Posts Tagged ‘Sensationalism’

The widow of an Illinois police lieutenant who tried to portray his suicide as a murder was indicted this week on 6 counts of participating in her husband’s stealing of charitable funds.  Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, is the wife of Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, who killed himself last year.  Officials allege that her husband staged his suicide to appear as if he was killed in the line of duty pursuing three suspects.  The case prompted a massive manhunt until authorities realized it was a scam.

Mrs. Gliniewicz was charged with money laundering and paying personal expenses with funds from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post that was headed by her late husband for over 25 years.  She held a “fiduciary role as an adult adviser” with the group, which encouraged young girls and boys to explore careers in law enforcement and the military.

The misappropriated funds were taken between 2008 and 2015 and were used for personal expenses including Starbucks, movie tickets, Dunkin’ Donuts, and vacations.  The list includes over 400 restaurant charges, according to authorities.

Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorneys asserted her innocence and said she is a victim of her late husband’s deception.

“Melodie has suffered greatly over the past few months and continues to move her family forward after the emotionally traumatizing events of September 1, 2015,” when her husband killed himself, said the law firm Kelleher & Buckley, “Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her. Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in court…”

Lt. Gliniewicz was deemed a hero killed in the line of duty and the case reached national attention as a manhunt was instituted to find the officer’s murderers.  But, then authorities discovered that he was worried about being sent to jail for misuse of funds and that’s why he staged his death to appear a hero instead of a thief.

His death was a meticulously crafted plan. (more…)

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  • TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY, readers of the Washington Post woke to the manifesto of the Unabomber, Read the Washington Posts’ Today in History article:  How Publishing a 35,000 Word Manifesto Led to the Unabomber.
  • A jury has recommended the death penalty for anti-Semitic shooter Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74 for the April 2014 murders of 3 people.  Miller repeatedly admitted to the shootings.  Miller’s victims were William Corporan, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, who were at the Jewish Community Center for an event and Terri LaManno, 53, who was visiting her mother at the Village Shalom retirement center.  None of the victims were Jewish, but there was no question that Miller’s anti-Semitism was the motive for the shootings.  His official sentencing is set for November 10th when the judge will decide whether to follow the jury’s recommendation.  Miller, a Vietnam War veteran, and founder of the Carolina KKK, and White Patriot Party, gave a Nazi salute after the jury returned their recommendation.  He represented himself at trial and at times gave rambling bigoted diatribes against others.  It is unlikely that Miller will be executed given the fact that a doctor testified he only has 5 – 6 years to live.   [NBC]
  • Judge David Lowy has ordered that prosecutor’s experts be allowed to interview state employees who were in contact with Philip Chism in the months after his arrest.  Lowy said that by using a defense of mental illness (at least for now) has waived protections that would normally apply to discussions between teens and counselors.  Chism, now 16, is charged with the Oct. 2013 rape, robbery, and murder of his teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, inside of a Danvers High School bathroom.  Prosecutors successfully argued that counselors at the Department of Youth Services Metropolitan Detention Center did not give Chism actual treatment, they typically are available to help children adjust to state custody.  Meanwhile, the court and lawyers have been heavily discussing media coverage particularly the interest in “live streaming” the proceedings.  The judge said he isn’t concerned with local media or print media, but is concerned about bloggers and other journalists. [Gloucester Times]
  • Joey Meek, 21, the friend of accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, has been charged with lying to authorities.  He has pled not guilty.  Roof spent time with the Bible study group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church before massacring 9 of them.  Roof, 21, is currently facing the possibly of a death sentence if convicted.  Roof has expressed interest in pleading guilty in exchange for a life without parole sentence, but prosecutors in recent high profile capital cases have turned down these offers.  Meek originally told the media and authorities that he didn’t take his friend’s threats seriously, but prosecutors allege that “Meek’s statements and representations denying [knowing] specifics [is] fictitious and fraudulent…”  He is also charged with failing to notify authorities of the shooting before it happened.  Meek told the media that his friend wanted to start a “race war”.  Hate crimes in places of worship have gone down since 2008, but remain at about 200 incidents a year according to the Hate Crime Statistics report published by the FBI.  In addition, 65% of hate crimes are committed against African Americans or are categorized as “anti-Black”.  Meek faces 8 years if convicted.  Read the Indictments against Meek here and here.  [CNNThe State,  YahooThe Post and Courier, NPR]
  • The man accused of killing University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham in 2014 has now been charged with the abduction and murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington.  Jesse Matthew, 33, is charged with 1st degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in the 2009 disappearance of Harrington.  Harrington, 20, vanished after attending a Metallica concert at the UVA campus.  Her body was found 3 months later.  Matthew, was a patient technician at the UVA medical center and a former taxi driver.  Matthew is already facing 3 life terms after he pled no contest to the 2005 abduction, sexual assault, and attempted murder of a woman in Fairfax.  Federal law enforcement revealed that DNA recovered from the Harrington case was linked to the 2005 assault and a then unknown perpetrator.  After Matthew was arrested for the murder of Hannah Graham, his DNA sample was taken and matched both the Harrington and 2005 cases.  His trial for Graham’s murder will begin in July of 2016.  [NBC]
  • Three more people have been charged in the abduction and murders of the Lyon sisters in 1975.  All 3 defendants are related to Richard Welch, who is a person of interest in the murders.  Gladys Stangee, Welch’s sister, Amy Johnson, his granddaughter, and Leslie Engleking, his brother-in-law, have all been charged with impeding the investigation.  Lloyd Michael Welch, a convicted sex offender, is Richard’s nephew and is accused of killing 12-year-old Sheila and 10-year-old Catherine.  Their remains have never been found.  [Fox5DC]
  • Fanatisicm over the Jodi Arias trial led to a violent assault at a Talaricos Bar and Restaurant in California.  Arias was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing her ex-boyfriend in a sensationalized trial.  Roman Benninghoven-Salado approached a man standing outside of the restaurant and started a conversation about the trial.  Roman got angry about comments made by the victim, pushed him to the ground, and struck him multiple times with his fists and feet.  The victim sustained a facial fracture and multiple lacerations.  Police are searching for Benninghoven-Salado.  [FOX13]

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that Jodi Arias, 34, who is serving a life without parole sentence for the murder of Travis Alexander, must pay $32,000 in restitution to Alexander’s siblings for their travel expenses to attend the trial.  It is possible for Arias, if allowed or offered as each prison’s policies and programs are different, to obtain a job while in prison that will pay just a few cents to a few dollars a day.

However, there are questions about donations that supporters, trial watchers, and others gave to the family specifically to pay for these expenses, including lodging.  Others donated to promote the legacy of Travis Alexander and for discretionary spending.

The family had asked for about $96,000.  Most of the siblings lived in California, the trial took place in Arizona.

Jennifer Willmott, one of Arias’ defense attorneys during the trial, reviewed the receipts submitted by the family to come to the amount awarded.  Willmott requested that the family disclose the amount of donations received by supporters.  The family declined to publicly reveal the amount.

The family did not attend any restitution proceedings.  Sky Hughes, described as a family friend, told HLN in the summer of 2013 after Arias was convicted, but before she was sentenced that the Alexander siblings have been able to use donated money to pay for their expenses during the trial.

“Any money left over after travel and trial expenses are paid for, will go to pay for any counseling, medical needs and other needs that will help the Alexander family,” said Hughes, “All funds donated to the Travis Alexander Legacy Fund are the property of the Alexander family, and are to be used by the Alexander Family as they deem appropriate.”

Judge Sherry Stephens awarded Samantha Alexander $15,530.73, Tanisha Sorenson $10,754.99, Hilary Wilcox $4,232.11, Stephen Alexander $1,372, and Dennis Alexander $225.60.

Arias and Alexander were in an on-again-off-again toxic relationship, that some have said bordered on abusive, which culminated in Alexander’s death.  Alexander was found dead in the shower of his Mesa, AZ home in the summer of 2008.  Arias was convicted of 1st degree murder in 2013 in a very sensationalized circus of a trial that made celebrities out of Arias and the prosecutor Juan Martinez.  The original jury could not agree on an appropriate sentence, so a second jury was impaneled in October of 2014.  They also could not agree on an appropriate sentence.  Under Arizona law, prosecutors get two chances, if they so choose, to try to get a defendant who is charged with a capital crime the death penalty.  Judge Stephens opted to sentence Arias to natural life (life without the possibility of parole).