Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

The moral of this story?

Don't piss off your babymama.

Bank-robbery suspect ID'd by tattoo
By Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

CONCORD, CA -- A serial bank-robbery suspect was identified with the help of the mother of his children after she recognized his distinctive tattoo - a dark blotch that covered her name at the request of another woman, authorities said.

Terrol Alan Casborn, 32, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Oakland on Wednesday on charges that he robbed the Mechanics Bank on Concord Avenue in Concord of $19,242 on Aug. 8 and ECC Bank on Sun Valley Boulevard in Concord of $4,508 on Jan. 22.

Casborn pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Oakland on Thursday.

The Mechanics Bank surveillance video showed that the robber had a large, irregularly-shaped "blotch or spot close to the wrist, with what appears to be cursive writing below the blotch, closer to the knuckles," FBI Special Agent Todd Dorman wrote in an affidavit.

A ski mask was found near the scene of both bank robberies, authorities said.

The mask found after the January robbery was analyzed by the San Mateo County sheriff's office crime lab, where criminalists matched the DNA to Casborn, who has previous convictions for resisting arrest, car theft, forgery and passing fictitious checks, authorities said.

On April 14, the FBI interviewed Jolene Allen, the mother of Casborn's four children, Dorman wrote. At one point, Casborn had the name, "Jolene," tattooed on the back of his left hand and the name of their daughter tattooed immediately below it, Allen told investigators.

"Allen knows that Casborn subsequently had the name 'Jolene' covered by a dark tattoo at the request of another woman," Dorman wrote.

Allen recognized Casborn on the two surveillance videos, the FBI said.

Authorities said he is also suspected of robbing two banks in Fairfield and one in Benicia from June to August 2008.

In all five hold-ups, the robber wore a ski mask and was armed with a gun, the FBI said.

Casborn was arrested June 17 .He is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Jeeze Louise!


Have y'all noticed that there are more and more folks calling 911 over orders they say are messed up at restaurants?

What's up with that? I mean really?

Are you that dumb?

Wait! No need to answer we know now.

Ore. man upset by McDonald's order calls 911 repeatedly
By Margy Lynch KATU News and KATU.com Staff

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - A man upset at the way McDonald's employees handled his order was charged after allegedly calling 911 repeatedly on Friday to report the restaurant had robbed him, authorities said.

Jeremy Lloyd Martin, 23, was charged with improper use of the 911 service, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said. He spent a night in jail over the incident.

According to a tape of the 911 calls released by Clackamas County 911, a man initially told a dispatcher that he was at the McDonald's near the intersection of Southeast Sunnyside Road and Southeast 82nd Avenue and needed help. The man said he had paid $10 in the drive-thru but only received a single burger and a fry before he was told to pull around.

"Sir, this is not a police matter," the dispatcher told him. "You need to take it up with the manager of the McDonald's."

But a person who identified himself as Martin called back demanding that dispatchers send a police officer to the scene and threatening to sue.

"This is a 911 emergency," the person said. "I got robbed for eight dollars."

"Sir, 911 is life-and-death only," the dispatcher said. "If you do continue calling 911 you will be arrested for misuse."

"Well, arrest me at (expletive) 82nd and Sunnyside Road," the caller responded. "Please send a cop right now. I swear to God all my life..."

Eventually an officer arrived after a person who identified himself as Martin had called 911 again.

A McDonald's employee also called 911 to report that three men were screaming at her and trying to fight. The dispatcher told her to keep the doors locked and not to approach the drive-thru. Another witness told 911 the men were harassing employees.

On Saturday, Martin told KATU he stood by his actions.

"I was very upset that they tried to charge me for food I had already paid for," he said.

Martin said he has worked on the other side of the drive-thru window as an assistant manager at a competing fast food restaurant and has called 911 over disputes involving customers but was never before arrested.

"For me to end up going to jail over a $10 order, that's just ridiculous," he said.

"Caveat Emptor" Let the buyer beware

What it all boils down to basically is the axiom:

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"

Follow that axiom and you'll do fine. There are plenty of folks out there who want to take your money. Be careful.

Madoff scandal teaches valuable lessons


If anything can be learned from the scandal surrounding former financier Bernie Madoff’s spectacular fall from prominent investor to convicted felon, it is this: Know your financial advisor.

Thousands of Americans learned that lesson the hard way when they entrusted their money to Madoff, sentenced Monday to 150 years for masterminding a Ponzi scheme that lasted more than a decade and resulted in an estimated $65 billion in client losses.

Local financial advisors suggested residents do their homework and offered tips on how to ensure they deal with a legitimate investor.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” said Bruce Ruud of Bruce Ruud and Associates, which specializes in employee benefit plans.

One of the first warning signs is an investor promising much higher returns than what the rest of the market is generating, and Rudd said people should know where their money is being put.

“Looking at what assets are supporting the investment is very important,” said Ruud, who spent 30 years with the IRS and U.S. Department of Labor. “Rather than just looking at a monthly or quarterly statement and seeing what percent you have made on your investment, you should ask for information on what the underlying vehicles for your money are.”

Don Miller of D. L. Miller Financial Services agreed, saying clients have a right to be informed about how the market worked.

“The role of a financial advisor should be to educate the client,” said Miller, who manages investment portfolios. “I do not do any trades unless I touch base with the client and get their approval, and I want them to understand it before they approve it. You can do a lot better for yourself if you understand what you have and why you have it; and as time goes on, you get smarter about what you are doing.”

Additionally, Miller said spouses should be equally informed of their investment situation in the case of a death.

“I’ve had some wives come to me in the past after their husbands passed away, and they had no idea what investments they had, and that is a terrible feeling,” he said.

Jim Wissmiller, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in New Braunfels, said if people remember a few basic rules, they should be able to avoid being taken for a ride.

“Make sure you know who you are dealing with, diversify, and stick with top quality investments,” he said.

Wissmiller recommended potential investors look at large, well-known companies and blue chip stocks that receive top ratings. Diversification can stave off a total wipeout, he said. A number of Madoff’s victims invested their life savings, but Wissmiller advised putting no more than 5 percent in any one investment.

Investors can check with state and federal regulators to verify their financial advisor is certified and properly licensed. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission conducted several unsuccessful investigations into Madoff’s activities before he was finally brought to trial.

“The SEC definitely has a black eye with respect to that,” Ruud said. “That being said, I think the U.S. Congress, the Treasury Department, and the Obama administration understand this is a good time to strengthen oversight and regulation of people who are selling and creating investments.”

Monday, June 29, 2009

UPDATE! Buhbye

'Nuff said:

Madoff Slammed With 150-Year Sentence

Confessed Scam Artist Gets Maximum Sentence; Says He'll Live With "This Torment For The Rest Of My Life"

(CBS/ AP) Last Updated 11:35 a.m. EDT

Bernard Madoff, the former Wall Street financier that pleaded guilty to defrauding clients out of billions in an unprecedented Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday.

It was a crime of epic proportions - one that wiped out fortunes, drained retirement nest eggs, ruined charities and foundations, and even pushed some investors to commit suicide.

Several hundred spectators piled into the federal courthouse in Manhattan to hear Judge Denny Chin's ruling on Madoff's fate.

Before the sentencing, Madoff apologized to his family and to the victims of his multibillion-dollar fraud scheme.

The 71-year-old financier said that he "will live with this pain, this torment, for the rest of my life."

Madoff also expects "to live out his years in prison," his lawyer said.

Ten of Madoff's victims were given the opportunity to address the court.

Dominic Ambrosino called the fraud an "indescribably heinous crime" and says he has no credit and can't get a mortgage.

Tom Fitzmaurice said Madoff stole from the rich, the poor and the "in between. He had no values."

He said "my life will never be the same."

Also before the reading the sentencing, Judge Chin said that the federal probation office recommended Madoff get a 50-year prison term.

Madoff, 71, has been jailed since his guilty plea in March. Since that time, authorities have been picking apart his empire of personal wealth in an effort to at least partially compensate his former investors.

Last week, a judge issued a preliminary $171 billion forfeiture order stripping Madoff of all his personal property, including real estate, investments, and $80 million in assets his wife Ruth had claimed were hers. The order left her with $2.5 million.

The terms require the Madoffs to sell a $7 million Manhattan apartment where Ruth Madoff still lives. An $11 million estate in Palm Beach, Florida, a $4 million home in Montauk and a $2.2 million boat will be put on the market as well.

Before Madoff became a symbol of Wall Street greed, the former Nasdaq chairman had earned a reputation as a trusted money manager with a Midas touch. Even as the market fluctuated, clients of his secretive investment advisory business — from Florida retirees to celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax — for decades enjoyed steady double-digit returns.

But late last year, Madoff made a dramatic confession: Authorities say he pulled his sons aside and told them it was "all just one big lie."

Since then, Madoff has insisted that he acted alone, describing a separate wholesale stock-trading firm run by his sons and brother as honest and legitimate.

Aside from an accountant accused of cooking Madoff's books, no one else has been criminally charged. But the family, including his wife, and brokerage firms who recruited investors have come under intense scrutiny by the FBI, regulators and a court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff's assets.

The trustee and prosecutors have sought to go after assets to compensate thousands of burned victims who have filed claims against Madoff. How much is available to pay them remains unknown, though it's expected to be only a fraction of the astronomical losses associated with the fraud.

The $171 billion forfeiture figure used by prosecutors merely mirrors the amount they estimate that, over decades, "flowed into the principal account to perpetrate the Ponzi scheme." The statements sent to investors showing their accounts were worth as much as $65 billion were fiction.

The investigation has found that in reality, Madoff never made any investments, instead using the money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients — and to finance a lavish lifestyle for his family.

In bankruptcy filings, Trustee Irving Picard say family members "used customers accounts as though they were their own," putting Madoff's maid, boat captain and house-sitter in Florida on the company payroll and paying nearly $1 million in fees at high-end golf clubs on Long Island and in Florida.

Picard has sought to reclaim ill-gotten gains by freezing Madoff's business bank accounts and selling legitimate portions of his firm. (Its season tickets for the Mets went for $38,100.) He's also sued big money managers and investors for billions of dollars, claiming they were Madoff cronies who also cashed in on the fraud.

The defendants include leading philanthropists Stanley Chais and Jeffry Picower — from whom Picard is seeking at least $5.1 billion alleged to have come out of victims' pockets — and hedge fund manager J. Ezra Merkin. All have denied any wrongdoing

Good riddance

Sorry, I have no sympathy for him, his wife or his family. None whatsoever.

Take everything they have to pay back the folks, charities, and institutions who were bilked.

Send him to prison for the 150 years. Bury him in an unmarked grave in a prison cemetery.

Day of Reckoning comes for Bernard Madoff

NEW YORK (AP) - It was a crime of epic proportions: a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out fortunes, drained retirement nest eggs, ruined charities and foundations, and even pushed some investors to commit suicide.

Six months after the scandal came to light, the battle lines over Bernard Madoff's punishment have been drawn. His lawyer insists 12 years in prison is enough. Prosecutors demand a 150-year sentence that would guarantee the 71-year-old spends his final days behind bars.

Some victims were expected to call for harsh punishment at the disgraced financier's sentencing Monday in federal court in Manhattan. Ten have told U.S. District Judge Denny Chin they wish to speak out in court.

Madoff also "will speak to the shame he has felt and to the pain he has caused," his attorney, Ira Sorkin, said in court papers.

"We seek neither mercy nor sympathy," Sorkin wrote. But the lawyer urged Chin to "set aside the emotion and hysteria attendant to this case" as he determines the sentence.

There was no shortage of emotion in recent e-mails and letters to the judge by victims.

Carla and Stanley Hirschhorn wrote that they lost their life savings - "a living nightmare that we can't wake up from."

Miriam Siegman expressed outrage "at the spectacle of a man playing with his victims - thousands of them - who he knew were facing a kind of death, playing with them as a cat would with a mouse."

Prosecutors argued in court papers Friday that federal sentencing guidelines allow the 150-year sentence. Any lesser term, they said, should at least be the equivalent of a life sentence.

"The sheer scale of the fraud calls for severe punishment," the prosecutors wrote.

The jailed Madoff already has taken a severe financial hit: Last week, a judge issued a preliminary $171 billion forfeiture order stripping Madoff of all his personal property, including real estate, investments, and $80 million in assets his wife Ruth had claimed were hers. The order left her with $2.5 million.

The terms require the Madoffs to sell a $7 million Manhattan apartment where Ruth Madoff still lives. An $11 million estate in Palm Beach, Fla., a $4 million home in Montauk and a $2.2 million boat will be put on the market as well.

Before Madoff became a symbol of Wall Street greed, the former Nasdaq chairman had earned a reputation as a trusted money manager with a Midas touch. Even as the market fluctuated, clients of his secretive investment advisory business - from Florida retirees to celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax - for decades enjoyed steady double-digit returns.

But late last year, Madoff made a dramatic confession: Authorities say he pulled his sons aside and told them it was "all just one big lie."

Madoff pleaded guilty in March to securities fraud and other charges, saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed." He insisted that he acted alone, describing a separate wholesale stock-trading firm run by his sons and brother as honest and legitimate.

Aside from an accountant accused of cooking Madoff's books, no one else has been criminally charged. But the family, including his wife, and brokerage firms who recruited investors have come under intense scrutiny by the FBI, regulators and a court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff's assets.

The trustee and prosecutors have sought to go after assets to compensate thousands of burned victims who have filed claims against Madoff. How much is available to pay them remains unknown, though it's expected to be only a fraction of the astronomical losses associated with the fraud.

The $171 billion forfeiture figure used by prosecutors merely mirrors the amount they estimate that, over decades, "flowed into the principal account to perpetrate the Ponzi scheme." The statements sent to investors showing their accounts were worth as much as $65 billion were fiction.

The investigation has found that in reality, Madoff never made any investments, instead using the money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients - and to finance a lavish lifestyle for his family.

In bankruptcy filings, Trustee Irving Picard say family members "used customers accounts as though they were their own," putting Madoff's maid, boat captain and house-sitter in Florida on the company payroll and paying nearly $1 million in fees at high-end golf clubs on Long Island and in Florida.

Picard has sought to reclaim ill-gotten gains by freezing Madoff's business bank accounts and selling legitimate portions of his firm. (Its season tickets for the Mets went for $38,100.) He's also sued big money managers and investors for billions of dollars, claiming they were Madoff cronies who also cashed in on the fraud.

The defendants include leading philanthropists Stanley Chais and Jeffry Picower - from whom Picard is seeking at least $5.1 billion alleged to have come out of victims' pockets - and hedge fund manager J. Ezra Merkin. All have denied any wrongdoing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The big chill

*sarc* Climate change is a killer * /sarc*

He was a mess, a truly talented fellow, but a mess.

RIP Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson 'working on new climate change song before his death'
By Matthew Moore - telegrapgh.co.uk

Michael Jackson was working on a song about climate change in the days before his death, his friend Deepak Chopra has disclosed.

The spiritualist and author, who knew the singer for 20 years, said that Jackson had recorded a demo of the track and was drafting the lyrics.

The prospect of unfinished Jackson songs gaining posthumous release will provide some succour to his millions of grieving fans. The King of Pop released his last album, Invincible, in 2001.

Writing on The Huffington Post, the US news and commentary website, Chopra said that Jackson had called him in an "upbeat, excited mood" on Tuesday.

"The voice message said, 'I've got some really good news to share with you.' He was writing a song about the environment, and he wanted me to help informally with the lyrics, as we had done several times before," he said.

"When I tried to return his call, however, the number was disconnected. (Terminally spooked by his treatment in the press, he changed his phone number often.)

"So I never got to talk to him, and the music demo he sent me lies on my bedside table as a poignant symbol of an unfinished life."

Sales of songs and albums by the singer have soared since the news of his unexpected death broke on Thursday night.

His albums jumped to occupy seven of the top 10 sales positions in the iTunes download chart, and retailers Amazon and HMV both reported a surge of Jackson purchases.

All good intentions I'm sure

The road to hell is paved with good intentions isn't it?

A lesson I learned the hard way several years ago.

I am skeptical.

ID cards for India: 1.1billion citizens will go into second largest citizens' database

India is planning to provide its 1.1 billion-plus citizens with ID cards.

Entrepreneur, Nandan Nilekani has been chosen to lead the ambitious project which will be the second largest citizens' database in a democracy, with China being the biggest.

The government believes the scheme, which will be finalised over three years, will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers.

It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials.

Like Britain's £5billion ID cards plan, due to roll out in 2011/12, India's scheme is not without controversy.

Observers have raised questions including how the cards will actually improve the delivery of services and also concerns that the scheme could be disruptive.

In an interview in The Independent today associate fellow of the Asia programme at Chatham House, Charu Lata Hogg, said: 'It cannot be denied that the system of proving identity in India is complicated and confusing.

'But a system of national ID cards can technically introduce a new route to citizenship.

'This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo without access to public services, employment and basic welfare.'

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Murder? unlikely, accidental then?

Boy this is a toughie isn't it?

Present it to a Grand Jury for them to sort out. Either its a manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, most likely.

Could the fellow who did this form the requisite culpable mental state to make it something more?

I don't know, do you?

Id know it was a shame and tragedy that this happened.

My heartfelt condolences to the family of Juan Lara.

Boy's wrestling death ruled homicide
By Robert Crowe - Express-News

Authorities have ruled as homicide the death of a 12-year-old boy who stopped breathing after wrestling with an 18-year-old mentally challenged man last month.

Juan Lara died on May 16, after Elijio Esquedo body-slammed the boy to the floor of a friend's apartment at the Wheatley Courts in the 1800 block of Hays Street, police said.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Friday that the cause of death was the combined effects of a physical altercation and severe myocarditis. The manner of death was a homicide.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, often caused by an infection. It has been linked to sudden death in young adults.

Esquedo, a convicted sex offender who was diagnosed with mental retardation at a young age, has not been charged in Lara's death.

The Express-News reported on May 25 that Esquedo was in violation of the sex offender registry at the time of Lara's death because he had not updated his address with the Texas Department of Public Safety. On Friday, a month later, police still had not arrested him for that violation — a felony — even though San Antonio police had sought an arrest warrant three days before Lara's death.

Esquedo told police he was roughhousing with Lara when the child stopped breathing after the older teen body-slammed him in a bedroom.

“It was just an accident,” said Esquedo's father, Elijio Esquedo Sr.

Lara's mother, Maria Salazar, did not know her son had a heart condition.

“He would wrestle all the time, but he never got sick,” she said. “Something more happened with (Esquedo).”

She thinks the mention of a physical altercation in the homicide ruling shows that Esquedo should be charged with a crime.

Aaaaand.....they're off!

Well its a horse race now.

Two folks running for Comal County Judge.

So far.

Local attorney to run for Comal County judge


Longtime local attorney Glen Peterson announced his intention Friday to run for Comal County Judge in 2010.

Peterson, who has operated his own law office in Comal County since 1996, becomes the second person to join the race to replace outgoing County Judge Danny Scheel.

He will run against former county tax assessor-collector and fellow Republican Sherman Krause, who formally announced his candidacy earlier this month.

“I think this county needs to get on a new course,” Peterson said. “It needs fresh ideas, conservative change, and needs to start making some progress.”

The 59-year-old Peterson graduated with a doctorate in law from the University of Akron in 1977 and practiced law for four years before starting his own business as a commercial developer, which he ran from 1983 to 1991. He then continued to work in real estate development for a nonprofit agency in Florida after Hurricane Andrew, from 1993 to 1995, before opening his law practice in New Braunfels in 1996.

Prior to earning his law degree, Peterson also served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, earning a Bronze Star among other accolades.

“He’s a man of integrity and a man who does what he says he’s going to do,” said longtime friend Warren Mclendon, market president for Jefferson Bank in New Braunfels. “With his experience not only in law, but in his business as a developer, I think he’d make an excellent county judge.”

Peterson said he was prompted to run by a “troubling lack of progress” in the county and would like to see a more progressive county government moving forward in 2010.

If elected, he said he would fight for higher salaries for county employees, put a stop to unfair property tax evaluations and promote more quality of life projects such as bike trails. He also would like to explore more ways to earn county revenue, through budget streamlining, additional county business ventures and increased grant writing.

“I can do this job because I’ve got better ideas, and I know I can pull them off,” he said.

He and Krause will square off in the March 2010 Republican primary, with the winner moving on to run in the November general election.

“It should be a good race,” Peterson said. “The voters need to decide who has the most experience and better qualifications, and who’s going to ultimately serve their best interests.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shouldn't happen to a dog

Why is this guy still a firefighter?

Why is he still on active duty?

Fireman kills pets to save on boarding
Prosecutor says defendant enjoyed 'thrill of the kill'

By Bruce Cadwallader - THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A Columbus firefighter admits that he took his two dogs to the basement, tied them up and blasted them with a rifle so he and a girlfriend could vacation without paying to board the animals.

"He said chunks of concrete were flying everywhere," Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Robinson said.

"I think it was the thrill of the kill for him. He has shown no remorse for this."

Firefighter David P. Santuomo, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of a criminal tool -- for taping a 2-liter plastic bottle onto the gun as a makeshift silencer.

He was convicted of "needlessly killing ... a companion animal" on Dec. 3, according to the charges filed 10 minutes before the hearing in Municipal Court. One dog was shot six times in the head.

Santuomo, who did not give a statement in court, will spend 90 days in jail, pay $4,500 to cover the cost of his investigation and serve five years' probation, Judge Harland H. Hale ruled.

"This is a travesty and abhorrent behavior to those in this community who work to save the lives of animals," said Jodi Buckman, executive director of the Capital Area Humane Society.

Santuomo adopted the two mixed-breed dogs from the humane society in January 2007.

Robinson said that Santuomo, of the Northwest Side, bragged to fellow firefighters about killing the dogs after he dumped the animals' carcasses in a trash bin behind his workplace, Fire Station 27, 7560 Smoky Row Rd.

"Fellow firefighters were disgusted by what he did, and the Capital Area Humane Society was called to investigate," Robinson said.

In text messages, he lied to his children and ex-wife about what happened to Sloopy and Skeeter, investigators said.

Santuomo, a firefighter since 1996, remains on active duty while awaiting a disciplinary hearing with Fire Chief Ned Pettus Jr.

According to Robinson, Santuomo laid down a plastic sheet in his basement and tied the dogs to a pipe, partially suspending their bodies. He shot them at least 11 times.

At first, he said the dogs were suffering after drinking antifreeze, but a necropsy proved that he lied, Robinson said.

The humane society would have taken the animals if Santuomo had asked, and two neighbors had offered to watch the dogs in his absence, Robinson said.

Hale also fined Santuomo $150 and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service. He must not have pets or weapons in his house for five years and must undergo random home inspections.

Hale agreed to allow him to serve his jail time in 10-day stints over two years.

Defense attorney Sam Shamansky said Santuomo will obey Hale's order to file a formal apology with a national firefighters magazine and with a letter to readers of The Dispatch.

"This was an isolated event not to be repeated and totally out of character for him," Shamansky said after the hearing. "He is extremely remorseful."

In the courtroom, Santuomo raised a middle finger to the reporters assembled to cover his case.


Another Craigslist arrest.

Woman nabbed in prostitution sting

New Braunfels police arrested a local woman in an internet prostitution sting Tuesday.

Sara Salas, 24, was picked up through the Web site Craigslist.org by the New Braunfels Police Department’s Community Response Unit, NBPD spokesman Lt. Michael Penshorn said.

“We basically check the local advertising sites for things like stolen property or soliciting for things of this nature,” Penshorn said.

An officer arranged a meeting with Salas; and after she indicated she was soliciting for sex, Penshorn said she was arrested.

Salas was taken to Comal County Jail Tuesday where she was released after posting a $2,000 bond Wednesday.

Prostitution is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Holy smokes!

That's one tough jurisdiction.

Grand Forks mom pleads guilty in drunk breast-feeding case
By: Archie Ingersoll, Grand Forks Herald

A Grand Forks mother who police say was “extremely intoxicated” while breast-feeding her 6-week-old pleaded guilty to child neglect Tuesday.

Officers responded to an unrelated call at a Grand Forks residence in the early morning of Feb. 13 and saw 26-year-old Stacey Anvarinia slurring her speech and breastfeeding, prosecutor Meredith Larson told the judge.

Citing a police report, Larson said officers were concerned about the infant’s welfare, so they called Altru Hospital and were told that breast-feeding while intoxicated was not good for the child.

“Ms. Anvarinia was notified of that, and she continued to make attempts to breast-feed,” Larson said.

Anvarinia, who no longer is in custody, is slated to be sentenced on the Class C felony charge Aug. 7.

Judge Sonja Clapp of state District Court said Anvarinia will not have to register as an offender against children.

Hot Hot HOT!!!

My God, I thought I was gonna pass out yesterday it was so hot I felt woozy. The TV weatherman said it was 102 in San Antonio officially and 106 in New Braunfels!!

Of course the McDonald's shake didn't help the wooziness cause of my diabetes but it did cool me off some.

I am so seriously wanting to close my door at work and put on shorts.

My yard looks like shredded wheat. Give us rain please!! 4-5 weeks of rain at least.

Bleh! No toobers in that river.

Drought, hot temperatures take toll on Guadalupe River
By Colin McDonald - Express-News

Record-high temperatures combined with the record drought are putting the Guadalupe River underground.

The National Weather Service recorded a high of 102 degrees at San Antonio International Airport on Wednesday, tying the mark set in 1994. While the sun was blazing, Canyon Lake was steadily dropping and setting its own record.

By Wednesday afternoon, the lake level had dropped to 895.83 feet above mean sea level. It has not been that low since the reservoir was created in 1958.

Water was coming into the lake via the Guadalupe River at 4.4 cubic feet per second and leaving at 60 cfs.

The Guadalupe Blanco River Authority is required by law to draw down the lake to meet the demands of downstream users. Even more water is lost every day due to evaporation.

“Every day that we don't get rainfall or some intake into the river, we are setting a new record,” river authority spokeswoman LaMarriol Smith said.

The exceptional drought status remains in place for northern Bexar County and almost all of Comal and Hays counties, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Just east of U.S. 281 and upstream from the lake, the Guadalupe River appeared to be nonexistent, with puddles dotting the limestone riverbed. Farther upriver at Guadalupe River State Park, the staff was recording a flow of 10.7 cfs — compared with an average flow there of 127 cfs.

While the low flow is upsetting for park visitors finding not enough water to float, it is not a new phenomenon. Because of the drought, the river has hit comparably low levels each of the past three years, according to the park staff.

Currently the worst in the country, the drought is expected to continue as summer progresses.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why men don't stop to ask for directions

Particularly if they have a crack pipe in the car.

Woman arrested for not following directions


FORT WALTON BEACH - A Florala, Ala. woman who asked a deputy for directions and then failed to follow them, was arrested after he found a crack pipe in her vehicle.

Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, the 53-year-old woman approached a deputy patrolling a street known for drug activity and asked for directions to someone's home, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff's report.

The deputy explained the home she was looking for was on the next street over, but as the woman pulled away he noticed one of her taillights was missing and followed her.

When she passed by the street she said she was looking for, the deputy stopped her. During the traffic stop, the deputy asked to check her vehicle and she consented to the search.

Initially, the woman told the deputy she was not a drug user, but after he found the crack pipe and other assorted drug paraphernalia the woman said, "She fell off the wagon and smoked crack cocaine two weeks ago," the report stated.

A court date was set for July 14.

Shine the lights on me

Kinda ironic to me, a big star like Sarah Jessica Parker, whom I like very much, not knowing how to turn on the lights.

Sarah Jessica Parker pulled over
NY Post

Sarah Jessica Parker needs to read her car manual before she drives. The "Sex and the City" star was pulled over by state troopers on Route 27 in the Hamptons at dusk the other night when cops noticed the lights were off on the Mercedes minivan she was driving with her son, James. "She told him it was a brand-new car and she didn't know how to turn them on," a source tells us. "They showed her how and let her go with a warning. Parker, through her rep, said, "The officer was patient and kind."

He wanted fries with it

Hey, the guy was hungry.

Police search for naked french fry thief

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadian police were on the search on Monday for a brazen thief who snatched a take-away meal while making a naked run past a fast food restaurant's drive-though window.

An employee of a Langley, British Columbia, Wendy's restaurant was handing food to a customer waiting in her car when a naked man ran between them, taking off with her fries, and leaving little evidence behind, according to police.

"Other than an age range, neither woman could provide further description," police said in a press release.

The man, believed to be in his 20s, jumped into a waiting van, which sped away from the scene during the weekend incident, police said.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)

For sale

Doesn't seem like quite enough time does it?

Mom who tried to sell child gets 20 years in prison
By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News

At a swanky Stone Oak steakhouse, Jennifer Richards confided to her date last August that her 5-year-old daughter loved seafood.

Between bites of her filet, Richards discussed arrangements for selling the girl to the date, an FBI informant posing undercover as a child predator.

If the date bought her a car and set her up in an apartment, Richards would grant the informant sexual access to the child, and, possibly later, to her younger daughter, who was 10 months old at the time, according to transcripts of the conversation that the informant helped record for the FBI.

Richards said she would slowly train the 5-year-old how to perform sex acts, “cause I want her to be comfortable with it all.”

On Tuesday, those secret recordings helped send Richards, 25, to federal prison for 20 years. Senior U.S. District Judge Harry Lee Hudspeth imposed the term after Richards agreed to it as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors Sarah Wannarka and Tracy Braun.

Richards pleaded guilty April 22 to trying to sell the 5-year-old knowing that the child would be used for sex and that the acts would be photographed and videotaped. The penalty for that crime starts at 30 years and goes up to life.

Hudspeth also ordered Richards to serve 10 years of federal supervision once she’s released, and to register as a sex offender. The prosecutors wanted the judge to impose a life-term of supervision, while her public defender, Claire Koontz, argued for five years of supervision.

In the federal system, prisoners generally serve at least 85 percent of their terms. Prosecutors dismissed one count each of distributing child pornography and using interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor.

Richards, who’s been in custody since Aug. 18, told the judge she was sorry.

“Mostly, I want to apologize to my family and my daughters for everything they’ve had to go through,” Richards said.

Richards became a target as part of a probe that centered on Sean Michael Block, who Richards met while working at the Cheesecake Factory at North Star Mall. Block, at his trial in May, was convicted of helping set up the sale and also of distributing child pornography after Richards testified against him.

Block, 40, first came to the attention of authorities in 2004 after he made contact online with a retired Los Angeles police detective posing as a teenage girl. Block faces 30 years to life in prison during his sentencing in July.

Richards’ daughters (and Block’s own daughter) were found not to have been molested and are in the custody of relatives, prosecutors said.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Unveil yourself

Pretty gutsy move, France.

Not the politically correct thing to do and all that but a statement nevertheless.

Good grief, its gotta be hot wearing one of those!

Sarkozy says burqas are 'not welcome' in France

PARIS (AP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out Monday at the practice of wearing the Muslim burqa, insisting the full-body religious gown is a sign of the "debasement" of women and that it won't be welcome in France.

The French leader expressed support for a recent call by dozens of legislators to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment in France.

In the first presidential address in 136 years to a joint session of France's two houses of parliament, Sarkozy laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved—braving critics who fear the issue is a marginal one and could stigmatize Muslims in France.

"In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause in a speech at the Chateau of Versailles southwest of Paris.

"The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement—I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."

In France, the terms "burqa" and "niqab" often are used interchangeably. The former refers to a full-body covering worn largely in Afghanistan with only a mesh screen over the eyes, whereas the latter is a full-body veil, often in black, with slits for the eyes.

Later Monday, Sarkozy was expected to host a state dinner with Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani of Qatar. Many women in the Persian Gulf state wear Islamic head coverings in public—whether while shopping or driving cars.

France enacted a law in 2004 banning the Islamic headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols from public schools, sparking fierce debate at home and abroad. France has Western Europe's largest Muslim population, an estimated 5 million people.

A government spokesman said Friday that it would seek to set up a parliamentary commission that could propose legislation aimed at barring Muslim women from wearing the head-to-toe gowns outside the home.

The issue is highly divisive even within the government. France's junior minister for human rights, Rama Yade, said she was open to a ban if it is aimed at protecting women forced to wear the burqa.

But Immigration Minister Eric Besson said a ban would only "create tensions."

A leading French Muslim group warned against studying the burqa.

Dodged a bullet

Those folks are lucky they weren't hit and lying on a slab right now.

So we have burglary of a habitat and attempted capital murder.

No one injured when officer fires shot at car
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

A San Antonio police officer fired one round at a moving car Monday afternoon, when suspects trying to flee the scene of an alleged burglary in the Northeast Side drove straight towards him, officials said.

Authorities said the bullet hit the front windshield of the red Chevy Impala, and marks could be seen where the bullet skid across the dashboard. None of the three people in the car were hit, police said.

Two men trying to flee from the car were eventually arrested and authorities continued to search for a third person, a woman, who was in the car. Authorities didn’t immediately release the names of the suspects.

San Antonio police spokesman Sgt. Chris Benavides said a concerned neighbor called in the suspected burglary around 2:30 p.m. in the 13,000 block of Feather Ridge in the subdivision by the same name.

No one was at the home at the time. Benavides said when officers arrived they saw the Impala parked by the curb and began talking to the three occupants.

An officer who walked around the house heard someone kicking in a door, he said. That officer then called out to the others who were standing near the vehicle. When their attention was diverted, the driver sped away, Benavides said.

The officers tried to stop the car that was then heading straight for him, Benavides said. After yelling at them to stop, the officer fired once at the vehicle, but the car didn’t stop and the suspects abandoned it about a block away, he said.

It is unclear if either of the two people arrested Monday was the one who police heard kicking in the door or if that person was still on the loose.

Neighbors who gathered around the scene said it is usually quiet in the area. They added that everyone tries to keep an eye on things and look out for suspicious people.

J.D. Sterling was just walking out of his door to take his dog for a walk when he saw the Impala take off.

“It looked to me like the car was heading right towards the officer like they were trying to get him,” he said.

Sk8r Boi!

What a wondrous thing to behold is a community coming together and working together to get something done..

Skate on, Dudes.

Skate park a labor of love for local family

- The Herald-Zeitung

Austin Gilmore looked toward the 1,700 square feet of clean, unscuffed gray concrete that stretched in front of him.

The 5-year-old grinned as he clicked his helmet under his chin and grabbed his skate board.

Austin’s dad, Josh Gilmore, watched on as his son dropped down a ramp and weaved in and out of teenagers twice his size. The new JAWS Skate Park at Eikel Park at the corner of Grape Street and Spur Street was unveiled and opened to the public Saturday morning.

“He’s been skating since December,” Josh Gilmore said proudly. “He’s been asking me every morning ‘how much longer, how much longer,’ until the park is open.”

The day couldn’t come sooner for Jamie Skinner either. Skinner brought the idea to his parents in 2006, when he was 16 years old. Since then, Skinner said his family and the community rallied around him to raise the necessary $480,000 to pay for the park.

“I’m pretty much speechless today,” Skinner said, grinning ear-to-ear. “It was three long years, but we had spectacular help from the city and everyone else. There were some bumps in the road, but today I’m amazed and ecstatic it all came together.”

His mother, Cary Skinner, said the family was quick to help Jamie realize his dream.

“What is a mother to do?” Skinner asked. “We support our children in anything they want to do.”

The project brought the Skinner family closer to the community, she said.

“We learned we have the most receptive, the most generous and most helpful community,” she said.

Jamie Skinner said the effort brought his family closer together, a positive side effect.

“I know it sounds cliché, but it’s a dream come true,” he said. “That’s pretty much all I can say.”

With that, he grabbed his skate board and headed toward the park to join New Braunfels Mayor Bruce Boyer in cutting the ribbon.

Cheers rose up and the hundreds of skate boards slapped their trucks to the ground as the ribbon fell. “Clack, clack, clack” was the sound of the newly christened JAWS skate park.

“What are you waiting for?” Jamie Skinner shouted to the crowd. “Let’s skate!”

The all-concrete park is open to the public and admission is free.

Rest in peace Jennifer Evans

Rest in Peace Jennifer.

Your community, State and Nation are grateful for the time you spent protecting its citizens.

Prosecutor Evans’ death shocks S.C.
Renowned state official dies unexpectedly

One of South Carolina’s toughest prosecutors — a woman who sent con men, drug dealers and dog fight breeders to prison — has died at 41.

Jennifer Evans, head of the state attorney general’s criminal section and chief prosecutor for the state grand jury, died suddenly in North Carolina over the weekend, Attorney General Henry McMaster said Sunday.

“It was completely unexpected,” said McMaster, who confirmed her death to The State, saying it was a health issue, but didn’t confirm any details. He had talked to family members.

Describing himself as “crushed,” McMaster said she was an almost irreplaceable person in his 200-plus staff, which has 70 lawyers. She handled some of the state’s most notorious cases, he said.

“If you wanted a class on some area of criminal law, you would go to Jennifer,” McMaster said. “There was nothing too big, too hard for her. I never heard her say anything was too difficult or it would take a lot of work. That wasn’t in her vocabulary.”

Among other cases, Evans prosecuted white-collar swindlers in the Home Gold securities fraud scandal, and drug cases including a sprawling upstate Mexican methamphetamine ring. She was an expert on gang laws.

She also helped win a guilty plea that netted a 30-year jail sentence for North Charleston pit bull breeder and illegal dogfighter David Tant. After Tant’s 2004 guilty plea, the Humane Society of the United States hailed the prosecution as having sent a message to dogfighters nationwide.

Word of her death spread by cell phone and text message throughout the state’s law enforcement and legal communities Sunday.

“Everybody’s in shock right now,” said SLED director Reggie Lloyd, a former U.S. Attorney.

Evans, known for her energy and wit, was a courtroom warrior liked and respected by opposing lawyers, said attorneys who had fought against her.

“She was tough and hard-hitting without being mean-spirited or ever landing a blow that wasn’t fair,” said Joel Collins, a Columbia defense lawyer who represented Earle Morris, a former lieutenant governor and state comptroller general.

In 2004, Evans was part of a prosecution team that got Morris convicted of securities fraud for lying to investors. In 2007, as chief prosecutor, Evans successfully worked to make sure Morris — who had delayed imprisonment by appeals — was finally sent to prison over Collins’ objections.

Dick Harpootlian, a defense lawyer and former 5th Circuit solicitor, said Evans was expert at all facets of the law, from appeals to cross-examination.

“Anyone would have been lucky to have her on their team,” said Harpootlian. Evans was fast to respond creatively and accurately to changing courtroom situations, he said.

In 2004, Evans helped orchestrate a prosecution that landed Harpootlian’s client, Columbia con man Tracy McGee, in prison. McGee had fleeced Columbia-area doctors and others out of more than $1 million.

Columbia defense attorney Jim Griffin said, “I’ve worked with her, and I’ve worked against her, and believe me, it’s a much more pleasant experience to work with her.”

In 2007, Evans was the lead prosecutor on a team that got one of Griffin’s high-profile clients, Ronald Sheppard, 20 years in prison for his role in the Home Gold securities fraud case. Some 8,000 investors lost $277 million; Sheppard was Home Gold CEO.

Griffin, 47, said Evans’ great skill was with people. “She had a way of getting people to open up to her in a way that maybe they wouldn’t to others. There’s a whole lot more to being a lawyer than just looking at books and arguing the law.”

Griffin said he gave Evans a job in his defense law firm just before she graduated from USC law school in 1996.

After working with Griffin, she joined the solicitor’s office in York County as an assistant prosecutor, then came to the S.C. attorney general’s office.

Three years ago, when she was in her late 30s, McMaster promoted her to head his office’s criminal prosecution team.

“This certainly leaves a big hole — not only in office operations but in our hearts,” said McMaster.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Listening to the music in his head

I'd go crazy listening to Eminem.

Will that be his defense?

Police: Glendale Man Sang Eminem While Stabbing Family
The eerily calm 911 call is released

GLENDALE - The eerie 911 tapes have been released in the May 30 stabbing of a Glendale family. Police say that 29-year-old Michael Miller stabbed his wife and 10-year-old daughter to death. His 4-year-old son survived being stabbed 11 times.

Michael Miller told police he tucked his son into bed the night before, and said a prayer together asking God to keep them safe.

Then, the next morning, he told a 911 dispatcher, "I just killed my family with a knife. All of them. All three of them."

Miller told detectives he was possessed and he visualized his wife, Adreana Miller, as a demon. Just before stabbing her at 4 a.m., he told police he started screaming lyrics from an Eminem song, saying, "Here comes Satan, I'm the anti-Christ, I'm going to kill you."

Miller admitted to police that when the kids awoke to their mother's screams, he stabbed them too. He said he stabbed his son Brian the most because he loved him the most.

Then he rolled a cigarette, said another prayer, and called 911, police say. He told the dispatcher calmly, "They woke up, I was threatening my wife with a knife and my kids came out, and I killed my wife and actually both my kids." Then 911 dispatcher asked him, "Are you sure you're not dreaming Michael?" He said, "I'm positive."

When asked if he had ever had these types of thoughts before, he said, "Never... It just hit me like a brick in the face. I don't even know why I did it."

4-year-old Brian is being looked after by family members and is recovering in the hospital.

Miller is expected to be charged with 2 counts of first degree murder and 1 count of attempted murder.

Thanks for the heads-up

If anyone, anyone had a doubt that this would occur if al Qaeda got into power in Pakistan here's your answer.

Yes, they would, if they could.

Al Qaeda says would use Pakistani nuclear weapons

By Inal Ersan

DUBAI (Reuters) - If it were in a position to do so, Al Qaeda would use Pakistan's nuclear weapons in its fight against the United States, a top leader of the group said in remarks aired on Sunday.

Pakistan has been battling al Qaeda's Taliban allies in the Swat Valley since April after their thrust into a district 100 km (60 miles) northwest of the capital raised fears the nuclear-armed country could slowly slip into militant hands.

"God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans," Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of al Qaeda's in Afghanistan, said in an interview with Al Jazeera television.

Abu al-Yazid was responding to a question about U.S. safeguards to seize control over Pakistan's nuclear weapons in case Islamist fighters came close to doing so.

"We expect that the Pakistani army would be defeated (in Swat) ... and that would be its end everywhere, God willing."

Asked about the group's plans, the Egyptian militant leader said: "The strategy of the (al Qaeda) organisation in the coming period is the same as in the previous period: to hit the head of the snake, the head of tyranny -- the United States.

"That can be achieved through continued work on the open fronts and also by opening new fronts in a manner that achieves the interests of Islam and Muslims and by increasing military operations that drain the enemy financially."

The militant leader suggested that naming a new leader for the group's unit in the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Basir al-Wahayshi, could revive its campaign in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter.

"Our goals have been the Americans ... and the oil targets which they are stealing to gain power to strike the mujahideen and Muslims."

"There was a setback in work there for reasons that there is no room to state now, but as of late, efforts have been united and there is unity around a single leader."

Abu al-Yazid, also known as Abu Saeed al-Masri, said al Qaeda will continue "with large scale operations against the enemy" -- by which he meant the United States.

"We have demanded and we demand that all branches of al Qaeda carry out such operations," he said, referring to attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The militant leader said al Qaeda would be willing to accept a truce of about 10 years' duration with the United States if Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from Muslim countries and stopped backing Israel and the pro-Western governments of Muslim nations.

Asked about the whereabouts of al Qaeda's top leaders, he said: "Praise God, sheikh Osama (bin Laden) and sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri are safe from the reach of the enemies, but we would not say where they are; moreover, we do not know where they are, but we're in continuous contact with them."

The pole jumped in front of my car, I swear!

Hmmmm? 3:30 a.m. accident with a utility pole and the driver flees?

Anyone want to bet the driver was drunk?

Never mind there should be no takers of that sucker bet.

Driver flees after utility pole collision

The driver of a car that crashed into a utility pole early Sunday morning on the Northwest Side knocked out power to nearby businesses and caused more than $15,000 in damages before fleeing the scene, police said.

The collision took place around 3:30 a.m., when a speeding driver lost control of a blue Lincoln sedan on Timberhill Drive near Leon Valley, according to authorities. He crashed into a pole near the intersection of Timberhill and Grissom Road, police said.

The impact caused a transformer to leak fluid onto Timberhill, which was closed for several hours while crews cleaned the liquid, police said.

Another drunken $^&((#@!%&(&*(%^^R%

More bumper cars with drunk drivers.

When are we going to get serious with these folks?

Thank God the motorcyclist wasn't killed.

Alleged drunken driver hits motorcyclist
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

A 54-year-old man was arrested Sunday evening for alleged drunken driving after his car struck a motorcycle sending the rider to the hospital with multiple injuries, police said.

The crash occurred around 7 p.m. in the 1500 block of South Gevers on the city's East Side when the man, driving north in a Mercury Grand Marquis hit the Honda Shadow, which was traveling south, said San Antonio police Sgt. Marcus Booth.

It appeared the vehicle was turning into a store at the corner of Gevers and Devine when it hit the motorcycle. The rider, in his mid-40s, was wearing a helmet and was thrown from the bike, witnesses said.

He was transported to Brooke Army Medical Center with serious, but non-life threatening injuries, Booth said.

Booth said the driver of the car faces a driving while intoxicated charge and possibly an intoxication assault charge.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Souldn't happen to a dog

This is just awful.

I hope she gets a final resting place.

Body left in casket has cops' interest
By Ariel Barkhurst - Express-News

Investigations continued Saturday into the discovery of a body of a woman — dead for several years— in a rusty casket at the abandoned Forest Park Funeral Home on the East Side.

When Forest Park vacated the location this month, the body of Ada T. Young was left behind because the family had not paid for a funeral, administrator William Hardy said.

San Antonio police are investigating the incident as an alleged abuse of a corpse.

Sgt. Edward Rohmer said the body was transported to the Bexar County medical examiner's office after it was found Friday. The medical examiner's investigation will help determine whether police pursue criminal charges against Hardy or the owner of the funeral home, Clara Bell, Rohmer said.

“It depends on whether it was natural (death) and whether they can positively ID the person,” Rohmer said.

On Friday, Hardy said the funeral home had been in possession of Young's body since 2004, when she died and received a chapel funeral. Her closest surviving family member, a granddaughter, could not pay for the funeral or burial, Hardy said.

“I have always carried that body,” Hardy said. “Every time we went to a new location, I had that body with me. I helped them.”

But when Forest Park recently left its location in the 1900 block of Rigsby Avenue, Hardy said he did not move the body again.

“I have a very ill sister,” he said, “and she's at hospice, and I had a tough week from an illness perspective, and I didn't get around to doing anything about it. But she's been dead since 2004. And her granddaughter has not done anything about it.”

The family could apply for a county burial, according to Joseph Conde, funeral director for M.E. Rodriguez Funeral Home, which handles Bexar County's pauper burials. If the family's income status qualifies, the county will bury the body. And if the family doesn't apply, the funeral home could, Conde said.

“The funeral home should've had the audacity to call Bexar County and say, ‘We have a body, and the family can't pay,'” Conde said.

When asked if he was aware of the county burial option, Hardy said he was not.

The abandonment of Young's body, kept in a storage shed behind the former funeral home, was reported by Tina Leggett and her husband, Reginald McCraney, who live above the business. Leggett said she and McCraney had been in the shed with Hardy and had seen the casket mostly hidden beneath papers and other materials.

But after Forest Park left, Leggett said McCraney got curious about the casket.

“My husband said, ‘Let's go ... pull it out,'” Leggett said. “And I was like, ‘And do what with it?' But he said, ‘Let's just pull it out.' So we did. It (casket) was all rusted, so we could tell something was wrong. Then he opened it, and you could smell that smell.”

Young's body, Leggett said, was dressed in a gold funeral gown with a maroon corsage, and the casket was silver with maroon trim. The body was badly decomposed, she said.

Leaving behind a body could pose legal liabilities, said J.D. Pauerstein, an attorney who represents several funeral homes.

“It is illegal, under several provisions of the civil and criminal statues in Texas,” Pauerstein said. “The penal code has a provision in it that says it's a criminal offense to treat a human corpse in an offensive manner. There's a basis to prosecute someone who abandons a corpse.”

West Side murder

Someone knows something.

Please step forward and let the authorities know.

Man slain at West Side home
By Alejandra Hering - Express-News

The cause of death for a 43-year-old man found outside a West Side home Saturday has not been confirmed, but authorities say he was murdered.

Jesus Ponce, a tile setter, was found in the front yard of the home in the 500 block of South San Augustine Avenue. San Antonio police spokesman Joe Rios said a 911 call alerted police around 3:30 p.m. to the body, which had suffered trauma.

Police are in the process of talking to witnesses, Rios said.

Ponce's nephew, Juan Carreon, said his uncle lived blocks from the house, which he said was a neighborhood hangout. He said gatherings there would get rowdy from time to time.

“He had been hanging out there for years, he knew all of them,” he said. “From what I hear, there were a few fights, but nothing serious.”

Nora Bravo, a neighbor, said the group often would get together to drink at the house but that disputes were “never to this extreme.”

“It's better here in the neighborhood than out there where they could hurt themselves,” said Bravo, 39. “As we can see, it's not as safe as we thought.”

She said Ponce was a friendly neighbor who was always singing and laughing.

“If you were feeling down and out, he'd come around and put a smile on your face. He's going to be greatly missed.”

No Justification?

A tough case.

The Grand Jury has looked at all the evidence presented to it by the Bexar County D.A.'s office and determined that the actions taken by the Raymond Lemes may not have been justified.

No second guessing by me here. Chasing a fellow out into the street and shooting him 5 times certainly sounds excessive, No?

From the sounds of it there may have been a mistake on the part of the deceased, Tracy Glass, and he entered the wrong house. Mr. Lemes being awakened by his wife's screams at 2:45 a.m. in the morning reacted to protect his family.

Mistakes heaped upon mistakes leading to a tragic conclusion. A jury will decide.

Man indicted for shooting teen fleeing from his house
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

A 49-year-old man who chased a young man from his living room in the middle of the night two years ago, repeatedly shooting the drunken college student in the street, was indicted this week on a murder charge.

Raymond Lemes was released Thursday from Bexar County Jail after posting $75,000 bond. Lemes was arrested a day earlier, after a Bexar County grand jury decided he should be put on trial for the Aug. 4, 2007, death of Tracy Glass.

Lemes told authorities he shot Glass after the 19-year-old turned and lunged at him as he was fleeing. He'd been trying to detain the intruder until police arrived, he said.

Lemes indicated at the time of the shooting that he was protecting himself, but prosecutors said Thursday they sought the indictment because he shot the unarmed man five times after Glass already had fled the house without any of the homeowner's belongings.

“Initially, I think (police) had been viewing it as a justifiable shooting,” District Attorney Susan Reed said.

Reed said police in December referred the case to her office so that prosecutors could review and consider presenting it to a grand jury for prosecution.

After that, she said, her office took time to visit the scene and conduct its own investigation.

“We wanted to give a full picture to the grand jury,” she said. “We wanted to make sure they had everything possible.”

Reed said Lemes was invited to speak before the grand jury, but never responded.

Attorneys for Lemes didn't return repeated calls Thursday seeking comment. Relatives at the house where the shooting occurred also declined to comment Thursday about the indictment.

Authorities said that after waking to his wife's screams and grabbing his .40-caliber handgun, Lemes found the Angelo State University student crouched beside his couch at about 2:45 that Saturday morning, according to a 2007 Bexar County medical examiner's investigation report.

But prosecutors Thursday said their investigation revealed Lemes and Glass didn't encounter each other until the young man already had run from the house.

“It wasn't like there was a confrontation or a struggle,” First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said. “Our investigation indicates he was high-tailing it out of the house with the homeowner in pursuit.”

After the shooting, Lemes placed his gun on the street and waited for police to arrive.

Texas law traditionally allows a homeowner to fire at an intruder if he believes it's the only way to protect his property, but prosecutors said Glass was empty-handed.

The only other way deadly force would have been justified, they say, is if Lemes reasonably believed his life was in jeopardy or he was in danger of suffering serious bodily injury.

An expanded version of the so-called Castle Doctrine wasn't in effect at the time of the shooting. This extended the rights of residents to protect their property, but Reed said it wouldn't have been relevant anyway.

“In this instance, the trespass had been terminated,” she said. “The guy's running down the street and away. There was no gun found. There was no indication of deadly force being used against the defendant.”

Glass' family members also couldn't be reached for comment Thursday. But they've maintained the shooting was a tragic mistake that resulted in the young man walking into Lemes' house that morning.

The teen had been staying with his sister at a home along Autumn Evening, a cul-de-sac that has backyards adjoining Autumn Star, the cul-de-sac on which Lemes lived. Both homes were located on the right side of the street, were painted similarly and had sliding-glass doors in similar positions.

Lemes' sliding-glass door had previously broken and was unlocked on the night of the incident, according to police reports of the incident.

Glass' parents filed a wrongful death suit against Lemes last year but dropped it in December after deciding little would be accomplished from it, Lubbock-based attorney Chad Inderman said Thursday.

“It was a difficult decision,” he said of abandoning civil proceedings. “I know (the arrest) is not going to bring their son back, but it may let them feel that that the justice system worked.”

Time to start!

I believe that our new Mayor, Julian Castro, is up to the task facing us.

These are tough, and in many ways, perilous times. He will be tested and I hope he meets the challenges we all face. he is bright and personable.

He has my support and hopes. Let him lead.

My advice mayor, stay focused and don't let them distract you.

National attention on Castro
By Elaine Ayala - Express-News

In 2005, Julián Castro was compared to Barack Obama.

Back then, a story in the Los Angeles Times described talk about Castro and his twin, state Rep. Joaquin Castro, as bordering “on breathless.” The story drew parallels between them and a young senator from Illinois who the year before had wowed crowds at the Democratic National Convention and was being sized up as a presidential candidate.

Then Castro lost his mayoral race against Phil Hardberger, and reality set in.

Now, four years later, expectations remain high for the 34-year-old new mayor, who won 56 percent of the vote in a crowded field. But they are balanced by the knowledge that Castro has a job to do.

As he sits down this week for his first full-fledged meeting with the rest of the new City Council, the buzz has picked up again, although this time it's tempered with moderation.

Everything from here on out, Hispanic political scientists and others say, depends on performance.

Castro is still seen as a rising star among an emerging generation of Latino leaders. He's the beneficiary of Hispanic politicos, some legendary, who plowed the road before him. But unlike them, Castro enjoys a comfort level and broader acceptance among diverse constituencies.

His rise to lead the seventh-largest city in the U.S. is being celebrated and analyzed, and his future is being discussed in similar ways to that of former mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros. Cisneros himself sees Castro's future as limitless.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte was in Puerto Rico recently for a conference on immunizations with about 80 Hispanic and African American lawmakers. In between sessions, politicians from all over the U.S. had the same question: How's your new mayor doing?

“I haven't seen this kind of excitement over a Latino since Henry Cisneros,” Van de Putte said. “It's that type of buzz.”

Van de Putte, who was co-chairwoman of the last Democratic National Convention and has higher political aspirations of her own, describes Castro as a well-credentialed politician “who walks well” among various groups.

Castro holds membership in a small class that includes Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Albuquerque, N.M., Mayor Martin Chávez; Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz and state Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, whom Texas Monthly magazine named “Rookie of the Year” in 2005.

The same youthful enthusiasm that elected Obama has paved the way for a new generation of young, well-educated ethnic candidates with broad appeal, said Luis Fraga, political science professor at the University of Washington. But, he said, “when I look around the country, I don't see that many.”

There's Cory Booker, the young African-American mayor of Newark, N.J., and a handful of others.

“I see Julián along those lines,” Fraga said. “There aren't very many young leaders who have attained this level of responsibility.”

According to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, there are 5,670 Latino elected officials in the U.S., including 250 mayors. Of the mayors, only 10 serve cities with populations of at least 150,000.

Though it's too soon to assess, Latino political scientists and Hispanic officeholders say Castro could tap into the same energy that elected Obama.

Fraga, who taught both Castro brothers at Stanford, said, “He and his brother represent a new generation of leader who is not afraid of the corporate world and the business community.”

“He's a lot like President Obama,” Cisneros said. “He starts from a humanitarian perspective with great understanding of populist public issues.” But, the former mayor added, “He is an inclusive humanitarian with a pragmatic sense of how you make the system respond.”

While Castro didn't have to overcome as much prejudice as Cisneros in getting to the mayor's office in 1981, Cisneros said Castro confronts other dilemmas.

“I faced a city that had not elected a Latino mayor since Juan Seguín, or right after the fall of the Alamo,” Cisneros said. “My job when I came to office was to persuade the city I could be the mayor of all the city.”

In 2009, San Antonio is much more comfortable with its “multicultural reality,” Cisneros said. Castro also benefits in that Hispanics have held key posts, including county judge, university president, archbishop and president of the University of Texas Health Science Center, among others.

“There's much less of what might be called racial antagonism, racial skepticism or doubt,” Cisneros said. Cultural background is seen as a virtue.

What Castro does face is a bad economy, in spite of San Antonio having fared well in it. While promising to increase the city's police force by 100, with the help of federal stimulus dollars, Castro also faces big decisions on whether to invest in more nuclear power, the transformation of HemisFair Park and toughening City Hall's ethics, among other issues — all while balancing a budget, addressing deficits, and keeping taxes down and service levels steady.

Van de Putte said Castro will “be tested in a way that Phil Hardberger wasn't.”

During crucial times, “real leadership appears,” Fraga said. “It will be interesting to see what style he uses to justify cuts and retrenchment the city will have to make. There are few good role models that he can learn from.”

Fraga predicts Castro's pragmatic nature will pay off. “He's not at risk of overextending himself. He's just a doer. He wants to get things done.”

Cisneros said Castro has to concentrate on the now. “I would say to him, as I did to Antonio Villaraigosa when I sat down with him before he assumed the mayorship of Los Angeles, that you have to just focus on this great opportunity that is before you. Because if you do a good job in this, other things will be possible.”

Cisneros advises Castro to pinpoint what he wants to accomplish. “The key discipline, I believe, that divides those who are successful from those who are not, is the ability to have a plan, test it, coalesce people around it, stick to it and deliver on it.”

“The nature of any public office, but particularly mayor of San Antonio, is that you're drinking water from a fire hydrant,” Cisneros said. “The volume is more than you can address.”

Castro vows to stay focused, and he plans to remain “as close to home as possible.” But he is expected to have a speaking role at NALEO's conference in Los Angeles this week.

To whatever degree there is state and national discussion about him, the mayor is grateful “to the extent that it raises San Antonio's profile.”

“But only if I do a good job here does any of that matter,” he said. “I'm certainly appreciative, but my focus is on San Antonio.”

Louis DeSipio, associate professor of political science at the University of California-Irvine, said Castro has the potential to go far. He needs to “do well at what he was elected to do. The danger with younger candidates is to move too quickly. Look at Mayor Villaraigosa. He got a little ahead of himself.”

Hardberger, not one to splash water on optimism, offers a straightforward wait-and-see assessment.

“He's got youth on his side, and eight years to prove himself,” he said. “His performance will have to be proved.”