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Police: Four Florida students hack classmate with machete, have sex near scene

Published: Thursday, August 20, 2015 @ 2:29 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2015 @ 2:29 PM

            Police: Four Florida students hack classmate with machete, have sex near scene

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Four Florida students conspired to kill a 17-year-old boy, leading him to a secluded spot and hacking him to death with a machete before two of the students stuck around and had sex, police said.

According to an arrest report, Desiray Strickland, Kaheem Arbelo, Jonathan Lucas, and Christian Colon worked together to kill 17-year-old Jose Amaya Guardado in Homestead on June 28, The Miami Herald reported. Arbelo, Lucas, and Colon were arrested and confessed to the crime last week, police said; Strickland was arrested on Wednesday.

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According to the report, the group plotted the killing for two weeks, going as far as to dig the grave and hide the machete prior to the act. The teens lured Guardado into the woods near the Homestead Job Corps school campus on June 28, ambushing him and striking him with the machete.

Strickland "complained that she had missed the first series of machete strikes because she had walked away for a few minutes to urinate in the woods,” the arrest report said.

Guardado tried to make an attempt at escaping, but was unsuccessful, and had his face caved in by the machete, the report said. He was ordered into the shallow grave where the group buried him alive along with their clothes and his belongings.

Following the murder, Lucas and Colon headed back to campus while Strickland and Arbelo stayed and had sex, police said.

The body was discovered by Guardado’s brother three days later, according to the Herald. Investigators said Guardado was killed over a debt he owed to Arbelo, who is a suspected drug dealer at his school.

Arbelo, Lucas, and Colon were brought in and confessed on video while Strickland fought with police, forcing them to shackle her to the interview room after she head-butted and shoved detectives before etching “MPD Go To Hell” onto the table.

The group was charged with second-degree murder and Strickland also faces resisting an officer with violence, battery on an officer, and criminal mischief charges.

Read more at the Miami Herald.

Man plans ‘celebration of life’ party, dies the next day

Published: Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 9:35 AM
Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 9:13 AM

The day after gathering with his friends and family one last time to celebrate his life, a Michigan man died.

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Earlier this month, Robert J. Eleveld wrote an article that appeared in the obituary section of the Grand Rapids Press.

“As I write this notice, I am still with you, although my doctors have informed me that this status will change in the near future,” wrote Eleveld.

In his “obituary” he asked his friends and family to join him for a “celebration of life.”

“I have decided ... to eschew the normal process of others celebrating my life after I die, and instead, would like to celebrate your lives with me,” he wrote. “We’d be honored if you would drop in, say hi, share a glass of red and a laugh ... Please know that the end of my life is the ultimate ‘peanut item’ in comparison to how much I have enjoyed my life with all of you”

Eleveld, a successful attorney and local political figure in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, gathered with his friends on March 18.

“It was just sort of an outpouring of love for my father in that room,” his daughter, Kerry Eleveld, told MLive. “And celebratory in most ways. Of course there were some sentimental moments. But the party, for the most part, was celebratory through and through.”

The next day, Eleveld died peacefully in his bed, according to MLive. He was surrounded by family, who were reading loving notes to him left by the attendees of the previous day’s celebration.

“They were quite beautiful, actually,” Kerry Eleveld said.

Kerry Eleveld said his last celebration was the perfect last day.

“For him, I don’t think it was so much about him as it was about bringing people together,” she said.

Dozens of dogs rescued from South Korea meat trade; arrive safe in Pittsburgh

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 8:51 AM

Dozens of dogs rescued from South Korea meat trade; arrive safe in Pittsburgh

After a 7,000-mile journey, dozens of dogs rescued from the South Korea meat trade are now safe in Pittsburgh.
The animals landed at JFK International in New York and were picked up by the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team.

While eating dog is on the decline in South Korea, about 30 million are slaughtered in Asia every year.

"These dogs were in the worst deplorable conditions you can imagine and, today, they have hope. Today, they're going from danger to safety in Pittsburgh,” Jonathan Plesset, of PAART, said. 

Most of the dogs will go to South Hills Pet Rescue to be checked out, then they’ll be put up for adoption.

PAART, a not-for-profit organization that provides air and ground rescue for at-risk dogs, cats and other animals. Its mission is transporting animals from danger to safety to provide them with a second chance.

Couple accused of killing deaf son, lighting house on fire to destroy evidence

Published: Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

A couple has been indicted on accusations that they murdered their deaf teenage son and then burned down their house to cover up the crime, the Associated Press reported.

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According to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office in New York, Ernest F. Franklin II, 35, and his wife, Heather Franklin, 33, of Guilford, New York, were charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.

The two were indicted Friday on charges of second-degree murder in the death of their adopted son, 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin, People magazine reported.

Following an investigation of a fire on March 1 at the family’s 1,300-square-foot home, the couple was arrested. Investigators believe they set fire to their home to cover up the killing of their son. An autopsy determined he died prior to the fire, according to the sheriff’s office.

Local law authorities have not said how or when the boy was killed.

The Franklins got married in 2011 and adopted Jeffrey six or seven years ago, the sheriff’s office said. According to People magazine, Ernest is an Iraq War veteran. Heather wrote in posts on her Facebook page that she is pregnant.

The Franklins are being held without bail. They entered a plea of not guilty.

“People are asking themselves, ‘How could this happen?'” Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting Jr. told People magazine. “Certainly for the public here, it’s a mix of anger and frustration and disappointment.”

Just days before Heather Franklin was arrested, she posted an update on her Facebook page about how much she missed her son, who she called JR. She also informed friends and family that she and her husband had added their “needs” and “wants” to the Family Gift Registry because they lost everything in the fire.

A GoFundMe page was also established, but it has been taken down.

The Associated Press reported that police who responded to a 911 call about 1:15 a.m. on March 1 found the Franklin’s house, located about an hour away from Syracuse, engulfed in flames. Jeffrey was inside and unable to escape the fire, according to the sheriff’s office.

Authorities initially said the cause of the fire appeared to be a wood stove, the residence’s main heating source.

“People are wondering how anybody could do something so brutal to a developmentally disabled and handicapped 16-year-old boy,” Cutting told People. “There are a lot of people who would have taken him. There are organizations that would have taken care of him. Why resort to that? … It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

Virgin Airlines to be no more

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 8:46 AM

Virgin Airlines to be no more

Being named the Best Airline in North America isn’t enough to save the brand name of Virgin Airlines.

Alaska Airlines, which bought Virgin last year, has announced that it will fly both companies under the Alaska Airlines name by 2019, CNN Money reported.

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But Alaska Airlines said in last week’s announcement that it will keep the options that made Virgin Airlines a household name like its free in-flight entertainment, mood lighting and boarding music.

Alaska, which is based in Seattle, bought Richard Branson’s airline to break into the California market, making Alaska the country’s fifth-largest airline, CNN Money reported.