2 cops face sentencing for violating George Floyd's rights
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The last two former Minneapolis police officers to be sentenced for violating George Floyd's civil rights are scheduled to learn their penalties Wednesday, which could set in motion another round of plea deal discussions in state court over a killing that sparked a reckoning on racial injustice. J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd's civil rights in the 2020 slaying. The jury found they deprived the 46-year-old Black man of medical care and failed to stop Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 minutes while Floyd gasped for air.
Two men have been charged in two Tampa Bay-area cold-case murders based on DNA evidence that exonerated a death-row inmate.
Their indictments in the decades-old cases were announced Thursday.
Robert Duboise was wrongfully convicted of the capital murder of Barbara Grams, a 19-year-old who was raped and found beaten to death behind a dental office in Tampa in 1983.
He was released in August 2020 after DNA evidence was tested in the case, according to The Innocence Project, which represented him. © Florida State Attorney’s Office, 13th District Barbara Grams. (Florida State Attorney’s Office, 13th District)
A conviction review unit continued to investigate, and the DNA evidence identified Amos Robinson and Abraham Scott as suspects, according to the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office. The investigation also tied Scott and Robinson to another unsolved rape and murder from the same year, the prosecutor's office said.
Fact check: In Alabama, sentencing varies for illegal abortion, rape
Penalties for abortion and rape in Alabama depend on various factors such as the defendant's previous convictions, experts told USA TODAY.Some social media users are spreading an out-of-context comparison between penalties for unauthorized abortions and rape in the state.
Linda Lanson, a freelance photographer, was fatally shot in the head and dumped in the bushes by a highway in July 1983.
“These men are serial murderers and rapists, and although they’re already serving life sentences, their crimes against Barbara Grams and Linda Lanson cannot — and will not — go unpunished,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said.
Warren provided the update in the cases Thursday, despite being suspended from office by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier in the day. The governor said Warren’s refusal to enforce restrictions on abortion and gender-affirming therapy for minors showed Warren was neglecting his duty.
Warren said the two men conducted a “sinister spree of rape and murder” in the Tampa Bay area in 1983.
California court OKs death penalty in '80s sex slave murders
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction and death penalty for one of two men implicated in at least 11 notorious horrific torture-slayings in the mid-1980s in which the duo kept their victims hidden in a secret bunker in the Northern California woods. Thirty-seven years later, authorities are still trying to identify the remains of some of their victims. Charles Ng, now 61, was convicted in 1999 of killing six men, three women and two baby boys in 1984 and 1985. He was initially accused of 13 slayings — 12 in Calaveras County and one in San Francisco.
Robinson and Scott are already serving life sentences for the murder of a man who was kidnapped, beaten and run over with his own car in October 1983.
On Thursday, a grand jury indicted them in the rapes and murders of Grams and Lanson. Robinson was previously charged with a murder in 1991, but the case never went to trial due to a lack of evidence, Warren said.
It's unclear if the two men have retained attorneys in the rapes and murders of Lanson and Grams.
Lanson's niece, Linda Sheffield, thanked Warren and law enforcement for finding justice for her aunt, who she called a beautiful artist and photographer who was a "strong, determined, warm and wonderful woman."
"There are no words to describe what it is to go through 39 years of grief and not knowing what had happened," Sheffield said. "You know, I think at some point you stop and you forget about the criminals and you start to realize the void ... that is there for someone who helped you for so long."
Lanson's daughter declined to speak to reporters Thursday, but Warren read a statement on her behalf. She expressed gratitude to everyone involved for their diligence in working on her mother's cold case.
"For me, the loss of my beautiful mother will remain a waking nightmare," the statement said. "But I thank them for at least bringing me some closure."
Jurors see Florida school shooter's violent internet posts .
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jurors in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz saw evidence Wednesday of his growing obsession to commit a massacre, seeing internet posts and searches about mass killings in the months before he murdered 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In an emotionless monotone, Broward County sheriff’s Detective Nick Masters read hundreds of searches and comments Cruz made starting seven months before the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre as prosecutors try to prove he planned it.