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Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:26 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:25 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma's attorney general said Friday that he acted on his own when he sent a letter to President Donald Trump supporting a pardon requested by a former U.S Army soldier convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.
Mike Hunter sent the letter, dated Wednesday, to Trump in support of the pardon request of former 1st Lt. Michael Behenna.
"It's a case ... I have followed and been aware of and never felt the outcome was justified," Hunter told The Associated Press. "When I see something that's not consistent with the basic principles of justice ... I'm going to do my best to protect the interest of the citizens of this state."
Hunter acknowledged he is "acquainted" with Behenna's mother, Vicki Behenna, who is a former federal prosecutor now in private law practice in Oklahoma City, and with Behenna's brother, who is also an attorney, but said he does not know them well.
Behenna, a native of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, now lives in Guthrie where he works on a cattle ranch, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City. He was granted parole in 2014 after serving five years of his 15-year sentence.
Behenna said the letter came as a surprise.
"This is not something we asked him to do," Behenna said. "I didn't have a heads-up that he was going to write that letter to President Trump. At the same time, (I am) very thankful and grateful for Mr. Hunter's compassion."
Behenna was convicted in 2009 in the death of an unarmed Iraqi prisoner. Behenna said he acted in self-defense when the man reached for Behenna's handgun, but the Army said the argument didn't stand up because Behenna was pointing his weapon at the prisoner.
Behenna admitted during his trial that instead of taking the prisoner home as he was ordered, he took the man to a railroad culvert, stripped him, then questioned him at gunpoint about a roadside bombing that had killed two members of Behenna's platoon.
Behenna said the man moved toward him and he shot him because he thought he would try to take his gun.
A military appeals court in 2012 found that jury instructions on self-defense were incorrect and that prosecutors failed to tell the defense of a crime scene expert who supported the claim of self-defense, but said the errors were harmless and did not affect the outcome of the trial.
Army public affairs officer William Sharp said in an email that Army officials are researching the case.
Recent presidents have issued pardons near the end of their term in office, but Behenna is hopeful for an answer sooner.
"As we all know President Trump has pardoned Joe Arpaio, what, a few months back," said Behenna.
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 8:18 AM
— We’ve had the Tide Pod Challenge, the salt and ice challenge and the cinnamon challenge. It seems like every few weeks there’s a challenge teens are trying out just to become a viral sensation and get their 15 minutes of fame.
The latest challenge, which unlike other viral challenges isn’t dangerous, it is posing a problem for workers at craft store chain, Hobby Lobby.
Teens are heading to the craft store floral aisle to show off their photography skills.
The walls of faux flowers are serving as a backdrop for the glamorous shots.
ABC News said that Kelsey Maggart, a professional photographer, is the one who started the latest challenge in January.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 7:18 PM
TOLEDO, Ohio — A church pastor, his wife and 19-year-old daughter are accused of robbing a Sunday school teacher minutes before a Sunday’s service at the St. Paul Zion Church in Toledo, Ohio.
Police in Toledo said that Nickema Turner, 39, was grabbed from behind by her hair by the daughter of the pastor, Kamali Morris. She then punched Turner and the pastor, Anthony Morris, 49, pushed the victim to the ground, police said.
The wife of the pastor, Zelda Morris, 46, allegedly emptied the purse belonging to Turner and grabbed the victim’s iPhone, according to WTVG.
According to the Toledo Blade, Turner attempted to get her belongings back from Zelda Morris when Anthony Morris pulled out a gun and pointed it at Turner. She also told police that he threatened to kill her.
According to WTVG, the police report included that Zelda Morris stated to Turner’s daughter following the attack:
"You wanna know why this happened? It happened because your mom slept with my husband."
The Morris family fled the scene before police arrived.
Anthony Morris with his wife Zelda were later arrested but their daughter, Kamali had not been located as of Monday afternoon according to the Toledo Blade.
The police report indicates that in addition to the cellphone, a Taser and prescription medication were taken from her purse. The iPhone was later recovered but the screen was broken.
Zelda Morris and her daughter Kamali Morris are charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, a first degree felony.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 2:31 PM
Carlton Nebergall Jr., 61, was arrested early Monday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Jacob Lodge, 36, who was in divorce proceedings with Nebergall’s daughter, court records show. Nebergall appeared Monday morning with his attorney, Michael Salnick, in front of Judge Ted Booras. Booras recused himself from the case, though, saying, “I’ve known the defendant for too many years.”
Nebergall will remain in the Palm Beach County Jail until at least Wednesday, when another judge can rule on his bond requirements.
Nebergall was taken into custody late Sunday after deputies responded to a home on the far east end of Mellow Court, near the Pond Cypress Natural Area, following a shooting. Authorities found Lodge fatally shot at about 8:30 that night. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Sheriff’s authorities have not commented on what may have motivated the retired deputy to shoot Lodge. Court records indicate Nebergall’s daughter filed for a divorce from Lodge last month.
Lodge’s younger brother, Clint, said Monday that Nebergall’s daughter and Lodge had an “off-and-on, love-hate relationship” for about a decade. They had two boys, ages 9 and 5, according to Clint Lodge. They had been living separately prior to Lodge’s death, his brother said.
He said Lodge and Nebergall had argued before over Nebergall’s daughter. He wasn’t sure what led up to his brother’s killing.
“He was far from perfect, but he didn’t deserve that,” Clint Lodge said about his brother, calling him “one of the best, just somebody you could really look up to.” Records indicate Jacob Lodge was scheduled to be on probation until May 2019 in a theft-related case. He had another open theft case in which he was accused of stealing from his former employer, an air-conditioning company. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
His in-laws’ law enforcement backgrounds led to conflict about being on “the right side of the law,” Clint Lodge said.
Nebergall worked at the Lantana Police Department from 1981 to 1985, when he joined the sheriff’s office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records state. He worked at the sheriff’s office until his retirement in 2012.
His son, Jason Nebergall, joined him at the sheriff’s office in 2007, state records show. However, during his nine years on the job, the younger Nebergall was accused of being overly aggressive, pulling a gun on a fellow deputy and engaging in sexual misconduct at a West Palm Beach-area nightclub while on duty and in full uniform.
In December 2016, Jason Nebergall, a U.S. Air Force member, was arrested after a then-26-year-old woman accused him of sexually battering her. He had responded to the woman’s home earlier that night for a disturbance call and returned to “check in” on her, he said. He denied inappropriately touching her, though his DNA was found on her breasts.
He was placed on paid administrative leave when the sheriff’s office was alerted to the allegations in July 2016. It was not immediately known whether he is still on the sheriff’s office’s payroll.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:46 PM
— Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Anthony Borges is a hero, who put himself in the line of fire to protect his classmates when a gunman rampaged through their Parkland, Florida, school.
Borges’ father and a friend who survived the massacre told ABC News that the 15-year-old Borges put the lives of others before his own.
“None of us knew what to do. So, he took the initiative to just save his other classmates,” Carlos Rodriguez, Borges’ best friend, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
A soccer player at the school, Borges placed his body between the gunman and the students. Rodriguez said that he survived the shooting because of Borges’ brave actions.
When gunfire broke out at the school Wednesday, Rodriguez said that Borges and his classmates rushed to hide in a classroom. The gunman was firing randomly at students as he closed in on their position in the building.
Rodriguez said that Borges was the last of 20 students to enter the classroom to take cover and that, as he attempted to lock the door, he was shot. He held his ground, keeping his body between the gunman and the other students, all of whom survived without injury.
Borges took five bullets to the back and both legs but survived, his father, Royer Borges, told police.
He told “Good Morning America” that his son called him moments after the attack and described what had happened.
“He just called me and says, ‘Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too,'” said Royer Borges, unable to hold back his tears.
The father said others who were inside the building with the gunman shared stories of his son’s courageous actions that might have saved the lives of other students. Royer Borges expressed pride in his son, saying, “He’s my hero.”
Anthony Borges is in stable condition after undergoing hours of surgery, his father said.