Four people who police say were members of a black supremacist cult pleaded guilty this week in Durham County Superior Court to conspiring to murder a 28-year-old woman and 5-year-old boy in 2011.
Vania Rae Sisk, 27, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and accessory after the fact of first-degree murder, assistant prosecutor Roger Echols said Thursday.
Sisk was sentenced to two consecutive sentences that range between 15 and nearly 19 years in prison.
Echols, who prosecuted the case along with co-prosecutor Dale Morrill, said the sentencing took into consideration the age of the youngest victim, Jadon Higganbothan, and that the murder of the second victim, Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, was “conducted to conceal the murder of Jadon.”
“She was trying to escape (the cult) and was murdered because they feared she would tell someone what had happened,” Echols said.
LaRhonda Renee Smith, 28, pleaded guilty Thursday to second degree murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder and accessory after the fact of murder. She was sentenced to two consecutive sentences that range between 11 and 15 years in prison.
JACKSON, Miss. — Law enforcement agents on Wednesday afternoon confirmed that the body found near the Mississippi River in Coahoma County is that of Clarksdale mayoral candidate Marco McMillian, who had been missing since early Tuesday.
The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department made the announcement at a news conference.
The body was found around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday near the levee between Sherard and Rena Lara.
A person of interest has been taken into custody, but sheriff’s officials didn’t provide the name or where the person is being held. The Clarion Ledger reported that authorities have identified the person as Lawrence Reed, 22, of Clarksdale.
Charges haven’t been filed.
As NPR’s Cheryl Corley reported on Morning Edition, 15-year-old Hadiya “was an honor roll student, a volleyball player … and a majorette with the King College Prep band.” She and her bandmates had traveled east earlier this month to take part in the Presidential Inauguration Heritage Music Festival — a competition for bands from around the nation that was held near Washington. ABC News says the band also performed “during an inaugural brunch event at Howard University” in Washington.
The Chicago Sun-Times adds that Hadiya and others in the band also “attended the president’s inauguration” presumably along with the hundreds of thousands of others who packed Washington’s National Mall.
Tuesday, Hadiya was among a group of teens gathered in a park when someone opened fire. She was shot once in the back, Cheryl reports, and later died. Two other students were wounded. Chicago police think the shooter may have thought the young people were part of a rival gang — though there’s no indication any of the kids were in a gang.
It’s always the same. Somewhere in the United States a heavily armed, mentally disturbed male, kills a group of innocents. Twenty children and seven adults most recently. National grief, commotion and indignation follow, plus furious debate on gun control. Then nothing. Until a similar tragedy happens again and the cycle repeats itself. It looks like this time it will be different and hopefully, some reforms may be adopted.
This, however, does not happen in the most murderous region of the world: Latin America. There most people seem resigned to coexisting with murder: too many groups and too many leaders have lost the ability to imagine a reality where homicide is not part of daily life. Some 42 percent of the murders in the world happen in Latin America, though only eight percent of humanity lives there. The homicide rate in the US is five times lower than Latin America’s average.
The war in Afghanistan has claimed a total 3,238 allied lives. This is about the number of murders in Brazil every month. Last month’s conflict between Palestinians and Israelis produced approximately the same number of fatalities as a “hot” weekend in Caracas. The probability of being shot dead as you walk on any street in Baghdad is lower than that of dying on any street in Guatemala. Worldwide, the murder rates have declined slightly, or not risen much. But in Latin America they are soaring. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have the highest homicides rates in the world, closely followed by those of other countries in the region. In 2011 in Brazil, 112 people per day were killed; in Mexico, 71 per day.
What explains Latin Americans’ propensity to murder?
Police have exhumed the bodies of the two killers who were the subject of author Truman Capote’s greatest work, the ‘nonfiction novel,’ In Cold Blood. According to CNN, DNA evidence may tie Richard Hickock and Perry Smith to another mass murder, half a continent away from the site of their original crime.
In 1965, Smith and Hickock were put to death by hanging for the murder of farmer Herbert Clutter, his wife and two of their four children, a crime that took place on the night of November 15, 1959. After the killings, the two men stole a car and fled to Florida, where it in now believed that they killed another family.
With some 19,336 murders last year, Caracas has become one of the western hemisphere’s most violent cities and one particular criminology expert had a front row seat the other day, experiencing the overwhelming insecurity first-hand when robbers stuck a gun in his face as he rode home on the bus.
“Several men came onto the bus with guns,” said the expert, a professor at a major Caracas university, who did not want his name used for fear of violent reprisal. “They took everyone’s money. It wasn’t rich people riding on the bus - it was poor people trying to get home from work,” he told Al Jazeera.
With an average of 53 murders per day in 2011, according to the Venezuelan Observatory on Violence, a watch-dog group, the country has a murder rate of about 67 per 100,000 inhabitants. Neighbouring Colombia, in contrast, has a murder rate of 38 per 100,000 while Mexico - where some regions are gripped by deadly drug violence - has a rate of about 15 per 100,000.
Long a scourge of urban Latin America, it is unclear why violent crime has become so bad in Venezuela. In the Americas, only El Salvador and Honduras have higher murder rates, according to data released by the United Nations in late 2011.
Germany’s domestic intelligence service destroyed files on neo-Nazis linked to the terror gang which claimed the murders of ten people - on the day the killings were traced to them, it has emerged. The interior minister has demanded an explanation.
Hans-Peter Friedrich said on Thursday he had personally called the president of the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution and told him to tell him what had happened.
The office destroyed at least four files on its informants within a neo-Nazi group which had strong links to the terror group.
Operation Rennsteig used eight informers to infiltrate the Thuringia neo-Nazi group the Thüringer Heimatschutz - from which the neo-Nazi terrorists emerged. The informant operation ran from 1997 until 2003.
The gang, which called itself the National Socialist Underground, killed nine immigrant shop owners, eight Turkish and one Greek, and a policewoman in a murder spree over nearly 13 years.
The head of a polygamous sect who killed a 4-year-old boy because he thought the child was gay has pleaded guilty to murder and will testify against others who were arrested as accessories.
Peter Lucas Moses, 27, the leader of a group that reportedly subscribed to Black Hebrew beliefs, pleaded guilty Monday in North Carolina to the 2010 murders of Jadan Higganbothan, 4 (some sources list him as 5 or 6), and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 27. Moses faces two life sentences but will avoid the death penalty because he will testify against his mother, brother and sister.
Moses led a group of women and children who called him “Lord,” authorities have said. They all lived together in a home in southeast Durham. A woman who left the group told police that Moses had killed Higganbothan because he thought the child was gay and believed he had touched one of his own sons inappropriately. Higgenbothan allegedly slapped Moses’ son on the bottom.
Turkey has ordered the Syrian charge d’affaires and other diplomats at the Syrian embassy in Ankara to leave the country within 72 hours over the recent killing of civilians in Syria.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the order was made Wednesday.
It says: “It is out of the question to remain silent and without any reaction in the face of this action which amounts to a crime against humanity.”
Klaas Carel Faber, one of the world’s most-wanted Nazi war criminals, has died at age 90 after decades of living free in Germany, which rejected repeated attempts to extradite him to face prison for murder and collaboration.
Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany in 1952 after being convicted of war crimes, died Thursday in Ingolstadt, his wife, Jacoba, said Saturday.
Faber — whom the Simon Wiesenthal Center last year placed at No. 3 on its list of most-wanted Nazi criminals — was convicted in 1947 of involvement in 22 murders and for aiding the Netherlands’ Nazi occupiers during World War II. He was sentenced to death, but that was later commuted to life in prison.
In 1952, he escaped from prison and fled to Germany. He obtained German citizenship in 1954, and that saved him from at least four attempts to extradite him over the decades.
In the most recent attempt, German authorities refused a request last year from the Netherlands. In January, Ingolstadt Prosecutor Helmut Walter said he had filed a motion to have Faber serve his sentence in a German prison. But Faber was free at the time of his death.