3 in 1 Day – Efficiency in Japan’s Capital Punishment

June 17, 2008

Tsutomu Miyazaki

A serial killer who mutilated the bodies of four young girls and reportedly drank the blood of one of his victims was among three convicted murderers executed in Japan on Tuesday for crimes an official called indescribably cruel.

Tsutomu Miyazaki, 45, whose rash of grisly killings in the late 1980s triggered calls for tighter restrictions on violent pornographic videos, was hanged at a detention center in Tokyo, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said.

Miyazaki burned the body of one 4-year-old and left her bones on her parents’ doorstep. He also wrote letters to the media and victims’ families taunting police. Japanese newspaper reports said he ate part of the hand of one of his victims and drank her blood.

The two others executed Tuesday were Shinji Mutsuda, 45, who had been on death row for the murder and robbery of two people, and Yoshio Yamasaki, 73, who was convicted of killing two people for the insurance money, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

“I ordered their executions because the cases were of indescribable cruelty,” Hatoyama said. “We are pursuing executions in order to achieve justice and firmly protect the rule of law.”
Japan, one of the few industrialized countries that has capital punishment, has picked up the pace of executions over the past year amid rising concerns about violent crime.
The three executions brought to 13 the number of death row inmates hanged in the past six months under Hatoyama, an outspoken supporter of the death penalty. Only one inmate was executed in 2005.
Amnesty International Japan protested Tuesday’s hangings and said the pace of executions in Japan is quickening. In a statement, the group also demanded Japan abolish capital punishment.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said there is no need for a change.

“There is no other policy than to maintain the current policy,” Fukuda said Tuesday. “There are people who want to abolish it, but that is a minority view. The majority want it to be maintained. I feel there is no need to change it, but we must also keep an eye on world opinion.”

Hatoyama, who took office last August, denied his ministry was purposely picking up the pace of hangings. Three men were executed in December, three more in February and another four in April.
In 1997, Tokyo District Court found Miyazaki guilty of killing four girls aged 4 to 7 years old in 1988 and 1989, and sentenced him to death. The Tokyo High Court upheld the sentence in 2001, and the Supreme Court followed suit on Jan. 17 this year, exhausting Miyazaki’s appeals.
Miyazaki was also convicted of the abduction and sexual assault of a fifth girl.
The murders and Miyazaki’s arrest dominated Japanese headlines, along with the discovery that his home was filled with a collection of thousands of violent pornographic videos, animated films and comic books stacked floor-to-ceiling.
The case triggered concerns that many young people had become desensitized to human suffering through the repeated viewing of graphic images in videos and comics.
Mutsuda also was hanged at the Tokyo detention center for killing two men and robbing them of $278,000 in 1995 and 1996. Yamasaki was executed in Osaka for murders committed in 1985 and 1990.
Japan has 102 death row inmates after Tuesday’s hangings, the ministry said.
The government began to release the names of those executed and their crimes in December, easing its secret policy in an apparent move to gain understanding and support for capital punishment.
Despite international criticism of Japan’s death penalty, there is little opposition to the policy domestically.

Originally Found @ AssociatedPress

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Man Killed By Police While Beating Toddler To Death

June 16, 2008


In Stanislaus County, California, police killed a 27-year-old man found kicking, punching and stomping a toddler to death after attempts by both police and other people to stop him. Following the incident, investigators were trying to establish the relationship between the suspect and the child he had beaten to death. The Stanislaus County coroner said the boy, based on his size, appeared to be between 1 and 2 years old and he will have to be identified through a blood or DNA test. Police were perplexed and quite shocked about any possible motive this man could have had.

Police found a child’s car seat in the back of the suspect’s four-door pickup truck. The truck caught the attention of an elderly couple at 10:13 p.m. Saturday because it was stopped in the two-lane road facing the wrong direction. As they got closer, the couple saw the man beating the toddler behind his truck and throwing the child on the ground. The suspect was engaged in what he was doing. He just pushed off anyone who attempted to intervene and went back to it. People in the area began calling 911.

Responding to those emergency calls, a police helicopter landed in a cow pasture at 10:19 p.m. carrying a Modesto police officer who shot the man to death after he refused an order to stop beating the child. No children within the dead boy’s age range have been reported kidnapped or missing in Stanislaus County, according to authorities.

Identity of man released, follow the story here.

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Five Dead Husbands, A Hitman Cries Wolf?

June 16, 2008


76-year-old Betty Neumar has been married five times since the 1950s, but each union ended with the death of her husband. Investigators are urging police elsewhere to look into those deaths, after it became evident that the woman had saught to hire a hitman to kill her most recent husband.

Police in North Carolina say they are investigating whether police were warned that a woman with five dead spouses was trying to hire a hit man to kill one of her husbands. The cold case was re-opened last year. Then, last month, Neumar was charged with one count of solicitation of murder in the July 1986 death of Harold Gentry, after the investigation revealed that she tried to hire several people to kill Gentry.

According to lead detective Scott Williams, police are looking into the possibility that one of those would-be hit men went to police before Gentry’s death, but no one in the department took him seriously.

Police not listening? Seems like a common problem. Would Harold Gentry have survived had they listened?

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Police Release Sketch of Possible Suspect in Shooting of Girls

June 14, 2008

Authorities released a sketch Friday of a “person of interest” in the shooting deaths of two Oklahoma schoolgirls.

Several witnesses reported seeing a suspicious man on the same dirt road where Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Jade Whitaker Taylor, 11, were shot Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said.

Jessica Brown said authorities believed that the man, “who didn’t look like he should have been there,” was on the road before the girls were shot multiple times in the head and chest and left in a ditch.

Witnesses described the man as an American Indian or possibly half-Caucasian with a black ponytail, about 6 feet tall and 35 years old. They said he was standing in front of a white single-cab pickup with chrome striping, possibly a Chevy or Ford model, with Oklahoma tags, Brown said in a press conference.

“He acted a little suspiciously but we don’t know what he was doing,” said Brown, stopping short of calling him a suspect. “We just want to talk to him. We think he might have seen something.”

Brown said other witnesses reported hearing gunshots near the crime scene, a dirt road that leads to a bridge known as a popular gathering spot in the rural community of Weleetka.

The isolated nature of the crime scene, located about three miles from the nearest major roadway, has prompted authorities to suggest the shootings were the work of someone in the community.

Brown said the information about the gunshots helped authorities establish a timeline in the case, but refused to elaborate.

Authorities have previously said Taylor’s grandfather called 911 around 5:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon to report finding the girls in a ditch about a quarter mile from his home.

He said the girls had left the house less than 30 minutes earlier. He said he looked for them after Taylor failed to answer her cell phone.

Preliminary autopsy examinations indicated both girls were shot with two different caliber weapons, leading authorities to surmise that more than one person was involved, though Brown said they were not committed to that theory.

State and local authorities have been working around the clock to develop leads in the case, which has startled the small community of Weleetka, about 75 miles outside of Tulsa.

Earlier Friday, members of the community mourned the two girls at separate funerals.

Earlier in the week, Ofuskee Sheriff Jack Choate urged parents to keep a close eye on their children while authorities pursued the likelihood that a killer or killers were in their midst.

Since then, authorities have held daily press conferences in an effort to solicit leads from the public with reward money that had reached $40,000 by Friday.
“Everyone knows money speaks,” Brown said at the press conference, commenting that her office had received tips from as far as California.

Originally found @ CNN.COM

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Woman Pleads Guilty For Murdering Best Friend and Her Kids

June 9, 2008

Tiffany Hall, 26, (picture above on the left) pleaded guilty all five charges against her Monday for killing her pregnant friend, the unborn child and the victim’s three children in a plea deal that allows her to avoid the death penalty. The counts include intentional homicide in the death of the fetus. She was sentenced to life without parole.

Hall struck her friend Jimella Tunstall, 23, (pictured above on the right) on the head repeatedly with a leg of a table. She followed that by cutting out Tunstall’s fetus from her womb in a bathtub. Tunstall bled to death, and Hall then dumped her friend’s body in an East St. Louis lot. Some time later, Hall told police in Illinois she had given birth to a stillborn child, but when police arrived, she had the dead fetus with her. She refused to be examined at a hospital. The twiseted story continues . . . The murderer visited the father of two of Tunstall’s children and the unborn child three days later. Hall told the father that Tunstall wanted her to pick up the children and Tunstall’s vehicle. That was the last time he saw his children, as he told police.
Hall then drowned the three children (DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins 2, and Jinella Tunstall, 1) in the same bathtub where she killed their mother.

Accoriding to authorities, Hall’s story began to unravel on September 21, 2006, about a week after Tunstall’s death, when she told her boyfriend that she killed a pregnant woman and stole the fetus. He reported her to the police. Police then found the bodies of the three children two days later hidden in a washing machine and dryer inside the apartment where the children had lived with their mother.

The murderer”s attorney, James Gomric, said he could not comment about her motive or even discuss whether she had shown remorse, but he did add that while Hall had been mentally fit to stand trial, she also had unresolved mental health issues and had an IQ in the mid-70s.

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Murderer Scott Peterson Going Back To Trial

June 9, 2008


Scott Peterson, the man convicted of killing his wife and their unborn child, will be heading to trial again, this time in civil court. The parents of his wife, Laci Peterson, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him, seeking a multimillion-dollar judgment, after a judge in Stanislaus County Superior Court ruled that he Scott would have to stand trial again.

As a reminder, a jury found him guilty in 2003 of killing Laci Peterson and her fetus and dumping the body in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve of 2002. Scott has always maintained his innocence, and his lawyers site a video tape made at San Quentin Prison where he says he continues to say he is innocent.

The judge stayed his ruling until June 23 to allow lawyers to appeal.
The trial is set to begin July 8th.

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BBC Journalist Found Shot in Afghanistan

June 8, 2008


A day after being abducted in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan journalist working for the British Broadcasting Corp. was found shot dead Sunday, according to a BBC representatives.

Abdul Samad Rohani had been abducted by gunmen in Helmand province on Saturday.

“Rohani’s courage and dedication have been a key part of the BBC’s reporting from Afghanistan in recent years,” said a BBC statement.
“His death is a terrible loss, our thoughts are with his friends and family. We are working closely with his family to support them at this difficult time,” the statement from BBC said.

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French Serial Killer Couple Sentenced

May 28, 2008

Michel Fourniret, 66, was given the maximum sentence by the jury in northeast France having been accused of seeking young virgins to rape and kill. He was sentenced to life in prison, and he cannot be considered for parole before serving 30 years behind bars. His wife, Monique Olivier, 59, also was convicted of complicity in four of the murders and sentenced to life in prison, too. At least 28 years must be served before she can be considered for early release.

The verdict closes a two-month trial that shocked France and neighboring Belgium, the location of one of the murders. All aged 12 to 21, the victims were strangled, shot or stabbed with a screwdriver between 1987 and 2001. These acts, according to prosecutors, were done in an effort to feed Fourniret’s obsession for virgins. Fourniret also was convicted of kidnapping and rape (or attempted rape) of all seven victims.

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Harry Potter Actor Stabbed to Death

May 26, 2008

A British teenage actor playing a minor role in the upcoming “Harry Potter” film was stabbed to death during a brawl in London on Saturday, police said.

Rob Knox, 18, was stabbed after he got caught up in a fight outside a bar in southwest London early Saturday, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Knox plays Ravenclaw student Marcus Belby in the upcoming film “Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth installment of the popular series set for release in November.

Warner Bros., the studio that is producing the film, said it was shocked by the news.

Knox was one of five young men taken to various hospitals after the brawl, police said. Among them was a 21-year-old who has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The fight did not appear to be gang-related, police added, but it puts the number of violent teenage deaths in London at 14 so far this year.

Original story found @ CNN.com

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Liberia’s Former President A Possible Cannibal

May 19, 2008

Charles Taylor’s former vice-president and his brief successor as Liberia’s leader testified Monday that he never saw Taylor engage in cannibalism or heard him order his fighters to eat their slain enemies.

But Moses Blah refused to rule out the possibility that Taylor ate human flesh or ordered his troops to do so.

In March, a witness told the Special Court for Sierra Leone that Taylor ordered fighters in his National Patriotic Front of Liberia to eat their enemies as a way of striking terror into his opponents.

Joseph “Zigzag” Marzah, who described himself as Taylor’s chief of operations and head of a death squad before the accused became president, said African peacekeepers and even United Nations personnel were killed and eaten on the battlefield by his militiamen.

The rest of this story can be read at: CNN.com

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