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Published: Thursday, May 03, 2018 @ 2:34 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 03, 2018 @ 2:33 AM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Prosecutors can collect DNA, fingerprints and body photographs of the former policeman suspected of being California's Golden State Killer, a judge ruled Thursday.
Attorneys for Joseph DeAngelo, 72, had asked the court to block the search, arguing the warrant for the evidence was issued before his arrest. "All we're asking here is the prosecution follow the rules," argued David Lynch, one of DeAngelo's public defenders.
Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet sided with prosecutors, saying courts have repeatedly allowed the collection of such evidence because it's not a form of testimony. He said it would not harm DeAngelo's right to protection against self-incrimination under the U.S. Constitution's 5th Amendment.
"There's no basis to stop the execution of the search warrant," Sweet said. "There is no 5th Amendment privilege that I can see."
He said courts have long upheld the right to collect "non-testimonial" evidence that doesn't require suspects to share their thoughts and beliefs, such as blood samples or asking a suspect to stand in a lineup.
DeAngelo, appearing in court in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffed to a wheelchair, said nothing. He has not entered a plea.
He was arrested last week and identified by prosecutors as the man responsible for at least a dozen murders and more than 50 rapes across California in the 1970s and '80s. Prosecutors said they used DNA and a genealogical website to identify DeAngelo.
It was unclear when prosecutors will collect the new evidence. Lynch and Diane Howard, another of DeAngelo's public defenders, declined comment after Sweet ruled.
Deputy Sacramento County District Attorney Thienvu Ho declined to answer questions about why prosecutors needed the DNA, fingerprints and photographs of DeAngelo's entire body.
He said in court that the Sacramento County sheriff's office sought the original warrant, but provided no additional details.
The search and arrest warrants for DeAngelo that contain legal arguments and case details justifying why investigators want to gather the evidence are shielded from public view under a court order. Prosecutors have not explained why the documents are sealed.
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 4:32 PM
ATLANTA — A New York gang member will serve a life sentence for the 2016 murder of a Clark Atlanta University student.
A Fulton County jury convicted Devin Kingdom, 24, of murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Cierra Ford. Ford, a communications major at Clark Atlanta, was shot in the head when several accused gang members broke into her boyfriend’s Sandy Springs apartment in November 2016.
Ford was a California native who wanted to be a journalist. She was a good student and an inspiration to other young women, her brother said.
“Cierra was intelligent, charismatic, and she had a vibrant sense of humor that resonated with her friends and family,” Clarence Ford said.
Her boyfriend, Tyrique Lobban, was shot three times and injured. Lobban was a leader of the same New York Gang, prosecutors said, and the men intended to kill him to remove him from his position.
Three accused gang members were arrested following Ford’s death and a fourth, Gregory Battle, is still on the run. Initially, police believed robbery was a motive. Kingdom was the first to be convicted.
Malik Ortiz also stood trial last week and was acquitted of the homicide. The jury was unable to reach verdicts on the remaining 12 counts, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.
Joseph Clarke, another murder suspect, is still awaiting trial.
Prosecutors said the trouble started two years after the New York gang members relocated to Atlanta in 2014. They lived with Lobban in his apartment until infighting resulted in a leadership struggle.
“The dispute between Lobban and the other four men came to a head in October of 2016 when Lobban asked Clarke, Ortiz, and Battle to move out of the apartment,” said Chris Hopper, the spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. “Once they moved out of the apartment, the men made a decision to kill Lobban and remove him from his leadership position in the gang.”
In the deadly coup, the four allegedly entered the Sandy Springs apartment through an unlocked door with weapons drawn, the jury heard at trial.
They first encountered a roommate and another alleged gang member, Jabar Brady. Hopper said the men gave Brady, who was 19 at the time, a chance to live and he left the apartment.
Prosecutors intended for Brady to testify, but he killed himself in New York shortly before the trial, according to the DA’s office. He was considered one of the state’s key witnesses.
“The gravity of these violent deaths never seems to end,” Howard said of Brady’s death.
Ford and Lobban were shot when the group kicked in the door to Lobban’s upstairs bedroom and found them in bed, prosecutors said.
In addition to felony murder, Kingdom was found guilty of first-degree home invasion, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams to life in prison plus 10 years.
The jury apparently could not reach a conclusion on Ortiz’s involvement in the crime.
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 2:31 PM
TORONTO — A terrorist attack a month ago in Toronto, in which 10 people were struck down by a man in a rental van, has brought the term “incel” -- short for “involuntarily celibate” -- to the global stage, but what is an incel and how did the misogynistic, sometimes violent movement begin?
Canadian authorities allege that Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, drove a Ryder rental van up onto a Toronto sidewalk April 23 and plowed into a group of pedestrians. According to additional charges filed against Minassian earlier this month, a total of 10 people died and another 16 were injured.
Most of the dead were women.
What is an incel?
The term “incel” began with a Toronto woman in 1993. The woman, identified only as Alana, told Elle in March 2016 that as a sexually inexperienced college student at Carleton University in Ottawa, she was trying to create a “movement that was open to anybody and everybody.”
She created a website, Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project, as a way for single people who were lonely to come together. Eventually, she turned the site over to someone she did not know and abandoned the project.
The movement was ultimately co-opted by what The Washington Post described as an “online misogynistic subculture of men who blame women for their sexual frustration.”
Alana learned that in February 2015, when she read about Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old self-described “incel” who stabbed and shot to death six people and injured 14 others May 23, 2014, near the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus before taking his own life.
In a video he shot in his BMW shortly before shooting himself, Rodger complained about his social life, saying that he was still a virgin and had “never even kissed a girl.”
A 141-page manifesto Rodger sent to about two dozen friends and acquaintances before he killed himself further detailed his deep hatred of women, whose rejection he blamed for his predicament, the BBC reported. In the document, he called himself an “ideal magnificent gentleman” and said he could not understand why women did not want him.
Men who subscribe to the incel movement have taken Rodger as a sort of folk hero. Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six people and wounded 19 more at a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017, searched the web for information about Rodger less than 24 hours before opening fire, The Globe and Mail reported.
Toronto police officials also confirmed that Minassian posted a message on Facebook in which he praised Rodger just minutes before he is accused of driving his rented van into the crowd of pedestrians in Toronto.
“As has been reported in the media, the accused is believed to have posted a cryptic public message on Facebook minutes before he began driving the rented van southbound on Yonge Street and onto the crowded sidewalks,” Toronto police Detective Sgt. Graham Gibson said shortly after the tragedy. “He drove, deliberately striking pedestrians on the sidewalk and roadway with his vehicle.”
Minassian, a failed Canadian military recruit who called himself “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010” in the Facebook post, wrote that he wished to speak to “Sgt. 4chan.” The website 4chan, which has been linked to a variety of internet subcultures, is believed to be where Minassian became radicalized, New York magazine reported.
He also stated in the post that ‘the Incel Rebellion has already begun.”
“We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!” the post stated, according to the BBC. “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
According to the Institute for Family Studies, incels refer to attractive, sexually available women as “Stacys.” The small number of alpha males they believe dominate the dating field, they call “Chads.”
David Futrelle, a writer and blogger who explores misogyny on the internet, described incels as seeing “Chads” as stereotypically attractive man, or Ken dolls, and “Stacys” as the Barbies to those Kens.
“This all may seem a bit ridiculous, but it's no exaggeration,” Futrelle told Glamour magazine in April. “This is how they think. I'm convinced that they literally visualize Chads as characters in ‘80s teen flicks.”
Futrelle said a lot of the incels he’s run across are young and that he believes their belief system stems from adolescent insecurities and anger over being rejected by girls in their youth.
“Instead of growing out of this, they turn it into a lifestyle,” Futrelle said.
Facebook removed Minassian’s account within minutes of the attack, The Globe and Mail reported.
Minassian, who was arrested near the scene of the mass homicide seven minutes after the initial 911 call was placed, has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.
The Institute for Family Studies reported that incels tend to believe that women have become more sexually promiscuous, but only date “Chads,” which leaves them, the incels, out.
The rate of men who are unmarried and have reported not having sex in the past year has increased over the past several years -- but it is not because the self-titled incels are being shunned, the institute reported. Instead, it is driven by the declining marriage rate, which for men between ages 22 and 35 is at its lowest rate since at least 1880, the year for which data first became available.
Incel movement’s basis in history
The acts of violence allegedly perpetrated by Minassian and Rodger are not the first linked to the misogynistic ideals behind the incel movement. In 1989, 14 female students were shot to death and another 13 injured at École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal.
The killer, Marc Lépine, blamed feminism for the ills of his life, including his rejection from the school where he found his victims, The Guardian reported. Lépine, who armed himself with a rifle and a knife, previously told a shop owner he was hunting “small game,” the newspaper said.
Like Rodger, Lépine turned his gun on himself when he was through.
Melissa J. Gismondi wrote for the Post that the incel movement is fairly new, but is based in the ancient history of patriarchal societies that have long given men free reign over women’s bodies. Gismondi, a historian in North American history, explained that women, for the majority of American history, were bound in more than name to their husbands.
Crimes against a woman, including rape, were seen as crimes against the husband. If a slave-owner raped a slave and got her pregnant, that child also became his property.
It was 1979 before marital rape became a crime in the United States, the Post reported. It was not until 1993 that it became a crime in all 50 states.
President Donald Trump’s embattled personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, tried as recently as 2015 to deflect old rape accusations against Trump by saying husbands could not rape their wives. Cohen’s remarks were in response to the then-presidential candidate’s sexual misconduct controversy, during which there was a resurfacing of allegations made by Ivana Trump in the 1990s, in which she said that Trump raped her while they were married.
Cohen later apologized.
The belief that men are owed sex from women helped form the basis of today’s incel movement, experts say.
A Reddit incel subgroup that boasted 40,000 members was shut down in November after several posts promoted rape and other violence against women, USA Today reported. Keegan Kankes, a senior intelligence analyst with hate group watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the newspaper in April that misogyny is often a precursor to other, more radical extremism.
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 5:33 PM
— Federal health officials are warning parents to stop using over-the-counter teething products that contain the drug benzocaine, because it can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those under two years old.
The FDA also sent letters to drug manufacturers Wednesday, asking them to stop selling the teething products.
According to the FDA, children who take medicine containing benzocaine are at a greater risk of developing methemoglobinemia, a serious condition that can cut off the amount of oxygen reaching the blood stream.
Symptoms include pale, grey or blue colored skin, light-headedness, shortness of breathing, fatigue and rapid heart rate.
Benzocaine-induced methemoglobinemia can be deadly if not treated properly, according to the FDA. And, more importantly, the FDA warns that it can fatal after only one use.
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 5:22 PM
Still searching for answers on how best to help veterans frustrated by their options within the VA health system, the Senate sent President Donald Trump a bill on Wednesday which allow vets more options to use private medical care if they face lengthy delays or a lack of certain medical services at VA health centers around the nation.
“The Senate passage of the VA MISSION Act is a major victory for our nation’s veterans who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who chairs the Senate Veterans Committee.
It’s not the first time that Congress has tried to help vets use medical resources outside of the VA for health care, as lawmakers continue to hear stories of vets who have been unable to get care near their homes, or have been forced to endure long waits for specialized appointments.
“This is a transformational piece of legislation that will improve the lives of veterans for generations to come, and I am thrilled this bill will soon be law,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), the chair of the House Veterans Committee.
“This bill puts the needs of veterans first by giving them the option of seeking care when and where it makes the most sense for their needs,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
The measure was easily approved by the House earlier this month on a vote of 347-70. The Senate vote on Wednesday was 92-5.
The 230 page bill has a wide reach within the VA, doing much more than just allowing veterans more access to care outside the VA health care system.
While a number of veterans groups supported the plan, there were some critics in the Congress, who charged this was just a step on the road to privatization of the VA system.
The plan authorizes $51 billion for the growing “Choice” program in the VA on outside medical care.