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Tag: conviction

How a Single Hair Led to 39 Years in Prison on False Conviction, Faulty Science

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A single hair has put George Perrot behind bars for nearly 30 years.

Perrot, then 17, was tried and convicted of rape and burglary based on a piece of hair found on the bed sheet of a 78-year-old woman who had been raped, The Guardian reports.

There was no blood or semen. Just the hair.

An FBI agent named Wayne Oakes testified that he knew with certainty that the hair belonged to Perrot.

Trouble is, Oakes was wrong, and Perrot is still hoping for a retrial.

Oakes is among an elite FBI unit that gave faulty testimony in hair evidence cases for two decades, a discovery recently made public. The news is expected to spur retrials for many people.

 

Disgust, Fear Rattled Jurors Tasked with Deciding Fate of mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the four women and eight men tasked with deciding whether notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was guilty of murder and racketeering, life was not easy.

Sometimes the jurors shouted at each other; other times they felt disgusted with the sleazy witnesses.

The trial was so stressful that some even popped aspirin to soothe headaches, the Boston Globe reports after interviewing some jury members.

Juror Janet Uhlar, 56, of Eastham, said she was disgusted to hear that some witnesses were never jailed despite committing murders.

“It really broke my heart to see that happening, to see what our founding fathers laid down their lives for, the judicial system, corrupted like that,” Uhlar told the Globe.

The jury convicted Bulger on 31 of 32 counts Monday. He has not yet been sentenced.

Minneapolis Man Convicted of Sending Young Recruits to Somali Terrorist Group

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Minneapolis man accused of conspiring to send Americans to a terrorist group, al-Shabab, in Somalia was convicted on five terrorism-related counts Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Mahamud Said Omar, 46, faces up to life in prison for funding al-Shabab and sending young recruits to Somalia once they were indoctrinated in Minneapolis.

The AP said Omar is the first of others to stand trial in an investigation into the recruitment of more than 20 men living in Minnesota, which has a big Somali population.

The trial opened a window into how would-be terrorists were recruited and what happened once they reached Somalia.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Conviction for al Quaeda Operative Who Intentionally Crashed Car on U.S. Highway and Plotted NYC Subway Bombing

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Authorities called it one of the most serious terrorist plots against America since 9/11.

On Tuesday,  28-year-old Adis Medunjanin of Queens paid for that ambitious plot.

Medunjanin was convicted on terror charges on Tuesday in New York fed court after a 4-week trial exposed the depth of his plots with former high school classmates, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay.

In 2008, the three received training from al Qaeda in Waziristan, states a Justice Department press release, where they were advised to return to New York for a maximum impact suicide-bombing mission. The plotters planned to blow themselves up at rush hour in a Manhattan subway because, as Zazi testified, the transit system is “the heart of everything in New York City.”

However, the trio noticed they were being observed before they could carry out the plot. Zazi remembered telling his co-conspirators “I think law enforcement is on us. We are done.”

After the FBI searched Medunjanin’s apartment in 2010, he attempted to martyr himself by crashing his car on the Whitestone Expressway at high speed. Before doing so he called 9-1-1 and identified himself and shouted an al-Qaeda slogan:

“We love death more than you love your life.”

He faces up to  life imprisonment at his Sept 7 sentencing.

To read more click here.

 

3 Convictions for Violation of Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Fourteen years after its namesake’s murders, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is being used to hold three men accountable for hate-fueled violence in Houston.

Three defendants flush with white-supremacist tattoos were convicted Monday in Texas of hate crimes for the violent beating of an African-American man. The assault, which involved kicking and punching in the face, head and body, occurred while the victim waited for a bus in Houston in 2011, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Under Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, enacted in 2009, the assailants face up to 10 years in prison.

“We hope today’s convictions send a powerful public message,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris. “The Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a tool the FBI will use to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate crimes as felony offenses.”

To read more, click here.

Blago Defense Asks Judge to Dismiss his Conviction

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Just when you thought you’d get a break from some Rod Blagojevich news.

The latest: The Chicago Tribune reports that the ex-Illinois governor’s lawyers have asked the judge who presided over the trial to dismiss the one conviction for lying to the FBI.

The Tribune reports that the lawyers filed a motion claiming the conviction was the result of a “plethora of errors”. Blago was convicted on only one of 24 counts. The jury deadlocked on the remainder.

The defense claims prosecutors served up an overly complicated case that confused jurors, and the judge limited the defense during trial at every turn.

“To be sure, the burden was on the government and the defendant had no obligation to put on a case,” the defense motion said, according to the Tribune. “However, the defendant’s fundamental right to defend himself through cross-examination was stomped upon by obstructionist (and continuous) objections that were sustained by the Court.”