A young Florida man was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2007 slaying of former Washington Redskins’ player Sean Taylor. Eric Rivera, Junior, who is now 23 years old, was convicted on both murder charges and armed burglary charges after a jury in Miami deliberated for 16 hours over four days. Rivera, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, had been facing first-degree murder charges after confessing in a video-taped session with local police that he had fired the shot that killed Taylor after kicking in the door to the professional football player’s bedroom. Rivera later claimed that his confession had only been given to police under coercion and with the threat of danger to his own family. Rivera also claimed while testifying on the witness stand in his own defense that it was another defendant in the case who brought the weapon and fired the shot that killed Taylor. Rivera also claimed to have had no prior knowledge of the burglary attempt that was to be made on the night in question until he was in a car with the rest of the defendants. On November 24, 2007, Rivera and four other men broke into Taylor’s Miami-area home hoping to find large quantities of cash that Taylor was reputed to leave around his home. According to statements from all five defendants, they expected the house to be empty as Taylor’s team was scheduled to play a football game out of town. However, Taylor was home at the time because of an injury. Taylor confronted the group of young men with a machete just outside his bedroom door and was shot in the thigh. The wound opened the femoral artery in Taylor’s thigh and he essentially bled to death before he arrived at a local hospital. Taylor’s then-girlfriend Jackie Garcia-Haley and the couple’s 18-month old daughter were home with Taylor at the time of the incident. Neither were hurt. Taylor, who had been selected to play in the Pro-Bowl twice, was just 24 years old when he died. According to police reports, the exact murder weapon was never found. Investigators believe that the 9mm handgun used in the shooting was stuffed into a sock and thrown into the Everglades. The plan to burglarize Taylor’s home was hatched several weeks before the shooting when several of the defendants were at a birthday party for Taylor’s half-sister, Sasha Johnson. Johnson, who lived in Fort Myers and was an acquaintance of Rivera’s, was given a purse containing $10,000 in cash by her brother, which she opened in full view of everyone at the party. Rivera testified that some of the group members expected to find between $100,000 and $200,000 in Taylor’s home the night of the burglary.
Tagged as: armed robbery, burglary, Murder
Chris Brown, the pop singer and sometime actor who was arrested for physically assaulting this then girlfriend Rihanna, was arrested again in Washington, DC according to media outlet TMZ for attacking a man outside a hotel. According to law enforcement, Brown got into a fight outside the W Hotel in DC and allegedly punched a man in the face, although the victim never threw a punch. Apparently, the victim did a "photo bomb" when two female fans were taking a photo of Chris Brown. Photo bombing is the term used for people jumping into the background of a photo in order to ruin it or confuse the photographer. Brown is said to have hit the victim so hard he broke his nose. The man went to the hospital and required immediate surgery. Brown also allegedly used a gay slur against the victim. Brown's public relations team says that he was simply trying to stop the alleged victim from entering the group's tour bus. The police say that the singer did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they apprehended him. Brown's bodyguard was also arrested after the incident and will be staying in jail possibly overnight. Brown could be facing serious jail time since he is still on probation after the incident where he was said to have beaten his girlfriend Rihanna brutally. There is a possibility he could be sent to prison for four years. At our law firm, we have represented countless individuals charged with felonies such as battery, drug crimes, violent crimes and more. With over 50 years of combined experience, our criminal defense lawyers understand what it takes to properly defend people charged with crimes while still on probation. Mr. Brown has a history of criminal behavior, but a qualified attorney could help keep him out of jail. While the court of public opinion can often judge a man before he has had his day in court, a good legal team can craft a unique criminal defense that provides the best defense against a long prison term. If you have been charged with a crime, our lawyers are here for you. Rated "top notch" by one of the best attorney rating systems in the nation (Martindale Hubbell), our attorneys have years of experience defending people in all manner of felony and misdemeanor proceedings. If you have been arrested for, charged with or are being investigated for a crime, call us immediately and put us to work for you
Tagged as: assault
Some recent crimes in Los Angeles have shown how important it is to have a lawyer who understands the courts, the prosecutors and jury trials. People from all walks of life can be arrested for, charged with or investigated for serious crimes, and without top notch legal representation it can create lifelong problems. In El Monte, the El Monte Police Department is looking for a man who is accused of raping a college student in the back of a convenience store. Authorities said a female student was working as a cashier at the store when a man blocked the exit as she prepared to close. He dragged the woman to the back of the store and raped her according to police news reports. Police believe the perpetrator is an 18-year-old who is a gang member with a tattoo on his right arm of his gang. They are seeking assistance from the community in looking for the alleged guilty party. In another sex crime involving a college student, a 26-yea- old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted kidnapping and rape at Grossmont College in El Cajon, near San Diego. The San Diego Sheriff's Department arrested Anthony Washington for attempting to attack a female student at 11 AM, he was booked in county jail. The attacker held a knife to the victim's throat according to reports as she got into her car. Another student saw the attacked and honked his horn causing the attacker to flee the scene. The suspect was arrested after a thorough search of the campus. He confessed he was going to rape the student during interrogation. In a surprising case of a judge committing a crime, Hon. Craig Richman allegedly committed battery for pushing and injuring a woman who was walking her dogs. The event allegedly occurred on July 18 when the judge saw a woman place a plastic bag of animal waste on the curb next to the street by his house. He is accused of pushing the woman from behind and knocking her to the ground causing the woman to strike her face on the sidewalk. She suffered cuts and scrapes to her face and shoulder. The judge then allegedly left the scene. Richman, who is also a former prosecutor, was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery. The judge at first accused the woman of fabricating the entire story, but also claims that she was both the aggressor and stalked him when he tried to leave, which would at least ad some validity to her story.
Tagged as: assault, los angeles sex crime defense attorney, sex crime accusations, sex crimes
A recent stabbing occurred after a Dodger/Giant baseball game in San Francisco, which is the latest violent event in this rivalry's history. A 24 year old man, the son of a Dodger's security guard, was stabbed as he wore Dodgers' gear just blocks from San Francisco Giants' stadium. A 21 year old man was arrested by the police and the press thought he faced homicide charges stemming from the crime. He was released by police however just two days later and authorities are now asking the public for tips on the crime. The District Attorney was asking for people to come forward saying "if anyone witnessed the incident or has video, please contact SFPD." Many in San Francisco were shocked by the killing, as people called it senseless that such violent acts could happen over a baseball rivalry, however this is not the first such incident to occur. Two years ago, Giant fan Bryan Stow was attacked in Los Angeles and suffered permanent brain damage. In this case, Dodger and Giant fans exchanged words after the game and a fight ensued which led to the stabbing. There have been incidents of violence for years among the teams and their fans, including a bench-clearing brawl in 1965 instigated by Juan Marichal and in 1981 Dodgers' outfielder Reggie Smith went into the stands in San Francisco to confront a fan who was taunting him. Being accused of homicide, especially in a highly public case such as this, highlights the importance of having a Los Angeles homicide attorney working for you. Accusations can impact almost anyone, and people caught near a public brawl might be drawn into accusation through no fault of their own. A criminal defense attorney can help someone understand their rights, what they are accused of and how to get themselves free from the situation. In this case, a young man was accused most likely because he was around the scene of the crime and was pointed out by passers by. While police are supposed to find the guilty party, they may have simply arrested a convenient person. Anyone accused of a crime should contact the lawyers at Kestenbaum Eisner & Gorin LLP immediately. With over 50 years of combined experience, our attorneys understand the law and the best way to provide top notch criminal defense. We provide free consultations and can help in any situation. Call us today!
Tagged as: Murder
Rapper Mack Maine has been charged with two felony criminal charges in Oklahoma after an alleged sexual assault incident that occurred in late August. According to police reports, the rapper, who has collaborated with a variety of other artists including Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, invited two women onto a tour bus on August 22. While aboard the bus, one of the women claims that Maine stuck his hand down her dress and squeezed her breast without her consent. The woman told police she then slapped the rapper in the face and attempted to leave the bus immediately. According to police accounts, Mack blocked the women’s access to the bus door, and then punched the second young woman in the face, breaking her jaw and knocking her to the floor. The victim is said to have required having her jaw wired shut for six weeks in order to heal from the blow. Prosecutors in Oklahoma filed charges against Maine this past Monday. On Friday, the rapper turned himself in to law enforcement officials in Oklahoma and was soon released after posting $9,000 bond. Maine, whose real name is Jermaine Preyan was charged with one count of sexual battery and one count of aggravated assault. No date has been announced for Maine to appear in court, though a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf at his arraignment on Friday. Maine is the president of Young Money Entertainment, which is a record label founded by famed rapper Lil Wayne. Needless to say, Maine is facing some serious legal issues with these two criminal charges. Most crimes are divided into two categories: misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor crimes are considered “minor” by comparison and are generally punished by probation, community service and potential time in a county jail. Felony criminal offenses, however, are much more serious. Felony crimes are typically punished with time in a state prison, often for at least one year, but, depending on the severity of the crime, up to life in prison. Being a convicted felon also has several distinct consequences in many parts of the country that continue once a prison sentence is completed, including being barred from owning or carrying a weapon, having to notify potential employers and landlords of your status as a felon, loss of the right to vote in elections and even being barred from ever running for elected office. Many of these difficulties can only be dealt with after the fact by a pardon from the president. Dealing with a felony criminal charge is serious business that requires the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Tagged as: assault, sex crimes
A Massachusetts high school athlete has pleaded not guilty to allegedly raping a younger classmate. Galileo Mondol, who is 17 years old, is one of three junior varsity soccer players facing criminal charges after an alleged incident that occurred at a sports camp last month. The city of Somerville, just northwest of Boston, had rented Camp Lenox for all of its fall sports team athletes to participate in team-building activities. Mondol and two other boys are said to have entered a cabin where several freshman classmates were sleeping and assaulted them with a broomstick. The allegations were eventually reported to officials with the Somerville High School athletic department, prompting a criminal investigation. Mondol and the two other suspects were promptly arrested. On Tuesday, which should have been the first day of the new school year at Somerville High School, Mondol instead found himself in a Massachusetts court room pleading not guilty to one count each of aggravated rape of a child under the age of 16, indecent assault and battery on a person who has turned 14, assault and battery and intimidation of a witness. Mondol’s two alleged accomplices are both just 16 years old and have been charged with similar crimes. By Mondol’s account, he was an innocent bystander in the incident and actually tried to stop his two teammates from the alleged assaults. Mondol remains in police custody without bail until a hearing on Friday that will assess whether or not Mondol should be considered dangerous. If the judge deems Mondol to be dangerous, he will be ordered to continue in police custody without bail for 90 days. If, however, Mondol is not deemed dangerous, he could possibly be released with bail set at $100,000. As Mondol’s case demonstrates, committing a crime in your late teens is very much a gray area. Being tried as a minor means that your criminal case goes through an entirely different court system and any resulting punishments tend to be more about rehabilitation than severe punishment. Increasingly, however, teenagers of 17, 16 and even just 15 years old are being tried for serious crimes such as murder or rape as adults. Typically, being tried as an adult not only means that your name and the nature of the charges against you can be publicized in the press, but a conviction could result in prison time with serious criminals and the attending criminal record. Having a criminal history could make matters very complicated when applying for colleges, jobs and even apartments in the future. Having a defense attorney with extensive experience in juvenile criminal law is quite helpful in situations like this.
Tagged as: juvenile crime, juvenile law, sex crimes
A Maine man has pleaded not guilty to several counts of burglary after reportedly stealing from campers and nearby homes in order to survive in the wilderness just outside of Rome, Maine. Christopher Knight, who is 47 years old, told police that he left his childhood home at the age of 19 and walked into the Maine wilderness, where he has survived alone ever since. Knight admitted to investigators that he lived off of food and supplies that he stole in hundreds of robberies over the years. When police arrested him in April, they claimed he had stolen food and supplies from a nearby summer camp for the disabled. At the time of his arrest, police found his backpack full of bacon, marshmallows and Sweet Tarts candy. Local police have attributed as many as 1,000 robberies to him and say he has stolen a variety of things besides food that included electrical tape, flashlights, propane and even video games. After his arrest, police searched the woods and found his campsite, which they say was stocked with a tent, sleeping bags and even a cook stove. The camp was hidden in a crevice among boulders on a hillside of evergreen trees less than half a mile from the nearest house. Knight made a court appearance earlier today where he pleaded not guilty to seven counts of burglary and six counts of theft, in spite of admitting to investigators in the case that he had, indeed, stolen a variety of items over the last couple of decades. Knight and his defense attorney are hoping to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors in the case that would allow him to avoid more jail time as he has been in police custody since April. His attorney has also ordered an evaluation from Maine’s Pre-Trial services in order to work on a plan for reintegrating Knight back into society when he is eventually released from custody. Knight is currently being held on $25,000 bail. If a plea agreement cannot be reached, Knight’s trial is scheduled to start on October 8 and jury selection would have to begin later this week. Since his arrest, Knight has become a media sensation. The public has been fascinated by him and several offers have been made to him to tell his story. The attention he has garnered since his arrest has earned him not only a proposal of marriage, but an offer to pay his bail from an anonymous stranger. The presiding judge in Knight’s case has since made stipulations that no third party would be allowed to pay Knight’s bail for him.
Tagged as: burglary, theft
An Ohio mother has been convicted of assault after a brawl with her teenaged daughter’s classmate. Precious Allen, who is 31 years old, testified in court that she went to her daughter’s high school on February 7 of this year to confront a 15-year-old girl that she claimed had been bullying her daughter. Allen told the court at her hearing earlier this week that the unnamed girl started the fight by cursing at her, calling her names and shoving her face with an open hand. The two teen girls are said to have begun fighting, but Allen told the court that she then took her daughter by the arm and led her into an adjoining hallway. Allen said the teenaged victim eventually followed her and her daughter into the hallway in a rage and began attacking them. The 15-year-old victim eventually was hit in the face with a padlock, but it is unclear what exactly happened between Allen and the young victim. No injuries were reported. The victim testified in court and gave a much different version of the story than Allen had. The victim testified that she had never bullied Allen’s daughter and that the two teens had, in fact, been friends up until their physical altercation on February 7th. The victim further told the court that instead of pulling her daughter away, Allen actually egged the fight on, staring the victim down, shaking her head at her and even telling her daughter at one point, “Oh yeah, you need to fight her.” Allen, who works as a nurse’s aide in Cincinnati, was convicted on one charge of assault, but a charge of trespassing was dropped. The presiding judge in the case sentenced Allen to 179 days in a county jail, but ultimately suspended the sentence and said she could serve that time on probation. This brawl may not sound like a serious incident, but assault charges should never be taken lightly. Assault, and its frequent companion, battery, are criminal charges that can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the situation. Technically, any unwanted touching or striking can result in criminal charges and very real criminal punishments such as probation or jail time. In Allen’s case, no injuries were reported, but had the 15-year-old victim been injured, Allen could have found herself facing felony assault charges, which could have meant an actual jail or even prison sentence, in addition to a criminal record that would have been discovered any time she applied for a job or an apartment lease.
Tagged as: assault, battery, probation and sentencing laws
A former school teacher in Redlands has pleaded guilty to several sex crimes after being accused of having sex with three underage teen boys. Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, who is 28 years old, pleaded guilty in a Redlands court yesterday to four counts of unlawful sex with a minor as well as two counts of oral copulation with a minor and was sentenced to one year in a San Bernardino County Jail as a result. Additionally, Whitehurst will be placed on probation for five years after her release, will be required to undergo sex offender counseling, and will also be required to register as a sex offender for life. Whitehurst had been facing 41 criminal charges, including sex with a minor and oral copulation with a minor after investigators claimed that she had had sexual relationships with three teen boys who were students at high schools in Redlands where Whitehurst worked as a teacher. If not for the plea agreement Whitehurst accepted, she could have been facing up to 29 years in a state prison. One of the boys, who will turn 18 in two weeks, has been acknowledged as the father of Whitehurst’s newborn daughter, who is just a few weeks old. Whitehurst’s plea agreement allows her to retain custody of the baby, who will be cared for by Whitehurst’s parents while she is in jail. The unnamed boy who is the father of Whitehurst’s daughter was just 16 years old when he and Whitehurst began their affair. He was present at the time of the baby’s birth in mid-June. Both the boy, who was a student at Citrus Valley High School, and Whitehurst admitted to the affair when questioned by police. Officials with the Redlands Unified School District had interviewed both Whitehurst and the boy about their relationship back in May, though police were not notified until the boy’s mother made a formal complaint. Whitehurst was arrested on July 1 for her admitted relationship with the father of her baby, and after police publicized her arrest, two other boys came forward and admitted to police that Whitehurst had also had physical relationships with them. Both boys had been students at Redlands High School. One boy was just 14 years old when he became involved with Whitehurst, and told police that he had had sex with Whitehurst in her classroom. Whitehurst is due back in court on August 28 where she will be formally sentenced. She is currently in police custody on $500,000 bail.
Tagged as: sex crime accusations, sex crimes
Accused murderer and convicted sex offender Michael Madison has had new charges filed against him on Monday in connection with the three women he is suspected of murdering and whose bodies were found in various states of decomposition on an around his apartment property in Cleveland, Ohio. Madison, who is 35 years old, had already been charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping, but a Grand Jury added charges of rape and abusing the corpses of his victims earlier this week. Madison was arrested by Cleveland police on July 19 after police discovered the decomposing body of 18-year-old Shirellda Terry in the garage behind his apartment. Authorities were said to have been drawn to the building to investigate the source of a foul stench. The following day investigators discovered the body of 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley in a weeded lot near Madison’s apartment, as well as the remains of Angela Deskins, who was 38, in the basement of a vacant home nearby. While investigators have not so far determined the cause of death for Deskins, law enforcement officials claim that both Terry and Sheeley had died by strangulation. Authorities have stated that during an interview, Madison referenced Anthony Sowell, one of Cleveland’s most notorious mass murderers. Sowell was convicted in 2009 of murdering 11 women and dumping their bodies in garbage bags in and around his home. Madison is so far facing life in prison without the possibility of parole, in addition as much as 1,000 years in prison under a possible plea bargain that was proposed to the prosecution in the case. Aggravated murder is punishable by the death penalty, which is still in effect in the state of Ohio, though prosecutors have not yet decided whether or not they would seek the death penalty in this case. Madison is being held on $6 million bond in the very same prison facility as Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women and holding them captive in his home for nearly a decade. Madison is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday. Aggravated murder is a very serious criminal offense, and, as Madison’s case shows, is still punishable by a potential death sentence in many states. When your very life is on the line in a serious criminal case, you need an experienced, aggressive, and often creative criminal defense attorney looking out for your best interests. Depending on the case, life in prison may not be the worst consequence of a murder conviction.
Tagged as: kidnapping, Murder
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