Sept. 19


Prosecutors won't learn why Easton murder suspect granted new lawyers----Told he could face death penalty, Easton homicide defendant has outbursts in court Prosecutors won't learn why Easton murder defendant Jeffrey S. Knoble Jr. was granted new lawyers - at least for now.

In a 2 sentence order Monday, Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano took no action on a petition in which the prosecution was seeking to know why Knoble's public defenders were relieved this month.

Giordano's order reserved a decision, and said prosecutors can renew their request in the future "should it be deemed necessary."

At issue is a close-door meeting Sept. 2 that Giordano held with Chief Public Defender Robert Eyer, in which Eyer detailed the reasons why his relationship with his client had broken down. Giordano granted the meeting after Eyer worried he would violate attorney-client privilege if he divulged the information to the prosecution.

Knoble, 26, of Riegelsville faces the death penalty if convicted of murdering a man last year in a downtown Easton hotel room, and he has proven a disruptive presence in court, with repeated outbursts that included mocking the victim's family.

Prosecutors were excluded from Eyer's meeting with Giordano, and the judge ordered the transcript sealed. But District Attorney John Morganelli complained, saying he fears the defendant is playing games with the court and seeking to have the case unnecessarily delayed. Morganelli said his side needs to know what Eyer cited, in case the defendant adopts similar tactics with his new defense team.

Giordano's order falls in line with a compromise suggested by Knoble's new attorney, Gavin Holihan, at a hearing Sept. 12. Holihan said prosecutors should take up their request only if, as they predict, Knoble and his new lawyers clash.

On Monday, Morganelli said he was satisfied with that suggestion.

"The judge issued an order based on that, which is fine," Morganelli said.

Knoble is charged in the early March 11, 2015, death of 32-year-old Andrew "Beep" White, who was shot in the back of the head at the former Quality Inn on South Third Street. Authorities call White a good Samaritan who rented a room for Knoble that night because he had no place to stay, then was killed for his kindness.

Knoble was scheduled to face trial this month, but given his changing defense team, Giordano delayed the case until January.

(source: The Morning Call)


Death penalty trial begins in case of 'tortured' girl

A 34-year-old man facing the death penalty in the killing of his 2-year-old daughter who officials say was starved and tortured has rejected another plea offer and will stand trial.

Jury selection is underway in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in the trial of Glen Bates.

Bates and his girlfriend, Andrea Bradley, are charged with aggravated murder in the 2015 death of their daughter, Glenara. Both have turned down plea deals that would have removed the option of death sentences. Bradley's case is being handled separately. In June, Bates turned down another plea deal.

If Bates had pleaded guilty Monday, he would have faced at least 15 years to life in prison. On Monday, before prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom, Judge Megan Shanahan ensured that Bates understood the possible consequences.

"You understand, Mr. Bates - so the record is clear - you are fully aware of the fact that you are facing the death penalty?" Shanahan asked.

"Yeah," Bates responded, nodding.

Officials have said Glenara likely had gone days without food or water before she died. It was Bradley who on March 29, 2015 brought her cold and limp body to Cincinnati Children???s Hospital Medical Center.

They were living in a rented house in East Walnut Hills with Glenara and Bradley's 5 other children.

Hamilton County's coroner has said Glenara had no muscle mass, and was "literally skin over bones."

At a hearing in June, prosecutors described the extent of her injuries. She had bite marks on her arm and chest. Most or all of Glenara's upper teeth were missing and likely had been knocked out. There was a 1-inch burn mark on her left thumb. The left side of her face and eye were swollen, and there was bruising.

She had numerous injuries on her arms, legs and abdomen from being whipped with a belt. Her right foot was swollen. She had "lesion scabs" on her buttocks. A gash in her forehead had been sutured by Bradley, who told police she had given the girl Tylenol for the pain.

In an interview with police, Bates said Glenara slept in a bathroom. Sometimes when the family went out, he said Glenara would be left behind "in a bathroom tub with a can of food."

Bates' attorneys have previously said he doesn???t believe he is responsible for Glenara's death.

Bates told a detective in an interview the same day Glenara was taken to the hospital that he bit her "like a dog." "We'd be playing, like, doggie gonna get ya...and I'll shake her. I probably bit her too hard," he said in the interview. "It ain't like she crying when I'm doing it. She playing. It's a game, you feel me?"

Bradley, however, told police that the girl's skin was ripped "off her stomach into (Bates') mouth," prosecutors said.

Also during that interview, Bates said he held Glenara upside down - from the top of a doorway, according to prosecutors - when she fell on the top of her head.

"I was holding her up, playing with her, she slipped... right out of my hands," he said. "I was like, damn."



Father accused of 'torturing' 2-year-old Glenara Bates to death goes on trial

The county prosecutor and coroner said Glenara Bates' death was one of the worst cases of abuse and neglect they had ever seen.

The father accused of torturing the 2-year-old to death went on trial for aggravated murder Monday and could get the death penalty if convicted.

Glen Bates, 34, dropped Glenara on her head and bit off her skin before the child died in 2015, prosecutors say. Glenara's mother, Andrea Bradley, is also charged with aggravated murder and will be tried separately.

Glenara suffered numerous broken bones and abrasions and weighed only 13 pounds when she died on March 29, coroner Lakshmi Kode Sammarco said.

She slept in a bathtub filled with feces.

Both parents starved and abused the child over several weeks, prosecutors said.

After Glenara's death, Deters said the 2-year-old was "tortured" to death by her parents and accused Job & Family Services of "dropping the ball" in the case by taking the child out of foster care and giving her back to her mother.

The JFS acknowledged that the case was mishandled, and 2 caseworkers resigned.

Glenara's grandmother sued JFS, Director Moira Weir and the child's caseworkers, as well as county commissioners.

Bates turned down a plea deal Monday before the trial began. Bradley could also face the death penalty in Glenara's gruesome death.

4 months before she died, Glenara was hospitalized with malnutrition as her mother dealt with depression and bipolar disorder.

JFS gave Glenara back to Bradley a few weeks before she died, records show.

Juvenile Court records obtained by WCPO show social workers removed some of Bradley's 7 children in 2010 because she knowingly "allowed drug trafficking" in her home.

Documents also showed one of Bradley's children suffered bruises to the neck, eye, back and legs in 2012.

But in late 2013, after Bradley completed drug treatment and parenting education, JFS asked juvenile court to give Bradley's children back to her.

"The push to put babies back into these homes is so tragic," Deters said at the time. "It's just got to stop. They just got to recognize there are some people who should just not have kids."

Bradley's attorney, William Welsh, blamed Glen Bates for Glenara's death, saying he abused, manipulated and controlled the girl's mother.

In response, Bates' attorney, Norman Aubin, pointed to Bradley's previous history with JFS.

"It's interesting to note [Andrea Bradley] also has a previous conviction for child endangering and her children were taken away by JFS. Those are just the facts," Aubin said.

(source: WCPO news)


Catholic Diocese pushes repeal of death penalty

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is urging its followers to push the Utah State Legislature to repeal the death penalty.

"Pope Francis has called all Catholics to promote the culture of life by specifically working to end the use of the death penalty," the diocese said in an email to followers on Monday.

In the email, the diocese revealed that legislation was being planned for the 2017 session repealing the death penalty in Utah. It did not say who would be sponsoring the bill.

Last year, a measure to end capital punishment in Utah, sponsored by Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, failed to advance in the final days of the legislative session. Urquhart recently resigned from office because of a change in employment.

(source: Fox News)


Families Sue Over Baseball Bat Killings

Former minor league shortstop Brandon Willie Martin faces the death penalty for beating his father, uncle and another man to death with his personalized baseball bat. Now, children of 2 of the dead men are suing local officials and 2 home security companies for letting it happen.

The 6 plaintiffs accuse Riverside County and the city of Corona of taking the clearly disturbed Martin into custody on a 3-day mental health hold but then releasing him after 2 days without any treatment.

They accuse ADT Security Services and contractor Home Defender Inc. of not sending help upon hearing the sounds of the attack over the telephone during a call from their installer, who was the third man killed.

Spokesmen for the county, the city and ADT all declined to comment on the state court lawsuit, filed last week. Representatives from Home Defender could not be reached late Friday.

Ricardo Echeverria of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, did not respond to a request to comment.

According to the lawsuit and news accounts of the murders, Brandon Martin attacked his father, Michael Martin, uncle Ricky Andersen and ADT installer Barry Swanson on Sept. 17, 2015, after coming home from the county mental health facility.

"Immediately upon arriving at the home, Brandon smashed his wheelchair-bound father's head in with a baseball bat, killing him instantly," the plaintiffs say in their lawsuit. He next killed Swanson and mortally wounded Andersen when each tried to intervene. Police captured Martin the next day.

The Riverside district attorney's office has charged him with three murders, evading police, resisting arrest and injuring a police dog during his capture. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty and Martin has pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to news accounts.

His troubles had begun long before, according those accounts and the lawsuit.

A star player in high school, Brandon Martin was the 38th overall draft pick in 2011 when he was 17. Signed for an $860,000 bonus, according to a newspaper, he joined a Tampa Bay Devil Rays minor league team. In his 1st season, he led the team in runs and RBIs.

The plaintiffs say that over the next few years, Martin began to party and use drugs and alcohol heavily. During the 2013 season, he failed a drug test and "became increasingly rude and disrespectful." After a fight with a coach at the start of the 2014 season, the team released him to seek treatment.

He moved back home with his parents, even though his relationship with them had soured. He "began displaying irrational hatred and anger towards his African-American father" and "often made racially-charged comments" to him, the victims' children say.

One day, he punched his father in the face several times. Police arrived but did not arrest Martin out of concern for his baseball career, according to the lawsuit.

Then, on Sept. 13, he tried to choke his mother. 2 days later, he held scissors to her neck. Police were called again and took him away for a 72-hour mental health evaluation.

But the county mental health facility was overcrowded, and Martin spent most of the next 2 days in its waiting room. He was released early and given a bus pass that he used to return home where he committed the murders, the lawsuit says.

"Brandon had never been given a room ... and did not receive treatment or evaluations from Riverside Mental Health, as they were required to do" under the California Welfare and Institutions Code Section, the plaintiffs claim.

The 6 adult children - Andersen and Swanson each left 2 sons and a daughter - charge the city and county with negligence per se and negligent supervision for the alleged violations of statutory duties. If the laws had been followed, "Brandon Martin, who posed a danger to others, would not have been released to the unsuspecting public and allowed to murder Michael Martin, Barry Swanson and Ricky Andersen," the lawsuit contends. "These statutes were enacted to protect the public from the kind of harm Brandon Martin inflicted on the decedents."

In addition, the plaintiffs accuse ADT and Home Defender of negligence. Martin's parents had the rushed to have a security system installed as soon as they learned their son would be released from the hospital. Swanson was on the phone with his office doing the installation when Martin killed him.

"The call was recorded, and the attack can be heard. Despite being an alarm and security company and knowing the attack was ongoing, neither ADT LLC nor Horne Defender, Inc. alerted authorities," the lawsuit states.

"By holding themselves out as experts in the security and home defense industry and by promising to notify authorities once notice of a break in or attack is received, ADT, LLC [and] Home Defender, Inc. assumed and owed a duty to decedents and plaintiffs to notify authorities of the attack," the plaintiffs say.

Their lawsuit seeks general and special damages but does not specify an amount.

(source: Courthouse News)


Curt Schilling's solution for terrorism: Executions without trial

The New York City bombing and other incidents over the weekend prompted Curt Schilling, the former Major League Baseball pitcher whose outspokenness led to his dismissal by ESPN, to take to Facebook to offer his solution to terror: suspend immigration and subject people accused of terrorism to execution without benefit of a trial.

"You must, immediately, suspend immigration. You must, immediately, deploy national guard to points of entry and border crossings," he wrote. "You must immediately stop ALL foreign nationals from entering this country via air."

Schilling, who found himself in trouble with his former employer for sharing memes and strong opinions on social media, advocates new rules for those seeking to move to the U.S.:

"Unless an immigrant can PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt no links with terrorism, they cannot come here. You must immediately detain ANY and ALL illegal aliens linked to terrorism or terrorists, and ANY and ALL illegal aliens who have a felony on their record. You immediately return these illegals to their 'home country.'"

And, in addition to supporting the building of "a version of the Berlin Wall on our southern border," he wants to see stern punishment for offenders.

"Anyone doing ANYTHING resembling the events of yesterday? You do not get your 'rights' under the law, you become an enemy combatant. Which means 'No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights.' The defendant does not have the right to file Habeas Corpus petitions and can receive the death penalty.

Schilling was fired by ESPN in April for what the network deemed to be "unacceptable conduct" after a series of incidents. He was taken off ESPN's baseball coverage in September 2015 after he shared a meme that compared extremism in today's Muslim world to Nazi Germany in 1940.

(source: Washington Post)

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