News Roundup

Late last week a Pennsylvania jury convicted Bill Cosby of three counts of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.  A prior trial involving the same offenses ended in a deadlocked jury mistrial.  Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison, but news reports suggest that he is unlikely to receive the maximum sentence.  Cosby has faced years of accusations that he had a regular practice of drugging and sexually assaulting women.  Keep reading for more news.

Cosby.   In the wake of Cosby’s conviction, several colleges and universities rescinded honorary degrees they had awarded to Cosby over the years; Yale’s decision to do so was a first in the school’s 300-year history.  If the UNC Board of Trustees follows Chancellor Carol Folt’s recommendation that UNC do the same, that also would be a historic first.

The New York Times ran a positive profile of one of the prosecutors involved in the Cosby case, Kristen Gibbons Feden.  Cosby’s wife Camille Cosby said the conviction was a “tragedy” and “mob justice, not real justice.”  Camille Cosby compared her husband’s case to the wrongful conviction of Darryl Hunt.

Genealogy.  Last week the News Roundup noted the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., a man suspected of being the notorious Golden State Killer.  New details about the investigation have emerged and have raised privacy concerns about genealogy websites.  It appears that investigators took DNA evidence collected from the crime scenes and submitted it to popular genealogy websites.  The results allowed law enforcement to identify the suspect’s family tree, which eventually allowed them to hone in on DeAngelo.  Reports indicate that investigators in Vallejo, California, are trying the same approach in the ongoing search for the Zodiac Killer.

Escapes.  The Charlotte Observer says that an inmate at Gaston Correctional Center escaped on Wednesday, making him the fourth inmate to do so in the past two years.  The story says that 17 inmates have escaped from North Carolina prisons since 2016.

Silent Sam.  The long-standing controversy over Silent Sam, the Confederate monument on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus, continued this week when the monument was vandalized with paint and blood.  UNC Police arrested doctoral student Maya Little in connection with the incident, and Little has been charged with defacement of a public monument.

SBI Settles.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the SBI has settled a lawsuit brought by Dr. Kirk Alan Turner that alleged that two SBI agents, Duane Deaver and Gerald Thomas, fabricated blood evidence in an effort to frame him for murdering his wife in 2007.  Turner claimed that Deaver and Thomas conducted flawed blood smear experiments in a manner intended to support the prosecution’s theory of the case.  The suit was settled for $200,000.

Citizens Police Advisory Committee.  WLOS reports that Asheville is considering dissolving the city’s Citizens Police Advisory Committee.  According to the report, Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler told the committee that it had played an important role connecting the community to the APD, but that it was no longer needed.

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