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Former ‘Jerry Springer’ producer charged with killing deaf, blind sister in 2015

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 12:28 PM

Former 'Jerry Springer' Producer Charged With Killing Her Disabled Sister

A former producer for television shows including “Divorce Court” and “The Jerry Springer Show” was arrested last week and charged with killing her disabled sister in a 2015 garage fire. 

The Los Angeles Police Department reported Thursday that Jill Blackstone was arrested in Baltimore on murder and animal cruelty charges. Blackstone is accused of drugging her sister, Wendy Blackstone, on March 14, 2015, and putting her and the siblings’ three dogs in the garage of their North Hollywood home and setting it on fire. 

Wendy Blackstone, 49, and two of the dogs perished in the blaze.

ABC7 in Los Angeles reported that the fire was started by a charcoal barbecue pit left burning in the garage, which filled with carbon monoxide. Wendy Blackstone was found unresponsive next to one of the dogs.

The Baltimore Sun reported that paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Wendy Blackstone was deaf and legally blind, the newspaper reported. 

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“Homicide detectives believe the motive was Jill’s frustration of being forced to provide Wendy long-term care, as well as the associated financial hardship,” a news release from the LAPD said

Wendy Blackstone died of the combined effects of Xanax and inhaling the gas that built up in the garage, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s website states. The manner of death was still listed online as undetermined Monday morning. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that Wendy Blackstone’s autopsy report indicated that her death was “very suspicious” and “possibly staged.” When she was found, an alleged suicide note was in her hand.

Investigators believed that Jill Blackstone wrote the note. 

Near Wendy Blackstone’s feet was a Weber grill and an ash-filled trash can, both of which were considered to be sources of the carbon monoxide, the Times reported. A nearly empty vodka bottle was found nearby, though the autopsy showed no alcohol in Wendy’s system. 

Detectives found several other notes near her body with end-of-life instructions, including a “do not resuscitate” order, but none of the notes had been signed by Wendy Blackstone. 

Jill Blackstone later told detectives that a friend called her home and she “just ‘came to’ and did not remember what happened,” the Times reported. She also told investigators that the grill was used in the garage to keep it warm.

She also said the charcoal was used to roast marshmallows, the newspaper reported. 

ABC7 reported that Jill Blackstone was believed to have set the scene up to look like a suicide or accident. The notes and Blackstone’s inconsistent statements led detectives to suspect her of killing her sister. 

She was arrested shortly after the fire on suspicion of murder, but the Los Angeles County district attorney ultimately decided against filing charges, the news station reported. 

The district attorney ordered further investigation into the case just days later, the Times reported

Homicide detectives and arson investigators from the Los Angeles Fire Department conducted separate probes in the case, the LAPD news release said

“The investigative follow-up required for a successful prosecution included significant travel, research, numerous interviews and additional forensic evidence processing, which added time to this extremely complex and sensitive investigation,” the news release said. 

The district attorney filed murder and animal cruelty charges against Blackstone last month. Homicide detectives tracked her last week to a relative’s home in Hoboken, New Jersey.

When they spoke to her lawyer, the attorney told authorities that Blackstone was hospitalized in Baltimore for treatment of a medical condition, LAPD officials said.

She was taken into custody Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. As of last week, she remained in Baltimore Police Department custody, awaiting extradition to California. 

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Melania Trump poses with Bushes, Clintons and Obamas at Barbara Bush funeral

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 5:44 PM

First Families Pose Together At Barbara Bush Funeral

The current first lady posed for a picture with former first ladies and past presidents Saturday at Barbara Bush’s funeral.

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First Lady Melania Trump is seen in the image, taken by photographer Paul Morse, with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas.

Trump, who attended the funeral without her husband, is seen standing alongside Michelle Obama.

“It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady,” she said in a statement. “My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family.”

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Royal baby: New addition to the royal family will be fifth in line for the throne

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 8:51 AM

7 Interesting Facts about the Royal Family

A new British prince was born on Monday and that means a new line of succession to the British throne.

Move over, Prince Harry, your new nephew will bump you one step down the line, and shake up everyone who follows you.

The British line of succession was established in the 17th century after James II left the country and the throne in 1688. By 1701, the Act of Settlement established that the country’s Parliament could determine who would rule the country.

The act said that only Protestants could rule – no Roman Catholics could be considered and those in line for the throne could not marry a Catholic. In 2013, the Succession to the Crown Act ended the provision against marrying a Catholic. However, a Roman Catholic may not rule the country.

The law also stated that male heirs, no matter where they fell in the birth order, would displace female heirs in the line of succession. In other words, a younger brother would jump over an older sister in the succession line.

The Succession to the Crown Act amended that portion of the Act of Settlement by ending the practice of moving sons to the front of the line – called male primogeniture. The act applies to those born after Oct. 28, 2011. Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince William, is the first female in the line of succession who will not be skipped over by a younger sibling.

Here is the line of succession as stands after the birth of the new prince:

The line of Succession

Queen Elizabeth

1. The Prince of Wales – Prince Charles (Elizabeth’s first child)
2. The Duke of Cambridge – Prince William (Prince Charles’ son)
3. Prince George of Cambridge – William’s son
4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - William’s daughter
5. The new royal baby – brother to George and Charlotte
6. Prince Henry of Wales – Prince Harry (William’s brother; Charles second child)
8. The Duke of York – Prince Andrew (Elizabeth’s third child)
7. Princess Beatrice of York – Andrew’s daughter
8. Princess Eugenie of York – Andrew’s daughter
9. The Earl of Wessex – Prince Edward (brother of Prince Charles; Elizabeth’s fourth child)
10. James, Viscount Severn – (Prince Edward’s son)
11. The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor – (Prince Edward’s daughter)
12. The Princess Royal – Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth; her second child)
13. Peter Phillips – son of Princess Anne
14. Savannah Phillips – daughter of Peter Phillips
15. Isla Phillips – daughter of Peter Phillips
16. Zara Tindall – daughter of Princess Anne

VICTORIA, BC - SEPTEMBER 24: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrive at the Victoria Airport on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

 

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California couple tortured, burned Vietnam veteran as children watched, police say

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:09 PM

Couple Accused of Torturing, Killing Vietnam Veteran

A couple tortured a Vietnam War veteran in order to gain access to his financial and personal information and then took their children with them when they burned his body in a rural field, police said. 

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Kenneth Coyle, 70, a Vietnam War veteran and contractor at Naval Air Station Lemoore, became friends with Stacie Mendoza, a restaurant server who befriended him and later killed him with her husband, Jose Mendoza, according to Hanford police

"We think she manipulated that relationship to gain his trust and defraud him of money," Cpt. Karl Anderson, of the Hanford Police Department, said at a press conference. "As this relationship grew, we know that Ms. Mendoza started getting access to his bank account information and started getting money from him."

Police said Stacie Mendoza began defrauding Coyle a couple of weeks ago, but escalated the grift on April 5 and April 6, when she and her husband restrained Coyle to a bed and beat him in order to get his bank account information, passwords and other personal information, police said. 

Days later, the Mendozas loaded Coyle’s body into their car and burned it in a field as their children watched, police said. 

The Mendozas returned to Coyle’s house last week to steal more items and were questioned by property management employees. The employees were suspicious of the couple, who said the veteran had been injured and was recovering at a care home, investigators said. 

Police arrested Stacie and Jose Mendoza at a Denny’s restaurant near Los Angeles International Airport. Jose Mendoza had Coyle’s credit card and a ticket to El Salvador in his possession, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The couple was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They are being held without bail. Their children were put in the custody of Child Protective Services.

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Police officer takes 84-year-old man to hospital to visit sick wife

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

FILE PHOTO
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A police officer in Pennsylvania has the serve portion of “to protect and serve” perfected.

Roger Baker, 84, had to get to his local hospital after his wife had a medical emergency. No friends or family could take him, so he called police for help, WHP reported.

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Deputy Chief Bentley from Montoursville Police Department responded, taking Baker to the medical facility, and escorted him to the building, WHP reported

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In the police department’s Facebook post, which has been shared more than a thousand times, the department said that Bentley held Baker’s hand, walking him to the building until hospital workers brought a wheelchair out for Baker and took him to his wife in the emergency room.

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