehension” — initiated the chase but later terminated it before the fatal crash that killed Anthony Hufford, 28, of Englewood.

RELATED: Suspect in fatal police chase crash begs deputies ‘Kill me’

Tipp City police Chief Eric Burris confirmed that one of his officers was the lead pursuer after Troy dropped back. Burris said another Tipp City officer fell back and radioed the lead cruiser, but that communication channels were garbled and the lead Tipp City officer never got the message.

Burris said it took 30 to 45 seconds for that officer to get to the scene and, by that time, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies already had the suspect in custody.

“The Troy Police Department and others were involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle that was driving at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner,” said Troy police Capt. Shawn McKinney via a press release. “The criminal investigation of the incident is ongoing with the prosecutors’ office and other jurisdictions.”

RELATED: Crash victim stayed behind to care for ailing grandmother

Jordan Anthony Russell Harville, 24, of Clayton, allegedly stole a Ford F-250 pickup from near Fletcher. He later led multiple jurisdictions on a 25-plus mile chase that ended when the pickup struck a car driven by Hufford on South Dixie Drive.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Hufford, 28, died of blunt force injuries. Harville told police he was drunk and used heroin during the pursuit.

Troy police’s six-page pursuit policy states that pursuits are prohibited unless both of the following conditions are met: 1. There is probable cause to believe that the person(s) to be pursued is committing or has committed an offense which presents risk of serious physical harm or death. 2. There is an immediate need for apprehension.

RELATED: Wild week on local roads as police chase second, third vehicles

Dispatch calls obtained by this news organization include one in which one dispatcher asks another: “In reference to that chase coming south on Dixie, what are they chasing for?”

In a second call, a male dispatcher says, “It’s county. Are you guys chasing somebody?” and a female voice responds, “Hang on.”

RELATED: 5 things to know about deadly police pursuit

Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies heard a report of a stolen vehicle, and one deputy wrote that he heard a Troy police officer say he spotted the vehicle starting to pull away and that he initiated a pursuit, according to court records filed in Miami County Municipal Court.

“An administrative review of the pursuit will be completed once all the information from the several agencies is available,” Troy police’s release read. “It would be premature to comment on the pursuit until such a review has taken place.”

Court documents show that both Miami County deputies and Vandalia police tried to deploy spike strips but were unable to safely do so. Communication also was an issue, as three departments were on one radio channel.

RELATED: Troopers not involved in deadly chase

“Throughout the pursuit the radio traffic was full of static, squealed and was unable to be heard,” a Miami County deputy wrote. The same deputy also wrote that he heard Troy terminate their role and that a Tipp City cruiser took the lead.

“While on Dixie I observed several Montgomery County agencies parked on the side of the road but had not seen any pursuing,” the deputy wrote, adding that he thought an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was going to take the lead, but did not. An OSHP spokesperson said Troy police would handle the investigation and said troopers did not take part in the pursuit.

Warren County deputy worried she would die after being shot

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 8:33 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 6:18 PM

Deputy Katie Barnes said she worried she would die after being wounded in an exchange of gunfire last June with Mohammed Laghaoui.

Barnes — a coach and former sports star from Mason — was testifying Tuesday in Laghaoui’s trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Who is Warren County sheriff’s deputy Katie Barnes?

She said the gunfire started as she approached the Laghaoui apartment at the Orchards of Landen for the second time on June 9, 2016, and she saw a silhouetted figure in the parking lot.

Laghaoui faces 10 charges ranging from the attempted murder of Barnes to domestic violence.

He is accused of wounding Barnes and his father, as well as firing at one neighbor and into another neighbor’s apartment before fleeing the scene.

DAY 1 RECAP: Defense asks for views of Muslims

Barnes, occasionally tearful, said she realized she “had been hit” after taking cover behind a tree outside Laghaoui’s apartment.

Asked how she knew she was being fired upon - for the first time in her career - Barnes said, “I heard them go by.”

As she was being transported from the scene, Barnes said she wondered, “Am I going to die?”

RELATED: Active shooter wounded two before fleeing scene

Barnes was treated and released for a stomach wound and testified that she had returned to light duty. She nodded when asked if she was ready to return to patrol duties during testimony at the trial.

Earlier Tuesday, Laghaoui’s lawyer said Laghaoui thought he and his family were “under attack” when he wounded his father and Barnes.

“He thought he was in danger. He thought he was under attack,” Laghaoui’s lawyer, Nadeem Quraishi, said during his opening statement.

“He was also thinking about his family,” Quraishi said. “In his state of mind, that’s what he believed.”

Laghaoui, now 20, believed he had been robbed shortly before he realized Barnes was moving toward him in the dark, his mind clouded by synthetic marijuana and mental problems, Quraishi said.

RELATED: Defense wants to claim synthetic drug use

The incident occurred as Laghaoui was exhibiting signs of mental illness, defecating and urinating in unusual places, insisting he be called ‘Frank’ and speaking in strange accents and languages, the lawyer added.

RELATED: Fish finder used in search for AK-47

Quraishi followed Warren County prosecutors, who laid out their case against Laghaoui, who faces a prison term if convicted in connection with the incident that triggered lockdown of a busy area of the county and a prolonged manhunt.

RELATED: Passport, AK-47 ammo found at scene

Also Tuesday, Sgt. William Langdon said Laghaoui told him he planned to move out west to live with a woman he knew on July 1.

Like Barnes, Langdon said the Laghaoui domestic dispute was over hummus he had eaten and failed to clean up. He also described watching Barnes fall as she scaled a fence to get to where he could safely get her to a hospital.

Also testifying was Lau Laghaoui, the defendant’s younger brother, who placed the 911 call prompting Barnes to come to the apartment the first time.

The 911 call is to be played Wednesday in the trial.

These passwords will get you hacked

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 5:30 AM

123456.

Password.

Your birthdate.

Your nickname.

Your phone number.

These are just a few examples of the easy-to-crack passcodes and passwords that too many people use to protect their smartphones, mobile devices and online accounts.

If you use any of these or other simple words or numerical combinations, you are asking to be hacked.

“With your accounts, create complex passwords, not something that’s easily hacked,” said Dayton police Sgt. Steve Clark, with the Central Patrol Operations Division’s Investigative Unit. “Make sure that it’s something personal to you that most people don’t know about.”

RELATED: Dayton hacking event tries to prevent data theft

Earlier this year, security firm Keeper found that the most common password across the globe was 123456.

The firm analyzed millions of leaked passwords.

Other top-ranked secret codes were hardly more secure. They included 12345678, 123456789 and 1234567890.

The third most popular password was “qwerty,” which is the first six keys on the top left row of the computer keyboard.

Far too many people use the remarkably unimaginative password 111111. And many others can unlock their accounts by just punching in seven 7s in a row.

RELATED: The war you can’t see: Cyber warriors engage in daily battle

This is not an isolated issue. The top 25 passwords last year accounted for more than half of the 10 million passwords Keeper analyzed.

The firm says that any of the passwords on its list can be compromised in seconds by dictionary-based cracking tools.

This is part of a larger trend of people not taking the threats to their information and accounts seriously.

RELATED: Hackers steal hundreds of thousands of banking card numbers

Ohioans need to set passcodes on their mobile devices and should avoid easy-to-guess words or numerical sequences, like 1-2-3-4, said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Each online account needs its own password so that if one becomes compromised, hackers cannot access a person’s other accounts, which commonly happens, experts said.

And variations of easy-to-guess passwords also are far too popular.

Password management firm SplashData — which also releases a list of popular passwords, based on online leaks — found that “password,” “passw0rd” (with a zero instead of an 0) and “password1” were among the top 25 most popular codes. Also making the list were login, welcome, football, princess and abc123.

To help prevent passwords from getting hacked, Keeper recommends using a variety of characters including numbers, upper and lowercase letters and special characters, like %$#&.

Dictionary terms, i.e. real words, are not recommended. SplashData recommends using passwords of eight characters or more.

Hackers can find out details about someone’s life and history with a few clicks of the computer mouse.

Photos or posts on Facebook, Twitter or other social media pages broadcast people’s birthdays, anniversaries and other dates that are significant to them or their loved ones.

RELATED: Hackers access city of Middletown computer servers

“I don’t recommend using your phone number, your anniversary or anything like that,” said police Sgt. Clark.

Good passwords can be things that are very memorable and personal but do not include personal identifiable information, according to Norton, the maker of antivirus software.

Some accounts allow people to make unlimited password guesses without being locked out, which allows hackers to utilize password-cracking software that runs through every word in the dictionary, according to the privacy and information security department at the University of Illinois.

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