Ex-girlfriend of Facebook killer meets victim’s daughters, tries to ‘pick up the pieces’ of her life

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 5:13 PM

The ex-girlfriend the man who recorded and uploaded video in which he shot and killed a 74-year-old man is “trying to pick up the pieces” of her life.

Steve Stephens blamed his former girlfriend, Joy Lane, for the killing.

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“The hashtags Joy Lane, Joy Lane massacre ... I don’t know if I know how to be Joy Lane anymore. I don’t know how to pick up all the pieces of my world at the moment,” Lane told WJW-TV. “I’ve got a lot of negative comments. I’ve been called almost every cuss word in the book. I’ve been told that I’m the one who should have died, he should have killed me.”

Stephens, who dated Lane for several years, mentioned her moments before shooting Robert Godwin Sr. on Sunday, saying, “She’s the reason why all this is about to happen to you.” He also made Godwin say her name before gunning him down.

Since Stephens’ suicide on Tuesday, Lane has received support from many close to her, but also from two strangers: two of Godwin’s daughters, Tonya R. Godwin-Baines and Debbie D. Godwin. Lane met the sisters, and the three women hugged, cried and prayed together, WJW-TV reported.

“I feel bad. The last thing he would have said is my name, and he didn’t know me or why he was saying, and that’s been difficult,” Lane told the women.

The Godwin family, however, doesn’t blame her for the tragic incident.

“It’s not your fault,” Godwin-Baines told Lane. “We don’t hold any ill feelings towards you.”

After Godwin’s murder, Lane was placed in protective care while authorities launched a nationwide hunt for Stephens over the course of several days.

Lane said she tried to call Stephens after he posted the video on Facebook, but he didn’t answer. 

She told WJW-TV she and Stephens had once looked at engagement rings, but they recently “mutually parted ways,” in part because he had a gambling issue. She said the two remained friends. Stephens called Lane the day before the murder to tell her he had quit his job and planned to move out of state.

Stephens took his own life on Tuesday as police attempted to pull him over.

Godwin was the father of 10 children. 

See video of Lane’s meeting with Godwin’s daughters at WJW-TV.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Georgia fireman feels ‘blessed’ to catch baby from burning building

Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 12:22 AM

Firefighters training (Getty File Photo)
Thanarak/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The first thing you notice about Robert Sutton, the 31-year-old DeKalb County firefighter of 10 years, is humility. 

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But it’s hard to know what to say now, after his work to save a baby from a burning Glenwood Road apartment made local news, then national, then international.

“It feels like I’m a celebrity or something,” he said, chuckling as his mind reeled between 911 calls Friday.

Sutton, who works 24-hour shifts at the fire department and then heads to a side job, was filling in for another firefighter Tuesday when dispatch radioed.

Approaching the scene, the crew saw a column of smoke rising from an apartment complex, which isn’t far from where Sutton grew up and where his dad still lives.

“We have a working incident,” the radio said.

That’s bad. It means the fire is serious, perilous, and the crew needs to be ready to go inside.

Sutton started to suit up. 

But then he saw a screen fall from a window and heard a frantic man.

“I got a baby, I got a baby!” the father screamed, his voice raspy from inhaling smoke. 

Sutton had never seen anything quite like it. When training firefighters, DeKalb County doesn’t drop fake babies from fake fires or otherwise teach such catches.

But the man was dangling the child, who the fire department said was about 6 months old, desperate to get her out safely.

Sutton started to run toward the building.

He yelled for the man to drop the child.

And the man did.

Sutton caught her, passed her to the medical unit to be checked out and then hurried back to help the father climb down a ladder. 

Gratitude swelled in Sutton.

He felt blessed — he uses this word repeatedly when telling the story — to be there to save the child.

He went up to the father and shook his hand.

After getting the fire taken care of, the crews left and prepared for the next calls. 

Sutton got off Wednesday morning and headed to his second job at an ambulance service in Snellville. He told his wife, Martika, what happened with the baby, but he didn’t dwell on it. 

Soon, he got a call from a higher-up at the fire department saying a local TV news station wanted to talk.

Sutton did the interview and told Martika he “might” be on the news. He asked her to tape it just in case while he went back to work on the ambulance. 

After 5 p.m., he got a phone call from home “with lots of screaming.”

The couple’s boys, Robert, 6, and Jeremiah, 3, told their friends at baseball practice that Dad was on the news.

The story got picked up by more outlets until, Friday morning, one of his fellow firefighters called him over to look at a TV at the firehouse. 

Sutton was on “Good Morning America.”

Then he heard he was on TV in England.

“He deserves all the accolades,” Capt. Eric Jackson, fire department spokesman, said. “We are thrilled.”

After the surprise of national and international praise dwindled, Sutton went back to work Friday.

He held firm to his humility, praising co-workers and department leaders, and expressing gratitude for being “in the right place at the right time.”

Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.

“If I could save a baby every day,” he said, “I would.”

Florida man snorts cocaine in front of cops as wildfire rages

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 11:45 PM

Joshua Benz
Collier County Sheriff's Office

As a massive wildfire raged nearby and deputies worked to evacuate residents, Joshua Benz picked a most “Florida Man” way to snort cocaine: by doing so right in front of a patrol car, police said.

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Benz, 25, a Naples resident, motioned for a deputy to stop his unmarked patrol car Friday night, according to the Naples Daily News. When the car stopped, Benz took a long snort from a clear bag that contained cocaine, police said. 

At that point, police said, Benz turned around with his hands behind his back, WBBH reported. 

Unsurprisingly, he was arrested and charged with cocaine possession. Benz was released after posting $5,000 bond.

Read more at the Naples Daily News.

Scam alert: $50 Lowe’s Mother’s Day coupon scam on Facebook

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 10:32 PM

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Facebook scam is making its rounds on the internet targeting Lowe’s Home Improvements.

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The Facebook post claims that Lowe’s is offering $50-off coupons for Mother’s Day. When clicking on the Facebook post, a user-friendly survey will appear on a website that resembles Lowe’s website. However, this fraudulent page is a scam and looking to steal your information. Those who participate have no chance of getting a gift card.

There is a survey linked to the scam that reads:

Congratulations!

You have been selected to take part in our short survey to have a chance to get $50 Coupon!
We only have 332 coupons remaining so hurry up!

1/3: Have you ever been at Lowe’s?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t remember

Customers are also looking to Lowe’s and asking whether the coupon is valid.

Lowe’s said the offer is a phishing scam to gather personal information and they aren’t affiliated with the fraudsters in any way.

Please be careful when responding to any pop-up ad either online or via social media; as, more often than not, the offer of gift cards or other prizes to customer’s in the guise of a specific company are set up to get your personal information for nefarious purposes.

The scam also requires victims to pass it to their friends, officials say.

Here are some tips to help you avoid online coupon scams, according to the Better Business Bureau:
  • Check out who is offering the coupon.
  • Verify whether the coupon is legit by visiting the company’s website.
  • Be cautious of pop-up offers.
  • Read the fine print.
  • Watch out for a reward that’s too good to be true. Pay attention to having to enter personal information to win a gift card.
  • Check to see if the coupon is honored by the store.
  • Be wary of required phone calls.
  • Don’t fall for phony coupons via e-mail.

Scientists in Texas closer to diabetes cure with unconventional treatment

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 9:52 PM



adrian825/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Years of testing remain, but UT Health San Antonio researchers say they’ve cured Type 1 diabetes in mice.

In peer-reviewed paper, they say a “gene transfer” can “wake up” cells in the pancreas to produce insulin.

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Health researchers at the University of Texas think they have found a way to trick the body into curing Type 1 diabetes.

The immune system of a person with diabetes kills off useful “beta” cells, but the UT researchers say they have found a way to make other cells in the pancreas perform the necessary work. Their approach, announced earlier this month in the academic journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, not only would have implications for Type 1, formerly called juvenile diabetes, but also could help treat the far more common Type 2 variety, also known as adult-onset diabetes.

The researchers have cured mice, which are genetically similar to people but different enough that new rounds of animal testing — and millions of dollars more — are needed before human trials can begin. The researchers’ approach is sure to garner skeptics, at least in part because it is a significant departure from the many other attempts at curing diabetes, which typically involve transplanting new cells and/or suppressing the immune system’s attempts to kill off useful ones.

By contrast, “we’re taking a cell that is already present in the body — it’s there, and it’s happy — and programming it to secrete insulin, without changing it otherwise,” said Ralph DeFronzo, chief of the diabetes research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by a person’s inability to process carbohydrates, a condition that if untreated can lead to often-catastrophic health consequences: lethargy, diminished eyesight, heart attacks, strokes, blindness and a loss of circulation in the feet that could lead to amputation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that in 2014, about 29 million Americans – almost 1 in 10 – had diabetes.

The core problem is insulin. Most people naturally secrete that substance when they eat something with carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and candy bars. Insulin acts like a concierge that escorts the sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, providing the cells with the energy to function. In most people, the body is continually monitoring blood sugar and producing insulin as needed.

In Type 2 diabetes — which makes up 9 out of 10 diabetes cases and is generally associated with older people and weight gain — the cells reject the insulin, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream even as cells are starved for energy. Type 2 is often treated with pills that tell the cells to let in the insulin. But in Type 2 diabetes, the body also often gradually loses the ability to produce insulin, requiring insulin injections.

In Type 1 — the type the researchers studied — the body has simply stopped producing insulin. This type often manifests in children, though it can sometimes develop in adults as well.

The reason the body stops producing insulin is that it kills off the pancreas’ beta cells, which produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must get their insulin from injections or ingestion, a cumbersome and often imprecise task. Too little insulin and blood sugar levels stay high for extended periods, potentially damaging the body; too much and blood sugar levels crash, possibly causing a person with diabetes to faint or experience an even worse problems, such as a stroke.

DeFronzo’s partner, Bruno Doiron, decided to see whether the body could reliably produce insulin without transplanting new cells. He used a “gene transfer” technique on mice, delivered via a virus, that activated insulin production in cells already in the pancreas — for instance, those that produced certain enzymes.

“We’re not fundamentally changing the cell,” DeFronzo said. “We’re just giving it one additional task.”

The mice immune systems did not attack the new insulin-producing cells. Most important, according to the findings: The cells produced the right amount of insulin: not so much that they sent a mouse into a blood sugar free fall, not so little that blood sugar levels stayed high. The mice have shown no sign of diabetes for more than a year, according to the findings.

Quite a bit of work remains before testing will start on people. If they can raise enough money — they estimate $5 million to $10 million — they can proceed to testing on larger animals, such as pigs, dogs or primates, a next step that would be planned in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

They hope to start human trials in three years.

DeFronzo and Doiron said they expect skepticism but said much of it will be driven by how unconventional their work is. Doiron added that, although the technique is unconventional in the context of diabetes, using a virus to deliver a gene transfer is an established technique, having been approved dozens of times by the FDA to treat diseases.

“We can use the cells the body has naturally,” Doiron said. “This will simply wake up the cells to produce insulin.”

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

The work of Bruno Doiron and Ralph DeFronzo focuses on Type 1 diabetes, not Type 2.

Both diseases involve a problem with insulin, the substance that healthy bodies produce to take sugar from the bloodstream into the cells and power the body.

Type 2 is far more common. The main issue is that the cells reject insulin, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream. The common treatment is a pill that makes the cells accept the insulin (and sugar it carries into the cell). But over time, people with Type 2 diabetes often lose the ability to produce insulin.

With Type 1 diabetes, people simply stop producing insulin. Their bodies kill off the cells in the pancreas that produce it.

Those with Type 1 diabetes must inject or ingest insulin. People with Type 2 often grow increasingly dependent on insulin injections, though Type 2 can sometimes be cured or controlled through diet and exercise.