In this Sum it up! we follow the progress in some cold case investigations.
Progress in UK cold case investigation resulted in justice when Judge John Devaux sentenced Peter Hull to six years incarceration for the 1994 rape of an unidentified woman. “A review of the case was undertaken in 2008 and DNA put on to the national database. A match was found when Hull was arrested for unrelated offences.”
Norma Richards(27) and her daughters Samantha(9) and Syretta(7) were found murdered at their home in Dalston, UK, in the summer of 1982. Norma was the partner of Keith Cunningham. Keith was with his brother, Laurie Cunningham, in Spain where he was playing for Real Madrid. The case remained unsolved for decades until a journalist requested details on footballer Laurie Cunningham’s brother Keith and his murdered family. Wilbert Dyce was caught after the cold case review and advances in DNA technology. He was handed down three life sentences last December 17, 2010.
Police have charged Lester Ray Guy with capital murder in the death of Hazel Ivy who was found strangled in her Austin, TX, apartment in September 1978. Gay is already in prison serving a 99-year sentence for a 1979 for burglary with intent to commit rape in Travis County, TX. Re-examining evidence for DNA led police to Gay.
New leads are thawing the 1983 cold case of Jennifer Claybrook. Jennifer was a freshman when she disappeared on March 4, 1983. Police cannot disclose any information on their current leads. However, Det. Sgt. Edward Smith of the Bel Air Police Criminal Investigations Unit (Maryland) said that it is likely Jennifer knew her killer.
The LAPD has released 180 pictures of women that they found during a three-day search of the “Grim Sleeper’s” home and garage. They wish to know who these women are and what their relationship was to Lonnie Franklin Jr. He has pleaded not guilty to the murders of 10 women from 1985 to 1988 and from 2002 to 2007. The clear 14-year pause in the alleged crimes led to the nickname “Grim Sleeper,” though detectives suspect Franklin could be involved in other deaths.
New evidence is going to be allowed in the case of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito who are serving resp 26 and 25 years in Italy for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. “In an unusual move, the Perugia court said on Saturday it would hear new witnesses and new expert evidence about the knife allegedly used as the murder weapon. The court said it would hear an American scientist for the defense, who will produce evidence aiming to show quantities of DNA found on the knife are too small to be reliable. An important element in the first verdict, in December 2009, were biological traces from Knox, found on the handle of the knife, and from Kercher, found on the blade.
The court said it would also hear new evidence regarding a bra clip belonging to Kercher that was found to have traces of Sollecito’s DNA, but which the defense says was “contaminated” in the 45 days between the murder date and the time the clip was found. New witnesses will also be heard who, according to the defense, will undermine a key prosecution witness who said he saw Know and Sollecito a few meters from Kercher’s flat on the night of the murder.”
After 21 years, Maurice Caldwell’s drug-related murder conviction was set aside. Caldwell was serving a sentence of 27 years to life at Folsom State Prison, CA. He was found guilty of second-degree murder in 1991 for fatally shooting Judy Acosta the year before in a drug deal gone bad at a public housing project in San Francisco. His conviction hinged on the testimony of a single witness. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charles Haines, who made the ruling, asked prosecutors to respond by coming Monday on whether they will appeal the order, seek retrial or dismiss the charges.
Talking about convictions being set aside, the last briefs have been filed in the Connecticut case of Richard Lapointe. Read Rick Green’s brief article here. It has the links to the briefs for Lapointe and for the state. Now the waiting starts for Judge Nazarro’s decision.
Another case that might break open soon is the 2006 murder of Robert Wone. Craig, david, Doug and Michael have a website dedicated to his murder. They want the Vidocq Society to get involved. However, the VS has strict rules about cases they hear. It takes only cold cases that occurred at least two years ago; the victim cannot have been involved in a dangerous or illicit activity; and a law enforcement agency has to ask it to join the investigation. It claims a 90 percent closure rate on nearly 300 ice-cold cases. Doug and friends have asked Chief Lanier to make the call.
In other news, the lawyers at Silverman Sherliker who are known as ‘the coolest lawyers in London” have won a stunning decision in a groundbreaking employment appeal case. The decision means that many employees of overseas employers, posted to work in the UK, now fall within the protection of the law where before they would not. Congrats!
My friends over at Popehat have an interesting post about a lawsuit filed against McDonalds by a Sacramento-California mother and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The suit contends that giving away toys with children’s meals renders parental control mute and teaches children unhealthy eating habits. My first reaction to “circumvent parental control” was a thundering laughter that made me wonder who runs the household these days: kids or adults. In my humble opinion, children join their parents’ lives but do not take over. Apparently, some think otherwise because they cannot say NO to a child or find the strength to make that child a healthy homemade meal. Anyway, Popehat describes the case and gives its opinion with a flair I could not possibly hope to mimick so I just give you the link!
I leave you with three articles.
One is a cold case nobody in the town of Skidmore, MO, wants solved. The murder of Ken Rex McElroy took place in plain view of dozens of residents of this small farm town, under the glare of the morning sun. But in a dramatic act of solidarity with the gunman, every witness, save the dead man’s wife, denied seeing who had pulled the trigger. Read it here.
Joe Giacalone and I have reviewed online materials in the Canadian cold case of Sharron Prior. We urge you to read it and if you have a blog with Canadian readership, please link to that post. What matters is that people read again about Sharron’s case.
Sharron’s case can be solved but for that, we need the public’s assistance. Helping us is Scott Dickson over at the Crime Analyst’s blog! He not only read our posts but placed them on his blog. Joe and I would like to thank you for being so supportive. Check out Scott’s blog.Till the next Sum it Up!