News Roundup

USA Today reports that federal indictments for financial crimes were issued this week against Brian Laundrie, who also has been named as a person of interest in the killing of his fiancé Gabby Petito.  Petito’s disappearance, and the eventual discovery of her remains at a campground near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, became a major national news story when Laundrie returned to Florida without Petito after the pair embarked on a cross country road trip.  Laundrie did not explain Petito’s disappearance and has himself been missing for more than a week.  Keep reading for more news.

Body Cams.  As WRAL reports, a recent City of Durham audit has found that police department policies related to the uploading of footage from body-worn cameras are not being closely followed by officers.  The WRAL report suggests that noncompliance in the department mostly relates to timely information management practices rather than instances of officers intentionally turning off their cameras to prevent encounters from being recorded.

School Threats.  WRAL reports that a 17-year-old high school student is in custody after being accused of using social media to make threats of mass violence this week at Smithfield-Selma High School, South Johnston High School, and Corinth Holders High School.  Law enforcement and school officials warned students that such threats were not something to make lightly and that it was possible to trace online activity. 

Theranos.  The ongoing fraud and conspiracy trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was in the news this week as former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis testified that he invested $85,000 in the company as a show of support when he joined its board of directors but was misled by Holmes about the capability of her company’s blood testing machines.  Mattis, who resigned from the board after being appointed Secretary of Defense, has the highest profile of any person yet to testify at Holmes’s trial.  He said that impressive claims about the capabilities of Theranos blood testing equipment caused him to push for trials of the machines for the military.

R. Kelly. Another trial capturing national attention in recent weeks is that of musician R. Kelly, who is facing multiple charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. The New York Times has a collection of stories related to the complex allegations against Kelly, which generally assert that he led a criminal enterprise recruiting women and underage girls for sex.

Bow Shooting.  WLOS reports that the Madison County Sheriff’s Office has taken Richard Eugene Towe into custody and charged him with felony murder after a bow and arrow shooting near Madison Middle School resulted in the death of Cody Jonathan Garrett.  Few details about the incident were available at the time of writing and the SBI now is investigating.