News Roundup

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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.

Hedgepeth Murder Remains Unsolved. Turning from one mystery to another, the News & Observer says that Chapel Hill police are again asking “for anyone with information about who killed UNC student Faith Hedgepeth four years ago to help solve her murder.” Hedgepeth was found dead in her apartment after visiting a Chapel Hill nightclub in 2012. There’s a $40,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Brock Turner Registers as Sex Offender. As USA Today reports, Brock Turner, the former Stanford student who earlier this year was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman after a campus party, has been released from jail and has registered as a sex offender in his home state of Ohio. The USA Today report says that Turner will be registered as a sex offender for life. The Guardian reports that protesters armed with assault weapons and holding signs that say things like “shoot your local rapist” have stationed themselves outside of Turner’s home “to make a militant feminist statement in favor of self-defense of would-be rape victims.”

An article in the National Review notes that in response to the Turner case, the California state legislature passed a new law which imposes a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence for offenders convicted of rape. The article argues that passing such a law runs counter to the legislature’s history of “fight[ing] to remove mandatory-minimum sentencing across the criminal-justice system” and is not good policy.

Taking Care of Business. There are two interesting articles this week about justice system actors performing jobs that aren’t their primary occupations. Slate has an interview with a University of South Carolina law professor who has been investigating “the massive amount of moonlighting that cops do for private companies when they’re off duty.” The Marshall Project has a story about real estate and tax lawyers (and even a prosecutor) who are being enlisted to provide indigent defense in Louisiana.

Officer Indicted for Involuntary Manslaughter. The Johnston County Report says that a Kenly police officer, Jesse Santifort, has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Alexander Warren Thompson in March of this year. Reportedly, Santifort used a Taser on Thompson, who was intoxicated by methamphetamine, following a high speed chase in Johnston county.

Cruel Twist of Fate. Most folks look forward to serving on a grand jury; few things are better than spending twelve months secretly voting on bills of indictment and inspecting the local jail. North Carolina Lawyers Weekly reports that one Halifax County grand juror’s experience recently took an unexpected turn for the worse when he found himself participating in the proceedings in his own indictment. According to the report, Raymond Parker was serving on a grand jury when it voted to return a true bill of indictment against him for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Clowns Again. It seems that unsubstantiated reports of creepy clowns have spread from South Carolina to North Carolina. The Greensboro News & Record reports that “Greensboro police responded shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a clown being chased by a man with a machete.” Just so we’re clear, the man with the machete theoretically is the good guy in the previous sentence.

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3 comments on “News Roundup

  1. “Clowns…why did it have to be clowns?” — Indian Jones from Indiana Jones and the Circus of Monkeys.

  2. Also notable (maybe even more so!): New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David dropped all charges against Johnny Small, convicted of murder as a teenager and imprisoned for 28 years.

    Assistant Attorney General Jess Mekeel’s epicly sour complaint that “Innocence is in vogue now” ought to be framed on Chris Mumma’s office wall….

  3. […] Sketch.  A few weeks ago the News Roundup noted that the 2012 murder of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth remains unsolved.  This week WRAL reports that […]

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