A disturbing case of child abuse has received widespread national news coverage this week. As the L.A. Times reports, David and Louise Turpin of Perris, California, were charged with multiple felony counts of torture and child abuse after it was discovered that the couple had held their thirteen children captive for years and subjected them to unimaginable mistreatment. On Sunday, one of the children escaped the family home through a window and called 911, alerting authorities that she and her siblings had been beaten, starved, shackled, and forced to live in unsanitary conditions. Bail has been set at $12 million for each defendant. Keep reading for more news.
The Durham Herald Sun reported this week that felony charges against eight people allegedly involved in destroying a Confederate monument in downtown Durham last summer have been dismissed. The criminal cases are not over though, the Herald Sun report says that those charged in the incident will be tried on misdemeanors including injury to personal property, injury to real property, and defacing or injuring a public monument. Apparently, a great deal of public interest in these cases remains, the report says that the courtroom was overloaded with spectators such that some defendants who were in court for unrelated cases couldn’t find a seat. Keep reading for more news.
The first week of the new year has been unusually cold and a mid-week winter storm created dangerous travel conditions across much of North Carolina. The Highway Patrol already had responded to hundreds of weather-related collisions at the time of writing, and frigid conditions are expected to cause hazardous conditions into the weekend. Thanks to law enforcement, emergency response, and other government agencies for their efforts during and after the storm. Stay safe and keep reading for more news.
On Monday morning, a man detonated a pipe bomb inside a subway corridor in New York, seriously injuring himself but, because the device malfunctioned, not causing serious harm to anyone else. Apparently intending to carry out a devastating suicide attack, Akayed Ullah posted a message on his Facebook page saying “Trump you failed to protect your nation,” and set off for the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan with a homemade pipe bomb strapped to his torso. The device did not fully detonate, likely sparing many lives. Ullah has told investigators that he carried out the attack for the Islamic State, and he has been charged with several terrorism offenses.
Keep reading for the final blog post of the year – the North Carolina Criminal Law blog is signing off for the holidays and wishing our readers a safe and happy season. We’ll have new posts beginning January 2.
As the Charlotte Observer reports, a hacker attacked Mecklenburg County’s computer systems this week, locking the county out of its electronic files and demanding a ransom of two bitcoins to provide an encryption key. At the time of writing, two bitcoins were worth roughly $30,000. On Wednesday, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said that the county will not pay the ransom and, instead, will fix the situation itself. The sensational story has become national news.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a United Nations tribunal established to prosecute war crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars, was the scene of a dramatic act of defiance this week. As the New York Times reports, after it was announced that his 20-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity had been upheld, Slobodan Praljak rose to his feet and declared “Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal, I reject your judgment with contempt.” Praljak then swallowed the contents of a small container and announced that he had taken poison; he died shortly thereafter. Keep reading for more news.
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As the Los Angeles Times reports, notorious cult leader and convicted murderer Charles Manson died this week of natural causes at the age of 83. Manson had spent the past five decades in prison in California for his involvement in a string of murders in the summer of 1969. The Times story notes that several of Manson’s followers remain in prison; one, Leslie Van Houten, was granted parole in September of this year but California Governor Jerry Brown has yet to decide whether to release her.
With a long holiday weekend upon us, this is the last blog post of the week. Enjoy the holiday and keep reading for more news.
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A California man with connections to North Carolina, Kevin Janson Neal, killed five people and wounded eight others in a shooting spree in Northern California this week. After killing his wife, Neal drove the streets of Rancho Tehama firing randomly at houses and other structures. Eventually, Neal approached an elementary school and fired multiple shots into the building. The sound of the shots caused school officials to lock the building down, preventing Neal from entering the school and likely saving many lives. Keep reading for more news.
For the second time in a month, the leading criminal law news in our country is a staggeringly tragic mass shooting. The Las Vegas shooting in early October was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, and the shooting this week at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people were killed and 20 others injured, is the deadliest shooting by an individual in Texas history. News reports say that roughly half of the victims were children; one family lost members from three generations. The Dallas Morning News has profiles of the victims here. Keep reading for more news.
On Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov killed eight people and injured twelve others by driving a truck down a bike lane in Manhattan in an apparent terror attack. It has been reported that Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, was inspired by Islamic State propaganda videos and closely followed instructions for committing such an attack published in an ISIS magazine last November. The attack is the deadliest terror attack in New York City since the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. Keep reading for more news.