MOUNT PLEASANT — A 33-year-old woman has been accused of stealing a van, and was reportedly caught in part because of DNA found on a straw.
Ashley C. Crayton, from Anoka, Minnesota, was charged with a felony count of driving or operating a vehicle without owner’s consent.
According to a criminal complaint:
On Sept. 21, an officer was sent to a residence on Daisy Lane for the theft of a 2009 Chrysler Town & Country. The owner said the van was in the driveway and the key was inside the center console.
On Oct. 2, a sergeant was contacted by the Kenosha Police Department because the stolen van was located. It was parked in the 6600 block of 18th Avenue.
A search of the car was done and a health card belonging to Crayton was found. There was also a Big Buddy cup from a gas station and several Walgreens gift cards. Surveillance video from a Walgreens on 52nd Street showed a woman attempt to use the card but it was declined. She then got into the stolen vehicle.
TODAYZumba, 9 a.m., Hardin County Public Library, 100 Jim Owen Drive, E’town. Previous dance experience not required. Low impact options included. POC: 270-769-6337.
English as a Second Language, 11 a.m., Hardin County Public Library, 100 Jim Owen Drive, E’town. Free tutoring sessions geared toward learners of English. Drop-ins welcome. POC: 270-769-6337.
Lincoln Trail Chapter of the Kentucky Public Retirees meeting, 11:30 a.m., Shoney’s Restaurant, 1046 Executive Drive, E’town. POC: Sandy Allen, 270-307-0061.
Murder, Mystery & Mayhem Book Club, noon, in Radcliff. Register by noon the Wednesday prior to the meeting at forms.gle/xs3jsa1Mw2GgJ8oS7 June’s selection, “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier. POC: 270-769-6337.
Stage Combat Workshop, 1 p.m., Hardin County Public Library, 100 Jim Owen Drive, E’town. Ages 12-18. The Kentucky Shakespeare Company will lead a workshop on stage combat techniques. Participants will learn the ways fights are staged in TV, movies and on stage and get to try out a few. No registration is required. Spots will be filled on a first-come basis on the day of. POC: 270-769-6337.
Stamping Workshop, 2 p.m., Hardin County Public Library, 100 Jim Owen Drive, E’town. Register in person for this make-and-take notecard class. $5 materials fee required at registration. POC: 270-769-6337.
Anime Club, 4-5:45 p.m., story area, Hardin County Public Library, 100 Jim Owen Drive, E’town. Ages 12-18. Teen must have a signed parent permission form to participate. Anime Stream, watch and discuss anime. POC: 270-769-6337.
Alzheimer’s Support Group, 4:30 p.m., genealogy room, Hardin County Public Library, 100 Jim Owen…
WOLF CREEK TOWNSHIP – The case of a Chicago man whose body was found 42 years ago in Wolf Creek Township has been solved.
State police say they have closed the case after identifying the victim as Edwin Rodriguez of Chicago, according to a news release issued May 25 by the PSP Troop D Criminal Investigation Assessment Unit.
“The family was grateful that we were able to inform them what happened to their loved one and we were able to return his remains to Chicago for a proper service,” Trooper Joshua Black said, following up on the news release.
Using DNA testing and genealogy tools, they were able to confirm Rodriguez was the victim and identified Nestor Quintanal as the suspect in his death.
Quintanal died in Florida in 2002 at the age of 71. Homicide charges would have been filed otherwise, Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker said.
The suspect would have been extradited to Mercer County and tried, hopefully ending with him being convicted and sentenced to state prison for life, Acker said.
Police began their investigation on Nov. 6, 1980, when someone found a burning body near Interstate 80 in Wolf Creek Township.
Autopsy results revealed that the deceased was a white male between the ages of 16 and 19 who weighed about 115 pounds and was 5 feet 8 inches tall.
Rodriguez had third-degree burns on 70 percent of his body and could not be identified at the time, police said.
Since then, advancements have been made in DNA technology, allowing law enforcement to submit evidence taken from the crime scene, Acker said.
His office paid for state police to have an advanced DNA analysis performed, eventually leading to the…
SPOKANE, Wash. – After 10 years, the manner of death for a woman found dismembered and dumped in a sleeping bag has been amended from ‘undetermined’ to ‘homicide.’ The request for Spokane’s new medical examiner to the review the original autopsy report and findings conducted by those who held the title before her, came from the Spokane Police Department.
Dr. Veena D. Singh wrote in an addendum, mailed to the family of Kala Williams, in part stating, ‘Scene investigation, findings, autopsy findings, and toxicology results warrant changed in original certification to the following:
Cause of Death: Homicide by unspecified means
Manner of Death: Homicide’
“[The new medical examiner] has poured grace over our family,” Kala’s mother Martine Maggio told KHQ. “We were beyond floored someone still cares about Kala.”
Martine says even days later, she’s still in shock.
“Obviously this was a murder, obviously,” she said. “It’s been 10 years. We want [justice.]”
She says the wait to get it nearly cost her life. She says the month of May is filled with horrific memories that caused her to go into a deep depression.
“I wouldn’t be eating,” she said. “There’s a gnawing edge in your stomach that never goes away.”
Kala’s body was found on Mother’s Day in 2012. She had been reported missing by her brother several weeks prior.
Martine, and Kala’s cousin Julie Beauchaine, both recall fearing the worst, when no one could track Kala down. The women remember hearing reports that a body had been found off of Highway 195 and suspected instantly that it was Kala.
“I didn’t want to hear the words… I knew, I already…
July 7, 1994, rural Montrose County. Aug. 9, 1993, Lakewood, Washington.
The dates and states are far removed, but they have proven inextricably linked: the first is the day hikers found a woman’s skull on Windy Point. The second is when a 45-year-old woman was last reported alive to Washington authorities. It is now known the dates involve the same person, a woman known here for almost three decades as Windy Point Jane Doe, but who now has her true identity back.
Her name was Susan Hoppes.
Cause of death: Undetermined.
Manner of death: Undetermined, but circumstances point to homicide.
Forensic genetic genealogy, which did not exist in 1994, finally linked Montrose County’s unidentified body with a petite, dark-haired Washington State woman, who reportedly left her home in the middle of one August night.
“This is a classic piece of police work,” said Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas Canfield, who formally confirmed the identity Wednesday, May 11, almost 28 years after Hoppes’ remains were found. “You just keep digging and digging and digging.”
After many years of work by many hands, Montrose County Sheriff’s Office investigators got their match through a DNA sample the Colorado Bureau of Investigation prepared for a commercial DNA database, where samples from Hoppes’ brother and sister had also been uploaded.
Although the process is far from simple and does not necessarily produce instant results, the match for Hoppes was made less than two years after Sheriff Gene Lillard green-lighted sending the remains for familial DNA testing.
Hoppes’ identification was confirmed April 19 and Canfield then notified her surviving…
When researching your family history, have you included probate records in your search? They provide a wide variety of details about a deceased person and his or her family. Most probate records have been digitized and can be obtained by contacting the probate office at the courthouse in the county where the person lived. Sometimes probate records are stored at records center or state archives. Many are online at Ancestry.com or FamilySearch Wiki.
The packet of probate records for each person was tied with a cord and was assigned a number. If the person left a will, it was usually placed in the packet. If your ancestor’s estate was small, no probate records may have been filed.
Because county boundaries often changed, your ancestor may have died in an area that is now part of another county. Thus, if you can’t find records in the county where you believe your ancestor lived, check adjacent counties. Also check probate records of relatives because their packets might have records that will be helpful in your genealogy search.
Probate packets list the date of death, the name of the spouse and the names of children and grandchildren and their addresses. Some records have signatures of the surviving spouse, children and witnesses. In addition, the packets contain a legal description of parcels of land the person owned, the number of acres in each, and types of buildings and crops on each. If the deceased person had made loans to others, the packet lists the people who owed money, the amount owed and the interest rate each was paying.
The packets also contain an inventory of assets. Any personal…
Weekly Briefs: SCOTUS will hear inmate’s appeal of DNA testing; prosecutor accidentally shoots himself
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Image from Shutterstock.
Supreme Court will hear death row inmate’s DNA test bid
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the case of a Texas death row inmate who said DNA testing would establish his innocence. After inmate Rodney Reed lost a bid in state court to obtain the test, he challenged the Texas law governing post-conviction DNA testing under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. At issue is whether he filed the suit too late under the statute of limitations. Does the clock begin to run when a state court denies the DNA test? Or does the clock start when all state court DNA litigation, including appeals, have ended? Reed was convicted of the rape and murder of a woman married to a former police officer. He said he was having an affair with the murder victim, and that is why his DNA was found on her body. Reed’s lawyers have pointed to the woman’s fiance, a former police officer, as a possible suspect. He pleaded guilty in 2008 for kidnapping and improper sexual conduct with a woman while on duty. The case is Reed v. Goertz. (The New York Times, SCOTUSblog, Bloomberg Law, the Texas Tribune, SCOTUSblog case page)
Prosecutor accidentally shoots himself at courthouse
A Georgia prosecutor accidentally shot himself in the leg in an office at the Effingham County Courthouse earlier this month. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Breedon said his gun fired when he drew it from his holster to show to a co-worker who wanted to buy the same type of firearm. (The Associated Press, WJCL)
Supreme Court will review law requiring companies to accept court jurisdiction
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania law that requires companies to consent to state court jurisdiction if they do business in the state. At issue is whether such laws violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. The case was brought by a railroad employee who wants to sue his employer in Pennsylvania state court for exposure to asbestos and chemicals that allegedly caused his cancer. The case is Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (SCOTUSblog, Law.com, Reuters, SCOTUSblog case page)
Ex-lawyer who fought Chevron leaves prison
Disbarred environmental lawyer Steven Donziger has completed his six-month sentence for refusing to surrender his electronic devices and disobeying other court orders in a RICO lawsuit against him by the Chevron Corp. Donziger only served about a month and a half in prison before he was released to home confinement to serve out the rest of the sentence, according to a previous New York Law Journal story. He also spent time in home detention awaiting trial. In all, he said, he was confined for 993 days. The RICO suit claimed that Donziger had fraudulently obtained a $9.5 billion pollution judgment against the Chevron Corp. in Ecuador. A judge awarded the Chevron Corp. $800,000 and then appointed a special prosecutor after the Chevron Corp. alleged that Donziger was stonewalling efforts to collect. A judge convicted Donziger of contempt and imposed the sentence. (Gizmodo, Salon)
Biden issues first pardons and commutations
President Joe Biden used his clemency powers for the first time Tuesday, when he pardoned three people and commuted the sentences of 75 nonviolent drug offenders. One of those pardoned is Abraham Bolden, 86, who was the first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a presidential detail. He has claimed that his prosecution for trying to sell a copy of a Secret Service file was retaliation for exposing racism in the Secret Service in the 1960s. Bolden’s first trial ended in a mistrial because of a hung jury. He was convicted in the second trial, even though key witnesses admitted to lying at the request of the prosecutor. (The New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, White House press release)
The defense presented and rested its case to the jury with three expert witnesses after the prosecution formally rested its case Wednesday.
The first-degree murder trial of Demetri Ewing began for the eighth day at 9 a.m. and continued until 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The 17-year-old is charged along with his father, Clyde Ewing, in the shooting death of Samuel Johns on Jan. 8, 2021, when Demetri Ewing was 16 years old. There were about 10 people in the audience.
Defense attorney Greg Rauch gave opening statements and addressed the jury.
He reiterated points made in cross-examination of witnesses that questioned the direction of the police investigation, including clearing suspects based on their own statements, changing testimony from Patricia Labombard and placing witnesses in an ambulance, which he argued provided witnesses the opportunity to construct a narrative of the events.
“The police in this matter immediately heard who they thought did it and pursued it,” Rauch said. “Pursued one route, pursued one set of suspects to one room.”
Rauch also noted evidence that didn’t fit Ewing and suggested a third person, not Ewing, was involved with Clyde Ewing on the night of the shooting. He provided examples of a third bicycle at the Ewings’ motel room and DNA evidence that didn’t match Clyde Ewing or Demetri Ewing. “Who was that third person?” Rauch said.
Rauch identified evidence that didn’t match Demetri Ewing in relation to the size of the suspect. Ewing is 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and Johns was 6 feet, 1 inch tall, and the autopsy reported a downward trajectory of the bullet. Clothing tags found on the Lewiston levee that belonged to black sweatshirts worn by the suspects indicated one was a male XL and the other was a male medium. A jacket that belonged to Ewing was a women’s small.
Additionally, Rauch made the case that Clyde Ewing kicked Demetri Ewing out of the motel on Dec. 23, 2020, and that he was staying at a homeless shelter. A Clarkston police officer reportedly saw Demetri Ewing at the motel Jan. 8, 2021, but wasn’t sure of the exact date of when he returned. Additionally, a photo showing a shotgun, pistol and two cans of bear mace was found on both Demetri and Clyde Ewings’ cellphones. The photo was dated Jan. 3, 2021, and geolocation placed it at the Hacienda Lodge, but did not originate on Demetri Ewing’s phone. Therefore, Rauch said, it proved Ewing wasn’t there. “Why send a picture when you’re both in the same room?” he asked.
“I ask you guys to keep an open mind,” he concluded in his address to the jury.
The defense then began with its expert testimony including from Randell Libby, a forensic DNA analyst with GeneQuest Diagnostics, who testified via Zoom on the DNA sample examined by Eric Seat of the Idaho State Police forensic lab. Libby explained that STRmix, the DNA software used by the ISP lab, analyzes samples that have multiple people’s DNA. However, Libby noted that there are assumptions made in the analysis of how many DNA contributors there are, in this case it was assumed to be three. Out of all three DNA samples, Libby said at least one was male.
In Libby’s reading of the lab’s report, he disagreed with the conclusion that the DNA sample matched Demetri Ewing. He noted several areas that didn’t match Ewing’s DNA. He said that the STRmix software adds in DNA when there are missing areas, like in this sample, which can create a match. It also alters the statistical ratio of the likelihood of the match.
Libby evaluated the likelihood statistic by the ISP lab, which stated the sample was 23,500 more likely to be Demetri Ewing. He said that was a weak number and in many cases it’s in the millions or tens of millions.
Libby also observed an area of the DNA that is passed down from father to son that didn’t match Demetri Ewing or Clyde Ewing.
In cross-examination, Chief Deputy Prosecutor April Smith asked if Libby did his own testing on the sample and he confirmed he didn’t. She also questioned if he was aware of the validation of the ISP lab and he said he didn’t receive those reports.
Rauch then asked if the validation of the lab affected the results of his findings or the findings of the lab.
“It doesn’t change the fact that assumptions have been made to obtain a match,” Libby said. “(The lab) might be perfectly valid but it still doesn’t change that the evidence sample doesn’t match the defendant in this matter unless assumptions are made.”
Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman objected to another witness by the defense, Charles Schoonover, of Action Agency, who owns a private investigation company in Sandpoint. Gaskill returned to his chambers to consider Coleman’s motion to suppress Schoonover’s testimony and decided the testimony was allowed but only to explain what he would have done as the investigator. Coleman was also allowed to question Schoonover on his credentials and pointed out his lack of formal training and education to the jury.
During his testimony, Schoonover reviewed reports on the investigation and shared with the court what he would have done in his investigation. One of the areas he discussed was keeping witnesses separate to not influence their statements and keep their memories fresh and clear. “Everybody sees the incident differently,” he said. Witnesses at the crime scene gathered at an ambulance when police arrived.
He also examined the collection and documentation of evidence, including the delay in picking up black tape and black gloves, lack of measurements in photos, the use of cellphone cameras to record and take photos at the crime scene, not documenting bicycle tracks for a lab analysis and not using a laser to get a trajectory of the bullets found at the scene. In gathering video evidence, he would have searched security cameras in a wider radius of the route the suspects took, including past the Hacienda Lodge and the Johns residence.
In cross examination, Coleman noted that while Schoonover looked at police reports, videos and photos, he didn’t examine the evidence himself or go inside the Johns residence — although Schoonover said he looked at the house from the outside.
The defense also presented testimony from Gaylen Warren, who owns his own forensics lab, Columbia International Forensics Laboratory, and specializes in firearms and tool marks. Warren made the same conclusions as Britany Wylie, a forensic scientist for Idaho State Police Forensic Services, that three shell casings — two found at the crime scene and another found at the Hacienda Lodge — were fired from the same firearm. Wylie was an expert witness brought forward by the prosecution Friday.
However, he said more could have been done to identify the firearm by also providing the two bullets found at the crime scene for analysis “to give law enforcement an idea of what to look for, ‘cause it’s a no-gun case,” Warren said.
Before the jury entered the courtroom for the day, defense attorney Lawrence Moran asked Second District Judge Jay Gaskill for an acquittal. Moran based his motion on the fact that the prosecution alleged the murder happened during either a robbery or burglary and he said that no testimony or evidence supported that anything was taken and therefore didn’t support the first-degree murder charge. Chief Deputy Prosecutor April Smith said evidence and testimony showed that assailants entered the residence with a gun, zip tied Labombard and threatened her with a gun, which would be aggravated assault as well as kidnapping and would justify a first-degree murder charge. She also said that items don’t necessarily need to be taken from a residence or victim to be considered a robbery or burglary under the law, and in this case she suggested the attempt was thwarted by the shooting. Gaskill denied the motion for acquittal.
After the three experts testified, the defense rested its case. When the jury was out of the courtroom during a break, Gaskill took the opportunity to ask Ewing if he planned on testifying. Ewing said he won’t be testifying, using his fifth amendment right at the counsel of the defense.
Gaskill directed the jury to return to the Nez Perce County Courthouse at 9 a.m. today to listen to closing arguments and final instructions before the case is submitted to the jury for a verdict.
AMESBURY — Fire Department safety fees and some other city charges could be going up in the near future.
The city commissioned a comprehensive review of its municipal fees by the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management, based at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus.
As noted on its website, umb.edu, the Legislature formed the Collins center in July 2008 for the state’s municipalities, school districts and state agencies to use as a management guide.
The center’s November report found that Amesbury lagged behind its neighboring municipalities when it comes to charging fees and recommended the city bring itself more in line.
City Chief of Staff Ann Marie Casey said the last time the City Clerk’s Office updated its fees was in 2008, while the Fire Department had its last fee update in 2003.
“It has been quite some time since the fee structure has been looked at,” she said.
The City Council gave first readings to orders seeking to change various fees for the City Clerk’s Office, as well as the Fire Department, during its meeting at City Hall on Tuesday night.
Both orders were unanimously referred to the Ordinance Committee and Finance Committee and are expected to receive public hearings during the City Council meeting May 9.
A look at the potential new fee schedule shows the charge for genealogy research going up from $10 to $15 an hour because, according to the center’s report, it is time-consuming research.
A kennel license for four dogs would go up from $30 to $40 (since the city should be charging at least $10 per dog, according to the report); a list of residents would run $10, as opposed to the current $7 (higher printing costs); and the cost of a recording order for the location of poles goes up from $40 to $100 (since the city has to pay for abutters/postage.)
Casey also pointed to a proposed $20 notary oath fee for nonresidents which is a time-consuming effort for city employees that has never been charged before.
“This has been a free service here in Amesbury and the area communities have actually come over here to use our resources and services. Obviously, there is a cost to the city for that and we just wanted to get that in line with other communities,” she said.
Fire safety fees
Raising the single-family and multiuse residential smoke and carbon monoxide detector fees from $20 to $50 per certificate are among the proposed fee increases for fire safety inspection/permits.
The cost of an oil burner installation or alteration; flammable storage; tar kettle operation; blasting; and fireworks display permits would increase from $40 to $50.
A propane permit and an annual renewal of an underground storage tank license would go from $20 to $50 under the proposed fee system, and copies of fire reports would go from $5 to $10, among other changes.
The city does not want the fee increases to be burdensome or unreasonable for residents (or nonresidents) according to Casey, who said it is simply looking to “level the playing field.”
“This is an effort to standardize our fees with area communities and to be able to continue to provide our services,” she said.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.