MARTINEZ, Calif. — The anguished 911 calls Daniel Horowitz made after he found his wife’s body won’t be played for the jury in the upcoming murder trial of the couple’s teenage neighbor.
A Contra Costa County judge ruled Monday that the tapes are too “disturbing” and prejudicial to defendant Scott Dyleski.
Horowitz called authorities on Oct. 15th after finding the bludgeoned body of 52-year-old Pamela Vitale in their Lafayette home.
The defense has suggested that Horowitz played a role in her death.
Prosecutors sought to play the tapes, arguing that an “almost primordial scream” by Horowitz would prove to jurors that he didn’t kill his wife.
LANCASTER, June 30, 2006 – One of two teens accused of plotting a Columbine-style Valentine’s Day attack at an Antelope Valley high school was ordered Thursday to stand trial on felony charges.
Lancaster Superior Court Judge Christopher Estes found sufficient evidence to bound Johnny Alvarez Casas over for trial on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of ingredients to make a destructive device.
Casas, now 18, is due back in court July 17 for arraignment.
Michael Zbonski, who I told you about here, has pleaded not guilty to child molestation charges…
A Blue Island man accused of molesting an Antioch Township girl he met through her posting on MySpace.com pleaded not guilty Thursday in Lake County circuit court.
Michael Zbonski, 20, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Assistant State’s Attorney Bolling Haxall said Zbonski began communicating with the 14-year-old girl through the Web site more than a year ago.
Her father at one point told Zbonski to leave her alone because of her age, Haxall said.
Zbonski traveled to Antioch Township on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29 and molested the girl in a parking lot near her home, authorities said.
A friend of the victim witnessed some of the contact between Zbonski and the girl, police said.
Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered Zbonksi, who is free on a signature bond, to appear in court again July 17.
Zbonski’s MySpace is still up and running.
A Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge found Vincent Wayne Leodoro guilty of attempted murder this morning.
The ruling came after brief closing statements by the defense and prosecution. Judge Robert Millikan ruled that Leodoro, 15, intentionally tried to kill Joseph Monti, 16, when the youth shot Monti four times in the back Feb. 23 on the Roseburg High School campus.
“I think that Mr. Leodoro intended to kill the victim,” Millikan said, as the teen sat at the defense table, his gaze lowered.
Leodoro was found responsible for attempted murder, first-degree assault and several weapons charges. Millikan said the boy had a strong grasp of weapons mechanics and must have understood the consequences of his action.
Sentencing was scheduled for July 7. Leodoro could end up in custody until the age of 25.
Here was the defense’s argument…
In his defense closing, attorney Bruce Tower said the teen continually denied trying to kill Monti, saying he only meant to hurt him.
So Ledoro shot Monti once, then as Monti lay on the ground Ledoro shot him three more times. Yet he was only trying to “hurt” him? So I guess Jack the Ripper was only trying to “scratch” his victims.
During the interview with Leodoro, Kaney challenged Leodoro’s claim that he only intended to hurt Monti. When the detective asked Leodoro what he’d expect to happen to someone who’s shot, he replied, “Dies, I guess.”
At that point in the interview, Leodoro began to sniffle, his voice wavering.
“I screwed up,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
Another chapter in the ongoing drama of Katherine Lester…
SCARO, Mich. (AP) — Prosecutors on Thursday agreed to withdraw a runaway juvenile petition they filed earlier this month against Katherine Lester, the Michigan teenager who flew to the Middle East to be with a man she met on the MySpace.com Internet site.
The decision was part of an agreement reached between Lester, her parents and the Tuscola County prosecutor’s office that requires her to surrender her passport, finish high school, complete counseling and not leave the state without written consent from her parents or a court order.
If Lester, 17, fails to comply with any of the terms, the prosecutor’s office may reauthorize the petition.
Following her return, Lester had been living with her father, Terry, near Flint, in part to escape media attention following her trip. But Renee Wood, a lawyer who represents Katherine Lester’s mother, Shawn, said she stayed with her mother this week and will be back in shared custody.
The teen is a member of the National Honor Society at Akron-Fairgrove Junior/Senior High School. Wood said Lester and her parents have not decided whether she will attend the school for her senior year next fall or go to a different high school.
Katherine Lester and Jimzawi still talk online, and she has said she wants to marry him.
Wood said Thursday that Shawn Lester is unhappy that the pair continue to communicate, but said she wants her daughter to make informed decisions about her future and to be honest with her.
How long before she bolts again?
Another fine article at Crime Library from crime blogging’s godfather Steve Huff. The article is about Jamie Lynn Drake of Spokane, Washington who went missing recently. her car was found being driven by a former male roommate…
Spokane, Wash. (Crime Library) The last time anyone saw Jamie Lynn Drake, age 19, she was at a friend’s apartment in Spokane, Washington (WA). That was on Friday morning, June 23, 2006.
Jamie’s car, a 1993 Ford Mustang, was found on Tuesday night, June 27, 2006. Spokane police arrested a 20-year-old acquaintance of Jamie Lynn Drake’s named Kevin Wayne Newland (Spokane press reports spell Kevin’s last name ‘Newlund’), who was driving the car. At one time Newland roomed with Jamie and a female roommate.
Kevin Newland was charged with possession of stolen property.
Jamie Lynn Drake is still missing.
According to articles published in the Spokane Spokesman-Review published on June 28, 2006, Jamie left work at 11:30 on Thursday the 22nd. She was going to visit a man she’d recently met.
Her makeup bag was later found in the man’s apartment. His name is being withheld, but authorities in Spokane indicate that he is cooperating with the investigation.
More incredulous words from the ever-increasing spectacle that is the Katherine Lester situation…
“Now that our relationship is out in the open, I feel like I don’t have to go there to talk to him or to be with him,” she continued. “I plan on him coming here and us being together over here.”
Her father has declined requests from The Associated Press to interview his daughter but says her story should serve as a warning to families _ not about the dangers of the Internet but instead about the importance of good family communication.
“She’s her same old self,” said Terry Lester. “She knows what she did was wrong and she’s willing to accept the responsibility.”
In my opinion, it sounds like a grab for US citizenship. Not only that, if there was good family communication she wouldn’t have run off to the Middle East in the first place. He sounds like one of those parents who is trying to be a friend rather than a parent.
Leodoro told the detective about threats Monti had allegedly made to hurt the younger teen’s family in the days preceding the shooting. Monti made the threats because he thought Leodoro was talking bad about him to some female students, Leodoro claimed.
“When he talked about those threats, he would get a little emotional,” Kaney said.
Outside the courtroom, during a brief recess, Monti denied having ever made such threats.
“I never threatened his family in my life,” he said.
Monti claims he’d heard from another student it was his family that had been threatened by Leodoro.
At one point, Kaney said, Leodoro also said he’d given money to Monti to purchase some marijuana, but never got his hands on the drugs. Kaney said that appeared to exacerbate Leodoro’s animosity toward the other teen.
Leodoro told Kaney in the taped interviews that in general he had not been a victim of bullying at the high school.
All really good reasons to shoot someone. 🙄
Just some more details that weren’t in the last article…
RHS student Leah Sheppard, 16, said she’d met with fellow students, including Monti and Leodoro, in a group in the cafeteria before first period, though she didn’t talk with the suspect.
When the bell rang for first period, Sheppard said she, Monti and fellow student Kristina Sklenar, walked toward class talking and giggling. She was vaguely aware of Leodoro following them.
When she heard the first shot, like every other student who testified, Sheppard said she thought it was a prank, someone setting off firecrackers.
“I heard Joe screaming,” she said. “… I didn’t know he was serious and I just kept walking.”
She continued toward the school’s Main Building, leaving Monti behind. When the final three shots rang out seconds later and panic ensued in the crowded courtyard, Sheppard realized something was terribly wrong.
She instinctively took off running toward the parking lot, where she saw Leodoro. The teen, she said, reached into the pocket of his gray-hooded sweatshirt.
“He showed me the gun,” she said, adding that at that point, “I ran back to Joe.”
A Fremont Middle School student on the same bus as Leodoro that day said she overheard the suspect talking on a cell phone, saying, “I’ll meet you at school with the bullets.”
Sklenar, 17, spoke of a conversation she had with Leodoro a week or two before the shooting.
“(Leodoro) said ‘You better give me a hug because it’s my last day today,’” she testified. “He said ‘I’m going hunting.’”
When Sklenar asked if he meant hunting for animals, Leodoro said “No.”
“I just laughed it off,” Sklenar said. “I didn’t think he meant anything by it.”
I can’t wait to see how the defense will play this off.
A reward is being offered for information in the murder of Chanel Petro-Nixon…
Cops are offering a $12,000 reward in last week’s shocking murder of a promising 16-year-old Brooklyn girl.
Chanel Petro-Nixon was last seen on June 18 when she left her apartment on Fulton St. to fill out a job application at an Applebee’s only a few blocks away. She never made it there and was reported missing.
Chanel’s body was found last Thursday, strangled and stuffed in a garbage bag on Kingston Ave. in Crown Heights.
A straight-A 10th-grader at Boys and Girls High School, Chanel was a devoted Seventh-Day Adventist. Cops are examining her MySpace page for clues.
Family members were stunned that the talented girl could be plucked from the bustling commercial strip without anyone noticing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
Hopefully, someone will give police the information needed to bring her killer to justice.