State Rep. Pete Beck out on own recognizance

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 3:49 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 5:30 PM

State Rep. Pete Beck has waived his right to an arraignment on Friday and essentially pleaded not guilty on 16 counts related to securities fraud.

Beck was in Hamilton County on Thursday filing his hearing waiver and getting fingerprinted and his mug shot taken. He was supposed to be in court Friday morning for his arraignment. Now his co-defendant John Fussner will be there by himself, according to court staff.

Beck is out on his own recognizance with an unsecured appearance bond, which means if he misses a court date he’ll have to pay $50,000, a court staffer said.

Beck, a Mason Republican, was indicted last Friday. The Ohio Attorney General’s office and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters’ office are co-prosecuting the case.

Beck, through his civil attorney Konrad Kircher has staunchly vowed he is innocent of all charges.

“I would caution everyone against a rush to judgment based on one side of the story,” Kircher said. “The grand jury didn’t hear Pete’s testimony, the grand jury didn’t see Pete’s evidence. At this point these are just charges, they are not convictions.”

A civil suit filed in January claims Beck and others bilked investors in Christopher Technologies out of $1.2 million. The investors also say $15,000 of their money went into the Mason lawmaker’s campaign fund.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said the investigation is ongoing and more charges will likely be filed. The 16 charges they brought involve $200,000 in lost investment monies.

“The total we’re showing is $200,000 on these charges,” DeWine said. “This is a portion of the story. There is more of the story to come.”

Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder, R-Medina, and Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges called on Beck to resign from office the day he was indicted. Beck has refused, maintained he can still “capably” serve his constituents.

Greene County man targeted in raid sued federal government twice

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 6:24 PM

JOEL MONTGOMERY
JOEL MONTGOMERY

The Greene County man whose house was raided by law enforcement for the second time in two years Thursday morning is a former Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employee who twice sued the federal government, according to court documents.

RELATED: Property owner arrest prompts FBI search warrant in Greene County

Both suits ended with a stipulation of dismissal filed in August 2014, more than a year before a 2015 raid at Joel B. Montgomery’s Spring Valley home. That search revealed more than 170 weapons, some being fully automatic, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. No federal criminal charges show up in publicly-available online federal court records.

RELATED: Dozens of firearms seized in Greene County 

This news organization has attempted to reach the lawyers involved in Montgomery’s lawsuits.

Montgomery, 48, sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Air Force, the Air Force’s office of special investigation and some individuals alleging unlawful electronic surveillance of him, according to a complaint filed in 2013 in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

In that lawsuit, Montgomery said he found a GPS device underneath his vehicle, a camera in the WPAFB office in which he worked and a bug in his home, all from 2006 to 2007. At the time, Montgomery said he had certain security clearance and worked for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), according to the complaint.

In 2007, Montgomery sued General Dynamics, the U.S. Dept. of Defense, the Air Force and an individual for slanderous material that caused him to lose his job and for his company, M and M Aviation, to lose its Air Force contract dealing with “Tactical and Theater Missile Warning Systems,” according to that complaint.

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Montgomery’s suit said that from 2002 to 2004 he was a program manager in charge of the Electro-Optical Materials Intelligence Group of GDAIS, a Dept. of Defense contractor. The complaint said that because of derogatory information, Montgomery was placed on leave without pay and later terminated.

Alleged cop-killer smears feces on self in court, halting jury selection in murder trial

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:24 PM

Alleged Police Killer Smears Himself With Feces In Court

A man accused of murdering a New Orleans police officer in 2015 halted jury selection in his trial Wednesday by smearing feces on his face, head and mouth, horrifying potential jurors and courtroom spectators. 

Travis Boys, 35, apparently put the feces, wrapped in tissue, in his pocket during a bathroom break earlier in the day, NOLA.com reported. He was seated at the defense table with his attorneys when he pulled the tissue out and silently rubbed the waste on himself. 

>> Read more trending news

Boys is charged with first-degree murder in the June 20, 2015, shooting death of Officer Daryle Holloway. The officer was transporting Boys to jail when Boys allegedly shot him inside his police SUV. 

Boys escaped custody and was at large for about 24 hours before being recaptured. If convicted, he faces life in prison. 

The Advocate reported that criminal defense lawyer David Belfield, who is Holloway’s uncle, witnessed the incident. Belfield said he believed Boys was trying to sway potential jurors. 

“It’s calculated, and it shows that he’s not insane, not crazy,” Belfield told the newspaper

Boys has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, the Advocate reported. District Court Judge Karen Herman ruled last month that Boys was competent to stand trial in Holloway’s slaying. 

After halting the proceedings Wednesday, however, Herman ordered that another competency hearing be held on Thursday. His attorneys have argued that Boys suffers from low IQ and mental health problems. 

Though Herman ruled him competent to stand trial, she is allowing the defense to present evidence of schizophrenia in Boys’ family, the Advocate said. 

The judge dismissed the panel of potential jurors who witnessed Boys’ actions on Wednesday. 

The Advocate reported that the odor of bleach clung to the air an hour after the incident. 

Walmart sets its sights on shopping via virtual reality

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 4:36 PM

More Than 55 Stores Will Be Closed On Thanksgiving Day 2017

Walmart has spent billions buying up websites like Jet.com and ModCloth, and investing in new technology as it goes head-to-head with Amazon.com. Now, the world's largest retailer is setting its sights on virtual reality.

Imagine this, says Katie Finnegan, who heads Walmart's tech incubator: You need a tent for your next camping trip. If all goes to plan, you could one day virtually swoop in to your campsite and see any given tent in action. "You could unzip it, lay down, look left and right, and say 'Oh, this is supposed to be a two-person tent? It's kind of tight,' " she said.

And then you could move on to the next tent - without leaving your couch.

"There is a lot of technology we're excited about," she said, "but virtual reality in particular offers an opportunity top actually experience products and items in an immersive way."

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The technology has yet to catch on with the mainstream, so such concepts are still very much in the gee-whiz stage with no guarantee of actually boosting sales. But this summer, the company put out an open call for technology firms, venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs to submit their ideas. A panel of five judges-including Arianna Huffington, founder of Thrive Global, and Marc Lore, head of Walmart's U.S. ecommerce operations. - whittled down the 200 applicants to five winners. They then spent about two months at Walmart's technology incubator, called Store No 8, coming up with new shopping-centric applications for virtual reality.

Walmart has been experimenting with virtual reality to help train its employees for busy shopping days like Black Friday. It is also testing a program that would allow delivery drivers to walk into customers' homes and deliver groceries straight to their refrigerators.

>> Black Friday 2017: Macy’s, Big Lots, GameStop to open on Thanksgiving

Here are the five ideas the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says could be making their way online as early as next year:

1. 3-D holograms at Bonobos.com, the male clothing site Walmart acquired this year for $310 million, that would make it possible for shoppers to try on virtual clothing for fit and style. According to Walmart, the technology would allow customers "to view how the fabric moves and get a sense of sizing, allowing for more realistic shopping previews and reviews." (The idea was proposed by 8i, a New Zealand-based maker of virtual reality software.)

2. Over at ModCloth, the womens' clothing site Walmart took over in March, customers may one day be able to take 3-D photos of themselves using just their smartphones, and use those images to get an idea of how something might look on them. That way, executives say, shoppers could "experience the realistic feel of an item before they purchase without having to physically go in-store." (A concept offered by Fyusion, a San Francisco-based company that develops technology for processing 3D scans.)

>> 56 stores confirm they will be closed Thanksgiving Day 2017

3. An "interactive virtual store" for designer Rebecca Minkoff, whose items are sold at Walmart.com, would allow customers to sit in on fashion shows and shop directly from the runway. The technology, the company said, would effectively allow it to create a virtual store-within-a-store. (Developed by Obsess VR, a New York-based technology firm that specializes in 360-degree shopping sites.)

4. Tired of shopping online alone? If Walmart gets its way, you may soon be interacting with other shoppers and experts as you pick out items for your virtual cart. Need help picking out a pair of jeans? A virtual fashion assistant may be able to help. Trying to figure out why your nightstand is lopsided? An employee could tell you which screws are loose. (A concept from Nurulize, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality software developer.)

5. Electric outlets, stove tops and door handles can all be child safety hazards - and soon, an online tool could peek inside your home and tell you where the biggest risks are lurking. The site could also give product recommendations and allow customers to test out items virtually before buying them. (Piloted by Specular Theory, a Venice Beach, California, company that specializes in immersive content.)

Grandfather, 73, hauls in 12-foot, 620 pound gator

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 7:03 PM

(WSOCTV.com)
(WSOCTV.com)

A 12-foot, 620-pound monster was captured by a gator-catching grandfather from Chester County, South Carolina.

>> Read more trending news

"I shot him with a crossbow," Joe Houston said.

It took that crossbow, a harpoon and a gun to land the enormous catch. 

>> Photos: Grandfather nabs 620 pound gator

"We knew he was a monster. We knew he was a big one, but we didn't know he was that big," Houston said.

Houston is not your average 73-year-old. When he’s not chasing his grandchildren or great-grandchildren, he chases gators. 

"I done killed gators before. I killed 8-foot and I killed 6-foot and I said, ‘I want a big gator!’" Houston said.

Houston found a hunting guide who led him to the Waccamaw River near Myrtle Beach, where he went on the heart-pounding hunt last week. 

"He was humongous. Words can't explain it. I don't know how to explain it. He was big. He's a big, big gator. He's a big boy!" Houston said.

It took four men to haul the gator in. And when they weighed him?

"He weighed 620 pounds. Then they laid him out on the floor and I stretched him out; stretched out to 12-foot 5 inches," Houston said.

The gator will soon be a Christmas treat for his great-grandchildren.

"I'm going to eat him. I'm having him processed down there in Charleston. He's going to be put in like snack sticks and summer sausage and all,” Houston said.

Houston is still celebrating his trophy catch, but the 73-year-old is already itching for another adrenaline-pumping chase.

"I don't think I'll ever get another gator that big. I'm gonna try, but I don't think I can top that one," he said.