News Roundup

Jack Teixeira, the 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard who has been charged with leaking classified documents, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to six federal counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information relating to national defense. The classified Pentagon documents were discovered online in March, but prosecutors say that Teixeira had been sharing them on the internet since around January. Teixeira held a top-secret security clearance starting around July 2021 and was trained in the definition of classified information, classification levels and proper handling of such materials. If he is convicted on all six counts, he could face up to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million. Keep reading for more news.

Juneteenth festivities cut short in Asheville. A two-day Juneteenth Festival in Asheville, NC was ended a day early after two juveniles were wounded in a shooting. The shooting happened just before 9 p.m. in the Court Plaza area of Pack Square Park. When officers arrived, they found two juveniles with gunshot wounds. Both were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Police said a 16-year-old was taken into custody and identified as “the principal offender.” The teen is charged with two counts of felonious assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

South Carolina first to receive new fingerprinting technology. The Myrtle Beach Police Department is the first in the United States to receive the ForenScope 8K and Contactless Laboratory Fingerprint System. The brand-new technology reportedly allows investigators to pick up fingerprints without having to touch anything. It’s all digital, avoiding the risk of tampering with any evidence. The system also detects bodily fluids and gunshot residue allowing investigators to use it on a wide array of crimes. The department’s crime scene team is still learning how to use the new system but hopes to be able to use it at active scenes soon.

Harvard morgue theft ring. Multiple news outlets have reported that Harvard Medical School’s morgue manager has been accused of selling body parts as part of a “stolen human remains” criminal network, according to a federal complaint unsealed last Wednesday. Morgue manager Cedric Lodge, his wife Denise, and two others allegedly conspired to sell human remains for a profit. The indictment alleged that Cedric Lodge “stole dissected portions of donated cadavers, including, for example, heads, brains, skin, bones, and other human remains, without the knowledge or permission of HMS.” The 15-page indictment doesn’t go into extended detail about what the body parts were purchased for, but it does mention that one of the people involved shipped human skin to a man in Pennsylvania “and engaged in his services to tan the skin to create leather.”

Illegal cockfighting bust. More than two dozen suspects have been arrested in rural northern Nevada in connection with an illegal cockfighting ring where sheriff’s deputies found 59 dead roosters in a barn earlier this month. Twenty-eight people are facing felony charges, but no names or other details were released regarding the arrests. A deputy acting on an anonymous tip relayed by Lyon County Animal Services observed roosters fighting in “an open-air barn” and “hand-to-hand wagering” on June 3. Authorities found an additional 96 live chickens, two of which were severely hurt and had injuries consistent with bird-fighting. They also found numerous implements commonly used when fighting animals. Three hens were rescued and transferred to new homes, but Nevada Department of Agriculture officials had to assist in euthanizing numerous other fighting roosters.

“Tiger King” trainer convicted of wildlife trafficking. In more animal-related news, a wild animal trainer featured in the popular Netflix series “Tiger King” has been convicted of wildlife trafficking in Virginia. According to this US News article, Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was accused of illegally buying endangered lion cubs in Frederick County, Virginia, for display and profit at his South Carolina zoo. A jury convicted Antle last Friday of two felony counts each of wildlife trafficking and conspiring to wildlife traffic. The jury acquitted Antle of five counts of animal cruelty and the judge dismissed four additional animal cruelty charges against Antle.

Next time, just call out. Rounding out this week’s lineup, a convenience store clerk in Oklahoma was arrested after asking a friend to rob his store so he could leave work early. Isaias Jones told police that he handed over the store’s cash to a suspect after he walked into the store and passed him a note that said, “Give me all your money or I will shoot you.” The suspect was later identified as Steven Jones, who confessed to the robbery. Jones told police that he was hired by a woman named Alyia Locke after Isaias Jones asked her if she wanted to rob the store so he could go home early. Isaias Jones was arrested on June 14 and faces embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a felony charges. The Tulsa Police Department joked on Facebook: “Our Human Resources department, and likely every H.R. department in the world would like to advise people that this is not the recommended way to leave work early.”