McLaughlin Plea Rejected

Father of Rocori victim says McLaughlin rejected plea deal:

It seems that John Jason McLaughlin was offered a plea that would have kept him out of jail…

Tom Rollins, the father of 17-year-old victim Aaron Rollins, first told KNSI-FM in St. Cloud on Friday that some six months ago, prosecutors offered the deal to McLaughlin’s attorney, Dan Eller.

Rollins said both his family and the family of the other victim, Seth Bartell, 14, didn’t oppose the prosecution’s offer.

Under the plea deal, Rollins said, McLaughlin would have plead guilty to all six charges against him, including first-degree murder for shooting Bartell.

In exchange, he would have been sentenced to 30 years, but could have served it at a mental institution until such time that he was declared mentally healthy – after which he would have served out the balance in prison, Rollins said.

I wonder why it was rejected. It seems that McLaughlin or his lawyer took a gamble that didn’t pay off. I have a feeling though that this will be used in an appeal argument.

The Actual Victim

Survivor of Red Lake shootings looking forward to school:

Read about what’s happened to one of the Red Lake survivors…

Steven Cobenais, 15, lost an eye and suffered a severe brain injury but didn’t lose his sense of humor. Doctors predicted he’d face a life of paralysis and severe mental incapacity, but he has beaten the odds. He’s walking and hopes to learn to drive, though doctors aren’t sure how far he’ll progress and his parents say he has changed.

Cobenais told the station he remembered gunman Jeff Weise as a “goth” and “weird,” but didn’t know the 16-year-old well and had no idea why Weise targeted him.

“He asked me if I believe in God, and I said ‘Yeah,’ and he shot me,” he recalled.

Cobenais’ parents never left his bedside at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D. When they made it back home to the Red Lake Indian Reservation, they found their home had been vandalized and many of his most treasured possessions had been stolen.

“All my games, and clothes,” he said.

His father lost his summer job after Cobenais had a seizure in June. Because of the vandalism and expenses the family gave up their home and moved in with Steven’s grandmother.

Cobenais still faces two more major reconstructive operations: one to put a metal plate in his head and one to put in a prosthetic eye.

And some people have the nerve to say Jeff Weise is a victim.

A fund has been set up to help the Cobenais family with their expenses. Donations can be mailed to: Steven Cobenais Fund, Deerwood Bank, P.O. Box 1278, Bemidji, MN 56607

The Verdict

State of Minnesota, Plaintiff vs. John Jason McLaughlin, defendant: (log in info)

2. On or prior to September 24, 2003 John Jason McLaughlin (“Defendant”) knowingly took the following actions:

a. The Defendant took his father’s 22-Caliber Colt semi-automatic pistol from a dresser in a spare be3droom in his home without permission. He took the gun while his father was in the shower, indicating his awareness that it was “wrong” to take his father’s gun. The Defendant also took 10 federal long rifle (hollow point) cartridges from a closet in the bedroom and loaded those cartridges into the magazine of the pistol.

b. The Defendant had performed surveillance of the school prior to the shooting to detect security cameras and other security devices that would prevent him from carrying out his plan, indicating his awareness that it was “wrong” to take a gun to school.

c. The Defendant hid the pistol in his gym bag and entered Rocori High School before 7:30 a.m., again indicating his awareness that it was “wrong” to take a gun to school. The Defendant initially put the gym bag containing his pistol in his locker. At 7:40 a.m. he sent an e-mail from his keyboarding classroom to at the school Brittany Kelly. The unedited-mail read:

“Befor I go to far I have to ask you not to tell any one about this not the news cops or parents ok lets start at the top I like you I have always like you fome the first time I saw you until this varry day. I would have said some ting but I was too shy. But you were the nicest person I ever met and I thank you for that. So I guess this is goodbye my love.”

This e-mail suggest the Defendant knew of the wrongfulness of his plan because of his request for Brittany to conceal his plan from others, his awareness that the police would be involved and his statement “befor [he goes] to far”. Through his “goodbye”, he also intimates that he was aware that his actions would prevent him from future communications with Brittany.

d. During the third period of the school day, the Defendant removed the gun from his locker and brought it with him to his Driver’s education class. He asked other students if they had seen Cody Enstad “Cody” or Seth Bartell “Seth” at school that day.

e. The Defendant loaded his weapon in the bathroom in the swimming locker room so he would not be discovered and prevented from carrying out his plan.

f. Shortly thereafter, he followed Seth from the locker room to the hallway, where he aimed and fired the weapon at Seth, hitting him in the lower back on the left side. The gun jammed, and the Defendant un-jammed it to proceed with his plan

g. Because the first shot did not stop Seth, the Defendant pursued him down the hallway, shooting the second bullet wildly and without regard to whether he wounded or killed with his shot, contradicting his assertion that he intended only to hurt, and not kill Seth. The second bullet hit and killed Aaron Rollins. The Defendant followed his target, Seth, up the stairs, having paused briefly and losing sight of him in the stairwell. The Defendant arrived in the gymnasium after Seth. When Seth turned to face him, the Defendant shot Seth in the forehead, from a distance of two feet or less.

h. As the Defendant’s story evolved in later interviews with mental health experts, he claims he only intended to shoot Seth in the shoulder in a manner that would only hurt and not kill.

i. However, the Defendant admitted to Agent McDonald on the date of the shootings that he planned to bring a gun to school to “shoot some people”. The Defendant admitted that he followed Seth up the stairs to “shoot him again”, indicating that he was aware that he had already hit and wounded his target.

j. The defendant completed a gun safety course in the Spring of 2003. In that course he learned, among other things, not to point a firearm at a living creature unless you intend to kill it, and the violent impact of firearms. The test he completed at the end of the course demonstrates that he took the course seriously and was proficient in the areas covered during the course. His ability to learn and test well during his Gun Safety course is in stark contrast to his school performance during that period and indicates his academic ability when motivated.

k. The defendant, prior to September 24, 2003 had frequently fired pistols at ranges with his father. Of the firearms he had fired, he was most familiar and proficient with the pistol involved in these shootings.

It’s good to see the justice system working for once.

Sentencing is set for August 30th.

Latoyia Figueroa

Pregnant Philadelphia woman missing for 9 days:

Please take the time to read the accompanying article and look at the picture…

Police in Philadelphia are searching for a 24-year-old pregnant woman who has been missing for more than a week. Latoyia Figueroa was last seen on the afternoon of July 18 in the area of 59th and Walton.

Figueroa, a 5-foot-2 African American, is five months pregnant and has a 7-year-old child. She has long, dark brown hair and brown eyes and two tattoos — an angel on her right wrist and her daughter’s name on her left arm.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Philadelphia Southwest detective division at 215-686-3183.

The Philadelphia Citizens Crime Commission has established a reward fund for information about the whereabouts of Figueroa. Santo Montecalvo, vice president of the crime commission, said that as of Wednesday morning the fund was up to $10,000.

John Jason McLaughlin Found Sane

Judge Rules McLaughlin Was Sane:

My own commenters scooped me on this one. You guys rock.

A district court judge has ruled John Jason McLaughlin was not insane when he shot and killed two classmates at Rocori High School in September 2003.

Judge Michael Kirk delivered his verdict Tuesday. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 30.

Kirk said it was clear McLaughlin suffered “some sort of mental impairment,” according to The Associated Press. He added, “Numerous facts laid out in this case point to the defendant knowing his actions were morally wrong.”

McLaughlin, who was charged as an adult, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Faking Sanity

Psychiatrist in McLaughlin trial says movie claims exaggerated:

The expert witness for the defense in the John Jason McLaughlin insanity trial rebukes claims by the prosecution that McLaughlin is using movies to fake his mental illness…

Psychiatrist Maureen Hackett, who evaluated McLaughlin several times, said some of the allegations expert witness made last week – such as that McLaughlin took his cues from horror movies – were played up.

“His description of his experiences have been detailed enough to understand it was real to him. When he reported seeing these dead bodies, he didn’t say, `I see dead people,'” Hackett said, in reference to a well-known line from the movie “The Sixth Sense.”

That’s all well and good but how about the correlations to “A Dangerous Mind” and “The Simpsons”? And if I remember correctly no one claimed that he said, “I see dead people”.

This is my favorite part. Dr. Hackett claims that McLaughlin isn’t faking mental illness but mental wellness.

“He does not want people to think he is mentally ill,” she said. “I have seen him downplay his symptoms. As with other aspects of his life, he was afraid of being teased about it.”

Faking sanity. That’s a new one on me but I’m not buying it. Especially when another doctor has said that his “illness” has gotten better while being off meds.

Dr. Hackett also patted herself on the back by saying this…

Hackett said she has evaluated about 300 defendants in criminal cases.

I wonder how many of those were for the defense?

The best way this whole insanity phase of the trial can be summed up is by a comment I received earlier today…

“If McLaughlin is found to have been insane at the time of the shootings, he would be committed to a secure mental facility. If he is found not to have been insane, he will be sent to prison after sentencing. Klumpp (the prosecutor) has argued that McLaughlin is feigning mental illness to enable him to say at a security hospital, where he is able to play video games and order pizza.”

Who’d have figured? 🙄

Who indeed?

Kentucky Zombie Dismissal

Poole’s lawyer seeking charge dismissal:

The lawyer of the Kentucky Zombie Kid, William Poole, is trying to get the charges dismissed…

Brian Barker, a public defender from Richmond, alleges that a grand jury indictment charging Poole with criminal attempt to commit terroristic threatening fails to state a criminal offense. Poole initially was charged by police with second-degree terroristic threatening after he allegedly plotted to recruit a gang to take over an unnamed high school.

Barker argues that an overt act must occur in order to be charged with criminal attempt. “Some sort of act or conduct is required to prove that a defendant is serious about carrying out his intentions,” Barker states in his motion. Barker claims that Poole was not indicted on any act or conduct, rather for an alleged statement he made.

“Apart from the legal arguments, the notion of an ‘attempt to threaten’ is an absurdity,” Barker writes. “As a practical matter, how does a person attempt to make a threat? The mere concept is nonsense.”

Barker, in a separate motion, asks District Court Judge Brandy O. Brown to dismiss the indictment due to the statute being unconstitutionally vague. Borrowing from pop culture, Barker quotes an excerpt from a Harry Potter book, suggesting that author J.K. Rowling could be charged with the same terroristic threatening count that Poole faces.

“Just because she is a world-renowned writer does not dictate that she has greater creative liberties than a high school student who is writing fiction for enjoyment,” Barker writes in his motion.

I’m not a lawyer but doesn’t the fact that Poole tried to recruit people constitute an overt act?

Deja Vu

Psychologist disputes teen shooter’s mental health symptoms:

Some interesting testimony out of John Jason McLaughlin’s insanity trial…

A psychologist testified Friday that high school shooter John Jason McLaughlin faked his schizophrenic symptoms months before his murder trial and took his cues from movies and television.

Haven’t I heard that somewhere before?

 

Prosecutors played a clip from the movie “The Sixth Sense,” in which the young lead character says, “I see dead people,” in claiming that McLaughlin is faking mental illness and that popular culture, movies and TV, have inspired the symptoms he’s reported.

McLaughlin has reported similar hallucinations, according to court documents. He has described dead people dressed like Pilgrims hanging in the detention center where he has been held.

The movie clip showed three dead people hanging in a stairwell at a school attended by the character. The bodies are dressed in old-fashioned clothing. Psychologist Kelly Wilson, a prosecution witness, said she believed McLaughlin got the idea from the movie.

I swear I’ve heard that somewhere before.

Wilson testified that the movie “A Beautiful Mind” may have been where McLaughlin got the idea to say he has seen drug enforcement-type people living in the woods near his Cold Spring home.

“A Beautiful Mind” is about a mathematician with a mental illness who thought he met government agents in remote settings.

Ok, now that sounds really familiar.

Oh yeah, I remember where I’ve heard that before. This very website.

A mother of a student who was at Rocori at the time of the shooting made the Sixth Sense correlation here.

And I had a commenter claiming to be a family member of McLaughlin’s that prattled on about “A Beautiful Mind” here and here. I wondered why. Now I know.

Wilson, with the Minnesota State Security Hospital in St. Peter, also noted that McLaughlin has said his hands turn tie-dye colors underwater. She said this idea has been featured on the long-running TV cartoon “The Simpsons.”

I don’t remember that episode. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Asked if there’s evidence McLaughlin has seen the movies and the TV show, prosecutor David Voigt said, “stay tuned.”

The prosecution plans to call witnesses that will say that the teen has seen the movies and TV show. On Friday, Wilson testified that McLaughlin’s family owns the movie “A Beautiful Mind.” It also appears as though McLaughlin has seen both movies at the detention center.

Well, well, well.

As Mr. Voigt said…”Stay tuned”.

Gulags?

The world’s prison warden by Mumia Abu-Jamal:

This is the latest bout of verbal masturbation from convicted cop killing scumbag Mumia Abu Jamal. Now he’s complaining about the American prison system. Go figure. He has the nerve to say this…

I write to you as one of over 2 million men, women and children engaged in America’s gulags, the fastest growing public housing development in the United States.

It is interesting that the nation which boasts the most about freedom and democracy is one of the world’s most rabid incarcerators.

No, it’s because of assclowns like you that abuse these freedoms that there are people in prison. Do you want to stay out of prison? Here’s a tip. Don’t break the law. And especially don’t kill cops.

For the truth about Mumia go to Remembering Officer Daniel Faulkner.