Chapel Hill police announced yesterday afternoon that Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Faith Hedgepeth, a UNC student who was killed in September 2012 in her off-campus apartment. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
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The Fayetteville Observer reported this week that an arrest has been made in connection with a road rage shooting last week near Lumberton that killed a Pennsylvania woman traveling with her husband to a beach vacation. Dejywan R. Floyd has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting into the passenger side of an SUV occupied by Julie and Ryan Eberly after the SUV came close to Floyd’s car during a lane change maneuver on I-95. Julie Eberly was struck by the gunfire and died. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
This News Roundup was written on Wednesday prior to UNC’s closure on Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the arrival of hurricane Florence. Our thanks go out to all of the state and local officials, law enforcement agencies, and emergency response personnel who are working to keep North Carolinians safe during the storm. Keep reading for more news.
A Raleigh murder made national news this week with reports indicating that the suspect told a 911 dispatcher that taking too much cough medicine may have contributed to the killing. Late last week, Matthew James Phelps was charged with murdering his wife, Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps. According to WRAL, Matthew called 911 to report that he had awoken from a dream to discover that Lauren was dead and that he was covered in blood. He also told the dispatcher that he had taken too much cough medicine, which he was using to help him sleep. The News & Observer has a story here that explores whether an ingredient in cough medicine can cause hallucinations, psychosis, or violent behavior. Keep reading for more news.
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The officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the associated protests in Charlotte continue to be in the local and national news. Mecklenburg County Public Defender Kevin Tully gave his view on the unrest in Charlotte late last week on NPR’s All Things Considered. The Charlotte Observer reports that the Charlotte Police Department has announced that it will “reverse course and be more open about releasing videos of police shootings to victims’ families and the public.” The move comes after the department was reluctant to release footage of the Scott shooting in the days immediately following the incident. The Observer report notes that a new state law regarding law enforcement recordings, S.L. 2016-88, goes into effect on Saturday. As the Observer reports, the new law is generating controversy; some say it reduces law enforcement transparency and accountability while others view it as an improvement over the current patchwork of local policies regarding recordings. Keep reading for more news.
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The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a Minnesota man, Danny Heinrich, confessed in federal court to abducting, sexually assaulting, and killing Jacob Wetterling nearly 27 years ago. Heinrich’s confession was part of a child pornography plea deal in which he will not be prosecuted for his crimes against Wetterling. Following Wetterling’s abduction, Congress enacted the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act which required states to implement sex offender registries. Keep reading for more news.
Shea wrote yesterday about the top news around here: the killing of three Muslim university students by a man who lived in the same Chapel Hill apartment complex as the victims. It’s part of a string of tragic events for university students in the state, including the deaths of nine Appalachian State University students since September, the murder of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth in 2012, and, farther back, the killings of student body president Eve Carson of UNC and graduate student Abhijit Mahato of Duke in 2008. Terrible for the students, obviously, and of course crushing for their parents. Tough times. Continue reading →
There have been several sad and frightening stories in the news recently, from the apparent murder of UNC undergraduate Faith Hedgepeth, to the ice cream truck operator charged with being a sexual predator, but the one that may have struck the deepest nerve is the fatal shooting of Kathy Bertrand by her ex-husband in Raleigh. As this News and Observer piece notes, she did everything that victims of domestic violence are supposed to do: she moved out, ended the relationship, obtained a protective order, and moved on with her life. But it wasn’t enough.
In other, less somber, news:
- I posted yesterday about the possibility of class-based disparate treatment in the criminal justice system. This new empirical study concerns sex-based disparities in sentencing, and finds “large gender gaps favoring women” in every aspect of sentencing. That finding is consistent with the conventional wisdom among practicing attorneys, though of course much could be said about reasons for the apparent differential.
- Technology-oriented readers who aren’t in a coma after two days of continuous iPhone 5 media coverage may be interested in what appears to be increasing momentum to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and its patchwork of standards for law enforcement access to email, text messages, Facebook posts, and the like. This story says that Sen. Patrick Leahy is about to introduce legislation that would impose a statutory warrant requirement on almost all law enforcement access to electronic communications. I couldn’t find the bill on THOMAS, but already pending, and to the same general effect, is this bill introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York.
- A California appellate court opinion that is making the rounds on the internet offers at least two pieces of good advice at the very outset:
We strongly discourage anyone from choosing crime as a career. Nevertheless, as with any pursuit in life, one should be prepared. For instance, if you are planning to carjack someone, you should make sure you can drive a stick-shift.
You can probably imagine how that came up.
4. Finally, another bit of advice, this time for lawyers. If you are a public defender and your client’s family brings him a set of court clothes for his murder trial, don’t take a picture of his skivvies and post them on Facebook. Even if they are leopard print. A lawyer in Florida did just that, resulting in a mistrial . . . and in the lawyer losing her job.