Saturday, October 31, 2009

Would You Like Fries To Go With That?

An 18 year old Killeen man is jailed for his part in the armed robbery of a Killeen fast food restraunt.
A 911 caller reported the robbery at about 11 p.m. Monday.

Employees told officers that three armed males entered the restaurant, and that one, who was wearing a ski mask and black clothing with a red bandana, went to the cash register and demanded money.

The other two, who were wearing hats and bandanas, watched the other employees.

Then the three fled in a silver vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

The next night, an officer pulled over a silver 2007 Chrysler 300 for a traffic violation.

The officer arrested the driver for not having a driver’s license and a female juvenile on an unrelated charge, police said.

Investigators determined that the vehicle was the one used in the Sonic robbery and identified the driver as a suspect, police said. Source: KWTX.com

Sounds like some good sound police work went into this one. I am sure Killeen Police are working on arresting the other two suspects as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Recent Court Actions

Bell County District judges meted out justice this week to several felons.
Judge Joe Carroll of the 27th District Court sentenced Jeremy Michael King, 29, on Thursday, for the 2004 offense.

At 10 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2004, police were dispatched to Boston's Restaurant in Killeen on the report of a disturbance. There, they found Brandon Arvizu, unresponsive and bleeding from his ears and the back of his head, according to the arrest affidavit.

Witnesses said they saw King approach Arvizu, who was not involved in an altercation, and hit him with a pool cue on his head hard enough to break the cue.

EMS transported Arvizu to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center where he was found to have a fractured skull.

A witness contacted police and told them that on the night of the assault he overheard King make phone calls and tell family members that he had "just hit a dude over the head with a pool stick."

Carroll also sentenced King to two years in state jail, to be served concurrently with the first sentence, for theft of more than $1,500 but less than $20,000. King was found to have stolen food and a food scale on Aug. 22, 2007. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Also sentenced were a couple of dopers and another assaulter. Hit the link for details.

Another Arrest In School Burglary

Killeen Police made a third arrest in a recent burglary of a Killeen elementary school.
Bryce Randolph Thornton, 20, confessed to Killeen police that he helped Jonathan Milo Perrault, 19, and Roberto Rene Luna, 18, steal laptops from Peebles Elementary, an arrest affidavit stated.

The confession came when police interviewed Thornton after he was arrested on charges of evading arrest and criminal trespass.

Thornton fled from police Wednesday when he was confronted about trying to gain illegal entry to a property, according to an arrest affidavit. The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. in the 1900 block of Elkins Street.

Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke arraigned Thornton Thursday on a charge of burglary of a building. His bond was set at $60,000. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

As hard as it is for schools to get funding for equipment, this should piss people off. If they are found guilty I hope they get hammered by the judge.

Killeen PD Community Forum

While Killeen Police's are striving to gain community involvement, the communities' response was somewhat lackluster this week.
Past forums drew anywhere from 10 to 30 residents with complaints, concerns and occasional compliments. About 10 attended Thursday's forum at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Residents can speak with civic and community leaders at the forums, hosted by the Killeen Police Department.

Few residents took the opportunity to attend, and only four voiced concerns.

One of those was Councilwoman JoAnn Purser, speaking as a property manager of Bentina rentals. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

You can't fault KPD for trying. Community apathy is likely going to be hard to remedy.

More On Found Human Remains

The Bell County Sheriff's Department released more information on human remains found near Stillhouse Lake recently.
Sheriff Dan Smith told News 10 the remains are those of a white male, who was approximately 35 to 60 years old.

Smith did not indicate whether forensic scientists found evidence of foul play or injury.

Hikers found the remains on Oct. 21 in a remote area near the Stillhouse Hollow Dam.

The remains included a human skull. Source: KWTX.com

Someone out there knows who this person is. If you have information you can report it anonymously via the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Thirty Years For Murderer

A Louisiana man was sentenced to thirty years in Federal prison for stabbing his ex-spouse to death on the Fort Hood military reservation.
Lair, 36, pleaded guilty on Sept. 4 to stabbing Shameka Nicole Jones to death in June, just 11 days after the couple divorced.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith sentenced Lair to 365 months in prison, plus five additional years on supervised release, ordered Lair to pay a $5,000 fine and ordered a $100 special assessment to be paid to the court.

District court records indicate Lair went to his ex-wife's home at Fort Hood in the early-morning hours of June 22, the couple argued, and Lair picked up a knife and stabbed Jones once in the chest.

Military police and medical personnel found Jones alive but bleeding severely. Scoure: KWTX.com

Now the kids have lost both their mom and their dad. Sad.

Recent Indictments

The Bell County Grand Jury returned a few indictments this week, including one I covered earlier this week regarding a child abuse death. Also indicted were a Belton woman who shot her husband and a Killeen robbery suspect. For details, hit the link here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More On The Serial Rapist

Investigators working a serial rapist have asked for the FBI's help. They are also having a community forum to provide the public with information about the attacks.

Investigators hope the profile will uncover more details about a man who they know little about other than who and what he targets. On Monday, a public forum will be conducted in the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville to ask people to watch out for elderly women and to put to rest rumors, Leon County Chief Deputy Brent Walter said.

Investigators from Bell, Falls, Lavaca and Leon counties are developing a victim questionnaire to coordinate reports for the profile. Thus far, victims have provided scant and contradictory descriptions of the attacker because he strikes inside dark homes at night.

The attacker targets elderly women living in a specific type of home, Walter said. The attacks happened in older-style brick homes with well-kept lawns. Walter believes the suspect targets these homes because the people who live in them appear to have more money. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This story finally seems to be gaining traction. Attention to this should help people protect themselves and may even help to catch this rapist.

Guilty Verdict

A Killeen man on trial for the brutal beating and rape of a prostitute has been found guilty.
On Wednesday, Jamaal Larome Green was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony punishable with up to 99 years in prison. His punishment hearing is set for Nov. 24.

Green's trial, held in Judge Fancy Jezek's 426th District Court, lasted three days, which included testimony by the victim and the defendant.

During the jury's 9½ hours of deliberations, jurors sent out several notes in attempts to confirm the time police found the victim after the attack. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The trial has been going on all week. Jade Ortega at the Killeen Daily Herald has done a great job covering this lurid trial. We don't see enough detailed stories like this around here.

More Charges For Alledged Abuser

A Killeen man jailed for injuries that are believed to have caused the death of his infant son has been indicted for additional charges relating to abuse of the child.
Haggerty is charged with third-degree injury to a child due to healing rib fractures found on his son, Isaiah, during his autopsy. Isaiah was taken to Metroplex Hospital in Killeen on April 18 when police responded to a call that an infant had stopped breathing. He was transferred to Scott & White Hospital in Temple; where he died after arriving.

Dr. David Hardy of Scott & White Hospital reported to police that the 4-month-old had fractures he called "sub-acute" (healing within four to 21 days of infliction) and "highly suspicious for injury inflicted at this age."

Haggerty is charged, according to the indictment, for "knowingly causing bodily injury … by squeezing or crushing the said Isaiah Haggerty on or about the chest."

"This is an additional case, just for the broken ribs that occurred at a different time than the head injury that killed him," First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said.

The date of the additional offense is listed as April 13 on the indictment.

Haggerty is already charged with first-degree injury to a child due to severe brain trauma sustained by Isaiah that doctors believe caused his death. Isaiah also had retinal hemorrhaging and bruising on his legs. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The child's mother is also jailed for her part in this sad case.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Testimony In Killeen Rape Trial

The Killeen Daily Herald continued their coverage of the trial of a defendant accused of the brutal rape and beating of a prostitute.
Jamaal Larome Green, 26, testified in Judge Fancy Jezek's 426th District Court that he had consensual sex with the victim in exchange for money in the early morning of April 9. He said he then left her at an apartment complex on Root Avenue, far from the Zip Cleaners parking lot on Gilmer Street where she said he beat, dragged and raped her.

The last time he saw the 53-year-old woman, Green said, was about 3:15 a.m. and she had no bruises and was not bleeding.

On Monday, the victim described being repeatedly slammed face-first into asphalt and raped over several hours after a failed attempt at sex for money.
The victim said Green, the married father of four children under 9, paid her $20 for sex, but he experienced impotence until after she left his car and he attacked her. She said she returned his money, but he continued to beat her.

Killeen police officer Todd Mallow told the court Monday about the pools of blood and bloody drag trails he found in the cleaners parking lot the morning of the incident.

On Tuesday, the prosecution showed pictures taken by examiners at Scott & White Hospital that depict the unrecognizable victim, whose eyes were too swollen to open. The woman had deep purple bruising on her entire face, had large bruises and abrasions on her knees and elbows, and a gash across the bridge of her nose. She had a large section of skin missing from her forearm, and her white-blond hair appeared brown with blood.

Police officer Karl Ortiz said he visited the victim, who he called a known prostitute, six days after the attack.

"She looked real bad," he said. "Much different."

Prosecuting attorney Kara Schneible showed the jury pictures of the victim's genital area, which was lacerated and covered in gravel and debris.

The DNA collected from the victim matched her own DNA and Green's DNA. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen Police did good work on this one. Cases involving prostitutes are notoriously hard to investigate and prosecute.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HHPD Officers Honored

A couple of Harker Heights PD Officers were honored by the Killeen Exchange Club recently.
Odom presented the 2007-08 and the 2008-09 police officer of the year awards.

Sonja Clay was the recipient of the 2007-08 award.

She is a tenacious officer who is willing to train other officers, Odom said.

During 2007, Clay responded to an EMS call with the fire department about a woman who was sick, Odom said. The woman refused to go to the hospital, but Clay continued to visit the woman and later convinced the woman to go to the hospital. It was because of this hospital trip that the woman is still alive today.

"The reason she is alive today is because she told me no, and I don't like to hear no." Clay said as she received her plaque for the award.

Odom announced Officer Jack Wallace was the recipient of the 2008-09 award.

Wallace is a night patrol officer, who also works on the Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Odom said. He is also works on training his fellow officers.

Wallace thanked his wife for understanding the hard hours, he said. "It is very easy to work when you work with good people, so this award is just not for me but the entire department." Wallace added. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Congratulations to those honored.

Rape Trial Testimony

The Killeen Daily Herald has a good article on the trial of a Killeen man accused in the brutal rape and beating of a prostitute.


The photos showed a 53-year-old woman lying in the fetal position on the ground. She was wrapped in a blanket, her platinum hair deep brown with blood.

The photos, taken by a police officer, were shown in the trial of a Killeen man accused of brutally beating and raping a woman in Killeen in April 2008. Testimony continues at 9 a.m. today.

The defendant, Jamaal Larome Green, 26, of Killeen, watched as the victim took the witness stand Monday in Judge Fancy Jezek's 426th District Court and described a night that began as a prostitution transaction. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The article details some of the testimony from the trial. Hit the link to read it.

See, It Happened Like This

A Killeen man's story about being victimized went south when officers followed a blood trail to the real source of the man's injury.


With blood gushing from his leg, Stanley Leavis Lovett, 41, called 911 and paramedics responded to the 300 block of East Veterans Memorial Boulevard around 2:30 a.m. Oct. 20. Lovett told police he was stabbed, according to a Killeen police news release.

A Killeen officer followed Lovett's blood trail to a burglary scene. Police suspect Lovett injured himself when he kicked in the front glass at Big Bang Custom Paint and Body at 303 E. VMB.

The blood trail guided police to a Dumpster, where Lovett apparently ditched two laptops stolen from the body shop, according to an arrest affidavit.

Paramedics rushed Lovett by helicopter to Scott & White Hospital in Temple after they determined he suffered a from a life-threatening injury. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This suspected burglar nearly lost his life for a few hundred dollars worth of property. I have a feeling the County has a place for him to convalesce.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Serial Rapist Story Picking Up Steam

Stories about the serial rapist of elderly women in the east Bell County area is starting to get some media attention. Here's a story from News 8 Austin.
Recent sexual assaults and attacks on at least seven elderly women in Texas have residents and law enforcement on high alert.

The first attack was reported in January and is among a string of attacks in women over the age of 60 who live alone in rural areas.

Two of the crimes happened in Bell County, one in the town of Zabcikville.

Zabcikville was a laid back small country town with no worries.

"Used to leave the door unlocked. Now you can't," resident, Charlie Begesse, said. Source: News 8 Austin

Hit the link for the rest of the article.

Serial Rapist Strikes Again?

An elderly Leon County woman may have avoided becoming another victim of a serial rapist who has terrorized elderly women in east Bell County, Milam and Leon Counties lately.


The 80-year-old victim woke up just before 5 a.m. Saturday, to find a man in her bedroom in her home in Centerville off of Cass Street.

She was able to grab her handgun.

The suspect grabbed the woman but she was able to escape to outside where she fired shots to alert neighbors.

The robber made off with several firearms, valuable items and cash before Leon County sheriff's deputies arrived.

This was the eighth report of such a home invasion.

Five elderly Central Texas women and two others in South Texas have been targeted in similar attacks involving robbery and sexual assault.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that all eight attacks are linked. Source: KWTX.com

I think this guy probably came close to getting capped this time. Hopefully there won't be a next time but if there is maybe the victim will succeed in shooting him.

Arrest In Temple Robbery

Temple Police made one arrest and are looking for two others in the robbery of a couple in Temple.


Two Temple residents, a husband and wife, ages 52 and 42, were walking through a neighborhood in the 1000 block of W. Avenue M when two black males approached them with a gun.

Those two men ran away with an undisclosed amoung of cash and prescription drugs.

One woman, Nicole Marie Hollowell, 26, was arrested and charged with robbery connected to the incident.

Her bond is set at $35,000.

Police are still looking for the two men involved in the robbery. Source: KWTX.com

There seems to be a lot more of this stuff making the news from Temple as of late.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Step - 16 Study The Journey To Crime

We've been looking at the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. In this post we'll cover Step - 16 Study The Journey To Crime . I must admit I'm kind of on the fence about this step. Essentially the authors are saying that people generally travel in or occupy three areas, their home, their work and their place of recreation. They also theorize that the crimes they commit are ordinarily in an area that intersects these areas or the routes between them.
The concept of activity spaces is central to crime pattern theory, which was developed by the Canadian environmental criminologists Pat and Paul Brantingham (see figure). They use the concept to describe how offenders find targets in the course of their daily routines. Starting with a triangle, they consider offenders going from home to work to recreation. Around each of these three nodes and along each of these three paths (excepting a buffer zone where they might be recognized) offenders look around for crime opportunities. They may find these a little way off the path, but they usually do not go far beyond the area they know. This is because it is easier to commit crimes in the course of their daily routine than by making a special journey to do so. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
My problem with this is that I think it's kind of over generalizing. It'd be kind of like saying criminals will only commit crimes where they are located at the time the crime is committed. You get the idea from the article that criminals operating areas are small and adjacent to where they live, work or play. However, in the city where I work, we see burglars who are very mobile and traveling throughout the city to various residential neighborhoods to commit burglaries. While juvenile burglars who lack access to vehicles may only prowl their own neighborhoods, the older burglars in vehicles will often prowl large swaths of the city looking for suitable targets.

For this theory to be relevant in most mid-sized American cities, you may need to open up your idea about criminal's operational area. I work for a city with a population of around 100,000 that covers an area of about 54 square miles. There is a smaller neighboring city that shares a common border with ours while the other sizable cities in our county are about 10 to 20 miles away. If we think of our burglars area of operation as our city and maybe even the adjacent city, the author's theory probably holds water. The cities 10-20 miles away are usually not in our crooks area of operation. Several of the quotes in Step 16, attribute a very short average distance journey to crime such as 1 to 2 miles though one example has a parenthetical caveat that states:
In most U.S. studies the journeys might be a little longer because of lower population densities and greater access to vehicles. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
None of this is to say that Step 16 is irrelevant, in fact there are quite a number of good points made about the study of the Journey To Crime. I do think that the article gives the idea by implication that a criminal's area of operation is much smaller than it probably is in real life.

Next, time we'll cover Step 17 - Know How Hot Spots Develop.

Oh Great, Just What We Need

An Oklahoma man facing child porn charges in Enid, OK is now living in Killeen.
A former Enid man was arraigned Thursday on a charge of possession of child pornography.

Michael Simon, 18, who told the court he now lives in Killeen, Texas, faces up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted of the crime.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Enid Police Department detectives received a list of “Worst IP” addresses July 7 from the Wyoming Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force database.

The IP address was identified as sharing three files suspected of being child pornography 52 times over the past 30 days.

On July 8, police found the IP address was sharing two possible files of child pornography on a program called Frosty or Frost Wire. One of the files was a video of a prepubescent girl being raped. The file name stated the girl was “2yo,” or 2 years old. The other video shows two possibly underage females having sex with a man.
...
Simon is free on $10,000 bond and was ordered to return to court Dec. 7 for a bond appearance. Source: EnidNews.com

The story in the Enid News and Eagle is pretty detailed. Hit the link for the whole thing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Will She Get Detention For This?

A local PTA president has been arrested after being accused of stealing from a Killeen elementary school PTA treasury after $14,000 came up missing.
Davila was president of the school’s PTA in 2008.

The missing money was discovered during an audit earlier this year and in early September the results were forwarded to Killeen police.

The arrest comes less than a year after the PTA president at Trimmier Elementary School was arrested.

She was charged with embezzling more than $6,000. Source: KWTX.com

If she's found guilty an appropriate punishment might include writing on the black board "I will not steal from the PTA." 14,000 times in addition to any other punishment the judge might meet out.

Police Find Shooting Victim

Killeen Police are investigating the circumstances behind a man found shot at a Killeen apartment complex on Grandon Avenue.
A Killeen police officer was alerted to the shooting while on routine patrol. According to Killeen police, the officer was flagged down by a neighbor, who reported a man with injuries in the parking lot. The officer approached the man to find him shot multiple times. His injuries were non-life threatening, police said.

Police were seen canvassing the area for witnesses. They could not confirm if they had a suspect and would not comment on motive behind the shooting. Source: KXXV.com

I'm sure there is a totally innocent reason for you to be shot multiple times.

Wheezy Got Indicted

A Killeen man was indicted for robbery this week.
In the early morning hours of July 26, a Killeen man was sleeping in his truck when three men woke him by banging on it, according to the arrest affidavit. They pulled him out, he told police, and pointed a gun at him, threw him to the ground and drove off in his truck with his wallet and cell phone.

Witnesses told police that a person called "Wheezy," Baity's street name, was involved.

Baity was arrested the same day on outstanding warrants for walking on the wrong side of the street, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said.

At the Killeen City Jail, Baity's property was inventoried, and he was found to have the victim's cell phone. The victim also identified him in a photo lineup. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The Herald story mentions the fact that Wheezy was arrested for Walking On The Wrong Side of the street prior to being charged with Robbery. I don't know what the point of mentioning this in the story is but here's a probable explanation of what happened.

Police often make what are called "pretext stops". A pretext stop works like this: An officer has information that a certain location or person is involved in criminal activity, in our hypothetical example here let's use a crack house. The officer believes this person may have just purchased drugs at this known crack house. He waits until the person leaves the crack house and if he sees the person make a traffic violation or some other violation he will stop that person. If the person has a warrant or the officer develops probable cause to arrest for this violation he may make an arrest and use the search incident to that arrest to locate evidence of the other suspected offense of drug possession. The officer then can charge the person with this other offense.

The courts have upheld the legitimacy of pretext stops for quite some time. It may seem unusual for police to stop persons for very minor traffic violations but it is a good tool for proactive law enforcement if used correctly. The lesson here is, if you have committed a crime and have evidence of that crime in your possession, it's probably a good idea not to commit another crime if you don't want the evidence to be discovered.

Law Officers Meet On Serial Rapist

The investigation into a series of rapes of elderly women in East Bell County, Falls and Milam County seems to be gaining momentum.
Five of the attacks happened in Central Texas and two more similar attacks happened in Lavaca County in South Texas.
Discount Floors Superstore

The most recent was earlier this month in Falls County, where an 80-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a man who forced his way into her home just outside of Marlin.

The investigators didn’t disclose any specifics about what came out of the two hour closed-door meeting Wednesday, but did say that some cases have similarities that suggest they could be looking for a serial rapist who targets elderly women. Source: KWTX.com

I think this is the first news story that says specifically that law enforcement suspects this to be the work of a serial rapist.

The Texas Rangers are good at breaking down barriers to communications among different agencies. It's not that different agencies usually want to shut other agencies out, but that they at times get near sighted with their own investigation and fail to look outside their own case. It's similar to criticisms made after 9/11 where intelligence agencies were faulted for not sharing information.

Recent Indictments

The Bell County Grand Jury issued a number of indictments this week, including this winner:
Kephart was arrested earlier this year after the girl told investigators that in October 2008, he picked her up at school and took her to his house where he fondled her, according to the affidavit.
Discount Floors Superstore

Kephart admitted to an investigator that he knew the girl, who’s now 16, but denied any sexual contact, the affidavit said.

Kephart took photographs of the girl that match those on her MySpace page to a tattoo artist, the affidavit said.

It took five hours to tattoo the girl’s image on his chest, the affidavit said.

He told the tattoo artist the picture was one of a girl he loved, the affidavit said.

Kephart remains in the Bell County Jail. Source: KWTX.com

I'm sure he'll have a hard time coming up with an innocent explanation of my he got that tattoo.

The Grand Jury also indicted folks for drug violations, robbery and aggravated assault. Hit the link for details.

Human Remains Found

The Bell County Sheriff's Office is investigating skeletal human remains found near Stillhouse Lake.
On Sunday morning hikers found the skeleton near the dam area, but the Bell County Sheriff’s Department did not release any information until late Wednesday afternoon.

Not many details are known at this point.

An investigator says there are several missing persons cases in the county right now. Source: KCENDT.com

It will be interesting to see where this case goes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recent Court Actions

Bell County courts sentenced robbers, dopers, child molesters and burglars in recent court actions. For all the gory details you can hit the link.

Don't Pay Your Child Support, Go To Jail

The Texas Attorney General's Office partnered with Bell County Constables to round up 27 child support scofflaws in a weekend sweep.
The joint operation with the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division focused on parents wanted for not paying court-ordered child support.

"Parents have a moral and legal obligation to make regular child support payments," Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday.

The parents were arrested on civil warrants and face as much as six months in jail for contempt of court for failure to make the payments, Abbott said.

If the parents post cash, bonds, the money goes to custodial parents who are owed child support. Source: KWTX.com

This is a long way from the way it was years ago with lax to no enforcement of child support laws.

Monday, October 19, 2009

These Guys Are Real Brave

Two men robbed a wheelchair bound veteran and left him lying in the roadway.
Officers found the disabled veteran at about 9:20 p.m., lying near the roadway in the 100 block of South 3rd Street.

The would-be robbers, who escaped empty handed, were last seen running south on South 3rd.

The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Scott & White Hospital where he was treated for abrasions and a bump on the head.

He was later released and was recovering Monday at his residence at the VA Center in Temple, police said.

The men police are seeking are both black, in their early 20s and are both about 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11.

They were both wearing dark clothing. Source: KWTX.com

Nothing like robbing the weak to make you feel like a real bad OG.

Arson Murder Arrest

The Killeen Fire Marshall has announced an arrest in a fatal 2007 fire.
Lito Totoy Beltran was in Bell County Jail on $500,000 bond after his arrest in Harker Heights on a warrant secured by investigators Friday, Chism said.

According to previous Herald reports, Will Dunivan, 19, died in February 2008 after being transferred to the burn unit at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Dunivan had burns over 95 percent of his body. He had been sharing the home in the 200 block of Reece Creek Road in Killeen with four other men in their late teens, Joe Phillips, Matt Duffy, Joe Hill and Audie Taylor.

Phillips, Duffy and Hill were at home at the time of the blaze but escaped with lesser injuries. A dog in the house woke one of the men with his barking before dying in the fire. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

KFD did some good work with this one. Arson usually has a notoriously low clearance rate.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Good Pop

Killeen Police hit a home run earlier this week with a drug bust that netted five arrests and about 140 pounds of marihuana. KPD released the names of those arrested and announced they would be facing federal drug trafficking charges.
The five appeared Friday before a U.S. magistrate in Waco

Tyrone Pinkett, 24, of Killeen was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and under 200 pounds.

Gary Jones, 20, of Killeen, Kedrick Blacknell, 25, of Killeen, Ray Abel, 33 of Temple and Latyoa Bell, 22, of Fort Hood were charged with possession of marijuana over four ounces and under five pounds and possession of marijuana over five pounds and under 50 pounds. Source: KWTX.com

They're liable to do more time if they're convicted in the federal system then they would if they were charged under Texas law.

He Was Doing What?

I'm still not sure exactly what the heck happened here. While I'd like to think it was just a poorly worded story, more than likely it was the complete jug-cluster that many family violence incidents are.

In this case a Rogers man was arrested for allegedly raping his estranged spouse.
The victim told investigators a man broke into her house on July 4 and was asleep in the bedroom when she got home.

She said she, her mother and her children slept in the living area of the home to stay away from him, but said that later in the evening, the man grabbed her wrist as she slept and pulled her into the bedroom, according to the arrest affidavit.

She told the investigator she struggled in an attempt to get away, but said he pushed her down on the bed and assaulted her, the affidavit said. Source: KWTX.com

I'm not exactly sure why she didn't leave, call for help, etc. when she found her ex sleeping in her house. I'm sure that given the benefit of hindsight she probably realizes she could have avoiding becoming a victim by taking one of those steps.

Often times, victims' choices contribute to their own victimization. We have to make sure we provide them with the information to make good choices even though they won't always do so.

Step 15 - Know What Kind of Problem You Have

In this post in our journey through the 60 steps outlined in the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're up to Step 15 - Know What Kind of Problem You Have.

One of the main focuses of this book is to use the principles taught here to solve specific crime problems in your jurisdiction. While many jurisdictions are unique, often times the problems in your jurisdiction is not. In this step, the authors help you to define your problem into one of two basic categories, Environment or Behavior and then to sub-classify it further into more specific categories. The purpose for this is to help you determine if there are similar problems that may have already been solved.
This classification scheme can help you precisely define the problem. It helps separate superficially similar problems that are really distinct. It also allows you to compare your problem to similar problems that have already been addressed, and it helps identify important features for examination. For example, an extensive set of guides to addressing common problems are available from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing websites (Step 19). Knowing the type of problem you are investigating can help you identify guides that might be helpful, even if they do not directly address your problem. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
If someone else has successfully solved a similar problem, why reinvent the wheel in trying to solve yours? The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing website has a wealth of materials that may give you insights or directions in dealing with your problem. The authors list 11 different environments and 6 types of behaviors. Rather than "reinvent the wheel" I encourage you to hit the link to the original article and look at the different categories.

Next time, we'll look at Step - 16 Study The Journey To Crime.

More On The East Bell County Rapist

The Temple Daily Telegram published a story about an apparent serial rapist who has been targeting elderly women in east Bell County, Falls and Leon Counties.
The Bell County sheriff's office contacted a Ranger on Wednesday, after learning a woman in her late 70s was attacked in her home outside of Marlin early Saturday morning.

In the event of another attack, investigators hope Texas Rangers can help law enforcement agencies get in touch with each other sooner.

Investigator James Lewing said the Bell County sheriff's office did not learn about the Marlin attack until Wednesday.

The details in the Marlin area attack are similar to two home invasion incidents in the Zabcikville area in August and September.

The woman lived near Texas 7 between Marlin and Kosse. In Bell County, the women attacked lived in a rural area near Texas 53.

"We're looking at it," Lewing said about the Saturday incident. "It's being considered, but there are no definite links."

The details in the cases are similar to four other home invasions this year in Lavaca and Leon counties. In Leon County a 77-year-old woman was raped in July and an 80-year-old woman in September.

Authorities say DNA evidence linked at least one of the Lavaca County attacks with a Leon County attack. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

There's an interesting quote in the article that says:
Bell County investigators have been careful with the information released through the sheriff's office because there are indications that the person involved in the crimes here desires publicity and there is a concern that giving it to him could cause him to strike again, Lewing said.

"We don't want to feed this person," he said. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

That's kind of an odd theory. Many times serial offenders who want publicity will send communications to the media to further that end. The double edged sword with this idea is that lack of publicity may prevent future victims from being informed enough to take preventative measures to protect themselves or for the public to be aware enough to report suspicious activity that might lead to this guy's arrest.

Agencies also have to be careful that they don't give the appearance of "keeping it quiet" to avoid "bad press" or unrelenting public pressure to solve the crimes.

Killeen CrimeStoppers will pay cash for information leading to an arrest in this or any other area crime. You can provide information anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Boutique Police Agencies"

NPR has an interesting story about the proliferation of police agencies in Texas.
Texas has more than 73,000 sworn peace officers — roughly one for every 330 people.

In fact, Texas has so many police officers, some lawmakers are worried there are too many.

Among the many entities in Texas that have their own peace officers is the State Board of Dental Examiners. But you won't generally hear these officers saying "Stop, put your hands up! Dental police!" Source: NPR.org

The story is a good read and brings up a valid point, why are there so many bizarre police agencies in Texas? I'd encourage you to hit the link and read or listen to the story on the NPR site.

The proliferation of boutique police agencies has raised the concern of the Texas Municipal Police Association. Their lobbyist, Tom Gaylor, worries that specialized police forces aren't ready for prime time.

"What kind of resources does that agency have?" Gaylor asks. "Where are they going to take an arrested person? What type of backup availability is there? One of the biggest concerns we have is what type of communication do they have between that agency and other agencies nearby?"Source: NPR.org

This may end up getting some traction since TMPA is starting to question the practice.

Indictments In Killeen Murder

Two men were indicted by the Bell County Grand Jury for their roles in a shooting death at a Killeen residence.
On Aug. 7, police responded to a call about a shooting at a Killeen residence. They found a vehicle outside the house with a corpse in the back seat. The body, which had an obvious injury to the head, was identified as Dan Smith Jr. by a driver's license found nearby.

The vehicle belonged to Jared Bottorff, 22, who was at the residence with Phillip James Thomas, 23. Bottorff told police he shot the victim with a .410 shotgun, according to First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe.

Thomas told police that after Smith was shot, he and Bottorff moved the body into the vehicle, according to the arrest affidavit.

"He was helping Bottorff dispose of the body," Bledsoe said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This one will be an interesting case to watch.

Another Rape

In the latest attack in a series of sexual assaults of elderly women in the east Bell County / Falls County an 80 year old woman was victimized in her home near Marlin.
The attack happened Saturday, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
Discount Floors Superstore

The attacker took several items from the home on Highway 7 East after the sexual assault, the sheriff’s office said.

The victim was taken to the hospital by private vehicle.

The Bell County Sheriff's Office is investigating several similar attacks. Source: KWTX.com

This series of rapes has been occurring over the past few months.

KPD Makes Big Bust

A Killeen Police drug bust netted over one hundred pounds of marijuana and cash as well as several arrests.
The Organized Crime Section of the Killeen Police Department made a "high risk" traffic stop on three vehicles in the 1100 block of South Fort Hood Street.

Police arrested a 24-year-old Killeen resident and charged him with possession of a fire arm by a felon and possession marijuana over 50 pounts under 200 pounds.

The remaining four suspects, a 20-year-old Killeen man, a 22-year-old Fort Hood woman, a 33-year-old Temple man and a 25-year-old Killeen man were arrested. Their charges range from possession of mariguana over 4 ounces/under five pounds and possession of Marijuana over 5 pounds and under 50 pounds.

The operation continued later Thursday night in Copperas Cove with the help of Cove police and the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force. The combined police force raided a house in the 300 block of Janelle where they seized 117 pounds of Marijuana, a .40 caliber handgun and $10,500. Source: KXXV.com

This is a pretty good sized seizure for this area.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Burned Body Identified

The body of a woman found in a burned out home south of Killeen was finally identified as that of a missing Killeen woman.
The Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed Tuesday that the body discovered at the scene was that of Tabitha Lynn Crawford, 23, of Killeen, a Bell County Sheriff's Office news release stated.

The institute performed a DNA test on the body and compared it to a sample taken from the victim's mother, the release stated.

The DNA was sent to the institute in late March, after the body was discovered and Killeen police received reports that Crawford had been missing.

The results of this DNA test definitely can't hurt the Sheriff's Office's investigation, Sheriff's Investigator James Lewing said.

"We now know we are talking about the right person," Lewing said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I hope this will help BCSO determine what happened. I'm sure her family would like to know.

Progress on KPD's New HQ

Killeen PD's new police station is coming along nicely.
Construction on the new Killeen police headquarters is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year, barring delays caused by more wet weather.

After completion, city officials and designers will review the project's "punch list" to fix any errors and damaged portions before the keys are handed over to the police.

The department will move into the building anywhere from three to five months after the construction is finished, Baldwin projected at a committee meeting Tuesday. Once completed, furniture will be installed and evidence and records will be transferred before officers occupy the building. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen PD has been in their current facility for quite some time. It is my understanding that some offices in the current building used to be storage closets. It's probably about time for a new building.

Killeen Shooting

A Killeen man was shot in an early morning shooting Tuesday.
Four black males in a white Honda opened fire on the victim as he drove south on Saddleridge Drive near Chips Drive, according to a news release. The victim was driving with three men in a Red Mazda 626 around the corner approaching a trailer park when the shots were fired.

Killeen police responded to the call first after a report that a shooting victim was on his way to Metroplex Hospital at 12:44 a.m. An officer followed the Mazda to Metroplex, where the officer found the Mazda had bullet holes in the side and shattered glass. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The victim survived and is in the hospital with his injuries.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Step 14 - Use the CHEERS Test When Defining Problems

In today's post about Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're going to cover Step 14 - Use the CHEERS Test When Defining Problems. The CHEERS test refers to an acronym that will help you to understand a crime problem you need to analyze. The authors describe CHEERS this way:
A problem is a recurring set of related harmful events in a community that members of the public expect the police to address. This definition draws attention to the six required elements of a problem: Community; Harm; Expectation; Events; Recurring; and Similarity. These elements are captured by the acronym CHEERS. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
The article goes on to more fully describe each element. I would encourage you to hit the link back to the original article and explore them. It is also important to understand that everything police are called upon to deal with is not a problem suitable for the Problem Oriented Policing (POP) approach. The authors indicate there are six questions that need to be answered in the affirmative, if the answer to anyone of them is "No" then it may not be a "problem" even though your agency may need to deal with it. These questions are:
  • Who in the community is affected by the problem?
  • What are the harms created by the problem?
  • What are the expectations for the police response?
  • What types of events contribute to the problem?
  • How often do these events recur?
  • How are the events similar? Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
The Problem Oriented Policing strategy is only suitable for situations with certain elements. For instance, it would be nearly impossible to apply this approach to a single event such as a barricaded gunman call. For most agencies thankfully, these types of events are pretty rare. Because they are so rare they fail the Recurrence test. While your agency is going to have to respond, a full blown POP strategy will in no way help you to deal with it.

Additionally, you don't want to define an area with multiple problems as one problem. For example a blighted neighborhood is not suitable for POP strategy. The component problems that make up the blighted neighborhood may be suitable for a POP approach, but if you try to lump them all together as one big problem your strategy won't be successful.

The authors also stress that Status Conditions such as homelessness or truancy are not problems. Based on experience with my agency I can almost guarantee you that citizens in your community are going to turn to your agency to "fix" the problem. However, homelessness in and of itself is not suitable for POP strategy. If the condition was defined a little less broadly such as "homeless persons squatting in abandoned buildings on X street" then this may be more suitable for POP.

Next time we'll cover Step 15 - Know What Kind of Problem You Have.

Monday, October 12, 2009

KPD Crime Numbers A Mixed Bag

Killeen Police released year to date crime stats showing crime down in some areas and up in others.
Nonviolent crime is up a little in third-quarter statistics compared with the same period last year, but violent crime, except for rape, has taken a nosedive, according to the department figures.

"The violent crime rate is down 20.80 percent compared with the same period last year, which is certainly good news for Killeen," Baldwin said in the release. "These results could not be possible without the efforts of the community, mayor and city council, city manager and the dedicated men and women of the Killeen Police Department.

"Overall, we are winning the battle against crime. However, we are not where we need to be, so we must keep our focus and not tolerate crime in our city."

One area for improvement is nonviolent crime, such as burglaries.

"The nonviolent crime rate is up by 5.50 percent, which is heavily influenced by larcenies," Baldwin said. "The economy can impact this particular crime trend in some communities, and it appears to be doing so in Killeen."

Baldwin urged citizens to report suspicious activity to the police and to "take extra steps to make it more difficult for a thief to steal your property." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

With only one quarter left for the year we'll see if they hold on to their gains at the end of the year. Police departments report crimes based on calendar year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

When One's Not Enough

As if one meth lab wasn't enough, a pair of alleged tweakers appear to be responsible for more than one meth lab in Harker Heights.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffery Manske arraigned Chance Biels, 24, of Harker Heights, and Lindsey Wilson, 22, of Harker Heights, on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine. They were arraigned Thursday, according a police department news release.

Investigators from the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force arrested the two in a hotel in the 400 block of East Veterans Memorial Boulevard on Wednesday after police discovered a methamphetamine lab in 2300 block of Fuller Lane.

Officials believe Biels and Wilson were in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine in the hotel room at the time of their arrest, the release stated. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

How'd you like to be the person who later rents the hotel room that's now a hazmat site?

Local Court Actions

A couple of burglars and a forger were sentenced in Bell County court actions this week. While one of the burglars was sentenced to prison by one judge the other got this:
Trudo also sentenced Denzel Edwards, 19, of Killeen to five years deferred adjudication for burglary of a habitation on March 4. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Deferred adjudication works like this, should the person sentenced successfully complete probation, the conviction is wiped off their record.

Mom Of The Year

A Copperas Cove woman who tried to cover for her boyfriend who had been allegedly raping her seven year old daughter was arrested.
Deputies received a report on Sept. 16 that a 7-year-old child had been assaulted, but the caller refused to give her name or the name of the alleged assailant.

Investigators soon identified the caller as Alicia Renee Farr, of Copperas Cove.

Farr was brought in for interview, but refused to cooperate, authorities said.

A subsequent interview revealed she had made the initial report; that the victim was her daughter and the alleged assailant was her boyfriend, Rene Garcia, also of Copperas Cove.

Farr was arrested and charged with endangering a child. Her bond was set at $10,000.

Garcia is the subject of a manhunt.

Farr told investigators she walked into her daughter’s bedroom in the middle of the night on September 16 and found a man in bed with her, assaulting her. Source: KWTX.com

The incidence of children abused by "momma's boyfriend" is staggering. Most studies have shown that the most common abuser of children either sexually or physically is the mother's boyfriend who is not the child's parent.

ATM Bandits Get Fed Time

One of a pair of men that were burglarizing ATM's all over the Central Texas area was sentenced to federal prison.
John Michael Aguilar, 22, and Kendall Adam Suto, 19, were arrested in connection with a series of ATM burglaries in Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Lampasas and Florence.

Aguilar was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison, assessed three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $14,905.53 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, according to the U.S. District Clerk.

Suto has not yet had his day in court. Source: KWTX.com

18 months doesn't sound like much but at least in the fed system he'll do a lot closer to what he's been sentenced to than he would in state court. At one time prisoners in TDCJ served 29 days for every year they were sentenced.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Would've Been Easier To Find A New Sitter

In what must be one of the stupider reasons to commit a felony two soldiers were indicted by the Bell County Grand Jury for burglary after a dispute over babysitting fees escalated.
The soldiers, Denise Watkins, 26, and Jayna Jardae Johnson, also known as Jayna Jardae Sharp-Johnson, 21, of Killeen, are charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit assault, a second-degree felony.

On July 8, officers responding to a disturbance in the 800 block of North 46th Street found Diane Skotzke with a ripped shirt and a black eye. Skotzke said she was baby-sitting Watkins' child, which she said she had many done times, and had a discussion via text messaging with Watkins about payment.

"Skotzke felt like she was owed money," First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said.

Someone was sent to pick up Watkins' child, and Skotzke was sitting on her couch when her door was kicked in. Johnson came inside, followed by Watkins, according to the arrest affidavit.

According to statements given by Skotzke, Johnson kicked and hit her while Watkins laughed and encouraged her to continue. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If law enforcement does not convince you of the total depravity of man, nothing will.

Meth Lab Bust

Harker Heights Police and the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force bust a meth lab in a wooded area adjacent to a residential neighborhood.
The Task Force, HHPD, the Harker Heights Fire Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration all investigated a methamphetamine lab on Army Corps of Engineers property at Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The lab was about 150 yards from the tree line, which divides the Corps property and homes, in a heavily wooded area.

"Basically, it was a small cooking operation. Everything looked fresh, and it hadn't been abandoned for long. The call said there were individuals in the woods, but we haven't found anyone," Johnson said at the scene Wednesday.

Investigators from the Task Force followed some leads, which led them to the two individuals at the hotel.

While investigating, area residents told the Task Force about some other suspicious activity at a home in the 2200 block of Fuller Lane, and the house was searched. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

West Bell County has been pretty fortunate that the scourge of meth labs hasn't been as prevalent here as it has in other areas. The chemicals used in meth labs are very hazardous and require expensive clean up operations to mitigate the hazards. Hopefully, this is not the start of a larger trend for the area.

The DEA guidelines for clandestine meth lab clean up are an interesting read and highlight the difficulty of dealing with clan labs. You can find them here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

National Night Out Block Party Wrap Up

Last night was National Night Out. The Killeen Daily Herald has a good article on National Night Out block parties in Killeen.
Threats of thunderstorms proved to be only conjecture. Instead the thunderstorms waited and clouds brought a cool breeze over 32 anti-crime block parties across Killeen. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Hit the link to read the whole story.

Murder By Starvation

A Temple woman was convicted in the bizarre starvation death of her elderly mother.
The original arrest affidavit issued in May 2008, said Hoelscher denied medical care to her mother, Nell Lorine Hoelscher, who died in 2008.

Temple Police were dispatched to Nell Hoelscher's home after Katrina Hoelscher called to report her mother's death.

An autopsy showed that the elderly woman had been neglected and starved to death.

The charge against Katrina Hoelscher was upgraded to murder. Source: KWTX.com

While there have been a number of recent cases in the news of parents starving their children, this is one of the only cases I've heard of where a child starved their parent.

The sad part is the incidence of elder abuse is likely much higher than what is reported. Years of media attention finally brought child abuse out from the shadows. Hopefully, society can be educated on elder abuse as well. DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime has a page with a collection of elder abuse resources.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Step 13 - Expect Diffusion of Benefits

Our journey through the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers continues with Step 13 - Expect Diffusion of Benefits. Diffusion is the opposite of Displacement in this context. An example of diffusion of benefits from the city where I work deals with Red Light Cameras.

The cameras were installed at a small number of intersections. They capture images of people running red lights and then the owners of the vehicles caught running the lights are assessed a civil penalty. During the time the cameras have been in operation, the total number of accidents throughout the city has declined even at intersections with no photo red light cameras. One plausible explanation is that the increased public awareness of the enforcement effort has led drivers to modify their behaviors citywide and not just at the few intersections with cameras.

The authors of Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers also list a number of other examples of diffusion of benefits. They theorize that diffusion takes place for this reason:
It seems that potential offenders may be aware that new prevention measures have been introduced, but they are often unsure of their precise scope. They may believe the measures have been implemented more widely than they really have, and that the effort needed to commit crime, or the risks incurred, have been increased for a wider range of places, times, or targets than really is the case. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
This explanation goes back to the cost/benefit ratio of Rational Choice theory that we talked about in my last post. If the benefit to the offender does not outweigh the cost (risk or effort) the offender will likely modify their behavior until the benefit outweighs the cost.

One way to enhance diffusion of benefits is to heavily promote your crime initiative as widely as possible. We all know that in many cases, perception is more important than reality. If the public perceives that the cost of committing a crime is greater than the benefits to be obtained they will be less likely to make that choice to commit the crime. However, once they learn that the cost is less, then the benefit is more attractive to them.
This may mean that ways will have to be found of keeping offenders guessing about the precise levels of threat, or about how much extra effort is needed if they are to continue with crime. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
Next time we'll examine Step 14 - Use the CHEERS Test When Defining Problems.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Who's Laughing Now?

Killeen Police made a second arrest in a recent school burglary.
Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke arraigned Roberto Rene Luna, 18, also known as Joker, on Friday on a charge of burglary of a building. Cooke set his bond at $75,000.

Luna was the second person to be arrested in the Sept. 7 Peebles Elementary School burglary case.

Killeen police also arrested Jonathan Milo Perrault, 19, on Sept. 21, after he turned himself in.

Perrault said, "The CrimeStoppers and the media attention was making it too difficult to hide out," according to a Killeen Police Department news release. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

And just think, someone out there likely made some money by dropping the dime on these two by calling CrimeStoppers. Killeen CrimeStoppers will pay cash for tips on local crimes. You can report this anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Killeen Murderer Sentenced

A Killeen man got 30 years for his part in a Killeen murder last year.
The victim was found lying in a field in the 300 block of North 14th Street in Killeen in April. The 28-year-old was alive, but suffering a head wound when officers found him. He died a week later at Scott & White hospital.

A woman associated with the case also faces murder charges; Dannece Shawnta Jenkins was identified during the investigation and a warrant issued for her arrest. She was found in South Carolina and brought back to Texas to face charges. Source: KXXV.com

And the wheels of justice roll on.

More Weekend Fun

A Fort Hood soldier was arrested for shooting a man at a Harker Heights nightclub.
Lewis Hall, 33, was shot in the arm about 1:30 a.m. Saturday at the Spin Club at 206 W. Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Heights, a Harker Heights Police Department news release stated.

A Fort Hood soldier, Lee Edward Logue, 23, was charged with aggravated assault in the incident, and Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke set bond at $100,000. It could not be determined Sunday night whether bond had been posted. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This kind of nonsense makes you understand why your momma said "Nothing good happens after midnight."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Step 12 - Don't Be Discouraged By The Displacement Doomsters

Every workplace has them, those people who always see the glass as half empty as opposed to half full. In this step in our journey through Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers, we'll tackle the naysayers in Step 12 - Don't Be Discouraged By The Displacement Doomsters.

You've probably heard the argument before, if you work to reduce the opportunity to commit a particular type of crime, "all you are going to do is move it to another place". In fact you can substitute 'other place' with another time, another crime, etc. All these are types of displacement. In fact the authors, state there are five types of displacement:
  1. Crime is moved from one place to another (geographical).
  2. Crime is moved from one time to another (temporal).
  3. Crime is directed away from one target to another (target).
  4. One method of committing crime replaces another (tactical).
  5. One kind of crime is substituted for another (crime type). Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
The problem with this is that it isn't always true. Even if it was, can we afford to give up on trying to reduce crime due to the fear that the crimes will move to another neighborhood, or another time? In any case, displacement naysayers assume that all offenders "compelled to commit crime, whatever impediments they face". But this isn't always the case if it were, no criminal would ever go straight and in spite of our often jaded perceptions, there are many who do give up their criminal ways.
This does not mean that we can ignore displacement. Indeed, rational choice theory predicts that offenders will displace when the benefits for doing so outweigh the costs. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
When we work on solutions to persistent crime problems, we should factor this Rational Choice Theory Cost/Benefit ratio into our study of the problem. The good thing for us is that as a whole criminals are lazy. This probably is the reason they are a crook in the first place. It probably doesn't take that much to make the cost outweigh the benefit.
Displacement is usually limited because offenders have difficulty adapting quickly. If they do make changes they are most likely to change to places, times, targets, methods, and crime types that are similar to those the prevention program blocks because these are the easiest changes for them to make. This suggests that displacement can be predicted by anticipating the easiest changes for offenders to make. If there are obvious easy changes, then you should consider how to incorporate these in your prevention plan. And if you cannot include them, then you should consider monitoring them to detect possible displacement. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
Next time we'll look at Step 13 - Expect Diffusion of Benefits.

Rapist Found Guilty

A Killeen man was found guilty of raping and assaulting a mentally disabled man and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The jury who found him guilty deliberated for a whopping 19 minutes before returning the verdict.
When he took the stand before the jury that decided his sentence, Mendoza maintained that sex with the victim was consensual and that he never cut him with a knife.

The defense said throughout the trial that the altercation began when the juvenile refused to give the victim crack cocaine for sex.

"It could have been real bad, I agree," defense attorney Rusty Carroll said. "But it wasn't. What we have here is a business disagreement between (the juvenile) and (the victim)."

The prosecution told jurors they should find Mendoza guilty of aggravated sexual assault because the victim has the cognitive level of an 8- to 10-year-old and therefore was unable to give consent, or because force and violence were used to coerce him.

"Either way you slice it, this event happened without consent," prosecuting attorney Shelly Strimple said.

"Look at his face. Look at his body," she said, showing the jury pictures of the victim after his attack. "Does it look like consent?" Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I posted yesterday about the unusual move of putting the defendant on the stand to testify in his own defense. This and the overwhelming evidence against him likely led to the speedy jury verdict. Of course you can argue that the defendant's explanation only dug himself a deeper whole.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You See, It Was Like This...

In a pretty unusual move, the defendant in a sexual assault trial took the stand in his defense. The result of this testimony is the reason defense attorney's generally don't allow their defendants to open their big mouths.
On the third day of his trial, Mendoza, 20, told Judge Fancy Jezek's 426th District Court about his relationship with the victim. Mendoza said he and the victim, a 21-year-old man with an IQ of 57, were friends, and that Mendoza gave him crack cocaine in exchange for oral sex on several occasions.

Mendoza is charged with aggravated sexual assault for an incident on Dec. 7. The victim alleges on that day Mendoza and a juvenile broke into his Killeen home and forced him to perform sexual acts. They also beat him with their fists, a mop pole and a belt, the victim said, and cut his face and leg with a knife.
...
An acquaintance of Mendoza's family also testified on behalf of the state that the defendant's mother attempted to pay him $40 to "tell lies," in a statement, he said Wednesday, through an interpreter.

"If I were to say lies here, she'd give me more," Miguel Medina said.

The prosecution also accused the defendant's mother, Melinda Magallanes, of instructing Mendoza to tell the court that he only hit the victim with his hands.

"You've had a lot of time to talk about the case, haven't you?" prosecuting attorney Shelly Strimple asked Magallanes.

Strimple asked Mendoza if he realized that phone calls made in jail are recorded.

"No," Mendoza said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

As has been the case for all the posts I have made on this trial, there is a lot more sordid details in the story. Hit the link to read it.

Carjacking Suspect Indicted

A Killeen man was indicted for a carjacking at the Killeen Wal-Mart.
A Bell County grand jury indicted Ronndrick Goodwin, 19, of Killeen, with the first-degree felony, which is punishable by five to 99 years in prison.

On Aug. 13, an officer responded to a call to the Killeen Wal-Mart parking lot, where a man said he had been robbed.

The victim said two men pulled him out of his car at gunpoint and one hit him with the butt of the gun, grazing his face and neck, according to the arrest affidavit. Both left in his vehicle, a white Suzuki, and his phone and wallet were still inside, he told police.

A few hours later, officers located the vehicle at the intersection of Alan Kent and Nadine drives in Killeen.

Police found a semiautomatic pistol on the floor of the passenger side and a BB gun belonging to the victim on the passenger seat, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said. Goodwin was the driver, according to the arrest affidavit. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Now starts the long slog through the court system.