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▣ No-body murder prosecutor with five cases?!

posted by Admin on November 20th, 2014 at 5:21 AM

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Yes, according to this article on retiring Florida prosecutor Cass Catillo. He's going into the No-Body Murder Hall of Fame for sure......
Closing Their Files: Two Prominent, Long-Serving Prosecutors Retire
Aguero Was a 'Formidable Adversary'
Castillo Known As a Master of His Craft
ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY CASS CASTILLO retired from the State Attorney's Office a few weeks ago after a career there spanning 35 years.
ERNST PETERS | THE LEDGER
By Cody Dulaney
THE LEDGER
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 12:13 a.m.

BARTOW | Over the years, the murder convictions have stacked so high he hasn't been able to keep track of them all, but he said they never were something he liked to count.

He is known by many as a master of his craft, while some refer to him as "The Godfather," but after 35 years as a state prosecutor, Cass Castillo has convicted his last murderer.

Castillo, 65, retired from the State Attorney's Office a few weeks ago, and the attributes he brought to the table are already being missed.

He was seen as a teacher to the young and a mentor to the experienced.

Law enforcement officers said he helped them grow as investigators; defense lawyers said he forced them to be on top of their game; and fellow prosecutors said he guided them in presenting and attacking cases in ways they never would have thought.

Defense lawyer David Carmichael said Castillo had the ability to make jurors despise his clients before he even had the opportunity to present his side of the case, making his job that much more difficult.

State Attorney Jerry Hill said Castillo is one of the best analysts and strategists he has seen come through his office.

But Castillo is most known for his specialty — successfully prosecuting murder cases where the victim's body was never recovered.

For more:The Ledger

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▣ Oklahoma teen charged in no-body murder

posted by Admin on November 9th, 2014 at 11:51 AM

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Teenager charged with murder in case of missing Piedmont girl
Chadd Phillip Raymond is accused in the strangulation of a Piedmont girl who was reported missing in April. The body of Anne J. Hill, 16, has not been found.
by Nolan Clay Published: October 17, 2014

A Deer Creek teenager was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, six months after a Piedmont girl disappeared.

Chadd Phillip Raymond, 16, is accused of strangling Anne J. Hill at his brother’s Edmond apartment on April 11. He was charged even though the victim’s body has not been found.
Raymond was arrested Saturday and is being held in the Oklahoma County jail.

Hill, 16, was a sophomore at Casady School in Oklahoma City. Her mother, Lori Hill, on April 12 reported her missing from their Piedmont home. Police initially investigated the report as a possible runaway.

Also charged in the death is Chloe Marie Thomas of Oklahoma City. She was charged with accessory to murder, after admitting to her parents and police that she helped dispose of the victim’s body, court records show.

Thomas turned 17 on Monday in the Oklahoma County jail. She was still in jail Thursday night.

Police interviewed both defendants months ago. They told police then that Hill had come to the apartment to buy drugs from Raymond’s older brother, investigators reported.

Raymond said at the time that Hill became upset and left when she discovered his brother was in jail, police reported. “Chadd claimed Anne left the apartment and he hadn’t seen her since,” police reported.

The break in the case came last week.

For more:NewsOK.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ San Diego caregiver convicted of no-body murder of her charge

posted by Admin on October 31st, 2014 at 6:13 PM

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Caregiver guilty of murdering 88-year-old man
Posted 10:27 AM, October 7, 2014, by Bob Ponting, Updated at 11:07am, October 7, 2014
SAN DIEGO — A jury Wednesday convicted a woman of first degree murder in the death of the 88-year-old man she was paid to care for.
Denise Goodwin

Denise Goodwin listens as the jury reads its verdict.

Denise Goodwin, 47, was charged with a dozen counts, including murder and also faces a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain in the death of Gerald Eugene Rabourn. She will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Dec. 5.

Rabourn who disappeared in October 2010 and his body has not been found.

In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Bill Mitchell told jurors that in 2009, Goodwin stole from a man dying of brain cancer before being hired to care for Rabourn’s 91-year-old wife.

Mitchell said that days after Carolyn Rabourn’s death, Goodwin began converting the couple’s assets for her own personal use.

For more:Fox 5 San Diego

Poster by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Article on Mario Garcia no-body murder case

posted by Admin on October 31st, 2014 at 6:05 PM

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This case was investigated by my friend Detective Don Murchinson and prosecuted by another friend, now a judge, Garen Horst.

Nine years and no answers
Murder victim Christie Wilson’s remains have yet to be found

It has been nine years since the murder of Christie Wilson, and to this day, her killer won’t tell the family where he placed her body.

The 2005 murder of 27-year-old Wilson captivated many in the Auburn area and the country, as did the conviction of her killer, Mario Garcia.

Wilson was 27 years old when she was last seen in the company of Garcia, an Auburn resident and soccer coach at the time, leaving the Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln.

Garcia, now 62, sits in a jail cell in the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

For more:Auburn Journal

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▣ New York man to have no-body murder trial before judge not jury

posted by Admin on September 22nd, 2014 at 7:18 PM

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Man charged with rape, murder waives right to jury trial
Rape and murder suspect waives right to a jury
By Robert Gavin
Updated 11:01 pm, Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Herman Robinson, 38, left, leaves his arraignment on second degree murder charges March 10, 2014 in Schenectady County Court in Schenectady, N.Y. Robinson was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder and several high-level sex offenses for allegedly impregnating a teen in 2009, secretly delivering the baby, and then killing and dumping the infant's body. (Skip Dickstein / Times Union)
A house at 1205 Albany Street on Friday Sept. 12, 2014 in Schenectady, N.Y. The house where Herman Robinson allegedly impregnating a teen in 2009, secretly delivering the baby, and then killing and dumping the infant's body.(Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)
Herman Robinson will take his chances with a judge.

Facing rape and murder charges backed by expected strong DNA evidence that could put him away for life, the 38-year-old city man waived his right to a jury trial Wednesday in Schenectady County Court. Instead, Robinson will go to trial before state Supreme Court Justice Michael Coccoma, who doubles as the state's administrative judge for all courts outside New York City.

Prosecutors allege Robinson repeatedly raped a girl since she was 11 until she was 18, got her pregnant in June 2009 and then killed their baby girl March 11, 2010. The infant's body has never been found. But in court papers, Assistant District Attorney Tracey Brunecz confidently called the DNA-backed case strong – and possible proof of the rape, child's existence and murder.

"There is no question that the defendant's DNA will potentially supply substantial evidence relative to the alleged crimes," Brunecz, who heads the office's Special Victims unit, which handles sex crimes, wrote in a Sept. 11 filing. "There are several items of evidence that have been analyzed by the lab that are related to the alleged sexual assaults of the female child and the birth and death of the baby."

For more: Time Union

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▣ Idaho man on trial for no-body murder

posted by Admin on September 22nd, 2014 at 6:35 PM

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First day of testimony at Charles Capone murder trial
By Jenee' RyanPublished: Sep 3, 2014 at 8:22 AM PDT
Capone is on trial for first degree murder and failure to notify a coroner or law enforcement officer about a death.
MOSCOW, ID - The long-awaited murder trial for Charles Capone is now underway, with opening arguments Tuesday and testimony from several witnesses.

Jenee' Ryan was in the courtroom at the Latah County Courthouse, and has this report.

Charles Capone of Moscow sat emotionless next to his attorney Tuesday, whispering every once in awhile, seemingly active in his own defense.

Capone is on trial for first degree murder and failure to notify a coroner or law enforcement officer about a death.

Although her body has yet to be found, he's accused of killing his estranged wife, Rachel Anderson, who disappeared on April 16th 2010.

For more: KLEWTV

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▣ Civil law suit seeks to hold man responsible for Florida woman's no-body murder

posted by Admin on August 30th, 2014 at 10:46 AM

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I have commented on this suit before and this is a bit dated but very interesting article on woman's family suing missing woman's boyfriend for her murder even thouugh the police have not arrested the suspect. The complaint, linked in the article, comntains the facts against the defendant (civil defendant I mean). I am not aware of any other such suit.
Posted: 4:23 p.m. Friday, May 23, 2014
Michelle Parker's family re-files wrongful death suit against her ex-fiancé
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

Channel 9 has learned the family of Michelle Parker has amended and refiled a wrongful death lawsuit in the case of the missing woman.

The new suit is filed against Parker's ex-fiancé and father of her two children, Dale Smith, and just happened to be filed on the birthday of their twins, Trey and Taylor.

Parker disappeared in November 2011 after dropping her twins off at Smith's Orlando apartment, the same day that she and Smith appeared on a previously taped episode of "People's Court."

For more: WFTV

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▣ Texas man confesses to no-body murder and leads police to remains

posted by Admin on August 16th, 2014 at 3:54 PM

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Cape Verde Bugle
Confession in Kristal Forest murder case leads to remains
According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Robert Reed confessed to the murder of Kristal Reed in 2009 and showed detectives where he left her body.
Investigators are still searching for two dogs that were with Kristal Forest when she disappeared.
More than five years after the disappearance of Kristal Forest, the man long suspected of her murder has confessed.

As part of plea deal in July, Robert Reed, 60, reportedly confessed to killing the Cottonwood woman and dumping her body near El Paso, Texas. The deal for second-degree murder also involved Reed showing detectives where he left her remains.

Forest, 65, was last seen March 28, 2009, at a Camp Verde storage yard with Reed. She was planning to move from Cottonwood to Texas, and Reed had offered to help.

An empty U-Haul trailer she rented was towed to a storage yard in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 2, 2009, captured by surveillance cameras.

In August 2009, Reed was found in possession of Kristal's 1997 Nissan Pathfinder. At that time, Reed was arrested on unrelated charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Reed's incarceration allowed detectives time to gather evidence of murder, though they had no body.

For more: Cape Verde Bugle
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▣ South Dakota man convicted of no-body murder of his mother

posted by Admin on August 2nd, 2014 at 9:28 AM

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Tornquist guilty in mother's death
July 15, 2014 4:32 pm • By Andrea Cook, RCJ Staff
After only two hours of deliberation, a Pennington County jury has convicted Matthew Tornquist of the 2011 murder of his mother Catherine Tornquist at their Hot Springs home.

Tornquist, 28, sat impassively through the jury’s declaration that he is guilty of first-degree murder and the theft of $10,000 on Oct. 4, 2011.

Catherine Tornquist was 56 when she disappeared. More than 50 searches on land, from the air and in the water were conducted in an attempt to find her body, according to South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley. Jackley prosecuted the case with Custer County Deputy State’s Attorney Matt Brown.

For more:Hot Springs Star

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▣ Guilty plea entered in Florida no-body murder case

posted by Admin on August 2nd, 2014 at 9:22 AM

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No body found after missing woman's boyfriend admits murder

Big News Network (UPI)Saturday 19th July, 2014

DELAND, Fla. -- A Florida man who pleaded no contest this week to the murder of his girlfriend faces a longer prison sentence because her body has not been found.

Under his agreement with prosecutors in Volusia County, Michael Annicchiarico, 36, was allowed to enter a plea to second-degree murder. The plea bargain called for a sentence of 15 to 50 years if Mandy Ciehanoski's remains were discovered with Annicchiarico's help and 25 years to life if not.

After Annicchiarico guided investigators to an area in southern Flagler County near Ormond Beach, a three-day search began. It ended Wednesday, and Gary Davis, a spokesman for the Volusia County sheriff, said investigators will now try to determine if other places should be examined.
For more:Big New Network

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▣ Article on Canadian no-body murder cases

posted by Admin on August 2nd, 2014 at 9:19 AM

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Murder trial without a body poses challenges for prosecutors, legal experts say
By Douglas Quan, Postmedia News July 16, 2014
Facing multiple murder charges, Douglas Garland is under arrest and escorted to Calgary Police Processing Unit late Monday evening July 14.
Photograph by: David Moll , Calgary Herald

Prosecuting someone with murder when no body has been recovered poses challenges for Crown attorneys, but they are not insurmountable, criminal law experts said Tuesday.

In a typical murder case, the main burden for prosecutors is convincing a judge or jury that the suspect committed the crime. When there isn’t a body, the Crown has the extra burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a person has, in fact, died, and that their death was the result of a criminal act.

“When you have a no-body homicide you have to prove everything from the ground up,” said David Butt, a Toronto lawyer who successfully prosecuted such a case.

Butt was reacting Tuesday to the news that Douglas Garland had been charged with three counts of murder in connection with the disappearance in Calgary of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

Nathan had been sleeping over at his grandparents’ house. Police have said evidence from inside the home showed signs of a violent struggle.

So far, the trio’s bodies have not been recovered.

For more:Montreal Gazette

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▣ Arrest in Hawaiian no-body murder case

posted by Admin on August 2nd, 2014 at 9:15 AM

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In court: Proving a murder occurred even when there’s no body
By Nestor GarciaPublished: July 15, 2014, 4:57 pmUpdated: July 16, 2014, 12:22 am

Not guilty.

That’s the plea from the ex-boyfriend of a missing pregnant Maui woman, who’s accused of killing her.

Steven Capobianco appeared in a Maui court room Tuesday morning, after being indicted on charges of murder and arson in the death of Carly Scott.

The case is similar in several ways to one tried in Honolulu six years ago.

It is March of 2008 and the jury in the trial against Kirk Lankford is led out into the area where the prosecutor says the murder occurred.

The victim is a visitor from Japan, Masumi Watanabe, and then-City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle needs to prove that Lankford killed her, but he is missing a critical piece of evidence.

The Maui courtroom will hear certain elements that were similar to what the Lankford jury faced in Honolulu. In both cases, the victims were women, both were reportedly last seen in a remote area, and their bodies have not been recovered.

When asked how does a prosecutor go about trying this type of case against someone charged with murder, Carlisle said, “first off, a circumstantial evidence case is inevitable if you don’t have a body, so all of the information will be circumstantial. So, frankly, all of the stuff that you hear on TV that you can’t try a person on circumstantial evidence is completely untrue. You can.”

Carlisle proved that when he tried the case against Lankford.

Carlisle says a prosecutor can turn to circumstantial evidence, which he believes is critical. The prosecution can also rely on lab work or forensics, as well as evidence gathered from learning about the history of the victim, as well as the perpetrator.

For more: KHON

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▣ Illinois man agrees to plea deal in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on July 12th, 2014 at 1:45 PM

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Prosecutors Agree To Plea Deal In Zion Baby’s Death
July 8, 2014 1:29 PM
Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) – A 26-year-old man has agreed to plead guilty to killing his ex-girlfriend’s infant son last summer and tossing the body in a Dumpster.

WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller repors Demetries Thorpe agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 5-month-old Joshua Summeries in exchange for a guarantee he’d face no longer than 35 years in prison.

Thorpe was arrested last August and charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors said he suffocated Joshua after the baby would not stop crying at the home Thorpe shared with his now-former girlfriend in Zion. He claimed he disposed of the body in a Dumpster, but Joshua’s body never was found.

For more: CBS Chicago

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▣ Florida man convicted in no-body murder of ex-wife from 1994

posted by Admin on July 12th, 2014 at 1:39 PM

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Jury convicts man in South Florida missing-body murder trial

Clifford Friend, (left) with his attorney Peter Heller (right) during the closing arguments in court on Friday, July 11th, 2014. Friend, is accused of strangling his ex-wife, then hurling her weighted down body into the sea off a boat seven miles east of Government Cut in 1994.

Peter Andrew Bosch / Miami Herald staff
By David Ovalle
dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Nobody disputes that on the night 20 years ago that his ex-wife vanished mysteriously, South Florida pawnshop owner Clifford Friend was discovered on a boat dumping something into the Atlantic Ocean.

And on Friday night, after more than four hours of deliberations, jurors decided that Friend indeed was to blame for murdering Lynne Friend and dumping her body at sea.

The verdict came after a drama-filled two-week trial, and two decades after Lynne Friend’s disappearance riveted the public and spurred a massive police probe.

Her corpse has never been found.

For more: Miami Herald

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▣ Ohio couple arrested in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on July 12th, 2014 at 1:33 PM

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Police: Murder suspects were arrested in missing Ypsilanti man's car
John Counts | johncounts@mlive.com By John Counts | johncounts@mlive.com
July 11, 2014 at 3:49 PM, updated July 11, 2014 at 6:06 PM
Police are still looking for the body of an Ypsilanti man investigators believe was killed by a married Toledo couple arrested hundreds of miles away from the crime scene in his Cadillac.
Robert and Desirae Strauss, both 36, are being held in an Indiana jail awaiting an extradition hearing that will send them to Ohio to face murder charges in the death of 52-year-old Brian Martin.

Martin had been in a relationship with Desirae Strauss for about three years, said Toledo police Sgt. Joseph Heffernan.

The Strausses were recently arrested in Anderson, Indiana while driving Martin's gold 2002 Cadillac Seville, Heffernan said. It wasn't immediately known why they were initially arrested.

Investigators tracked the vehicle back to Martin and contacted Toledo police because he had been reported missing. Police then executed a search warrant at the Strausses residence in the 2100 block of Consaul of Toledo.

For more:M Live

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▣ First ever trial of no-body murder case in New Hampshire ends in conviction

posted by Admin on July 7th, 2014 at 6:52 PM

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Guilty verdict in murder of NH coed "Lizzi" Marriott

Seth Mazzaglia gets escorted out of the courtroom as Judge Steven Houran gave his case to jurors for deliberation at Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H., on Thursday, June 26, 2014. AP Photo/Union Leader, David Lane
DOVER, N.H. - A jury has found 31-year-old Seth Mazzaglia guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in the death of University of New Hampshire college student Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott. Her body has not been found.

The panel of seven women and five men, who began deliberations on Thursday, signaled they reached a verdict Friday at noon. It was read an hour later.

Mazzaglia, of Dover, was convicted of first-degree murder by strangulation and other felonies in the Oct. 9, 2012 death of the 19-year-old Marriott of Westborough, Mass.

Mazzaglia appeared emotionless as the verdict was read.

During the trial, Mazzaglia's former girlfriend, 20-year-old Kathryn McDonough testified for 10 days. She said that, after a strip poker game, Mazzaglia choked Marriott with a rope when she twice rejected his sexual advances. After leaving the room briefly, McDonough testified that she returned to see Mazzaglia raping Marriott's lifeless body.

For more: CBS News

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▣ New Haven Register profiles No Body Guy and website

posted by Admin on July 6th, 2014 at 3:36 PM

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Expert: 'No-body' Branford murder case still 'strong'

By Evan Lips, New Haven Register, Conn.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 05--branford -- The murder charge lodged against Thomas Chester Malinka lacks one key element: a body.

According to police, John Francis Deveau last was seen the morning of May 26, 2013, pumping gas at a Stop & Shop station on North Main Street.

Despite Deveau's disappearance, police charged Malinka early last month with his murder. The 15-page arrest warrant weaves together accounts from a neighbor, a list of odd charges made to Deveau's American Express card, suspicious answers Malinka allegedly provided during questioning, a faulty alibi and, likely most damning, "red-like blood substances" police say were discovered inside Malinka's car featuring DNA that matches Deveau's.

"It's an incredibly strong case for the prosecution," said Tad DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor who in 2006 secured a conviction in the second-ever no-body murder trial in the history of Washington, D.C.

For more:
New Haven Register

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▣ No body murder case begins for Florida man accused of tossing his ex-wife into sea

posted by Admin on July 6th, 2014 at 3:22 PM

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Was ex-wife dumped at sea? Trial begins for man accused of 1994 murder

After two decades, a Miami man accused of murder in a custody dispute stands trial — but his ex-wife’s body has never been found.

Clifford Friend, accused of murdering his ex-wife and dumping her body in the sea off Government Cut in 1994.Monday June 30, 2014. WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
By David Ovalle
dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Two decades after Lynne Friend vanished from South Florida, jurors in court heard a tale steeped in cinematic mystery.

Friend, a 35-year-old divorced mother, wanted to rebuild her life with a new husband in Tennessee. Her ex-husband, Clifford Friend, became enraged when a judge allowed his 5-year-old son to accompany her in leaving town.

And on her last known night alive, Lynne Friend told her new lover by phone that she was headed to her ex-husband’s North Miami Beach house to pick up a child-support check.

Read more here: Miami Herald

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▣ Interesting article from Washington Post on cell towers, a common forensic tool in no-body murder cases

posted by Admin on June 29th, 2014 at 5:38 PM

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Washington Post

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▣ Colorado man arrested in no-body murder of 19 year old woman

posted by Admin on June 29th, 2014 at 5:26 PM

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With No Body Found, Porter’s Boyfriend Says He’s Holding Out Hope
June 21, 2014 3:51 PM
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The boyfriend of a 19-year-old woman police believe has been murdered is still holding out hope that she will return, despite the fact that he says her friend confessed to him that he killed her.

Jessie asked that CBS4 not use his last name and requested that his face not be shown during his interview. He said his world went dark when Lea Chali Porter, of Pueblo, went missing. He described her as a “beam of light.”

“She was just funny, smart, beautiful. Absolutely beautiful, and about to go somewhere in life,” he said. “She had everything going for her.”

Despite the fact that there has been no body found, Christopher Waide, 23, of Westminster, faces charges that include first-degree murder, sexual assault and tampering with evidence.

For more: CBS 4 Denver

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▣ First "review" of my forthcoming book on no-body murders

posted by Admin on June 22nd, 2014 at 10:20 AM

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▣ No Body Guy quoted on no-body murder arrest in North Carolina

posted by Admin on June 17th, 2014 at 10:05 AM

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Good article with quotes from me, Chris Ross, Oklahoma DA (three convictions in two no body cases) and John Lewin, California ADA (four no body convictions).
Murder convictions not unheard of even when there's no body
On May 16, New Hanover County District Court Judge Sandra Ray ruled there was probable cause to hold James Bradley of Wilmington on first-degree murder charges in Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk's presumed slaying.
By Adam Wagner
Adam.Wagner@StarNewsOnline.com
Published: Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 12:30 a.m.

Last Modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 at 10:40 p.m.


James Bradley is accused of murdering a Wilmington woman whose body police have not found and, experts say, could be convicted even if Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk is never located.
On May 16, New Hanover County District Court Judge Sandra Ray Criner ruled there was probable cause to hold Bradley, of Wilmington, on first-degree murder charges in Vannewkirk's presumed slaying. Bradley is being held without bail in the New Hanover County jail.

During the probable cause hearing, Rick Miller, Bradley's publicly appointed attorney, contested the introduction of at least two pieces of evidence on the grounds that they presumed Vannewkirk was dead.

“At this point of this investigation, at this very minute, we do not know what happened to Shannon,” Miller said.

There is, however, a lengthy track record of prosecutors using circumstantial evidence to show someone was killed when there is not a corpse present and also to convict a suspect. At least one “no-body” case has been tried in every state except Idaho and New Hampshire, with a conviction rate of about 88 percent, according to www.nobodycases.com.

For more: Star News Online
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▣ No Body Guy quoted in New York Times on no-body murder arrest

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2014 at 7:05 PM

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With No Body, Police Sought Murder Clues Elsewhere

JUNE 13, 2014
Crime Scene
By MICHAEL WILSON
Detectives entered a basement in the Bronx and recoiled at the stench and the scene.

Lucky, arguably the city’s least accurately named dog, stood ankle deep in raw sewage from a backed-up toilet. When Lucky became agitated toward the police, officers shot the dog with a tranquilizer dart. Then they turned back to the filthy mess, one they believed had been intentionally caused to destroy trace evidence in the search for Ramona Moore, a 35-year-old mother of four who had disappeared almost nine months earlier.

“The toilet in the basement had been clogged with half a bag of charcoal,” Detective Malcolm Reiman said this week. “The feces might have rendered some forensic evidence irretrievable.”

Detectives shared details of the search and other aspects of the mysterious case of Ms. Moore this week, after she made the rare transition from missing person to suspected murder victim without ever turning up. On Tuesday, the police announced an arrest in the case.
Ms. Moore disappeared from her home, an apartment at 663 Jefferson Place in the Bronx, in July 2012.
No Body Is Found, but a Man Is Charged With MurderJUNE 10, 2014

Nationwide, only 402 “no-body homicide” cases have gone to trial since the early 1800s, said Thomas A. DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor and now a law enforcement consultant in Washington.

“It’s like running a 100-meter race when the criminal gets to start at the 20-meter mark,” he said. “When you don’t have a body, you don’t have the best evidence in the crime.”

Detectives must hunt for clues elsewhere. “You have one or more of three legs of a stool,” Mr. DiBiase said. “You have forensic evidence, or confessing to friends or family, or confessing to police. A really strong case has all three, and a weak case may have none.”

For more:New York Times

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▣ "48 Hours" interviews Calvin Harris who recently had his no-body murder conviction overturned for a second time

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2014 at 4:32 PM

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The Trials of Cal Harris

Twice convicted of murdering his wife -- with both cases thrown out on appeals -- a wealthy New York businessman facing a third murder trial gives his first interview to "48 Hours"
2014 Jun 09
Correspondent Erin Moriarty
Produced by Lisa Freed and Ruth Chenetz

On the night of Sept. 11, 2001, when most of the world was focused on the terrorist attacks of that morning, in Owego, New York, Michele Harris, a 35-year-old mother of four, disappeared ... never to be heard from again. Her disappearance has been the focus of investigations and trials for the past 13 years.

"As I have stated before, from day one, I did not have any involvement in Michele's disappearance. I would never hurt the mother of my children," her estranged husband, Cal Harris, told reporters at a press conference in March 2014. "For the past 13 years, my children and I have endured under extremely difficult circumstances."

"Cal Harris calls it a press conference. I just call it desperation. He's got to try something new. What he's been doing isn't working," said Shannon Taylor, Michele's sister-in-law.

"We need to know what really happened to our mother. We know our dad had nothing to do with her disappearance. We also know there are people out there with information who can help us get answers," Michele and cal's daughter, Cayla Harris, 18, addressed reporters.

"It's been 13 years almost of hell," said Greg Taylor, Michele's brother. "We had the first trial -- he was found guilty ... The conviction was thrown out. ...Finally had a second trial. He was found guilty again ... and the conviction was over turned."

"Twenty-four people totally agreed that he was guilty. You cannot get two people to agree on what color your hair is," said Greg's wife, Shannon Taylor.

"We do another trial and another one. I mean when's it gonna stop?" said the Harris'; former nanny, Barb Thayer. "If I was one of the 24 jurors from before, I would be so pissed."

"48 Hours" usually ends reports with a verdict, but in the case of Cal Harris, verdicts are just the beginning. Over the seven years that "48 Hours" covered his case, Harris has been convicted twice for the murder of his wife Michele, although her body has never been found. And now as he faces his third trial, Harris is doing something he has never done in the past ... He's sitting down for an interview with correspondent Erin Moriarty.

For more: 48 Hours

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▣ Trial begins in New Hampshire's first no-body murder trial ever

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2014 at 4:18 PM

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I have yet to find another no-body murder trial in New Hampshire so this appears to be a first. Now only Idaho has never had a no-body murder trial in its history.
Video shocker: Dramatic twist in N.H. sex slay trial
CHILLING: Defense attorney Joachim Barth, above, rests his head before testimony resumed in Seth Mazzaglia’s murder trial yesterday. Below, prosecution witness Kathryn ‘Kat’ McDonough is shown on a devastating video tape.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
By: Antonio Planas
Jurors watch video of McDonough
Jurors in the Seth Mazzaglia trial Wednesday saw a dramatic change in demeanor from his ex-girlfriend, Kat McDonough.
DOVER, N.H. — In chilling footage, star witness Kathryn “Kat” McDonough coldly admitted yesterday on a defense video shown in court that she sat on Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott’s face during bondage sex for “10 to 15 minutes” — evidence in the sensational Granite State murder trial that had jurors riveted to the screen as it exposed a potentially fatal flaw in the prosecution’s case.

The video dominated the day and cast doubt that Seth Mazzaglia killed the 19-year-old Marriott — instead throwing the spotlight on McDonough, the prosecution’s eyewitness, who has portrayed herself as her ex-boyfriend’s sex slave.

McDonough’s eyes darted nervously from the video to defense attorney Joachim Barth, who has skewered her repeatedly over the past week for lying while claiming she is putting on a show for jurors. Prosecutor Peter Hinckley sat impassively, showing no reaction to the video.

The video — taped in Barth’s law offices on Oct. 17, 2012, just over a week after Marriott’s death — shows McDonough admitting she had bondage sex with the University of New Hampshire sophomore. She previously testified that she told defense attorneys she caused Marriott’s death by suffocating her.

For more: Boston Herald
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▣ Texas man convicted in no body murder case for 1991 murder of wife

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2014 at 3:28 PM

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Rex Nisbett gets 42 years for killing wife in 1991
By Claire Osborn

American-Statesman Staff

GEORGETOWN —

4 p.m. update: A Williamson County jury has sentenced Rex Nisbett to 42 years in prison for killing his wife more than two decades ago. He will be eligible for parole after serving one-fourth of that sentence.

Vicki Nisbett’s sister, Sherry Ray, testified in tears after the verdict, asking Rex Nisbett to “please tell us where Vicki is.”

“You may not be able to tell us now but you vowed to be a Christian, so I hope one day you will do the right thing,” she said.

Ray also said to Nisbett:“What you did to Vicki, nobody deserves that. She was very good to you. Because of this your boys have suffered for 22 years and are still suffering. They think their mother just up and left them and did not love them.”

Rex Nisbett showed no emotion as Ray was talking to him or when the verdict was read.

For more: Statesman.com

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▣ Sante Kimes, famous no-body murder defendant, dies in prison

posted by Admin on May 25th, 2014 at 9:13 AM

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Sante Kimes and her son, Kenny, were two of the oddest no-body murder "couples" ever.

Sante Kimes, convicted murderer, dies in prison at 79

Nick Ut/AP - Sante Kimes appears during a hearing in a Los Angeles court house in 2004. A state prison spokeswoman said Ms. Kimes, who was convicted with her son of murdering a wealthy widow, died in her prison cell in New York. She was 79.
By Deepti Hajela and — Associated Press, Published: May 21

Sante Kimes, who along with her son made up a notorious grifter team convicted of the murders of a wealthy widow in New York and a businessman in Los Angeles, died May 19 in her prison cell at age 79.

Ms. Kimes, who was portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore in a TV movie, was found unresponsive at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, N.Y., said Linda Foglia, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.
In 2000, Ms. Kimes and her son, Kenneth Kimes, were convicted of murder in connection with the disappearance of Irene Silverman, an 82-year-old widow and former Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Authorities said the Kimeses conspired to steal Silverman’s $7 million Manhattan town house and other possessions. Her body has never been found.

For more:Washington Post

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▣ North Dakota man released from prison for no-body manslaughter conviction even though he failed to lead police to body

posted by Admin on May 25th, 2014 at 9:02 AM

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Interesting casse because defendant was given release and not charged withh murder even though he was unable to lead police to body of his victim.

With no body, North Dakota farmer's death remains a mystery as man convicted is released
Published May 24, 2014
Associated Press
Steve Thomas is seen in this 2007 photo provided by the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Thomas who killed his neighbor in 1999 in a dispute over water drainage, leaves prison without ever telling authorities where he dumped the body. Thomas was released Saturday, May 24, 2014. His plea agreement called for him to face a charge of murder if he was uncooperative in finding the body, but authorities say even hypnosis can’t help Thomas remember where he dumped the body. (AP Photo/The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)The Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. – A man who pleaded guilty to killing his North Dakota neighbor in 1999 over a water drainage dispute will leave prison without ever telling authorities where he dumped the body.

Steve Thomas, a 48-year-old former Marine with a criminal past, pleaded guilty in 2006 to manslaughter in the death of 82-year-old Norman Limesand, of Marion, and sentenced in 2007 to the maximum 10 years in prison. Thomas' plea agreement called for him to face a murder charge if he was uncooperative in finding the body.

Thomas, who was released from prison Saturday, has participated in air and land searches — even hypnosis to jog his memory, authorities say. But he still can't remember where he hid Limesand's body.

"It's unfortunate and I wish there had been a better outcome," said the state's Assistant Attorney General Jon Byers, who helped prosecute the case. "I honestly think he gave a good-faith effort."

But Limesand's family believes Thomas got away with murder.

For more:Fox News

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▣ Arrest of North Carolina man for no-body murder

posted by Admin on May 25th, 2014 at 8:51 AM

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Judge asked to keep murder charge despite no body in NC missing person case
Posted: May 16, 2014 6:41 AM EST Updated: May 16, 2014 6:41 AM EST
By Associated Press
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Prosecutors in Wilmington are asking a judge to allow them to move forward on a murder charge against a 51-year-old man, even though the body of the victim hasn't been found.

A preliminary hearing for James Bradley began Thursday and is expected to continue Friday. He is charged with murder in the death of 53-year-old Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk.

Police arrested Bradley after finding a body they thought was Vannewkirk last month. But an autopsy determined the remains were 34-year-old Elisha Tucker, who has been missing since August.

For more:WBTW
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▣ No-body website mentioned in connection with most recent no-body murder conviction in Virginia

posted by Admin on May 13th, 2014 at 5:33 PM

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Prosecutor in Taylor case talks about preparing for case without a body
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 9:16 pm | Updated: 11:30 pm, Mon May 12, 2014.

By Justin Faulconer The (Lynchburg) News & Advance

In preparing the case against Randy Allen Taylor, the man convicted of abducting and killing Alexis Murphy, Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin said he researched homicides across the nation that did not include a body among the evidence.

A Nelson County jury last week found Taylor guilty of first-degree murder in commission of abduction and abduction with intent to defile in the disappearance of Murphy, 17, who last was seen Aug. 3 at a Lovingston gas station.

Taylor, 48, was convicted Thursday after a six-day trial; the jury has recommended two life sentences. The smallest amount of prison time a judge could hand down is 40 years.

Convinced Murphy's killer has been brought to justice, Martin said Monday securing a murder conviction when her body has not been found was an issue "always in the back of your mind."

"But I talked to several attorneys across the United States that did 'no-body' homicides," Martin said in a phone interview. "All of them agreed with us that he [Taylor] has to be punished for what he really did and not be in a position where we have to wait forever" to take him to trial because no body had been found.

For more:Richmond Times Dispatch

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▣ Feds arrest Mississippi man in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on May 11th, 2014 at 3:04 PM

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Feds arrest 2nd in death of missing Mississippi man; no body but bloody car found in Arkansas
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: May 10, 2014 - 7:51 pm
Last Updated: May 10, 2014 - 7:53 pm
GULFPORT, Mississippi — Federal agents have arrested a man accused of killing a Mississippi man whose bloody car was found in southeast Arkansas.

Harrison County, Mississippi, online jail records show that 34-year-old Brian Joseph Herrington was being held Saturday without bond at the jail in Gulfport.

Herrington was arrested at his ex-wife's home in Pass Christian (kris-TYAHN) and is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in the death of 29-year-old Robert Ross of Jackson, U.S. Deputy Marshal Raymond Smiles told The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1j6Igih ). Arkansas investigators had said he might be at the home, Smiles said.

Herrington is the second man accused in the case.

Arkansas State Police arrested 22-year-old Norvell Childs, of Lake Village, Arkansas, on the same charge in April.

For more: Associated Press
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ 400th no-body murder trial completed with guilty verdict for Virginia man

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2014 at 8:53 AM

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This is the 400th no-body murder trial in the United States. As with 88% of the others, it ended in a guilty verdict.
Randy Taylor found guilty; jury recommends life sentences
Alexis Murphy’s great-aunt Trina Murphy receives a hug following the guilty verdict of Randy Taylor outside of Nelson County Courthouse on Thursday. Taylor was found guilty of first-degree murder in the commission of an abduction and abduction with intent to defile by a Nelson County Jury.
Randy Taylor
Randy Taylor is escorted out of the Nelson County Courthouse on Wednesday during a break in his trial.
Alexis Murphy
Alexis Murphy's family gets some closure with verdict
"I ask that people keep the family of Alexis Murphy in their prayers," Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin said.

By Barrett Mohrmann

For almost 10 months, Laura Murphy just wanted to speak with the man accused of abducting her daughter.

After the jury found 48-year-old Randy Taylor guilty of first-degree murder Thursday, she had her chance.

Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin called on Laura Murphy to express the pain brought on by her daughter’s disappearance before the jury was tasked with considering Taylor’s sentence.

“It has been a living hell for us,” she said. “This was her most important year.”

Before she vanished, Murphy attended a summer volleyball camp with plans of serving as the team’s co-captain at Nelson County High School. After graduation, she wanted to play on the college level and planned to attend Longwood University, Radford University or Lynchburg College.

But, the night of Aug. 3 tore those plans apart.

“The seventeenth [of May], she would be graduating,” Laura Murphy said.

After she spoke that simple sentence, a levee holding back nine months of suffering broke. Murphy’s mother sobbed on the witness stand, while family members wept and some had to leave the courtroom.

Upon hearing his verdict read, Randy Taylor reacted as he had throughout much of the trial — calm and collected, occasionally resting his chin atop a hand.

After hearing Laura Murphy’s testimony, he sprang from his chair to dash out of the courtroom and immediately was surrounded by Nelson County Sheriff’s deputies.

“She’s a strong woman, and I’m glad she got up there,” Angela Taylor, Alexis Murphy’s aunt, said of her sister. “I’m glad he got to see how emotional it was. I’ve had to sit with my sister for the past ten months being without a child.”

After court adjourned Thursday, family and friends seemed to give a collective sigh of relief. Dressed in pink — Alexis Murphy’s favorite color — they exchanged tight hugs before moving on to deputies and FBI agents, offering more hugs and thanks.

“We could stand here all day and not give enough thank you’s,” said Trina Murphy, great-aunt to Alexis.

Outside the courthouse, Trina Murphy praised both law enforcement and the Nelson County community that surrounded the family with support and love.

Pink ribbons still hang on signposts, mailboxes and doors. Along U.S. 29, a church bears the sign “Keep praying for Alexis Murphy,” a statement echoed by the prosecutor.

“I ask that people keep the family of Alexis Murphy in their prayers,” Martin said.

Wednesday afternoon, Trina Murphy and Angela Taylor went to McDonald’s at the Liberty gas station, where surveillance footage last captured the missing teenager.

During the lunch recess, the two discussed the case when a woman perked up at a nearby table.

“Are you talking about the Alexis Murphy case?” she asked.

As the family introduced themselves, the woman flung her arms around their necks for a hug.

“I pray for you every day,” she said in a hushed voice.

Alexis Murphy’s disappearance marks one of the most high profile cases in Nelson County’s history, and drew droves of kind, supportive people.

Businesses donated pink flowers and ribbons for candlelight vigils. Neighbors and friends brought weeks of meals to the family immediately after Alexis Murphy vanished. Residents organized searches, scouring vast stretches of U.S. 29.

With so much support from the community, the Murphys now hope to return the favor.

“We’re immediately starting to build Alexis’ legacy. We will not let her die in vain,” Trina Murphy said.

The family plans to create a scholarship in her honor to help young women get a college education. Trina Murphy said they also would like to create a public park in Nelson County to memorialize her niece.

And on May 17th, Nelson County High School will award Alexis Murphy a diploma, which her older brother Avery Murphy will accept during the graduation ceremony.

“We’ll just have a big party and celebrate as if she was graduating,” Angela Taylor said. “Those opportunities were taken away from us, so we’ll do what we can.”

After the trial and the party fade, the gap where Alexis Murphy should be will remain.

Her mother will not watch her spend hours before the bathroom mirror, fixing her hair. She will not hear her daughter’s laughter through the walls of their home in Shipman as she watches television.

Her aunts will not hear the boots shuffling across the floor of the 17-year-old who refuses to lift her feet. The extension cord plugged into her cell phone smacking against the floor has gone silent.

Trina Murphy said the guilty verdict Thursday brought a moment of elation but not the answers the family has sought all these months.

“It doesn’t bring the closure we need,” she said. “The only thing that can do that is finding Alexis and putting her to rest, but it definitely goes a long way to help us move on.”

Trina Murphy doubted Randy Taylor will ever reveal the location of her niece’s remains.

Without a body, and without numerous answers, the family hopes to rebuild as best they can.

“I think as a family, we can start a healing process,” Angela Taylor said.

And so, as Martin and the street signs would suggest, may people continue to pray for the family of Alexis Murphy.

Related Stories

Jurors to begin deliberations today
Taylor interviews take center stage at trial

Click Here

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:30 pm

Justin Faulconer

LOVINGSTON — Randy Allen Taylor sat quietly in the Nelson County courtroom as the verdict was read — guilty of first-degree murder in the commission of an abduction and abduction with intent to defile in connection with the disappearance of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy.

The Shipman teen disappeared on Aug. 3. Her body has not been found.

In the sentencing portion of the hearing, Murphy’s mother, Laura Murphy, cried as she described what the last nine months have been like without her daughter and a frustrated Taylor whispered to his attorney he no longer wanted to be in the courtroom.

Before Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Gamble could respond to the request, Taylor darted from his seat and walked quickly toward the exit door without a glance at Murphy’s family.
For more:
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▣ Virginia no-body murder case headed to trial

posted by Admin on May 3rd, 2014 at 8:33 AM

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Gina Hall murder case sets precedent in Virginia, helps prosecutors in the courtroom
WDBJ 7 compares the murder investigations of Gina Hall and Alexis Murphy
WDBJ7 Reporter Nadine Maeser Nadine Maeser, nmaeser@wdbj7.com
POSTED: 06:51 PM EDT Apr 28, 2014 UPDATED: 09:54 PM EDT Apr 28, 2014
Special Report: Muder Without A Trace
RADFORD, Va. -
In a matter of days, Randy Taylor will go to trial in Nelson County for the murder of Alexis Murphy.
The Lovingston teenager disappeared back in August. To this day, the search efforts continue, but she's still missing.

Taylor's trial is set to begin Thursday, but can you convict someone of murder without the body of the victim?

It’s happened before and it could happen again.

Virginia's first no-body murder conviction happened in 1980. A student at Radford University went missing and within a matter of weeks someone was charged with her murder.

WDBJ7’s Nadine Maeser sat down with the Commonwealth's Attorney assigned to this case, and others familiar with her murder, to see how it changed Virginia law forever.

Everett Shockley is practicing law in Dublin, but 34 years ago he was fresh out of law school, serving as the Commonwealth's Attorney for Pulaski County and had one of Virginia's biggest murder cases on his hands.

"The only thing we were lacking was a body," said Shockley.

For more:WDBJ7

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▣ Virginia man charged in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on April 19th, 2014 at 8:29 AM

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How Randy Taylor Was Charged With 1st Degree Murder, Without Alexis Murphy's Body
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 9:53 PM EST
By James Gherardi - bio | email

Associated Links

Alexis Murphy's Family Claims Randy Taylor's Story Is a Lie
Murphy Family 'Devastated' Now That Alexis is Presumed Dead
Randy Taylor Indicted on Murder Charges

Lovingston, VA - Randy Taylor has been charged with killing Alexis Murphy. His trial is set to begin May first. But one major question remains; how was a first degree murder charge reached, when a body hasn't been found?

"Without the victim's body, it's a huge advantage to the defense" said Andrew Childress.

Lynchburg Criminal Defense Attorney, Andrew Childress described an uphill battle that awaits the Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney.

"There's no way to prove cause of death, there's no way to prove time of death, there's no way to prove that this person isn't alive and walking around somewhere that just doesn't want to be found" he said.

There is one major piece of evidence, still missing in the Randy Taylor murder trial; Alexis Murphy's body.

For more:WSET-TV

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Conviction in Georgia no-body murder case

posted by Admin on April 19th, 2014 at 8:26 AM

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Jury finds Craig Thrift guilty of felony murder in cousin's death
Thrift was accused of killing his cousin Terry Rouse nearly 23 years ago, but no body ever found
Posted: April 17, 2014 - 1:50pm | Updated: April 17, 2014 - 8:15pm
Craig Thrift who is in jail on a murder charge in the death of his cousin, Terry Eugene Rouse, who hasn't been seen since Mary 11, 1991. Photo provide by Ware County Sheriff's Office.

By Terry Dickson

WAYCROSS — A Ware County jury found Craig Lester Thrift guilty of felony murder Thursday in the disappearance and presumed death of his first cousin and best friend nearly 23 years ago.

The jury found the 49-year-old Thrift not guilty of malice murder, which would have carried a heavier sentence than the life with the possibility of parole that Superior Court Judge Michael DeVane imposed after the verdict. Because laws that were in effect in 1991 apply to the case, Thrift will be considered for parole after seven years. Because he will get credit for the two years he has been in jail awaiting trial, he could come up for parole in May 2019.
Read more: Jacksonvillle.com
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▣ Investigation into suspected Illinois no-body murder of sheriff's deputy continues

posted by Admin on April 19th, 2014 at 8:18 AM

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Case Of Former Will County Sheriff Deputy Remains Mystery 23 Years Later
March 19, 2014 10:08 PM
missing woman, Robin Abrams, Will County Sheriff Deputy
Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
Case Of Former Will County Sheriff Deputy Remains Mystery 23 Years Later
(CBS) – She’s been missing longer than Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic combined, but you’ve probably never heard of Robin Abrams, who disappeared from Beecher Illinois back in October of 1990.

Now, after 23 years, this cold case is getting another look as Roseanne Tellez explains in this original report.

From her makeshift command center Jody Walsh searches for clues into the disappearance of her sister. Roseanne Tellez asks, “Did you ever think that 23 years later you would not have the answers you wanted?” Jody Walsh answers, “never, never.”

28-year-old Robin Abrams, a former Will County Sheriff deputy, was last seen driving down Goodenow Road in Beecher. Her car was later found in Harvey.

Abrams had an order of protection against a Will County Sheriff auxiliary officer with whom she claimed to have had an affair.

For more: CBS Chicago

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▣ Latest no-body trials table added!

posted by Admin on April 5th, 2014 at 2:49 PM

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Just click on No Body Murder Trials tab on my website! 399 trials in the U.S. to date.

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▣ Michigan no-body murder case heads to court for hearing

posted by Admin on April 3rd, 2014 at 7:57 PM

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Note that this case is being tried by No-Body Murder Hall of Fame prosecutor Donna Pendergast.

Baby Kate murder case heads to court nearly 3 years after she vanished

Sean Phillips sits during his arraignment on an open murder charge in the Katherine "Baby Kate" Phillips case Oct. 4, 2013. Katherine "Baby Kate" Phillips went missing June 29, 2011.
Natalie Kolb | nkolb@mlive.com
John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com By John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com
on April 02, 2014 at 12:19 PM, updated April 02, 2014 at 2:20 PM
Baby Kate dad's murder hearing focuses on prison letter, stormy relationship with baby's mom
Live coverage: Baby Kate murder case preliminary examination's first day
Baby Kate murder case heads to court nearly 3 years after she vanished
Baby Kate father's murder defense gets help of ex-U.S. Attorney John Smietanka
Baby Kate murder hearing for Sean Phillips gets new date

LUDINGTON, MI – It’s been nearly three years since 4-month-old Katherine Phillips went missing.

On Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4, baby Kate’s father will face a judge for the first courtroom airing of the prosecution claim that he murdered her.

Baby Kate’s body has never been found.

Sean Michael Phillips, 24, is scheduled for a two-day preliminary examination in Mason County 79th District Court on a charge of open murder.

Judge Peter Wadel will hear evidence and decide if the case is strong enough to send to trial in 51st Circuit Court. If the judge decides prosecutors haven’t established probable cause that Phillips committed murder, the case would be dismissed.

That doesn’t mean Phillips would go free. He’s already serving a state prison sentence of 10 to 15 years for unlawful imprisonment of the baby. A Mason County jury convicted him of that in April 2012. He’s lodged as a close-security Level IV prisoner at Carson City Correctional Facility.

For the murder case, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office is prosecuting Phillips in cooperation with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola. Donna Pendergast, first assistant attorney general for the criminal division, has been assigned to try the case in cooperation with Spaniola. Schuette at a Ludington news conference last year said Pendergast has experience prosecuting “no body” murder cases.

The attorney general’s office sometimes assists local prosecutors with high-profile cases, and in this case, Spaniola said he asked for the help.

For more: Michigan Live

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▣ Texas no-body murder case overturned on appeal

posted by Admin on March 29th, 2014 at 10:20 AM

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Brother of murder victim says overturned conviction for alleged killer a 'slap in the face'
by SEBASTIAN ROBERTSON

WFAA

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 16 at 1:36 PM
DALLAS -— In 2011, Charles Stobaugh was convicted for the murder of his soon-to-be ex-wife Kathy Stobaugh.

Kathy’s younger brother, Chris Munday, said the moment the verdict came down was a milestone for his family.

“Victory," Munday said. "Justice for Kathy."

Stobaugh spent three years in prison, until an appeals court overturned the conviction on Jan. 30, 2013. News 8 cameras were there the moment he walked out of Denton County Jail on bond.

“To me, that is a slap in the face to the jury, because they worked extremely hard for three weeks," Munday said. "To me, it is a slap in the face for all the hard work that they have done."

Since his sister's disappearance in 2004, Chris Munday, a sworn Fort Worth police officer, has made it his mission to find out what really happened. And he claims to know the answer.

“In my heart, I know that [Charles Stobaugh] did it and the evidence leads to his front door, and even with me checking out all the leads,” Munday said.

A case that is far from black-and-white.

For more: WFAA.com

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▣ Big news: No-body murder book contract signed!

posted by Admin on March 26th, 2014 at 8:09 PM

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Big week: signed contract and got (modest) advance for my forthcoming book! Titled "No-Body” Homicide Cases: A Practical Guide to Investigating, Prosecuting, and Winning Cases When the Victim is Missing. It's due out by the end of the year. I'm sure it's going to be a New York Times bestseller! LOL. Also, the TV show I filmed in Texas last year, Cellblock Psychic, is being broadcast on Investigation Discovery on April 21st at 9:00 p.m. (Check your local listings.) It's the premiere episode and is called "Where's Johnny?" It's based on the "no-body" murder of one Johnny Perez in San Antonio, Texas. Check it out!

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Two pending no-body murder cases in South Carolina

posted by Admin on March 9th, 2014 at 10:32 AM

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Trying murder cases without a body a challenge for prosecutors
by Joel Allen
Posted: 03.07.2014 at 6:22 PM
Joel brings more than 20 years experience to WPDE NewsChannel 15.
There are now two active murder cases in Horry County in which no body has been found.
Along with the Angie Pipkin case, Sidney and Tammy Moorer are charged with murder in the disappearance of Heather Elvis.

Former Horry County Solicitor Greg Hembree says murder cases that don't involve a body are a challenge for prosecutors, but there is a way of trying those cases that usually ends in a conviction.

Alice Donovan and Kynande Bennett were both victims in local murder cases that resulted in guilty verdicts, with no body being found at the time.

Though Donovan was a federal trial, Hembree was familiar with both cases.

He says in cases like that, the prosecutor has to prove a person has been killed. He does that by showing a pattern of life that's been disrupted.

"So the things that they normally do, the people they normally see, the places they normally go, leading up to that moment when they disappear, they just dropped off the planet, and then through circumstantial evidence you show that their pattern's been upset," Hembree said.

For more:
Carolina Live

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▣ Arrest made in South Carolina no-body murder case

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2014 at 11:35 AM

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ABC News

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▣ People magazine covers no-body murder case

posted by Admin on February 15th, 2014 at 12:25 PM

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Gerald and Alice Uden: A Daughter Learns of Her Parents' Killer Past

By Howard Breuer
01/22/2014 at 08:00 AM EST
Gerald and Alice Uden: A Daughter Learns of Her Parents' Killer Past
The Uden Family

PEOPLE MAGAZINE

After the recent arrests of Gerald and Alice Uden of Chadwick, Mo. – each charged with murdering their former spouses decades ago, and Gerald also charged and convicted with murdering his adopted sons – PEOPLE talks exclusively with Erica Hayes, the youngest of the couple's five surviving children, in this week's compelling new cover story.

With Gerald, 71, having recently admitted to the three slayings and Alice, 74, nearing trial for killing her former husband, Hayes, 41, recalled the shock of learning about her stepfather and mother's dark past in Wyoming.

"He finally admitted it," she tells PEOPLE of Gerald, who confessed to killing his ex-wife and two sons. "I sat there and thought, 'Son of a b––––.' "

It was a level of closure that was never extended to murder victim Virginia Uden's mother, Claire Martin, who died last April at age 92 – months before Gerald and Alice were arrested.

For more: People

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy in the news on Florida no-body murder case

posted by Admin on February 15th, 2014 at 12:13 PM

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No dead body? Murder charges go forward in uncommon cases

News-Journal/PETER BAUER The Volusia County Sheriff's dive team searches a retention area east of Providence Boulevard and south of Doyle Road during the search for the missing Suarez family, in Deltona, on Thursday afternoon, October 31, 2013.
By Frank Fernandez
frank.fernandez@news-jrnl.com
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.

No body, no crime? Don’t bet on it.

While pressing a murder charge without the victim’s body is more difficult and uncommon, prosecutors regularly win such cases in which their most significant evidence is missing.

Investigators have not found any bodies as they build their case against Luis Toledo, the 32-year-old Deltona man accused of killing his wife and her two children. Toledo is charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Yessenia Suarez, 28, and two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of her children, Michael Otto, 8, and Thalia Otto, 9. The mother and children have not been seen or heard from since October.

The lack of bodies gives the accused a head start in the legal fight, said Thomas A. DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor who also goes by the moniker “the No Body guy” because he blogs about murder cases in which the bodies have not been found. The lack of a body also makes it tougher to seek the death penalty against a defendant, he said.

“The best analogy I can give is when you have a no-body case you have a 100-meter race where the suspect gets to start at the 30-meter mark, because the body is the most important thing in a homicide case,” he said.

For more:Daytona Beach News-Journal

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Texas man's no-body murder conviction reversed

posted by Admin on January 26th, 2014 at 1:39 PM

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Charles Stobaugh's Wife-Killing Conviction Overturned: "No Body, No Murder Weapon, No Witnesses"
By Eric Nicholson Fri., Jan. 24 2014 at 3:38 PM
The circumstantial evidence against Charles Stobaugh is damning.

His estranged wife, Kathy, was last seen on the night of December 29, 2004, setting out for his isolated farmhouse to discuss their divorce, set to be finalized the next day. Add in his domineering personality and his evident heartburn at the prospect of losing half his property, and it's easy to see how a Denton County jury would convict him for murder.

The problem, as the Second District of Texas Court of Appeals in Fort Worth puts it, is that "there is no body, no murder weapon, no witnesses, and no blood or DNA evidence; there are no fibers or hairs or any type of forensic evidence establishing that a murder occurred or linking Charles to a murder; and there is no confession or directly incriminatory statement by Charles."
For more: Dallas Observer.comn

Posted by Thomas A.(Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Federal fraud plea in case of missing man

posted by Admin on December 8th, 2013 at 12:57 PM

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Not exactly a no body murder plea but close. Note too another case involving a former or current police officer......

Fate of victim a mystery as former Jefferson Parish deputy pleads guilty in fraud case
Disappearance of victim adds mystery
By JOHN SIMERMAN
jsimerman@theadvocate.com
November 24, 2013
Nobody seemed to miss Albert Bloch much when he stopped showing up at neighborhood bar Joe’s Caddy Corner, or anywhere else for that matter.
It took well over a month, in the fall of 2007, before authorities learned that the 61-year-old Metairie man had seemed to drop off the face of the earth.
In the meantime, Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy Mark Hebert treated himself to thousands of dollars in cash and pricey car parts on Bloch’s Chase bank account — often drawing from ATM machines while punching the clock as a traffic cop, federal prosecutors say.

The bogus purchases and withdrawals started hours after Hebert responded to a single-vehicle accident that landed Bloch in the hospital in August 2007. They continued steadily for the next two months, including fraudulent activity on a replacement card after Bloch reported phony charges to the bank about a week after the wreck.

For more: The Advocate
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase

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▣ Tacoma woman charged in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on November 16th, 2013 at 6:38 PM

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The last two lines of this summary are the best: "The police have drawn inferences from this." Ya' think?

No body found, but murder charge filed in case of missing man
by Tina Patel
Reporter & Weekend Anchor
Police ask for help in finding missing Tacoma man
TACOMA — Police have charged a 38-year-old woman with the murder of a Tacoma man who has been missing for six weeks.

“This case is still a bit murky, we don’t have a body,” Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Tuesday. “But we do have a defendant based on credit card receipts and statements she made to witnesses and to the detectives.”

Margaret Effelberg pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to first-degree murder, second-degree trafficking in stolen property and second-degree possession of stolen property. She was ordered held in the King County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Neighbors say the victim– Santiago Sanchez Cortes, 59, of Tacoma — was friends with Effelberg, and they would often see him in their neighborhood. According to detectives, his cell phone was used in the area on Oct. 1, the last time he had been seen. Later that night, his credit card was used at a nearby Home Depot.

“The defendant, using the victim’s credit card, purchased a saw, extra blades, garbage bags and Lysol wipes,” Lindquist said. “The detectives have drawn inferences from that.”

For more: Q13Fox.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Trial continues in Maine no-body murder case

posted by Admin on November 16th, 2013 at 6:32 PM

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Detective in Presque Isle murder case says there is no evidence woman missing for 15 years is alive
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 14, 2013, at 2:52 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 14, 2013, at 6:39 p.m.
George Jaime attends the first day of his trial in Aroostook County Superior County in Houlton on Tuesday. Jaime is charged in the death of Starlette Vining, who was 38 years old when she last was seen alive in the fall of 1998 in the Presque Isle area.
Jen Lynds | BDN
George Jaime Sr., 76, of Presque Isle is charged with intentional or knowing murder in the death of Starlette Vining. The accused killer's son, Ted Jaime, along with his longtime friend, James Campbell, testified earlier this week that George Jaime told them that he dismembered Vining's body and then burned it in the commercial boiler in the basement of the pawn shop, pictured here.
Jen Lynds | BDN

HOULTON, Maine — The primary Maine State Police detective investigating the alleged murder of Starlette Vining testified Thursday that in his exhaustive search for her, he found no evidence she is alive.

Detective Adam Stoutamyer also said that when he interviewed accused killer George Jaime Sr., 76, in 2012, the Presque Isle man described Vining as a drug addict who he cared for “a little bit,” but that she didn’t technically live with him. Jaime felt she was someone who liked to live “off the grid” and remain missing, the detective said.

Jaime is charged with intentional or knowing murder in the death of Vining, who was 38 years old when she was last seen alive in October 1998. Though Vining’s body has not been found, Jaime was arrested and charged July 12, 2012.

For more:Bangor Daily News
Poasted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ DA seeking death penalty in Pennsylvania no-body murder case

posted by Admin on November 8th, 2013 at 5:44 AM

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Delco DA to seek death penalty in case of missing baby
Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last updated: Friday, November 8, 2013, 2:01 AM
Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013, 9:14 AM

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the York County man charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend's infant son, last seen alive Aug. 4 at an Upper Darby home, the Delaware County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.

Ummad Rushdi, 30, allegedly told police he shook 7-month-old Hamza Ali because the infant would not stop crying, then made a failed attempt at CPR before he buried the infant somewhere in the York area. He has not told police the precise location of the body.

Police have conducted intensive searches for months but have found no remains.
For more: Philly.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Trial begins for Maine man accused of no-body murder

posted by Admin on November 8th, 2013 at 5:40 AM

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Jury selection begins in County murder trial, though no body ever found
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 04, 2013, at 5:03 p.m.
George Jaime Sr.
Presque Isle Police Department
HOULTON, Maine — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a Presque Isle pawn shop owner charged in the death of a woman who has been missing since 1998.

George Jaime Sr., 76, appeared in court with his attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, as jury selection for his Nov. 12 trial began in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton.

One hundred and twelve prospective jurors were called to the courthouse to fill out a questionnaire that was reviewed by Justice Robert Murray. By late afternoon, he had excused 34 individuals from service and planned to continue reviewing potential jurors on Tuesday.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson is prosecuting the case.

For more: Bangor Daily News

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Florida man charged in no-body murder of wife

posted by Admin on November 2nd, 2013 at 12:24 PM

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Deltona Man Charged in Wife's Death; No Body Found

Luis Toledo stands in the courtroom at the Volusia County Jail in Daytona Beach on Tuesday. (Peter Bauer | HALIFAX MEDIA SERVICES)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:51 p.m.

DELTONA | A 31-year-old reputed gang member is charged with the second-degree murder of his wife, whose body hasn't been found after six days of searching.

Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said Luis Toledo told deputies Monday that he struck a deathblow to Yessenia Suarez's throat during an argument. He denies involvement in the deaths of her children — 8-year-old Michael Otto and 9-year-old Thalia Otto. Instead, Davidson said, Toledo implicated someone else.

The family was last seen a week ago.
For more: The Ledger

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Illinois man convicted of no-body murder of wife

posted by Admin on November 2nd, 2013 at 9:11 AM

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Montano found guilty of murder

By Dan Campana For Sun-Times Media October 30, 2013 4:43PM
Aurelio Montano 55 Auroris charged 1990 death his wife Guadalupe MariMontano whose body has not been found. Montano is already serving life in prison for ordering the murders of a man and woman.

Updated: October 30, 2013 8:08PM
ST. CHARLES — Aurelio Montano was found guilty Wednesday evening of the murder of his wife.

Montano’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Brenda Willett, said Montano’s daughter, nephews and sister told inconsistent stories about the information they have to believe he killed his wife, Maria Guadalupe Montano, in 1990. And, some of them didn’t come forward with details about Montano’s involvement until 17 years after Maria vanished.
For more: The Beacon News

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ New table of no-body murder trials uploaded today!

posted by Admin on October 30th, 2013 at 7:09 AM

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Up to 392 trials and there are at least two trials ongoing right now:
No-body murder trials in the United States

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▣ Illinois man going on trial for 1990 no body murder of his wife

posted by Admin on October 27th, 2013 at 10:13 AM

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Murder trials set for court docket in Kane County

By Dan Campana For Sun-Times Media October 25, 2013 9:22AM
Aurelio Montano, 55, of Aurora, is charged in the 1990 death of his wife, Guadalupe Maria Montano, whose body has not been found. Montano is already serving life in prison for ordering the murders of a man and woman.
Updated: October 27, 2013 2:47AM

A 23-year-old murder case where no body was ever found and a trial focused on a triple-murder suspect’s mental health are both scheduled to go before Kane County jurors next week.

In separate hearings on Thursday, judges and attorneys agreed that the cases involving Aurelio Montano of Aurora — charged with murdering his wife in 1990 — and Quentin Moore, charged in two different killings, were ready for trial beginning Monday.
Montano, 57, is already serving a life sentence for ordering the murders of two people in 1996. Montano filed for divorce from his wife, Maria, in 1991, but authorities believe she was already dead by that time. Prosecutors allege Montano dismembered his wife, buried her body and later moved it. Maria’s body has never been found. A judge last year ruled that prosecutors can introduce evidence of cadaver dog alerts in an area where Montano was believed to have put the body.
The Beacon News

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, the No Body Guy

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▣ Oklahoma man going on trial for 2002 no-body murder of his wife

posted by Admin on October 21st, 2013 at 7:48 AM

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KTEN

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▣ Florida man convicted in no-body murder

posted by Admin on October 11th, 2013 at 8:09 PM

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Man covicted of killing missing girlfriend

Body of Yalitza Garcia, 24, of Deerfield Beach, was never found
Jason Allen and Yalitza Garcia
Jason Allen and Yalitza Garcia in an undated photo released by the Broward Sheriff's Office in 2010. On Oct. 11, 2013, Allen was convicted of murdering Garcia. (Broward Sheriff's Office)

By Rafael Olmeda, Sun Sentinel
6:32 p.m. EDT, October 11, 2013
They never found Yalitza Garcia's body, but they found her killer, a Broward jury decided Friday.

Jason Allen, 36, was convicted Friday of second-degree murder in the disappearance and presumed death of Garcia, the mother of his son.

Garcia, 24, was living in Deerfield Beach when she was last seen in early July 2009. Her co-workers at a north Broward Metro PCS store went to her home on July 5 when she didn't report to work, the Broward Sheriff's Office said. She wasn't home, but Allen was.

For more:Sun-Sentinel

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Michigan man arrested for no-body murder of infant daughter

posted by Admin on October 5th, 2013 at 9:58 AM

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Note that prosecutor Donna Pendergast is in the No-Body Murder Hall Of Fame:

Baby Kate murder charge against Sean Phillips: 'New evidence,' Attorney General Bill Schuette says
Attorney General Bill Schuette announces murder charge against Sean Phillips in Katherine "Baby Kate" Phillips case Oct. 4, 2013, in Ludington City Hall. Katherine "Baby Kate" Phillips went missing June 29, 2011.
Natalie Kolb | nkolb@mlive.com
John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com By John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com
Posted on October 04, 2013 at 1:48 PM, updated October 04, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Baby Kate still missing, but Sean Phillips, her father, charged with her murder
Baby Kate case: Sean Phillips arraigned on murder charge
Live coverage: Baby Kate murder arraignment of Sean Phillips
Baby Kate murder charge against Sean Phillips: 'New evidence,' Attorney General Bill Schuette says
Live coverage: Baby Kate announcement by Attorney General Bill Schuette, Mason County prosecutor
LUDINGTON, MI – “New evidence” in the case of the long-missing Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips resulted in a charge of open murder against the baby’s father, Sean Michael Phillips.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said his office will be trying the case in cooperation with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola. Schuette made the announcement at a new conference Friday, Oct. 4.

“New evidence has been discovered which supports a murder charge in this case,” Schuette said. He declined to state the nature of the evidence.

The arrest warrant alleges Phillips murdered the baby June 29, 2011, the day she went missing at the age of 4 ½ months.

The baby’s body has not been found.

For more: M Live

Posted by Thomas A.(Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Missouri man found guilty in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on September 29th, 2013 at 3:10 PM

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Stanberry man found guilty of murder
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 11:48 am | Updated: 10:21 pm, Fri Sep 27, 2013.
By Clinton Thomas St. Joseph News-Press
GRANT CITY, Mo. — The jury didn’t need a body to convict a man for the murder of Danny Wolf.

Randy Evans, 58, of Stanberry, Mo., was convicted of first-degree murder Friday in a case where the victim never has been discovered.

Prosecutors argued that the crime occurred in early May 2011 in Mr. Evans’ home in Gentry County, with testimony from an eyewitness, forensic evidence and an overheard confession leading jurors to the conclusion Mr. Evans shot Mr. Wolf in the kitchen and disposed of the body.

Lauren Barrett, an assistant from the Missouri Attorney General’s office, summarized the evidence in her closing argument.

Among the key points, Kathy Libby, who formerly lived with Mr. Evans, testified earlier in the week that she saw Mr. Evans shoot the victim in the head and leave him gasping for air on the kitchen floor for 30 to 45 minutes; two of Mr. Evans’ friends said he confessed to the murder; DNA evidence linked blood stains on the floor to the victim, despite claims from the defense that the blood came from processing deer and feeding raw meat to pets; and ballistic evidence indicated that a bullet found above a patched section of ceiling above the refrigerator was from Mr. Evans’ .45 caliber Charles Daly pistol.

For more: News Press Now
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted on Pennsylvania no body-murder case

posted by Admin on September 2nd, 2013 at 6:57 PM

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Winnable bodiless murder cases on the rise
Seven-month-old Hamza Ali was last seen alive on Aug. 4 while visiting Ummad Rushdi's parents, along with his mother. (Source: Upper Darby police)
Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Monday, September 2, 2013, 1:08 AM
The baby's body has not been found, nor is it likely to be.

Yet last week, Ummad Rushdi was charged in Delaware County with murdering his girlfriend's infant son, last seen on Aug. 4.

He joins a growing number of people charged with murder in cases in which investigators could not find bodies.

So-called bodiless murder cases have proliferated since the 1990s, mainly because of advances in forensic technology. The conviction rate of the nearly 400 that have gone to trial nationwide is about 88 percent, according to Tad DiBiase, a former assistant U.S. attorney who tracks the cases on his website, www.nobodycases.com.
In the Philadelphia area, prosecutors have won convictions in a handful of such cases, some involving children. Robert Rivera of Upper Chichester refused to say what happened to his infant daughter after she disappeared in 1999. But he was convicted of second-degree murder in 2002. Katelyn Rivera-Helton has never been found.

Infants are a common category of bodiless murder victim, partly because their smaller bodies are easy to hide, DiBiase said.

"It's a horrific thing to say, but a bag weighing 10 pounds isn't going to call attention to the trash man," he said.
Read more at Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Interesting no body murder civil suit in Indiana

posted by Admin on August 26th, 2013 at 7:35 PM

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I confess I have never heard of a civil suit before a criminal case in a no-body murder case (or frankly ever heard of a civil suit in a no-body murder case at all) so this is quite fascinating.
Judge To Determine If Spierer Case Can Proceed
Updated August 22, 2013 6:58 AM
(BLOOMINGTON) - A pretrial conference is set for Thursday in the civil lawsuit filed against three men last seen with missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.

Spierer's parents Rob and Charlene Spierer filed the suit against Corey Rossman, Jay Rosenbaum and Michael Beth in late May. The Spierers accuse the three defendants of negligence in connection with their daughter's disappearance, saying the men supplied her with alcohol, got her intoxicated and then failed to take care of her. The actions, her parents said, led to their daughter's death.
For more: WBIW

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Want to help with my book?

posted by Admin on August 10th, 2013 at 11:13 AM

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I am looking for an intern/student to assist me with a book project related to my website, www.nobodymurdercases.com. I am writing a book on investigating and prosecuting no-body murder cases, and I need an intern to summarize no-body murder trials for the book. This can be a good resume builder and you will gain experience in an obscure but interesting field and be acknowledged in the book. Plus you will be a big hit at cocktail parties.

Contact me at tad.dibiase@gmail.com

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▣ Oregon defendant seeks expeditated trial in no-body murder case

posted by Admin on August 10th, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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Murder suspect John Ackroyd wants speedy trial process
August 06, 2013 2:40 pm • By Alex Paul, Albany Democrat-Herald
John Arthur Ackroyd, charged with the 1990 murder of his stepdaughter, Rachanda Lee Pickle, has asked the Linn County Circuit Court to expedite his trial date, attorney Russell Barnett of Eugene told Judge Carol Bispham Tuesday morning.

Ackroyd, 63, did not appear in court due to health issues. He remains lodged at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, serving a life sentence for the 1987 murder of Kaye Jean Turner in the Metolius River area. He was convicted of that murder in 1993.

In May, the state provided Barnett and Baker with 1,600 to 2,400 pages of discovery materials. Barnett and co-counsel Elizabeth Baker, also of Eugene, told the court they were satisfied with the discovery portion of the process and were ready to proceed to trial.

But prosecutor George Eder said he believes a jury trial would take at least four weeks, “because this case is extremely complicated.”

For more:Democrat Herald

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Co-defendant to plead guilty in New Hampshire no-body murder case

posted by Admin on July 27th, 2013 at 10:08 AM

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It is never a good sign when the co-defendant pleads guilty and agrees to testify against the main defendant. I believe this would be the first no body murder trial ever in New Hampshire.....

Kathryn McDonough, Alleged Accomplice To Seth Mazzaglia In Student Death, To Plead Guilty
By LYNNE TUOHY 07/24/13 09:45 PM ET EDT
CONCORD, N.H. — The lawyer for a woman who allegedly lied to police about the disappearance of University of New Hampshire sophomore Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott last fall said she will plead guilty to all charges against her Thursday.

Kathryn McDonough of Portsmouth is charged with hindering prosecution, conspiracy and tampering with a witness in the death of the 19-year-old Marriott, whom McDonough had befriended shortly around her disappearance.

Defense attorney Andrew Cotrupi would not comment Wednesday on what sentence McDonough would receive, but told The Associated Press he expects his client to be taken into custody after the hearing in Rockingham Superior Court.

Members of Marriott's family are expected to attend the change-of-plea hearing and to address the court. Robert Marriott, Lizzi's father, did not return a call seeking comment.

McDonough's ex-boyfriend, 30-year-old Seth Mazzaglia, is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly strangling Marriott during an attempted sexual assault Oct. 9 in the Dover apartment he shared with McDonough. Police say the couple told investigators they dumped her body into the waters off Peirce Island. It has never been recovered.

For more:Huffington Post

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, the No Body Guy

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▣ Washington State man arrested for no body murder

posted by Admin on July 20th, 2013 at 7:08 AM

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I once prosecuted a murder case where a woman killed a man with a cast-iron skillet......

Broken skillets, bloody golf club lead to murder charge
BY Tim Haeck on July 19, 2013 @ 1:08 pm (Updated: 10:41 pm - 7/19/13 )

There's no body but prosecutors in Pierce County say they have plenty of evidence of murder, including two broken skillets and a golf club stained with blood and hair.
Charges were filed Friday in Pierce County Superior Court against Michael Breer, 18, of Puyallup.

According to charging documents, on July 13, a friend of Breer's called the Pierce County Sheriff, claiming Breer had admitted to killing another friend. Breer supposedly told the friend that he "went through two frying pans" to kill 18-year old Justin Morris. The friend said he went to Breer's house on July 10 and saw blood and a body wrapped in a blanket.

The friend said he refused to help Breer dispose of the body. Detectives continue to search for Morris' remains.

A search of Breer's Puyallup home and car turned up two iron skillets with broken handles, the golf club, blood stains, Morris' wallet, a shovel, and a gas can.

Breer told investigators Morris came at him with a knife, but didn't elaborate.

For more:My Northwest
Posted by Thomas A.(Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Texas man found guilty and sentenced to life in 1998 no body murder

posted by Admin on July 20th, 2013 at 7:04 AM

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Campos found guilty in Canyon teen's death, sentenced to life

Posted: July 18, 2013 - 11:07am
By Mollie Bryant
mollie.bryant@amarillo.com

A Randall County jury found an Amarillo man guilty of capital murder Thursday in the 1998 strangulation death of a Canyon teenager.

The five-man, seven-woman jury deliberated about 7 hours before finding Mario Bolestero Campos, 35, guilty in the 1998 slaying of Fred Charles Moseley, 17, an Amarillo Christian School student who went missing July 25, 1998.

Visiting Judge Richard Dambold of 47th District Court sentenced Campos to life in prison because the state waived the death penalty in the case.

Another man, Gerald Ross Dooley, 36, also faces a capital murder charge after he confessed to helping strangle Moseley, whose body has never been recovered.

“We knew this would be a difficult trial, because it was unusual in the lack of a body and forensic evidence,” Randall County Criminal District Attorney James Farren said after sentencing.

For more: Amarillo Globe News
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Body found in Missouri no body murder case

posted by Admin on June 1st, 2013 at 4:45 PM

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Jacque Sue Waller's Remains Found Two Years After Her Disappearance, Husband In Jail
By Jessica LussenhopFri., May 31 2013 at 8:00 AM
Two years ago this Saturday, Jacque Sue Waller disappeared after visiting with her estranged husband. The long search for the mother of three came to a sad conclusion this week.

The Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney's Office announced yesterday that law enforcement agents recovered the body of Waller. They provided no information on how or where the remains were located.

The man authorities charged with her murder, husband Clay Waller, is already in Cape Girardeau County Jail and has been since August of last year.

For more:Daily RTF
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ More on first no body murder case in New Hampshire

posted by Admin on May 27th, 2013 at 2:25 PM

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I am unaware of any no body murder trial ever in New Hampshire so this may be the first in state history.

Text messages reveal student was strangled to death after being 'offered up to killer by her friend in S&M strip poker threesome'

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 13:53 EST, 25 May 2013 | UPDATED: 05:20 EST, 26 May 2013
Police say Elizabeth 'Lizzi' Marriott, the 19-year-old killed during an attempted sexual assault on October 9 in Dover, New Hampshire, was the victim of a violent strip poker threesome.

Police affidavits describe a text message suspect Seth Mazzaglia sent his then-girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, that described a lurid detail a bondage sexual encounter and suggested McDonough include a friend, someone to 'offer' to him.
Authorities believe Marriott may have been that offering. They say she was lured to their apartment after class on Oct. 9, not long after McDonough met Marriott, a University of New Hampshire sophomore who worked with her at Target.

Read more:
Daily Mail

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Interesting article on using geophysics to find bodies buried in the earth

posted by Admin on May 17th, 2013 at 6:23 PM

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Hidden Graves Revealed with Geophysics Tools
Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 14 May 2013 Time: 08:57 AM
Workers examine remains at a mass grave in eastern Bosnia in 2004.
CREDIT: Polargeo

Convicting a murderer can be hard if there's no body, but new research may help authorities to better detect human remains hidden underground, in clandestine graves.

Thousands of missing people that have been tortured and killed may be buried in such secret graves, the researchers say. By simulating human graves by burying dead pigs under a variety of conditions, and then monitoring the graves using geophysical methods such as radar, researchers could improve the ability to find hidden bodies.

"We're trying to improve current detection rates of clandestine murder victims," said team member Jamie Pringle, of Keele University in the United Kingdom.

For more:
Live Science

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No-Body Guy

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▣ Michigan man arrested for no-body murder

posted by Admin on May 17th, 2013 at 6:14 PM

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Murder Charges Formally Filed Against Man Arrested After Crash in Plainwell
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 6:51 a.m. EDT by Gary Stevens
Harold James Ordway (photos courtesy Allegan Co. Sheriff's Dept.) HASTINGS, MI (WHTC) - A 42-year-old Delton man arrested after a fender-bender accident east of Plainwell more than 18 months ago was arraigned yesterday on murder charges. Barry County Prosecutors claim that Harold Ordway shot roommate Paul Achley to death a month before the crash, and although no body was found, Achley’s blood was on a mattress in Ordway’s truck.

For more: WHTC
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No-Body Guy

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▣ No body murder case reversed in New York

posted by Admin on May 12th, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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Reversals in no body murder cases are rare but here's one by NewYork's highest court:
Cal Harris murder conviction reversed; third trial ordered
8:12 PM, Oct 18, 2012 |
New York's top court orders third trial for Calvin...: Calvin Harris, twice convicted for killing his estranged wife Michele Harris in 2001, had appealed his case to the state's highest court, which ordered that he should be granted a new trial. Video by Casey Staff
Written by Steve Reilly
@PSBStephen
ALBANY — The state’s highest court on Thursday reversed the murder conviction of Owego businessman Calvin Harris and ordered he should receive a third trial, opening a new chapter in a legal saga that has captivated the Southern Tier for more than a decade.

Harris, 51, was convicted in 2007 and again in a 2009 retrial of the murder of his estranged wife, Michele Harris, who prosecutors say disappeared sometime between the night of Sept. 11, 2001, and the next morning. Neither a weapon nor Michele Harris’ body were ever found.

In a nine-page decision released Thursday morning, the state Court of Appeals said the conviction was “supported by legally sufficient evidence” but that Harris should get a new trial because of concerns about the impartiality of a potential juror and insufficient instructions to the jury prior to hearsay testimony.

For more:Pressconnects.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Big win for the No Body Murders website

posted by Admin on May 9th, 2013 at 7:05 PM

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Today the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the copyright trolls who sued me several years ago had no standing to do so and tossed their case out. Many thanks to my excellent lawyers at Electronic Frontier Foundation and Wilson Sonsini! Check out an article on the case here:

ARS Technica

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ DC man found guilty in city's fourth no body murder case ever

posted by Admin on May 1st, 2013 at 7:58 PM

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D.C. man found guilty of murder in beating death of Latisha Frazier
By Keith L. Alexander, May 01, 2013 12:22 AM EDT

Published: April 30
A D.C. Superior Court jury Tuesday found a District man guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in the brutal 2010 beating death of an 18-year-old woman.

After a day of deliberations, the jury found Johnnie Sweet, 19, guilty of orchestrating the murder of Latisha Frazier, 18, who Sweet said had stolen $900 from him. Prosecutors said Sweet, then 16, persuaded six of his friends to beat and stomp Frazier while one of the friends choked her in Sweet’s Southeast Washington apartment.
Six of Sweet’s friends and neighbors have pleaded guilty to charges associated with Frazier’s death, with only Sweet having maintained his innocence.

Sweet faces 30 to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Russell F. Canan in July.

For more: Washington Post

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▣ Great quote from DC no body murder trial

posted by Admin on April 27th, 2013 at 1:41 PM

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Defendants say the darndest things don't they? From my friends at Homicide Watch DC
in the Latisha Frazier no body murder case in DC Superior Court:
"Michael Cummings, an educator with the incarcerated youth program, testified that he taught Social Studies at the D.C. jail in May 2011 while [Defendant] Sweet was in custody. Cummings testified that Sweet was his student for a month, and one day Sweet asked, 'If a crime was committed in D.C. and a body was found in Virginia, who would have jurisdiction?'

Cummings said that he responded, 'I’ll get back to you,” and then emailed the MPD tip line.'" D'oh!

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ DC No Body Murder Trial Begins

posted by Admin on April 24th, 2013 at 6:37 PM

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This is DC's fourth no body murder case ever. I tried the second one in 2006.
Washington Post

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▣ The No Body Guy joins the Twitterverse!

posted by Admin on April 18th, 2013 at 7:14 PM

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Check me out on #TheNoBodyGuy:

The No Body Guy's Twitter page

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▣ No Body Murder Cases website cited in Daily Beast in California murder case

posted by Admin on April 9th, 2013 at 6:06 AM

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Yesterday, Lyle Herring was convicted of second degree murder of his wife.

Lesley Herring: The Hollywood Murder Case With No Body
Mar 28, 2013 4:45 AM EDT
In a risky move, Los Angeles is trying a man for the murder of his wife—the sister of a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actress—though the woman was never found. Christine Pelisek reports.
Lesley Herring was a creature of habit. She called her mother every morning to pray, kept her home spotless, and rarely missed a day of work at SimplexGrinnell, a fire alarm and security company in Los Angeles. So when her sister, actress Aasha Davis, received a call from Lesley’s employer that she hadn’t showed up to work for two days, a sense of panic overcame her.
Lesley Herring, right, sister of Actress Aasha Davis, left, has been missing since February 2009. (Getty; lesleyherring.blogspot.com)
“It made me nervous and uncomfortable because it didn’t sound like her,” Davis, who has appeared on Friday Night Lights and Grey’s Anatomy, would later testify. “She doesn’t just go anywhere without telling anyone. She likes doing the same thing all the time. Doing something new is unusual for her.”
Four years later, Herring still hasn’t been found. Even so, L.A. prosecutors have taken the unusual step of bringing Herring’s husband to trial for murder without a body to point to as evidence.
“Don’t expect to see Lesley Herring’s body,” said deputy district attorney Sam Hulefeld during opening statements on March 14. “There isn’t one. We cannot produce one for you. And we are going to ask you not to reward the defendant for that.”
Murder trials without a body are quite rare, but not unheard of. One unofficial tally estimates that there have been 300 such cases in the United States. Such trials present unique difficulties for prosecutors and often rely heavily on circumstantial evidence, making convictions difficult to wrangle.

For more: The Daily Beast

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▣ Florida man convicted in no body murder trial

posted by Admin on April 9th, 2013 at 5:44 AM

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Jurors Give Glimpse into Deliberations in Missing Body Murder Trial

Elijah James Trial: Jurors Speak Out
Elijah James Trial Reactions
Jury Reaches Verdict in Elijah James Trial
DNA Evidence Piling up in Elijah James' Trial
Elijah James Trial Day 4
Most Shocking Testimony To Date In Elijah James Trial
Surveillance Video Shown at Missing Body Murder Trial
Elijah James Trial Day 2
Elijah James Jury Selection
UPDATED By Julie Montanaro
Now a story you'll see only on WCTV.
Jurors speak out on what happened behind closed doors the day Elijah James was convicted of murder.
We spoke to two women asked to the weigh the evidence in Tallahassee's first murder trial without a body.

"We were all definitely convinced. There was no doubt in any juror's mind that he killed her," juror number 8 said.

Elijah James was convicted Tuesday and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Danielle Brown.

Juror number eight said all the jurors quickly agreed that Danielle Brown was dead and that Elijah James was responsible for her death. What took four and a half hours, she said, was deciding between first degree murder and second. They all agreed on murder in the second degree.

"We had someone's life in our hands basically and again we wanted to make sure we made the right decision by both parties. So I think we were all on the same page as far as his guilt. It was just the matter of the level of guilt.," juror number 8 said.

It was the first murder case of its kind in Tallahassee. Brown's body has never been found.

For more: WCTV
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Texas man arrested in 21 year old no body murder

posted by Admin on April 9th, 2013 at 5:37 AM

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Man arrested, charged with murder in 21-year-old cold case



By: YNN Staff




Rex Nisbett
Newly-elected Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty is moving forward with a 21-year-old murder case.

Vicki Lynn Nisbett was last seen in December of 1991. A couple of days later, she was reported missing by her estranged husband Rex Nisbett.

After a recent review of the case, Duty saw enough evidence there for a conviction, and Nisbett, who was living homeless in Houston, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder.

Duty says she was asked by a friend of Vicki's to look into the case when she started as DA in January, and the evidence for prosecution was already there.

"I think former prosecutors had an opinion of 'no body, no murder,'” Duty said. “I believe with the advent of technology, we don't have to follow that theory anymore."

For more:YNN
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▣ California case now being treated as no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 16th, 2013 at 10:49 AM

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Missing Fox Exec Gavin Smith Case Now Homicide After Cops Find His Car

By DOMINIC PATTEN | Thursday March 14, 2013 @ 12:04pm PDTTags: 20th Century Fox, Gavin Smith
Police on the case of missing 20th Century Fox film executive Gavin Smith are now saying he was likely murdered Sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore said today that Smith’s black Mercedes 420E was found February 21 in a Simi Valley, CA storage locker. “Evidence in there and from other sources has led investigators in the case to preliminarily reclassify this as a homicide. While no body has been found, they believe it was a murder,” Whitmore told me.

Police have said that John Creech is the person of interest in the case; he is currently in custody on unrelated drug charges. The Simi Valley storage unit is linked to Creech, and he and his wife’s West Hills, CA house has already been searched twice by police in relation to the case. Smith is said to have met Creech’s wife in therapy.

For more:Deadline.com

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▣ No Body website cited in recent article

posted by Admin on March 9th, 2013 at 4:04 PM

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"No Body" Trials: the Difficulty of Locking Up Killers When the Victim's Corpse Is Missing
Getting Away With Murder


Imagine that you think you hear screaming from next door. You walk outside your house to see what is going on, in time to see your neighbor leaving his house with a few plastic bags. He then returns to his house and hauls away a stained mattress-- and later returns with a power saw. You hear the buzz of a saw grind away for several hours. You shrug it off-- you decide that the screams that you heard weren't real and that your neighbor is probably just doing a little work around the house. A few days later, police arrive at your doorstep. They tell you that your neighbor's wife has gone missing, and the investigators want to know if you've seen anything suspicious lately.

A similar situation occurred in 1998 in Dedham, Massachusetts. John D. Romano may very well have beaten his wife Katherine to death and then returned to cut her up with a power saw in order to hide the evidence. What's more, prosecutors claimed that Romano chopped up his wife's body in front of his two year old child.

Even in the age of DNA evidence, "no body" murders are very hard to prove. When bits of flesh and bone taken from the saw were sent to the lab for analysis, the results came back as a positive match for Katherine Romano. Still, Romano ended up being convicted of 2nd degree murder instead of 1st degree murder and almost walked. If it were not for the bits of tissue found in the saw, Romano may have gotten away with killing his wife.

For more: Mercury Services

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▣ Third person arrested in Kentucky no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 6th, 2013 at 10:08 AM

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Deputies make third arrest in murder, still no body
by Katie Williams
Posted: 02.28.2013 at 9:48 PM
LEXINGTON COUNTY (WACH) -- Lexington County deputies have arrested a third person in connection to the kidnapping and murder of Michael George, the West Columbia man who hasn’t been seen since December 2011.

33-year-old Rachel Fremion is charged as an accessory after the fact to murder.

Investigators say she helped clean blood from the home of Jamey Mallette.

Mallette and William “Tommy” Embree, Jr. are charged with killing George.

For more: Midlands Connect

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▣ No Body Guy quoted on Minnesota no body murder arrest

posted by Admin on February 28th, 2013 at 5:07 PM

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Without a body, pinning Kira Trevino's disappearance on anyone could be tricky
By Mara H. Gottfried
mgottfried@pioneerpress.comtwincities.com
Posted: 02/27/2013 12:01:00 AM CST
February 28, 2013 2:35 PM GMTUpdated: 02/28/2013 08:35:22 AM CST
Kira Trevino, left, was reported missing Friday, Feb. 22. Her husand, Jeffrey Trevino, was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 26, on suspicion of homicide. Five-year-old Corrine Erstad of Inver Grove Heights disappeared in 1992. Her body was never found.
Missing St. Paul woman Kira Trevino's husband charged with murder (w/ video)St. Paul man arrested, suspected of killing missing wife, Kira TrevinoIf the Ramsey County attorney charges Jeffery Trevino in the disappearance of his wife, the case could join a small number of homicides in Minnesota prosecuted with no body.

"It's not easy to prove a murder without a body, but it can be done," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, whose office has prosecuted two homicides without a body, one successfully.

For more:
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ DC defendant attempting to withdraw guilty plea in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 28th, 2013 at 4:57 PM

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Latisha Frazier murder: Brian Gaither back in court after recanting guitly plea
February 27, 2013 - 09:53 am
For the first time since withdrawing a guilty plea in the murder of a 17-year-old Southeast Washington woman, the suspect in the case will appear in court Wednesday.
Frazier's body was never recovered after she went missing in August of 2010.
Nov. 20: Gaither pleads guilty to Frazier's murder
Frazier, 17, had young daughter

Brian Gaither, who pleaded guilty last November to the murder of Latisha Frazier, recanted his guilty plea earlier this month, according to Homicide Watch.

Gaither then decided he wanted to recant his guilty plea after being "confused in court," according to Homicide Watch, and regretting signing a plea deal that didn't lead to a shorter prison term.

Frazier, a young mother, disappeared from Southeast D.C. in August of 2010. Prosecutors allege she was lured to an apartment to be confronted over allegedly stealing money from a man. Once she got there, authorities say she was beaten, bound and eventually choked to death.


Read more: WJLA
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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▣ Verdict and sentence in long running Florida no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 28th, 2013 at 4:36 PM

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Geralyn Graham gets 55 years in Rilya Wilson foster child abuse case
By DAVID OVALLE
dovalle@MiamiHerald.com
Even as she was about to face justice for kidnapping and child abuse, Geralyn Graham insisted she never harmed foster child Rilya Wilson.

“I love her too much to ever have done anything to her. Things have been greatly exaggerated,” Graham said. “I ask that those who believe I’ve done these things forgive me, and those who know in their hearts I would never do these things to keep praying for me. The truth will come out.”

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez, however, was not swayed — sentencing Graham to 55 years in prison. That means the 67-year-old Graham will likely die behind bars.

Read more here:
Miami Herald

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▣ Closing arguments in Florida no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 2nd, 2013 at 1:48 PM

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Closing Arguments Tuesday in Rilya Wilson Murder Trial

Jury deliberations expected to begin Wednesday
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 | Updated 10:35 PM EST
Assistant State Attorney Joshua Weintraub said in closing arguments that Geralyn Graham, 67, can be found guilty of first-degree murder even though the body of foster child Rilya Wilson has never been found. Defense attorney Michael Matters said jurors should focus on what evidence the state did not have.

















The caretaker of foster child Rilya Wilson grew to hate the 4-year-old because of defiant behavior, finally smothering the girl with a pillow in 2000 and covering up the slaying with a web of lies, a Florida prosecutor told a jury Tuesday.

Assistant State Attorney Joshua Weintraub said in closing arguments that the law permits the jury to find 67-year-old Geralyn Graham guilty of first-degree murder even though Rilya's body was never found. Graham, who insists she is innocent, faces life in prison if convicted.

"There is no requirement that a body be presented, there is no body in this case because the defendant made damn sure the body would never be recovered," said Weintraub.

Evidence and testimony during the eight-week trial showed that Graham abused Rilya, even confining the girl in a dog cage or keeping her hidden in a laundry room for hours, Weintraub said. It was all because Rilya wouldn't do exactly as Graham ordered, the prosecutor said.

For more:News 6 South Florida

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Tennessee man set to defend himself at third trial of no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 2nd, 2013 at 1:40 PM

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Former death row inmate wants to represent himself in new trial in Memphis
By Lawrence Buser
Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:16 p.m., updated January 24, 2013 at 11:51 p.m.
The retrial of a capital murder case with no body also may have no defense attorney.Former death row inmate Michael Dale Rimmer, who won a new trial last fall because his lawyers were inadequate, said Thursday he does not want his appointed attorney and that he wants to represent himself.Rimmer told Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft that a conflict of interest existed between him the attorney the judge appointed, Robert Parris.

Rimmer said he helped fellow death-row prisoner Henry Lee Jones file complaints against Parris, who represented Jones in 2009 when he was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of an elderly Bartlett couple.

Defendants convicted of crimes frequently file complaints against their attorneys.

For more:The Commercial Appeal

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ South Carolina man held in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 2nd, 2013 at 1:30 PM

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Pascoe: Murder can be proved without a body
January 20, 2013 4:15 am • By RICHARD WALKER, T&D Staff Writer
The search for the body of a mother of two goes on, and so does the case against the man accused of killing her.

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe said murder charges have been successfully tried in South Carolina even when the victim’s body has been missing.

“There have been convictions before where there hasn’t been a body,” he said. “Our laws do not reward a criminal in a case where there is a disposal of the body.”

Pascoe said he could not comment specifically on the case of Kimberly Parrish, the 40-year-old mother of two small children who was reported missing just four days before Christmas. The body of the West Columbia woman has not been recovered.

Kenneth Cutter, 37, of Wolfton, has been charged with murder in connection with her disappearance. He appeared before an Orangeburg County magistrate on New Year’s Eve to be formally presented his rights, which include a bond hearing before a circuit court judge.

For more:The T & D

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▣ Alabama man arrested in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 2nd, 2013 at 1:16 PM

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Suspect Behind Bars as BCSO Investigate Montrose Murder
Arrest Made in Montrose Homicide
Reported by: James Gordon
Email: jgordon@local15tv.com
Published: 1/18 10:31 pm
(FAIRHOPE, Ala.) The Baldwin County Sheriff's office has made an arrest after a homicide in the Montrose community on the Eastern Shore. Police arrested Immanuel Jenkins and charged him with capital murder for the death of Donald Howard.

A body has not been found but police say there was enough evidence to make an arrest. The evidence reveals what are described as "horrific injuries." The suspect CJ Jenkins may hold the key to finding Howard's body.
Local 15 News

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▣ "No Body" Guy quoted in Seacoastonline

posted by Admin on February 2nd, 2013 at 12:58 PM

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Prosecutors overcome challenges of 'no body' murder cases
By Joey Cresta
jcresta@seacoastonline.com
January 03, 2013 2:00 AM

Solving a murder can best be described as putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Legal experts agree the victim's body is a critical, yet not essential, piece of that puzzle.

Prosecutors with the N.H. attorney general's office may face an uphill climb if investigators are unable to locate the body of Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student who disappeared Oct. 9.
Police believe Marriott was killed by Seth Mazzaglia, 30, of Dover. He is in jail awaiting indictment on a charge of second-degree murder alleging he strangled or suffocated Marriott in his Sawyer Mill apartment. Sources indicate they were involved in some sort of sexual encounter, though authorities have refused to comment, and it is not known whether that encounter was consensual.

Officials have said "credible information" leads them to believe Marriott's body was dumped in the Piscataqua River at Peirce Island in Portsmouth. Even though the Marine Patrol continues searching during routine patrols, and dedicated volunteers continue to comb the coastline for clues, Marriott's body has not surfaced.

The question of whether investigators can prove Marriott was murdered may come up as a defense strategy in trial. Thomas A. "Tad" DiBiase, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., has compiled a database of all so-called "no body" murder trials in U.S. history. DiBiase notes that of the 378 trials, there were approximately 42 dismissals, mistrials, acquittals or reversals on appeal, which means an 89 percent conviction rate.


For more: Seacoastonline

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ New No Body Murder Trials Table!

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2012 at 9:08 AM

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I just uploaded a new table of trials so please check it out under the No Body Murder Trials tab. Up to 378 no body murder trials! Also, just found a fascinating no body murder case from 1896 in New Mexico. Check out a nice writeup of the case here: Murders Most Foul

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Testimony continues in Rilya Wilson no body murder trial Florida

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2012 at 7:35 AM

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Detective: no clues in national hunt for Fla. girl
By CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer
Updated 12:07 pm, Tuesday, December 11, 2012
MIAMI (AP) — A nationwide dragnet launched in 2002 for a missing Florida foster child turned up no trace and also nothing to back up her caretaker's claims that a state worker had taken the girl for mental tests months earlier, a police detective testified Tuesday in the caretaker's murder trial.

"Every lead, every information that I was provided came to a dead end. Nothing panned out," said Det. Giancarlo Milito of the Miami-Dade Police Department. "All rocks were turned."

The investigation began as a missing persons case once the Department of Children and Families discovered in April 2002 that 4-year-old Rilya Wilson had been missing for some 15 months. Her caretaker, 66-year-old Geralyn Graham, told Milito that an unknown DCF worker had taken Rilya for psychological testing and never returned the girl.

Read more: AP

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▣ California man on trial for no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 16th, 2012 at 5:03 PM

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Palm Desert Murder Suspect is no Killer, Says Defense

Prosecutors insist that a man suspected of killing a woman for drug money may be a "scumbag," but he's no killer.
By City News Service
December 12, 2012
A Palm Desert pot dealer killed a woman for cash she planned to buy marijuana with, a prosecutor told jurors today, but a defense attorney argued that his client was not a killer, even if he was a "scumbag."

Attorney Greg Johnson told jurors that authorities have no hard evidence tying his client, 24-year-old Sean Michael Mihajson, to the Oct. 12, 2007, slaying of Shalonda Morris.

Mihajson is charged with murder and the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and murder in commission of a robbery, which made him eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors in the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, however, decided in November 2008 against seeking his execution.

If convicted of first-degree murder and at least one special circumstance allegation, Mihajson faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to the District Attorney's Office.

For more:The Patch

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Trial set for Pennsylvania man charged in no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 16th, 2012 at 4:54 PM

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After Two Years, Diane Corado's Body Still Missing

It's been two years since Diane Corado was violently abducted from her Levittown residence. Her body has never been found and her ex-boyfriend stands accused of her murder.
By Tom Sofield
A recent view of the apartment where Diane Corado and her friend were abducted from. Police say it is one of the last places she was seen alive.
Diane Corado
Kenneth Patterson in a recent mugshot.
The outside of Corado's apartment two days after the kidnapping in 2011.
The search for the body of Falls Township resident Diane Corado has involved federal, state and local law enforcement officials - and yet, two years later, nothing.

Falls police Lieutenant Hank Ward said recently by phone that investigators have “exhausted everything” in the search for the woman who is alleged to have been murder on December 16, 2010 by her former convict ex-boyfriend Kenneth Lamon Patterson, 50.

Despite the lack of a body, Corado was legally declared dead in 2011. The county district attorney’s office is set to prosecute Patterson for the murder of Corado - body or no body.

For more:The Patch

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Guilty verdict in Orange County, California no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 15th, 2012 at 5:14 PM

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Forsberg Trial: Guilty of Killing, Butchering, Burning His Wife

Less than 15 minutes after first-degree murder is taken off the table by the O.C. District Attorney's office, the jury comes back with the more serious of the remaining options.
By Martin Henderson
December 10, 2012
Richard Forsberg of Rancho Santa Margarita is on trial for the murder of his wife, Marcia Ann Forsberg, on Feb. 9, 2010.
Marcia Forsberg at her 60th birthday party—her last—prior to being killed by her husband.
ORANGE COUNTY, CA -- Richard Gustav Forsberg, better known as "Rick" to his neighbors and the friends of his wife of 39 years, Marcia, was found guilty Monday of murdering her and gruesomely destroying her body.

Forsberg wearing a medium blue checked shirt with khaki pants—and absent a belt—watched the court clerk read the verdict. There was little noticeable reaction.

It was busy day for jurors, who heard more than eight hours of interviews during the five days of testimony in which Forsberg described beating wife Marcia Ann Forsberg to death and, scared of being caught, dismembering her body and burning it.

The seven-man, five-woman jury had a busy morning in Orange County Superior Court as deliberations began their second day. Just over two hours in, about 11:15 a.m., the jury returned to Judge William Froeberg's courtroom on the 10th floor of the courthouse and indicated they were hung at 10-2 on the charge of first degree murder.

For more:The Patch

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Indictment in Florida no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 15th, 2012 at 5:10 PM

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Sun-Sentinel
By Tonya Alanez and Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel

10:01 p.m. EST, December 6, 2012

They have no body, no remains, no coroner's report — but after hearing the testimony of 16 witnesses on Thursday, it took a Broward County grand jury just 23 minutes to indict Cid Torrez on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of his missing wife.

Vilet Patricia Torrez, a 38-year-old Miramar mother of three, was last seen March 31. Her estranged husband did not report her missing until April 2.

Cid Torrez's defense attorney, Richard Della Fera, said he was not surprised by the outcome of Thursday's closed-door proceeding.

For more: Sun-Sentinel
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Orange County no body murder trial begins

posted by Admin on December 15th, 2012 at 5:03 PM

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Forsberg Murder Trial Begins Today

Much has happened since Richard Forsberg was charged with killing wife Marcia Ann after 39 years of marriage. One obstacle—there's no body.
By Martin Henderson
November 28, 2012
Ebrahim Baytieh, named California's Outstanding Prosecutor over the summer, will try to convict Richard Gustav Forsberg of murder.
Richard Gustav Forsberg is accused of killing his wife, Marcia Ann Forsberg, in February, 2010 and stringing along neighbors and friends for six months as to her whereabouts.
There has been one award, two deaths and too many chilling images since Richard Gustav Forsberg was charged with the murder of his wife of 39 years.

But today, the quest for justice for Marcia Ann Forsberg finally begins.

The county's best prosecuting attorney, Ebrahim Baytieh, is scheduled to deliver his opening statement Wednesday morning in an Orange County Superior Courtroom and begin painting Forsberg into a corner.

He is likely to touch on the testimony delivered at the pretrial hearing in which Forsberg, 63, was accused of bludgeoning his wife in their Rancho Santa Margarita condo, cutting up her body and stashing it in the garage, burning it in a Ventura County campground and telling anyone who asked about her that she was staying with friends—a charade he played for six months.
For more: The Patch

Posted by Thomas A.(Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Guilty plea in DC no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 21st, 2012 at 6:25 PM

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D.C. man pleads guilty to 2010 kidnapping and murder case
November 20, 2012 | 8:00 pm
Ben Giles
Staff writer - Prince George's County
The Washington Examiner

A District man pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the death of an 18-year-old woman prosecutors say was kidnapped and killed by a group of six individuals in 2010, U.S. attorneys announced.

Brian Gaither, 25, faced multiple charges -- including kidnapping, first-degree premeditated murder and tampering with physical evidence -- and was scheduled to head to trial Monday for the death of Latisha Frazier in August 2010, before he pleaded guilty to the single felony murder charge Tuesday.

Gaither is the third individual to plead guilty in the case: Cinthya Proctor and Laurence Hassan have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

For more:
DC Examiner

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▣ Maine man found guilty in no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 18th, 2012 at 4:44 PM

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AUBURN — A jury this afternoon in Androscoggin County Superior Court found Buddy Robinson guilty of the murder of Christiana Fesmire.

Robinson was charged in the murder of 22-year-old Fesmire, both of Lewiston. Fesmire had been missing since early July 2011, and her body has not been found.

The jury began deliberating at about 1 p.m. By 2:20 p.m., they had reached the verdict.

Defense attorney Edward “Ted” Dilworth talked to a Sun Journal reporter after the verdict. He said Robinson “put his hands in the fate of the public and the jury. He accepts that result and he’s looking forward to going forward.

“We will review the evidence for the possibility of appeal. At this point, he’s accepting the decision of the jury,” Dilworth said.

For more:Bangor Daily News
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▣ Rilya Wilson no body murder case to begin in Florida

posted by Admin on November 18th, 2012 at 4:40 PM

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A decade on, Fla. missing girl trial to begin

By By CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer – Nov 4, 2012

MIAMI (AP) — More than a decade after foster child Rilya Wilson's disappearance shook up the state's child welfare system, the caregiver accused of killing the girl is finally set to go on trial in a highly circumstantial case hinging on jail inmates who say they heard the woman confess.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the trial of Geralyn Graham, which is expected to last about eight weeks. Graham, 66, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and has written letters to judges insisting she is innocent. She faces life in prison if convicted.

"I've never hurt a soul in my life," she said in one letter.

Rilya's body has never been found. Police have no witnesses to any killing and scant physical evidence. The crux of the case are alleged confessions Graham made to fellow jail inmates that she killed Rilya and buried her body near a lake.

"It is always problematic for the government when it has to build a case on jailhouse snitches," said Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University who has followed the case over the years. "In the end, the government may lose, particularly if Graham can present a reasonable alternative explanation for Rilya's disappearance."

Rilya was born Sept. 29, 1996, to a homeless cocaine addict. The girl's name was an acronym for "remember I love you always." She was taken into state custody when she was less than 2 months old.

The girl was last seen in 2001 living in a home shared by Geralyn Graham and Pamela Graham, who are not related. When it was discovered in 2002 that she was no longer living there, the Grahams claimed a Department of Children and Families worker had taken her for medical tests and never returned.
For more:Associated Press

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▣ New York's top court overturns Calvin Harris no body murder conviction

posted by Admin on October 21st, 2012 at 6:13 PM

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Note the quote from me within the article......
Appellate court judge may have played key role in overturning Cal Harris' conviction
6:15 PM, Oct 20, 2012 |
FILE - Attorney William Easton, left, and defendant Calvin Harris, right, listen testimony during Harris' second trial in July 2009. / SIMON WHEELER /
Written by Steve Reilly
ALBANY — The decision by New York state’s highest court last week to grant former Owego businessman Cal Harris a third murder trial added yet another dramatic twist to a case that already seemed ripped from the pages of a Hollywood screenplay.

But unlike other developments since the disappearance of Harris’ estranged wife, Michele Harris, in September 2001, legal experts say the extraordinary decision issued by the Court of Appeals on Thursday raises new questions about the case from the highest levels of the state’s judiciary.

According to two legal experts, the driving force behind Thursday’s Court of Appeals decision was a July 2011 opinion written by an intermediate-level appeals judge who launched a full-throated attack on the evidence used to convict Harris in 2007 and again at a retrial in 2009.

“I honestly think that the court was troubled by the lack of evidence,” Michael Hutter, a professor of law at Albany Law School, said of Thursday’s decision.

Before it came before the Court of Appeals, Harris’ appeal of his 2009 conviction on one count of second-degree murder was first heard by the state Appellate Division’s Third Judicial Department, a mid-level appeals court.

While Harris lost his appeal at the Appellate Division in a 3-1 vote in July 2011, Justice Bernard Malone wrote with a blistering, 27-page dissenting opinion that disputed whether there was legally sufficient evidence to convict him, and argued the conviction should be thrown out.
For more: Press Connects.com

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▣ A no body case in New Hampshire?

posted by Admin on October 21st, 2012 at 5:52 PM

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I am not aware of any no body murder case going to trial in New Hampshire. It is one of only two states, Idaho being the other, where I have not found a no body murder case tried. We'll see how this one turns out.....

Arrest made in UNH student's death: Despite no body found yet, police say they know 'Lizzi' Marriott is dead

By OLIVER JENKINS
ojenkins@fosters.com
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Julian Russell/Staff photographer At the Dover police station on Saturday, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General James Vara announces the arrest of a suspect in the disappearance of Elizabeth Marriott.
DOVER — A local man has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the disappearance of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, a University of New Hampshire student who was last seen Tuesday evening.

Seth Mazzaglia, 29, of Dover, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning at Dover District Court on the second-degree murder charge.

During a Saturday afternoon press conference in front of the Dover police station, Assistant Attorney General James Vara announced investigators have acquired sufficient evidence to believe Marriott is dead — even though attempts to locate her body have been unsuccessful.

“We are confirming that we have credible information at this point to believe, in fact, that she's dead,” he said.


For more: Foster's.com
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▣ Michigan's man no body murder conviction overturned

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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Conviction in 32-year-old murder case overturned by court

August 25, 2012 Associated Press

TAWAS CITY -- There was evidence that Jimmie Nelson sold his pickup truck and was covering his tracks after Cherita Thomas disappeared 32 years ago, but that wasn't enough to convict him for murder years later, a three-judge state appeals court panel said Friday.

The court overturned a second-degree murder conviction against Nelson in the presumed death of Thomas, who disappeared without a trace in August 1980 when her car broke down with a bad radiator hose.

"We recognize the difficult task that a prosecutor's office faces in prosecuting a case 30 years after a person's disappearance and death," Judges Jane Beckering, Donald Owens and Douglas Shapiro said.

"But courts must live with the evidence gleaned from a police investigation that did not seriously examine Nelson until many years after Thomas' disappearance and did not produce physical evidence linking Nelson to Thomas' death," the court said.

For more:Detroit Free Press

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▣ Colordao man indiicted for no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 3:05 PM

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Cold-case challenge: no body found in Michael Medina case
Posted: 09/30/2012 12:01:00 AM MDTBy Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Postdenverpost.com

Police had long known that Michael Medina allegedly taunted his second wife by claiming that he buried his first wife alive.

But six years passed without new murder charges being filed against Medina, who is already serving a prison term for a child murder. Authorities had scoured fields and dug many holes across Arapahoe County searching for first wife Kimberly Greene's skeleton, but they couldn't find it.

Then a decision was made by Arapahoe County prosecutors to go forward with the case even though Greene's remains still have not been found. Last November, a grand jury indicted Medina for murder and kidnapping. The indictment had remained a secret until now.


Read more: Denver Post

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▣ Detroit man on trial for no body murder of his 2 year old daughter

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 2:57 PM

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Testimony continues Monday in murder case against Detroit father
Bianca Jones missing since December 2011; Father charged with murder
Published On: Oct 01 2012 08:17:51 AM EDT Updated On: Oct 01 2012 05:25:06 PM EDT
8-year-old sister of Bianca Jones testifies
DETROIT -

The Detroit man charged with murdering his 2-year-old daughter was in court Monday.

Bianca Jones hasn’t been seen since Dec. 2, 2011, when her father, D'Andre Lane said he was carjacked with her in the back seat.
Police found Lane’s car a short time later, but the girl wasn't in it.

Lane is accused of beating Bianca to death with a stick with a towel wrapped in duct tape, and disposing of her body. Lane told officers during questioning that he had spanked the child for wetting herself. However, her body has still not been found.

Defense attorney Terry Johnson has said prosecutors have no evidence against Lane, and their "case is based on the argument that he spanked her."

Lane is charged with murder and child abuse.

Click on Detroit

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▣ Florida student arrested in no body murder of classmate

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 10:37 AM

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With no body, police charge former classmate with murder in UF student’s disappearance
By Audra D.S. Burch and Scott Hiaasen

Miami Herald

GAINESVILLE —

Police have charged 18-year-old Pedro Bravo with murder for the death of University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar, though they still have not found a body.

Police announced the murder charge Friday evening, after hundreds of officers and volunteers searched around Gainesville for yet another day with the hope of finding Aguilar alive.

Before police publicly made the surprise announcement, a tearful Carlos and Claudia Aguilar, the parents of the missing student, quickly left the area where daily searches for their son had been staged.

Hours later, a grieving Carlos Aguilar said he still feels “my son is alive in my heart.’’

For more:
Miami Herald
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▣ Three arrested in North Carolina no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 10:32 AM

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By Abby Ellin
Sep 22, 2012 5:08pm
Three Arrested in Case of Missing NC Teen
Three people are under arrest on murder charges in conjunction with the disappearance of Kennedy McLaurin Jr., 16, who vanished on Sept. 9 in Goldsboro, N.C.

Despite the fact that no body has been found, Leonard Joyner, 21, Jerome Butts, 19, and Kevin Edward Smith, 18, were arrested Friday and charged with murder. A warrant has also been taken out for arrest of Curtis Etheridge, 17, also charging him with murder.

“The police department has identified all of the subjects involved in this case,” Goldsboro Police Sgt. Dwayne Dean told ABC station WTVD-TV, in Raleigh-Durham. “We can assure the public that this is not gang related nor was it random.”

McLaurin, a high school junior from Goldsboro who was described as having pierced ears and a tattoo of the initial “K” on his left hand, vanished nearly two weeks ago. It was unlike him to disappear without word, his parents told WTVD.

“It’s agonizing not knowing,” McLaurin’s mother, Kim Best, told WTVD. “I haven’t been able to function, hardly do anything — just waiting around for him to come home.”

Witnesses told police that McLaurin, who was 5 foot 9 inches, 135 pounds, with black hair, and brown eyes, was abducted by four men and forced into a car in front of a housing project. Police are looking for a bluish-grey older model Buick or Lincoln.

For more: ABC News

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▣ New York's top appellate court hears appeal in no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 10:24 AM

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Husband jailed for '01 murder gets day in court

There's no body and no murder weapon. Yet a once prominent auto dealer from New York's Southern Tier is doing prison time for killing his estranged wife, who hasn't been seen for 11 years.

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN

Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. —

There's no body and no murder weapon. Yet a once prominent auto dealer from New York's Southern Tier is doing prison time for killing his estranged wife, who hasn't been seen for 11 years.

Michele Harris, then 35, was last seen leaving work as a waitress the evening after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center in Manhattan, or early the next morning outside her home arguing with another man, depending on whom you believe. Undisputed by both prosecutors and defense is that she hasn't been seen since and no murder weapon was ever found.

Now, New York's Court of Appeals will decide whether Calvin L. Harris was fairly convicted of murdering the mother of his four children or presumed guilty based on insufficient circumstantial evidence. The seven judges on the state's top court were scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday [September 11, 2012]. They are expected to rule next month.

For more: Associated Press

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▣ Arizona mother arrested for no body murder of daughter

posted by Admin on October 8th, 2012 at 10:17 AM

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Mother of missing Glendale girl arrested, accused in her murder

by D.S. Woodfill and Lisa Halverstadt - Sept. 6, 2012 09:55 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com

The Glendale Police Department has arrested Jerice Hunter on suspicion of murdering her 5-year-old daughter, Jhessye Shockley, nearly a year after authorities and neighbors first searched for the girl.
Hunter was arrested at a Mesa apartment about 1:30 p.m. after a Maricopa County grand jury handed up an indictment on charges of first-degree murder and child abuse, authorities said.

The arrest was announced late Thursday afternoon during a news conference at the Glendale police headquarters. Hunter was booked into Fourth Avenue Jail.

"Our hope is that the announcement today will allow the healing process to begin," said interim Glendale Police Chief Debora Black.

Hunter was arrested peacefully and without incident. Black said it took authorities 11 months before obtaining the indictment in order to accommodate the landfill search and to build a good case.
For more: AZ Central.com

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▣ Arrest of son in Michigan no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 3rd, 2012 at 6:19 PM

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Still No Body, But Troy Cops Arrest Son In Dad's Disappearance
August 9th, 2012, 6:49 AM
A Troy college student who had been a suspect in the disappearance of his father last month will be charged today with his father's murder, Troy police said.

Patrick Mikes Jr. was arrested Wednesday as he ate in a Rochester Hills restaurant, according to Capt. Robert Redmond.

Patrick Mikes Sr., 55, has been missing since July 27, and his body has not been found.

For more: Troy Patch
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▣ No Body Guy comments on Indiana no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 3rd, 2012 at 5:48 PM

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For prosecutors, no-body cases a challenge
But experts say such murder trials can be won.
By MADELINE BUCKLEY
South Bend Tribune
6:35 a.m. EDT, September 3, 2012
SOUTH BEND -- Before Trina Winston's husband made his first court appearance on murder charges in her death, her sisters raised the question in an interview: What happens if police never find her body?

Tarrence Lee, 49, is accused of murdering Winston in his Mishawaka apartment last month, but investigators have yet to find her body. A spokeswoman for the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office said authorities are fanning into Illinois, still searching for Winston's body.

Legal experts say no-body murder cases pose a sometimes formidable challenge for prosecutors, but can be won with other evidence.

Court documents said witnesses told police they helped Lee dispose of Winston's body.

In a court appearance last week, Lee's attorney asked a judge to throw out the man's arrest, arguing that the state does not have probable cause without a body.

The judge will issue a ruling Sept. 21.

But prosecutors have secured murder convictions without bodies in hundreds of cases around the country since the late 1800s.

"There is no prohibition legally for trying a murder case without a body," said Tad DiBiase, a former federal homicide prosecutor who is now a Washington, D.C.-based consultant on no-body cases.

In the first half of the 20th century, some states had laws in place that mandated authorities produce a body to prove murder, but those laws have long died out in every state, DiBiase said.

In fact, at least eight no-body murder cases have gone to trial in Indiana with trial dates spanning as far back as 1976.
For more: South Bend Tribune
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▣ Oakland man sentenced in no body murder case

posted by Admin on August 7th, 2012 at 9:35 AM

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An Oakland man was sentenced Monday to a prison term of 15 years to life for the 2004 killing of an ex-girlfriend whose body was never found.

An Alameda County jury convicted Eric Mora, 56, of second-degree murder in February for killing Cynthia Alonzo, 48.

Mora did not speak as Superior Court Judge Vern Nakahara imposed the sentence.

Mora had rejected an offer from prosecutors for a voluntary manslaughter conviction in return for leading police to Alonzo's body. His attorneys had maintained there was no evidence - no body and no witnesses - to convict him of murder.

Alonzo went missing when she failed to show up at a Thanksgiving dinner with her family in San Francisco in 2004. Her blood was found in his home on the 6200 block of Brookside Avenue in the Oakland hills, authorities said. Mora also had a deep cut to his hand, prosecutors said.

For more: SF Gate

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▣ Virginia man released on bond in no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 29th, 2012 at 2:47 PM

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Suspect in Portsmouth murder case gets bail
James K. Britt, 49, a Sterling Point resident, was reported missing in April 2011. A police detective said there was no doubt Britt was dead, and a judge declared him dead.




By Janie Bryant
The Virginian-Pilot
© July 20, 2012
PORTSMOUTH

Freddie Lee Hall Jr., who is accused of murdering a man whose body has not been found, was granted a $50,000 bond Thursday after a prosecutor asked for a continuance in his trial.

Hall, 53, was extradited from Florida in April and was to stand trial next week.

Mary Harris, the prosecutor, asked for the delay in the case because of pending lab results related to evidence.

Police initially reported James K. Britt, 49, a Sterling Point resident, as a missing person after they entered his house in April 2011 because his family was concerned when he could not be reached.

But last August, a police detective testified during a civil proceeding that there was no doubt Britt was dead and that there was an active homicide investigation.
For more:PilotOnline.com

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▣ No Body Guy speaks on Missouri no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 25th, 2012 at 8:06 AM

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Check out this link for my interview on KFVS News 12 on the Waller no body murder case:

KFVS12

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▣ Louisiana sex offender arrest for no body murder of Lafeyette college student

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 10:58 AM

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July 6, 2012 10:07 AM
Michaela "Mickey" Shunick: Arrest for murder of missing La. student
By
Crimesider Staff

(CBS/AP) LAFAYETTE, La. - A registered sex offender has been booked on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the May disappearance of University of Louisiana student Mickey Shunick, authorities said.

Pictures: La. college student missing after bike ride

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Thursday night that 33-year-old Brandon Scott Lavergne was booked on first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping charges by police in Lafayette, where Shunick went missing May 19.

Guidroz said the arrest came as his department helped Lafayette police search Lavergne's residence for evidence. The search continued Thursday night.

The sheriff gave no details about what was found. Lafayette police also released no details. Police have scheduled a 1 p.m. Friday news conference to discuss an arrest in the case.

For more:CBSNews.com


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Body Guy

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▣ Hans Resier, of Oakland no body murder fame, returns to court for civil case

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 10:27 AM

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This guy never gives up does he......
Convicted of Murder, Linux Guru Hans Reiser Returns to Court to Fight Civil Suit
By David Kravets July 6, 2012 | 3:07 pm |
Four years after being convicted of killing his wife, Linux guru Hans Reiser returns Monday to court, this time to defend himself from a wrongful-death suit brought by his two children.

Reiser, the developer of the ReiserFS filesystem, was convicted by an Alameda County, California jury in 2008 of the first-degree murder of his wife, Nina. Defendant Reiser and his legal team had argued that his wife was not dead, and had abandoned her children to sneak away to Russia, where the couple met in 1998, after he accused her of embezzling from his software company, Namesys. But jurors didn’t buy Reiser’s story, and weeks after his conviction he led the authorities to Nina’s body hidden in the Oakland hills, for a reduced term of 15-to-life instead of 25-to-life.

Now he has a new story — he killed his wife to prevent her from possibly killing their children. And he plans on telling a new jury about it while wearing his Pleasant Valley State Prison jail smocks and acting as his own attorney.

For more: Wired


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▣ Mistrial in Arizona no body murder trial with infant victim

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 10:17 AM

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Mistrial for woman accused of killing newborn

Jurors can't reach verdict on murder, child-abuse counts
June 20, 2012 12:00 am • Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star
A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the case of a Tucson woman accused of murdering her newborn son and tossing him in the trash.

A Pima County jury deliberated 12 hours over three days before announcing they were deadlocked on the first-degree murder and child-abuse counts facing Denise Pesqueira. The forewoman also told Judge Clark Munger the jury couldn't reach a unanimous decision on the less-serious charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Anita Simons is expected to announce July 10 if her office intends to try Pesqueira again.

Pesqueira, 22, was arrested in March 2010 after a friend, Mark Lopez, told police she'd told him she'd given birth and put the baby in the trash. She later repeated her story as police secretly listened. Authorities suspect the baby was born in August 2009, but because of the lapse of time between Pesqueira's confession and the birth, no body was ever found.

For more: Arizona Daily Star


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▣ Oklahoma man on trial this month for no body murder

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 10:11 AM

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Trial Of Murder Suspect Kevin Sweat Continued To July
Posted: Jun 05, 2012 4:10 PM EDT Updated: Jun 05, 2012 4:16 PM EDT

By Dee Duren, News9.com - email
Ashley Taylor disappeared after telling her mother she was going to marry Sweat.
OKEMAH, Oklahoma -
The man accused in the murders of two young Weleetka girls, will return to court July 10 in the first-degree murder trial of his girlfriend last summer.

Kevin Sweat was scheduled to be arraigned in Okfuskee County Court Tuesday in the death of his girlfriend, Ashley Taylor.

6/5/2012 Related Story: Man Accused Of Killing Weleetka Girls To Be Arraigned On Another Murder Charge

It was continued until July 10.

Taylor was last seen in July of 2011 after telling a relative she and Sweat were going to Louisiana to get married. Sweat reportedly told authorities he cut Taylor's throat after she tried to kill herself and dumped her body in a lake in Henryetta.

For more: News9.com


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▣ Acquittal in retrial of Oregon no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 10:01 AM

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Swartout’s reversal of fortune

One member of the jury that acquitted her says they voted 10-2 on the first — and last —ballot they took


By Karen McCowan

The Register-Guard

Published: (Saturday, Jun 2, 2012 05:01AM) Midnight, June 2
In February, 11 of 12 jurors in Angelica Swartout’s first trial were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the Springfield hotel clerk bore, smothered and discarded a baby while working a solo evening shift on Oct. 18, 2010.

On Thursday, 10 of 12 jurors in her second trial reached the opposite conclusion, swiftly acquitting her of aggravated murder.

Why the dramatic shift?

Both juries saw essentially the same evidence — including a video­taped confession that reportedly led the first jury to fall just one vote shy of the unanimous verdict needed for conviction.

Human variability, Oregon legal experts say.

“Different people, different time,” retired Lane County Circuit Judge Lyle Velure said.

Rob Raschio, president of the Oregon Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, agreed.

“It’s a very scary system on some levels,” said Raschio, a defense attorney in The Dalles. “It’s so driven by personality.”

Raschio noted that Swartout, now acquitted, nearly went to prison for life.

Juries are collections of individuals who “each have their own perspective on things,” Velure said. “They may look at the same evidence and reach different conclusions.”

That appears to have been the case with Swartout’s confession, and the police interrogation that produced it, according to a second-trial juror who spoke Friday on the condition of anonymity

For more:Oregon Register-Guard


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▣ Arrest in 1975 Maryland no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 9:53 AM

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Note that shnortly after this arrest, the case against the defendant was dropped for now. Stayed tuned....

Maryland cold case solved by accident

2:07 PM, May 31, 2012
Written by
Brandie Piper
Rockville, MD (WRC/CNN) - One of the oldest cold case murders in Montgomery County, Maryland may have been solved by accident.

Bobby Coley, 63, of southeast Washington, was applying for work as a temp Tuesday.

A background check uncovered an outstanding warrant against him.

When he went to the sheriff's office to clear his name and land the job, he had no idea the warrant was for murder.

"We weren't finding anything, and so we finally looked in judicial case search and we actually saw that a warrant popped up under that name, Bobby Coley, and it said, 'first-degree murder,'" Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin said.

The victim, Leopold Lynwood Chromak, disappeared July 26, 1975.

Two days later his wife contacted police and reported him missing.

"But Mr. Chromak was never located, never returned home," said Lucille Baur, of Montgomery County police.

For more: KSDK

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▣ More on Sierra LeMar no murder case

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 9:42 AM

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Can Sierra LaMar prosecutors convict with no body?
Henry K. Lee
Published 05:44 p.m., Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Antolin Garcia-Torres appears in a Santa Clara County courtroom in San Jose, Calif., for his first court appearance Thursday, May 24, 2012. He is accused of the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Sierra Lamar in Morgan Hill, Calif. She was last seen on March 16, 2012.
Prosecutors are set to return to court Thursday to try to convict a Morgan Hill man for the murder of Sierra LaMar, even though they lack a major piece of evidence - the body of the 15-year-old South Bay girl.

It won't necessarily be an easy task.

David Boyd, the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, lacks not only a body but also a murder weapon and witnesses as 21-year-old Antolin Garcia-Torres goes to court to enter a plea to charges that could bring the death penalty.

If Garcia-Torres ends up at trial, Boyd could urge a jury to convict by quoting an appellate judge's line from the Charles Manson case about hiding a body: "That is one form of success for which society has no reward."

Ken Mandel, Garcia-Torres' public defender and an instructor at Santa Clara University School of Law, may offer innocent explanations for why, as sheriff's investigators allege, his client's DNA was found on Sierra's clothing and why her DNA was found in his car.

The defense's line is likely to be that "these people's two paths crossed," but that doesn't prove Garcia-Torres murdered the girl, said legal analyst Steve Clark, a former Santa Clara County prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney.

Michael Cardoza, another prosecutor turned defense attorney, agreed, saying the DNA evidence "doesn't mean he killed her. You have to infer from the evidence that it was put there in a criminal matter and that he, in fact, did it."

For more: San Francisco Chronicle

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▣ Detroit man charged with no body murder of toddler

posted by Admin on July 8th, 2012 at 9:34 AM

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D’Andre Lane, the father of missing 2-year-old Bianca Jones, was bound over for trial [on May 29, 2012] on charges of felony murder and child abuse by Judge Ruth Carter in 36th District Court in Detroit.

Bianca, who disappeared Dec. 2, has yet to be found. Lane said he was carjacked at gunpoint and Bianca was missing from the car when he found his car minutes later. Prosecutors have presumed the tot to be dead.

A court date was set for June 5th.

Lane’s attorney, Terry Johnson, argued that the prosecution had not met the burden of proving the charges against his client.

“Not only is there a lack of evidence, there is no evidence whatsoever,” Johnson declared. “The prosecution hasn’t shown that a crime has been committed. They can’t establish that she is dead and there is no body. Their whole case is based on the argument that he spanked her.”
For more: Detroit Free Press

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▣ South Carolina man sentenced to life without parole for no body murder of two women

posted by Admin on May 27th, 2012 at 1:02 PM

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LEXINGTON, S.C. (WACH) -- Kenneth Lynch has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Portia Washington and her granddaughter Angelica Livingston.

The sentence was handed down Tusday in Lexington. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against Lynch, who was found guilty on two counts of murder last week.

The bodies of Washington and Livingston were never found. "The decisions I made in this trial, thus far have been based upon a lot of careful thought and prayer," said Judge Eugene Griffith.

For more: Midlands Connect


Posted by Thomas A.(Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Monterey County DA's Office says it can prosecute murder without a body

posted by Admin on May 27th, 2012 at 10:35 AM

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MORGAN HILL, Calif. - Despite pleas from Sierra's family, Antolin Garcia-Torres has not led investigators to Sierra. But, the district attorney's office charged him with her murder. The big question how can they, without a body?

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hulsey can count on one hand how many times the Monterey County District Attorney's Office filed murder charges, without a body.

"That circumstance is quite rare," says Hulsey.

It's often the most difficult to prove. But, Hulsey said, you don't always need a body.

"It really depends on the facts of the case, there are a number of ways you can prove a homicide has occurred," says Hulsey.

That evidence can include witness statements, surveillance video, and in the case of Sierra LaMar, DNA evidence.
For more:
KION News

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in California no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 27th, 2012 at 10:29 AM

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Prosecutor: Team Can Prove Murder Without LaMar's Body

DA says crime is eligible for death penalty.

* By Genevieve Bookwalter and Sheila Sanchez
May 24, 2012
Supporters of Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar, who's believed to be a victim of murder, carried signs outside the court house during Antolin Garcia-Torres' arraignment. Sheila Sanchez
Morgan Hill Teen Sierra LaMar has been missing for over 20 days.
Supporters of Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar, who's believed to be a victim of murder, carried signs outside the court house during Antolin Garcia-Torres' arraignment.
The lead county prosecutor said Thursday that his office could prove murder charges without a body and that the crime is eligible for the death penalty, but he had not decided whether to pursue it.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen held a small news conference outside the courthouse to address reporters' questions. He also released a statement of facts related to the case to the media, which detailed information about the crime.

Rosen said his prosecutor will prove that Garcia-Torres killed Sierra in the courtroom in front of a jury with facts, even though her body has not been found.

As for the death penalty, "We will decide after reviewing evidence, speaking to the family" and considering other factors before deciding to pursue it, Rosen said.

For more:Patch.com


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ More on Etan Patz no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 27th, 2012 at 10:23 AM

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Yesterday, Pedro Hernandez was formally arraigned for the 1979 murder of six-year-old Soho resident Etan Patz. Etan's disappearance, which launched a nationwide movement to find missing children, had been one of the most infamous cold cases in NYC history, and Hernandez's arrest was the first time anyone had been charged with the crime. However, Hernandez is under psychological exam and suicide watch at Bellevue Hospital—his lawyer Harvey Fishbein said, "[Hernandez] has a long psychiatric history that includes auditory and visual hallucinations and delusions."

Fishbein has also said that his client is schizophrenic and bipolar, raising more questions about whether the 51-year-old NJ resident—a married man witha 20-year-old daughter who confessed to police on Wednesday—is telling the truth. Manhattan DA Cy Vance said yesterday, “This is the beginning of the legal process, not the end. There is much investigative and other work ahead, and it will be conducted in a measured and careful manner." There is no body and, it seems, very little physical evidence to tie Hernandez to the murder.

The NY Times' Jim Dwyer wrote yesterday, "The law enforcement official involved in the case said that investigators were now trying to find reasons to trust Mr. Hernandez’s story. Why would a man with no known history of pedophilia or murderous impulses lure a boy into a bodega basement and strangle him?" An official said, "He doesn’t give any motivation in the statement. The admission was totally unsolicited." And the Daily Beast's Michael Daly reports, "Detectives who questioned Hernandez on Wednesday and Thursday are said to have asked him his motive. His reply, they said, is that he had no motive, or that perhaps he acted because Etan reminded him of his least-favorite nephew."

For more: The Gothamist

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted on Etan Patz no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 26th, 2012 at 7:11 AM

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Hernandez's reported confessions may be 'enough' to get a conviction

By BRUCE GOLDING

Last Updated: 8:34 AM, May 26, 2012

Posted: 12:46 AM, May 26, 2012
Prosecutors will be confronted with some daunting hurdles while seeking justice for Etan Patz without his body as evidence, but legal experts say that they’re far from insurmountable.

Former federal prosecutor Tad DiBiase — an authority on “no body” cases — said that while a corpse provides “the best piece of evidence in a homicide,” the reported confessions of Pedro Hernandez may be enough to send him to the slammer.

Under state law, Hernandez’s videotaped statements to cops are not enough for a conviction, but the former bodega worker also told relatives that he “had done a bad thing and killed a child in New York,” according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Read more: New York Post

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Missouri man arrested for no body murder of his wife

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2012 at 7:18 PM

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Prosecutor: Time was right to charge Clay Waller with wife's murder
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian
(Photo)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by Ruby Rawson shows Jacque Sue Waller, right, and her husband Clay Waller. Clay Waller, 41, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jacque on Monday, April 23, 2012, even though his estranged wife's body has not been found.
(AP Photo/Ruby Rawson)
Saying there was "no point in waiting any longer," prosecutors have charged Clay Waller with first-degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence nearly 11 months after his estranged wife first went missing.

The murder charge alleges that Waller, 41, killed Jacque Sue Waller on or about June 1 by "unknown means," an offense punishable by a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said Monday he will not seek the death penalty.

The first tampering with evidence charge claims that Waller hid his wife's body with the intent of impairing the murder investigation. The second tampering charge, both are felonies that carry four-year prison terms, charges that Waller concealed bloodstained carpet in the hallway of the house he was staying at in Jackson also with the purpose of "impairing its availability in the investigation of the murder of Jacque Sue Waller."

Jacque Waller's body has still not been found, Swingle said Monday. But according to court documents, police began investigating her disappearance as a murder the day after she vanished.

For more: Southeast Missourian


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Blog wins Liebster Award!

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2012 at 6:49 PM

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Okay, I actually have no idea what this award is but it's apparently awarded to blogs with under 200 followers (hey I must have more than 200 people, right?) and is awarded by fellow bloggers. Mine was awarded by Bonnie Kernene, author of My Life Of Crime blog. Thanks Bonnie! Posted by Award winning Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ New Jersey man pleads guilty in no body murder case and leads police to body

posted by Admin on April 22nd, 2012 at 1:23 PM

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Body Found in Schmucker Investigation
Crime | Mon, 04/16/2012 - 12:57 pm |
By Deborah McGuire

COURT HOUSE — A body has been recovered in a heavily wooded area of Villas. According to Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor, Middle Township Police Chief Christopher Leusner and Lower Township Police Chief Brian Marker, the body is believed to be that of Samuel Schmucker. The body has not yet been positively identified.

Schmucker, 25, was last seen Jan. 5, 2011 at approximately 11 p.m. He was reported to have been a passenger in a car with his roommate. An argument ensued with Schmucker allegedly getting out of the vehicle and walking toward Route 47 on Bayshore Road.

According to police, detectives from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Unit, Prosecutor’s detectives, detectives from Middle Township Major Crimes Unit, Lower Township police and an assistant prosecutor from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office recovered the body April 14.

Cape May County Herald

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Cleveland woman gets three years for no body murder of her toddler

posted by Admin on April 22nd, 2012 at 1:19 PM

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Ohio woman sentenced for dumping daughter's body in trash
By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A Cleveland woman accused of dumping her young daughter's body in the city trash after she died in unclear circumstances was sentenced on Thursday to the maximum three years in prison.

India Parker, 35, was charged with tampering with evidence after police were told by an ex-boyfriend that she confessed that she never contacted authorities after her daughter died in 2005 from falling off a book case.

Parker later told a different story to police, saying that in 2006, Kaliyah failed to wake up and was cold to the touch. India Parker said that she then covered the body and left it in bed for about a week before putting her daughter in a garbage bag "in anticipation for garbage day" and eventually placing her in a garbage can for pick-up.

Police interviews with family and friends of Kaliyah determined that the last time anyone other than her mother saw her alive was at her fourth birthday party in 2005. Parker told police that whenever someone would ask the whereabouts of her daughter, she would tell them Kaliyah was with other family members.

SRN News



Psoted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Charges dropped in Massachusetts no body murder case

posted by Admin on April 22nd, 2012 at 12:59 PM

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Murder charges against Moccia and Bradley withdrawn after Dedham hearing.
Former murder suspect Daniel Bradley hugs family members following his release from prison. The D.A. dropped the murder charge against the Westwood resident on Friday, April 6, 2012.

«» .By Dave Eisenstadter
Wicked Local Dedham
Posted Apr 06, 2012 @ 05:12 PM
VIDEO: Murder suspects Paul Moccia and Daniel Bradley released from prison after Dedham hearing DEDHAM —

In a hearing that lasted five minutes, former murder suspects Paul Moccia, of Dedham, and Daniel Bradley, of Westwood, were released today after a nearly three-year stay in jail.

At the same time, state prosecutors are keeping the option of reopening the charges against the two men.

The prosecution for the alleged murder of 37-year-old Angel A. Ramirez, a Guatemalan immigrant living in Framingham, withdrew the murder indictments of Moccia and Bradley before Judge Paul Troy at the Norfolk County Superior Court in Dedham on Friday, April 6.

Assistant Norfolk County District Attorney Tom Finigan, acting as prosecutor in the case, referred to the event on March 20, 2009 as Ramirez’s “disappearance.” Since June 2009, Finigan’s office had been prosecuting the incident as a murder, with Moccia and Bradley as the suspects.

The death of Moccia’s brother Robert Moccia, a key witness for the prosecution, made it the prosecution’s case not feasible at this time, Finigan said at the hearing. Robert Moccia, 52, died of heart disease on Jan. 17, 2012.

Read more: Wicked


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted in Detroit News regarding no body murder case

posted by Admin on April 22nd, 2012 at 12:52 PM

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Murder charges possible without body
Getting convictions in such cases is more difficult, but not impossible, legal experts say
By Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Michigan assistant attorney general Donna Pendergast has won two cases without a victim’s body, resulting in prison terms for five defendants. “It is not insurmountable,” she says. (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)
The filing of murder charges last month against the father of 2-year-old Bianca Jones raised eyebrows and questions: Since the Detroit toddler is still missing, how can D'Andre Lane be prosecuted in her death?

"(Prosecutors) are making the assumption that Mr. Lane's daughter is dead," Terry L. Johnson, the attorney for Bianca's father, said when Lane was arraigned March 15. "But there's no body, or even parts of a body. We still believe she's somewhere ... kidnapped or abducted."

Legal experts say in a murder case, the lack of a body makes gaining a conviction more difficult, but not impossible. They say prosecutors have won guilty verdicts in hundreds of similar cases nationwide, including several convictions in the past two decades in Michigan.

"These do present special challenges," said Donna Pendergast, a Michigan assistant attorney general. "It can be a battle when you don't have a body in today's 'CSI'-oriented world and juries demanding to know what your evidence is … but it's not the perfect crime."

Pendergast has the convictions to prove it. She has won two cases without a victim's body, resulting in prison terms for five defendants.


From The Detroit News: Detroit News

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy's brother has a possible no body murder case

posted by Admin on April 14th, 2012 at 7:58 AM

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Ironically, my younger brother Matt, a detective in Bedford, New York, is investigating a possible no body triple murder:

Thirty-five years later, missing family case still a mystery
By JOHN ROCHE

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BEDFORD POLICE

An age-enhanced image of how Timothy Guthrie Jr. and his sister Julie Guthrie might look today. He was 3 years old and she was 6 years old when they disappeared from Katonah 35 years ago with their mother, Leslie Guthrie, pictured here in a photo from the late 1960s.

On Feb. 5, 1977, Leslie Guthrie got into a car with her young son and daughter and drove off from the family’s Katonah home, never to be seen again.

Now, 35 years later, the search for the mother and her two children continues, although their disappearance remains as much a mystery as it did the day they were last seen.

“A case likes this never ends unless it’s solved, because the case never ends for the family,” Detective Matt DiBiase of the Bedford Police Department said this week, just days after the anniversary of the disappearance. “It remains an active investigation.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Bedford Police Department at 241-3111.
There have been few leads in the three and a half decades since the trio went missing, and none that ever went anywhere, according to the Bedford police. But Chief William Hayes and Detective DiBiase are hoping that age-enhanced photos of Julie, who was 6 when she disappeared, and her brother Timothy Jr., who was 3, might lead to information that could crack the cold case.
For more: Record Review

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Hear No Body Guy on Utah radio on Susan Powell case

posted by Admin on April 4th, 2012 at 9:12 AM

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Click on link here and look under audio for my comments on the Susan Powell case on KSL Radio:

KSL radio

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy comments on Susan Powell no body murder case

posted by Admin on April 1st, 2012 at 4:38 PM

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I don't usually comment on no body murder investigations unless asked to by the police but new evidence in the Susan Powell case cries out for comment because it dramatically illustrates what I preach: these cases can be made despite not having a body. Let's look at the evidence we know about (and I emphasize that this is what has been reported in the press so it may not be accurate but I also suspect there's even more evidence that has not been revealed in the press) including evidence that was just revealed:
1. Susan Powell's blood in the house on the tile floor near a sofa
2. Evidence of cleaning up of the sofa including fans pointed at the sofa
3. Josh Powell filing paperwork to clean out Susan's IRAs only 10 days after her disappearance
4. $1.5 million life insurance policy on Susan
5. Letter/will by Susan in her safe deposit box saying her death might not be an accident and asking that the letter not be shown to her husband
6. Josh Powell's suspicious midnight camping trip with his kids during a blizzard
7. Gas can, tarps and shovel in Josh's car
8. Josh has Susan's cellphone with no explanation as to why but the SIM card was missing
9. Susan left behind her purse, keys, credit cards and other belongings
There have been many cases successfully prosecuted with less evidence than this. While I am typically loathe to criticize without knowing all the facts, in this day and age, this reluctance to arrest simply because there isn't a body is foolish, timid and here, ultimately deadly as Powell's children might still be alive if Josh had been arrested when this evidence was uncovered. Sad. Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase

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▣ Florida man pleads "no contest" in no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 25th, 2012 at 7:50 PM

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No Contest Plea In Case of Missing Elderly Lakeland Woman
Edward Caldwell was charged in the disappearance of Mabel Pugliese, 82.
Pugliese left and Caldwell right.

By Jason Geary
THE LEDGER

Published: Monday, March 19, 2012 at 10:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 19, 2012 at 10:08 p.m.
In an unexpected move, Edward Caldwell accepted a plea deal Monday on charges that he was responsible for the disappearance of an elderly Lakeland woman.

Lawyers were prepared to begin picking potential jurors for a trial estimated to last a few weeks.

Instead, Caldwell, 38, pleaded no contest to aggravated manslaughter, neglect of an elderly person, exploitation of an elderly person as well as three counts each of theft, forgery and uttering a forgery.

Circuit Judge Mark H. Hofstad sentenced Caldwell to 13 years in prison.

For more: The Ledger


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Conviction in no body murder case in Tennessee

posted by Admin on March 25th, 2012 at 7:42 PM

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Shakara Dickens was found guilty or murdering her baby. Hat tip to Meaghan Good and the Charley Project, the best site on missing persons cases: Charley Project

Also see: My Fox Memphis


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted on no body murder case in Tennessee

posted by Admin on March 25th, 2012 at 7:26 PM

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No body, but mom on trial in baby death
9-month-old girl vanished in 2010; no remains ever found
By Lawrence Buser
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Posted March 20, 2012 at midnight
Shakara Dickens
Testimony is set to begin today in the murder case of a young Raleigh mother accused of killing her 9-month-old daughter in 2010, though the baby's body has never been found.

Shakara Dickens, 21, was charged after police said she gave conflicting or misleading accounts of what became of her baby, Lauryn, including that she turned the child over to an unknown woman because she no longer could care for the girl.

Dickens, who has been in jail on $2 million bond, faces life in prison if convicted as charged.

The no-body murder trial will be the fourth such case in Shelby County since 1970. One ended with a guilty plea and two others with convictions by juries.

For more:The Commercial Appeal


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ May trial date set for Kansas man accused of no body murder

posted by Admin on March 18th, 2012 at 12:07 PM

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Trial date set for Gier
Monday, March 12, 2012

Fort Scott Tribune Staff Report
A May 22 trial date has been set for a 41-year-old Redfield man accused of second-degree murder in connection with the 1998 disappearance of Fort Scott resident Gregory O. Hines.
Appearing in an orange Southeast Kansas Regional Correctional Center jumpsuit at his arraignment Monday, Larry Jo Gier pleaded not guilty to the charge before Judge Mark Ward in Bourbon County District Court. His attorney, Geoffrey Clark of Fort Scott, sat by his side.

The state is being represented by Assistant Kansas Attorney General Kristane Bryant and Bourbon County Attorney Terri Johnson. The trial will begin at 9 a.m. May 22 with jury selection.

A hearing on all pretrial motions has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 9.

For more:Fort Scott Tribune


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Detroit man arrested for no body murder of infant daughter

posted by Admin on March 18th, 2012 at 12:00 PM

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Detroit dad charged with murder of 2-year-old daughter, says girl was taken in Dec. carjacking
Associated Press, Published: March 14AP DETROIT — A Detroit man who told police his 2-year-old daughter was abducted during a carjacking was charged in her death Wednesday, more than three months after the child disappeared.

D’Andre Lane had begged the public to find his daughter, Bianca Jones, a plea that inspired dozens of volunteers to comb some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods in early December. He denies wrongdoing and insists he was carjacked and that thieves drove off with the girl strapped in her car seat.
(Detroit Free Press, Jarrad Henderson / Associated Press ) - Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym L. Worthy speaks about the murder of 2-year-old Bianca Jones at a press conference on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Attorney Worthy charged D’andre Louis Lane, 32 of Detroit with the homicide of his two-year-old daughter Bianca Jones.
.But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Lane’s story is “totally inconsistent with the facts.”

For more: Associated Press
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in Minnesota no body murder of unborn infant

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2012 at 1:01 PM

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Can you murder an unborn baby?
Crystal couple held amid suspicion of years-old baby death

* Article by: DAVID CHANEN and PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
* Updated: March 1, 2012 - 12:51 AM

Crystal home searched; yard to be thawed to allow digging.
The back yard of a small house in a quiet Crystal neighborhood was searched by police Wednesday after they learned of a possible death years ago involving an unborn child.

Part of the frozen yard will be thawed out so crews can dig in that area, according to Police Chief John Banick.

"We hope to conduct the excavation as soon as possible," he said.

A couple who live at the home in the 5700 block of Quail Avenue N. were arrested Tuesday. The man, 30, of Brooklyn Park, and the woman, 28, from Crystal, were being held without bail, according to the Hennepin County jail log. The man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder of an unborn child and the woman on suspicion of first-degree manslaughter of an unborn child.

Word of the possible death three to four years ago came to police Tuesday morning as they were conducting a domestic assault investigation at the home.

Banick declined to comment on whether those involved in the assault were the same people arrested Tuesday.

"We have no body," the chief said. "We are going by what people have told us."

For more:Star Tribune


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Guilty plea in California no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2012 at 12:57 PM

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Fiancé sentenced to 11 years in dancer’s death
Published: 2/29 9:32 am
Updated: 2/29 12:36 pm

A former Bakersfield man was sentenced Wednesday morning to 11 years in prison for the death of his fiancé, even though the young mother’s body never was found.

Nathan Mowers, now 38, once faced a murder charge and life prison sentence in connection with the disappearance of Azita Nikooei, who was 29 when she was last seen by family members in 2004.

Her ex-husband, Bobby Nikooei, told Channel 17’s Victoria Spilabotte the sentence was what he and Nikooei’s now-14-year-old son had hoped for.

Nikooei was supposed to meet her ex- in Tulare on Sept. 6, 2004 to pick up the boy. She never showed up. It was the first time she ever missed an appointment with the child, and that caused immediate concern for her family.

It officially remained an unsolved missing persons case for years, even though homicide investigators maintained their focus on Mowers.

Finally, after reviewing evidence collected over the years, Mowers was arrested last May.

For more: KGET


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Oakland man found guilty of no body murder

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2012 at 12:47 PM

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Oakland Man Convicted Of 2004 Murder Of Ex-Girlfriend; Body Still Not Found
Eric Mora, 55, of Oakland has maintained his innocence in the 2004 disappearance of ex-girlfriend Cynthia Alonzo, but he was convicted yesterday for her murder. Alonzo, who was 48 at the time, was never seen again after late November 2004, and her blood was found in Mora's home. No body was ever found.

Mora will be sentenced in May, likely to 15 years to life, though his attorney promises an appeal. Mora's attorney maintains there was was no evidence to convict Mora, but there was the blood, and he had a deep cut and multiple scratches on his hands shortly after her disappearance. Mora refused a plea deal in which he would have had to lead police to Alonzo's body.

For more: SFist
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Another reversal in Washington state no body murder based on defendant not being present at jury selection

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2012 at 12:43 PM

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Like the Bruce Hummel case a few months ago, another Washington state appellate court has reversed a no body murder conviction based upon the defendant not being present during jury selection:

Biker convicted in ‘no-body’ Ravensdale killing headed for new trial
Appeals Court tossed murder conviction against ‘Nazi John’; second trial likely
LEVI PULKKINE, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Copyright 2012 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF
Published 09:54 p.m., Sunday, February 26, 2012

* John Franklin Price, pictured in a Department of Corrections photo.
A 40-year-old outlaw biker previously convicted in a Ravensdale killing where no body was recovered is back in King County jail and likely on his way to a second trial.

John Price – known as "Nazi John" to the Ghost Riders, the biker gang to which he belonged – was previously convicted of first-degree murder in the the December 2004 slaying of Don Jessup at a Ravensdale trailer. Though Jessup's body has not been found, prosecutors successfully argued Price beat him with an ax handle before shooting him in the head.

Sentenced to 35 years in prison in January 2009, Price appealed the conviction and ultimately won a reversal from the state Court of Appeals.

The appellate court threw out Price’s conviction because Price was not in the room when potential jurors were dismissed because they would not be able to serve on the jury for personal reasons. Prosecutors asserted Price had agreed not to attend jury selection proceedings that day, and that the state Supreme Court erred when it ruled that defendants’ due process rights are violated when they aren’t able to watch the early phases of jury selection.

Read more: Seattle PI.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted on Connecticut no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2012 at 10:47 AM

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Connecticut's families of missing persons search for closure, justice

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012
By MICHELLE TUCCITTO SULLO
New Haven Register Investigations Editor

While investigators believe missing people like William Smolinski Jr. of Waterbury and Jose Ortiz of New Haven are murder victims, no arrests have been made — leaving their grieving families without answers, closure or justice.

A prosecution without a body can be challenging.

Tad DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor who manages the web site, nobodymurdercases.com, said in any murder case, the body is the best evidence.

“The body gives you information about when, where and how the murder happened,” DiBiase said. “Without it, it is like being in a 100-meter race where the murderer starts on the 20-meter line. They are ahead right away because they were able to dispose of the body.”

“I think traditionally, prosecutors have been reluctant (to take a case to trial) because they are missing their best piece of evidence,” DiBiase said.

For more: Register Citizen

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Maine man arrested for 1994 no body murder casse

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2012 at 10:37 AM

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DA paints grisly scene of alleged '94 murder
YOUNG FATHER'S BODY NEVER FOUND

Kevin Harkins in a photo with his daughter before his disappearance.

By Lee Hammel TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
lhammel@telegram.com
Attorney Anthony Salerno, left, represents Elias A. Samia , right, in Worcester Superior Court today. (T&G Photo/RICK CINCLAIR)
John R. Fredette (CUMBERLAND COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
WORCESTER — A Worcester man was ordered held without bail yesterday after he pleaded not guilty in Worcester Superior Court to murdering a man 18 years ago who allegedly did not follow through on a promise to perjure himself in court.

Elias Samia, 45, of 78 Arlington St., faced Judge Janet Kenton-Walker. He and co-defendant, John R. Fredette, 49, of Woodcock Avenue, Saco, Maine, were arrested Wednesday, but Mr. Fredette is being held in Cumberland County Jail in Maine awaiting arraignment today in that county's courthouse, Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said.

The body of Kevin Harkins, 36, was never found after he was called out of Suney's Pub on Chandler Street Feb. 15, 1994, said Daniel Bennett, first assistant district attorney. Mr. Harkins was forced by Matteo Trotto, a friend of the two defendants, into Mr. Samia's Chevrolet, the prosecutor said.

For more: Worcester Telegram and Gazette


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Hung jury in no body murder case of Oregon woman accused of killing newborn

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2012 at 10:30 AM

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Swartout trial ends in hung jury
Judge Suzanne Chanti declares a mistrial after jurors are unable to reach a verdict

By Jack Moran

The Register-Guard

Published: (Thursday, Feb 9, 2012 05:01AM) Midnight, Feb. 9
Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard,
Lane County Circuit Court Judge Suzanne Chanti declares a mistrial in the Angelica Swartout aggravated murder trial.

The jury went home, the attorneys went back to their offices, and Angelica Swartout went back to jail Wednesday afternoon after Lane County Circuit Judge Suzanne Chanti declared a mistrial in Swartout’s aggravated murder case.

Chanti’s ruling came after jurors convinced her that after four full days of deliberating behind closed doors, they could not reach consensus and decide whether prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Swartout killed a newborn son in October 2010.

“Because the jury is hopelessly hung, I do declare a mistrial,” Chanti said.

After releasing the jury, Chanti immediately scheduled a new trial for Swartout for April 16. Lane County sheriff’s deputies then led Swartout back to jail, where she has been held since Springfield police arrested her in December 2010.

For more: Register Guard

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Florida man convicted for 2008 no body murder

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2012 at 10:20 AM

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Florida man faces 45 years in presumed death
Former Ohio resident missing since '08
BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Robert Wiles, who has been missing since 2008, holds up a fish.

BARTOW, Fla. -- A man convicted for murdering a former northwest Ohio resident will be sentenced next month for his role in the presumed 2008 death, though no body has been found.

Stobert L. Holt, Jr., 44, of Melbourne, Fla., was arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping, extortion, and intent to inflict bodily harm. He was accused in the disappearance of Robert Wiles, the son of Springfield Township residents Thomas and Pamela Wiles, who has been missing since April 1, 2008.

A Polk County, Florida jury last week deliberated for four hours before convicting Holt of extortion and making written threats to kill or do bodily harm to someone. On the first-degree murder charge, the jury found Holt guilty of manslaughter, Dave Couvertier, an FBI special agent and spokesman for the Tampa office, confirmed. He referred all other questions to Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo. Mr. Castillo was out of the office Monday afternoon.

For more: Toledo Blade

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▣ Hung jury in Illinois no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2012 at 4:18 PM

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Jury deadlocks in trial of murder suspect
Associated Press

3:50 p.m. CST, February 1, 2012
A McHenry County jury has failed to reach a verdict in the trial of a 28-year-old man charged with first-degree murder in the 2002 disappearance of a 17-year-old Johnsberg teenager.

The jury deliberated the fate of Mario Casciaro for about 12 hours over two days before its foreman told Judge Sharon Prather on Wednesday the panel was deadlocked.

Brian Carrick disappeared on Dec. 20, 2002 from his job at Val's Foods. No body was ever found, but police said they found traces of his blood inside the store.

For more: Chicago Tribune


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▣ Pennsylvania man convicted of no body murder

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2012 at 2:24 PM

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From WNEP.com
By Bob Reynolds and Andy Palumbo

10:32 p.m. EST, January 30, 2012
A man from Carbon County was found guilty Monday night of killing his wife, Edwina Onyango.

A jury convicted Ernest Freeby of murder in the first-degree and tampering with physical evidence.

Freeby, of Lansford, has been in jail for several years awaiting his trial in Carbon County. There were three weeks of testimony before the jury ruled late Monday night.

Freeby was charged with first and third degree murder for the death of his wife. More than a dozen state troopers investigated the case starting in 2007 when she was reported missing by her family.

"Here is a case where a person is missing and not knowing where that person is. It's tough. It's tough on the family," said Onyango's cousin Nelson Koldulah.

Police said during the investigation they found remnants of large amounts of blood in the basement of Freeby's home. DNA tests showed the blood belonged to Onyango. Without her body, prosecutors have built their case on changing statements by Freeby and other circumstantial evidence.

For more:WNEP

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▣ Man confesses to two murder including no body murder but not yet charged

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2012 at 1:28 PM

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Shatley murder investigation still open
by Linda Burchette, Assistant Editor Jefferson Post
Inez Reeves, the mother of murder victim Tim Shatley, will never give up trying to find out who killed her son six years ago in Crumpler.

Law enforcement officials have a confession from a convicted murderer, but no proof he did it.

“My son, Timothy Shatley, was murdered on Nov. 19, 2005, and no one has been charged with his murder,” says Reeves in a letter to the Jefferson Post. “Although we were told by law enforcement that Freddie Hammer confessed to killing him, they couldn’t charge him until the gun that was used was found. They didn’t believe him because Freddie Hammer had lied so much about the other murders that he was charged with.”

Ashe County Sheriff James Williams agrees. He said he doesn’t have a case the district attorney will prosecute without proof.

“The D.A. can’t bring a case unless the confession matches the facts of the case that we know are factual,” Williams said. “And Hammer just can’t get across that line.”

Williams said Hammer has confessed to killing Shatley, who was found shot to death in his vehicle near the bridge on N.C. 16N in Crumpler. He said Hammer has told law enforcement where to find the gun, several times, but the weapon has never been found.

“We continue to keep that line of communication with Hammer,” said Detective William Sands who is investigating the case. “We follow up every lead he gives us, every lead we get from him.”

“The case is never closed,” added the sheriff. “We were back just a month or so ago to interview Freddie. And we will be going back again.”

Hammer, formerly of Crumpler, is serving multiple life sentences without chance of parole at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Va. He was convicted of the 2008 shooting of Ronald Hudler, 74, his son Frederick Hudler, 45, and employee John Miller, 25, during a robbery on Hudler’s Tree Farm just across the Ashe County line into Grayson County, Va. He was convicted in 2010 for the shooting murder of his nephew, Jimmy Blevins of Crumpler, who had been missing since 2007. Hammer confessed and told authorities where to find Blevins’ body in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

As for any connection between Hammer and the shooting death of Tim Shatley, investigators do not have enough evidence at this point to support any charge against Hammer. But District Attorney Tom Horner said in 2010 that the case is not closed.

Hammer is also linked to the case of Julie Lovett, missing since March 2001. Lovett was 29 at the time she disappeared from neighboring Johnson County, Tenn., reportedly after an argument with a boyfriend.

She has a connection to Hammer through his stepson, Laramie, said Williams. Hammer and his stepson were doing construction in the area and she would come there, he said.

The sheriff said Hammer confessed to killing Lovett and told where the body was buried, but no body or evidence has been found. He said further investigation may take place in the spring.

Read more: Jefferson Post

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▣ No Body Guy speaks (and I mean speaks) on Chicagoland no body murder trial

posted by Admin on January 23rd, 2012 at 8:03 PM

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Today I was quoted on WBBM Radio regarding a Chicago no body murder case: here, WBBM
and in the Chicago Tribune: Chicago Tribune

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted in Arizona no body murder case

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2012 at 8:17 PM

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Proving murder without Glendale girl's body a challenge
Authorities say missing Glendale 5-year-old was killed
by Lisa Halverstadt - Jan. 2, 2012 11:36 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
.

Police suspect that a 5-year-old Glendale girl who went missing a few months ago is dead, her body callously disposed of and probably lying buried beneath tons of trash in a giant landfill.

If Jhessye Shockley's body is not found, bringing a killer to justice will be a daunting task. But experts say it is not impossible.

Across the nation, prosecutors have won murder convictions in dozens of cases in which there was no victim's body. In the past year, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office successfully prosecuted two such cases.

Read more: AZ Central


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Rare reversal in no body murder case

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2012 at 8:13 PM

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Court of Appeals sends murder case back to Whatcom County
ZOE FRALEY - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
A former Bellingham man who had been sentenced to 45 years in prison for the murder of his wife has had his conviction reversed by the Court of Appeals because of jury selection errors at his trial.
Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said the prosecutor's office is asking the appeals court to reconsider its decision in the case of Bruce Hummel, who had been convicted of killing his wife, Alice, in 1990.
The reversal doesn't acquit Hummel. The appeals court sent the case back to Whatcom County for retrial.

For more: Bellingham Herald


Posted by Thomas A.(Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy on TruTV

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2012 at 8:10 PM

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I was on In Session yesterday morning on TruTV talking aboout the Michigan v. Stewart no body murder case from last year. I'd post a link but couldn't find one!

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy Speaks!

posted by Admin on January 1st, 2012 at 2:22 PM

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I'll be teaching a seminar on How to Investigate and Prosecute a No Body Murder case in Olympia, Washington in January and in Las Vegas in March. See links below for more information and if you'd like to attend:

No Body Seminar in January

Seminar in March


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Federal judge acquits Michigan man of no body murder after jury finds him guilty

posted by Admin on December 26th, 2011 at 10:40 AM

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An interesting case: the judge acquits the defendant after the jury found him guilty. Federal no body cases are rare, acquittals in no body cases are rare and reversals by judges almost unheard of......

Federal judge acquits defendant in kidnapping, death of missing Saranac man
Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 1:10 PM Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 9:37 PM
John Agar | The Grand Rapids Press By John Agar | The Grand Rapids Press The Grand Rapids Press
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Raogo Ouedraogo.JPGRaogo Ouedraogo

GRAND RAPIDS – A federal judge acquitted Raogo Ouedraogo of kidnapping resulting in death in the 2007 disappearance of Saranac resident Donald Dietz.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff issued a 36-page opinion today after earlier having misgivings about evidence that also led to his jury convictions for kidnapping and fraud conspiracies involving co-defendant Rami Saba.

Federal prosecutors plan to appeal.

Ouedraogo, a Philadelphia resident, had asked for a judgment of acquittal or new trial on the three charges. A jury had acquitted him of a fourth charge, interstate murder-for-hire.

During a recent hearing, Neff questioned the evidence, and her own rulings, in trials for the defendants.

Her opinion said: “Although there was no dispute that Dietz was dead, no body had been found, and there was no crime scene, no murder weapon or direct evidence linking Ouedraogo to Dietz’s disappearance or murder. The government’s case was based purely on circumstantial evidence, most of which pointed to Saba, and very little of which implicated Ouedraogo.”

Ouedraogo was convicted on testimony largely focused on Saba. When Saba went to trial, Neff acquitted Saba on charges of murder and kidnapping resulting in death.

Saba was convicted of lesser charges, and sentenced to 32 years in prison. Prosecutors asked for a life sentence.

For more: MLive


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▣ Phoenix man convicted and sentenced to 54 years in no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 26th, 2011 at 10:29 AM

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Man sentenced to 54 years in 'no body' homicide

by The Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on December 22, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 22 at 3:40 PM

PHOENIX (AP) -- A man convicted in the presumed death of a Chandler woman has been sentenced to a total of 54 years in prison.

Maricopa County prosecutors say Bryan Stewart was sentenced Thursday to 22 years for second-degree murder and 20 years for fraudulent schemes with the terms running consecutively.

For more: AZ Family

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy Quoted on Missouri No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on December 23rd, 2011 at 3:51 PM

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Clay Waller's father dies at nursing home before prosecutors could record testimony
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
By Patrick T. Sullivan ~ Southeast Missourian

Paula Martin of Jackson hikes through a wooded area northeast of Cape Girardeau Sunday, June 26, 2011 in search of her friend Jacque Waller. James Clay Waller Sr., Jacque Waller's father-in-law, died Tuesday, taking an alleged confession by his son to her murder with him before prosecutors could have it recorded for evidence.
(Laura Simon)
Officials involved in the Jacque Waller disappearance investigation no longer will have access to testimony that claims Clay Waller confessed to killing his wife.

James Clay Waller Sr., the only person Clay Waller allegedly recounted murdering Jacque Waller to, died Tuesday morning in a Cape Girardeau nursing home, Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton confirmed Tuesday afternoon. Clifton said he was unsure of Waller's age and his cause of death.

James Waller's death comes a month after Cape Girardeau Judge William Syler denied the preservation of his testimony that alleges Clay Waller confessed to murdering his estranged wife, Jacque Waller, who has been missing since June 1.

Cape Girardeau Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle submitted a motion Sept. 22 to preserve testimony from the elder Waller that alleged Clay Waller confessed to him shortly after Jacque Waller's disappearance. In a federal affidavit, an FBI agent writes that James Clay Waller Sr. told him Clay Waller confessed to breaking Jacque's neck and burying her body.

In the application, Swingle wrote that the state anticipates filing a murder charge against Clay Waller.

The alleged confession was laid out in an affidavit of FBI agent Brian Ritter, who talked to James Waller in the course of investigating Clay Waller for making an Internet threat. Clay Waller later pleaded guilty to that charge.

Click here for more:
Southeast Missourian
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▣ No Body Guy Quoted in Canadian No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on December 23rd, 2011 at 3:45 PM

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I'm going all international....

Legebokoff trial a rare case of missing victim

November 2, 2011

Frank PEEBLES
Citizen staff
fpeebles@pgcitizen.ca

Among the charges 21-year-old Cody Alan Legebokoff faces is the first degree murder of Natasha Lynn Montgomery, despite her still being a missing person.

Getting a murder prosecution without a victim’s body is a rare occurrence, but Prince George has had two such cases in the past year.

The first resulted in a conviction that is now under appeal. In December, Denis Florian Ratte was found guilty of murdering his wife Wendy Ratte in 1997 even though investigators never located her body. Legebokoff faces three other murder charges of women whose bodies have been recovered.

Allegations against Legebokoff state that police scientists discovered the DNA of Montgomery and the others alleged victims on crucial items in his possession - allegations that have yet to be tested in court.

“Evidence can take a variety of forms. In a murder case that doesn’t necessarily have to include a deceased person being located,” said provincial Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie.

“We proceed with prosecution if the available evidence provides a substantial likelihood of conviction, even if that is based largely on material evidence. Most murder prosecutions do have the presence of a body as part of the evidence, but it is not exclusively the case in B.C. history. Robert Pickton is certainly one case.”

Washington, D.C.-based prosecutor Tad DiBiase has made a study of the “no body” murder trial since he first conducted one in 2006.

He teaches, blogs, and is working on a book on the subject when he isn’t busy with his position as deputy general counsel for the U.S. Capitol Police.

Click here for more: Prince George Citizen

Posted by Thomas A. DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Why federal prosecutors should take over the "no body" murder prosecution of Gary Giordano

posted by Admin on December 10th, 2011 at 1:02 PM

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An Aruban judge ruled last week that prosecutors cannot detain Gary Giordano any longer without charging him in the murder of Maryland resident Robyn Gardner. Giordano, who has been held in an Aruban jail since early August, was released from jail this past Tuesday. The difficulty the Arubans appear to be having is that while Gardner is missing, no one can confirm she is dead. Giordano claims that she drowned during a scuba trip but Gardner’s body has not been found.

Like the case of missing Natalee Holloway, the lack of a body seems to have stymied Aruban authorities who even this week continue to search for Gardner who was reported missing on August 2nd of this year. Despite the difficulty of prosecuting no body murder cases, it can be done. In 2006, I successfully prosecuted the second no body case ever in D.C. and since then have been fascinated with these cases. My research has uncovered over 350 no body murder trials in the United States since the 1800s, the vast majority occurring in the last 15 years. On top of those 350 plus trials are countless guilty pleas in no body cases. The evidence is clear: prosecuting no body cases is no longer as difficult as it used to be. Indeed, the overall conviction rate for the cases that went to trial is 90%.

But that’s here in the U.S. and it doesn’t appear that a no body case has ever been prosecuted in Aruba. However, due to a little known facet of the U.S. federal criminal code, any prosecution of Giordano does not have to be lodged in Aruba: Giordano can be prosecuted right here in the U.S. Under Title 18, Section 1119 of the U.S. Code, a U.S. national who murders a fellow U.S. national in another country can be prosecuted in the United States if four conditions are met. First, and foremost, the person cannot have been prosecuted in the foreign country. Second, the Attorney General or his designee must approve the prosecution. Third, the Attorney General must consult with the Secretary of State to determine if the suspect is no longer in the foreign country and, finally, that the foreign country must lack the ability to lawfully secure the suspect’s return. Although this last provision might seem to mean that the foreign country must lack an extradition treaty with the United States, several cases have demonstrated that is not the case. In 2000, Curtis Wharton murdered his wife in Haiti as part of an insurance scheme. He was prosecuted in federal court in Louisiana after he left Haiti. Although he argued that the existence of an extradition treaty between Haiti and the United States meant that Haiti could lawfully secure his return, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit disagreed and held that the existence of an extradition treaty was not determinative of whether Haiti could secure Wharton’s return to Haiti. Other courts have ruled the same way with regard to Japan.

Even if Giordano can be prosecuted here, should he be? One of the main pieces of evidence against Giordano, the $1.5 million travel insurance policy he took out on Gardner (and she on him), was taken out in the U.S. Moreover, 18 USC 1119 was designed to prevent events such as this: a sophisticated murderer seeking to conceal his crime in a smaller, less sophisticated country where he might more easily get away with his deed. It’s probably no coincidence that federal prosecutors previously decided to use 18 USC 1119 in a Haitian murder case. Finally, the vast number of no body murder cases means the bench and bar have much greater familiarity with these cases. These cases are almost becoming commonplace with times when two or three cases are in trial at the same time. Indeed, in DC the first no body case was prosecuted in 1984 and then there were no more cases for over 20 years. Since my case in 2006, there have two other no body cases to go to trial in DC (both resulting in convictions) and another case where the defendant pled guilty before trial. Both D.C. and Maryland (where both Giordano and Gardner are from) would be appropriate venues for this case. Experienced prosecutors there and elsewhere in this country known what Aruban authorities may not: no body murder cases can be won. If Aruba won’t move forward to give Robyn Gardner and her family justice, then the U.S. should.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Article highlights two recent Baltimore County no body murder cases

posted by Admin on December 4th, 2011 at 3:18 PM

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No Body? No Problem for Baltimore County Homicide Prosecutors

Technology played a critical role in the murder convictions of Jason Gross and Dennis Tetso.

* By Ron Snyder
* November 29, 2011
Like many teenagers, Rochelle Battle was attached to her cell phone.

Battle’s phone was a lifeline to her world to the point that she made 1,900 calls in December 2008. The 16-year-old also made 129 calls from her phone through the first six days of March 2009.

Then, without any warning, the calls stopped on March 6, 2009. No more texts, voicemails or photos. Battle, who lived in the Pimlico community of Baltimore, just disappeared.

Baltimore County prosecutors said Battle was murdered and her cell phone would go a long way toward proving who killed her.

That killer turned out to be 36-year-old Jason Gross. The Middle River man was convicted in October of murdering the teen. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6.

Prosecutors obtained a conviction despite never finding Battle’s body. Such no-body cases are difficult to prosecute, let alone win. But Baltimore County prosecutors have proven such cases are not impossible.

Click here for more: Perry Hall Patch.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Mistrial declared in Texas no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 24th, 2011 at 1:51 PM

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Will Seth Winder Ever Stand Trial (Again) For Allegedly Killing, Dismembering Dallas Man?
By Brantley Hargrove Mon., Nov. 21 2011 at 3:55 PM

​Denton County Judge Bruce McFarling declared a mistrial Friday when it was found that Seth Winder of The Colony -- who is accused of allegedly murdering and dismembering his lover in the man's Far North Dallas apartment -- hadn't been taking and/or receiving his meds. In fact, defense attorney Derek Adame even speculated afterward that he'd been completely un-medicated for most of the trial.

Unfair Park was sitting almost directly behind the paranoid schizophrenic, so the thought was a little unsettling.

It was the second time, actually, that Winder had been declared unfit to stand trial. This time, his attorney told us, Winder hadn't been receiving his morning meds at the Denton County lockup. There was also the possibility, he said, that he hadn't been swallowing his evening dose for "much longer." From Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning, everyone from the bailiffs to his attorneys seemed to notice a change in Winder. Adame described him as "catatonic."

For more click here: Dallas Observer

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Man pleads guilty in mid-trial of Michigan no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 24th, 2011 at 1:42 PM

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Yoshikawa pleads guilty to murdering Carlee Morse
3:08 PM, Nov. 23, 2011 |
Written by
LeAnne Rogers
Observer Staff Writer

On the third day of his jury trial for murdering Westland teenager Carlee Morse, Justin Yoshikawa accepted a plea bargain that will send him to prison for 35 to 65 years.

On Wednesday morning, Yoshikawa, who turned 20 in July, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder which gives him the possibility of parole. Had he been convicted as charged of first-degree murder, Yoshikawa would have had a mandatory sentence of life in prison without chance of parole.

Before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Ulysses Boykin accepted the plea, Yoshikawa was asked about his role in the murder by his attorney George Chedraue and prosecutor Lisa Screen.

Responding to questions, Yoshikawa confirmed that he and co-defendant Nicholas Cottrell lured Morse, 16, from her family’s Westland apartment late August 19 or early August 20, 2010.

Describing Morse as someone he dated briefly during the summer of 2010, Yoshikawa responded “Yes, sir” when asked if he hid in the backseat of a car before strangling front seat passenger Morse and later placed her body in trash bags.

For more, click here:Observer & Eccentric

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▣ Guilty verdict in Arizona no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 24th, 2011 at 1:34 PM

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Jury convicts Chandler man in 'no body' homicide

by Catherine Holland

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Updated yesterday at 5:21 PM

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Jurors on Wednesday found Bryan Stewart guilty of second-degree murder in the presumed death of Jamie Laiaddee, the Chandler woman who vanished March 17, 2010.

"Jamie literally dropped off the grid and that just doesn't happen," said Chandler Police Sergeant Joe Favazzo in September.

Even though Laiaddee's body has not been found, there's no crime scene and no weapon was ever recovered, Chandler investigators went ahead took their case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

For more, click here: AZ Family.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Not guilty verdict in 1978 NJ no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 24th, 2011 at 1:22 PM

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Acquittal of Lee Evans ends 33-year-old Newark case but leaves a haunting mystery unresolved
Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 7:00 AM Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 7:54 AM
By Alexi Friedman/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — With Wednesday’s acquittal of the so-called "mastermind" behind the decades-old killing of five teenage boys in Newark, the case has been officially closed but the mystery surrounding what had been one of the state’s oldest cold cases may forever remain unsolved.

The jury found Evans not guilty on five counts of murder and five counts of felony murder in the Aug. 20, 1978, arson killing of the five boys.

Evans, 58, faced multiple life sentences if convicted but instead walked out of Superior Court in Newark a free man, barely managing a smile as he greeted his son and several supporters with hugs.

Click here for more: NJ.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Penn State scandal has no body murder tie

posted by Admin on November 14th, 2011 at 7:00 PM

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An interesting "no body murder" twist to the Penn State scandal.....if it's a murder case......
Questions on Sandusky Are Wrapped in a 2005 Mystery
By KEN BELSON
Published: November 8, 2011
One of the questions surrounding the sex-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky is why a former district attorney chose not to prosecute the then-Penn State assistant coach in 1998 after reports surfaced that he had inappropriate interactions with a boy.
In 2005, divers searched the Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, Pa., for Ray Gricar, who was a Centre County prosecutor.

The answer is unknowable because of an unsolved mystery: What happened to Ray Gricar, the Centre County, Pa., district attorney?

Gricar went missing in April 2005. The murky circumstances surrounding his disappearance — an abandoned car, a laptop recovered months later in a river without a hard drive, his body was never found — have spawned Web sites, television programs and conspiracy theories. More than six years later, the police still receive tips and reports of sightings. The police in central Pennsylvania continue to investigate even though Gricar’s daughter, Lara, successfully petitioned in July to have her father declared legally dead so the family could find some closure and begin dividing his estate.

For more: New York Times
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Maine man pleads not guilty to no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 11th, 2011 at 1:14 PM

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Lewiston man pleads not guilty in slaying of missing woman
Staff Report
Published on Thursday, Nov 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Last updated on Thursday, Nov 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Buddy Robinson, left, confers with his attorney, Edward Dilworth, in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Thursday. Robinson is charged in the killing of Christiana Melusine Fesmire.
Buy a print
- Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

AUBURN — A 30-year-old Lewiston man pleaded not guilty in court Thursday to murder in connection with the slaying of a 22-year-old woman.

Buddy Robinson was indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury Wednesday on one count of knowing or intentional murder.

His attorney, Edward "Ted" Dilworth, said Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court that his client waived reading of the indictment.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy said Robinson was to be held without bail pending a hearing at the end of the month when bail would be discussed.

Click here for more: Sun Journal


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▣ Arizona man on trial for no body murder

posted by Admin on November 1st, 2011 at 7:14 PM

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Attorney: Body not needed to prove Chandler woman's death

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 20, 2011 09:55 PM
The Arizona Republic

Rick Valentini had a burning question when first jailed in the sudden disappearance of his girlfriend of three years, Jamie Laiaddee, a prosecutor said Thursday.

"Do you think they can charge me with murder if they can't find the body?" Valentini, 42, asked a fellow jail inmate, according to Maricopa County deputy prosecutor Juan Martinez.

Speaking during opening arguments of Valentini's murder trial, Martinez said that even without Laiaddee's body, the lack of any trace of her in any aspect, place or capacity, the absence of e-mails, credit-card use, phone calls or cash withdrawal, as good as show she is dead. "She just vanished on March 17, 2010," Martinez said.

Valentini who had used the alias Bryan Stewart for at least seven years, is charged with murdering Laiaddee.
AZ Central

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▣ Houston father convicted in no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 1st, 2011 at 7:13 PM

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Dad gets life in prison for 3-year-old son's murder
Boy's body has yet to be found
BRIAN ROGER, HOUSTON CHRONICLE Copyright 2011 HOUSTON CHRONICLE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By BRIAN ROGERS, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Updated 12:20 a.m., Friday, October 28, 2011

Roderick Fountain, 37, received the maximum punishment in the death of Kendrick Jackson.
Jurors on Thursday sentenced Roderick Fountain to life in prison for felony murder in the death of his 3-year-old son, Kendrick Jackson, whose body has never been found.

Fountain was convicted a day earlier of killing the boy he reported missing on April 7, 2006. Hours after that mid-morning call to police, he became a suspect in the case.

Police later said he was "too calm."

Within days, investigators said they were suspicious because Fountain told them different stories about the night before the boy disappeared.

Cellular telephone records shown at trial showed that Fountain spent the early morning hours of that day on the phone with different women as he drove from his home in west Houston to east Houston on Interstate 10.

For more: Houston Chronicle


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▣ Conviction in Baltimore County No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on November 1st, 2011 at 6:47 PM

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Middle River Man Convicted in 'No Body' Murder Trial

Jason Gross, 36, was found guilty of killing 16-year-old Rochelle Battle despite her body never being found.

* By Ron Snyder
* October 21, 2011
A Middle River man was convicted Thursday of second degree murder in the death of a 16-year-old girl whose body has never been found.

A Baltimore County jury found Jason Gross, 36, guilty in the death of Rochelle Battle. Prosecutors said Gross killed Rochelle Battle on or about March 6, 2009.

While Battle’s body has never been found, prosecutors linked her to Gross through cell phone tracking that had the pair in the same area at the same time, WBAL-TV reported. There is also an MTA security camera that shows Battle taking a bus from Baltimore to Essex. Her mother believed she was going shopping at Eastpoint Mall, WBAL-TV also reported.

For more: Patch.com



Posted by Thomas A. DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Maine man arrested in no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 19th, 2011 at 8:37 AM

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Lewiston man charged with murder in death of missing woman
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 14, 2011, at 1:21 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 14, 2011, at 8:51 p.m.
LEWISTON, Maine — A Lewiston man convicted of stalking in April was arrested late Thursday night and charged with murder in connection with the death of a Lewiston woman missing since July.

Police said enough evidence was found at a two-unit apartment house on Highland Avenue where Christiana Melusine Fesmire, 22, once lived to connect Buddy Robinson, 30, who also once lived there, to her death.

“Police searched the apartment house in September and evidence from the building was analyzed at the State Police crime lab, which [led] investigators to conclude Fesmire was killed inside the building,” Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a statement Friday.

Her body has not been recovered.

Click here for more:Bangor Daily News


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▣ Baltimore County jury hears no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 15th, 2011 at 1:05 PM

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Jury Hears From Teen's Suspected Killer
Jason Gross Accused Of Killing Rochelle Battle

POSTED: 7:12 pm EDT October 13, 2011
UPDATED: 7:30 pm EDT October 13, 2011
TOWSON, Md. -- The jury seated in the case of a 16-year-old girl's death heard from her accused killer Thursday.

Jason Gross, 36, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Rochelle Battle. Investigators said they believe Battle was killed at Gross' Middle River home; however, they have yet to find her body despite searching a nearby landfill. The judge in the case had asked potential jurors Wednesday whether they could remain fair and impartial even though the girl's body remains missing.

Defense attorney Jim Dills told jurors during opening statements Thursday that there was no proof that Battle is dead. He said there is no body, no proof Gross committed murder.
"There is no physical evidence, no DNA ... no blood, no fingerprints, there is nothing," Dills said. "The state is trying to paint a picture of Mr. Gross as a criminal genius that can make bodies disappear."

Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney Jason League told jurors, "People do not vanish without a trace ... He thought it was the perfect crime. Two things he didn't count on ... technology ... and a family that wasn't willing to let her be discarded like another piece of trash on the property."

Prosecutors said cellphone records and GPS tracking proves Gross met with Battle, got her into his house, killed her and burned her body in an incinerator.

Gross had admitted to burning things from time to time. The defense claimed Battle was a prostitute using a chat line to go out and commit prostitution.
Read more: WBALTV


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▣ "No Body Guy" quoted

posted by Admin on October 4th, 2011 at 6:33 PM

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Murder convictions still possible in cases where no body has been found
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

By Patrick T. Sullivan ~ Southeast Missourian

Volunteers searched for Jacque Waller near the Jackson city limits on Saturday.
No one has seen or heard from Jacque Waller in more than four months. She has not touched her bank account or used her cellphone. Her vehicle was found abandoned on the side of Interstate 55 near Fruitland.
Legions of volunteers and police officers have combed the Cape Girardeau area for any trace of Jacque. Cadaver dogs have sniffed through miles of wooded areas, looking for her beneath the ground. The searches have yielded no results, and searchers are still investigating leads.

Despite the intensive yet fruitless searches, the state anticipates charging Jacque's husband Clay Waller with murder, according to court records.

Although Jacque has not been found dead or alive, history and experts say a murder conviction without her body is possible.

For more: Southeast Missourian

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▣ Another Orange County no body murder trial

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2011 at 1:20 PM

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Prosecutor: Mom, son ‘lured’ salesman to death
By LARRY WELBORN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SANTA ANA – A mother and son team lured a door-to-door jewelry salesman to their Garden Grove home with an offer to buy his goods as part of a “cold, diabolical plan” to steal the jewelry and commit murder, a prosecutor told a jury here Thursday.

Rebecca Nivarez-Diaz, 46, and her son Ricardo Dagoberto Diaz, 26, premeditated the slaying of Mario Hernandez, 68, on March 18, 2005 so they could pawn his jewelry and pocket the cash, Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin said in his closing arguments of Diaz’ murder trial here.
Hernandez, who had health problems and walked with the aid of a cane, was killed to prevent him from identifying his killers, Yellin said. Nivarez-Diaz, Yellin said, had purchased jewelry from Hernandez before, and summoned the jewelry salesman to her home, where her son was waiting,

“This was a killing done in the course of a robbery,” he added.

For more: Orange County Register


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▣ Trial to begin for Florida woman accused of no body murder of 4 year old

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2011 at 1:08 PM

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By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel

6:00 p.m. EDT, September 11, 2011
MIAMI—
Rilya Wilson is still missing.

The foster child's disappearance in 2000, and the uproar after its belated discovery, led to sweeping changes in the state's child welfare system. But no one knows for certain whether the chubby-cheeked 4-year-old fixed forever in a single official photograph is alive or dead.

Next month Rilya's onetime caregiver, accused of kidnapping, abusing and smothering her, is scheduled to stand trial in an oft-delayed case that poses the ultimate challenge for prosecutors.

"In a homicide case, generally there is a body, and there is not one here," said attorney Scott Sakin, who is defending the caregiver, Geralyn Graham.

When Graham was indicted by a Miami-Dade grand jury in March 2005 on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated child abuse, prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty.

But at a hearing earlier this year, they quietly abandoned that quest, opting instead to ask for life in prison. While confirming the decision, State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez said last week that she could not elaborate.

For more: Sun-Sentinel.com

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▣ Arrest in no body murder of California nursing student

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2011 at 12:57 PM

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Suspect arrested in Le case reportedly pregnant
Posted: 11:47 am PDT September 7, 2011Updated: 11:13 pm PDT September 7, 2011
HAYWARD, Calif. -- Hayward police announced Wednesday that they arrested a suspect in the case of a nursing student who went missing in late May: a high-school friend of the murder victim who is reportedly pregnant.

At 9:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, officers arrested 27-year-old Giselle Diwag Esteban in Union City for the suspected murder of Michelle Le, though investigators were still unable to confirm that she had been killed.

Le, 26, disappeared on May 27 from Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center during a nursing class that evening. Le's car was found the next morning around 9 a.m. parked about half a mile from the medical center.

Her disappearance led to a massive search campaign, organized by her family, who has also offered a $100,000 reward for her return or for information on her whereabouts.

“[This] really has robbed us of our lives,” said Michael Le, the victim's brother, at a press conference Wednesday announcing the arrest.

Police had classified the case as a homicide back in June but her family held out hope for her safe return.
For more: KTUV


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▣ October trial in Phoenix no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2011 at 12:49 PM

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'No Body' homicides getting prosecuted

by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 6 at 10:11 PM

PHOENIX - There’s no scene, no weapon, not even a body but that’s not stopping the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office from moving forward with its case against suspected killer Bryan Stewart.

Chandler Police Sergeant Joe Favazzo says, "Jamie literally dropped off the grid and that just doesn't happen."

Jamie Laiaddee was like most young professionals. Active on Facebook and had many close friends. But on March 17, 2010, Jamie suddenly disappeared.

Favazzo says, "You just can't leave with nothing in today's world and not be located somewhere.”
For more: AZ Family.com

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▣ Arrest in California no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2011 at 12:44 PM

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By Lee Ferran
Feb 22, 2010 7:35pm
No Body, But Murder Charges in Case of Missing Salinas Woman
Email 0 Smaller Font Text Larger Text | Print

Lee Ferran reports: A California man was charged today with the murder of his wife, even though nobody has been found, officials said. The woman disappeared earlier this month.
Citing "voluminous reports," Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said in a statement there was "sufficient evidence" to charge 33-year-old Jesse Crow with the murder of his 23-year-old wife, Ryann Crow.

Ryann disappeared on Feb. 2. Despite at least two major search efforts led by Ryann's family, her body has not turned up. Police said that Jesse had been "definitely cooperating" with the investigation into her disappearance, police said, but at some point something changed.

The case turned into a homicide investigation and police arrested Jesse.

For more: ABC News.comm


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▣ Omaha man pleads guilty in no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 5th, 2011 at 3:26 PM

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A man on trial for the murder of an Omaha family took a last-minute plea deal of second-degree murder on Thursday. In turn, Valdeir Goncalves-Santos will testify for the prosecution as a state's witness to the crime.

Goncalves-Santos had been charged with killing Vanderlei Szczepanik, his wife, and young son. The family was reported missing in December 2009.
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Defense attorney Kevin Ryan tells Channel 6 News his client asked asked to speak to police and confess. Over the past two days, Ryan says Goncalves-Santos has taken police to several sites where they were able to gather evidence of the alleged crimes.

Prosecutors have said they believed the family was tortured and dismembered before their remains were dumped in the Missouri River. However, Channel Six News has learned the bodies of the Szczpanik family are expected to be recovered within the coming weeks through the furthcoming investigation.

Under the plea deal, Goncalves-Santos will sentenced for second degree murder. With credit for good behavior and time served, he will likely be deported in eight years.

For more: WOWT


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▣ Memphis No Body Murder Case Being Appealed

posted by Admin on September 5th, 2011 at 3:17 PM

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MEMPHIS — All the police ever found of Ricci Ellsworth was her blood.

* Michael Rimmer yells "Hell and destruction are never full" as he is led from a Memphis courtroom Nov. 9, 1998. Rimmer was sentenced to death even though his ex-girlfriend's body has never been found.

By Robert Cohen, AP
Detectives found puddles of it in the office of the run-down motel where she worked the overnight shift, checking in guests and keeping the books. They found droplets and smudges leading through the office and out the door to the parking lot. There, the trail — and Ellsworth — disappeared.

Even so, authorities here say they have no doubt about what happened to Ellsworth: She was attacked in the office bathroom one night in February 1997. And they have no doubt who killed her: her former boyfriend, Michael Rimmer, an ex-con who had threatened her before. The police found her blood in his car, and their case proved so powerful that jurors convicted Rimmer in a few hours. He was sentenced to die.
What those jurors never learned — and what Rimmer's attorneys say they were never told — was that a witness saw a different man in the motel office about the time Ellsworth disappeared. The man seen in the office already was wanted in connection with a stabbing and, the witness said, literally had blood on his hands.

Now, 14 years after Ellsworth vanished, Rimmer's attorneys are pursuing an extraordinary strategy to try to save his life. They want a Tennessee appeals court to find that misconduct by prosecutors and police here was so pervasive that the entire Shelby County District Attorney General's Office should be disqualified from the case, and that a new prosecutor should be brought in to review the evidence.

For more: USA Today

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▣ Guilty and Not Guilty Verdicts in Santa Cruz No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on September 5th, 2011 at 3:07 PM

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One defendant fouond guilty and one not guilty:

Split decision in Elias Sorokin murder trial
By Stephen Baxter
Posted: 08/17/2011 01:30:47 AM PDT

Adam Spencer Hunt of Watsonville is accused of killling a Los Angeles man in... (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)


SANTA CRUZ -- A jury on Tuesday found Kenneth Clamp guilty of murder and robbery and Adam Hunt not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of Elias Sorokin.

The jury hung on whether Clamp was guilty of kidnapping. Hunt was found guilty of robbery.

Prosecutors had accused Hunt of helping Westside hairdresser Stewart Skuba try to disable Sorokin with chloroform and steal about 10 pounds of Sorokin's marijuana in a Felix Street garage in Santa Cruz in July 2009. When that didn't work, prosecutor Rob Wade alleged, they fought 29-year-old Sorokin and knocked him unconscious. Hunt's attorney had argued Hunt was not at the home that night.

For more:Santa Cruz Sentinel

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▣ Texas man arrrested after no body murder case confession

posted by Admin on September 5th, 2011 at 2:28 PM

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Suspect's Confession Prompts Murder Arrest Without Body or Victim 8/3/11

Beau Berman
CBS 7 News
bberman@cbs7.com
August 3, 2011

Ft. Stockton, Texas -

Ft. Stockton Police are still investigating an apparent murder after arresting a man who confessed to the crime early Wednesday morning.

However, there’s no body, no victim and no missing person identified right now.

Ft. Stockton residents are calling it "The John Doe" Murder.

Instead of finding a body and then searching for a suspect, police have to work this murder case backwards.

"We don't have a body, we don't have a victim, we don't have a missing person, but like I said, we have enough at the scene that it's very clear a homicide occurred", says Police Chief Art Fuentes.

The strongest evidence may be the confession police received early Wednesday morning from 23-Year-Old Dustin Horton.

Chief Art Fuentes says police received a call indicating that Horton had committed murder on Sunday.

Click here for more: KOSA


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▣ No Body Guy featured in Wake Forest University magazine

posted by Admin on September 5th, 2011 at 2:22 PM

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The no-body guy: Tad DiBiase, attorney and detective
Wake Forest alumnus successful in prosecuting 'ultimate murder' cases
By Tim Breen (’88) Guest Contributor
Tad DiBiase ('87)Wake Forest has long been known as a turnstile for aspiring lawyers, with liberal arts majors using their diplomas as admission tickets to some of the nation’s best law schools. Rarer, however, is the Wake alum who gains renown for pioneering a field of law.

Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase (’87) is making a name for himself by helping to prosecute murders when there are no actual bodies as evidence. The self-styled “No- Body Guy” graduated as a political science major, went on to Brooklyn Law School, then worked for 12 years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, where he prosecuted homicides.

Now Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Capitol Police, DiBiase moonlights as a consultant on no-body cases across the country. Of the 20-odd cases he has worked on, five have gone to trial, all resulting in guilty verdicts. Still “extremely rare,” the number of no-body cases “has clearly increased greatly in the last five years,” DiBiase says. That is largely due to advances in forensic science, but DiBiase’s painstaking documentation of all 300 or so no-body trials in U.S. history, and his No Body Murder Cases Web site and blog, have encouraged police and prosecutors that such cases, while challenging, can be won.

“Murder is the ultimate crime, and a murder with no body is the ultimate murder,” says DiBiase. “When you get rid of the body, you get rid of the best evidence of the murder: How was the person killed? When was the person killed? Where was the person killed? Figuring out all those things becomes so much more difficult to prove when you don’t have the body.”

No-body murder trials have always been permitted in the United States. The legal term “corpus delicti” has never meant only a (dead) human body can prove a murder, just that the body of evidence, even circumstantial, must prove a murder, legal scholars say. The infamous Caylee Anthony case, which ended in a not guilty verdict for her mother in July 2011, was a no-body case until the 2-year-old’s body was found (DiBiase was interviewed by The Huffington Post in that early stage).

First case in 2005

“When I think of Tad at Wake Forest, I mainly remember his perseverance,” says Kevin Krause, who roomed with DiBiase for several years. “I think his perseverance has suited him well for no-body cases.”

In fact, that reputation earned DiBiase his first no-body case, when his supervisor in the District turned to him in 2005 about the disappearance and presumed murder of Marion Fye. An unmarried mother of five, alcohol and drug abuser, unemployed and reliant on public assistance, Fye’s erratic behavior and lack of connections seemed to militate against proving anything. But DiBiase won a murder conviction and 42-year prison sentence.

For that he relied on forensics. “We didn’t have the victim’s DNA so we proved the blood on her mattress was hers by using her mother’s DNA, and proved that the blood on the mattress had to have come from a female decedent of the mother’s,” DiBiase explains. “We then had each of her three living sisters testify that they had never bled in Marion Fye’s bed, so the logical conclusion was that the blood was Marion’s.”

Modern technology

No-body prosecutions are also being enabled by modern communications, surveillance and records — bank cards, credit cards, cell phones, email and Twitter accounts, and much more. “There are so many electronic traces now that if they all went dead for someone, you’d get suspicious,” says DiBiase.

In the case of Tracey Tetso, which DiBiase consulted on with Baltimore prosecutors in 2008-09, phone records were crucial. Husband Dennis tapped their home phone to catch Tracey in an affair, and Tracey’s employer recorded all her phone calls “for quality assurance,” according to Garret Glennon, chief of Baltimore County’s Circuit Court Division. “We had the luxury of having a library of about three months of her daily calls, most of which were talking about her failed marriage or screaming at Dennis himself,” he says.

Also, a motel surveillance video showed Tracey’s car parking and a grainy figure get out. Then the car’s lights flashed twice, signaling the alarm had been activated. Confronted with that, Dennis gave police a “spare” key and remote, but further sleuthing determined there was only one set of keys for the car — Dennis had to have been the driver and he had to have gotten the keys from Tracey the night she disappeared.

Still, “we had a massive amount of tiny, individualized pieces of evidence that alone meant next to nothing,” says Glennon. “No one in my county had ever tried a no-body case before. We had ideas but, since we were in uncharted waters, we didn’t know if we were thinking crazy or right on point.”

With DiBiase’s help, however, the Baltimore team developed themes in the case to show that Tracey would not have voluntarily abandoned her family, friends, beloved pets, good job, every personal belonging and money. “He confirmed our game plan, and since he had experience in this area, it gave us a lot of confidence that we were doing things right,” Glennon says. Indeed, Dennis Tetso was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

A ‘crime-fighter’ at Wake Forest

DiBiase’s days at Wake Forest might have presaged his time as a tenacious prosecutor, and now consultant. “He was determined to do well,” says Krause. “Tad spent every evening in the library, no matter what was going on around him. He wasn’t the most gifted runner on the track team but he worked harder than anyone else.”

In some sense, DiBiase began his crime-fighting careers as a sophomore in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. According to longtime roommate Rob Duckwall, rumors circulated in 1984 that someone was stealing unattended textbooks, probably to be sold back to the bookstore. The two agreed to scope the stacks and study areas, and soon DiBiase witnessed a theft, reported it, and the thefts ended, Duckwall says.

Although he is no longer a prosecutor, DiBiase says that gives him freer rein over his involvement in no-body homicides. And he doesn’t expect to become less involved anytime soon. “I certainly get many, many calls from folks who before had no one place to go to learn about these cases,” he says.

Tim Breen (’88) is a writer and editor in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife and two children.

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▣ Defendant represesents himself in no body murder trial in Florida

posted by Admin on July 31st, 2011 at 12:46 PM

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Almost always a bad call to represent yourself in any trial, let alone a murder trial....
Acting as own attorney, Pinellas murder defendant declares his innocence
By Curtis Krueger, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
LARGO — Robert Glenn Temple got his first real chance to act as his own attorney Tuesday, but a judge kept reprimanding him for not behaving like one.

Temple, 61, delivered a rambling opening statement in his murder trial and denied killing his wife, Rosemary Christensen, in 1999. He also began cross-examining the first witnesses in the case.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip J. Federico said the case would be moving along more quickly "if 80 percent of your questions weren't inappropriate." If a lawyer persisted in asking such questions, Federico said, "the lawyer would be in contempt, the lawyer would be leaving in handcuffs."

Click here for more: Tampa Bay.com


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▣ My least favorite words: Not Guilty

posted by Admin on July 17th, 2011 at 12:45 PM

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"She was found not guilty."
My head popped up from my laptop to face my colleague standing in my
doorway, "What?"
"She was not guilty on all the murder counts but guilty on the lying to the
police counts."
"No way. You're kidding. Wow." My stomach sunk. I knew the feeling and
had felt it before. My thoughts flew not to the defendant, Casey Anthony,
or her family but to the lead prosecutor, Jeff Ashton. He had lost. Lost
a trial. Lost a murder trial. And like few people, I knew what that felt
like.
Contrary to what is shown on TV, most lawyers don't try cases. Very few
regularly try cases and an even smaller subset try murder cases. Indeed,
this case was the first murder trial for defense attorney, Jose Baez.
For 12 years I was an Assistant United States Attorney in D.C. and due to
the unique role of a federal prosecutor in this federal city, I tried
murder cases for 9 of those years. For me, in trying cases there are only
two results: losing and not losing. And not losing beat losing all day
long. I loved not losing. I once had to state what my favorite word was
during some painful work-bonding exercise. I initially considered
answering "guilty" before instead settling on the word "daddy."
Not losing never got old but losing was awful. I tried 20 murder cases
during my time as a prosecutor. While I certainly didn't lose all my
cases, the exact number of cases I lost remains a closely held state
secret. (Okay, I can count them on one hand....almost.) The pain of
losing a trial is widespread. It's painful for a victim's family. To walk
into the witness room after hearing a not guilty verdict and seeing and
hearing the pain that verdict caused a family looking for justice is tough
to take. The pain of seeing a defendant walk out of courtroom a free man
and perhaps to kill again. (I once lost a trial of a man who had already
beaten one murder charge and went on to beat another one after my loss.)
Early in my career I lost a non-murder trial and as the defendant left the
courtroom a free man, he passed behind me, flicked me lightly on the back
and said, "Nice try." Ugh.
Losing was personally painful too. I often told people that when I lost a
trial I felt as if the jury foreperson had stood up and said, "We, the
jury, find that the prosecutor stunk." I remember every single one of my
losses and each of those defendants vividly. Indeed, sometimes better
than I remember the victims. I remember trying two murder cases
practically back to back. In the second trial, the judge, as part of his
preliminary jury instructions, asked me the name of the victim. Sadly, I
completely blanked and had no idea what her name was. Luckily my
co-counsel answered the question and saved me the embarrassment of having
to admit I didn't know my own victim's name. But I will never forget the
names of each of the defendants who heard those words "not guilty."
After losing I would brood over the case, thinking what I could have done
differently: called this witness, not called this one or put something into
evidence that I didn't. It takes a long time to recover from losing a
murder trial and I expect it to take even longer for Ashton to recover
given the high profile nature of the case. Indeed, my cure for losing a
trial was to throw myself into the next murder case, something that Ashton
can't do if, as reported, he is retiring.
I stopped trying murder cases over 4 years ago and the time away has given
me some perspective. Losing still stinks but it comes with the territory.
Being a prosecutor, even a homicide prosecutor, doesn't mean you've got to
or will win all your cases. It means that you seek justice as best as you
can. You may disagree with a jury's verdict, even strongly disagree, but
that's the verdict and you have to respect it. As long as the trial was
fair, justice was served and we all win.

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▣ Michigan man found guilty of no body murder

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2011 at 8:23 PM

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Rami Saba found guilty on all counts in missing Saranac resident Donald Dietz’s case
United States Attorney Don Davis and Donald Dietz’s brother, Marvin Dietz, shake hands in congratulations after defendant Rami Saba was found guilty Wednesday.
By Jon Szerlag
The Ionia Sentinel-Standard
Posted Jun 08, 2011 @ 11:57 PM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —

Missing Saranac resident Donald Dietz’s family felt relief Wednesday, as a 12 member jury came back after roughly five hours of deliberation with a guilty verdict against defendant Rami Saba on all 11 counts.

Saba was found guilty of counts including conspiracy to commit or attempt to commit financial institution fraud; four counts of attempted financial institution fraud; four counts to aggravated identity theft in relation to the bank fraud counts; conspiracy to commit kidnapping; and kidnapping Dietz.

The government proved to jurors that Saba, along with co-defendent Raogo Ouedraogo, kidnapped and attempted to steal Dietz’s life savings of roughly $500,000. Ouedraogo was found guilty on three of four counts, including kidnapping resulting in the death of Dietz, which carries a life sentence.

Saba could face life in prison from charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit or attempt to commit kidnapping. The other charges carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.
For more: Sentinel-Standard.com


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▣ Guilty plea in Vermont No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2011 at 7:53 PM

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6/2/2011 6:11 PM
Vt. woman gets prison in killing of her mother, 78

By JOHN CURRAN Associated Press

When 78-year-old Alzheimer's disease patient Mary Wilcox went missing five years ago, everyone thought she'd wandered off.

For days, police and search-and-rescue teams using dogs combed the woods around her daughter's rural Vermont home.

Daughter Jeanne Sevigny told police Wilcox had disappeared after overhearing her talking to a family member about the possibility of putting her in a nursing home. Sevigny even gave a tearful interview to a local TV station, saying she hoped her mother was OK and she preferred to think of her on a bus or a train somewhere, not cold in the woods.

She knew it was a lie: A week before filing a missing persons report, Sevigny shot her mother to death, burned her body in a backyard fire pit and gave a suitcase containing her remains to her son _ Wilcox's grandson _ to bury.

On Thursday, the 61-year-old Sevigny pleaded no contest to manslaughter and was sentenced to at least four years and nine months in prison. She pleaded guilty to illegally disposing of her mother's body, which was never found.

For more: KSRO.com

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▣ Mississippi man charged with capital murder in no body murder case

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2011 at 7:25 PM

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Capital murder charges; no body yet
12:48 AM, May. 26, 2011 |
Written by
Therese Apel

Physical evidence found inside a Jackson home led police to charge a man with capital murder Wednesday in the death of his missing former girlfriend, a police spokesperson said.

Human blood also was found in George Affleck's truck, officer Colendula Green said. That evidence was taken to the state crime lab for testing, she said.

Also, Green said the cell phone of Dianne Hearn, 61, his ex-girlfriend, was found in the Bolton area late Tuesday. Hearn has not been seen since Sunday.

Police began investigating Affleck on Monday in Hearn's disappearance after they were called to his home on Creston Avenue for suspicious activity.

Affleck, 55, initially was arrested on a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

For more: Clarion Ledger.com

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▣ Ho, hum....another Orange County no body murder trial

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2011 at 7:07 PM

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This might be the seventh no body murder trial in Orange County.....
Published: May 24, 2011
Updated: May 26, 2011 4:16 p.m.
No body, but murder trial continues
By LARRY WELBORN
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SANTA ANA – Robert Lee Vendrick went for a boat ride out of Dana Point Harbor on Valentine's Day 2008 and was never seen again, according to Orange County sheriff's detectives.

Authorities believe the 71-year-old Phoenix man swindled out of more than a $1 million in phony investments, and then murdered him to cover up the crime.
This week, Orange County prosecutors begin the task of attempting to prove that theory before a jury, even though Vendrick's body has never been found. Jury selection begins Thursday before Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey in the trial of Gary Shawkey, a 46-year-old self-taught motivational speaker who is charged with murdering Vendrick to silence him.

Not having a body does not prevent prosecutors from filing charges and going to trial, something the Orange County District Attorney's Office has done with at least seven missing persons in recent years.

"It is common sense that just because you are successful at disposing of a body, it doesn't mean you can get away with murder," said Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh, who is prosecuting Shawkey.

Click here for more: Orange County Register

Defendant found guilty. Click here for more: Dana Point Times

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▣ Body found after conviction in no body murder case

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2011 at 7:02 PM

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Police may have found body of missing man

by William Hermann - May. 25, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

A Phoenix police detective who has for almost two years been looking for the body of a slain interior designer emerged from a hole beneath a kitchen long enough Tuesday to say she feels sure she found her victim.

"We feel confident we've found the body of William McGrath, and it is very gratifying," said Melissa Lutch, a Phoenix police missing-persons investigator. She spent the morning helping to dig a 4 feet by 4 feet, 5-feet deep hole in the dirt beneath the subfloor of an older home in a central Phoenix neighborhood at Willetta and 27th streets.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/05/25/20110525bodyfound0525.html#ixzz1QL6tmxmL

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▣ Prosecutors discuss the making of a no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 15th, 2011 at 10:28 AM

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Prosecutors tell how they built 'no body' case against Wright
Monday, April 11, 2011 | 9:34 p.m. CDT; updated 6:47 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Johnny Wright, left, listens to his lawyer, Cleveland Tyson, during his January trial. ¦ Jonathan Hinderliter
BY Anne Christnovich

COLUMBIA — When Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Hicks began looking into Johnny Wright's arrest almost two years ago, the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's Office didn't even have a file for him anymore.

No one expected to ever hear again from the man wanted for killing Becky Doisy in 1976. Although her body was never found, police, friends and her family all believed she was dead. Many, including Doisy's family, believed Wright was dead, too.
MoreStory

Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks, (center) and Assistant Prosecutor Cecily Daller (center right) talk with the defense and Judge Oxenhandler at his bench during the Johnny Wright trial on January 27. Wright was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 1976 murder of Becky Doisy on Monday.

While it was true that there was an outstanding warrant for him from 1985, he hadn't been seen or heard from since the early ’80s.

But in September 2009, Wright was unexpectedly discovered and arrested when a background check for a job in Georgia revealed the warrant.

Hicks soon asked his colleague Cecily Daller to work with him on the case when he realized the difficulty of it.

With no body, no manner of death and more than three decades since the last time Doisy was seen alive, Hicks and Daller weren't certain prosecuting Wright was even a possibility.

But when they began to explore the case, the story that unfolded was enough to persuade them to try.

For more: The Missourian

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▣ Oregon man indicted for no body murder

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2011 at 6:59 PM

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Grand jury indicts Parrish Bennette Jr. on charges of murder and manslaughter
Published: Friday, April 08, 2011, 10:53 AM Updated: Saturday, April 09, 2011, 2:29 PM
By Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian The Oregonian
Parrish Bennette Jr., indicted on murder and first-degree manslaughter charges

A Multnomah County grand jury has indicted Parrish Bennette Jr. on two charges: murder with a firearm, and first-degree manslaughter with a firearm.

Bennette, 16, is due back in juvenile court this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. to be arraigned on the indictment.

Police accuse Bennette of killing 14-year-old Yashanee L. Vaughn on March 19, the day she disappeared, but have not located her body.

Bennette was taken into custody on an unrelated probation violation on March 28, after his father contacted police, concerned his son might have been involved in Vaughn's disappearance.

A search of their Northeast Russell Street home discovered blood in the house, and DNA evidence helped link Bennette to Vaughn's death.

Click here: Oregon Live.com

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▣ Texas man found guilty of 1996 murder by evidence of diamond ring

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2011 at 6:49 PM

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The Blotter

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

April 6, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Texas man convicted in 1996 no-body homicide case

Posted by Cathy McLain


A Texas man accused of killing a man whose body was never found was found guilty Wednesday during a second trial.

Myron Wynn 50, was charged with first-degree murder in February 2009 after King County sheriff's investigators linked him to victim Robert Wykel through a distinctive diamond.

In December, Wynn's first trial ended in a mistrial after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Wykel, a 66-year-old retired sheet-metal worker and restaurant owner, disappeared in February 1996 after telling friends he was going to check out a vintage Thunderbird, according to court documents. Wykel supplemented his retirement income by restoring classic cars, charging papers said, and he had withdrawn $5,200 cash from his bank.

Click here: Seattle Times

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▣ Phoenix man arrested for no body murder of his girlfriend

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2011 at 6:41 PM

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Boyfriend Of Missing Chandler Woman Charged With Murder
Elizabeth Erwin
Reporter, KPHO CBS 5 News

POSTED: 12:19 pm MST April 5, 2011
UPDATED: 7:02 am MST April 6, 2011
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has charged the boyfriend of a missing Chandler woman with murder in her death.

Rick Valentini, also known as Bryan Stewart, has been charged with second-degree murder in the missing person's case of Jamie Laiaddee, according to the county attorney's office.
Laiaddee was last seen on St. Patrick's Day last year.

By the time Valentini had reported Laiaddee missing, she had not been seen or heard from in weeks.

A short while after the missing person's case was reported, Valentini was arrested in Scottsdale on an outstanding traffic warrant.

Click here: KPHO.com

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▣ Louisiana man charged with no body murder

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2011 at 6:34 PM

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Man faces murder charge with no body
Posted: Apr 01, 2011 5:34 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 07, 2011 7:07 AM EDT
By Joshua Auzenne, Web Staff - email

HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - A man originally arrested for allegedly breaking into a missing elderly man's home has now been charged with that man's murder, but authorities have not found the victim's body.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office said Wesley Smith Jr., 32, of Hammond, faces a first-degree murder charge for the apparent death of Leon Rachal, 82, of Ponchatoula.

Sheriff Daniel Edwards said Smith was charged Wednesday.

It is believed Rachal was killed on or around Jan. 20.

For more: WAFB.com

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▣ Conviction but not for murder in federal no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2011 at 6:30 PM

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Man guilty in death of Donald Dietz, but family wants more from convict
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011, 7:00 AM Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011, 10:14 AM
By John Agar | The Grand Rapids Press The Grand Rapids Press

Amanda Loman | The Grand Rapids PressPhillip Green, right, and Russell Kavalhuna, assistant U.S. attorneys, stand outside federal courthouse after first of two suspects convicted in 2007 disappearance of Donald Dietz.
GRAND RAPIDS – The family of Donald Dietz, the Saranac retiree kidnapped and killed in 2007, hope that Wednesday's conviction of Raogo Ouedraogo helps efforts to find his remains.

A conviction in the May trial of co-defendant and alleged mastermind Rami Saba could convince one of them to point authorities to the victim's body, brother Marvin Dietz said.
“Hopefully, they will let us know where our brother's remains are so we can have a funeral and get on our with lives,” he said.

See more: Michigan Live.com

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▣ Man pleads guilty in Oklahoma no body murder case and reveals location of body

posted by Admin on March 30th, 2011 at 6:52 AM

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Another case where defendant reveals location of body to get deal with government. Distasteful.... At least he got life without parole here. Also, what's going on in Oklahoma? Second no body case in a month.

Oklahoma City man pleads guilty to murdering girlfriend
Ronald Seth Banks agreed to serve a life sentence with no possibility of parole in the slaying of his girlfriend, Angela S. Biggers.

BY NOLAN CLAY Oklahoman Published: March 26, 2011

An Oklahoma City man is going back to prison after agreeing Friday to serve a life term without the possibility of parole for killing his girlfriend.
Ronald Seth Banks pleaded guilty today to murdering his girlfriend...

Oklahoma City man pleads guilty to murdering girlfriend Ronald Seth Banks, 34, admitted he choked Angela S. Biggers to death on Dec. 6. He told a judge in his plea paperwork, “I did this willfully.” The victim was 48 and lived in Oklahoma City.

He told the victim’s family he wished he was getting a death sentence. He met with the victim’s family for 20 minutes before pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

Read more: NewsOK

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▣ Conviction in Oklahoma no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 30th, 2011 at 6:27 AM

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Oklahoma City woman convicted in ‘no body’ case
Exordia Jaye Salado, 39, told two friends in October 2007 she shot her husband, Manny Salado, and cooked his body days later in the country, according to testimony at the trial in Oklahoma City where she was found guilty of first-degree murder.

BY NOLAN CLAY Oklahoman Published: March 30, 2011

An Oklahoma County jury on Tuesday quickly found a woman guilty of first-degree murder in the 2007 fatal shooting of her husband even though his body was never found.

Oklahoma City woman convicted in ‘no body’ case Jaye Salado, 39, told two friends in October 2007 she shot her husband, Manny Salado, and cooked his body days later in the country, according to testimony at the trial.

She had searched the Internet on ways to kill someone and how to dispose of a human body, according to testimony from computer experts.

Google searches, for instance, were made on her computer early Aug. 28, 2007, on “handcuff,” “easy murder,” “murder methods,” “spousal murder,” “quick kill,” “strangulation,” “execution methods,” “human torture methods” and “human castration,” according to testimony.
OK News

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▣ Chapter Two of my book....

posted by Admin on March 30th, 2011 at 6:18 AM

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is now online under the My Book tab. Enjoy. Working title: "I Don't See Dead People"

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▣ California man charged with no body murder of his wife

posted by Admin on March 18th, 2011 at 8:38 PM

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Husband of missing Calif woman charged with murder

2011-03-05 10:20:00

A Los Angeles County Coroner investigator walks a cadaver-sniffing canine t...Dayna Papin, sister of Dawn Marie Viens, who has been missing since Oct. 18...

A man who jumped off a cliff after learning he was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife more than a year ago was charged Thursday with murder.

David Robert Viens, 47, faces up to life in prison if convicted of murdering Dawn Marie Viens in October 2009, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said.

Viens remained hospitalized after jumping 80 feet off an ocean bluff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula last month, and no arraignment has been set.

sify.com




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▣ Rare federal no body murder trial begins in Michigan

posted by Admin on March 18th, 2011 at 8:30 PM

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Federal trial begins in Grand Rapids in 2007 killing of Saranac resident Donald Dietz
Published: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 2:05 PM Updated: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 2:05 PM
By John Agar | The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS – The attorney for Raogo Ouedraogo, who is accused of conspiring with Rami Saba in the 2007 killing of Donald Dietz, told jurors today that there is no evidence linking Ouedraogo to the crime.

The prosecution has built a circumstantial case based on Ouadraogo, a Philadelphia resident, frequently visiting the Grand Rapids area, and staying in telephone contact with Saba, around the time that Dietz went missing.

But defense attorney Larry Willey said the prosecution read too much into the contacts between his client and Saba, a Lowell resident and best friend.

M Live
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▣ Michigan man found guilty of no body murder

posted by Admin on March 18th, 2011 at 8:26 PM

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Lisa LaPlante FOX 17 News Reporter

11:22 a.m. EST, March 11, 2011
fox17-venus-stewart
CENTREVILLE, MI—

Jurors returned a verdict of guilty Friday morning, in the trial of Doug Stewart. He was charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, for killing his estranged wife, Venus, outside her parents' home near Colon last April.

Jurors deliberated for about three hours and 20 minutes before returning a verdict.

Fox 17 online

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▣ No Body Guy: In the News

posted by Admin on March 18th, 2011 at 7:36 PM

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Two recent articles featured me, the No Body Guy: The Crime Report

and
Philly Burbs.com



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▣ Texas man convicted in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2011 at 3:11 PM

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Man gets 25 years for killing wife; body not found

Print Story Published: 2/18 2:45 pm DENTON, Texas (AP) — A North Texas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing his estranged wife whose body has never been found.

Charles Stobaugh was sentenced Friday and had faced up to life in prison after he was convicted earlier this week of murder. Kathy Stobaugh had gone to her estranged husband's Denton County farm in late 2004 the day before their divorce was to become final.

Read more: WOAI

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▣ Appeal in Minnesota no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 15th, 2011 at 6:53 PM

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Interesting case because it appears to be based upon the defendant's confession:

A confession but no body: Is that enough to convict?

A 25-year-old woman has appealed a jury's verdict that found her guilty of killing her newborn in Burnsville.

By JOY POWELL, Star Tribune

Last update: February 13, 2011 - 10:26 PM
Somewhere at Pine Bend Landfill, under 30 feet of dirt and trash, police believe there lies the skeleton of a slain baby, but they can't recover it. In a rare verdict, the baby girl's mother was convicted in 2008 of a murder in which a body wasn't found.

Now, in a highly unusual appeal to the state Supreme Court, the mother's attorney argues that Samantha Heiges of Burnsville was wrongfully convicted because state law says a person cannot be convicted solely on a confession; there must be separate evidence.

For more, click here: Star Tribune

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▣ Guitly plea in Alabama no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 14th, 2011 at 7:38 PM

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Guilty plea ends family's wait: Man pleads guilty in 2000 death of wife

By Scott Johnson • February 8, 2011

Authorities still have found no body, but Judie Wilding's friends and family members found some mea­sure of closure Monday when her husband pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Shortly before his murder trial was scheduled to begin Monday, Albert Wilding, 81, pleaded guilty to the 2000 shooting death of his wife, Judie, although he claimed the shooting was accidental.

Circuit Judge Charles Price gave Wilding five years in prison and five years su­pervised probation. Wilding will receive credit for the two-plus years he already has served, but still will be near­ly 90 by the time his full pris­on term and probation are served, said Don Valeska, chief prosecutor for the Ala­bama attorney general's of­fice. Wilding will be 82 later this month.

For more, click here: Montgomery Advertiser.Com

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▣ Convictions in three recent cases

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 5:23 PM

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Rebecca Nivarez, Jonny Wright, and Miguel Bustamante and David Replogle were all convicted in three separate no body murder cases. See below for articles on their trials.

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▣ California man charged with no body murder while already charged with double murder

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 4:44 PM

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New charges against husband accused of double slaying
By Dana Littlefield and Pauline Repard

Originally published February 4, 2011 at 11:30 a.m., updated February 4, 2011 at 5:49 p.m.

Eighteen years ago, Jovita Collazo told her daughter was that she was going out to buy some beer. Collazo, 38, never returned.
Michael Eugene Richardson, with public defender Megan Marcotte standing by him, was charged with the murder of his wife and mother-in-law in El Cajon Superior Court.
Her live-in boyfriend Michael Eugene Richardson told National City police he kicked her out of their apartment after they’d been drinking and arguing.

On Friday, Collazo was named in court as the third alleged murder victim of Richardson, who is jailed on charges in the slayings last year of his wife and mother-in-law.

Collazo’s body has never been found, but police presume she is dead “based on the totality of the circumstances, that she hasn’t been heard from and that he was the last one to see her,” said National City police Sgt. Dennis Leach.

For more, click here: Sign On San Diego

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▣ Trial begins in Memphis for no body murder of infant

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 4:35 PM

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Prosecutors Prepare Baby Death Case Without Child's Body
District Attorney will seek justice without body and cooperation
Stephanie Scurlock
5:54 p.m. CST, January 28, 2011
FAST FACTS:

Service honors life of child presumed dead
Shelby D.A. believes can prosecute successfully without body
D.A. says lack of cooperation from family won't stop prosecution

(Memphis 01/28/2011) An infant believed dead at the hands of her mother is remembered.

The Memphis Child Advocacy Center held a service in honor of Lauryn Dickens this morning.

The child was 9 months-old when she was reported missing in September.
This week a grand jury indicted her mother on first degree murder charges.

For more, click here: WREG.com

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▣ Trial begins in California for woman accused of no body murder

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 4:31 PM

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Woman accused of murder, but there's no body BY VIK JOLLY
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTERStory Highlights
Mario Hernandez's body has not been found.
SANTA ANA – He was an aging jewelry salesman who had suffered a couple of strokes and walked with the help of a cane.
Mario Hernandez, 68, of Santa Ana, hawked his wares that he restocked periodically from Los Angeles mostly at clients' homes locally. The week leading up to his disappearance – and prosecutors contend his murder – his routine remained unchanged.

Rebeca Nivarez (l) is accused of murdering Mario Rodriguez Hernandez (r) in 2005.But on the day he was last seen, March 18, 2005, a Friday, things went differently.
This time for a morning appointment with a client, Hernandez packed all of his jewelry, not just a few pieces. That afternoon, he didn't return for lunch to the mobile home park where he lived. And that evening he missed a fish dinner with his granddaughter.
He hasn't been heard from since or his body recovered, but a prosecutor in his opening statements on Tuesday in a murder trial began building a case against a woman who stands accused, along with her son, of killing and robbing Hernandez.

For more, click here: Orange County Register

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▣ Trial begins in 1976 no body murder case in Missouri

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 3:04 PM

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Jury selection for 34-year-old Doisy murder case begins Tuesday
Monday, January 24, 2011 | 4:58 p.m. CST; updated 11:39 p.m. CST, Monday, January 24, 2011

Becky Doisy, left, a waitress and an art student, disappeared in 1976. More than 30 years later, Johnny Wright, right, was found living in Georgia under a different name. He is charged with the second-degree murder of Doisy, though her body was never found. ¦ BY Anne Christnovich
COLUMBIA — Becky Doisy disappeared on an August night in 1976. No one has seen her or heard from her since. Most people — including her family — believe she is dead. Many that knew her believe she was murdered. Her body was never found.

After nine years of dead-end leads, Johnny Wright was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Doisy's disappearance in 1985.

For more, click here: Missourian

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▣ Suspect arraigned in no body murder case in DC

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 2:59 PM

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This is DC's fourth no body murder arrest ever and the third since 2006 when I prosecuted Harold Austin for the murder of Marion Fye. From the Washington Post...

Suspect arraigned in slaying of District woman

A grim routine
Caroline Frazier searched for her missing daughter for months before getting word Sunday that police have ruled the case a homicide.
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 24, 2011; 9:39 PM

A District man allegedly told homicide detectives that he choked a woman and threw her body into a dumpster behind a Southeast Washington apartment building last summer, according to documents filed in D.C. Superior Court.

3 teens, 2 men charged in slaying of D.C. resident Latisha Frazier
Suspect arraigned in slaying of District woman
Man is arrested in slaying of missing D.C. woman Frazier
It was the first time family members of Latisha Frazier, 19, heard details of what happened to the young mother, whose body has not been found. Family members reported Frazier missing Aug. 4 and have been posting fliers around the city with her picture in hopes of finding out what happened to her.

For more, click here: Washington Post

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▣ Husband and wife to prosecute Texas no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 2:42 PM

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Married prosecutors....I love it!

Stobaugh murder trial set to begin

Man accused of killing his missing wife, whose body was never found

11:26 PM CST on Saturday, January 22, 2011
By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer
The murder trial of Charles Stobaugh, accused of causing the death of his estranged wife in 2004, is scheduled to begin with jury selection Monday in the 362nd District Court. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

Stobaugh, 55, was indicted in November 2009 after being called “the only person of interest” by authorities for four years. He remains free on $100,000 bail.

For more, click here: Denton Record-Chronicle

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▣ Indiana man denied bond in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 2:08 PM

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No bond, no body in Venus Stewart murder case; trial set for husband
Doug Stewart -- Estranged Husband of Venus Stewart -- Jailed on Tuesday
Douglas Stewart Charged With Venus' Murder
Vigil Held for Venus Stewart

Doug Stewart Headed for Trial
WSBT-TV Report

7:14 a.m. EST, January 15, 2011

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY —
A judge denied bond this week for Doug Stewart, the estranged husband of Venus Stewart who's been missing since April 26, 2010. Doug Stewart's in jail and accused of murdering his wife, though her body has never been found.

Along with denying bond, the judge set a Feb. 18 trial date for Doug Stewart. The judge heard from several witnesses, but now has to decide whether they will be allowed to testify about what Venus Stewart told them before she disappeared.

For more, click here:WSBT

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▣ Arrest in Georgia no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 1:58 PM

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Ga. murder charge, but no bodyAssociated Press
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 5:02 PM
Comment Follow Latest NewsKNOXVILLE, Ga. — Authorities have arrested a middle Georgia man in the slaying of another man whose body hasn't been located.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Gary Rothwell says 21-year-old Cody Daniel Jackson of Musella is accused of killing 22-year-old James Dudley "Trey" Byers of Reynolds.

For more, click here: Augusta Chronicle

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▣ Arrest made in Pennsylvania no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 1:08 PM

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DA has since stated that he will seek death penalty in case, a rarity in no body murder cases.

Murder charge likely in assault, kidnap, though no body has been found
January 12, 2011|By JASON NARK, narkj@phillynews.com 856-779-3231

There may be only one person who knows where Diane Corado is, and police say that silence won't save him from murder charges.

Kenneth Lamon Patterson, 48, waived extradition yesterday from Burlington County to Bucks County, and could be back in Pennsylvania this week to face kidnapping and assault charges in his former girlfriend's disappearance.

First Assistant Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, and Lt. Henry Ward of the Falls Township Police Department said Patterson has not cooperated with investigators in their quest to find Corado's body.

For more, click here: Philly.com

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▣ Men charged in 14 year old no body murder case in Los Angeles

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 12:53 PM

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Man charged in cold case
He's accused of killing two women, including a Glendale resident found dead in Mexico 14 years ago.

Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz talks about the May 2010 arrest of Aurangzeb "Simon" Aiyoob Manjra, 52 of Los Angeles. Aiyoob Manjra was charged with murdering two missing women, one from Glendale and one from Los Angeles. (Raul Roa)

By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

January 5, 2011
GLENDALE — A 52-year-old Los Angeles man has been charged with killing two women, one of whom was a Glendale resident whose body was discovered 14 years ago on a Mexican roadside.

On Tuesday, Glendale police officials made a plea for the public's help in bolstering their case, including witnesses who may have known the missing women — Esperanza Torio, 39, of Glendale and Maria Santos, 44, of Los Angeles — or have had any contact with their alleged killer, Aurangzeb "Simon" Manjra.

For more, click here: Glendale News Press

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▣ Three Weld County, CO prosecutors named Prosecutors of Year for No Body Murder Case win

posted by Admin on February 5th, 2011 at 12:47 PM

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Three Weld prosecutors named Lawyers of the Year

Copyright 2011 The Greeley Publishing Co.. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. January, 3 2011 5:27 pm
Three Weld prosecutors named Lawyers of the Year

The Greeley Publishing Co.
Three Weld County District Attorney’s office prosecutors have been named Lawyers of the Year by a Colorado publication.

Law Week Colorado, a newspaper published specifically for lawyers, named Michael Rourke, assistant district attorney; Matt Maillaro, chief deputy district attorney; and Sadie Medrano, deputy district attorney, Lawyers of the Year for 2010 for their work on the John Sandoval case.

For more, click here: The Tribune

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▣ Arrest in Oklahoma no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:39 PM

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Police find missing Oklahoma City woman’s car
The blue 2001 Ford Focus hatchback belonging to Angela Biggers, 48, was found Monday at an Oklahoma City apartment complex, police said. Biggers’ boyfriend, Ronald Seth Banks, 34, was arrested Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, on a murder warrant in connection with her presumed death.

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Oklahoman 0 Published: December 14, 2010

The man arrested on a murder warrant in the presumed death of his girlfriend told a relative who urged him to surrender to police that, “The only thing going for me is no body, no crime,” according to an affidavit filed Monday in Oklahoma County.



Ronald Seth Banks


MultimediaPhoto
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Police find missing Oklahoma City woman’s car Ronald Seth Banks, 34, remained jailed Monday in Tarrant County, Texas, in the disappearance and presumed death of Angela Biggers, 48. Oklahoma City police Capt. Patrick Stewart said investigators think Banks killed Biggers, but her body has not been found. Banks has not been charged.

Read more: NewsOK

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▣ No body murder conviction in Illinois case

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:35 PM

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BELVIDERE, Ill. (AP) — Although no body has ever been found, a Boone County jury needed only three hours of deliberation before convicting a man from Capron with the 2002 murder of his wife.

The verdict Wednesday night against 39-year-old Aaron Null followed eight years of investigation of his wife, Brynn Null.

The Rockford Register Star says Brynn Null was 25 at the time of her disappearance Nov. 16, 2002.

Read more: Beaumont Enterprise

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▣ No body murder trial underway in California

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:19 PM

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Murder Trial Moves On Despite No Body DiscoveredPOSTED: 4:17 pm PST December 2, 2010

INDIO -- The lead detective in the trial of two Bay Area men accused in the financially motivated murder of a Palm Springs retiree testified today that law enforcement agencies have not given up the search for the victim's body.

San Francisco attorney David Replogle, 61, and Miguel Bustamante, 27, of Daly City, face first-degree murder and theft charges in the Dec. 5, 2008, slaying of 74-year-old Clifford Lambert. The men could face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Also charged in the killing and awaiting trial are Daniel Garcia, 27, and Kaushal Niroula, a 28-year-old self-professed con man from San Francisco.

A fifth man, Craig McCarthy, entered into a plea deal in September and took the witness stand during Replogle's and Bustamante's trial, which began nearly two months ago.

For more: KESQ

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▣ Guilty plea in Alaska no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 PM

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Mother in cold case describes years wondering about her son
COLD CASE: Son's wife confesses to murdering him.

By CASEY GROVE
casey.grove@adn.com

Published: November 28th, 2010 10:31 PM
Last Modified: November 28th, 2010 10:32 PM

The mother of a man murdered in Sitka almost 23 years ago says she's thankful to the determined cold case detectives who caught her son's killer and for bringing the family closure after two decades of mystery surrounding his disappearance.

The Covilles thought it was unlikely that their son Scott had decided to disappear in 1988 without contacting them, but they still wondered if each ringing phone was Scott trying to call, and they did double takes when they saw men who looked like Scott, Reta Coville, his mother, said in a recent interview.

Now that Scott's wife, Jane Reth, has confessed to the murder, Reta can stop worrying about what happened to her son.

"In one aspect, it's less painful to have the knowledge that they didn't cease loving you," she said.

Reth, 45, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Sitka Superior Court on Monday. Reth entered the plea by telephone from Lemon Creek Correctional Center, where she's been since troopers extradited her from Oswego, Ill.



Read more: Anchorage Daily News

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▣ Defendant in Baltimore County no body murder case sentenced

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:11 PM

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Tetso sentenced to 18 years for wife’s murder in ‘no-body’ case
Posted: 11:45 am Tue, November 23, 2010
By Danny Jacobs
Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer

A Baltimore County Circuit Court judge handed down an 18-year prison term to Dennis Tetso Tuesday in the death of his wife, Tracey Gardner-Tetso, who has not been seen or heard from since March 6, 2005.

Tetso was convicted of second-degree murder last month and faced a maximum of 30 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines called for a term between 10 and 18 years.

Judge Patrick Cavanaugh sentenced the man to 30 years, with all but 18 years suspended. Tetso will be placed on five years’ probation upon his release.

For more, click here: Daily Record (Maryland)

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▣ Advances in blood spatter technology may assist in no body murder cases

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:07 PM

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60-Second Science »
CSIs Could Estimate Victim's Age with Just Blood
Taking advantage of T cell by-products, a new technique may make it possible to estimate the age of a victim using only a blood sample. Cynthia Graber reports

Click here: Scientific American

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▣ Kentucky man arrested for no body murder

posted by Admin on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:03 PM

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Family of a missing Sullivan student holds out little hope he is alive
By Chris Quay • cquay@courier-journal.com • November 18, 2010
John Compton understands he may never see his 18-year-old son again.

‘“We're hopeful each day that Andrew will be found and obviously, as time goes on, it's very frustrating and very trying,” Compton said Thursday from a room at the Candlewood Suites on Gardiner Lane — his home for the past few weeks. “It weighs on us.”
Andrew Compton, a freshman at Sullivan University, disappeared from his dormitory Oct. 28 and has not been heard from since. On Nov. 9, Louisville Metro Police charged Gregory M. O'Bryan, 40, with murder, although no body has been found.
O'Bryan was indicted on the murder charge Thursday, as well as one count of sodomy, three counts of abuse of a corpse and two counts of tampering with physical evidence.

Click her for more: Courier-Journal

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▣ Hunters urged to look for remains in Missouri no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 13th, 2010 at 3:23 PM

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MARIES COUNTY - Authorities in Maries County said Tuesday they hope hunters out this fall will help look for the remains of a woman missing since June. Sheriff's detectives have been working on the case of Kinga Gillibrand since then. Prosecutors have charged Terry Fritz, Gillibrand's boyfriend with her murder. But there is still no body in this investigation.

Since June, Det. Brad Strope has been working on the case. Stroup, with the Maries Co. Sheriff's Department, said he's thought for a while Gillibrand is dead. He also said he thinks her body could be lying somewhere in the woods surrounding her Meta home in Osage County.

To confirm this, Strope and Maries Co. deputies posted a number of fliers in and around the area asking local hunters to keep a lookout for Gillibrand's body.

And with deer hunting season fast approaching, Strope said he hopes one hunter may just come across her remains.

For more, click here: KOMU

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▣ Conviction in 30 year old Michigan no body murder case

posted by Admin on November 13th, 2010 at 2:59 PM

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IOSCO COUNTY (WJRT) -- (11/08/10) -- The last time anyone saw Cherita Thomas alive was Aug. 3, 1980.

She disappeared in Iosco County.

More than 30 years later, someone has been sent to prison in the case.

Police say 58-year-old Jimmie Nelson is the man who killed Cherita Thomas, but Nelson's family says an innocent man is being sent to prison.

"There were times when I didn't think it would come to this," Iosco County Sheriff Allan MacGregor said.

This is the sentencing of a man to prison for 25-50 years.

For more, click here: WJRT

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▣ No body murder conviction in celebrity dog trainer case

posted by Admin on November 1st, 2010 at 5:46 PM

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Jury finds Oakes guilty in celebrity dog trainer's death

by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News
KING5.com
Posted on October 22, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 22 at 7:54 PM
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- A Skagit County Superior Court jury has convicted a security expert of first-degree murder in the death of a dog trainer whose clients included some of Seattle's most famous residents.

Michiel Oakes consoled his children as the verdict was read. As his family cried tears of sorrow, members of Mark Stover's family wiped away tears of relief and joy.

"I'm just so happy we were able to get justice for my uncle," said Julia Simmons, Stover's niece.

Read more: King5.com

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▣ NY man convicted of no body murder at retrial

posted by Admin on October 31st, 2010 at 5:44 PM

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Werner Lippe is convicted at his retrial:

10/27/2010 11:17 AM
NY jeweler accused of burning up wife is convicted

By JIM FITZGERALD Associated Press

A 68-year-old jeweler was convicted Wednesday of killing his wife by incinerating her in an oil drum.

The verdict came in Werner Lippe's second murder trial; his first trial ended in February with a hung jury.

Prosecutors were hampered by the lack of any forensic evidence: No body, no bone fragments, no DNA.

Read more at: KRSO.com
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▣ No Body Guy quoted in case of missing North Carolina girl

posted by Admin on October 30th, 2010 at 2:20 PM

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New clue in search for missing girl Zahra Baker?
Crews looking in Caldwell County, N.C., find prosthetic leg
By Ely Portillo and Fred Clasen-Kelly frkelly@charlotteobserver.com - elyportillo@charlotteobserver.com HICKORY, N.C. --
As the three-week-old search for a missing Hickory girl continues, search crews have found what police say could be a significant piece of evidence - a prosthetic leg consistent with one used by Zahra Baker.

Searchers found the leg while scouring a brushy area near Christie Road in Caldwell County, Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said at a brief press conference Wednesday. Authorities still have to check the serial number to confirm the leg belongs to 10-year-old Zahra, an Australia native.

Searchers also returned to the family's house on 21st Avenue NW in Hickory to look for additional evidence. Police taped off the yard and brought in a backhoe to dig at least two holes near the house.

Read more: Herald Online

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▣ D.C. defendant in no body murder cases dies in prison

posted by Admin on October 26th, 2010 at 7:00 PM

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Harold Austin, whom I convicted in January of 2006 for the no body murder of Marion Fye, died in prison on October 6, 2010. Interestingly, his case was on appeal and, as my entry at the time said, it was not a clear win for the government. But with his death, the appeal is over and the trial result cannot be overturned. Sweet!

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▣ Conviction in Baltimore County no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 23rd, 2010 at 10:25 AM

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Interesting case because there was no forensic evidence or confession:

Husband guilty in murder of Pasadena native
Security video a key to conviction in 2005 disappearance
By ALLISON BOURG, Staff Writer
Capital Gazette Communications Published 10/23/10
TOWSON - More than five years after a Pasadena native disappeared en route to a Motley Crue concert, a Baltimore County jury yesterday convicted her estranged husband guilty of her murder.

After four days of deliberations, the Circuit Court jury found Dennis Tetso, 45, of Rosedale guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Tracey Gardner. He was acquitted of the more serious first-degree murder charge and faces 30 years in prison.

About a dozen of Gardner's relatives were in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Many began to cry and embrace, as Tetso remained quiet and stared straight ahead

For more click here: The (Annapolis) Capitol


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▣ Arrest in Alabama no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 12th, 2010 at 7:03 PM

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Murder suspect's mother defends son's innocence
Posted: Oct 03, 2010 6:09 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2010 5:56 AM EDT
A mother says her son's arrest was unjust, unfair and unfounded. LaTonia Haywood held a rally at Birmingham's Linn Park Sunday afternoon to defend the innocence of her 27 year-old son Joacquas Haywood. He's been charged with the murder of 23 year-old Nadia Kersh. Kersh, a single mother from Homewood, vanished in November 2008. Only her purse and car have been recovered.

"This is not fair. This is not fair Alabama. We need to wake up. Joacquas is innocent," says LaTonia Haywood.

LaTonia says police have no body, no DNA and no motive.

For more, click here: ABC3340

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▣ No body murder trial begins in Maryland

posted by Admin on October 12th, 2010 at 6:52 PM

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Rare ‘no body’ murder trial begins in Baltimore County
Posted: 4:43 pm Fri, October 8, 2010
By Danny Jacobs

The trial of a Rosedale man charged in the death of his missing wife began Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Dennis Tetso, 45, was indicted last year for first-degree murder in the death of Tracey Gardner-Tetso, who disappeared March 6, 2005, on her way to a Mötley Crüe concert in Washington, D.C. The trial, scheduled to last two weeks before Judge Patrick Cavanaugh, is one of only a handful of “no body” murder cases ever tried in Maryland.

Michelle Samoryk, an assistant state’s attorney, told jurors in her opening statement that the Tetsos’ marriage was crumbling and Tracey wanted Dennis out of the couple’s townhouse, which she owned.

“He chose to solve all of his problems one day by killing his wife,” Samoryk said, describing Tetso as a “desperate man” who committed murder to “rescue himself.”
For more, click here: Daily Record

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▣ Pre-trial hearing in Massachusetts no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 12th, 2010 at 6:49 PM

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Walpole murder trial: Lawyer wants ‘devastating’ testimony nixed.
By Edward B. Colby
The Walpole Times
Posted Oct 07, 2010 @ 11:34 AM

WALPOLE — Attempting to distance Daniel Bradley from recent testimony, his attorney Kevin Reddington argued that the testimony should not be admissible in the first-degree murder trial as it wrongly places his client “into the vortex of this alleged conspiracy.”

At a court hearing Sept. 20, Robert Moccia, 51, of Dedham told a Norfolk Superior Court judge how his brother Paul enlisted his help to return a pickup truck to Framingham one night in March 2009. On their ride back to Dedham, Paul Moccia, 50, revealed that he had shot the truck’s owner over a $70,000 drug debt, that Bradley, 49, of Westwood “helped kill him,” and that Bradley “was going to chop up the body” and incinerate it at his family’s concrete business in Walpole, Robert Moccia testified.

For more, click here: WickedLocal.com

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▣ Trial begins in Seattle No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on October 2nd, 2010 at 10:00 AM

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Trial opens for man accused of killing 'dog trainer to the stars'
There is no body, but jurors will be convinced T. Mark Stover, a charismatic dog trainer with a who's who list of clients, was murdered by his ex-wife's boyfriend, a Skagit County deputy prosecutor said in court Wednesday morning.

By Christine Clarridge

Seattle Times staff reporter

PREV of NEXT


GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

In the first day of the trial of Michiel Oakes, Teresa Vaux-Michel is shown a photo of her fiance T. Mark Stover, the "dog whisperer" who disappeared in 2009.
Related

Mystery of vanished dog trainer goes to trial soon
MOUNT VERNON — There is no body, but jurors will be convinced that T. Mark Stover, a charismatic dog trainer with a who's who list of clients, was murdered by his ex-wife's boyfriend, a Skagit County deputy prosecutor said Wednesday morning.

"We will show that Mark Stover is dead and that the defendant, Michiel Oakes, killed him," Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rosemary Kaholokula said during opening statements in Oakes' trial in Skagit County Superior Court.

For more, click here: Seattle Times

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▣ Retrial in New York No Body Murder Trial

posted by Admin on October 2nd, 2010 at 9:55 AM

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First case hung 7-5 to acquit and now Werner Lippe is being retried for the murder of his wife in the county where I grew up.

Lippe retrial begins in wife’s murder case
Posted by: Rebecca Baker - Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 27, 2010
Round 2.

The same prosecutors, same defense lawyer and same defendant returned to Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambelli’s second-floor courtroom today to retry Werner Lippe for the alleged murder of his wife, Faith, nearly two years ago.

Lippe’s first jury was deadlocked, voted 7 to 5 for acquittal in February. This time around, jurors were specifically asked if they watched “CSI” or similar TV shows, since there is no body, no witnesses and no forensic evidence in the case.

Assistant District Attorney John O’Rourke, who gave closing arguments in Lippe’s first trial, opened for the people today. That likely will mean ADA Christine O’Connor will summarize. Veteran defense lawyer Andrew Rubin continues to represent Lippe, who is approaching his second year at the Westchester County jail, where he has been remanded since his Oct. 30 arrest.

To see more, click here: LoHudBlogs.com

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▣ Body of victim found in Georgia No Body Murder conviction

posted by Admin on October 2nd, 2010 at 9:44 AM

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It's rare but sometimes the body of a no body murder is found after the arrest and conviction.

September 22, 2010

Theresa Parker’s body found more than three years after disappearing
Christi McEntyre and Josh O’Bryant
Walker County Messenger The Dalton Daily Citizen Thu Sep 23, 2010, 01:32 PM EDT

LAFAYETTE —

LAFAYETTE — Three years and six months after she disappeared, the biggest part of the mystery of what happened to Theresa Parker has finally been solved.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, along with members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Sam Parker prosecution team and other Walker County officials, said Wednesday afternoon that remains found Monday near the banks of the Chattooga River had been positively identified as belonging to Theresa Parker.

For more, click here: Walker County Messenger

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▣ Oklahoma No Body Murder Prosecutor Speaks

posted by Admin on October 2nd, 2010 at 9:33 AM

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Chris Ross has prosecuted four no body murder cases and lectures on the topic.
September 20, 2010

District attorney featured speaker
Anonymous Submitted The Ada Evening News Mon Sep 20, 2010, 01:44 PM CDT

Ada — District Attorney Chris Ross was recently a featured speaker at a seminar hosted by the Colorado District Attorney’s Association in Breckenridge, Colo.

Ross spoke on the legal and investigative issues involved in prosecuting a murder case in which the body of the victim has not been found. He also discussed the prosecution of the murder of Logan Tucker. Tucker, a six year old boy living in Woodward County, disappeared on June 23, 2002. His body was never located. In October, 2005, Ross was asked by the Woodward County District Attorney to review the case and give his opinion on it.

For more, click here: Ada Evening News

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▣ Police move foward in Vermont no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 19th, 2010 at 6:44 PM

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Lack of body makes Vt murder case iffy proposition
By JOHN CURRAN (AP) – 5 days ago

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont prosecutors are forging ahead with a murder case against a woman accused of killing her Alzheimer's disease-afflicted mother and then burning the body, even though the remains were never found and there were no eyewitnesses to the killing.

At issue: Whether there's enough circumstantial evidence to convict Jeanne Sevigny, who reported 78-year-old Mary Wilcox as a missing person in 2006 but was charged last year in her death after an informant said Wilcox had been killed.


Associated Press
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▣ Arizona police seeking body in no body murder charge

posted by Admin on September 19th, 2010 at 6:31 PM

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Scottsdale police still seek body in murder case
by Ofelia Madrid - Sept. 4, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Scottsdale police are still hopeful their search will lead to the remains of a man whose wife confessed to killing him late last year and dumping his body in the desert.

Otherwise, prosecutors could be faced with pursuing a conviction in the first-degree murder case against Shari Lee Tobyne without a key piece of evidence - the body of Dwight Tobyne.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed a direct complaint Aug. 17 against Shari Tobyne, 54, after she confessed to accidentally shooting her 57-year-old husband sometime between Nov. 24 and 28.

Read more: The Arizona Republic


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▣ Conviction in Florida No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on September 19th, 2010 at 6:18 PM

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Miami jury finds man guilty in Burlington woman's death
Comments 8
September 02, 2010 8:16 PM
David Ovalle / Miami Herald
:

Despite the lack of the victim’s body, jurors convicted a Whitsett man of
killing his girlfriend in Homestead, Fla. in 1993.
MIAMI — A sassy bartender with a no-nonsense country drawl. A tattooed ex-con with disdain for
authority. A scared ex-wife.

One by one, residents Burlington took the stand in Miami-Dade court this week with similar stories: Defendant Christopher Phillips had admitted to killing his girlfriend Trinity Robinson, 18, who vanished in Homestead in May 1993.

And so Thursday, after little more than one hour of deliberation, jurors found Phillips guilty of second-degree murder — even though Robinson’s body has never been found. Prosecutors said it was only the second “no body” conviction in Miami-Dade in recent history.

The Times News

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▣ Trial begins in Florida no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 1st, 2010 at 10:38 AM

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BY DAVID OVALLE
dovalle@MiamiHerald.com
The mystery of Trinity Robinson's 1993 disappearance stretches decades and miles, from Homestead amid the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, through the rumor mill of small-town North Carolina, and back this week to a Miami-Dade courtroom.

Responsible for her demise, prosecutors say: Christopher Phillips, a manipulative ex-boyfriend who spun various versions of how she vanished -- then confessed to townsfolk over the years that he had killed her, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.

Read more: Miami Herald

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▣ Arrest in 11 year old Florida no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 1st, 2010 at 10:29 AM

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National by Bethany Burks
Baby Sitter Arrested after 11 Year Cold Case
August 29th, 2010
A babysitter has been arrested in connection with an 11 year old cold case. Melissa Harding-Jones has been arrested and charged with the murder of 3 year old Pilar Rodriguez. Rodriguez went missing in 1999 after her parents allowed her to go on vacation with Harding-Jones.

For more, click here: CNMNewsNetwork.com

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▣ California no body murderer loses appeal

posted by Admin on September 1st, 2010 at 10:12 AM

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Convicted killer loses appeal
Court rules disputed evidence was admissible because it revealed motive in death of 84-year-old grandmother
By Nick Wilson | nwilson@thetribunenews.com
The Cayucos man convicted of killing his 84-year-old grandmother in 2008 has lost an appeal in his criminal case.

Matthew James Levine appealed on the grounds that San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy erred by admitting evidence of Levine’s possession of firearms as well as tape-recorded statements in County Jail.

Levine’s lawyer argued that the evidence allowed into the trial prejudiced his case.


Read more: SanLuisObispo.com

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▣ Murder charge in Denver for no body case

posted by Admin on September 1st, 2010 at 10:05 AM

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Disappearance leads to murder charge
By Dennis Webb
Friday, August 20, 2010

Despite the lack of a body — thought to have been dumped in the Colorado River — a judge on Friday bound over a Denver man to district court for trial in the suspected murder of a business partner.

Denver County Judge Andrew Armatas ruled after a preliminary hearing that there is probable cause to believe Joong Rhee is guilty, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
For more, click here: GJSentinel.com

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▣ Guilty Plea in Arkansas No Body Murder case

posted by Admin on September 1st, 2010 at 9:57 AM

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The capital murder trial for a Washington County woman accused beating and killing her mother was set to start Monday, but the defendant, Delores Eggert, pleaded guilty early Monday morning to first-degree murder in her mother's death.

"She admitted to the fact that she shot her mother multiple times causing her death," said Washington County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Durrett.

Eggert changed her plea from not guilty to guilty. Eggert was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Click here for more: 4020tv.COM

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▣ No Body Guy quoted in Cape Cod Times

posted by Admin on September 1st, 2010 at 8:01 AM

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Trudie Hall has been missing for a month and police on Cape Cod believe she was murdered. Click here for my take on it:
Cape Cod Times

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▣ Tennessee man arrested in 9 year old no body murder case in Florida

posted by Admin on August 22nd, 2010 at 6:11 PM

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Lake Wales News

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▣ Florida no body murder conviction thrown out

posted by Admin on August 22nd, 2010 at 6:05 PM

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It is extremely rare for murder convictions to be thrown out but it happened in Florida in the no body murder case of Naraine "Cyril" Ramsammy:
Sun-Sentinel

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▣ Some of my entries on the Time's Up Blog

posted by Admin on August 8th, 2010 at 6:40 PM

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I hope you'll check out the blog Time's Up dedicated to victims of crime at http://timesupblog.blogspot.com/
Here are two of my recent posts.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
There's a Law Against That!
By Tad DiBiase

Recently, while on vacation, I picked up a copy of the USA Today. There was a fascinating article inside that made me say, as I often do, "Now why didn't I think of that?" The article, found here, http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-06-24-choking_N.htm, discusses a trend at the state level to increase penalties against defendants who choke their victims. Studies showed that choking is often used by domestic abusers and can be a prelude to murder.
Indeed, a 2008 study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine notes that 43% of women who were murdered in domestic assaults and 45% of women who were victims of attempted murder had been choked in the past year by their male partners.

In most states, choking would in all likelihood be prosecuted as a misdemeanor with the penalties being, at most, less than one year in jail. As noted in the article, in Delaware more than half of all choking cases in one county were prosecuted as misdemeanors over a four month period. Thus, a proverbial slap on the wrist for most domestic abusers.

Thanks to the study in Delaware done by two state troopers, however, Delaware passed a new law increasing the penalty to five years for choking. (Getting judges to give out these sentences is a whole other story.) In my own experience as a domestic violence homicide prosecutor I often saw not only domestic abuse as a prelude to murder but specifically choking as well.

As with many domestic murders, it's more about power and control than a murderous instinct. Choking is deeply personal since it requires the victim and the abuser to be so close together and typically a man can overpower his female partner. Moreover, choking does not usually lead to death making it the perfect tool to control the victim yet let her live another day.

Often the only way to break the cycle of violence by abusers is if they get enough of a wakeup call before they kill that lets them know domestic abuse won't be tolerated. Having a state law that makes choking a felony is a good first step.

Tad DiBiase


Thursday, January 7, 2010 Investigation 101: Tips For Law Enforcement and Family Members
By Tad DiBiase

I’m often asked by both the families of missing persons and law enforcement what the police and family should be doing once a person is missing but presumed dead. Here are five things the police should focus on early in an investigation and one thing the family can do. In any murder investigation, time is of the essence and the faster the police can gather clues, the greater their chance of finding the victim’s body and making an arrest. Note that all of these techniques are useful even if the victim is merely missing and not actually dead. Moreover, although this are things done by the police, the victim's family can assist the police with these techniques by giving the police the ideas and the information that enables the police to investigate the matter.

1. Cell phones

Cell phones have a wealth of information and their widespread use in today’s society make them a valuable source of information. The police, often with the help of a subpoena issued by the prosecutor’s office, can get the records from the victim’s phone and see who the victim was calling, when the calls stopped and who called after the outgoing calls stopped. Checking the frequency of calls also help police determine who was close to the victim. Cell phones utilize cell towers to make calls and obtaining cell tower records tell police where a call was coming from. Indeed, the cell towers to which a phone sends a signal can change during the duration of a call, so police can track the path of the victim. However, phone companies keep cell tower records for very limited periods, often as few as 20 to 30 days so police must move quickly to get these records. Of course, all of these techniques apply to potential suspects as well.

2. Interviews

Police should immediately interview as many who know the victim as possible. Close family members and friends must be interviewed in detail to gather information. Videotaping these interviews is best because if the story changes down the road, the police have an accurate record of what was said initially. Any suspects should also be interviewed and their story thoroughly checked out.

3. Search warrants

I have seen over the years the difficulties police have in getting search warrants for suspect’s houses or other possible scenes in missing person’s cases. First, police should aggressively pursue consent searches if possible. If that fails, they must at least try to get a search warrant. There’s nothing wrong with putting in a search warrant that the police suspect foul play and that the victim’s characteristics are inconsistent with having simply left town, e.g., left behind children, is a child, have not accessed bank accounts, failed to show up to work, etc. Citing other cases of missing persons who were later found dead or were never found, increase the chances a judge will agree the victim may be dead. Getting inside a suspect’s house often leads to very valuable scientific evidence. Any search should include a cadaver dog. You’d be amazed at how often suspects bury a body nearby, sometimes temporarily until they can move it to another, safer location.

4. Pressure suspect

If there is an obvious suspect, pressure must be applied. Through effective interrogation techniques, a suspect will often confess early on since the guilt is fresh and the suspect’s story not quite thought out yet. A suspect should be placed under surveillance to see if he or she returns to the crime scene or where the body was disposed of. Advances in GPS technology have led police to placing GPS tracking devices on a suspect’s car and using the information to see where the suspect goes. For an interesting recent article from the Washington Post about this see, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/12/AR2008081203275.html

5. Think creatively

Don’t treat the case like a missing person case, treat it like a homicide where the best evidence of the crime is missing: the body. Police must think outside the box. In one case, the family had not heard from the victim for sometime but was receiving letters allegedly written by the victim. The family, suspicious that the victim was actually dead, wrote back and reminded the victim to send the money he owed to another family member and to not forget that same family member’s birthday. A few days letter a birthday card arrived along with a check for $25. Of course, the victim did not owe that family member any money and it was not his birthday so the family knew that it was not the victim writing the letters. This is just one example of police and a family thinking creatively to ensnare a killer. Someone with the ability to conceal a body is not a criminal who is likely to make stupid mistakes like the bank robber who writes a stickup note on his own deposit slip. These cases are huge law enforcement challenges and require creative solutions and investigative techniques.
What can the family do?

First, never, ever give up. No body cases are often solved many years after the fact. Although forensic advances making solving these cases easier, many cold cases still exist and a family can never lose hope.
Second, keep the pressure on the police and the DA. don't be shy about calling to see what the status of the investigation is. You're not being a pest, you're being a squeaky wheel that needs oil!

Third, try to keep the case in the media if possible. Anniversaries of disappearances and landmarks for family members (victim's children's graduations, birthdays, etc.) are good hooks to get the media involved and interested. Media coverage keeps pressure on the cops, suspects and witnesses alike, always a good thing.
Fourth, consider, if you can afford it, hiring an investigator or attorney to conduct your own investigation. Often third parties can get more information from police and prosecutors and look dispassionately at the case in a way you can't.
Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Search for body after arrest in Michigan no body murder case

posted by Admin on August 8th, 2010 at 6:26 PM

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Venus search yields no body

Into the thicket - Law enforcement officers looking for Venus Stewart yesterday formed a search line and swept through swamplands north of Leonidas. The eight-hour effort did not result in finding any evidence of Venus.

Effort will continue
By Rick Cordes
Staff Writer
Published:
Friday, August 6, 2010 2:11 PM EDT
LEONIDAS TOWNSHIP — Another massive search in northeastern St Joseph and southeastern Kalamazoo counties was conducted yesterday but no trace of Venus Stewart was found.

Venus, the 32-year-old mother of two young daughters, disappeared on April 26 from in front of her parents’ rural Colon home and her estranged husband Douglas Harrie Stewart, 29, is lodged in St. Joseph County jail awaiting an Oct. 29 trial on charges of murder and conspiracy to murder in Venus’ disappearance.

More than 50 law enforcement officers, nine search dogs, plus St. Joseph County Posse volunteers, participated in the hunt in Black Snake Swamp in a remote area east of a corn field between Fulton and Rosenbaugh roads.

“Nothing was found but we do have some spots that will be re-checked with a dog,” said Lt. Mike Risko, commander of the White Pigeon Michigan State Police Post.

“It was pretty tough going in the swamp water,” Risko said, noting that it was eight inches deep in spots.

Another large search will be conducted, Risko said. “We’ve searched the east side and the west side (of the area near Douglas Stewart’s parents’ home). We’ll keep trying. We’re not done yet.”

Yesterday’s search began with Michigan State Police (MSP) dogs scanning the area at 7:30 a.m., followed by the large search team entering the swamp at 9:30 a.m. The effort was concluded at 3:30 p.m.

Helping on the ground were members of several MSP special units, including the Homeland Security Team, the Fugitive Team, SWET West, MSP detectives from Paw Paw and Coldwater, as well as MSP troopers from the White Pigeon Post, FBI officers, police officers from Three Rivers and Sturgis, a St. Joseph County (SJC) Sheriff’s Department deputy, members of the SJC Marine Patrol, SJC Posse mounted and motorized unit volunteers, and SJC Dive Rescue dog Buzz and his handler Sue Stejskal.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Conviction in Colorado No Body Murder case

posted by Admin on August 8th, 2010 at 6:24 PM

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Two articles on this case: first one has my commnetary and second one telling of the verdict in the Sandoval murder case, a no body case with no forensics, no confession to police, informers or friends. Tough case indeed.

Sandoval Jury to Deliberate Today
Posted on 05 August 2010
LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER – A Greeley jury will go into deliberations, solving the 15-year disappearance of Kristina Tournai-Sandoval with only circumstantial evidence – no DNA, no fingerprints, no weapon and no body.

John Sandoval, Tournai-Sandoval’s estranged husband and alleged murderer, has been on trial for about a month. The day Tournai-Sandoval was reported missing, he was found in the early morning hours with a wet shovel and scratches on his neck.

Prosecutors pointed out to jurors that the case’s circumstantial evidence – Sandoval’s reluctance to talk to police, conflicting statements concerning the whereabouts of the victim and his history of stalking and harassing women – all pointed to one inevitable conclusion The Greeley Tribune reports. Judge Gilbert Gutierrez instructed the jury that circumstantial evidence has as much weight as physical evidence in the eyes of the law.

A former federal prosecutor’s analysis of hundreds of “no-body” murder trials found that many trials like Sandoval’s will result in a murder conviction because the killer usually has a close relation with the victim.

“The vast majority of [no-body murder cases] are between two people who know one another,” said Tad DiBiase, a former U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. and a self-proclaimed “no-body guy.” “‘Stranger’ no-body cases are very rare. Most involve husbands killing wives, boyfriends killing girlfriends and parents killing biological or step children. For those reasons, they end up having a high conviction rate. I think over the last 10 to 15 years, with advances in forensics particularly in DNA, it’s not as hard to win a conviction in those cases.”

Sandoval’s public defenders criticized law enforcement efforts in Tournai-Sandoval’s disappearance, calling it a “tunnel-vision” investigation.

““Physical evidence doesn’t lie, it does not change stories, it does not forget, and it does not exaggerate, and it does not lose its memory,” Public Defender Ken Barker told the jury.

Read the rest of the coverage in the Sandoval murder trial in the Greeley Tribune.

Jury needs just 7 hours to convict Sandoval
Sharon Dunn
John Sandoval shakes hands with public defender Ken Barker as he is placed in handcuffs after being found guilty of first-degree murder Thursday . He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
ERIC BELLAMY/ebellamy@greeleytribune.com
After four weeks of testimony, a Weld District Court jury took seven hours to convict John Sandoval of a 15-year-old murder in which no body was found and no murder weapon tied him to the crime.

Jurors faced him every day as they listened to witnesses describe how he stalked women and how he likely killed his wife and disposed of her body, while the defense worked to cast doubt on witness motives and memories.

In the end, the group of seven women and five men had no doubt. They knew Sandoval was guilty of killing his estranged wife, Kristina Tournai-Sandoval, on Oct. 19, 1995. The group capped off Weld County's longest criminal trial in history Thursday with a guilty verdict of first-degree murder.

“We were always unanimous that he committed murder,” said juror Russell Stark, 33, of Greeley. “It wasn't just one piece of evidence. Like the DA (suggested), we stepped back and looked at all of the evidence. ... Even if there was a body, you'd still have to look at all of the circumstances.”

The only hang-up, Stark said, was whether Sandoval was guilty of first-degree or second-degree murder, a difference only in the suspect's mental state.

A packed courtroom heard the verdict with little verbal reaction. The Tournai family of seven daughters, their spouses and parents, Mike and Mary Ellen Tournai, sat quietly with purple ribbons attached to their shirts. Tournai-Sandoval's two brothers could not attend.

Sandoval's mother, Mary Lou Sandoval, was absent, and only a couple of people close to him were in the gallery. None wished to speak on his behalf when Weld District Court Judge Gilbert Gutierrez sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

Brad Goldschmidt, who in 1995 headed up the investigation into the 23-year-old's disappearance, pumped his fists when the verdict was read. Other police officers congratulated current lead detective Mike Prill, who spent the last 15 months engrossed in the case.

“At every turn, he seemed to get so frickin' lucky with what happened in those two days,” Prill said of the lack of physical evidence tying Sandoval to the murder. “It's a weird mix of emotions. You think you're supposed to be excited, but it's about Tina in the end.”

He echoed those words to Mike and Mary Ellen Tournai as he hugged them after the verdict.

The Tournais never wavered in their effort to convict Sandoval, never giving up hope even after former Weld District Attorney Al Dominguez opted not to file a case against Sandoval in 1995, fearing there wasn't enough evidence to convict him.

“I could understand it at the beginning because it would have been a stronger case if we had a body,” Mike Tournai said of that decision so long ago. “And we went along with his plan. He didn't feel comfortable filing a case.”

Mary Ellen Tournai said a conviction wouldn't have been as likely 15 years ago, when little time had passed to prove her daughter was dead. In 2001, a Weld District Court judge issued a death certificate for insurance purposes, and the passage of time with no paper trail — from the use of her Social Security number to a passport, helped seal the deal.

Juror Stark said that passage of time, given Tournai-Sandoval's habits, helped convince the jury she was no longer alive.

“She was a well-grounded girl,” Stark said. “She did not have the pattern of someone who up and disappears.”

Mary Ellen Tournai said at no time in the last month did she fear a loss at trial.

“I knew it was going well from Day 1,” she said of the trial, which she attended every day. “There were no points in the trial where I thought” it wasn't going in the right direction.

And though proceeding with the case without a body was risky, Assistant District Attorney Michael Rourke said he always had confidence in the evidence.

“We knew it would be difficult because Tina's body was not found, and there was none of the traditional scientific evidence we'd normally have,” Rourke said. “But we felt like the Greeley Police Department from 1995 to present day put together a solid investigation. Too big of a risk? No. It was a risk we were willing to take on behalf of the Tournais.”

Some new additions to the evidence came in the past 15 months, with police rounding up Sandoval's high school girlfriend, who recounted a tale of violence that happened a full year after they had separated. In re-interviewing many witnesses, they began seeing a pattern in which they felt Tournai-Sandoval was a victim of domestic violence. A former professor added to that theory, delivering some comments her student had confided in her.

Even past victims of Sandoval's stalking habit testified, helping prosecutors draw a picture of the terror Sandoval had consistently brought to women. It was a pattern Prill said he continued in Las Vegas, filming hundreds of women on the Las Vegas Strip.

Lori Bucklen, one of the women Sandoval stalked from 1992-95, stood in line after the verdict to shake Stark's hand. He gave her a hug instead.

“I just wish he would have been man enough to tell the family where she was,” Bucklen said. “As a mom, I guess I'm sad about that.”

The Tournais said now that justice has finally been delivered, they will go on with their lives, with grandchildren, and soon to be grandchildren. The parents still talk to Tina every day, though.

As for Sandoval, they can only say good riddance.

“He's put us through hell for 14 1/2 years,” Mike Tournai said. “We'll pass that pain over to him so now he can suffer. ... It's not a total relief. We still have to find her, and we'll keep looking.”

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy in the News in Unsolved Chicago-area Case

posted by Admin on July 24th, 2010 at 2:07 PM

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Police rebuff expert in search for John Spira
Man offers his expertise to help in disappearance that contrasts sharply with Stacy Peterson case
June 29, 2010

By JOE HOSEY jhosey@stmedianetwork.com
JOLIET -- Former federal prosecutor Tad DiBiase has lent his expertise to nearly a dozen police departments across the country when they were struggling with homicide cases. DuPage County is not one of them.

"I'm not just frustrated -- I'm furious with it," Stephanie McNeil, the sister of missing St. Charles man John Spira, said of the sheriff's department's failure to respond to inquiries from DiBiase, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who has developed a specialty in reviewing homicide cases involving missing victims.
John Spira disappeared in 2007. His family wants DuPage County authorities to accept outside help in the investigation.
McNeil said she reached out to DiBiase and brokered a meeting between him and the DuPage County cops in February.

"He's the country's leading expert on no-body murder cases," McNeil said of DiBiase, noting that DuPage detectives initially seemed receptive to the idea of working with the famed homicide consultant.

"DuPage said, 'No problem. We just have to check his references,'" McNeil recalled.

DiBiase said he provided references but after nearly four months of trading e-mail and calls, the DuPage County police told him he could not have access to Spira's case file.

Instead of opening the file for him, DiBiase said, a DuPage County sergeant informed him he could submit a list of questions for investigators to review. That was when DiBiase had enough.

"That same day I told them that was impossible without knowing what was done, that was not the way I ordinarily worked and that my only question would be, 'Tell me everything you've done to investigate this case,'" DiBiase recalled.

Spira was 45 when he vanished in February 2007. He was last seen at his St. Charles cable construction company, where he left his parked car.

At the time of his disappearance, Spira was in the midst of a tumultuous divorce, McNeil said. He and his wife, Suzanne Spira, were living in the same home throughout their divorce proceedings and the domestic arrangement was hellish, she said.

Suzanne Spira, who has since moved to Orchard Park, N.Y., denied that her relationship with Spira was acrimonious but did concede that in any divorce, "there's going to be some hot moments."

'Call it a homicide'
The DuPage County police have classified the Spira investigation a missing persons case and have not identified any suspects, which McNeil finds infuriating.
"They know it's a homicide. Just call it a homicide. Just call it foul play," she said. "Why can they do it in Stacy Peterson's case? They don't have any more evidence in the Stacy Peterson case."

The state police announced that Bolingbrook mother Stacy Peterson was the victim of a "potential homicide" within two weeks of her October 2007 disappearance. They also identified her husband, former Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson, as the sole suspect in their investigation.

Beyond both disappearing in 2007, Spira and Stacy Peterson share another distinction, as the state police at different points thought bones found on the banks of the Des Plaines River in May 2009 might be their remains.

The bones were quickly determined to be those of a man, eliminating Stacy. State police Capt. Carl Dobrich said DNA testing eventually ruled out Spira as well and that investigators are now focusing on another man missing from the Chicago suburbs as a potential match.

'No-body' cases
About nine months after the bones were found, and another clue as to what befell her brother apparently led to a dead end, McNeil said she learned of DiBiase and his accomplishments through Internet research.
"I was searching cases that had been prosecuted without a body," she said, remembering how she then requested his assistance.

"He said, 'Yeah sure, I'll help you out.'"

McNeil made a $500 contribution to DiBiase from the John Spira Search Fund after he agreed to take the case.

"All that money has probably been spent by Tad going back and forth (with the police) on 'Why haven't you sent me the documents?'" McNeil said, describing her feeling of betrayal.

"They've essentially misled us, in (claiming) that they want fresh eyes on this case," she said. "They don't want any eyes on this case, I think, because they're embarrassed."

McNeil said she asked DuPage County Sheriff's Cmdr. Mark Edwalds point blank why his department would not work with DiBiase on his terms.

"His response was, 'We can't discuss it with you.'"

Edwalds failed to respond to repeated calls inquiring into the situation with DiBiase and Spira.

DiBiase said he has worked with law enforcement on about 10 suspected homicide cases involving a missing victim. While he was an assistant U.S. attorney working in Washington, D.C., he specialized in domestic violence and forensic homicide cases. He is now in private practice but lends his services as a consultant.

DiBiase said the situation with DuPage County is the first negative experience he has had with a police department since he started consulting on missing person homicide cases, but that it would not deter him from assisting if they permitted.

"Absolutely," he said, noting he shares McNeil's opinion on what they feel is the misclassification of the Spira case.

"You always treat it like a homicide, because you can't go wrong if you treat it like a homicide and it's a missing person," he said. "But you can go very wrong if you treat it like a missing person and it turns out to be a homicide."


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Colorado man on trial for no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 22nd, 2010 at 8:55 PM

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Sandoval trial day 7: Prosecutors try to hammer home nail theory with video
Sharon Dunn
About the case
John Sandoval is accused of killing his estranged wife, Kristina Tournai-Sandoval, on Oct. 19, 1995, after a planned meeting with her to discuss IRS debt and their pending divorce. She was never seen again, but personal items of hers were found at his home the day she disappeared, and her car was found four blocks from his home, with her wallet, cell phone and keys in the glove box.
Police also said Sandoval acted oddly after his wife's disappearance, including running from officers after coming home with a shovel and dirty clothes the night she disappeared and feverishly cleaning his fingernails before police could collect evidence. He also had what police characterized as scratch marks on his neck.
Though they extensively investigated the case in 1995, prosecutors then wouldn't touch the case because Tournai-Sandoval's body had not been found. A death certificate was issued for her in 2002 after a Weld District Court judge ruled there was enough evidence to believe she had died. Prosecutors say they have found no new evidence in the case.
Sandoval was arrested at his Las Vegas home last summer.A former Greeley man on trial for the murder of his estranged wife almost 15 years ago sat in a police interview room for almost two hours asking for an attorney before being told he couldn't get one.

Prosecutors on Tuesday showed jurors the two-hour video of John Sandoval recorded when he was in an interview room Oct. 20, 1995. Sandoval is on trial for the murder of his estranged wife, Kristina Tournai-Sandoval, who disappeared after she met him for breakfast on Oct. 19, 1995. The two had planned to meet about the pending divorce and an IRS debt he owed her.

Police arrested him the next morning after he came home — he had been out all night — took a shower, then attempted to flee when they came to the door. Police officially arrested him on a previous trespassing charge, in which he was cited for breaking into a woman's apartment a half block from where his wife's car was found. Prosecutors have said he was the last person to drive her car.

For much of the video, Sandoval, dressed in jeans, a black shirt and socks, sits with his head in his hand leaning on a table. A few minutes in, however, he begins chewing his nails until an officer comes in to sit down and watches him.

Officers testified earlier that they saw him on video doing this and were concerned that he was trying to destroy evidence. Officer Joy Hemby then sat in the room with him and he stopped.

Prosecutors say the video is somewhat of a smoking gun, showing Sandoval's attempts to clean his fingernails before police could collect scrapings from him. Whenever officers weren't in the room, he chewed his nails.

“You got me tied up. Why? I don't know why,” Sandoval demands of the officers, who responded, “You know why.” “Why would I be asking why?” he responds.

When they leave, Sandoval tells Hemby, “They've had me over an hour and I can't call my lawyer.”

Minutes later he states, “Should I address the camera, or can you ask? Tell them hey, get a phone so I can call my lawyer.”

The officer leaves the room 42 minutes into the video, and Sandoval again picks at his nails. Hemby returns, and he again asks for a lawyer. At one point, police tell him he watches too much television.

When officers come in to collect fingernail scrapings, he refuses to cooperate. At one point, he promises the police, “I can do this all day.”

“What are you so worried about my fingernails for?” he asks. Upon his resistance — officers said he clenched his fists — the officers leave and cuff his other hand to the bar against the wall.

He says to the camera, “You guys are silly. Won't you come back and talk to me about what's going on here? ... I can still chew my fingernails. I'd like to know what the (expletive) is up with this trespassing. ... OK. You guys want to be (expletive)."

Sandoval then returns to chewing his nails.

More than an hour into the video, officers return to the room to announce they're taking fingernail scrapings and that they will do it the easy way or the “hard way.”

“Let me call my lawyer,” Sandoval states. “I don't care if you manicure my toes. Why won't you let me call my lawyer?”

Police explain to him that he can't have his lawyer because he isn't officially being questioned, and they are only keeping him to collect evidence they thought would be destroyed if they didn't collect it.

Sandoval eventually becomes cooperative in the video, but only after police had to physically restrain him to take pictures of apparent scratches on his neck, shoulder and chest and torso, as well as his foot and knee.

In court Tuesday, public defender Jayme Muehlenkamp said the arrest was technically based on a trespassing charge that investigator Brad Goldschmidt had researched that day. He determined the crime was actually a felony, as opposed to the ticket Sandoval received, which was a municipal citation.

“Had you not been called in to investigate a missing person, you wouldn't be doing research into Sandoval's trespassing case?” Muehlenkamp asked. Goldschmidt agree that he wouldn't have been.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on colleagues and friends of Tournai-Sandoval who testified about her concern for her husband's voyeurism, her desire for a divorce, and her fear that her husband would kill her before allowing her to see another man or leave him.
Tuesday's witnesses
» Detective Brad Goldschmidt, original investigator with the Greeley Police Department.

» Keith Olson, investigator with the Weld District Attorney's Office and an original investigator with Greeley police.

» James Wilkerson, a forensic pathologist in northern Colorado. Testified that the marks on John Sandoval's neck were consistent with human fingernail scratch marks made within the previous 12 hours.

» David Morgan, Greeley attorney, testified that Sandoval did not help him move on Oct. 19, 1995. Sandoval's neighbor testified that he told her he was helping with the move that day.

» Julianne Fritz, the oncology supervisor at North Colorado Medical Center, who hired Kristina Tournai-Sandoval. She said the young nurse was never late to work, never missed a day and pushed herself professionally.

» Paula McKay, a nurse who went to school with Tournai-Sandoval. She said Tournai-Sandoval confided that her husband threatened to kill her before she was with anyone else or left him.

» Dave Harvey, married to Sandoval's cousin. He said he talked with Tournai-Sandoval about her desire and misgivings on getting a divorce. He also testified that Sandoval called him the night before Tournai-Sandoval disappeared — the first time in a good six months — asking for painkillers for a friend who had been stabbed and couldn't go to the emergency room.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase

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▣ NASA Robot helps solve no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 22nd, 2010 at 8:37 PM

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This is a guilty plea form last year but the robot angle is too cool to pass up:

NASA Robot Solves 19-Year-Old Murder Mystery [Crime]
July 14 2010 by admin in Gawker
Dawn Sanchez was last seen alive when she stepped into Bernado Bass’ car in 1991. Her disappearance and death remained unsolved until recently when—thanks to a little NASA robot—her murderer was sentenced to six years in prison.

Bass was Sanchez’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and there were witness reports claiming that he shot the girl “in a vacant lot after the two got into a fight.” The only problem was that no evidence to support this explanation was anywhere to be found. No car. No gun. No body.

This meant that Bass got away with the murder until recently when parts from the suspect’s car were found buried in a large abandoned lot. They most likely would not have been found without the aid of the NASA equipment borrowed for the investigation. Using this equipment, investigators were able to figure out just where they needed to excavate:

The case was dismissed in 1991 due to lack of evidence. The case was recently reopened, when an informant reported that the car may have been disassembled and buried in a large abandoned lot in Alviso. The exact location in the lot was not specified, and the cost to excavate the entire area was too high. Further, the lot contained a substantial amount of buried and surface metallic debris, making a simple survey with metal detectors insufficient.
[T]he mixed team of scientists and engineers from CMIL, NASA Ames and the USGS deployed an instrumented Senseta MAX 5.0A rover hosting the research technologies under development, and mapped the magnetic environment of the survey area. The USGS received the processed data set, and after further post-processing, presented the county DA’s office with their analysis and possible locations for excavation. Based on this data, the county excavated the site and retrieved car parts that matched the suspect’s car.

The suspect, Bass, was apprehended and sentenced to six years of prison for manslaughter. [NASA via Smart Planet via PopSci]

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Michigan man arrested for no body murder of wife

posted by Admin on July 22nd, 2010 at 8:08 PM

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June 24, 2010 12:28 PM
Venus Stewart: Husband Charged with Missing Mother's Murder
Posted by Edecio Martinez
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. (CBS/WWMT) The case of missing Michigan mother Venus Stewart has turned into a murder investigation.
Venus Stewart has been missing since late April. On Wednesday, prosecutors officially charged her estranged husband, Douglas Stewart, with her murder despite having not found her body.
He was arraigned Wednesday and faces one count of open murder, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Venus Stewart disappeared on April 26 from her parents' home in Colon, Mich., south of Kalamazoo. According to Venus' mother, Therese McComb, her daughter had gone outside early that morning in her slippers and pajamas to mail a letter and never came back.
According to CBS affiliate WWMT, investigators explained that they tracked down a man named Richard Spencer, who has admitted to impersonating Douglas Stewart in Virginia as an alibi for the real Stewart.
Douglas Stewart is accused of driving overnight from Virginia, where he lives, to Michigan, luring Venus outside, abducting her, killing her, and then disposing of her body.
Afterwards, he "traveled back to Newport News, where he met with Mr. Spencer," St. Joseph County prosecutor John McDonough told WWMT. "Mr. Spencer gave Stewart back the clothes he had used, then the men went their separate ways."
Venus' brother says Douglas Stewart and Spencer met over the Internet through video gaming. The prosecutor says Spencer was not paid to act as an impersonator and that he has been cooperative in the investigation.
Spencer has not been charged with any crime yet, but he could be in the future.
Now that Douglas Stewart has been charged, investigators say the efforts to find Venus' body will be stepped up once again.
He is due back in court on June 29 for a preliminary exam between prosecutors and his attorney. A preliminary hearing is set for July 1st.
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Death penalty in no body murder case

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2010 at 8:39 PM

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Getting the death penalty in a no body murder case is rare.


California teacher John Matthus Watson III sentenced to death for killing, dismembering wife in 2006
BY Michael Wursthorn
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Sunday, June 13th 2010, 1:00 AM
This math teacher has one thing left to count - the number of days he has left.

A Nevada jury convicted former math teacher John Matthus Watson III of first-degree murder and sentenced the 70-year-old man to death Friday.

Watson killed and dismembered his wife, Everilda (Evie) Watson, inside a Las Vegas hotel room in 2006 to prevent her from getting half his family's estate in a bitter divorce battle.

The jury deliberated for just two hours before handing down the sentence.

During the trial, prosecutors said the aging Watson lured his wife to Las Vegas from their Ontario, Calif., home under the guise of celebrating her 50th birthday. But prosecutors added that Watson was planning the murder for more than a month.

Watson then shot his wife and used a band saw to cut her up, prosecutors said. Letters Watson wrote from his jail cell say he cooked and ate parts of the body before being arrested.

With News Wire Services

Read more:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/12/2010-06-12_california_teacher_john_matthus_watson_iii_sentenced_to_death_for_killing_dismem.html#ixzz0wFprMlcU
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Police in Kansas City outline evidence in no body murder case

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2010 at 8:35 PM

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Clay County authorities disclose evidence in Pernice murder case
By GLENN E. RICE
The Kansas City Star
While police and volunteers searched a wooded area for a missing Northland woman, her husband watched it on the news at a bar and said she was not in those woods.

Clay County authorities this week made that allegation, along with other previously undisclosed evidence, in arguing against a bond reduction for Shon Andrew Pernice, 37, a Kansas City, North, man accused of killing his wife.

Authorities have not found the body of Renee Pernice, who was 35 when she disappeared in January 2009, but have said there is substantial evidence that she was murdered.

At the end of a hearing on Thursday, a Clay County judge denied Pernice’s request to have his $1 million bond reduced. His attorney, Eric Vernon, said that before Pernice was arrested on the murder charge, his client had complied with electronic-monitoring requirements on unrelated criminal matters.

Vernon also said the evidence prosecutors had was circumstantial and there was nothing to support the notion that Renee Pernice had been murdered.

In general, prosecutors argued that Renee Pernice enjoyed her job, had a loving family and had no reason to leave. On the other hand, they said, Shon Pernice had a history of violating his bond and was a flight risk.

Authorities alleged the following details to bolster their case against Shon Pernice:

•Pernice did not help volunteers, police and members of Renee Pernice’s family search for her in the wooded area near the couple’s home.

Later that evening, Pernice went to a Northland bar to pick up a takeout order. While there, he asked the bartender to turn the television to local news. Pernice then said that searchers would not find Renee Pernice in that wooded area.

•When crime scene investigators executed a search warrant at the Pernice house last year, they discovered the garage floor had been acid-etched and a damp mop was nearby. However, the rest of the house was noticeably messy.

•Pernice did not report his wife missing until he was confronted by her family.

•Days after Renee Pernice disappeared, Shon Pernice was seen kissing a woman while gambling at a Northland casino. He also listed himself as single on dating websites.

•Renee Pernice had the ability to obtain $50,000 in cash had she wanted to leave her family, but she never sought to acquire those funds. A review of her personal bank records found that she had not put away money.

•After the disappearance, Pernice asked a girlfriend to buy him a firearm under her name on two occasions even though he was prohibited by a judge from having one.

•Pernice purchased a switchblade while on bond on an unrelated criminal matter.

•When he found out that a family member was going to appear before a Clay County grand jury, Pernice acquired $5,500 in cash, indicating he was a flight risk.

•Pernice dumped his wife’s dog at a park and then told his son that the dog ran away. Pernice also threw away his wife’s personal belongings in a trash bin at his son’s school.

On Friday, Vernon said the prosecution’s case was not compelling.

“As I argued to the judge, what I heard was very weak and circumstantial, that she was even deceased and certainly there was no evidence, except conjecture, that Shon Pernice was involved in her disappearance.”

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send e-mail to grice@kcstar.com.
Posted on Fri, Jun. 04, 2010 10:40 PM

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/06/04/1993659/clay-county-authorities-disclose.html#ixzz0qsqa2NOo

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Why do we let murderers use their victim's body as a bargaining chip?

posted by Admin on June 14th, 2010 at 8:06 PM

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Joran Van Der Sloot is back in the news. Long suspected of murdering Natalee Holloway and now arrested for the murder of Peruvian Stephany Flores, Van Der Sloot supposedly has told police he will tell them where Miss Holloway’s body is in exchange for transferring him from a Peruvian prison to one in Aruba. http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/13/van-der-sloot-willing-to-tell-where-holloways-buried-in-exchange-for-transfer-to-aruba/ Having studied no body murder cases for several years, I‘ve observed an increasingly disturbing trend: more and more defendants are using the body of their murdered victim as a bargaining chip. Van Der Sloot is far from the first. Hans Reiser was convicted of murdering his wife in California in 2008. She had disappeared in 2006 and Reiser denied the murder for years and fought the charge at trial. After a five month trial, an Oakland jury convicted the Linux inventor of first degree murder. After the conviction, however, in exchange for a reduced sentence, Reiser led the police to his wife’s body which he had buried less than half a mile from his house. Instead of facing a sentence of 25 years to life, Reiser’ s charge was reduced to second degree murder which carried a term of only 15 years to life. In 2008, prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (my old office) permitted Michael Dickerson to plead guilty to second degree murder and in exchange he agreed to lead police to where he buried the body of his girlfriend, Shaquita Bell. Dickerson then led police and prosecutors on a futile two day search for Ms. Bell’s body which has never been found. Yet he was still sentenced to just 15 years in prison. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/11/AR2008111103085.html Just this past May in Tennessee, Douglas Whisnant was able to plea bargain into second degree murder charges by agreeing to show police where he buried his ex-wife’s body. Whisnant was sentenced to 15 years. Perhaps more galling, Whisnant is currently serving a 25 year federal firearms sentence and will get credit for his murder sentence, a state charge, will serving his federal time! Thus, he does no additional time for the murder. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/may/17/details-net-reduced-sentence/
Now there are clearly some good reasons to let a defendant take a plea in a no body murder case: weak evidence, getting closure for the family and sometimes getting something is better than getting nothing. But letting a defendant call the shots and use his victim’s body as a bargaining chip is particularly distasteful given that most of these murderers fit the classic profile of domestic abusers. It’s all about control and they want to be the ones in control. Letting murderers use their victim one last time to win themselves leniency is their final act of control and prosecutors ought to be loathe to let them do it. Winning a conviction in a no body murder case is difficult and dealing with a grieving and often angry family is equally difficult. But letting a murderer run the show and determine what charges or sentence he faces is simply unacceptable.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Chinese man released from prison after victim turns up alive

posted by Admin on May 24th, 2010 at 7:41 PM

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Not a U.S. case but I never said it couldn't happen here.....

From The Times May 11, 2010

Farmer released after serving ten years for murder as ‘victim’ turns up aliveJane Macartney, China Correspondent
A Chinese farmer who served ten years of a 29-year sentence for murder has been released after the man he was supposed to have killed, and then beheaded, turned up alive in their home village in central China.

Zhao Zhensheng disappeared after a furious fight with Zhao Zuohai in 1999. After Zhao Zhensheng was reported missing and a headless body was discovered in a village well, the local police put two and two together and arrested his rival. The two men are not related.

The sister of the jailed man said that he had only confessed to the crime after police torture — a not uncommon practice in China as police try to solve a crime and keep their record looking good. She said: “My brother told me he was really treated unjustly.” She said that he had even showed her a scar on his forehead where police had hit him with a gun.

After his arrest, his wife also said that she had been tortured and finally confessed that plastic bags found around the headless body had come from her home.

In 1999, Zhao Zuohai was given a suspended death sentence — later commuted to 29 years because of his good behaviour.

But then, on April 30, the missing Zhao Zhensheng, now partially paralysed, turned up in the village after an absence of ten years. He had run away after the two men fought because he feared he had inflicted such serious injuries on his enemy that he might have died. He only returned to the village because he was paralysed and needed to claim basic welfare payments.

He expressed no remorse for the fact that his rival had spent ten years of his life in jail. Zhao Zhensheng told one newspaper: “He had such a bad temper. He needed a lesson somewhere, somehow.”

However, Zhao Zuohai will receive some compensation for his decade-long wrongful imprisonment. The Henan provincial Higher People’s Court has awarded him $45,000 (£30,000) for the miscarriage of justice.

It is far from being the first such case in China. In 2005 She Xianglin, a government worker, was compensated with $67,000 after serving 11 years in prison for murdering his wife. He was freed when his wife later returned to their hometown. She Xianglin said that he had been tortured into making a false confession.

Hat tip to Meaghan Good of www.charleyproject.org for alerting me to this article.
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiasse, No Body Guy

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▣ Discussion of 1990 Kansas no body murder conviction

posted by Admin on May 24th, 2010 at 6:48 PM

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OLATHE, Kansas - Shon Pernice is in jail, indicted in the murder of his wife Renee, who disappeared in January of 2009. Now prosecutors face the challenge of trying to convict a suspect for murder even though a body has not been found as evidence of the crime.

To examine what it will be like to try to prosecute Pernice, it helps to look at lessons learned in a metro murder case that ended with three convictions, even though the bodies of all three victims have still not been found.

A Johnson County jury found Richard Grissom guilty in 1990 in the murders of three young women.

Former Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison says the women were missing more than a year by the time Grissom went to trial.

"The passage of time tends to be the prosecutor's friend," said Morrison.

Renee Pernice disappeared more than 16 months ago. Her stable lifestyle may help the prosecution's case.

"You can show a jury that this person literally dropped off the face of the earth," said Morrison.

Morrison says prosecuting a murder case without a body means pulling together smaller pieces of evidence, like blood that's been cleaned up, marital problems, or proving lies in the suspect's statements.

"If you just look at one piece, it might not be enough, but when you look at all the pieces together and that prosecutor's going to be trying to literally put a puzzle together for the jury," explained Morrison.

In the Pernice case, the prosecutor indicates there may be some new evidence that will come out during the trial.

"I don't think there's any question that to the media and people outside of the police department and prosecutor's room, there are going to be some surprises, I guarantee you." said Dan White, the Clay County prosecutor Tuesday when announcing the indictment.

Grissom remains behind bars in a Kansas prison.

He is aging, but his victims remain forever young, their lives stolen, and the location of their bodies still a mystery 21 years later.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Kansas City man arrested for murder of his wife in no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 24th, 2010 at 6:41 PM

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KANSAS CITY, MO - Shon Pernice was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of his wife, Renee Pernice, on Tuesday. Renee went missing in January 2, 2009 and her body has never been found.

Shon was arrested at his home by Kansas City police without incident and is being held on a $1 million bond.

"We deeply want Renee back," Renee's father Rick Pretz said in a press conference on Tuesday. "We are willing to pay the reward to the first tip that has enough detail to lead us to Renee. That's all that it has to do, to get us to Renee."

Renee's mother also spoke at the press conference.

"I'm very happy that we've gotten to this point," said Linda Lockwood, mother. "Hopefully we'll get justice for Renee because that's what we've always wanted."

Lockwood said Shon and Renee's two sons were doing well and that "things are progressing quite well to a normalcy in our family."

But Lockwood says that when the trials are finally over, there is one thing that will never change.

"There's not a day goes by that we don't think about Renee," said Lockwood. "I mean it's impossible to have your daughter murdered and you not wake up every day with that on your mind."

Pernice, 35, was last seen on New Year's Day 2009. She was reported missing a day later when she never showed up for weekend plans with her children. A search of the Pernice home resulted in firearms and other items, but no sign of Renee.

Clay County prosecutor Day White says that trying a murder case without a body will not be easy.

"Homicide case, no body, many avenues need to go down to prove the case," said White.

Police said Pernice will be arraigned on Thursday. Pretz says that the $25,000 reward for information leading to the location of his daughter remains open.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Blog cites NoBodyMurcerCases.com

posted by Admin on May 24th, 2010 at 6:38 PM

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Murder convictions with no body?
Yesterday, Shon Pernice was charged with the murder of his missing wife, Renee, whose body has never been found. Dan White, the Clay County prosecutor, said that it's still possible to prosecute without finding a victim's remains, and he's right.


As longtime reader Gee notes, authorities never found the bodies of three local women who were killed by Richard Grissom in Johnson County. Paul Morrison, who was the D.A. at the time, got a lot of attention for winning despite this. In cases like this, prosecutors have to build their arguments around circumstantial evidence.

Three of John E. Robinson's victims -- Lisa Stasi, Paula Godfrey and Catherine Clampitt -- have never been found. He was convicted of Stasi's murder in Kansas, but the authorities had a very compelling piece of circumstantial evidence: Stasi's daughter, whom he'd given to his brother to raise. (The brother had no idea about the murder.)

More after the jump ...


Wikipedia has a good roundup of historical murder cases where no body was found. They point to a British case from the 1660s, the Campden Wonder, where three people were hanged for the murder of a man who later turned up alive. They also point to a U.S. case, People v. Scott, from a California appeals court -- you can read the decision here. (Snopes takes up the matter here.)

Thomas DiBiase has an excellent site here devoted to no-body cases, including a list of U.S. prosecutions where no victim was found.

Diane Dimond had a post about no-body cases several months ago at the Huffington Post:

Yet the body is still the single most important piece of direct evidence a murder case can have. Without it there's no time of death, no evidence from the condition of the body or the wound, no crime scene to process. The track record of convictions proves, however, that circumstantial evidence can be just as powerful.


Posted by James Hart on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 08:38 AM | Permalink



Read more: http://blogs.kansascity.com/crime_scene/2010/05/murder-convictions-with-no-body.html#ixzz0otfOWiXA
From the comments section:

Does FanDanGo have any details of the Missouri case about the defendant who supposedly did not turn around.

I am from Sydney, Australia and I am researching "no body" murder trials dating from the 5th century BC to the very present day. My collections consists of 2,500 cases.

I suspect that the "alleged murder victim showing up in court" scenario is a myth although some evidence suggests just such an event took place in 1961.

In April 2003, an alleged victim turned up alive in an Australian Court which created a sensation back then.

Thomas DiBiase's website is excellent and a credit to him in getting it started but it only covers USA cases while my research covers all continents and across all time spans.

Posted by: Steven Banic | Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 02:11 PM

Thanks Steve!

I have put together a large collection of murder-without-a-body cases, divided by conviction, acquittal and case still pending. http://www.charleyproject.org/corpus/

Posted by: Charleyross.wordpress.com | Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 02:09 PM



Read more: http://blogs.kansascity.com/crime_scene/2010/05/murder-convictions-with-no-body.html#ixzz0otgTDiRT

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Murderer uses body of victim as bargaining chip

posted by Admin on May 24th, 2010 at 6:26 PM

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There are few things I despise more in a no body murder case than a defendant using his victim's body as a bargaining chip to get a lesser sentence or better plea offer:

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. - The stakes were high as the two sides in a looming courtroom battle squared off for a final round of plea negotiations.

Prosecutors held cards that, if played right, could cost Douglas V. Whisnant his freedom for life. But Whisnant had a trump card - proof of death.

"It's been frustrating," Johnny Crabtree said of negotiations on the eve of the trial for the man who finally confessed Monday to killing Crabtree's missing mother, 66-year-old Jean Johnson. "I thought we were going to court."

Johnson, who was Whisnant's ex-wife, had been missing for more than three years, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Steve Vinsant had led a probe to prove Whisnant was responsible. But with no body and, therefore, no proof Johnson was actually dead, a conviction on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping was far from guaranteed.

Crabtree said Whisnant, 62, tried to play hardball by bartering Johnson's body.

"He started talking about pleading no contest, but we wanted to hear him say he did it," Crabtree said.

In the end, Whisnant, through Assistant Public Defender Dale Potter, revealed the secret grave in the Stanley Creek area of Scott County where he buried Johnson's body in February 2007. In return, 8th Judicial District Attorney General Paul Phillips inked his approval to a plea deal that netted Whisnant a slim shot at freedom some day.

At a hearing Monday, 8th Judicial District Judge Shayne Sexton formally accepted the deal in which Whisnant pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder and received a 15-year prison term.

"I knew he was the type if we went to court, we'd never get any information on what happened to (Johnson)," Crabtree said. "We know we'll never get mom back (alive), but I feel relieved we're able to get her buried in a coffin."

Johnson was a spry and friendly church-going woman finally free from a troubled marriage to Whisnant, a violent felon, when she went missing on the eve of a trip to see a new boyfriend.

Vinsant, with help from the Scott County Sheriff's Office, soon learned that Johnson had received threatening anonymous letters he was convinced were penned by Whisnant. Whisnant's neighbors on Ditney Trail reported hearing gunshots around the time of her disappearance.

A grainy surveillance video at an Oneida Walmart showed a man parking Johnson's van and leaving in a Jeep that had been hauled to the store on a flatbed trailer. Whisnant owned both a Jeep and a trailer.

A search of Whisnant's home yielded a hidey-hole in the living room wall where authorities found a cache of weapons, a discovery that would lead to a 25-year federal prison term for Whisnant as an armed career criminal. It also yielded a pink suitcase relatives said Johnson likely packed on the night she went missing.

Under his plea deal, Whisnant will get credit for his murder sentence while serving his federal time.

Jamie Satterfield may be reached at 865-342-6308.

© 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Body of missing Connecticut woman found

posted by Admin on May 24th, 2010 at 6:18 PM

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Police: Cannon Stayed In Hotel Near Where Body Found
Woman's Decomposing Body Found In Cheshire
UPDATED: 11:57 am EDT May 18, 2010

CHESHIRE, Conn. -- A body found in Cheshire may be that of a Wolcott woman missing for more than a week, Wolcott police said Monday night.

Police said truck driver Steve Bradshaw noticed a tarp near the side of the road and notified officials. When officers arrived, they discovered a decomposed woman's body inside, police said.

Police said the body may be that of Cynthia Cannon, who has been missing for more than a week. However, police said they cannot say for sure if the body that was discovered is Cannon until the medical examiner completes an investigation. They said the body does match Cynthia Cannon's description.

Cheshire police said officers were investigating a crime scene off West Johnson Avenue Monday night. Police told Eyewitness News that Patrick Cannon stayed at a hotel near where the body was found the night before his arrest.

Bradshaw told Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview that he got a nagging feeling when he noticed the tarp lying in a field near the hotel. He said he had his wife meet him Monday night to check out the tarp.

"We just then, we walked back out to the street, see the form of the body, we called police," Bradshaw said.

Cynthia Cannon's husband, Patrick Cannon, has been charged with murder in connection with her death. While no body had been recovered when he was charged, police said there was substantial evidence that suggests Cynthia was the victim of a homicide.

According to the arrest affidavit, human blood stains were found on the couch where Cynthia Cannon slept and on the wall above the couch. Family members told Eyewitness News that the couple was going through a divorce and that Cynthia was sleeping on the couch as a result.

Traces of human blood were also found on the back porch of the couple's Spindle Hill Road home, as well as on the stairs leading from the rear porch and the driveway, according to the affidavit. Court documents indicate there were tire imprints across the back lawn leading up to the rear porch.

Police and hundreds of volunteers have been searching for Cynthia's body since last weekend. She was last seen May 6 and was reported missing by Patrick the next day. The search has included areas of Wolcott and parts of Waterbury and Southington.

"People have been missing work days, taking time out at night, even if they're driving to a baseball game. They're slowing down and looking at the side of the road," said Wolcott Mayor Tom Dunn. "Just want closure for family."

Patrick's bond was set at $3 million and he was arraigned in Waterbury Superior Court last Monday.

Cynthia leaves behind two children, one of whom is from a previous marriage.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest of husband for murder of missing wife in Connecticut no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 13th, 2010 at 8:08 PM

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Search continues for body of missing Wolcott woman
Husband arraigned Monday on murder charge
BY JONATHAN SHUGARTS | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
At left, Wolcott Fire Chief Kyle Dunn organizes about 50 firefighters and volunteers for a search a wooded area on North Main Street near the Holy Greek Orthodox Church in Waterbury on Monday. The group was assisting Wolcott police in the search for the body of Cynthia Cannon, who police believe was murdered. Steven Valenti/RA
WATERBURY -- They have found no body and no eyewitness to the suspected crime, yet police have levied a murder charge against the husband of woman they believe is the victim of foul play.

In an arrest warrant released Monday, police revealed they are relying on a bloody trail they discovered at 207 Spindle Hill Road in Wolcott to connect Patrick Cannon to the disappearance and presumed killing of his wife Cynthia.

Patrick Cannon has no prior criminal history, but mounting debt and at least one suspected incident of domestic violence years ago may have led to a tragic end for his wife.

Cannon, a blue-eyed, 44-year-old man, was held on a $3 million bond after he was arraigned Monday in Waterbury Superior Court on a charge of murder. Strands of thinning hair hung over the arms of Cannon's black-rimmed glasses as he shuffled into the courtroom wearing a robe and white suit usually given to defendants when their clothes have been confiscated as evidence.

He didn't enter a plea during the brief hearing and his case was continued until May 26.

Cannon reported his wife missing Friday night. She had not been heard from or seen since Thursday evening; she made her last cell phone call Thursday at 8:40 p.m., according to court records.

Patrick Cannon told police his wife had gone to drop off clothes at a Goodwill box around 10:30 p.m. Thursday. When he awoke Friday, he told police, she was gone and he was concerned about her whereabouts.

Friends and co-workers at Control Systems in West Hartford also were concerned when Cynthia Cannon didn't show up for work on Friday. She had a perfect attendance record during her six years with the company, her boss told police.

During a search of the couple's home on Sunday, state police crime scene technicians found blood on the couch where Cynthia Cannon usually slept, as well as on the walls nearby. Examiners discovered more traces of blood on the back porch of the home, on a set of rear stairs that led to the driveway and inside Cynthia Cannon's Jeep Liberty, which was recovered Sunday by police on Cemetery Road.

Investigators also found a set of tire tracks on the lawn leading up the rear porch, according to court documents.

At least 100 volunteers, including volunteer firefighters and Cannon's family, have aided in the search for Cynthia Cannon, spreading out in small groups that scoured an area from Wolcott into Waterbury, said Acting Police Chief Neal O'Leary.

Their efforts came up with a significant piece of evidence Monday, as one of the searchers found Cynthia Cannon's wallet on North Main Street in Waterbury. Tossed in a wooded area about 25 feet from the road near the 2800 block, the wallet is part of a growing amount of evidence that points to a tragic end for the mother of two.

So far, authorities have recovered a bloody sleeping bag belonging to Cynthia Cannon from a wooded patch near Woodtick Road. They also found a blood-soaked length of nylon rope near the bag and an unidentified piece of bloody clothing.

O'Leary said investigators also have searched the waters of Wolcott's Scoville Reservoir, but have come up empty.

To read the complete story see Tuesday's Republican-American or our electronic edition at http://republicanamerican.ct.newsmemory.com.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Alabama man arrested in 2008 no body murder case

posted by Admin on May 13th, 2010 at 7:57 PM

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Arrest in Nadia Kersh Case: Update
Reported by: Mike McClanahan
Reported by: Chris Mitchell
Last Update: 5/05 12:11 am

Homewood, AL) WIAT-
Police have made an arrest in the case of missing mother Nadia Kersh. An acquaintance of her's was arrested named Joacquas Haywood. According to Jefferson County DA Brandon Falls, Haywood is charged with Capital Murder and that the murder occurred during a burglary.
Using his attorney as a go-between, Homewood Police say Haywood turned himself in Monday night. He is being held in the Jefferson County Jail with no bond and had an initial court appearance today.

Nadia Kersh was last seen on November 3rd, 2008. Surveillance video showed her leaving Tria Market, where she worked. Birmingham police later recovered her car, but her body has never been found.

District Attorney Brandon Falls says prosecuting a murder case with no body will be challenging, but he is confident that there is a strong case against Joacquas Haywood.

Police describe the 27 year old Irondale resident as an acquaintance of Nadia Kersh and a person of interest from the beginning of the high profile investigation.
Even though police aren't looking for suspects, they're still looking for Nadia Kersh.

Nadia Kersh's mother Nancy Kersh hopes the arrest will bring new information that could lead to her daughter, but says she is also sad for the suspect's family.

Joacquas Haywood's defense attorney is Ezra Jordan, according to Homewood Police. Jordan was unavailable for comment today.

Jefferson County D.A. Brandon Falls says he will seek the death penalty because this is a capital murder case.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in Denver No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on April 17th, 2010 at 7:39 AM

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Mile High Murder
Hae C. Park, No. 85: Man allegedly killed by business partner Joong Rhee -- but no body found
By Michael Roberts, Friday, Apr. 16 2010 @ 3:47PM

Joong Rhee: No body, but big problem.
​An unusual announcement moments ago from the Denver District Attorney's Office and the Denver Police Department: A murder charge has been filed even though the body of the victim has yet to be located.

Hae C. Park, 64, has been missing since March 27, when he was supposed to meet with his business partner, Joong Rhee. A little over a week later, the cops checked out Rhee's office, which they describe as resembling a crime scene. Then, yesterday, they began looking for Park's body along the banks of the Colorado River near Glenwood Springs. They didn't find it, but authorities seem certain that Park came to a bad end -- and that Rhee is responsible.

Look below for more details:

MURDER CHARGE FILED, INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

On April 5, 2010 at approximately 3:30 p.m. detectives with the Denver Police Department, Homicide Unit began a cooperative investigation of a missing adult male identified as Hae C. Park (04/29/45) with the Adams County Sheriff's Department. ADCO began their investigation on March 29, 2010 and learned that the last time family saw the victim was on March 27, 2010. Park was supposed to meet with his business partner, Joong Rhee at Rhee's office in Denver (10200 East Girard Avenue, Building B, unit 327).

On April 5, 2010, Adams County detectives discovered what appeared to be a crime scene at Rhee's office, and contacted the Denver Police Department. The Denver Police Department Homicide Unit took over the investigation, processed the scene and collected several items of evidence.

Through the investigation, detectives developed information that suggested a possible location of Mr. Park's body. On Thursday, April 15, 2010, members of the Denver Police Department, along with the Garfield County Sheriff's office, and several local volunteers checked the area of the Colorado River between Grizzly and Glenwood Springs. Investigators found no additional evidence.

On April 16, 2010, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey formally charged Joong Rhee (DOB: 11-21-43) with Murder in the First Degree. He is scheduled to appear in Denver County Courtroom 472W on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. to be advised of the charge. He remains in custody in the Denver County Jail where he is being held without bond.

The search for the body of Mr. Park will continue.

Anyone with information about this investigation or information about the location of Mr. Park, please contact the Denver Police Department at 720-913-2000 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in Baltimore County No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on April 17th, 2010 at 7:38 AM

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April 16, 2010
Cops make murder arrest despite no body

Rochelle Battle is still missing.

But Baltimore County police today arrested a man and charged him with killing the 16-year-old girl. No motive is listed, nor did police say whether there is any connection between the missing girl and the suspect, or how they can prove she was killed.

Here is the statement from authorities:

Baltimore County Police have arrested Jason Matthew Gross, 35, of the 1900-block of Eloise Lane, 21040 for the disappearance and murder of Rochelle Battle, a 16-year-old female who was reported missing March 6, 2009. Jason Gross was indicted by a Baltimore County Grand Jury in her murder.

Police are still trying to locate Rochelle Battle’s body. Her description when she was last seen is that of a black female, 5’1” to 5’3” tall, weighing approximately 170 pounds. She was wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and boots that came just below the knees.

County officers were contacted by Rochelle’s family on March 11, 2009 stating that Rochelle Battle had disappeared on March 6, 2009 after leaving her home in the 2800-block of Boarman Avenue, 21215. Through an initial investigation it was discovered that Rochelle may have been on a MTA bus line near Eastern Avenue in the North Point and Essex Precinct areas. Based on additional information that detectives acquired, a search of a trash collection facility in the 200-block of Earls Road, 21220 was made to look for Rochelle, but she was not located.

Information that detectives have developed in the case revealed that Jason Gross was responsible for the disappearance and murder of Rochelle Battle. The case was presented by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office before a Grand Jury on April 14, at which time an indictment and warrant charging Gross were issued.

Jason Gross was arrested late yesterday afternoon and has been charged with first-degree murder. He is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on bond denied.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:06 PM

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Ohio man found guilty of no body murder

posted by Admin on April 13th, 2010 at 7:50 PM

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Jury finds man guilty of murder in case with no body
Friday, April 9, 2010 4:41 PM
By Bruce Cadwallader
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A Franklin County jury this afternoon found a former Grove City man guilty of murder in the 1999 death of his girlfriend, even though authorities never found her body.

Based on circumstantial evidence and vague references he made about how one might hide a body, the jury convicted Gary L. Robinson, 46, in Common Pleas Court after a four-day trial before Judge Richard A. Frye.

Robinson, who also was convicted of tampering with evidence, will be sentenced May 13.

It was the first murder case since 2003 in which local prosecutors tried a murder case without a victim.

Tammi T.J. Campbell, a 33-year-old single mother who lived with Robinson for a short term at 3111 Southwest Blvd. went missing on June 12, 1999. She had taken her 12-year-old son to a friend's house and said she'd be back in the morning.

No one has heard from her since, and the federal government declared her dead in 2008, testimony showed.

Robinson told Grove City police he didn't know where his girlfriend was. He said she went out to buy drugs and never came back. He didnt help look for her body, testimony showed.

One of his ex-girlfriends testified, however, that he confessed to strangling Campbell that night and wrapping her body in a carpet and burying it in a local landfill.

Assistant County Prosecutors Scott Kirschman and Nathan Yohey didn't have much: Robinson admitted burying the missing woman's jewelry in the backyard of his parents home in Warren County, Ohio, and he made vague references to a buddy about burying a body in concrete. He said he buried her jewelry so he wouldn't be tempted to pawn it.

"I'm smarter than the average bear," he boasted to one ex-girlfiend, Sandra Gabbard, in a tape-recorded call made with the help of police. She said he confessed to the killing before police became involved.

Police, pushed for answers by Campbell's best friend, conducted multiple searches, unearthed 5 tons of debris at the Franklin County landfill, ordered DNA tests and interviewed several witnesses after finding Campbell's keys, purse and ID in her apartment. They found her car parked across the street.

"For 3,953 days no one has seen Tammi Campbell. We know she is dead," Kirschman told jurors Thursday. "This case is about the death of hope for a 12-year-old. This is a cold, cruel crime and the clock kept cruelly ticking."

Defense attorneys Shanda Behrens and Sheryl K. Munson countered that prosecutors failed to provide reliable witnesses or evidence of a murder.

"Nothing has changed in the last 11 years," Munson said. "The mosaic is not complete; the picture isn't clear. All we want is justice, and justice doesn't always mean you solve the crime."

bcadwallader@dispatch.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy in the news.....

posted by Admin on April 13th, 2010 at 7:33 PM

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No body? No problem convicting, 90 percent of time

By SAMANTHA HENRY
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 11, 2010; 1:43 PM

NEWARK, N.J. -- Police in New Jersey believe they have solved one of the coldest cases in the state's history: the disappearance of five Newark teenagers in 1978.

After tracking leads for 32 years, two men were arrested March 22 and charged with herding the teens at gunpoint into an abandoned rowhouse, tying them up and torching the building, setting a blaze so fierce police say the bodies were incinerated, destroying any evidence.

Now, prosecutors have a difficult task: Prove the teens were murdered when their bodies were never found.

Murders without bodies were long considered one of the most complex challenges in the legal profession, but advances in technology have made the once-unthinkable prospect more common.

The absence of the key piece of evidence - the corpse - poses unique problems for both prosecutors and defense attorneys, according to Thomas "Tad" DiBiase, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer who runs a Web site chronicling "no body" murders. He said the majority of such cases end in convictions or guilty pleas.

"The body can tell you how the murder occurred," he said. "It can tell you when the murder occurred, it can tell you where the murder occurred, so by taking away the body you take away all those elements from a case - that makes it enormously difficult."

The New Jersey case was initially treated as a missing persons case and no connection was made between the fire and the teens' disappearance, reported two days later. In the decades since, any clues have been all but obliterated: The site of the fire is now a housing complex and additional case files were reportedly lost in a courthouse flood.

Prosecutors have charged Lee Evans, 56, and 53-year-old Philander Hampton, 53, with murder and arson. Prosecutors say Hampton sometimes hired the teens for odd jobs and killed them over some missing marijuana. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The near-total absence of forensic evidence in the case doesn't necessarily help the defense, according to Michael Robbins, the lawyer representing Evans.

"In the absence of evidence and proof, there's a real risk that outrage, that anger and emotion, will be substitutes in the courtroom for competent evidence, testimony and proof," Robbins said. "Without a body, how can you corroborate what anyone says? Without a crime scene, how can you even begin to attempt to corroborate the version of events that the witness here is putting forth?"

Two of the nation's most high-profile murder cases without bodies - the killing of a wealthy Manhattan socialite by a mother and son team, and a doctor who killed his wife and tossed her body from an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean- were prosecuted by former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

"These cases are important because it shows you can't just get rid of the body and get rid of the case," Morgenthau said. He recalled how skeptics questioned his decision to pursue New York's first such murder prosecution based entirely on circumstantial evidence: the death of Irene Silverman, a wealthy Manhattan socialite and former Radio City Music Hall Rockette.
"But we were convinced that they had murdered this woman, and we thought it was a very bad precedent to not prosecute people because there is no body - it encourages people to do away with the body," Morgenthau said.

Morgenthau's team successfully convinced a jury that a mother-son con team killed Silverman and forged documents to try to steal her $8 million townhouse. Sante and Kenneth Kimes were convicted in 2000; Sante was sentenced to 120 years in prison, her son, 125. Prosecutors called more than 100 witnesses and introduced evidence they said was in the Kimes' possession, including Silverman's personal documents, loaded pistols, two fright masks, plastic handcuffs, syringes and a pink liquid similar to a known "date rape" drug. They also found a forged deed that transferred her town house to the Kimeses for a fraction of its nearly $10 million value.

Circumstantial evidence also convicted Dr. Robert Bierenbaum, a Manhattan plastic surgeon who got 20 years to life in prison for killing Gail Katz-Bierenbaum. Prosecutors showed that Bierenbaum spent nearly two hours flying the afternoon after his wife was last seen, convincing a jury that he had dismembered her, squeezed the body into a duffel bag and dumped it from a small airplane over the ocean.

Prosecutions for murders without bodies were once extremely rare, according to DiBiase, who traces the earliest documented case in the U.S. to 1819, when brothers Jesse and Stephen Boorn were convicted of murdering their brother-in-law, Richard Colvin, in Manchester, VT.

More than 300 hundred such cases that have gone to trial in the U.S. since, more than 90 percent of them resulting in a conviction, DiBiase said.

Although defense attorneys often try to convince jurors that no body means no proof a person is dead, DiBiase has found only one case, around 1886, in which a victim turned up alive after his supposed killer - tried twice on charges he killed his lover's husband - had been convicted and executed.

In the past decade, DiBiase said a surge in such murder prosecutions is largely thanks to advances in DNA technology, computer records and cell phone logs, and improvements in forensics.

Juries have also become more sophisticated with the popularity of crime, law and forensic television shows, according to Donna Pendergast, assistant attorney general for the Michigan Department of Attorney General's office, who has successfully prosecuted several of these cases.

Pendergast says the enormous public appetite for forensics has led to jury pools full of people who "want to see every little fingerprint."

She has convinced juries that a person was really dead even though no body was ever found, because the victim didn't access bank accounts or credit cards after they disappeared.

"Traditionally, a prosecutor would say: 'No body, we don't have a case,'" Pendergast said. "But now that people are seeing these cases can be won ... it's not 'the perfect crime' anymore."

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ DC man convicted of no body murder

posted by Admin on March 31st, 2010 at 5:37 PM

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Conviction in case I worked on.....

Boyfriend convicted of murder in '99 disappearance of D.C. woman

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For the seven years that Yolanda Baker and Terrence Barnett dated, Baker's family watched a once loving relationship grow increasingly violent.

Baker would show up at family functions with bruises and bald patches on her head from having her hair pulled out. She took out a restraining order against Barnett but began seeing him again after a little more than a year. Baker also sought child support from Barnett on behalf of their then-5-year-old-twins, a boy and girl.

Then, after the two had seemingly made amends, Baker went missing from her Northeast Washington home Aug. 1, 1999. She has not been seen since. Authorities declared her dead last year and charged Barnett with killing her.

After Baker disappeared, her family members spent years trying to find answers, closure and accountability in the death of the woman they had nicknamed Princess.

On Tuesday, after three days of deliberating, a D.C. Superior Court jury found Barnett, 45, guilty of second-degree murder. He was charged with first-degree murder, but the jury was unable to determine during the three-week trial that there was enough evidence that he planned to kill Baker.

As the jury foreman announced the verdict, Barnett bowed and shook his head slightly. Cold-case detectives sitting in the back row of the courtroom fist-pounded each other and smiled. Members of Baker's family, who filled up three rows of one side of the courtroom, and members of Barnett's family, sitting on the other side, broke into tears.

"All these years, it's over," cried Andrea Flemmings, one of Baker's sisters.


"We are very pleased. Thank God for this justice," said Deon Haynes-Parker, another of Baker's sisters, as family members gathered outside the courtroom. Baker's twins, now teenagers, are being raised by her family.

Baker's brother-in-law Leroy Flemmings said that although his family mourns for Baker, they are also concerned about the twins.

"I'm glad the kids can now have some closure," Flemmings said. "They lost their mom and their dad the moment this happened."

Cold cases are challenging to prosecute, but murder cases in which a body is not found are even more difficult. This was only the fourth case without a body that the District's U.S. attorney's office has tried since the 1980s, officials said.

Lawyers, law students and trial watchers visited the courtroom during the trial to watch Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines square off against criminal defense lawyer Nikki Lotze.

Lotze insisted that Barnett was innocent, telling the jury that there was no evidence of Baker's death and no eyewitnesses linking Barnett to Baker's disappearance or death.

In her nearly 90-minute closing argument last week, Lotze reminded the jury that police questioned Barnett just days after Baker was reported missing and released him.

Baker's car was found blocks from her house days after she disappeared and after two other men had been seen driving the car around the District. Lotze dismissed as "cockamamie" the story that one of Baker's sisters saw Barnett hours after Baker had gone missing, standing on the 14th Street Bridge outside Baker's car and pulling a large plastic bag from the trunk.

Lotze called the case a "witch hunt" based primarily on Barnett and Baker's volatile relationship.

In her hour-long close, Haines suggested to the jury that a history of abuse could be used as a motive in a slaying in domestic cases.

Haines said Barnett killed Baker in the bedroom of the house they shared, cleaned the room with bleach, and ripped the bloodstained carpet up and got rid of it. Haines said Baker then "chopped up her body," put it in the trunk of her car and disposed of it. "Her car is her gravesite," she said.

During the trial, Haines called about 30 witnesses, including family members, court officials, prosecutors and police officers. All testified about the abusive relationship and Baker's efforts to seek help from police and the courts.

Prosecutors had sought first-degree murder charges, but Glenn L. Kirschner, head of the homicide unit for the District's U.S. attorney's office, said that securing first-degree convictions in domestic violence cases is difficult because, in most cases, such slayings are "spur of the moment" rather than planned.

Haines was assigned to the case last year. After the verdict, Baker's family showered her with hugs. "The jury gave this family the closure they have been seeking for the past 10 years," Haines said.

Barnett is scheduled to be sentenced June 18 by Judge Michael L. Rankin.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ This just in!

posted by Admin on March 30th, 2010 at 4:05 PM

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DC man was convicted of second degree murder in DC's third no body murder trial ever. More tomorrow......

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▣ How to Investigate and Prosecute a No Body Murder case

posted by Admin on March 20th, 2010 at 8:10 AM

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I've added, under the Tips tab, my paper on investigating and trying a no body case. Included at the end of my paper is a UK paper of unknown origin on the same topic. I hope you find these papers useful and as always I can be contacted at tad.dibiase@gmail.com for further discussions about your case.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ 2 South Carolina men found guilty of no body murder

posted by Admin on March 19th, 2010 at 3:15 PM

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2 men found guilty of '05 murder
Body of Darryl 'Preach' Miller has never been found
By Craig Peters
craig.peters@shj.com


Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 11:27 p.m.

The family of a man who disappeared in the summer of 2005 can't get him back, but they received guilty verdicts convicting two men of murder on Wednesday.

Jurors spent about two hours deliberating before deciding that David Cortez Carson, 43, and Leon Jones, 46, worked together to kill Darryl "Preach" Miller on July 30, 2005. Retired Supreme Court Justice E.C. Burnett III sentenced Carson and Jones to 30-year prison sentences. The mandatory minimum sentences are not eligible for parole.

Miller's sister Roxanne Bradley said after the trial that the verdicts represent "another stage, another grieving spot" in her family's recovery process.

"There's never going to be closure because we're not going to get him back," Bradley said.

Miller's body has not been found, and investigators are unsure of the exact way he died, but they had the car in which they believe Miller was killed, complete with multiple samples of blood that allowed forensic scientists to compare DNA material.

Principal Deputy Solicitor Barry Barnette said he was not aware of another murder trial that the 7th Circuit Solicitor's Office has prosecuted without a body. Barnette credited Spartanburg police who "constantly kept working" the case.

Spartanburg Public Safety Sgt. Jay Steadman, a case investigator, said it was a "constant stress" over the years. Spartanburg police arrested and charged Carson and Jones with murder in September 2008 after determining they had collected "all the evidence we could have."

Police obtained the car, which belonged to Carson's former girlfriend, in August 2005. The car had been repossessed by a lending company and sold to a business that refurbishes cars.

An employee of Cromer's Abattoir Inc., a meat processing facility in Inman, testified Wednesday that he saw a group of men "frantically" cleaning a car, even removing its seats and carpet, outside a nearby residence.

"It was still a crime scene after most of it had been cleaned," said Ed Guthro, a forensics technician with Spartanburg Public Safety.

Guthro said a blood-spatter analysis could not be done because the car had been cleaned, but blood samples were found on the seat belt and behind decorative trim on the front passenger door panel.

Prosecutors also had testimony from the brother of the woman with whom Jones has two children. That witness said Carson, Jones and Miller were partying together and stopped by Miller's house before he disappeared, and Miller had a significant amount of cash on him. That witness also testified Jones showed up a couple days later and said he killed "that guy."

Jones, who continued to deny any involvement, said he was joking when he made that statement.

Prior to sentencing the men, Burnett told Jones, "That's a cold thing to say."

When Jones said it was "foolishness," Burnett replied, "It's beyond foolishness. It's cold."

Carson admitted to helping dispose of the body, but claimed that Miller had been killed during an attempted robbery near Caulder Avenue.

Carson claimed he didn't know what to do and drove to the hospital but "could not get in," then passed out in the parking lot and woke up with Miller still in the car. He said he eventually took the body to a remote area in Union County, but he was never able to direct police to that area. Neither Carson nor Jones called 911 to report any kind of robbery or injury to Miller.

Bradley said her family looked for Miller during the early stages of the case, and she received information that Carson was involved.

When it became obvious Miller wasn't coming back, Bradley prayed her brother's remains would be found and for "the heart to forgive."

Spartanburg Public Safety Capt. Randy Hardy credited Barnette for doing "an excellent job."

"It started out as a missing person's case and led to a murder investigation. The investigators that worked on it, worked tirelessly," Hardy said. "Our goal was to find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice. While we are very excited about the verdict, we are unhappy we were able to find Preach's remains to bring true closure to the family."

Bradley said the family plans to have a memorial service.

She didn't know how her brother got his nickname, but said the family has been gathering to share fond memories each September when Miller would be a year older.

"I remember he used to sit and I would look at him smiling. I would ask him why he was smiling so big and he would say, 'Because I love you so much.' "

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arkansas man pleads guilty in no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 16th, 2010 at 6:38 PM

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Man admits killing girlfriend, burning body
Associated Press - March 16, 2010 7:14 AM ET

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - A Pine Bluff man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing his girlfriend then burning her body and dumping the remains in a bayou.

Thirty-one-year-old Mario Scott pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of capital murder in the death of 26-year-old Kateshia Weathers. Scott had originally been charged with capital murder.

Weathers was last seen May 22, 2007. Her remains have not been found.

Scott is already serving 22 years for beating Weathers in a separate case. His murder sentence won't begin until he completes his current prison term.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Changes to my website

posted by Admin on March 16th, 2010 at 6:31 PM

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Hopefully you've noticed some changes to the site. I've add a picture and two new tabs. Under one tab is chapter one of my "book" about the no body case I tried in 2006 and no body cases in general. (Book in quotes because this has never been published.) Let me know what you think. Soon to come under the Tips tab is a treatise on how to investigate and try a no body homicide case. Finally, I've added the latest table of no body trials (under the No Body Murder Cases tab), now up to 308 trials in the United States.

Enjoy,

Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arkansas man to go on trial on Monday for no body murder

posted by Admin on March 14th, 2010 at 9:06 PM

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Mario Scott goes on trial Monday for Katesia Weathers' murder
Ashley Blackstone 6 hrs ago
A Pine Bluff man accused of killing his girlfriend in May 2007 will go to trial Monday.
Police say Mario Scott beat Katesia Weathers and then set her body on fire. Her remains have never been found.

Prosecutors say they'll rely on the testimony of four witnesses who they say have knowledge of the alleged crime.

Weathers disappeared May 22, 2007.

Court records show that Scott was accused of beating or threatening Weathers on at least five occasions in the four years before her disappearance.

About seven months after her death, Scott was charged with capital murder.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ DC's third no body murder trial ever begins

posted by Admin on March 11th, 2010 at 6:56 AM

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Murder trial begins in case of D.C. woman who vanished in 1999
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's been nearly 11 years since Yolanda Baker's family has seen her. So much time had passed that authorities declared her legally dead last year, although her body has never been found.

This week, Baker's family poured into three rows of Judge Michael L. Rankin's third-floor courtroom in D.C. Superior Court, hoping for some closure in the death of the woman they nicknamed "Princess."

Last summer, authorities arrested Baker's boyfriend, Terrence Barnett, 45, the father of the D.C. woman's twin children. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

It is only the third time a "no body" murder case -- the most difficult for prosecutors -- has been tried in the District in at least 30 years, according to a spokesman in the U.S. attorney's office.

Adding to the challenge for prosecutors is the lack of eyewitnesses to Baker's disappearance or death. No murder weapon has been found and no cause of death established. When Baker's car was discovered almost a week after her disappearance, drops of her blood were found in the trunk, but no DNA from Barnett.

The trial pits two of the District's most formidable lawyers against each other: Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines and criminal defense attorney Nikki Lotze.

Haines is no stranger to prosecuting complex murder cases. She's one of the lead attorneys prosecuting Ingmar Guandique, charged in the 2001 kidnapping and killing of former federal intern Chandra Levy. That trial is scheduled to start in October.

In her 30-minute opening statement Wednesday, Haines told the jury that on the morning of Aug. 1, 1999, after attending a family party together in Suitland, Barnett killed Baker, 35, after an often-abusive seven-year relationship.

On that day, she said, Baker "disappeared into the night." Haines then walked over to Barnett, seated next to Lotze, and pointed to him: "Mr. Barnett was the last person to see Ms. Baker alive."

Haines characterized Barnett as controlling, jealous and often violent, a man whose anger "erupted suddenly, often without any warning."

The two had lived together off and on in Baker's house in the 400 block of 44th Street NE with their twins, who were 5 when Baker disappeared.

Haines talked about how the couple often argued and fought, so much so that Baker obtained a restraining order, keeping Barnett away from her for about 18 months from 1997 to early 1999. Shortly before she disappeared, a District judge had ordered Barnett to pay Baker child support for the twins.

Three days after Baker was last seen, family members filed a missing-person report with the D.C. police. Baker's picture was displayed on the department's missing-person Web site, and friends and family members passed out fliers and held candlelight vigils. Barnett played no part in the search for Baker, Haines said. He waited another three days before he approached police about Baker's disappearance.

Haines said a witness saw Barnett just hours after he was seen with Baker in her car leaving the 1999 party.

The witness said Barnett was on a bridge about midnight, pulling a large object wrapped in a plastic garbage bag from the trunk of a car.

Haines also acknowledged that there were some mistakes by police in the investigation. "The system failed [Baker] during her life and after her death," she said.

In her opening statement, Lotze told the jury that Barnett was innocent and that the DNA from two other individuals was found in the trunk of Baker's car. She said two other men had been driving Baker's car around town when it was discovered.

"There is more evidence that one of these two other men did it, not Mr. Barnett," she said.

Lotze said that her client cooperated with the police investigation and that Baker's family thinks Barnett killed Baker because relatives never approved of the couple's relationship.

Lotze later displayed pictures of Baker and Barnett, laughing together and dancing with family and friends at the party, just hours before she disappeared.

The trial is expected to last about a month.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Louisana man arrested in no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 9th, 2010 at 12:01 PM

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Woman’s Body Still Missing But Man Charged With Her Murder
03/03/10 - 09:30 PM
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Authorities say a 37-year-old Natchitoches Parish man has been charged with murder in connection with a missing woman whose body has not yet been found.

Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. says deputies arrested Morgan Prothro Tuesday and charged him with second-degree murder in the disappearance of 47-year-old Clara Patricia “Patty” Bynog. Jones said the arrest came after a 2 1/2 month nvestigation into the Dec. 13 disappearance of Bynog, who was known to have been with Prothro prior to her disappearance.

Prothro is being held in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center. It wasn’t immediately clear if Prothro has an attorney.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Texas man arrested for no body murder

posted by Admin on March 8th, 2010 at 8:19 AM

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Arlington businessman arrested in 2005 murder case

by WFAA-TV

Posted on February 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Updated Sunday, Feb 28 at 9:19 AM
EULESS — An Arlington businessman faces murder charges in connection with the 2005 disappearance of Kristen Charbonneau.

Daniel Glen Moore was arrested Friday by Euless police. The 40-year-old car salesman is married with two young children. Detectives said he has been a "person of interest" in the case.

Charbonneau, whose body has never been found, is presumed dead by police.

She as last seen in August 2005 after leaving her workplace — the Baby Dolls club in Fort Worth — with a man witnesses identified as Moore.

Last fall, volunteers searched along railroad tracks in Euless in the area where Charbonneau, 24, was last known to have been seen.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Indiana man on trial in no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2010 at 10:14 AM

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No law, no body needed in murder trial

Updated: Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010, 11:49 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010, 11:49 PM EST

* Kate Greene

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Brent England is on trial for the murder of Jack Berry Jr. of Terre Haute.

While it's unclear what the verdict will be for this case, one thing is clear it has been a controversial case.

You may have wondered how there can be a trial without the victims' body? However, News 10 found out there's no law stating otherwise.

It may be unusual for a murder case, but there's no law stating a body is required for a conviction.

It may be the first murder trial like this in Vigo County, but it's certainly not the only case the Hoosier state or the state of Illinois has seen.

Here's a breakdown of murder trials where no body was found before the trial.

According to author and federal homicide prosecutor Tad DiBiase, News 10 found five past murder trials in Indiana where the defendant was found guilty and two cases where the defendant was found not guilty.

In llinois, News 10 found 6 murder cases with no body.and all 6 defendants were convicted. One of those Illinois cases occurred in Clark County in the 1980s.

Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said there's no law that requires a body because it simply comes down to whatever evidence convinces the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

"There aren't any definite requirements as far as what the evidence has to be or doesn't have to be to obtain a conviction," Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said.

In fact, prior to October 2009, News 10 found 300 murder trials across the country where a body was never found and listen to this only 27 of those cases were dismissed, acquitted, or had the appeal reversed.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase

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▣ No Body Guy in news on Leniart case

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2010 at 10:08 AM

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Leniart convicted of murdering missing girl

By Karen Florin

Publication: The Day
Published 03/03/2010 12:00 AM
Updated 03/03/2010 10:31 AM
WTNH CHANNEL 8
George Leniart, seen at his arraignment in April 2008, is likely to be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of April Dawn Pennington, who disappeared in 1996 and whose remains have still not been found.
Life-without-parole sentence likely; parents of victim still want answers

A guilty verdict in the capital murder trial of George M. Leniart brought some comfort Tuesday to the parents of a teenage girl who went missing from her Montville home 14 years ago.

Walter and Hazel Pennington know now that Leniart, a 44-year-old repeat sex offender, will be spending the rest of his life in a maximum-security prison. The 12-member jury convicted him on three capital-felony counts and one count of murder, so there is no doubt Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed will sentence Leniart to life in prison without the possibility of parole on April 27.

But the parents of April Dawn Pennington, who sneaked out a basement window after they had gone to bed on May 29, 1996, would like to know exactly what happened to their 15-year-old daughter that night. They never saw her again.

"I still have plenty of questions, and he (Leniart) is still not talking," Hazel Pennington said in a phone interview from Pleasant Garden, N.C.

Leniart had bragged that state police would never find April's body and would, therefore, never charge him with murder, according to jailhouse informants who testified at the trial. He fished commercially out of Point Judith, R.I., in a boat he had named after his own young daughter, and told a fellow prisoner he had dismembered April's body and put it in lobster pots. Others said Leniart told them April's body was "in the mud" in the Thames River, in Long Island Sound or in a well.

Despite his bravado, the Eastern District Major Crime Squad did charge Leniart in April 2008 after prosecutors agreed to take on the murder case without a body or other physical evidence. They relied heavily on jailhouse witnesses, whom Leniart's attorney called "snitches" and repeatedly attempted to discredit at the trial.

The state had another key witness, however, whose testimony the jury listened to a second time Tuesday before announcing the verdict. A 28-year-old Norwich woman had described being sexually assaulted by Leniart just six months before April Pennington disappeared.

The woman said she is pleased Leniart is locked away.

"I think that he is where he should be, and April's family can have a little closure," she said. "May April rest in peace with the angels."

Leniart, who opted not to testify on his own behalf, shook his head slightly but did not change his facial expression when the jury foreman announced the verdicts. Somebody whispered "Yeah!" from the back of the courtroom.

Prosecutors John P. Gravalec-Pannone and Stephen M. Carney were "psyched."

"We're grateful on behalf of the Pennington family and for the jury's hard work in this difficult task they had," Pannone said as well-wishers congregated in the state's attorney's office.

State troopers who investigated the case hugged and high-fived each other in the courthouse hallway.

"I'm thankful for the state's attorney's office for having the courage to prosecute what was a difficult case, and thankful to the jury for seeing George for what he is," said Sgt. William Bundy, who had supervised the investigation for the past five years.

"I'm proud of all the guys who have investigated this case over the years," Bundy added. "It goes back many, many years."

Bundy said that if April's body is out there to be found, the detectives want to find it.

Defense attorney Norman A. Pattis spoke to Leniart in a holding cell following the verdict and left the courthouse without taking a pile of dress clothes he had provided his client. He could not be reached to comment later in the day, but is expected to be heard at Leniart's sentencing.

The jurors also left quickly after Jongbloed thanked them for their service. Reached later by phone, the foreman said he had no comment.

Walter Pennington, a retired Navy sailor who was stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton when his daughter disappeared, flew from North Carolina to testify on the first day of the trial and caught a return flight the same day. Hazel Pennington has been ill and was advised by a doctor not to attend the trial.

The family, who moved back to their hometown of Pleasant Garden in late 1996, has been reading on the Internet of the graphic testimony about the last hours of their daughter's life.

Patrick "PJ" Allain, a friend of April, testified he and Leniart picked her up and raped her that night in May 1996. Allain said Leniart dropped him off at home first and told him the next day that he had killed the girl and disposed of her body.

Hazel Pennington said she would like to have seen Allain prosecuted, though she knows the statute of limitations for rape has expired.

"He's the one who lured April out that night," she said. "April never knew Leniart. She met him that night, and PJ lured her out knowing he was putting her life in danger."

Allain, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for an unrelated sexual assault, is hoping to have his sentence reduced in exchange for cooperating with the state.

The testimony of the woman who, at age 13, was raped by Leniart had also bolstered the state's case. The judge had ruled the damaging testimony admissible because of similarities between the two cases. The rape victim told the jury she sneaked out to meet her 15-year-old boyfriend, Allain, in November 1995. Leniart, who was 30, picked her up, she said, and they went back to a camper behind Leniart's parents' home on Massapeag Side Road to wait for Allain.

She said Allain never showed up, and when she tried to leave Leniart locked her in and forced her to have sex with him. She said Leniart choked her until she passed out, and that she woke up the next morning and ran for her life when he left to make a phone call.

Leniart was free on bond, awaiting trial for that case, when April Pennington disappeared. He later pleaded guilty in the first matter and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Thomas A. "Tad" DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia who tracks "no-body" murder cases, lists two other such convictions in Connecticut on a Web site devoted to the issue.

In the infamous "woodchipper murder," Richard Crafts was convicted in 1989 of killing his wife, Helle, even though Crafts had put her remains through a woodchipper and only fragments were recovered.

In October 2003, Miguel Estrella of Meriden was found guilty of murdering a rival gang member. He suffocated Juan Disla, then dismembered his body with a chain saw and dissolved it in acid.

"It's amazing the lengths some people will go through to dispose of a body," DiBiase said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Article examines rarity of no body murder cases

posted by Admin on March 3rd, 2010 at 10:01 AM

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No-body prosecution a rarity
Hearing soon to determine if Crow will face trial
By VIRGINIA HENNESSEY
Herald Salinas Bureau
Posted: 03/03/2010 01:28:54 AM PST
Updated: 03/03/2010 08:36:06 AM PST

Jesse John Crow He is being held as suspect in wife's disappearance.

* Ryann Bunnell Crow case
* Feb 25:
* Civilian clothing gets OK for Jesse John Crow murder trial
* Feb 23:
* Jesse Crow pleads not guilty to murder of his wife, Ryann Bunnell Crow
* Feb 20:
* Crow released, rearrested
* Feb 18:
* Jesse Crow charged with homicide, even though no body found
* Feb 17:
* Update 9:45 a.m.: Ryann Bunnell Crow's husband arrested on homicide charge, $3 million bail set

As sheriff's officials continue to search for Ryann Bunnell Crow, the decision to pursue a murder charge against her husband takes local prosecutors down a perilous path traveled only twice before by their office.

Experts say "no body" murder cases are among the most difficult to prove. Before convincing a jury the defendant is guilty, prosecutors must prove the missing person is dead and died as a result of a crime.

If they fail on either count, the defendant walks free and they cannot return for a second try if a body is found.

Ryann Crow, 23, was last seen Jan. 30 driving near her in-laws' Prunedale home. Her family reported her missing Feb. 2 after she missed two days of work and a family party. Her 2002 white Chevrolet Malibu was found Feb. 9 in a Foster City neighborhood.

A week later, the missing woman's husband, 33-year-old Jesse John Crow, was arrested on suspicion of murdering her. He has pleaded not guilty, and a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold him for trial is to be scheduled this morning. He remains in Monterey County Jail in lieu of $3 million bail.

Officials at the Monterey County District Attorney's Office said they could remember only two bodiless murder prosecutions in the past three decades. In one of those cases, the victim's body was located before the preliminary hearing.

In 1979, then-prosecutor John Phillips, now a retired judge, filed a murder charge against Dale Gibson of Seaside,
whose estranged wife was missing and presumed dead. Phillips recalled recently that the two were in the midst of a nasty divorce and child-custody battle. After a lengthy investigation, Gibson was arrested in Florida.

The day before the preliminary hearing, investigators found Mark Watson, an Army buddy of Gibson's who confessed to shooting the woman at Gibson's urging. He took authorities to Big Sur, where they found Darlene Gibson's remains at the base of a cliff, her skull shattered by three shots.

Phillips said he garnered Watson's testimony at the trial by promising he would support his release when he came up for parole. Gibson was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. In the intervening years, laws and attitudes changed, Phillips said, and he has regretfully never been able to win Watson's release.

Blood evidence

Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Spitz said he knows of only one no-body murder conviction won at trial in Monterey County.

In 1983, Gary Meyer, now a retired judge, charged Gary Hicks of Lockwood with killing Ron Simpson, a parolee whose body has never been found.

Meyer convinced the jury that blood evidence proved Hicks killed Simpson during a drug- and alcohol-influenced argument in his mobile home. Hicks was sentenced to life in prison, where he remains.

Salinas police have indicated they have blood evidence supporting their conclusion that Ryann Bunnell Crow is dead and that her husband killed her, which may be the reason prosecutors felt confident enough to file charges.

Lancaster defense attorney and author Michael Eberhardt said he was surprised prosecutors would file a bodiless murder case just two weeks after the alleged victim was reported missing. The opinion comes from personal experience.

Eberhardt gained national attention for his book "Body of Crime," a novel based on his 1982 defense of Steven A. Jackson, a 27-year-old man charged with killing former love interest Julie Church, 23. The case is a perfect illustration of the risks prosecutors take in filing a no-body murder case.

Similar to Ryann Crow, Church was missing a relatively short period of time when Jackson was charged. The case went to trial in 1983.

Prosecutors argued the victim would have called someone if she was alive. Eberhardt told jurors there was no evidence she was dead, let alone that Jackson killed her. She may have just decided to take off, he said.

The jury acquitted Jackson and he remains a free man. In 1992, Church's remains were found buried about 150 yards from the Antelope Valley house where Jackson was living when she disappeared.

In a 1995 article in the American Bar Association Journal, Eberhardt told investigative journalist Steve Weinberg that missing-and-presumed-dead cases are the ultimate challenge for a defense attorney.

"They're extremely rare, and the DA's office doesn't file such a case unless the circumstantial evidence against the defendant is overwhelming," he said.

"The biggest problem the prosecution has is the jury has to be convinced there is no other possibility," Eberhardt said. "If I was the defense attorney, I'd rush into trial as quickly as possible."

Past convictions

Convictions in such cases are not unheard of. The nation's first occurred in 1959 in the case of L. Ewing Scott, who was convicted on circumstantial evidence of killing his wife, Evelyn, in the Los Angeles area. Scott appealed on the grounds there was no corpus delicti, but the conviction was upheld. The victim's body was never found.

In Oakland in 2008, Hans Reiser was convicted of the first-degree murder of his wife, Nina Reiser, who was still missing during the trial. The computer entrepreneur was later allowed to plead to second-degree murder in exchange for leading authorities to his wife's remains.

Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said there is "a substantial, tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence" against Jesse Crow. He said there is "persuasive" evidence of a motive, though no details have been released.

On Tuesday, Sheriff's Cmdr. Mike Richards said his office continues to search for Ryann Bunnell Crow.

Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 753-6751 or vhennessey@montereyherald.com.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Lisowski found guilty in no body murder case

posted by Admin on March 2nd, 2010 at 7:24 PM

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Ocean Beach Man Found Guilty In Death Of Estranged Wife

POSTED: 4:28 pm PST March 1, 2010
UPDATED: 4:16 pm PST March 2, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- An Ocean Beach man was convicted Tuesday of killing his estranged wife to avoid paying child support.

Jurors, in their fourth day of deliberations, found 69-year-old Henry Lisowski guilty of first-degree murder, and found true a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain in the death of 50-year-old Rosa Lisowski.

Her body has never been found.

Henry Lisowski will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on April 2.

After Judge John Einhorn read the guilty verdicts, the defendant thanked and shook the hand of his attorney, Richard Gates.

Lisowski spoke when the judge asked him if he was willing to have his sentencing hearing on April 2.

"Your honor, I did not commit the crime ... but you can sentence me to anything you wish now," Lisowski told the judge.

Outside court, one juror, identified as Martha, said the defendant's story that his wife fell down some steps and hit her head didn't add up.

"At the end, we were all very sure of our decision -- completely sure," the juror said.

Veronica Ramos, who is married to Rosa Lisowski's nephew and takes cares of the couple's two young sons, cried as she spoke to reporters.

"For me, knowing Henry, Rosa, and the boys and their situation, it was obvious to me he was guilty," Ramos said. "She knew it could happen. She told me it could, and when it happened, I knew it was Henry."

The couple's boys now live with Ramos and her family in Bakersfield. Rosa Lisowski had two other children from a previous relationship.

Defense attorney Richard Gates maintained the evidence showed the victim hit her head when she fell down some steps at the defendant's home and eventually died.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Cooper told jurors that the defendant followed through on his threats to kill his wife if she didn't drop her child support case.

Cooper said the defendant had been threatening his estranged wife since November 2006.

Lisowski had told the victim, "If you don't drop the child support case, I'll kill you. The children will be without a mother and I'll be in jail," according to Cooper.

The victim disappeared on March 24, 2008, after walking her 6-year-old son to school from her apartment in the Midway-Loma Portal District.

The day she vanished, Lisowski was looking forward to the resolution of the child support case and anticipating a $30,000 disability settlement from a grocery store, Cooper said.

When she didn't return from dropping off her son, friends and family immediately suspected the defendant, Cooper said.

In February 2008, Lisowski was ordered to pay the victim $1,029 a month and started to search the Internet for poison to kill his wife, Cooper said.

The story was corroborated by the couple's son "Junior," who said his father gave him some green powder and told him to put it in his mother's water, the prosecutor said. The child said he poured the powder into the carpet because he thought it was something bad, Cooper said.

Gates urged the jury to disregard the "incredible" claim that a father would give his then-5-year-old son poison that the child could have ended up ingesting. He said "Junior" most likely picked up from friends and family the notion that his father killed his mother.

Cooper said Lisowski had been facing a hearing on April 2, 2008, at which he was going to have to disprove contentions that he had underreported his assets by $1.3 million, followed by a child support hearing 27 days later.

After she went missing, police looked everywhere for the victim, eventually finding her blood on a kitchen counter in the defendant's home and in the trunk of his vehicle, Cooper said, adding that her blood also was found on the inside of the passenger side door of Lisowski's vehicle.

The prosecutor said Lisowski went to Mexico after his wife disappeared, resurfacing in September 2008 with a letter sent to friends and family giving his version of his wife's death.

In the letter, Lisowski said his wife was knocked unconscious by the fall and he revived her with water and put her in the car to go to the hospital. On the way there, the victim went into seizures and died, the defendant said.

Cooper told the jury that the victim's injuries were consistent not with a fall, but, rather, a violent attack with a hammer or having her head slammed into something.

Copyright 2010 by City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest made in Chicago area no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 28th, 2010 at 4:08 PM

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Former boss arrested for murder in teen's 2002 disappearance

By Associated Press

10:39 PM CST, February 26, 2010
WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) — McHenry County authorities say that seven years after Brian Carrick vanished from a grocery store in the northwestern Chicago suburb of Johnsburg, his former boss has been charged with killing the 17-year-old stockboy.

Johnsburg police Sgt. Keith VonAllmen said Fox Lake police and an FBI agent arrested 26-year-old Mario Casciaro of McHenry late Friday afternoon, a day after he was indicted for first-degree murder and concealing a homicide.

Casciaro was being held on $5 million bond. A shift sergeant at the McHenry County Jail said late Friday she did not know if he had an attorney

Carrick disappeared on Dec. 20, 2002 from his job at Val's Foods. No body was ever found, but police said they found traces of his blood inside the store.

In 2009, Casciaro was acquitted of perjury charges stemming from Carrick's disappearance.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Jury deliberations underway in Connecticut no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 26th, 2010 at 7:26 AM

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Replay of testimony in Leniart murder trial sought by jurors
By Karen Florin

Publication: The Day

Published 02/26/2010 12:00 AMUpdated 02/26/2010 01:43 AM
A quartet of witnesses dubbed "The Four Horsemen" by defense attorney Norman A. Pattis quickly became the focus of a jury that began deliberating Thursday in the murder trial of George M. Leniart.

Leniart, 44, of Montville, is accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering 15-year-old April Dawn Pennington, who disappeared from her parents' Montville home on May 29, 1996. The state rarely prosecutes cases when no body has been recovered, but state police brought charges against Leniart, a convicted sex offender, 12 years after April went missing.

The jury of nine men and three women settled into their discussions in mid-afternoon after listening to closing arguments from the attorneys and to legal instructions from Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed. They elected a foreman, requested notepads, and as the business day came to a close sent the judge a note asking for a replay of the recorded testimony of the four men who implicated Leniart.

The panel will listen this morning to the testimony of Patrick "PJ" Allain, who said he and Leniart raped April on the night she sneaked out a window and climbed into the then-30-year-old Leniart's pickup truck. Allain, who said he was dropped off first, said Leniart told him the next day that he had killed the girl and disposed of her body.

The jury also wants to listen again to testimony from Kenneth Buckingham, Michael Douton and Zee Ching, jailhouse informants who testified that Leniart confessed the murder to them when they roomed together or crossed paths in prison.

Thursday morning, the New London courtroom had filled up with spectators for the closing arguments of the seasoned attorneys for the state and defense. Detectives who had investigated the case, some of whom had been sequestered during the trial, filled a few rows of benches behind the state's table to hear the attorneys' summations. Leniart, who had opted not to testify on his own behalf, busied himself with a pen and notepad at the defense table.

Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney gestured toward Leniart while describing him as a man who took pleasure in telling people he would not be charged with murder because April's body has not been recovered. "No body, no crime," Leniart allegedly said to fellow prison inmates.

Carney acknowledged the state's key witnesses are convicted felons, but asked the jury to consider that they "may just be trying to do the right thing" in this case. He pointed to the similarities between the sexual assault that Leniart had committed just six months before April Pennington went missing. The state had called the victim of that crime as its last witness.

Leniart's lawyer continued to attack the credibility of Allain and the three "snitches." He called them "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" in a Biblical reference to when God sends four horsemen to wreak havoc on the world. Noting each of the witnesses gave a different version of Leniart's alleged confession, he asked the jurors to play the "telephone" game in which each person whispers something to another, and the message becomes convoluted as it is passed on from person to person.

Pattis tossed out theories for the jury's consideration, including the fact that April Pennington could still be alive or that Allain is the one who killed her.

"I can tell you straight up: I don't know where April Dawn Pennington is, and you don't either," he said.

k.florin@theday.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ California man on trial in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 25th, 2010 at 9:24 AM

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Arguments made in alleged OB wife murder
By Staff, City News Service
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 print page An Ocean Beach man followed through on his threats to kill his estranged wife if she didn’t drop her child support case, a prosecutor said Wednesday, but a defense attorney said evidence shows the woman hit her head while falling down steps at the defendant’s home and eventually died.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Cooper, in her closing argument in the trial of Henry Lisowski, said the defendant had been threatening his estranged wife, Rosa, since November 2006 and killed her on March 24, 2008.

The defendant had told the victim, “If you don’t drop the child support case, I’ll kill you. The children will be without a mother and I’ll be in jail,” according to Cooper. The prosecutor said there was no body because Lisowski “threw her away like a piece of trash.”

The 50-year-old victim — a mother of four, including two young boys by the defendant — disappeared in 2008 after walking her 6-year-old son to school from her apartment in the Midway-Loma Portal District. “She was a devoted mother to her kids,” the prosecutor told the jury.

“Rosa would have never have left her kids unattended … would never have walked out on them.”

The day she disappeared, Rosa Lisowski was looking forward to the resolution of the child support case and was also anticipating a $30,000 disability settlement from a grocery store, Cooper said. When the victim didn’t return from dropping off her son, friends and family immediately suspected the defendant, Cooper said.

Lisowski, 69, had told his wife, “I’ll see you dead before I pay you child support,” according to Cooper. The victim had called 911 twice over the years, telling dispatchers her husband had threatened to kill her, the prosecutor said.

Friends and family members testified that she had told them that her husbamd told her “just one phone call and I can make you disappear,” the prosecutor told the jury. In February 2008, Lisowski was ordered to pay the victim $1,029 a month and started to search the Internet for poison to kill his wife, Cooper said.

The story was corroborated by the couple’s son “Junior,” who said his father gave him some green powder and told him to put it in his mother’s water, the prosecutor said. The child said he poured the powder into the carpet because he thought it was something bad, Cooper said.

The prosecutor said Lisowski was facing an April 2, 2008, hearing, at which he was going to have to disprove contentions that he had underreported his assets by $1.3 million, and an April 29 child support hearing.

After she went missing, police looked everywhere for the victim, eventually finding her blood on a kitchen counter in the defendant’s home and in the trunk of his vehicle, the prosecutor said. Lisowski’s blood was also found on the inside of his vehicle’s passenger side door, Cooper said.

After his wife disappeared, a friend testified that Lisowski had scratches on his face, arms, back and neck, which he said could have come from falling while trimming bushes or from his cats, Cooper said. The prosecutor said Lisowski went to Mexico after his wife disappeared, resurfacing in September 2008 with a letter sent to friends and family explaining his wife’s death.

In the letter, Lisowski said his estranged wife came to his house on March 24, 2008, fell down some steps and was knocked unconscious. Lisowski wrote that he revived his wife with water, and put her in the car to take her to the hospital.

On the way there, Rosa Lisowski went into seizures and died, according to his letter. Cooper said the victim’s injuries were consistent not with a trip and a fall, but rather a violent, bloody attack with a hammer or having her head slammed into something. Cooper said Rosa Lisowski was probably begging for her life and instead of letting her go, the defendant killed her in his home.

“How he did it? We won’t know,” the prosecutor said, urging jurors to convict the defendant of first-degree murder and murder for financial gain.

Defense attorney Richard Gates told the jury there was no evidence that his client picked his estranged wife up in his car and took her to his house that fateful day. Gates also said there was no evidence that Rosa Lisowski was begging for her life before she died.

The attorney said something bad happened to the victim, but what it was isn’t known. “They (prosecutors) don’t know how Rosa Lisowski died — other than what Mr. Lisowski said in the letter,” Gates told the jury. “If they don’t know how she died, they can’t prove murder.”

Gates said Rosa Lisowski went to her husband’s house on her own to talk about financial support. “Maybe she didn’t get what she wanted,” the attorney said. “This is a very odd relationship between these two … human through and through.”

The two lived apart, but Rosa Lisowski would come over to her husband’s house for “privacy time,” according to their young son. Gates told the jury to disregard “incredible” evidence that a father would give a then-5-year-old child poison that the child could possibly ingest himself.

The attorney said “Junior” most likely heard from friends and family the notion that his father killed his mother.

The jury began deliberating Lisowski’s fate about mid-afternoon. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of all charges.

City News Service staff wrote and edited this story.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 6:32 pm and is filed under Local News . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Read more: http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2010-02-24/local-county-news/arguments-made-in-alleged-ob-wife-murder#ixzz0gZ6Qu8Cm

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ More on John Spira case

posted by Admin on February 24th, 2010 at 11:42 AM

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Still no sign of missing St. Charles man after three years
Robyn Repeta, of Hoffman Estates, a friend of John Spira holds up a sign for passing traffic on County Farm Road, north of St. Charles Road, in front of Spira's West Chicago business. A missing person flyer with Spira's picture is fastened to the back of her sign. The event on Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 marks the second anniversary of his disappearance.
Bill Ackerman
Jurate Zubinas, of Willowbrook, a friend of John Spira passes out flyers to passing traffic on County Farm Road, north of St. Charles Road, in front of Spira's West Chicago business. The event on Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 marks the second anniversary of his disappearance.
Bill Ackerman
Donna Brownstone of Wilmette, a friend of John Spira holds up sign for passing northboud traffic on County Farm Road, south of North Avenue, in front of Spira's West Chicago business. The event on Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 marks the second anniversary of his disappearance. Sign says, "Where is John Spira? ...Someone Knows! and you know who you are!!"
More Photos
By Hal Conick, hconick@mysuburbanlife.com
St. Charles Republican
Posted Feb 23, 2010 @ 01:58 PM
St. Charles, IL — A lot can happen over the course of three years. In the missing person case of St. Charles resident John Spira, not nearly enough has happened, according to his family.

Tuesday marks the three-year anniversary of Spira’s disappearance.

Spira last was seen at Universal Cable Construction, a business he ran with Dave Stubben for more than a decade. Stubben and other employees of the company said they last saw Spira at 7:15 p.m. Feb. 23, 2007. His sister, Stephanie McNeil, of Phoenix, said 2010 will be the first year since Spira went missing that a public event won’t be held Feb. 23 to acknowledge his absence.

“It’s really difficult,” McNeil said. “Trust me, I’d love to do something publicly, (but) it’s going to be a hard day for me.”

Last year, friends of Spira held a gathering outside of Universal at the intersection of County Farm and St. Charles roads. A banner still hangs cater-corner from the business, letting passers-by know that Spira remains missing.

While no event will be held to commemorate the three-year anniversary of Spira’s disappearance, McNeil said they still are trying to move the case along. McNeil has hired “no-body” murder case specialist Tad DiBiase to see if he can find anything DuPage County investigators didn’t.

The Spira case also will be featured on Investigation Discovery television series “Disappeared” Monday, March 15.

“This is, in fact, a murder case,” McNeil said. “It’s not a missing-persons case, it’s a murder case. No doubt about it. I’ve been saying that from day one.”

Spira, 46, had made arrangements to meet a friend at an Oak Brook restaurant for dinner at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 23, 2007, but he never arrived. Friends’ suspicions grew when he didn’t show up the next day at a Montgomery restaurant for a gig with his blues band, the Rabble Rousers.

The St. Charles resident was in the middle of a messy divorce at the time of his disappearance.

His estranged wife filed a missing-person report with the St. Charles Police Department two days after he was last seen.

A fire broke out at Spira’s business in September 2007, almost destroying the building. A 20-foot-by-5-foot banner about Spira that friends and family hung across the street from the business two days before the fire also disappeared.

McNeil said there is “no way” that Spira would have left home without a trace voluntarily.

“It’s not even a remote possibility. We had plans. ... Our family is close,” McNeil said. “My brothers and I are best friends.”

Mark Edwalds, DuPage County Sheriff’s Office investigative commander, said the case still is being looked at as a missing-persons case and not much has changed over the past year.

“I think there’s always hope (for solving the case),” Edwalds said. “It’s just coming across the right piece of evidence.”

McNeil informed the Sheriff’s Office she hired DiBiase, but Edwalds said he has yet to hear from the outside investigator.

McNeil said she isn’t sure what to expect from DiBiase, but hopes he brings some movement to the case. She said she has tried to keep in close contact with the Sheriff’s Office, but isn’t happy with the status of her brother’s case.

“I beg them all the time, ‘Please just call it what it is. Please say there was foul play,’” McNeil said. “I think if we had never gotten any media on this, they would have quit.”

TIMELINE

2007
Feb. 23 John Spira last seen at Universal Cable Construction
Feb. 24 Spira doesn’t show for gig at Montgomery restaurant
Feb. 25 Estranged wife files missing person report
Sept. 14 Supporters put up sign across from business
Sept. 16 Fire at business and sign discovered missing
Dec. 8 Family meets with relatives of Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic to organize search

2008
Feb. 23 First anniversary marked with event at Kingston Mines

2009
Feb. 23 Supporters mark second anniversary

2010
Feb. 23 Three-year anniversary of Spira’s disappearance date
March 15 Spira’s story to air on “Disappeared”

Copyright 2010 Huntley Farmside. Some rights reserved

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ More on John Spira case

posted by Admin on February 23rd, 2010 at 11:47 AM

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Investigator wants missing musician case treated as a murder

Steve Miller reporting
(WBBM) -- Today marks three years since John Spira disappeared from his West Chicago office, and DuPage County authorities say they are investigating it as a missing persons case.

A former federal prosecutor thinks it should be treated as a murder case.

John Spira was a musician, a pilot and co-owner of a business in West Chicago. Three years ago today, he vanished.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Tad DiBiase says he's convinced Spira is dead - and was murdered.

Spira did not, DiBiase says he believes, not kill himself.

"Oh I'm very strongly convinced. People like that don't just disappear."

"You can't bury yourself. You can't burn yourself up. Generally you jump into a body of water and maybe disappear that way. But most bodies, as gross as it is, rise to the surface of the water."

DiBiase was contacted by John Spira's sister Stephanie McNeil, who has led the search for Spira.

DiBiase says he's tracking this as a "no body" murder case.

"It's an interesting case because typically the victim in the 'no body' case is a female."

Think, as some would allege, Stacy Peterson.

DiBiase has taken the case pro-bono--at no charge. He says his job is to work with Spira's family and police - to maybe nudge police into pursuing some new leads.

"Generally most people don't want to kill random people. They want to kill people who piss them off of jilted them."

The DuPage County sheriff's office says it is still investigating, calling it a "missing persons" case.

More information at:
www.nobodymurdercases.com
www.johnspira.com

Contents of this site are Copyright 2010 by WBBM.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Illinois man missing for three years

posted by Admin on February 23rd, 2010 at 9:06 AM

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Most no body murders involve women as victims but here is a case outside of Chicago where the man has been missing for three years today:

Family still has no clues in case of missing STC man
By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf@kcchronicle.com
Three years after her brother disappeared, Stephanie McNeil still doesn’t know what happened to him.

“We don’t have any more information today than we did three years ago, which makes it that more frustrating and unbearable,” said McNeil, sister of St. Charles man John Spira.

Spira, 45, last was seen Feb. 23, 2007, at Universal Cable Construction near West Chicago, which Spira co-owned. A fire in September 2007 totaled the business.

DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba said Monday that sheriff’s detectives are continuing their investigation into his disappearance. He urged anyone with information on the case to call the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office at 630-407-2333.

Spira’s disappearance will be featured next month as part of the Investigation Discovery cable channel show, “Disappeared.” The segment will air starting on March 15.

“I am hoping the show will bring new leads and interest to the case,” McNeil said. “The more people who know about the case, the better.”

The family has also engaged the services of a former federal prosecutor who McNeil said is the country’s foremost expert in prosecuting “no body” murder cases.

Susan Olsen knows what it is like having a loved one seemingly disappear. Her son, Bradley Olsen, 26, of Maple Park, has been missing since January 2007.

“There never will be any closure for us if we don’t find some answers,” said Olsen, who keeps in touch with McNeil. “It is a sad, sad situation.”

DeKalb police continue to investigate the case. Bradley Olsen was last seen about 2 a.m. Jan. 20, 2007, at Bar One in DeKalb. DeKalb police have said he arrived at the bar with some friends late Jan. 19.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Jailhouse informants testify in Connecticut no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2010 at 11:23 AM

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Jailhouse informants tell of alleged confessions

By Karen Florin

Publication: The Day
Published 02/19/2010 12:00 AM
Updated 02/19/2010 12:52 AM
Details vary, but all say Leniart bragged about body's disposal

The testimony of jailhouse informants at the murder trial of George M. Leniart has been consistent about one thing - Leniart's confidence that state police would not charge him because they would never find the body of teenager April Dawn Pennington.

Troopers did charge Leniart with the murder in 2008, and the state is relying on the prison informants in the "no-body" murder trial taking place in New London Superior Court this month. April Pennington, 15, sneaked out of her family's Montville home on May 29, 1996, and they never saw her again.

Each of the convicted felons who took the witness stand to implicate Leniart in the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of the teen gave a slightly different version of Leniart's alleged prison confessions. They all said, however, that Leniart boasted he would never be charged because state police would not find the girl's body.

Kenneth S. Buckingham, an accused serial bank robber who testified Thursday, said Leniart was "pretty cool" when he talked about the state police "being after him" for a murder case.

"He said, 'No body, no crime,' '' Buckingham testified.

Leniart told him, when the two of them were housed together at Corrigan Correctional Institution, that he had accidentally killed April by choking her while they were having sex, Buckingham testified.

"He made reference that he dismembered her and put her in lobster pots," Buckingham said. Leniart said he dumped the body in Long Island Sound, Buckingham said.

Zee Y. Ching Jr., who has a history of drug crimes, also testified Thursday, saying Leniart was "kind of bragging" about hiding the girl's body when the two shared a cell at Corrigan in 2007.

"He thought the state police were a bunch of idiots and they were tearing up his property and they couldn't find her and she wasn't there," Ching said.

In Ching's version, Leniart said he and a younger friend got a girl drunk and raped her on a boat.

Ching said Leniart told him the girl started "flipping out" on the way back to the boat and he decided he would have to "do her."

"He said the younger man refused to cooperate, so he did it himself and hid the body," Ching said. Leniart told him he hid her body in a well at Wilson's Marina and later dumped it in Long Island Sound.

Michael Douton, who is serving a six-year sentence for three convictions of driving under the influence, testified Wednesday that Leniart referenced the murder when the two met up in a holding area at Corrigan in May 2009. Douton said Leniart told him April's body was "in the river" and pointed in the direction of the Mohegan Sun casino and the Thames River.

"He told me they would never convict him because they would never find the body," Douton said. Douton said he was amazed by what Leniart said and that he seemed "very confident."

Also Thursday, defense attorney Norman A. Pattis moved for a mistrial when Ching testified that Leniart asked him whether he should kill the man who was with him on the night April disappeared. He was presumably talking about Patrick "PJ" Allain, who has testified that he and Leniart picked up the girl after she sneaked out of her house, drank and smoked marijuana with her and raped her.

Pattis objected to the testimony, saying the state sneaked into evidence a statement that Leniart was speculating about killing Allain. Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney said the state is not alleging that Leniart took any steps to kill Allain, and that this was "just a conversation that took place in Corrigan back in 2007." Judge Barbara B. Jongbloed denied the mistrial motion.

Pattis again moved for a mistrial when Buckingham used the term "ripper" or rapist to refer to Leniart. Jongbloed denied the motion but agreed to strike the "ripper" testimony from the record.

The trial resumes today.

k.florin@theday.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Mistrial in Westchester County, NY no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 20th, 2010 at 11:10 AM

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Mistrial for NY jeweler accused of killing wife

FILE- In this undated file photo released by the New York State Police on Oct. 31, 2008, Faith Lippe is shown. Werner Lippe is accused of killing his wife Faith Lippe and burning her body. (AP Photo/New York State Police, File)
By JIM FITZGERALD
The Associated Press
Friday, February 19, 2010; 4:51 PM

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A judge declared a mistrial Friday after a jury deadlocked in the trial of a 68-year-old jeweler accused of killing his wife and incinerating her body in an oil drum.

Relatives of the missing woman, Faith Lippe, gasped and burst into tears in the gallery when Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambelli announced the mistrial.

The jurors, seven women and five men, had announced they were split Thursday night over the fate of defendant Werner Lippe. The judge asked them to keep trying Friday, but they sent her a note midafternoon that said, "We are convinced that we are hopelessly deadlocked." It was their fourth day of deliberations.

The jurors were not polled, and it was not known how many favored conviction or acquittal or what the key issue was. They had asked questions about corroborating evidence, involuntary confessions and whether they can assume that Faith Lippe is dead.

After the mistrial was announced, the jurors were escorted away from reporters.

Lippe had confessed three times to the grisly killing and burning of his 49-year-old wife, and the jurors heard each of the confessions at least once.

"I hit her in the head with a piece of wood," Lippe said on one tape. "I dumped her in the barrel and burned her." Police never found the oil drum.

When Lippe testified, he said he made up the story to get investigators off his back until he could make a case to a judge. He claimed it was impossible to burn a body and leave no trace evidence. He said the last time he saw his wife - Oct. 3, 2008 - she was being driven away from their suburban home in Cortlandt, about 40 miles north of Manhattan, in an SUV he didn't recognize.

Prosecutors were hampered by the lack of any forensic evidence: no body, no bone fragments, no DNA. They said Lippe, who had acids and torches at his home jewelry workshop, was an expert who committed "almost a perfect murder."

Lippe testified that when his mother died in 2006, he asked a mortician, "By the way, how do you burn people?"

The district attorney's office said Lippe would be retried, and prosecutor John O'Rourke said he could be ready by next week, although preparations for a second trial are likely to delay it into next month at least.

Defense attorney Andrew Rubin said the trial had been "a long and difficult procedure," but he and Lippe would also be ready for a retrial.

Lippe, who remains in custody, showed no outward reaction when the mistrial was declared.

Faith Lippe's sister, Dawn Faigle, said outside the courthouse, "I'm extremely disappointed, but we are ready to do this again."

Shari Caradonna, Faith Lippe's cousin, said, "We will be back, and we will make sure Werner Lippe stays behind bars."

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in California no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 18th, 2010 at 6:45 PM

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Jesse Crow charged with homicide, even though no body found
Police say they have enough evidence against Ryann Bunnell Crow's husband
By JULIA REYNOLDS
Herald Staff Writer
Updated: 02/18/2010 08:40:33 AM PST

Jesse Crow Husband is being held on $3million bail.

Prosecutors in Monterey County may find themselves in the difficult position of having to prove a high-profile murder case without a body.

Salinas police arrested Jesse John Crow, 33, Tuesday night on suspicion of homicide in connection with the disappearance of his wife, Ryann Bunnell Crow.

Officers acknowledged Wednesday that Ryann Crow's body has not been recovered, but they said police investigators believe that the woman is dead and that her husband committed the crime.

They said investigators have been working closely with the Monterey County District Attorney's Office throughout the case.

Police spokesman Lalo Villegas said the District Attorney's Office was aware Tuesday night of the imminent arrest of Crow, indicating prosecutors felt confident they had enough evidence to file charges.

News of Jesse Crow's arrest — and the homicide charge — had a sodden impact on the woman's family and friends, who mounted a huge campaign to find the 23-year-old, who had been recently working part time for a Salinas florist.

The family's Facebook page, "Lets find Ryann Bunnell," was filled with expressions of condolence.

Jesse Crow, a longtime Prunedale resident, was arrested while driving in Pacific Grove about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday. Shortly after he was detained, officers executed a search warrant on the Pacific Grove home of his companion, Summer Donovan, who had previously been interviewed by detectives. Villegas said Donovan, who was riding with
Crow when he was stopped by police, was questioned again Tuesday night.

Following the arrest and a brief stop at the Salinas Police Department, Jesse Crow was booked in Monterey County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $3million bail. Villegas said arraignment for Crow is expected today.

Villegas said police are still searching for more evidence — and especially for Ryann Crow's body.

"We're not stopping until we find Ryann," Villegas said.

Salinas Police Chief Louis Fetherolf and Monterey County Sheriff Mike Kanalakis have scheduled a news conference today to discuss developments in the case.

Ryann Crow was last seen Jan. 30 driving a white 2002 Chevrolet Malibu in the Prunedale area. Her family notified police three days later after she failed to appear at a family party and did not show up for work. Police found the car Feb. 9 in Foster City, but have declined to discuss evidence they may have found in the vehicle.

In the two weeks since she was reported missing, police investigators routinely said Jesse Crow was cooperating with authorities. However, Crow has been conspicuously absent during the various search-party expeditions and a candlelight vigil held by Ryann Crow's friends and family.

Even before Jesse Crow's arrest, the case had drawn national attention, particularly with victims' rights activist Nancy Grace, who last week included the case on her blog. On Tuesday night, just hours before Jesse Crow's arrest, Grace spent much of her hour-long program on CNN Headline News discussing the case — and much of that time was spent implicating Jesse Crow as the chief suspect.

On Wednesday night, again leading her show with the Crow case, Grace speculated at length on the role Donovan might have had in Ryann Crow's disappearance.

The day Ryann Crow was reported missing, sheriff's deputies allegedly seized about 300 marijuana plants from Jesse Crow's home on Chester Drive. The District Attorney's Office was reviewing whether the plants were legal because Jesse Crow had a medical marijuana card.

While Ryann Crow was last seen in Prunedale, Salinas police have been the lead investigating agency because the woman reportedly spent considerable time living with her sister in the city.

Sheriff's deputies initially joined in the search for Ryann Crow but said they have not been involved in the case since Saturday, when a deputy helped the family during a search party over some North County terrain.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Westchester County, NY jury hears no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 16th, 2010 at 8:27 AM

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Conundrum for NY jury: Evidence in husband's murder trial includes confessions, no body
By: JIM FITZGERALD
Associated Press
02/15/10 3:31 PM EST WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Werner Lippe knows a lot about fire.

The 68-year-old jeweler, on trial on charges of killing and incinerating his wife, used a propane-and-oxygen torch to melt platinum and gold in his home workshop. He kept a 55-gallon oil drum as a burn barrel to get rid of trash, tomato plants, even the carcass of a deer he shot to protect his vegetable garden. When his mother died and her body was being prepared for cremation, Lippe testified that he asked a mortician, "By the way, how do you burn people?"

Prosecutors believe Lippe mastered that skill, using the barrel in 2008 to burn up the body of his 49-year-old wife, Faith Lippe, who was divorcing him. The drum disappeared soon after Faith Lippe did; her body hasn't been found.

Westchester County jurors have heard more than two weeks of testimony at Lippe's murder trial. They are expected to hear closing arguments and begin deliberating Tuesday. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors presented jurors with multiple confessions. The jury has repeatedly heard a recording of him saying, "I hit her with a piece of wood. ... I dumped her in the barrel and burned her" and details like the color of the ash that Faith Lippe's body was reduced to.

Lippe now insists the confessions were made-up stories concocted to get dogged investigators off his back until he could make his case to a judge.

During two days of testimony last week, he spoke coolly and confidently about the intricacies of jewelry making, dangerous acids and high-temperature flames. He said it was just his curiosity that prompted him to talk to the mortician and to ask a friend, after his wife disappeared, how deep a body would have to be buried to fool cadaver dogs.

Defense lawyer Andrew Rubin says Lippe was neither strong enough nor clever enough to pull off the murder.

Born in Poland, Lippe grew up in Austria and went to Germany to study jewelry-making. He came to New York in 1979 and became a topflight craftsman and goldsmith, with his own business in Manhattan's diamond district 40 miles from his Cortlandt home.

He considers his client list confidential, but grudgingly admitted on the stand that he made pieces for Donald Trump and Yoko Ono. An employee said some of Lippe's pieces sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lippe was married twice in Europe. The first marriage lasted two years, the second eight weeks, he said.

He met his third wife, Faith, in New York. About 17 years younger than him, she had been in the fashion business but concentrated on home and children after they married in 1990, he said. At the time of her death at age 49, she was a part-time nutrition consultant to the Ossining schools.

In recent years, the marriage became contentious. Lippe told prosecutor Christine O'Connor that the couple argued constantly.

He had his son Andrew, now 15, secretly tape arguments for ammunition in the divorce.

"Your control-freakness has to stop. I will stop this. I guarantee it," Lippe told his wife in one recording played at trial.

It seemed both spouses wanted out. Werner Lippe, an accomplished skier, said he wanted to move to a log cabin near the slopes in Utah. His wife wanted no part of it, he said.

She served divorce papers, and he was fighting her claims for child support and maintenance. He envisioned that Andrew would go off with him, while their daughter Stephanie, now 13, would stay with her mother.

A meeting about the divorce between the Lippes, their lawyers, their children and their law guardians was scheduled for Oct. 7, 2008.

On Oct. 3, Faith Lippe missed several appointments. Her husband said he saw her being driven away in an SUV but could not see who was at the wheel. Her handbag was still at home.

Lippe said he became concerned when she did not return that night, but he did not call her cell phone.

The next day, he said, he drove an hour to ask a friend in Connecticut about the rules for filing a missing-person report. He had lunch and checked on his boat at a marina before coming home and calling 911.

Within a few days, state police with dogs searched the grounds of Lippe's home looking for his wife. They noticed, but did not confiscate, the burn barrel.

Later that month, Lippe confessed to a friend, James Learnihan, that he burned his wife's body. Learnihan was wearing a wire at the behest of investigators.

"She doesn't exist anymore," Lippe said in one taped conversation. "They cannot find her. It's impossible. ... I burned her in a barrel."

He said he hit his wife in the head with a piece of wood to knock her out, then shoved her into the barrel. "She burned for close to 24 hours," he said.

State police surprised Lippe with Learnihan's recording and he confessed again, describing to them the silver-gray color of the ash.

But he recanted his confessions after he was arrested. He said he made up the story because he was afraid of Learnihan and feared he was being framed. He said he repeated the story to police because they weren't listening to his claims of innocence.

Lippe testified that he thought he would eventually be able to explain to a prosecutor or judge and be let off. They would have more education and a "higher IQ" than police officers, he testified.

When police went to find the burn barrel, it was gone. Lippe said he had innocently thrown it out.

Prosecutors displayed photos that showed the barrel would have fit into Lippe's Audi.



Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/nation/conundrum-for-ny-jury-evidence-in-husbands-murder-trial-includes-confessions-no-body-84399237.html#ixzz0fiFWc4tE

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ "48 Hours" to air New York no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 12th, 2010 at 9:48 AM

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Feb. 11, 2010
"48 Hours" Preview: A Time to Kill
A Woman Vanishes from her Upstate N.Y. Home the Day After 9/11; Was it the Perfect Time for a Crime?
48 Hours Mystery Preview: A Time to Kill

A mother of four vanishes the day after 9/11. Was it the day for the perfect crime? Erin Moriarty reports Saturday, Feb. 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
For family and friends of Michele Harris, the last 8 1/2 years have been a blur of investigations, trials and jury deliberations.

To the outside world, Michele and her husband, Calvin Harris, had a perfect life - they were young, attractive and successful with a beautiful family and a home in a picturesque upstate New York town. But Michele’s disappearance in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2001, revealed a much darker story. With much of New York State Police and canine forces diverted to New York City in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, local investigators were slowed by the limited resources available to them. Was this the perfect time for murder?

Michele’s disappearance remained shrouded in mystery until state police discovered tiny drops of blood in the Harris home. After four years, with no body or murder weapon, investigators felt they had enough circumstantial evidence and arrested Calvin Harris for Michele’s murder. In May 2007, the case went to trial and Harris was convicted of second-degree murder. As he awaited sentencing, a new witness emerged. Harris’ conviction was overturned and a new trial was set for 2009.

In the end, a second trial would reach the same guilty verdict, but as Calvin Harris continues to maintain his innocence, he is now fighting for a third trial. Meanwhile authorities have not given up the search for Michele’s body.

"48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Erin Moriarty has the rest of the story Saturday, Feb. 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrests and one guilty plea in Alabama no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 11th, 2010 at 10:56 AM

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From WTVY:

Investigators began digging for 25-year-old Victor Sanchez last Tuesday.

Sanchez had been missing since March of 2009.

A suspect told investigators last week that he could take them to where the body was buried.

After days of searching, no body has been found.

Officials say they have discontinued the search and will go forward with the trial.

Four people are being charged in the murder case.

District Attorney Doug Valeska allowed the wife of the victim, Jessica Wilson, to plead guilty to manslaughter and serve 17 years in prison.

Two others will be placed on the trial docket.

One suspect remains on the loose.

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▣ No body murder trial begins in Connecticut

posted by Admin on February 11th, 2010 at 10:53 AM

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A 1995 murder case without a body that relies on veteran informant. It wil be interesting to see whether the court permits the defense to call its expert witness on "snitches."
Tad

Lawyers are set for battle in cold-case murder trial
By Karen Florin

Publication: The Day

Published 02/07/2010 12:00 AMUpdated 02/07/2010 02:59 AM0

The state is ready to take its best run at murder suspect George M. Leniart, bringing him to trial Monday despite not having found a victim's body and with a case that relies heavily on jailhouse informants.

Leniart's defense attorney is prepared also. He gave signs during jury selection that he will assert there is no proof a murder even occurred and that he will aggressively cross-examine the jailhouse witnesses, whom he calls "snitches."

Leniart, 44, of Uncasville, is accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 15-year-old April Dawn Pennington of Montville in May 1996. A panel of 12 jurors and four alternates is in place in New London Superior Court, and Judge Barbara B. Jongbloed is presiding.

On the first day of the trial, prosecutors John P. Gravalec-Pannone and Stephen M. Carney are expected to set the scene for the jury with testimony from one of April's family members and from the police officers who first responded to the report that April was missing.

Later in the week, the state plans to call on Patrick "PJ" Allain, a convicted rapist who has told police many times over the years that he and Leniart were with April Pennington on the night she disappeared.

State police immediately suspected Leniart, who was out on bond for the rape and near-strangulation of another teenager when April crawled out the bedroom window of her parents' home on Orchard Drive and disappeared. Detectives scoured the region for April's body without success and conducted hundreds of interviews.

Leniart was convicted of other sex crimes, and the detectives had information from Allain about the events of May 29, 1996. They kept a close eye on Leniart but could never build a case strong enough to prosecute him until several jailhouse informants told them Leniart had confessed to the murder.

One of those informants is Kenneth Buckingham, an accused serial bank robber from Old Lyme. He told authorities in early 2008 that Leniart, his one-time cellmate at Corrigan Correctional Institution, had confessed to killing a teenage girl. Buckingham said Leniart, who was again incarcerated on rape charges, got upset after another prisoner saw a TV news report about Leniart and started calling him a "ripper" or rapist. Leniart allegedly told Buckingham he would rather be known as a murderer, so he described how he strangled Pennington.

Buckingham is not a newly minted informant. In 2007, he testified at the murder trial of Richard Read, who was accused of fatally shooting a Bristol man. The prosecutor in that case said Buckingham's testimony helped convict Read, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence.

Leniart's attorney, Norman A. Pattis, represented Read, so this will be his second time cross-examining Buckingham. Pattis has indicated he wants "another piece" of Buckingham and is seeking the court's permission to solicit expert testimony from Alexandra Natapoff, a Loyola Law School professor and expert on jailhouse informants. Pattis said he contacted Natapoff in Los Angeles after reading her recently published book, "Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice."

The state, meanwhile, has asked the court to allow testimony about Leniart's previous convictions, including the rape and near-strangulation of a 13-year-old girl. Allain was involved in that crime, too, and the state will argue that the similarities in the allegations merit the jury's attention.

Though Leniart is charged with three counts of capital felony and one count of murder, the state is not seeking the death penalty because there is no body.

Posted by Thomas A. DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Texas men arrested for no body murder

posted by Admin on February 11th, 2010 at 10:44 AM

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Two held in the murder of former San Marcos man
Suspects under bonds of $500,000 each in death of Michael Van Dyke
By Anita Miller
News Editor

San Marcos — Two people, one a San Marcos resident, have been arrested in Bastrop County in connection with the murder of former San Marcos man Michael Van Dyke.

St. Ric Cole of the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office said 26-year-old Dennis Don Leetch of San Marcos has been charged with murder and is being held on a $500,000 bond. Also charged in the case is 24-year-old Dustin Dickman of Paige, who is also being held on a bond of $500,000.

Cole said Van Dyke was reported missing by his mother, Belinda Van Dyke of San Marcos on Dec. 27, but that he had not shown up at his job since mid-December.

“His parents hadn’t heard from him since Dec. 14. He didn’t show up for Christmas,” Cole said.

At the time of his disappearance, Van Dyke, 23, was living with Dickman at 321 County Line Road in Paige, an area in far eastern Bastrop County that Cole described as ranch country. He had been working at a Paige restaurant, but hadn’t shown up for work since mid-December.

Cole said there apparently were disagreements “over property and relationships” between the roommates. He said Bastrop County investigators “started digging at it and finally got enough information on who was involved to arrest Dickman.”

Dickman gave a confession, he said, that led detectives to Leetch, who also reportedly confessed.

Acting on that additional information, Hays County assisted Bastrop investigators in executing a search warrant Wednesday morning at 500 Roadrunner Road in Rocky Ranch 1, Hays Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Leroy Opiela said.

Cole said the search warrant turned up a vehicle with some evidence inside it and “some evidence of where the body had been.”

He said investigators believe Van Dyke’s body was initially buried on the property where he lived but that the suspects “got nervous and moved the body.” He said a dive team has searched three stock ponds on different area ranches.

Cole said no body was found but the searches did turn up “some of Van Dyke’s property.”

Investigators have found what they believe are the murder weapons, which Cole described as “construction boards and blocks.”

He said no additional arrests are anticipated but investigators are “still looking for some vital information that we haven’t got yet,” and have one more person in mind they would like to talk to.

“It’s a long process, and exhausting process for our guys,” he said. Van Dyke’s mother agreed. “Bastrop County has worked tirelessly on this case,” she said on Wednesday.

Van Dyke graduated from San Marcos High School in 2004 and served in the U.S. Army. Leetch graduated SMHS in 2002.

Van Dyke’s mother said her son and Leetch had been friends since high school. “The connection between those two was longstanding.”

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 303-1080. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 324-TIPS.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No body murder trial begins in California

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 6:19 PM

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Ocean Beach man to go on trial for murder of estranged wife
Posted: Feb 03, 2010 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Feb 04, 2010 5:26 PM EST
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Jury selection is underway in the trial of an Ocean Beach man accused of killing his wife.

The body of 50-year-old Rosa Lisowski has never been found nearly two years after the mother of four went missing, but her husband Henry is charged with her murder.
Jury selection started Wednesday morning. It will be up to the panel to determine if Henry Lisowski, 60, is guilty of killing his wife.

Rosa Lisowski was 48 when she went missing March 24, 2008. She was last seen dropping her son off at Bernard Elementary School in Point Loma.

Rosa's oldest son testified an an earlier hearing that his mom lived in fear of Henry.

At that same hearing, police testified Lisowski had noticeable scratch marks on his face the day he was questioned for his wife's disappearance.

Investigators also stated they found blood on the kitchen counter in his Ocean Beach home along with traces of blood in the cargo area of his SUV.

Legal analyst and defense attorney Robert Grimes says there are a couple of angles the defense can take to help prove Lisowski's innocence.

He cites a letter forensic teams declare was written by Henry Lisowski detailing how his wife died. According to the five-page document, Lisowski claimed Rosa suffered a head injury when she fell outside his Ocean Beach home and died on the way to the hospital.

The letter continues, stating Lisowski decided not to call authorities and instead dumped her body in a trash bin near a Mount Hope neighborhood.

"If the defense agrees he wrote that, then they might argue that's what happened and it's not a murder," Grimes said.

Jury selection for Lisowski's trial is expected to continue into Friday. Opening statements could come as early as Monday.

Lisowski is charged with a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ "Baby Gabriel" case

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 5:09 PM

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Murder Charge Possible for Baby Gabriel Mom Even with No Body
Published January 26, 2010 by:
Jotworks

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21 Baby Gabriel's mother, Elizabeth Johnson, pleads "Not Guilty". On Monday January 25, 2010, in Phoenix Arizona, Johnson appeared before a Maricopa County Superior Court judge via video-feed from one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Jails— Estrella Jail. Johnson pleaded 'not guilty' to four felony charges on the disappearance of her eight-month-old baby, Gabriel Johnson— nicknamed Baby Gabriel.

Clad in prison stripes, Johnson gave her name, birth date, and 'not guilty' plea. The four felony charges are: conspiracy to commit custodial interference; custodial interference; child abuse; kidnapping. Johnson's lawyer is public defender Jon Eliason. Baby Gabriel went missing on December 27, 2009 in San Antonio, Texas, where the investigation is ongoing.

Johnson could face a murder charge. If Baby Gabriel doesn't show up alive, Johnson could be charged and prosecuted for murder. Hearst newspaper The Beaumont Enterprise reports that Texas law needs no dead body in order to charge a suspect with capital murder. A defendant can be prosecuted in a murder trial even if no body is found. In 2001, Dallas-based lawyer Geoff Henley prosecuted and won a murder case even though he had no forensic evidence and no body.

Arizona, like Texas, has 'no body' murder cases. Arizona has a few 'no body' cases that have ended in convictions for the defendants. In 2001, Reuben Zavala was found guilty and sentenced for the disappearance of his girlfriend's son. The mother testified against Zavala saying that he had confessed to dumping the sexually-abused boy in a trash bin. No body was found. Yet, Zavala was convicted.

Johnson's case, ex-boyfriend Logan McQueary, Baby Gabriel's natural father, could testify against Johnson about how she confessed to him that she had killed Baby Gabriel, stuffed his blue dead body into a diaper bag, and thrown the bag into a dumpster.
Candlelight vigil for Baby Gabriel. Last night, McQueary led a candlelight vigil of hope and prayer for his infant son, who will turn nine months on February 3, if he his alive. A turnout of about 150 folk— family, friends, and supporters— rallied for Baby Gabriel's safe return. The vigil took place at Scottsdale's Chaparral Park near McQueary's childhood neighborhood. McQueary said of Baby Gabriel, "I hope he comes back soon... I love him. I want him back more than anything else."

McQueary and Johnson. McQueary has not yet had a face-to-face confrontation with Johnson. He has not visited her in jail. He has not even spoken with her by phone. In a CBS15 interview last night, he said he believes she would not tell him the truth. After her arrest on December 30 2009, Johnson told the police that she had lied to McQueary about murdering Baby Gabriel and that she had instead handed him over to strangers in San Antonio, Texas.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ "48 Hours" features no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 4:24 PM

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“48 Hours Mystery” to showcase Walker County’s Sam Parker murder case
by Josh O’BryantJan 20, 2010 |
CBS’s “48 Hours Mystery” will air an episode on the Sam Parker murder case on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 10 p.m. And, according to a “48 Hours” correspondent, the show could surprise some local residents.

About a half-dozen “48 Hours Mystery” producers and crew members, at any given time, were on site for Parker’s murder trial in Walker County Superior Court in downtown LaFayette from late August to early September.

Tracy Smith, a correspondent with “48 Hours Mystery,” was here for the beginning and end of the trial. She predicted viewers are in for a surprise when the episode airs next weekend.

Smith said eight jurors were interviewed for the episode and their “take” on the trial may not be what most in the area would expect.

Smith said the jurors took the case very seriously — and to heart, often leaving jury deliberations in tears. In the show the jurors discuss what rang true for them during the trial. That, she said, could be a big surprise for local residents who followed the trial closely.

Smith said “48 Hours Mystery” interviewed Parker as the jury deliberations were going on and after the trial ended.

Parker was accused of murdering his wife Theresa, a dispatcher with Walker County 911 who disappeared in March 2007. At the time Sam was a sergeant with the LaFayette Police Department. He was charged with his wife’s murder in February 2008, even though her body was never found. He was found guilty and is currently serving a life sentence.

Smith described Walker County and LaFayette as an inviting town that made the “48 Hours Mystery” crew feel like family.

“Everyone was so nice to us,” she said.

Smith said everyone had an opinion in the case, ranging from “he did it” to “she is still alive.”

Smith said the producers and crew members frequented Suzie’s Sunset Café in downtown LaFayette to “hear what the town was talking about” regarding the trial.

“Walking into Suzie’s was like running into friends,” she said.

The “48 Hours Mystery” crew spent a lot of time at Suzie’s, and of course at the courthouse, and stayed overnight in Chattanooga.

Smith even spent some time shopping for her children at Sew Cute in LaFayette.

She described her experience as becoming a part of the family in the community and, despite the fact that it was a murder trial, the experience was a positive one.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ California man sentenced to 15 years to life in no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 2:38 PM

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Felipe Cruz Hernandez gets life sentence for Leticia Barrales Ramos' Winters killing
Jason Kobely 18 days ago
WOODLAND, CA - A Winters man was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Friday for the murder of his wife, according to the Yolo County District Attorney's office.

Felipe Cruz Hernandez was convicted by a Yolo County Superior Court jury last month, even though the body of his wife Leticia Barrales Ramos has never been found.

Barrales Ramos, 28, was reported missing by Hernandez in April 2009, according to district attorney's office investigator Pete Martin.

Evidence was presented at trial that Barrales Ramos had recently filed for divorce from Hernandez, was seeing another man and had filed for custody of their 10-year-old daughter, Martin said.

According to FBI testimony, a receipt was found for a carpet steam cleaner at the couple's apartment dated the day after Barrales Ramos was last seen. Three large bloodstains were also discovered on the floor under the apartment carpet.

Court testimony revealed Cruz Hernandez told conflicting stories about where his wife went. The jury was told that he had borrowed a firearm from a relative.

Investigators also found Barrales Ramos' wallet, driver's license, passport, Mexican consulate card, Mexican voter card and a credit card. She had not told anyone at her two jobs that she had planned to be gone which was out of character, according to the prosecution.
News10/KXTV

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Nobodymurdercases.com featured in Indiana's Journal & Courier Newspaper

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 2:14 PM

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Murder suspect asks for public defender
By SOPHIA VORAVONG • svoravong@jconline.com • January 19, 2010

A public defender will be appointed to represent a Lafayette man suspected of killing his still-missing roommate following an altercation 13 months ago.
Wesley E. Kelly, 29, appeared for his initial hearing today before Tippecanoe County Magistrate Norris Wang on charges of murder, battery and being a habitual offender.

Kelly was brought to the brief hearing at the Tippecanoe County Jail from the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, where he is serving a three-year prison sentence for failing to register as a sex offender.

The new charges against Kelly - filed Thursday - stem from the disappearance of Steven L. Smith, 52, of Lafayette. Smith was last seen alive on Dec. 6, 2008.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said today that he was unaware of any prior occasions in which Tippecanoe County proceeded with murder charges against someone without recovering the suspected victim's body.
The Web site "No Body Murder Cases" - www.nobodymurdercases.com - has documented seven such instances in Indiana, dating to 1970 in Clinton County. Of those five ended in convictions and two with acquittals.

The site is run by Tad DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. It includes a table of 300 cases across the country in which murder charges were filed despite investigators not locating a body.

Allegations against Kelly stem from an apparent fight he and Smith had at their apartment on South Fourth Street in Lafayette on Dec. 6, 2008.

According to court documents, the two men then ended up on a downtown railroad bridge over the Wabash River. Investigators suspect Smith was struck with a padlock, causing him to fall in the water.

During today's initial hearing, Wang read aloud the charges against Kelly.

Murder in Indiana carries a sentencing range of 45 to 65 years in prison. If convicted of that and being a habitual offender, Kelly faces an additional 55- to 165-year sentencing enhancement, Wang said.

Kelly requested the public defender. He said he has been incarcerated for 13 months thus far on the failure to register conviction.

Harrington previously told the Journal & Courier that authorities waited a year to file charges in case Smith's body or other evidence was found by people hunting or fishing along the Wabash during summer and fall.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Murder charges in Las Vegas no body murder case

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 2:08 PM

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Officials seek murder trial in woman's disappearance
A year later, a murder case without a body
Attorney claims police threats prompted man’s confession
By Cara McCoy (contact)

Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 | 2:10 a.m.


Metro Police

Francisco Vazquez-Rosas
Sun Archives
■Man indicted in death of estranged wife (1-15-10)
Nobody knows for sure what happened to Teresa Guzman.

The mother of three hasn’t been seen alive since December 2008. Her body hasn’t been found, either.

Investigators believe she was murdered by her estranged husband, 26-year-old Francisco Vazquez-Rosas, who with the help of a Spanish-language interpreter pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of murder in district court.

After a lengthy questioning session and a polygraph test last month, police said Vazquez-Rosas confessed to killing Guzman after an argument. He told detectives he put her body into a trash bin and worried every night that police would be waiting for him when he got home. The body is still missing.

His attorney says the confession was coerced and that his client’s constitutional rights have been trampled on.

Vazquez-Rosas is being held without bail despite impassioned arguments from his attorney, Dan Silverstein, who asked Judge James Bixler to release his client on his own recognizance.

“It is unjust to keep a man incarcerated on this type of case on this type of investigation,” Silverstein said. “It is wrong.”

Silverstein said police threatened and harassed Vazquez-Rosas throughout the interview and that they used his two young daughters to manipulate his confession.

According to a police report, Vazquez-Rosas eventually told detectives that on Dec. 13, 2008, he had been with Guzman at an apartment in the 3100 block of South Nellis Boulevard.

Nearly six months passed before she was reported missing. No one remembered seeing her after that day.

Vazquez-Rosas told detectives that at first, Guzman sat on the couch that afternoon and wouldn’t speak to him. Eventually she told him she was planning to leave him and was taking their children with her, the police report says.

An argument and a physical struggle ensued.

Guzman fell as Vazquez-Rosas pushed her out the door, he told detectives. He went back inside and waited before realizing she hadn’t moved. Panicked, he pulled her inside and tried to revive her, according to the police report.

He tried hitting her in the face, kissing her and even rubbing alcohol on her body to try and get her to wake up, but nothing worked, he said. Unsure what to do next, Vazquez-Rosas says he dragged her to the nearest trash bin and put her inside, head-first.

Silverstein said the grueling 10-½ hour interrogation left his client with no choice but to confess.

“Every time I say ‘confession’ in this case, I have to use air quotes,” Silverstein said.

Silverstein wasn’t present during the interrogation but said he has seen videotape of the questioning. Each time Vazquez-Rosas said he was innocent, he was told he was “a liar and a killer,” Silverstein said.

“The only truth that they will recognize for 10 1/2 hours in that room is that he had something to do with the disappearance of his wife,” Silverstein said, adding that for the first 9 ½ hours, Vazquez-Rosas proclaimed his innocence.

Investigators threatened Vazquez-Rosas that he would never see his children again, Silverstein said.

“He doesn’t know the language, customs or whether the police in America are here to help him or hurt him,” Silverstein said. “After this encounter, your honor, I would question that as well.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lalli, who is prosecuting the case, gave the judge a number of reasons to keep Vazquez-Rosas behind bars.

“Whether counsel likes it or not, his client confessed to the crime,” Lalli said.

Lalli said Guzman has family in Mexico who she would have contacted if she had been deported, which she hadn’t done. She hasn’t made phone calls or contacted anyone close to her.

“The victim fell off the grid,” he said.

And, he said, there are witnesses to the alleged crime: “The facts are that two little girls, the defendant’s own children, who were 3 and 6 at the time, witnessed a murder and told family members about it.”

Lalli said the girls gave testimony in front of a grand jury about what they saw. The grand jury indicted Vazquez-Rosas on the murder charge earlier this month.

Releasing Vazquez-Rosas on his own recognizance, Lalli told the judge, would have been “effectually an end to the case.” An immigration detainer against Vazquez-Rosas means he would likely be deported or would flee – either way, not held accountable for the charges, he said.

Guzman was reported missing in May 2009 by her brother-in-law, with whom she and Vazquez-Rosas lived for a time in the apartment on Nellis. The couple had separated about two months before she disappeared.

“This woman who has disappeared had told people she was tired of her life; she was tired of living with her family, she was tired of living with Francisco -- she wanted to start a new life,” Silverstein said. “Those were her own words from the people who reported her missing to the police.”

Her brother-in-law contacted police again in October. He said he had lunch with Guzman the day she went missing and that she was upset because she wanted to move, but her husband wouldn’t let her take their children.

In early December, another relative contacted police and said Guzman’s children had spent the night with her. When she asked the youngest daughter if she missed her mother, the girl replied that she had seen her dad choke her mom and put her in a trash bag.

Detectives interviewed both girls. The youngest denied her mother was dead and said she had seen her on the morning detectives interviewed her.

The detective “knew this was obviously not true,” according to the police report from the time of Vazquez-Rosas’ arrest.

The older daughter did describe to police an altercation that took place between her parents, but Silverstein said she was talking about a documented incident that had happened four months prior to Guzman’s disappearance.

“Normally, the lack of a body would be the biggest problem in the state’s case – it’s not,” he said. The claims of the children who say they have seen their mother alive further bolsters the idea that Vazquez-Rosas didn’t kill her, he said.

Vazquez-Rosas invoked his right to a speedy trial and a trial date was set for March 22.

Silverstein said he plans to file a motion to suppress his client’s confession as well as to file a writ of habeas corpus.

“Whether he is here legally or illegally, the Constitution still applies to Francisco Vazquez-Rosas,” Silverstein said.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ "No Body" Murder prosecutor featured in Ada Evening News

posted by Admin on February 10th, 2010 at 1:45 PM

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Chris Ross has prosecuted four no body murder cases.
Published: January 18, 2010 11:41 am

Chris Ross helps with Colorado ‘no body’ case

ADA — Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross was recently the speaker for a seminar hosted by the Colorado Homicide Investigators Association in Aurora, Colo.

Ross presented the prosecution of the murder of Logan Tucker.

Tucker, a 6-year-old boy living in Woodward County, disappeared on June 23, 2002. His body was never located. In October, 2005, Ross was asked by the Woodward County District Attorney to review the case and give his opinion on it.

After doing so, Ross was asked to prosecute the case. In February, 2006, Katherine Rutan Pollard, Tucker’s mother, was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.

After a nine day jury trial held in Woods County, in August, 2007, Pollard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 2009, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the sentence in a 5-0 opinion.

“I was contacted several months ago by a detective in Colorado working on a 'no body' murder case,” Ross said. "He asked me to look at the facts of his case and give him an opinion of his evidence and advise him as to what other areas he might investigate. This led to me being asked to come to Colorado and present the Logan Tucker case, and discuss the issues that arise during the investigation and trial of a murder case without a victim’s body.”

Ross has been asked to consult on such cases by other states, and has made similar presentations on “no body” murder investigations and trials for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association, the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction, and the Oklahoma Court Reporter’s Association.

The presentation was attended by law enforcement officers and prosecutors from various parts of Colorado.

Ross also wrote an article on the subject that was published in the Journal of the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction in 2009.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No body murder case featured on NBC's Dateline

posted by Admin on January 18th, 2010 at 6:23 PM

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The case of missing Michele Harris to be featured on NBC's Dateline tonight
Published: January 15, 2010

The case of missing Michele Harris to be featured on NBC's Dateline tonight

NBC's Dateline will be airing a show tonight that will feature the filming and story surrounding the Calvin Harris murder trial and the disappearance of his wife Michele.

The show, which will air at 9 p.m. ET, is entitled "Mystery at Empire Lake." The show will focus on the story of a mother of four who disappears, vanishing in the night from her family's property on a vast wilderness. The show will move into the following morning, when her car was found at the foot of the driveway, but no body, no murder weapon, and no witness. The show's producers take viewers into the story behind the Calvin Harris murder trial, and describe the proceedings as a time when things got really strange.

Calvin Harris, a wealthy Tioga county businessman, was convicted by a jury of second degree murder in the disappearance of his wife Michele not once, but twice, and was sentenced on Oct. 5, 2009, to 25 years to life in prison.

Attorneys for Calvin Harris have appealed the guilty verdict.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Indiana man charged in no body murder

posted by Admin on January 18th, 2010 at 6:14 PM

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Murder charges filed against roommate

By SOPHIA VORAVONG • svoravong@jconline.com • January 15, 2010
Tippecanoe County's prosecutor is confident that investigators have sufficient evidence to go forward with criminal proceedings against a Lafayette man suspected of killing his roommate -- despite never locating the victim's body.

Wesley E. Kelly, 29, was charged Thursday in Tippecanoe Circuit Court with murder in the suspected death of Steven L. Smith, 52, who was last seen alive on Dec. 6, 2008.

The prosecutor's office met Wednesday with Smith's family.

"We are pleased and ready to move forward with the case," his cousin and family spokeswoman, Cyndi Miller of Danville, said.

Kelly also was charged Thursday with misdemeanor battery and being a habitual offender. He currently is serving a three-year sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction for failing to register as a sex offender.

The allegations against Kelly stem from an apparent fight with Smith on Dec. 6, 2008, at their apartment on South Fourth Street in Lafayette.

The investigation began when Smith's family and neighbors contacted police on Dec. 11, 2008, after days of not hearing from him or seeing him.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday, Smith's mother, Doris Smith, told police that her son's apartment was "unusually clean and neat" and that toiletry items were missing -- appearing as though no one lived there.

Neighbors also said that Kelly reportedly admitted to fighting with Smith, which included slamming Smith's head into a wall and a toilet. The affidavit does not provide a reason for the fight.

Investigators suspect that the two men were later standing on a downtown railroad bridge over the Wabash River when Smith was struck with a padlock that was attached to a rope.

The blow reportedly knocked Smith into the water.

"Any new information or leads that are developed -- we will continue to work those," Detective Mike Humphrey said.

Law enforcement and firefighters have searched in and along the Wabash's banks numerous times in the past year for Smith's body. Those attempts, which included searching via horseback, helicopter and by boat, were not successful.

"It presents a unique situation, proceeding with a murder case without having an actual body," Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said. "But there have been a number of similar, successful prosecutions around the country."

It's a scenario that Patti Bishop, founder of volunteer search organization IN Hope, knows well. Her stepdaughter, Karen Jo Smith, went missing on Dec. 27, 2000, in Marion County.

Karen Jo Smith's body was never recovered, but the woman's ex-husband, Steve Halcomb, was convicted in December 2004 of murder and later sentenced to 95 years in prison.

Steven Smith and Karen Jo Smith are not related.

"You have the fear from the moment we knew the grand jury indicted," Bishop recalled Thursday. "Even though we knew that he did it, until the jury comes back with that conviction ...

"It was a surreal experience, especially since there was no body."

Bishop speaks daily with Miller, Steven Smith's cousin. Her organization also has helped the family put together prayer vigils and hand out fliers with Smith's information to Lafayette businesses.

What kept Bishop strong during the trial for her stepdaughter's convicted killer was faith in prosecutors and Marion County investigators.

"I give kudos to any law enforcement agency that has taken this step," Bishop said. "Crimes of this type -- where there is no body -- is happening more and more. It can be done."

Harrington said authorities waited a year to file charges in case Smith's body or other evidence was found by people hunting or fishing along the Wabash during summer and spring.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy quoted in Miami Herald

posted by Admin on January 17th, 2010 at 3:14 PM

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Rilya Wilson's accused caregiver nears trial on murder charge

By DAVID OVALLE
dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Where is the chubby cheeked 5-year-old who became the symbol of ineptitude by state welfare workers? Her body has never been found.

If Rilya is dead -- and most believe she is -- how and when did she meet her demise? Miami-Dade prosecutors can't say for sure, but insist that circumstantial evidence points to foul play.

And when will Geralyn Graham, 64, her jailed caregiver indicted for murder nearly five years ago and facing the death penalty, go to trial? Hopefully by fall, say her lawyers, who still must take depositions from several key witnesses.

``My client absolutely claims she is innocent of all the charges pending against her, and looks forward to having the opportunity to have the jury hear the quality and type of evidence the state will offer,'' defense attorney Michael A. Matters said.

The high-profile case sparked massive public interest and drastic reforms at the Florida Department of Children & Families, but Graham has remained largely out of the limelight in recent years. No trial date has been set.

For now, she is behind bars at the Miami-Dade Women's Detention Center. Done serving a two-year sentence on an unrelated case, Graham is eligible for a bond of more than $200,000 but cannot afford to get out, Matters said.

Both sides acknowledge the case has proceeded slowly, in part because the state is seeking the death penalty. Graham had to get two new lawyers in April 2006 because her previous attorney was not certified to handle capital punishment cases.

``Prosecutors always want to get their cases before a judge and jury as quickly as possible when recollections are clearest and witnesses are easily accessible,'' Miami-Dade State Attorney's spokesman Ed Griffith said. ``However, in many cases, particularly murder cases, circumstances can make that difficult.''

Both sides declined to discuss the evidence.

But without a body, forensic evidence, eyewitnesses or confessions, the state's thrust will likely focus on Graham's inconsistent accounts of Rilya's whereabouts -- a seemingly thin prosecutorial foundation, but details that Graham indeed would be expected to know because Rilya was so young.

Born to a crack-addicted mother, Rilya was under DCF supervision by 2000 and living with Graham and her lover, Pamela Graham, no relation. Rilya's younger sister also lived with them.

VARYING ACCOUNTS

DCF did not realize Rilya had vanished from the Grahams' home until April 2002, more than a year after she was last seen, because her case worker had not checked on the girl. Graham told case workers that an unidentified DCF worker -- ``a tall, heavy-set, light-skinned woman with an accent'' -- came to pick up Rilya. A second woman came later to pick up toys and clothes, she said.

``As crazy as the story sounded, I have to be honest, I believed her. She was a very nice, seemed like a lovely person, grandmother type of person,'' former DCF operations manager Barbara Ongay said of Graham, in an April deposition.

Police and DCF even printed out ID-badge photos of DCF employees to show Graham to find the mystery social worker, to no avail. Physical searches for Rilya also fizzled.

As detectives got varying versions of Rilya's whereabouts from people who had talked to Graham, the case turned from a missing persons to a homicide investigation.

During a Christmas 2000 get-together at the Graham home, friends wondered about Rilya's whereabouts. Graham claimed a ``Spanish'' friend had taken the little girl on a road trip.
`They were going to, like, all these different places, but I remember New York being specific and Disney World,'' friend Laquica Tuff said in a March 2007 deposition.

During the probe, authorities found that Rilya's DCF caseworker, Deborah Muskelly, repeatedly failed to make required visits to check on the girl. Yet she had vouched to a judge that Rilya was OK. Muskelly later told investigators she was basing her word on phone conversations with Graham.

Authorities accused Muskelly of falsifying her timesheets to improperly indicate she had visited yet another child assigned to her caseload. She pleaded guilty to official misconduct and grand theft and completed a stint on probation.

In February 2003, jurors convicted Graham of fraud for using a friend's ID to buy an SUV. Less than a year later, based on incriminating statements from Pamela Graham, Geralyn Graham was charged with aggravated child abuse of Rilya.

Pamela Graham, who also was charged, agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of child neglect and serve as a state witness against Geralyn. She has not yet been sentenced.

CAGED AND CUFFED

She told Miami-Dade Police that Geralyn Graham hit Rilya with switches. She said Geralyn had confined Rilya in a laundry room as punishment, and bound her hands to the railing of the child's bed with plastic ``flex cuffs.''

A friend of the pair told police that Geralyn Graham borrowed a dog cage that she put Rilya in when she misbehaved.

As for the social worker tale, Pamela Graham said Geralyn ``concocted the story and advised her whenever anyone inquired about Rilya Wilson to just say that DCF took her,'' Miami-Dade homicide Detective Sara Times, now retired, said in a February 2006 deposition.

But Pamela Graham told officials she never knew what happened to Rilya.

The big break in the case came in March 2005, when a grand jury indicted Geralyn Graham for first-degree murder. A jailhouse informant, Robin Lunceford, had come forward to say Graham had confessed to smothering the child, then dumping her in a South Miami-Dade canal.

But Lunceford's credibility is weak -- she also gave information to Miami-Dade prosecutors about fellow inmates in two other high-profile murder cases, but was dropped as a state witness in both cases after she stopped cooperating.

EASY TARGET

Lunceford, who claimed to be penning a book about her life in jail, also told authorities that a fellow inmate might have terrorist ties and was planning to kill a federal prosecutor. Agents found the story to be bogus, making her an easy target for defense attorneys questioning her credibility. She is unlikely to be called to the stand, legal observers say.

Another inmate, however, may testify. Prosecutors say Graham admitted killing a ``baby'' to Ramona Tavia, a convicted murderer, while the two women were briefly jailed together.

Defense attorneys have yet to depose Tavia, Muskelly or Pamela Graham.

Former Washington D.C. prosecutor Tad DiBiase, who consults with police nationally on murder prosecutions without a victim's body, said the state usually needs at least a solid confession, forensic evidence or an eyewitness.

Despite the lack of evidence, the state's advantage in Rilya's case is that because she was so young, she cannot be cast as a willing runaway, he said. And Graham's tale of a rogue kidnapper might work against her.

``The jury is going to be extremely suspicious of somebody giving a bunch of different stories in a case involving a child,'' he said.

Brian Tannebaum, Graham's previous attorney, offered his strategy: to shift the blame to DCF and Pamela Graham. ``I think this case is really all about DCF. If the defense puts DCF on trial and questions why police failed to fully investigate Pam, they've got a shot,'' he said. ``The bottom line: there is not a witness that can say Geralyn Graham killed Rilya Wilson.''

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▣ Sentencing in New York no body murder plea

posted by Admin on January 17th, 2010 at 10:34 AM

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Sentencing in 40-year-old Waterford murder case
Reported by: Walt McClure
Email: waltmcclure@fox23news.com
Last Update: 1/16 9:18 am

A 40-year-old murder case comes to a close in a Saratoga County courtroom Friday morning, as the man accused of killing the fiancee of a woman he briefly dated is sentenced to prison.
63-year-old Nelson Costello stood before a judge to accept his punishment after decades of trying to hide his crime.

Costello said very little in court as he listened to the prosecutor and his victim's brother in law describe the life he took back in 1969, and what that loss has meant since then.

Nelson Costello was a 23-year-old Waterford town constable in 1969, a man who wanted a woman who didn't want him, and made the decision to kill her fiancee and then hide the crime for the next 40 years.

Nelson Costello's run from the law ended in Ballston Spa when Saratoga county Court Judge Jerry Scarano sentenced him to 5 2/3 to 17 years in prison for the April 1969 murder of David Bacon.

Prosecutors say Costello, under the guise of being a police officer, talked Bacon into following him to a spot on the Mohawk River in Waterford and shot him three times in the chest.

James Murphy/R-Saratoga County District Attorney: “It's bittersweet today. We have answers. We know what happened, but now we begin to mourn the loss of a loved one and the death of a loved one 40 years later.”

The case came into focus in late 2008, when Costello's sister learned from her brother's former girlfriend that he admitted killing a man - and she consulted a minister about it.

Captain Steve James/New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation: “Certainly she is a champion in this regard as far as I'm concerned. I don't stand here and assume that it was strictly the interviews and the steps that were taken to this together. Certainly, that had to be a big lift on her behalf.”

The minister called Troy police, who got the investigation going with New York State Police.

The girlfriend got involved, too, getting Costello on tape admitting his crime.

David Bacon's elderly brother-in-law Donald Miles left a hospital bed where he was scheduled for heart surgery to read a victim's impact statement in court, saying in part, “You, Nelson Costello, executed a man that did nothing to you...you cut a good man down in his prime years while you, a despicable confessed killer, get to live out yours.”

Before he was sentenced, Costello said he has thought about this every day and said he is sorry, but the DA doesn't buy it.

James Murphy: “Whether or not Nelson Costello is remorseful is something that I don't know. I know that he's probably remorseful and sad that he got caught. I know that if he were truly remorseful he would have done the right thing 39 years ago.”

As part of his plea to first degree manslaughter, Nelson Costello told law enforcement that he buried David Bacon's body along the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he drove non-stop after the killing.

DA Jim Murphy says they have begun looking in that area and hope they will find Bacon's remains come spring.

Below is a copy of the press release from the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office about the Costello sentencing.

NELSON COSTELLO SENTENCED UP TO 17 YEARS IN STATE PRISON



PRESS RELEASE



January 15, 2010



Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, III announced today that defendant Nelson Costello (DOB 7-21-46) was sentenced by Honorable Jerry J. Scarano in Saratoga County Court today to maximum of 17 years in State Prison. This sentence follows the defendant’s plea of guilty on October 23, 2009, to Manslaughter in the First Degree in violation of section of Section 125.20 (1) of the Penal Law of the State of New York, (as that statute existed in 1969), a Class "B" felony offense in which the defendant admitted that he “killed Dave Bacon” on April 10, 1969, in the Town of Waterford. Because the killing took place 40 years ago, the Judge was required to sentence the defendant utilizing the laws from 1969, which dictate that the judge impose a sentence that includes a minimum time of one third the 17 year maximum. DA Murphy said:



The People are extremely satisfied with the final resolution today. This was an extremely difficult case. No body was ever found. Most DA's would not consider a case without a body, but I thought that justice required us to go forward with the case. Additionally, we did not have a murder weapon, although we have a weapon that was recovered. Unfortunately we were not able to tie the weapon to the death as there is no body and no bullets were recovered. There is no DNA or forensic evidence. Those are the type of evidence 21st century juries anticipate and expect. Also, memories after 40 years have faded. We did have, however, tapes of conversations between Mr. Costello and a witness in which the defendant made admissions that he had killed someone, but never identified his victim by name. It was due to the collaborative work of so many law enforcement agencies that this resolution was achieved. Nelson Costello's actions not only ended Mr. Bacon's life at the young age of 22, but also affected so many other people's lives. The family has waited 40 years for this day to come to finally have an answer to what happened to their loved one. Assistant DA Alan Poremba worked tirelessly with law enforcement to solve an illusive and complicated case and only through a detailed analysis and painstaking work did the pieces of the puzzle finally come together.



At sentencing today, Don Miles, the brother-in-law and “father figure” of Dave Bacon delivered a victim impact statement on behalf of Bacon’s family and close friends. Miles spoke about Dave Bacon and how his sudden disappearance on April 10, 1969, took a lasting toll on his family and friends. Many of Dave Bacon’s family members and close friends were in attendance. Don told the Court that on April 10, 1969, “one of the worst examples of mankind [Costello]…took the life of one of the best examples of mankind [David Bacon] that night.”



On April 10, 1969, at approximately 11:30 pm, David Bacon was driving from his home in Pleasantdale in Rensselaer County to his job at Behr Manning in Watervliet. He never made it to work that evening. The defendant was obsessed with David Bacon’s fiancée, Mary, and that evening Costello implemented a plan to eliminate David Bacon. That evening, Costello stopped David Bacon on his way to work and told Bacon that he was a police officer and needed to come with him right away to talk to his Captain. Bacon complied, and Costello drove Bacon to Riberty’s Grove in Waterford, where he got Bacon to step out of the car and stand near the trunk. Costello then fired three shots into Bacon’s chest using the same .357 caliber handgun he carried as a police officer/constable in Waterford. Costello placed Bacon’s body into the trunk of the rental car and drove non-stop to Lynchburg, VA where he arrived unexpectedly at a friend’s workplace. The friend showed Costello a place to bury Bacon along an embankment of the James River. Bacon was reported missing, and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance remained a mystery for over 40 years until 2008 when Nelson Costello’s sister heard from one of Costello’s former girlfriends that he had killed “Mary’s boyfriend” in the Troy, NY area sometime around 1968. The defendant’s sister and niece immediately told a minister who called the Troy Police Department on their behalf. A multi-agency, multi-state investigation commenced and culminated in the arrest of the defendant.



One of the significant pieces of evidence included tapes of conversations between the defendant and a former girlfriend. During those conversations, his former girlfriend, while working with the State Police, recorded a conversation with Costello corroborating her earlier statement that Costello killed a man back in that era. Costello stated that “what I did was permanent…what I did was irreversible”. The joint investigation of numerous law enforcement agencies culminated with the arrest, indictment and conviction of Costello today.



One of the more difficult facets of the case that prosecutors faced was that the David Bacon’s remains were never found. Therefore, they turned to the Social Security Administration for assistance. The prosecutors wanted to obtain social security records indicating that was no activity on Bacon’s Social Security number since April 10, 1969, as circumstantial proof that Dave did not just relocate without telling anyone. For months this task proved to be much more difficult than anticipated, even with the help of Congressman Scott Murphy. Congressman Murphy said, "I'm proud to have worked with District Attorney Jim Murphy to cut through the red tape and make Saratoga a safer and stronger community."



Congressman Murphy, knowing the great difficulty we endured, has told us that he hopes to introduce legislation in the future to correct this problem so that similarly situated District Attorney’s Offices throughout this country do not encounter the same obstacle.



Captain Steven James said, "The New York State Police in conjunction with the Saratoga County District Attorney's office have worked diligently to bring this case to a successful resolution. It is our intention that this overall investigation brings some measure of justice and satisfaction to the Bacon family."



District Attorney Murphy said, "This case has been 40 years in the discovery and 2 years in the investigation. Finally, today we have concluded a major chapter in this family's life. Let hope the next chapter is one of healing and peace."


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Investigation continues into case of missing Kansas boy

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2010 at 3:27 PM

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Investigation Continues Into Adam Herrman Disappearance
Posted: Dec 31, 2009 5:12 PM EST
Investigation Continues into What Happened to Adam Herrman

Adam Herrman
What Happened to Adam? One Year LaterButler County Attorney No one has seen him in more than a decade, but it's only been a year since authorities have known about the disappearance of Adam Herrman.

Herrman was eleven years old when he was last seen in 1999. Last December, his sister contacted SRS concerned that she couldn't find her brother. That's when authorities started searching the areas where Herrman once lived with his adoptive parents. They put out his picture all over the country and interviewed dozens of potential witnesses.

Although the case is no longer making daily headlines, those involved say work is constantly being done to find out what happened to Herrman. Butler County Attorney Jan Satterfield says it's taking awhile, but in a case like this time is on their side.

"As each year and each day passes, I think that makes for a stronger case to argue to a jury that Adam Hermann is dead," Satterfield said. She says the fact that this is a decade old cold case and there's no body, makes it the most complex case she's ever worked. She's collected more than a dozen binders of information on Herrman's life. Satterfield says it will continue to be a priority to answer the question, what happened to Adam Herrman.

"It's very difficult not to get emotionally involved. Especially since Adam and I would have been around the same age," said intern Sara Freeman. She's one of many working to piece together what happened to the young boy. Her work at the Butler County Attorney's office is why she's applying for law school. "It's been such an awesome experience. If and when this case goes to trial, it will be a rewarding experience that I had something to do with it," Freeman said.

Satterfield says her goal is to have the case to a grand jury by this time next year. Since this is such a complex case, she'd like jurors to help determine whether there's enough evidence to charge Herrman's adoptive parents. A grand jury would be used instead of a preliminary hearing, when a judge determines whether a case should go to trial. Satterfield says a grand jury needs to be approved by a judge in order to happen. If a grand jury makes an indictment, the case would go directly to trial.

Satterfield says Herrman's adoptive parents are the only persons of interest in the case. They never reported he was missing and cashed SRS checks until 2005. She says they've moved out of the area but authorities are keeping track of them. She says two other big cases, the Emily Sander and Carol Mould murder trials have also slowed down the Herrman investigation.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Guilty plea in Florida no body murder case

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2010 at 3:21 PM

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Murder Plea Deal: 19 Years In Prison
December 16, 1987|By David C. Scruggs of The Sentinel Staff
MELBOURNE — In exchange for 19 years in prison, a former Lakeland man pleaded no contest Tuesday to the second-degree murder of a state witness who disappeared during a 1981 drug-smuggling trial.

State prosecutors say they also hope that Thomas William Bryan, 39, will lead them to the body of Richard Hunt, 30, who was abducted by two men posing as federal marshals in January 1981.

Prosecutors said Bryan and Harry Bell, another man convicted in 1984 in connection with the abduction, were hired by Clarence Zacke, a former West Melbourne auto parts dealer, to get rid of Hunt, a car repossessor who was to testify against Zacke in a drug-smuggling trial.

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▣ California man convicted of murdering his wife in no body murder trial

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2010 at 3:18 PM

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Guilty

Jury finds Felipe Cruz Hernandez guilty in wife’s murder
By DEBRA DeANGELO
Express editor
There is no body, but there is a verdict: Guilty of second degree murder, with malice aforethought. The jury announced their decision in the Felipe Cruz Hernandez murder trial on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at approximately 3 p.m. in Yolo Superior Court, said a spokesperson from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office.
The trial began on Nov. 9, following Hernandez’ arrest in May for the murder of his wife, Leticia Barrales Ramos, 28, who was last seen alive on April 12. Her body has never been found, despite numerous searches in the area by the Winters Police Department and the FBI.
The DA spokesperson said the jury began deliberating late Friday afternoon, Dec. 18. She said sentencing will take place on Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. in Dept. 6 at the Yolo County Courthouse.
According to Crystal Ross-O’Hara, reporter for McNaughton newspapers, District Attorney Robert Trudgeon confirmed that DNA samples from the blood found in the couple’s Baker Street apartment in Winters matched Ramos. Ross-O’Hara noted that although Hernandez was found guilty of second degree murder, he was found not guilty of first degree murder.
She added that jury foreman Mike Sullivan commented on how tough this case was because there was no body, and another juror who asked to remain anonymous commented that the trial process “restores his faith in the system.”
Following the reading of the verdict, Winters Police Chief Bruce Muramoto had praise for Winters Police Officer Sergio Gutierrez, who headed up the investigation locally, and for the Yolo County District Attorney’s office as well, calling the overall investigation and trial “great teamwork."

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▣ Wall Street Journal article wrongly claims Manhattan DA first to prosecute a no body case without evidence or witnesses

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2010 at 3:06 PM

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No doubt that Robert Morgenthau was a great DA. But the first to prosecute a no body case without forensic evidence or a witness? Not quite....by a long shot. I exchanged emails with the reporter, Mr. Freeman, but I must've missed the correction....

OPINION: THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW DECEMBER 26, 2009 The World's District Attorney Legendary prosecutor Robert Morgenthau on his famous cases, his brawl with Mike Bloomberg, and why he's sounding alarm about Iran.
By JAMES FREEMAN
In the criminal justice system, the people of Manhattan have been represented for 35 years by New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. This is his story.

Mr. Morgenthau, who inspired the original D.A. character on the television program "Law and Order," will retire on Thursday at age 90. Much of the barely fictitious drama is set in his office in Manhattan's Criminal Courts Building. This week, amid half-filled boxes and scattered personal mementos, he sat down to discuss his life's work.

Even though he knows I'm wearing a wire—actually an audio recorder placed on the table between us—America's D.A. speaks candidly, including about his public blowups with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Morgenthau says this is the first mayor he hasn't gotten along with, and that the relationship went south when his office started investigating the city's role in the death of two of New York's bravest in an August, 2007 fire. Among other mistakes, city inspectors had failed to note that the water had been turned off at the old Deutsche Bank building opposite Ground Zero. The blaze resulted in 33 "mayday" calls from firefighters, and the D.A. is amazed that only two lost their lives.

Mr. Morgenthau soon got a call from a city lawyer telling him that "the mayor wanted me to tell you that he's surprised that you're looking at the Deutsche Bank case." Mr. Morgenthau says he told the mayor's minion, "You tell the mayor that I'm surprised that he's surprised."

Why would the mayor encourage such a call? Because, says Mr. Morgenthau, Mr. Bloomberg "thinks all lawyers work for him" and "doesn't want anybody around who doesn't kiss his ring, or other parts of his body."

The mayor has also recently gone after Mr. Morgenthau's budget, with city officials demanding that he stop sending some of the money forfeited by criminals to the state government, and instead send all of it to the city. The D.A. reports that both governments benefit handsomely from the work of his office—$300 million so far this year, with another $230 million coming soon.

These big criminal forfeitures support his $80 million budget, but they are also the product of Mr. Morgenthau's unique legacy among district attorneys: his national and global reach. Such resources have allowed him to prosecute complex international business cases. Combined with his jurisdiction in the world's financial capital, he has become in a sense the world's district attorney.

Thomas Jefferson would have liked this bastion of local power as part of a federal system, but it is not always celebrated by federal officials. "I'm sure it [annoys] the hell out of them," Mr. Morgenthau observes.

The feeling is mutual. The D.A. says that while he's had to deal with the federal bureaucracy for decades, "it has just gotten worse" and "they ought to burn it down and start all over again. It's extremely worrisome."

For example, he says, "We had a lot of trouble with the Treasury Department" in his recent case against Credit Suisse, in which the bank coughed up $536 million and admitted to aiding Iran and other rogue nations in violating economic sanctions. The feds, as they did in a similar settlement with the British bank Lloyds, wanted only civil penalties.

Mr. Morgenthau would have none of it. He says Credit Suisse had been "stonewalling us" and only struck a deal after he threatened to bring criminal charges to a grand jury. "We would have gotten an indictment," he says.

In 2006, Mr. Morgenthau's office began an investigation into New York's Alavi Foundation, which turned out to be an Iranian government front. Money from the foundation "was being used to pay Iranian agents around the world," he says. Last month the U.S. government seized $500 million of the foundation's assets, including a Fifth Avenue office tower.

Mr. Morgenthau lacked the statute to bring legal action so he referred the Alavi inquiry to the FBI, while continuing to track a larger financial web. Individuals associated with Alavi had received money from Iran's government-controlled Bank Melli, which has been sanctioned by our government, the United Nations and the European Union for its support of the regime's nuclear and missile programs. The D.A.'s investigators found a money trail leading from Melli and other Iranian state-controlled banks, through legitimate banks in London and other European cities and into correspondent banks in the United States.

Credit Suisse, Lloyds and "eight other banks that we know about," according to Mr. Morgenthau, were involved in "stripping." This means disguising that Iran is the origin of transactions routed through American banks.

What are the Iranians buying with their ill-gotten American currency? Mr. Morgenthau obtained a shopping list that includes tantalum, a hard metal used in roadside bombs. But the Iranians are thinking bigger. He reports that he showed the shopping list to an executive at Raytheon, which manufactures missiles for the American military. Mr. Morgenthau says that after reviewing Tehran's wish list, the Raytheon official was stunned at the sophistication that would be required to create it, and replied, "My hands went cold."

The Iranian finance investigation led him to evidence showing the destination of a North Korean cargo plane that was seized in Bangkok by Thai police on Dec. 12. Despite Iranian denials, Mr. Morgenthau says the massive weapons shipment was bound for Tehran.

After years of prosecuting world-wide financial cases, including bringing down the criminal enterprise known as the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Mr. Morgenthau has assembled a formidable intelligence network. "When people trust you, you get a lot of information from all around the world."

Mr. Morgenthau says "It takes a long time to build the kind of network we have" and adds that he expects his successor, Cyrus Vance Jr., will continue to focus on international financial crimes and Iranian finance in particular. That's because these cases are effective.

Regarding Iran, the lifelong Democrat scores both parties in Washington for ignoring the gathering threat. His own concern flows in part from his experience as a newly minted ensign aboard a destroyer the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. Mr. Morgenthau later saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, and was fortunate to survive one sinking when a convoy ship violated standing orders and picked him and fellow crew members out of the water. He doesn't want his country to be caught unprepared again.

'Everyone has dropped the ball on [Iran sanctions]. The president is smoking pot or something if he thinks that being nice to these guys is going to get him anywhere," Mr. Morgenthau says. He says economic sanctions can "have significant impact" because most of Iran's enablers are not terrorists, just people "trying to make a buck. . . . They don't enjoy being the focus of an investigation." The D.A. argues that more aggressive federal enforcement of existing sanctions, plus a new effort to restrict Iran's gasoline imports, could make life very difficult for a regime that is under increasing pressure from its own citizens.

"The president has to say this is a priority. We have sanctions and we ought to make them work," he says. "The boss," as he's known to Manhattan prosecutors, is particularly concerned about Iran's progress in missile development and its budding relationship with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez. While the two countries have opened banks in each other's countries, the D.A. reports that they nonetheless are transacting business in dollars through New York.

Mr. Morgenthau says his habit is to "never look back," but he obliges when pressed to revisit some of his most famous wins and losses. Boss of mob bosses John Gotti evaded the long arm of Mr. Morgenthau for years but was ultimately convicted of murder by the feds. "The [FBI] didn't turn over key evidence they had to us," he says.

Asked whether he should have indicted board members along with Tyco Corporation CEO Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz, Mr. Morgenthau responds, "probably."

Of his recent prosecution of Anthony Marshall, convicted of stealing from his mother Brooke Astor, Mr. Morgenthau makes clear that the case had a significance beyond exposing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. He notes a disturbing trend of children ripping off their parents and grandparents. The case, he says, "sent a message all over the country: You can't steal from your elders."

Mr. Morgenthau notes that his office was the first in the country to "indict the footprint," which means securing indictments before finding a defendant. This has the practical effect of removing the statute of limitations.

Mr. Morgenthau is proudest of his victories in cases widely considered unwinnable. He notes that his office was the first in the country to successfully prosecute a murder case with no body and no witness. In 2000 he won convictions against Sante and Kenneth Kimes. The mother and son killed Irene Silverman when they believed she had caught on to their plot to swindle her out of her Upper East Side mansion. The son later admitted to disposing of the body in a dumpster.

Mr. Morgenthau took on another lost cause but finally prevailed, 15 years after the disappearance of Gail Katz-Bierenbaum. Discovering flight records at New Jersey's Essex County Airport led his team to conclude and ultimately prove that her husband had pushed her body out of a Cessna over the Atlantic.

Overall, it's hard to argue with the results. While he is quick to credit the police and other city officials, Mr. Morgenthau notes that when he became district attorney in 1975, Manhattan was suffering almost 650 murders annually. Last year, there were 62. From more than 39% of the city's murders, Manhattan's share has fallen to just 12%.

Manhattan's renaissance has allowed many New Yorkers to consider not just survival, but success, and more specifically how to keep more of what they earn from the tax collector. Mr. Morgenthau has aggressively pursued those who seek to preserve their capital in other jurisdictions, but that doesn't mean he favors the current system.

"I think taxes in New York City and State are much too high," he says. "But you're never going to see them reduced unless everybody pays what they're required to pay under the law."

Mr. Morgenthau's effort to go after citizens who park their money in tax havens has led to more frustration with the Mayor. The D.A. says Mr. Bloomberg "has never been any help. I've talked to him three times about it and each time the conversation is almost identical. I tell him how much money is offshore and in the underground economy and he always says, 'I'm paying my taxes.' And I always say, 'Mike, no one is suggesting you don't, but there are a lot of other people who don't.' And then he says, 'I'm glad I'm not a lawyer.'"

Before exiting the public stage, Mr. Morgenthau also wants to set straight the record on one of the most controversial episodes in the history of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Abe Fortas was denied a Senate vote in 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson sought to elevate him to chief justice to replace the retiring Earl Warren.

The following year, Fortas resigned his seat as an associate justice after it was revealed that he received money from the foundation of Louis Wolfson, who had been convicted of crimes related to a securities case.

But Mr. Morgenthau already knew about the payments from Wolfson. As a U.S. attorney appointed by John F. Kennedy, he had been investigating Wolfson for years, against the wishes of Wolfson's friends in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. (To be fair, politicians seeking contributions were not the only defenders of Wolfson. More recently, Henry Manne has written in these pages that Wolfson invented the modern hostile tender offer, enhancing the power of shareholders and making the U.S. economy more competitive.)
In any case, Mr. Morgenthau believes that Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach was fired by LBJ in 1966 because he refused to block Mr. Morgenthau's indictment and subsequent conviction of Wolfson. At the time, Mr. Katzenbach said disputes with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover caused his resignation.

Knowing of the $20,000 per year "for life" that Wolfson's foundation was sending to Fortas, Mr. Morgenthau contacted Mr. Katzenbach's successor Ramsey Clark, told him of the deal, and suggested that he tell Chief Justice Earl Warren to consider delaying his retirement. Mr. Morgenthau says Mr. Clark never informed Warren. Wolfson had powerful friends.

Just like viewers at the end of a "Law and Order" episode, observers of the legendary D.A. are treated to one more twist in the tale.

Mr. Freeman is assistant editor of the Journal's editorial page.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A9
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Greeley, Colorado man bound over for trial in "no body" murder case

posted by Admin on January 10th, 2010 at 2:54 PM

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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Man accused of murder of former Windsor woman held over for trial
Sharon Dunn
John Sandoval will appear in Weld District Court at 11 a.m. Jan. 8 for a plea hearing and trial setting. Attorneys on Wednesday determined they would need a four-week trial to get through all the evidence and witnesses. They will have April, May or June to pick from for the trial. Also, public defender Ken Barker has planned to ask the court to move the trial to another county based on the amount of pre-trial publicity.The former Greeley man accused of killing his wife 14 years ago kept her memory close to him before his arrest last June in Las Vegas.
Police noted John Sandoval, 44, kept two pictures of his estranged wife, Tina Tournai-Sandoval, hanging above each post of his bed in his Las Vegas home. He told friends and a cell mate that he continued to harbor feelings for her, even though she had divorced him, got into tattoos and joined a biker gang.

The idea, however, that Tournai-Sandoval would quit the Greeley nursing job she loved and walk out on a new life she was living in a new apartment was not remotely logical, prosecutors said during a preliminary hearing.

Weld District Court Judge Gilbert Gutierrez said Wednesday that he was convinced there was enough probable cause to believe Sandoval committed the crime of first-degree murder under the relaxed standards of a preliminary hearing, with all the evidence being seen in the light most favorable to the prosecution. He set an 11 a.m. Jan. 8 time for a plea hearing and trial setting.

On Oct. 19, 1995, Tournai-Sandoval set off after her graveyard shift at North Colorado Medical Center to meet Sandoval to collect money he owed her for an IRS debt the pair incurred. She had moved into her own place in August and had filed for divorce. After that planned meeting with Sandoval, she was never seen again.

“All of these are clear indications of a woman looking forward to getting on with her life after her divorce,” said Assistant Weld District Attorney Michael Rourke. “But following her meeting with the defendant, there's nothing. Not one phone call, or document. ... Nothing. No documented use of her Social Security number, no credit card activity ... no other documentation on the divorce she was so looking forward to.

“She did not commit suicide, and she did not up and run away ... and she most certainly did not run off with a biker gang and use drugs.”

Prosecutors spent two and a half days presenting their case against Sandoval, which police built chiefly in 1995. Prosecutors then wouldn't touch the case because her body was never found. A death certificate was issued for Tournai-Sandoval in 2002 after a Weld District Court judge ruled there was enough evidence to believe she was deceased.

The evidence, however, may not hold up so well in trial, where the rules of evidence are greater. Public defender Ken Barker said prosecutors will have a difficult time proving the individual elements of first-degree murder, just from the first element of where the crime was committed.

“I believe the inquiry here stops at probable cause because there was a lack of evidence in 1995, and there's still a lack of evidence,” Barker said. “Nothing much has changed except for the length of time. ... Over time, people forget. Their recollection changes.”

That happened in the case of Sandoval's aunt, Graviela Delgado, who lived in his basement in 1995. She struggled in a second interview with law enforcement this fall to remember where she actually saw her nephew the night of Tournai-Sandoval's disappearance.

But even Delgado — who has never been helpful to police in the investigation, according to Greeley police detective Mike Prill — may be rethinking the case.

In an interview this fall with an FBI agent, Delgado got the first look at photos of Sandoval taken hours after his arrest, in which he has scratch marks on his chest and neck — marks the Weld County coroner determined were mostly likely caused by human fingernails.

“After seeing the photos ... she said it appeared to her that Sandoval had a struggle with someone, and they gave her more to think about regarding John Sandoval's involvement in Christina's disappearance,” Prill testified Wednesday.

Rourke said every bit of evidence — while no body has ever been found — points to Sandoval's guilt. He was the last known person to be with Tournai-Sandoval, evidence pointed to her dropping off the face of the earth with no signs of an intent to go anywhere, her purported fear of her estranged husband, and his actions since her disappearance were that of someone fleeing and trying to cover up his guilt. Tracking dogs tracked Sandoval's scent, incidentally the same scent tracked from Tournai-Sandoval's car to his house, even to the hospital where Sandoval was undergoing X-rays after his arrest. Three of her credit cards and a new jacket of Tournai-Sandoval's were found in her estranged husband's house the night of her disappearance.

Barker recalled a recent media report of a woman found in Australia 50 years after her disappearance.

“It's unlikely and uncommon, but it does happen,” Barker said.

He said people automatically pointed to Sandoval because of his reputation and convictions for being a peeping Tom, suggesting it was unlikely that kind of behavior could lead to murder. During a search of Sandoval's Las Vegas home, police found several videos in which Sandoval had filmed up women's skirts without their knowledge and filmed himself having sex with women, also without their knowledge.

“They have boots that have soil on them,” Barker said. “It's not uncommon for boots to have soil on them in October. The gun. There's lots of evidence that John Sandoval liked to target shoot. Where's the blood? I'm not sure what the prosecution's theory is at this point. They haven't tied anything together. ... There's very little physical evidence that points to John Sandoval committing this crime.”

The prosecution mentioned that Sandoval's whereabouts at certain points, such as the night of his wife's disappearance, couldn't be accounted for.

“We keep bringing up that he'd been arrested for peeping Tom, and he was out all night, perhaps that's where he was,” Barker said. “There was a warrant out for his arrest” for peeping. Maybe that's why he ran from police, Barker suggested.

Tournai-Sandoval's mother, MaryEllen Tournai, declined to comment after the hearing, as many of her family and friends stopped to hug her on the way out of the courtroom.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiasse, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in Florida case involving missing pilot

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 12:24 PM

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Arrest made in death of missing pilot
BARTOW, Fla., Dec. 18 (UPI) --
A Florida man was charged Friday with killing his former boss, a pilot who vanished more than a year ago.

Stobert Lindell Holt Jr., 42, was arrested at the Orlando airport on his return from a business trip to Colombia, an FBI spokesman told CNN. A state grand jury handed up an indictment Wednesday charging him with the first-degree murder of Robert Wiles.

Wiles was last seen at the Lakeland office of National Flight Services Inc., a company his father owns, on April 1, 2008. Holt also worked for the company at one time.

Thomas and Pamela Wiles received a ransom demand two days after their son vanished.

David Couvertier, a spokesman for the FBI in Tampa, said no body has been found. FBI officials have not said why they believe Wiles is dead.

In March, the FBI said an employee or former employee of the company might be responsible for Wiles' disappearance, the Orlando Sentinel reported. They said the kidnapper appeared to be familiar with Wiles' routine, company operations and his parents.


Copyright 2009 by United Press International
All Rights Reserved.

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▣ Missouri man posts bond in 1976 no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 12:15 PM

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From Columbia Tribune

Defendant returns for court
State granted a delay in revived murder case.

From left, Johnny Wright of Lawrenceville, Ga., walks away from the bench and his attorney, Cleveland Allen Tyson, after Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter delayed a preliminary hearing for Wright Saturday at the Boone County Courthouse in the presumed homicide of Becky Doisy more than 30 years ago. Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks asked for the delay.

By T.J. Greaney

Published December 11, 2009 at 2:56 p.m.
Updated December 12, 2009 at 7:01 a.m.


Johnny Wright, charged in the 1976 disappearance of Columbia waitress Becky Doisy, appeared in Boone County Associate Circuit Court yesterday afternoon after being released on 10 percent of a $100,000 bond in November.

Prosecutors were granted a continuance for the preliminary hearing in the second-degree murder case until Feb. 5.

Wright declined to speak to reporters. His attorney, Cleveland Allen Tyson, said he planned to file a motion at the next hearing to dismiss the case.

Tyson said he believes prosecutors are weighing whether they have sufficient information to proceed with the prosecution of his client.

“My gut instinct tells me that they do not,” Tyson said. “But we’ll see.”

Wearing a suit, Wright appeared with his wife, Marva Edwards, and other relatives.

Tyson said Wright had been at his home in Lawrenceville, Ga., since he bonded out of jail last month.

Doisy of Columbia disappeared at age 23 in August 1976 after witnesses reported seeing her with Wright. A former roommate of Wright told police in 1985 that Wright had bragged about the murder and showed him Doisy’s lifeless body on the night of her disappearance.

Authorities obtained an arrest warrant in November 1985 accusing Wright of second-degree murder, but police could not find him.

Doisy’s body has not been found.

Wright’s whereabouts remained unknown to Columbia police until September, when he walked into a Georgia police station and asked for a background check as a qualification for getting a job. He showed police a week-old ID card with the name “John Wright.” When police in Georgia checked the name against an FBI database, it triggered a hit that said Wright was wanted on a murder charge in Boone County.

He was extradited to Missouri in October and held in the Boone County Jail with his bond unchanged since 1985 at $100,000. Last month, Wright’s family posted a $10,000 bond through a bail-bondsman to ensure he would return for future court hearings in the case.

According to multiple sources and public records, Wright has been living under the name of Eroll Edwards for about 25 years. He is married with two children.

Reach T.J. Greaney at 573-815-1719 or e-mail tjgreaney@columbiatribune.com.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Connecticut prosecutors fight taking DNA from victim's family member in no body murder casse

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 12:07 PM

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In an interesting twist, prosecutors in Connecticut are resisting a defendant's efforts to have his missing victim's brother tested to see if the bones recovered two years after the murder actually belong to the victim:

DNA case heard in state's high court
Prosecutor: Judge can't order test via state law
By Ken Dixon
STAFF WRITER
Updated: 12/09/2009 11:14:20 PM EST

HARTFORD -- A special state prosecutor Wednesday told the Connecticut Supreme Court that state law cannot force the brothers of a teenager killed by a Bridgeport car thief in 1984 to submit to DNA testing to determine if bones found two years later are those of the victim.

But a special public defender said that if the bones were not those of 15-year-old Alex Palmieri, Thomas J. Marra Jr., 10 years into a 60-year murder sentence, might be a free man.

During a 50-minute hearing before the high court, Frederick W. Fawcett, representing the state's attorney's office, said there was no reason to believe that Marra would not have been convicted in 1990.

Fawcett said that most of the evidence hinged on the testimony of two gang members who described Marra beating the boy with an aluminum baseball bat until his brains splattered on the floor of the gang leader's Clark Street garage, and then locking the body in a refrigerator that was tossed into Bridgeport Harbor.

"There's no remedy the trial court can afford," said Fawcett, adding there's no room in state law for a judge to order the DNA testing of family member. "A third party is not included in the statutory language."

Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers asked what harm would be caused by taking a swab from inside the cheek of one of Palmieri's two surviving brothers.

Fawcett said that testing a sibling could result in personal information getting out that could make the person ineligible for health insurance. "The ramifications to the third party are limitless," Fawcett told the seven-justice panel.

"It doesn't give rise to a reasonable probability that Mr. Marra would have been acquitted or not prosecuted?" asked Associate Justice Richard N. Palmer.

"That's correct," Fawcett said, detailing the witness account of the killing and testimony from Palmieri's girlfriend and family who said he was never seen again until a sneaker and foot bones, later identified as belonging to a Caucasian at least 14 years old, washed up along the harbor in 1986.

The sneaker was identified by Palmieri's girlfriend as similar to those he wore, but DNA technology at the time could not identify the bones.

Fawcett said Marra sent state investigators on "wild goose chases" with hints where Palmieri's body might be buried. The refrigerator was never found, even though Coast Guard divers searched the harbor for a year.

Kenneth Paul Fox, the special public defender, said that at the time of Marra's sentencing in 1990, DNA forensics were not as sophisticated as they are today. In fact, blood stains lifted from the scene were lost at the time of the trial and the supporting evidence consisted of a written analysis of the blood.

"Thomas Marra has filed under the statute because he believes there is biological material, which, if tested, would be material to his guilt or innocence under his criminal conviction," Fox said, recalling that initially, there was no body -- or parts of a body -- to identify.

"So they were facing a situation where they would be trying Mr. Marra without physical evidence of the victim, even without physical evidence that the victim had died," he said.

Fox said there was a motion at the state court level to order a brother to submit to DNA testing, but the issue wasn't fully argued in court, even though the defense thought there was an agreement to get the sample for comparison. The family eventually declined to be tested.

"The claim is that if the DNA testing effectively shows that these remains are not remains of Alex Palmieri, then that is exculpatory evidence that is material to Mr. Marra's guilt or innocence," Fox said.

"So our position about that is that there isn't a sufficient record before you at this point to deal with that issue," Fox said. "Our expectation is that if we succeed under the statute we'll be back in court in Bridgeport and if we're going to seek an order to have the brother swabbed, we'll have that motion, but we're not barred from arguing that motion." But Justice Flemming L. Norcott Jr. and Justice Peter T. Zarella indicated that state law does not address the issue of possibly ordering people who are not accused of crimes to provide DNA.

"What we're saying is, it's outside the statute," Fox replied.

"If it's not under the statute, what authority is it under?" Zarella said. "Is it not a question of law?" Fox admitted that while there have been cases where courts have ordered third-party DNA testing, such action hasn't occurred in Connecticut.

"Testing is defined by the statute and comparison with a relative is not the only kind of testing that could be taken," Fox said. "It may tell us that the person's bones had some genetic disease of some sort and then we'll be able to show Alex Palmieri didn't have this disease, something like that," Fox said. "There's a lot of DNA technology. It is now possible to extract DNA from the bones with reliable results." He said that if the blood samples hadn't been lost, it would also be possible to extract DNA from them.

Fox asked the justices to imagine a new trial, without the admission of the bones, and decide whether it would be different from the trial that sent Marra to prison for 60 years. "The question is when you can have confidence in what the jury will do if this evidence hadn't been available to them," Fox said.

"The great strength of the state's case is these two witnesses, who claim that they had assisted Mr. Marra," he said. "Our position is that if the bones and sneaker are gone, this story is greatly weakened and the credibility of the two witnesses is weakened."

"How does that undermine the testimony of the two witnesses?" Zarella asked.

"Because the state has to concede that they made a tremendous effort to find something in the harbor and failed," Fox replied. "The foot and sneaker were very powerful."

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Washington man arrested in no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 11:56 AM

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Defendant’s bail reduced in dog-trainer slaying case
Skagit Valley Herald
November 25, 2009 - 11:55 AM

Scott Terrell

Murder defendant Michiel Glen Oakes of Kennewick appeared in Skagit County Superior Court on Wednesday for a bail reduction hearing.
MOUNT VERNON — A judge this morning cut in half the $5 million bail of a 41-year-old man accused of planning and carrying out the murder of an elite Anacortes dog trainer.

The dog trainer, Mark Stover, has not been found, though friends and family are grieving his death.

Meanwhile Michiel Glen Oakes of Kennewick, Stover’s ex-wife’s new boyfriend, is being held in the Skagit County Jail, charged with first-degree premeditated murder.

After a hearing during which Oakes’ lawyers touted the man’s good qualities, such as raising four children, Skagit County Superior Court Judge Mike Rickert lowered the bail from $5 million to $2.5 million.

The courtroom filled with supporters of both Oakes and Stover.

Stover was last seen Oct. 28 at his home and dog-training business south of Anacortes. Investigators found blood in his house and on his car, which was abandoned at a nearby casino. Stover’s police-trained dog, Ding, was also found at his home, wounded by gunshot.

Oakes was later arrested at Stover’s ex-wife’s home in Winthrop.

• Tahlia Ganser can be reached at 360-416-2148 or at tganser@skagitpublishing.com.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No body murder case aired on 48 Hours Mystery

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 11:46 AM

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After two trials, the jury could not reach a verdict against Chad and Shannon Floyd and the prosecution declined to try a third time. The case was covered on 48 Hours earlier this month:

Golub case to air on '48 Hours'
Published 12/5/2009 in Local News

By RACHAEL GRAY
rgray@gctelegram.com

The case of a missing man last seen in Johnson City will air on tonight's episode of "48 Hours Mystery" on CBS.

The episode, called "Justice in the Heartland," will feature the case of Michael Golub, a man who lived in Johnson City and mysteriously disappeared in 2005. The episode will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Chad and Shannon Floyd, formerly of Johnson City, were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were tried twice, with both trials ending in hung juries. A third scheduled trial for the case never happened as prosecutors decided to drop the charges against the Floyds in wake of having no new evidence in the case.

Golub was an ex-boyfriend of Shannon Floyd, and together they have an 8-year-old son, Mikey. Golub was last seen on May 20, 2005. His body has never been found.

Susan Zirinsky, 48 Hours executive producer, said the story appealed to producers because "in a town where everybody knows everybody, someone knows something," she said.

"Yet two trials later, no one stands convicted of a crime, and there's still no body. Where's the justice?" she said.

Zirinsky said the size of the town and the circumstances around the case were peculiar.

"Something happened to him," Zirinsky said. What happened, she said, is unclear.

She said Golub's mother, Deb Golub, was compelled to find justice for her son.

"You feel like you want to take the journey with her," Zirinsky said.

The show brought in two private investigators to examine the evidence and uncover what they believe happened. The investigators will reveal new facts and new theories as to what happened and why, according to Louise Bashi, director of CBS News communications.

Two trials against the accused resulted in hung juries, and repeated requests for dismissal with prejudice -- meaning the state could not retry the accused -- had been denied by the judge, said Ashley Anstaett, a spokeswoman with the Kansas Attorney General's office.

Anstaett said prosecutors agreed to the dismissal in November 2008 because they were concerned that if a third trial with the exact same evidence resulted in another hung jury, the Floyds most likely would have been granted a dismissal with prejudice.

"Unless there is new and significant evidence that comes to light, the case will not be re-filed," Anstaett said in an e-mail Friday.

Richard Guinn, the lead prosecutor assigned to the case through the Kansas State Attorney General's Office, had said during the trial that the Floyds' motivation to kill Golub stemmed from a custody battle for their son. The Floyds' attorneys insisted their clients were innocent and that Golub had a history of substance abuse, suffered from depression and had been suicidal. The defense attorneys also argued because no body or murder weapon had ever been found, there was no certainty of Golub's death.

Small drops of blood belonging to Golub found on the Floyds' porch linked the couple to Golub and was key evidence for prosecutors. However, the evidence was not enough to convince the jury in either trial.

Golub, 6-foot tall with short brown hair and blue eyes, was last seen wearing jeans, T-shirt, hat, work boots and sunglasses.

Golub went by the nickname "California Mike" and had a tattoo on his right shoulder of Sonic the Hedgehog and the words "milk man" written underneath.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Utah man convicted in no body murder of his four year old son

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 11:40 AM

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This case was in the system for a long time but Ulysses Roberson was convicted earlier this month:
From Tahoe Daily Tribune
By Adam Jensen
ajensen@tahoedailytribune.com
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After nearly three days of deliberating, a jury found Ulysses Roberson guilty of second-degree murder in the 1985 killing of his 4-year-old son, Alexander Olive, on Monday morning.

Seated at the defense table, Roberson did not immediately show any emotion after the court clerk read the verdict, but proclaimed his innocence after Judge Suzanne Kingsbury had given final thanks to jurors for serving on the case.

“I did not kill my son,” Roberson told the courtroom.

By finding Roberson guilty of second degree murder, the jury concluded Roberson killed Olive but did not do so in the “willful, deliberate, and premeditated” way that defines first degree murder.

A first degree murder conviction carries a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison, while a second degree murder conviction carries a sentence of 15 years to life.

Roberson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 6.

Alexander Olive's mother, Rosemary Olive, was seated in the audience and dabbed tears from her eyes following the reading of the verdict. Several lawyers, courthouse staff, investigators and alternate jurors also attended Monday's hearing.

Outside the courtroom, Rosemary Olive said the verdict brought closure to a more than two decades-old tragedy.

She profusely thanked everyone involved with the case and said it was her “assignment” to get Ulysses Roberson off the street following the disappearance of Alexander.

“I wish that my son were alive, but I'm very thankful that this man won't be able to hurt any more people,” Olive said.

Olive asked Hans Uthe, El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney, about the likelihood that Roberson would be paroled. She said she didn't want to have to think about Roberson any more.

Roberson won't be eligible for parole for at least a decade and the district attorney's office will fight any moves to parole him, Uthe said.

Uthe, who has been involved on the case since Rosemary Olive reported her son missing in 1986, said he felt “great” about the verdict.

He complimented prosecutor Patricia Kelliher on the prosecution.

“She put together a wonderful presentation of a very difficult case,” Uthe said.

The length of time that had passed since the killing occurred and the fact that Olive's body has never been found were two of the trickier aspects surrounding the prosecution.

Kelliher did not to attend the reading of the verdict, reportedly because of Monday's inclement weather. She was listening on the phone as the verdict was read.

Roberson's declaration of innocence was a move by a man who has done everything he can to use the system to his advantage, said South Lake Tahoe Police Captain Martin Hewlett, who has worked on the case for more than a decade. Hewlett said he was thankful for Monday's verdict, a statement echoed by South Lake Tahoe FBI Special Agent Chris Campion, a 13-year veteran of the case.

Most jurors declined to comment about their deliberations while leaving the courthouse on Monday.

Reaching the verdict took longer than expected, but everyone was on the same page during deliberations, said juror Phil Molton.

One female juror, who declined to give her name, said the jury did not have enough evidence to find Roberson guilty of first degree murder.

“We reached the verdict with the evidence we had,” the juror said.

Another female juror, who also declined to identify herself, summed up the feelings of the jurors following the trial, which has lasted more than two months.

“I'd really just like to go home,” she said.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Reversal ini Hawaiian no body murder case

posted by Admin on December 19th, 2009 at 11:27 AM

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On December 15, 2009, the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii reversed the conviction of Jenaro Torres for the 1992 murder of Ruben Gallegos. The reversal was based upon the erroneous admission of testimony from a Navy Criminal Investigative Services (better known as NCIS) Agent. The agent, Robert Robbins, testified that a .38 caliber Smith and Weson revolver recovered from the defendant had been fired within 8 hours of its recovery, which was around the time that the defendant had been seen with the victim. Because Agent Robbins was never qualified as an expert, and given his experience on this topic probably could not be qualified as an expert, the appellate court ruled that he should not have been permitted to testify on this issue. The court further ruled that the prosecutor's use of Agent Robbins testimony in its closing meant that the testimony could not be harmless error. The case also contains a discussion of the history of no body murder cases and the specific evidence used against Torres. The case, State v. Torres can be found on Westlaw at 2009 WL 4810445 (2009) and points up the danger of using a lay person in a quasi-expert fashion.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Texas Man Arrested in No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on November 19th, 2009 at 8:38 PM

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Stobaugh charged with murder

Estranged wife of Sanger man vanished nearly five years ago

11:56 PM CST on Thursday, November 12, 2009

By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer

A grand jury has indicted a Sanger man on a charge of murdering his estranged wife, nearly five years after she was last seen at his house and never heard from again.

Immediately after the grand jury’s finding, armed with an indictment warrant, officers went to Charles Stobaugh’s farm and arrested him on a charge of murdering Kathy Stobaugh.

Texas Ranger Tracy Murphree and Denton County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Larry Kish arrested Stobaugh at his farm about an hour after the indictment. Though he had not known the case was being actively investigated again, he showed little emotion when he was taken into custody, Murphree said. Stobaugh did not talk to the officers.

“It was good to finally take him in,” Murphree said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

The Texas Ranger said he had always believed the case against Stobaugh was strong, but there was no body, which makes murder a more difficult charge to prove.

“We laid our case out for the grand jury and they agreed with us that there was only one conclusion: that Kathy Stobaugh is dead and that Charles Stobaugh killed her.”

Stobaugh, 54, was being held in the Denton County Jail late Thursday in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Kathy Stobaugh, 43, visited Charles Stobaugh on Dec. 29, 2004, at the farm near Sanger where she formerly lived with him. She did not return to her two children at the house she was renting in Sanger, and her car remained in his driveway. He told the children she had gone on a trip. When she didn’t return to teach her class at a school in Nocona after the holidays, she was reported missing, but she had been gone for several days by that time.

Charles Stobaugh told law enforcement officers that she stayed at the farm only half an hour and drove away, but her car was back in his driveway the next morning. He said they argued over property settlement issues in their divorce and she left angry, saying he might never see her again. He theorized that she had left with someone on a trip.

He said he called her cellphone several times because he was concerned for her. But phone records showed he never called her number. Her bank account was never accessed. He soon stopped cooperating

with the investigation, and Murphree described him as the only suspect in her disappearance and probable death.

Denton County sheriff’s deputies and the Texas Rangers searched extensively on Stobaugh property, in surrounding fields and on land in Cooke County for the missing mother and schoolteacher. They followed numerous leads and made pleas for information from the public. But the leads ran out and there was nowhere left to search, and the case faded from public notice.

Members of Kathy Stobaugh’s family never gave up. Her father, James Munday, her brothers, Chris and Mark, and their wives Keitha and Kim, waited tensely at the courthouse Thursday to find out if the grand jury would hand up an indictment. They sat in the courtroom as Judge Bruce McFarling read off the indictment list and smiled when they heard Charles Stobaugh had been indicted on a murder charge.

Then they waited for his arrest so they could watch him being arraigned.

“They called us a couple of months ago and told us they were working on the case again,” said Fort Worth police Officer Chris Munday, who pushed hard for an arrest over the years.

His brother, Mark, said the family always believed the day would come when there would be an arrest.

“I knew something would happen sometime to bring it out,” said his wife, Kim.

The Stobaughs met when they attended Texas Woman’s University, family members said. They married and she worked for North Central Texas College for a number of years. She had recently returned to TWU and obtained a teaching certificate. She was working in the Nocona school district when she disappeared.

Chris Munday said in an earlier interview that the marriage had always been rocky.

“She finally had enough and was getting out and making a life for her and her children.

He didn’t want the divorce and wouldn’t accept any divorce settlement,” Chris Munday said.

He said Charles Stobaugh told police that she got upset because he offered to sell everything and split it, and that’s why she left.

“Who would get upset about getting $500,000?” he said.

James Munday, Kathy’s father, said Thursday that his wife died a year ago not having seen justice for her daughter.

“It’s been a long time,” the elder Munday said. “Too long.”

The husband and wife team of Cary and Susan Piel will prosecute the case, said First Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck. They began work shortly after they won a high-profile murder conviction in the Robert “Bobby” Lozano case in August. He also was accused of murdering his wife.

They began talking with Murphree about the old case, and he suggested they look at it, said Beck.

He said the subsequent investigation and review of the evidence did not produce a “smoking gun.”

“We don’t have a body,” Beck said. “But we believe we have enough evidence to go forward. That’s what a grand jury is for. They told us they believed we had a case.”

DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is dfielder@dentonrc.com.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Body of missing North Carolia woman and husband arested.

posted by Admin on November 19th, 2009 at 8:26 PM

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No longer a no body murder case but it's somewhat satisfying to have the victim and an arrest:
* Husband charged with murder in wife's death
* Friends react to arrest in Kelly Morris' death
* Web only: Kelly Morris' dad says he won't stop searching
* Photos: Candlelight vigil held for Kelly Morris
* Photos: Family remembers Kelly Morris at Christmas
* Nov. 17 emergency custody order in Morris case
* Scott Morris arrest documents

Related Links Related Links

* WRAL.com archive: Kelly Morris disappearance

Related Stories Related Stories

* Missing woman's husband detained after skeletal remains found
Missing mom's husband charged with murder
Scott Morris

Posted: Nov. 18, 2009
Updated: Nov. 18 10:39 p.m.

Oxford, N.C. — The husband of a Granville County woman missing for more than a year has been charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Family members of Kelly Morris, 28, also said Wednesday that authorities notified them that skeletal remains found Tuesday afternoon in the southern part of the county are those of the mother of two.

Husband charged with murder in wife's death

Morris was last seen Sept. 3, 2008. The following day, the house she shared with her family at 3220 Tump Wilkins Road caught fire, which officials ruled was arson. Hours afterward, authorities found Morris' car about a mile from her home with her keys, purse and cell phone inside.

William Scott Morris, 35, of 113 W. Church St., Creedmoor, was taken into custody and charged Tuesday evening. In addition to murder, he also faces a charge of fraudulently burning a dwelling.

He was being held in the Granville County Detention Center without bond Wednesday afternoon. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 2.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins said authorities received information Monday that led them to a wooded area off Sam Moss Hayes Road in Creedmoor, where the remains – identified using dental records – were found Tuesday afternoon.

Family members told WRAL News that the remains were found in the Tar River Fox Pen along Sam Moss Hayes Road.

"There were searches conducted in that area,” Al Mignacci, a volunteer who searched for Kelly Morris, said.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Wilkins declined to comment further on the case or a possible motive.

"I hope this arrest will bring some closure to Kelly's family," he said.

James Ray, owner of the fox pen, also declined to talk about the case but did say Scott Morris is not a member of the preserve.

Meanwhile, Kelly Morris' father and stepmother – Pat and Juanita Currin – have filed a petition for custody of the Morrises' 6-year-old daughter, who has been staying with her father and grandparents.

A second daughter, Kelly Morris' from a previous relationship, has been staying with her father.

Chief District Court Judge Daniel Finch on Tuesday signed an emergency order that states that Kelly Morris was likely the victim of a homicide and that Scott Morris was likely involved in her death.

A custody hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The order states that Scott Morris had the “intent to deceive” investigators, made numerous inconsistent statements to authorities about his whereabouts the day his wife went missing and will likely be charged with kidnapping and/or murder.

The order further suggests that Scott Morris' father, Jimmy Morris, might have been involved in a cover-up.

According to search warrants in the case, family members and friends told authorities the couple was having marital problems and had talked about divorce. They also indicate inconsistencies between Scott Morris' account and those of others regarding his actions in the hours after he says he last saw his wife and the following day.

Lisa Thompson, Kelly Morris’ friend, said she wants to see justice served.

"He has no heart. He should not have anything to do with society or anybody else,” Thompson said of Scott Morris.

Family members, authorities and volunteers from as far away as Texas have searched relentlessly over the past year for the missing woman.

"She was a loving mother, a loving daughter," Kelly Morris' mother, Wanda Hollis, said Wednesday. "Today has been a bittersweet day, but we found Kelly."

* Reporters: Erin Hartness, Beau Minnick
* Photographers: Pete James, Richard Adkins
* Web Editors: Kelly Hinchcliffe, Kelly Gardner

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Article on Robert Morgenthau with no body murder reference

posted by Admin on November 12th, 2009 at 5:19 PM

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Just thought this was interesting even though he didn't personally prosecute the case (which is the Kimes case).....

Morgenthau Night at the Javits Center
By Tom Robbins in Crime and Punishment, Featured, Town-Gown LowdownWednesday, Nov. 11 2009 @ 10:37AM
​Being Veterans Day eve, it was fitting that past and present employees of the Manhattan District Attorney's office gathered last night to honor their outgoing boss, Robert Morgenthau, who has headed the office since 1975.
Morgenthau is a veteran of the Second World War where he served as a Lieutenant Commander on a series of destroyers. One of them, the USS Lansdale, was torpedoed and sunk off the North African coast by German planes. A troop carrier nearby exploded, taking 500 soldiers and sailors with it. Morgenthau, minus life preserver, spent hours treading water. The way he tells it, that's where he pledged to do good works if he made it out of there alive: "I made a lot of promises to the Almighty, even though I didn't have a lot of bargaining power at the time."

Last night there was no shortage of testimony about the good deeds he lived to accomplish. Most everyone had a tale of a personal kindness or courtesy extended to them by the executive director of the 800-person office. This is expected at events celebrating retiring managers. The difference here was that this one was held at the main exhibition hall at the Jacob Javits Convention Center and some 1200 people attending each had their own stories.

The event included a video tribute from a Morgenthau alumna, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and remarks by Cyrus Vance, Jr. who won election to the DA's post last week.

There was supposed to be a mini-roast from assistant D.A. Peter Kougasian, a narcotics prosecutor known for his office wit. But after a couple of jokes, the prosecutor launched into somber praise for Morgenthau's dedicated work in support of the Armenian people. Yes, the Armenians. Among his good works, the outgoing D.A. has campaigned to make sure the world doesn't forget the wholesale Turkish slaughter during World War I, a carnage that his grandfather, Henry Morgenthau Sr., vainly tried to stop when he served as American ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador's grandson has crusaded with equal fervor on behalf of victims of the holocaust, about which his father raised a similar alarm while a member of Franklin Roosevelt's wartime cabinet.

Morgenthau is 90 years old and his hearing, damaged during those hours spent in chilly waters, is fragile. But his voice, if hoarse, is strong as ever and he took the podium last night to talk about what he said had been the "privilege of leading this office."

"People are always asking me, 'What's the most important case you ever had?' My answer always is that every case is important to the victims.

"I will confess," he added, "that I got the most satisfaction out of doing things people told me I shouldn't or couldn't do." A few years ago he had insisted that murder charges be filed against a mother and son grifter team who had swindled an elderly widow who had then disappeared. There was no body or witness, and, as Morgenthau noted, the day before the trial "the paper of record ran a story quoting all the experts saying we couldn't win the case.

"I have a very low regard for experts," he said. "That goes back to my time in the Navy and the last ship I was on was hit by a kamikaze plane that skidded into us just below the water line." An expert, brought aboard to inspect the damage, assured them that only the plane's engine or undercarriage had been left behind. "Based on that sage advice," Morgenthau said, "instead of being repaired, we continued some 1200 miles to Leyte Gulf. We were out among the destroyers for about a week when we learned that we had a 550 pound bomb set against the bulkhead with the firing pin still intact. So I have never trusted experts. In the Navy, the expression for expert is 'The son of a bitch from out of town'."

He proudly touted something else the experts are still pondering, the astonishing drop in crime achieved during his years: 648 Manhattan homicides the year he took office; 62 last year.

"I was always reluctant to claim credit for any reduction in crime," he said, "because I knew it could always go up and I'd get the blame. But now that I'm leaving," he added with a trademark twinkle, "I don't hesitate to take the credit."

There had "obviously been no one factor in the criminal justice system that led to that extraordinary reduction," he continued. "Basically, it was the hard work of all of you. You are an extraordinary group of people."

Then he stepped off the stage to shake hands and pose for photographs with admiring fans and colleagues. There was a long line of them, even for the Javits Center.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Appeal of Harold Austin No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on November 3rd, 2009 at 12:12 PM

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On October 8, 2009, I had the pleasure (?) of watching the oral arguments in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for the case of United States v. Harold Austin. Those of you who follow this blog (both of you) will recall that this is the case prosecuted by yours truly (along with fellow prosecutor Tonya Sulia (now Goodman)) in January of 2006. Nearly four years later the case was up for appeal before DC's highest court. Not surprisingly the three judges, Judges Glickman, Blackburne-Rigsby and Ruiz, spent the entire time questioning the attorneys on the so-called re-initiation by the defendant, Mr. Austin. In a nutshell, two days before his arrest, we brought Mr. Austin up from the DC Jail to the DC Homicide Section to see if he would speak to us about the murder of Marion Fye. He invoked his rights, however, and therefore we could not speak to him. When he was arrested two days later, however, he asked to see the arrest warrant while in the car being transported, again from the DC Jail (where he was being held on armed robbery charges) to the Homicide Section. Austin was given the warrant and the affidavit by Detective Chris Kauffman. Eventually, having read the affidavit and warrant, Austin asked to talk to the police and made a confession where he admitted shooting Ms. Fye but claimed it was by accident during a struggle over the gun. He then stated that he dumped Ms. Fye's body in a dumpster behind Ben's Chili Bowl. (Yeah, that Ben's Chili Bowl.) The Court seemed troubled by two things: did the police trick or induce Austin to re-initiate a conversation with the police (even though the subjective intent of the police is irrelevant) and second, does the fact that Austin only asked for the warrant (a single piece of paper with virtually no information about the crime) but was given the multi-page affidavit make a difference? The Court explored this question even though it had not been raised by the defendant before the appellate hearing and had certainly not been raised in the trial court below. Moreover, in all liklihood when the defendant requested the "warrant" he really meant the affidavit that outlines the evidence against him not the warrant that simply lists the actual offense for which he is being arrested. There's no telling when the decision will be made but needless to say, the Court's questions left me a little nervous. Even if they find what the police did to be improper, however, they could still find the error to be harmless since the evidence against Mr. Austin was quite overwhelming. I eagerly await the result!

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Appeal pending in Pennsylvania no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 30th, 2009 at 1:05 PM

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Pennsylvania
Continuance granted in latest Harshman appeal
By KATE S. ALEXANDER
October 27, 2009
kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Franklin County President Judge Douglas Herman has agreed to continue the latest appeal by a convicted murderer in order for the district attorney’s office to acclimate new attorneys to the case.

Ronald Harshman, 59, was scheduled to appear Tuesday in Franklin County Court for the third day of his post-conviction relief act hearing. Testimony was also heard on Aug. 3 and Sept. 10.

Harshman, an inmate at Rockview State Penitentiary near Bellefonte, Pa., is appealing his 2001 murder conviction, claiming material witnesses gave false testimony during his trial in exchange for reduced jail sentences.

A jury found Harshman guilty in 2001 of first-degree murder in the death of Melvin Snyder. Snyder, 42, who had an relationship with Harshman’s ex-wife, disappeared May 25, 1985, from his Greencastle, Pa., home. No body or murder weapon were found.

Representatives of the District Attorney’s office declined to comment Tuesday, but defense attorney Chris Sheffield said the recent death of District Attorney Jack Nelson, coupled with the impending appointment of Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom to the bench has left the state short of representatives who are familiar with the case.

Nelson led the 2001 prosecution of Harshman; Krom was his assistant.

Losing the two attorneys most familiar with the case led the DA’s office to file a motion asking for more time, Sheffield said.

Herman, who presided over the 2001 conviction as well as Harshman’s latest appeal, signed the continuance Tuesday, according to the court administrator’s office. No date has been set for the next day of the hearing. Sheffield said it could be December before Harshman reappears in court.

Harshman’s latest appeal relied on recantations of testimony by key witnesses Keith Granlun, 57, and Randi Kohr, 35, as well as testimony from witnesses who alleged Kohr and Granlun admitted later to lying on the stand, Sheffield said previously.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania planned to call its first witnesses in the hearing Tuesday, Nelson said during the Sept. 10 hearing. Nelson said he was planning to call Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Daren Hockenberry to testify.

The state built its 2001 case against Harshman on circumstantial evidence and the sworn testimony of Hockenberry and several inmates, including Kohr and Granlun, Nelson said.

Kohr and Granlun declined to testify in the hearing Aug. 3 under the protection of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects witnesses from self-incrimination.

Of the 17 witnesses subpoenaed to testify for the defense, only two took the stand.

Sheffield previously said he plans to present Herman with evidence, including letters from Kohr, that supports Harshman’s claim. The evidence, he said, “speaks for itself.”

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Top Five Things to Do in No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on October 30th, 2009 at 8:44 AM

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I printed this on my website a few years ago but thought I would reprint it again:

I’m often asked by both the families of missing persons and law enforcement what the police should be doing once a person is missing but presumed dead. Here are five things the police should focus on early in an investigation. In any murder investigation, time is of the essence and the faster the police can gather clues, the greater their chance of finding the victim’s body and making an arrest. Note that all of these techniques are useful even if the victim is merely missing and not actually dead.

1. Cell phones

Cell phones have a wealth of information and their widespread use in today’s society make them a valuable source of information. The police, often with the help of a subpoena issued by the prosecutor’s office, can get the records from the victim’s phone and see who the victim was calling, when the calls stopped and who called after the outgoing calls stopped. Checking the frequency of calls also help police determine who was close to the victim. Cell phones utilize cell towers to make calls and obtaining cell tower records tell police where a call was coming from. Indeed, the cell towers to which a phone sends a signal can change during the duration of a call, so police can track the path of the victim. However, phone companies keep cell tower records for very limited periods, often as few as 20 to 30 days so police must move quickly to get these records. Of course, all of these techniques apply to potential suspects as well.

2. Interviews

Police should immediately interview as many who know the victim as possible. Close family members and friends must be interviewed in detail to gather information. Videotaping these interviews is best because if the story changes down the road, the police have an accurate record of what was said initially. Any suspects should also be interviewed and their story thoroughly checked out.

3 Search warrants

I have seen over the years the difficulties police have in getting search warrants for suspect’s houses or other possible scenes in missing person’s cases. First, police should aggressively pursue consent searches if possible. If that fails, they must at least try to get a search warrant. There’s nothing wrong with putting in a search warrant that the police suspect foul play and that the victim’s characteristics are inconsistent with having simply left town, e.g., left behind children, is a child, have not accessed bank accounts, failed to show up to work, etc. Citing other cases of missing persons who were later found dead or were never found, increase the chances a judge will agree the victim may be dead. Getting inside a suspect’s house often leads to very valuable scientific evidence. Any search should include a cadaver dog. You’d be amazed at how often suspects bury a body nearby, sometimes temporarily until they can move it to another, safer location.


4 Pressure suspect

If there is an obvious suspect, pressure must be applied. Through effective interrogation techniques, a suspect will often confess early on since the guilt is fresh and the suspect’s story not quite thought out yet. A suspect should be placed under surveillance to see if he or she returns to the crime scene or where the body was disposed of. Advances in GPS technology have led police to placing GPS tracking devices on a suspect’s car and using the information to see where the suspect goes. For an interesting recent article from the Washington Post about this see, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/12/AR2008081203275.html

5 Think creatively

Don’t treat the case like a missing person case, treat it like a homicide where the best evidence of the crime is missing: the body. Police must think outside the box. In one case, the family had not heard from the victim for sometime but was receiving letters allegedly written by the victim. The family, suspicious that the victim was actually dead, wrote back and reminded the victim to send the money he owed to another family member and to not forget that same family member’s birthday. A few days letter a birthday card arrived along with a check for $25. Of course, the victim did not owe that family member any money and it was not his birthday so the family knew that it was not the victim writing the letters. This is just one example of police and a family thinking creatively to ensnare a killer. Someone with the ability to conceal a body is not a criminal who is likely to make stupid mistakes like the bank robber who writes a stickup note on his own deposit slip. These cases are huge law enforcement challenges and require creative solutions and investigative techniques.

Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Various recent articles on no body murder cases

posted by Admin on October 26th, 2009 at 8:01 AM

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These articles were collected by my research assistant Alexander Smith, a law student at American University:

WBIR.com – Knoxville, TN
Reward money is about to expire
Emily Stroud Updated: 7/27/2009 7:17:57 PM Posted: 7/27/2009 5:50:08 PM
http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=94291


Reward money is about to expire for information about a missing East Tennessee woman who is presumed dead.

Jean Johnson of Scott County disappeared in February 2007.

Her ex-husband, Doug Whisnant, is charged in her murder. His trial is set for next February.

The family is focused on finding Jean Johnson's remains.

The suspect in the case isn't talking.

But they hope the reward will be an incentive for someone with knowledge to come forward.

"I just decided I would make a little memorial out there, and I called it my honor tree," Dorothy Taylor said, standing in the front yard of her home in Oneida.

An oak tree decorated in Taylor's front yard reminds her of her mother, Jean Johnson, missing for two and a half years.

"Still missing, and her remains have never been found," Taylor said. "When most people lose someone, they get to have a funeral, and they get to bury them. They get to say goodbye."

Taylor discovered a California foundation offering rewards in missing persons cases.

She contacted the group, it checked with the Scott County Sheriff's Office, and the group offered a reward.

But the economy limits its duration.

"If you, out there, know something, please, please come forward," Taylor urged.

An email from Victim Advocate Christina Barron with the Carole Sund / Carrington Foundation explains, "The reward expires October 1, 2009, and has been effective since March 31, 2009, our 6-month regular term. Our foundation has had to reduce our victim services and reward program so we will be unable to process any request for an extension of the reward."

"The reward money is there for you," Taylor said. "Take advantage if it, and get the reward money, and then also help us to find out mother so that we can lay her to rest."

A grand jury indicted Doug Whisnant in the murder case last year, even with no body.

His trial is set for February 16, 2010, three years after Jean Johnson disappeared

The Capital Times – Madison, WI
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Schwartz retiring
Mike Miller — 7/21/2009 7:14 am
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/459003

Dane County is about to lose another of its veteran Circuit Court judges, with Judge Stuart Schwartz telling Gov. Jim Doyle in a letter delivered Friday that he plans to retire on Oct. 2.

The decision by Schwartz means that Dane County will have lost five of its 17 judges this year, with Doyle recently appointing successors for three retiring judges and another new judge being elected to office in the spring to replace the retiring Judge Michael Nowakowski.

"I've loved every minute of this job, but this is the right time to leave," Schwartz said Monday. "The timing is right."
Schwartz will keep handling his caseload until he steps down on Oct. 2, and then will remain active in the future as a fill-in, or Reserve Judge, for others on the circuit court.

This marks the first time in the history of the county when five Circuit Court judges have retired in one year, and with the county having 17 Circuit posts, it means nearly 30 percent of those making judicial decisions by year's end will be new to the job.

Under Wisconsin law, when judges retire before completing their term, a replacement is appointed by the governor and then must run for re-election in the next spring election. That will be true with four of the five new judges.

Nowakowski retired by not running for re-election this year and his successor, Madison attorney Julie Genovese won election to a full six year term she will not be on next year's ballot.

Three others, private practice attorney Nicholas McNamara, Department of Corrections Deputy Secretary Amy Smith and Division of Hearings and Appeals judge Peter Anderson were recently appointed by Doyle to succeed retiring Judges Steven Ebert, Diane Nicks and James Martin.

Schwartz leaves the bench after 17 years of service as a judge, but has been involved directly in the court operations since 1973, when he was appointed Court Commissioner by Dane County Circuit Court Judge P. Charles Jones.

Schwartz came on board specifically to help the transition in Wisconsin's laws on mental health, a system which was drastically re-worked after a 1972 court decision.

After serving as a court commissioner specializing in the newly enacted mental commitment laws, Schwartz ran for judge in 1992 and defeated former Dane County District Attorney Hal Harlowe for the post.

As a judge he has served in the criminal and juvenile divisions, and has handled civil lawsuit as well.

"I've done it all," he laughed. But Schwartz cited the evolution of the county's drug court as a milestone of his tenure. Under the drug court, first instituted by the late Judge Jack Aulik, people who commit crimes because of drug use are referred to a specialized court which seeks rehabilitation rather than penalties, and which has had much success.

Perhaps the most sensational and well known of the numerous cases which have come before Schwartz in his time on the bench is the 2001 trial of Daniel Kutz, convicted of killing his wife, Beth, after she disappeared on July 27, 2000, after leaving work.

The case is one of only three in the annals of Dane County courts in which someone has been convicted of murder when there was no body of a victim ever found. Beth Kutz' disappearance remains a mystery, even though her husband is now serving a life sentence for having killed her.

Schwartz handled other major cases as well, but says what he will miss the most in his retirement is the daily contact with lawyers, and those who appear before him. "I'll miss those contacts with the people," he said.

In his letter to Doyle he could not resist taking a mild and humorous shot at his the former Dane County district attorney.

On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to work with you over these many years," he wrote. "You and Jessica have always been warm and gracious even when my Little League team was beating yours."

Doyle's office has not yet set a deadline for applications for those seeking to replace Schwartz.

ABC News Channel 9 – Chattanooga, TN
New Developments In Sam Parker Murder Case
August 05, 2009 5:28 PM
http://www.newschannel9.com/news/parker-983439-evidence-sam.html

John Pless

A Walker County judge has decided what kind of evidence can, and can not be used against Sam Parker.

Parker is about to go on trial for killing his wife Theresa even though police have never found her body or evidence she's dead.

Some evidence the prosecution team spent a tremendous amount of time and money on will not be allowed against Parker.

Remember last month, when the prosecution showed the judge the video of cadaver dogs in action? Prosecutors argued the dogs alerted their handlers back in 2007 to the smell of a decomposing body near Teresa Parker's car and Sam Parker's garage.

Lisa Higgins with the Louisiana Search and Rescue Dog team testified in July "almost immediately I gave the command and she hit really hard, worked very, very hard inside the wheel well on the driver's side and gave a full indication right there."

After further cross examination it was learned that cadaver dogs can hit on other things, like pigs, or bark when they're excited about something not connected with the search. Parker's defense team argued that evidence should be thrown out since no one knows what excited the K-9's.

Walker County Superior Court Judge Jon "Bo" Wood agreed, saying in a previous case the Georgia Supreme Court "decided the alerts should not have been admitted."

The FBI had great interest in the Parker case because it was going to be a "test case" where cadaver dogs would help in the prosecution of a no body murder trial.

But on another issue Judge Wood sided with prosecutors about deputies going on Parker's property without a warrant. Judge Wood concluded in his July 31 ruling "...the Court finds that the officers had a right to be on the property of the Defendant and alleged victim for a safety/wellness check."

Theresa Parker seemingly vanished more than two years ago without a trace. Her husband Sam is accused of killing her despite no body and no evidence she's dead.

"When you don't have the body you don't have the best, single piece of evidence in a murder case," according to Thomas "Tad" DiBiase.

Dibiase was a federal homicide prosecutor for more than 12 years in the District Of Columbia who has spent the last five years researching so-called "no body murder cases."

The Parker murder case is only the seventh case known in Georgia where prosecutors have gone to trial without a body. DiBiase found the six previous Georgia cases span from 1949 to 2005. All but one in 2001 resulted in a conviction.

One of the more recent was the case against Calvin Hinton in Atlanta, who was convicted in 2005 for killing 19-year-old Shannon Melendi. Her body was never found before trial, but after his conviction Hinton admitted he burned and then buried her body in his yard.

In the Parker case we have yet to hear about any other physical evidence that could help win a conviction.

"Typically in an investigation the public does not know all the information that is there, so that's the first caveat, you can never predict what the police or the prosecution may have that hasn't been revealed yet," DiBiase said.

Dibiase said in most no body cases a conviction is based on three factors: there is forensic evidence tying the suspect to the victim, the accused gives a confession or the accused tells someone else about the crime.

Since the cadaver dog testimony won't be allowed we're not sure what physical evidence prosecutors may have.

We do know that the prosecution team is under pressure to make a challenging case. Chattanooga criminal defense attorney Jerry Summers, who's not involved in the Parker case, gave us his perspective about prosecutors under that kind of pressure.

"Of course there's an inordinate amount of public pressure in the Sam Parker case, it's been highly publicized and unfortunately that sometimes puts pressure on prosecutors because prosecutors are publicly elected," Summers said.

The process of picking a jury begins August 17 in Bartow County, Georgia. Jurors will be sequestered and brought to the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette for the trial.

HometownAnnapolis.com – The Capital
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/top/2009/08/11-02/Police-identify-homicide-victim.html

Police identify homicide victim
DNA confirms skeleton of man missing since 2007
By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Staff Writer
Published 08/11/09

A partial skeleton found last year in Baltimore is the missing remains of a 2007 county homicide victim, according to Anne Arundel County police.

Antonio Moore, 22, of Brooklyn Park, prepares for his third jury trial in regard to Michael Francis' April 14, 2007, death in Brooklyn Park. DNA confirmed last week the remains are those of Michael Francis, 21, of Brooklyn Park, said Justin Mulcahy, county police spokesman.

The discovery comes as Antonio Moore, 22, of Brooklyn Park, prepares for his third jury trial in regard to Francis' April 14, 2007, death in Brooklyn Park. Charged with first-degree murder, Moore saw his first trial end in a mistrial March 3, 2008, and his second trial end with a hung jury on May 30, 2008. The third trial is scheduled for Dec. 1.

It is unclear what - if any - effect the discovery will have on the case.

Prosecutors declined yesterday to comment about the remains, and police are staying quiet on exactly how the skeleton was buried and if any additional evidence was found.

During the first two trials, jurors didn't seem to care that the body was missing - only one juror refused to convict after the second trial, and he withheld his vote because he said he didn't believe the state's witnesses. Defense attorneys said they always thought Francis was dead.

"The mere discovery of the body doesn't change anything," said District Public Defender William Davis, Moore's defense attorney. He said he believes someone else - perhaps one of the state's own witnesses - pulled the trigger.

A relatively new database of missing persons, a keen-eyed scientist and an orthopedic screw found in the skeleton's right femoral bone led detectives to order the DNA tests and ultimately make the match, police and prosecutors said. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System - identifyus.org - the skeleton was found April 20, 2008, in a wooded area off Strathdale Road in Baltimore. The skeleton was missing at least one limb and both hands.

Investigators at that time determined the person who died was probably black, male, 20 to 25 years old and about 5 feet 5 inches tall. The person probably died in 2007.

County police didn't learn about the remains until June, when a private company tasked with reviewing the database brought it to the attention of detectives.

Erin Jones, a forensic science analyst with System Planning Corp., said she was comparing the identifyus.org database to a sister database dealing only with missing persons - findthemissing.org - when she noticed several similarities between the skeleton and Francis.

Both, she said, were the same age, sex, size and race, and both appeared to have died at about the same time. And since the remains were found just a few miles from where Francis was shot, she decided to call county police.

From there, detectives confirmed that both Francis and the skeleton had screws in the right femur - making everyone involved think they had found their victim.

A special medical examiner looked at the remains in June with the hope that dental records would confirm the identity of the remains. The exam, however, was inconclusive and detectives ordered the DNA tests.

The shooting

Prosecutors said Moore shot Francis with an assault-style rifle at about 3 a.m. April 14, 2007, behind 5102 Brookwood Road in Brooklyn Park. Witnesses said he stuffed Francis into the trunk of a Toyota Solara, then drove off with his girlfriend in the front seat.

Witnesses also testified Moore beat another man, Teiko Johnson, earlier that morning with the butt of the rifle and tried to put him in the trunk.

While the second jury did not reach a verdict regarding the murder charge, it convicted Moore of first-degree assault and two lesser charges in the beating of Johnson. Moore eventually was sentenced to 25 years in prison for that assault.

Circuit Court Judge Michele D. Jaklitsch declared a mistrial in March 2008 after a state witness testified that the Toyota Solara that Moore was driving the day of the killing was stolen from Russell Toyota in Baltimore. The judge feared the jury could have concluded that Moore stole the car, even though he never was charged with the crime and someone else was under investigation for the theft.

Moore is being held at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown

Contra Costa Times
Curtis Dean Anderson confession draws mixed reaction
By John Simerman
Posted: 07/06/2009 04:20:35 PM PDT
Updated: 07/07/2009 11:02:35 AM PDT
http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_12763360

When his dark star shone brightest — in Solano County Jail, accused of heinous crimes against one Vallejo girl and suspected of abducting another — Curtis Dean Anderson would spew about it in his slippery, cryptic way.

He counted on a future in prison as he awaited trial for snatching 8-year-old Midsi Sanchez in 2000, shackling her to his car and molesting her before her escape after two days captive.

In the meantime, Anderson relished the attention, the time with visitors, the chance to taunt and tease.

Then 39, he vaguely claimed an array of child abductions and killings. He told a reporter and the great-aunt of 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild that he took the girl off a Vallejo street in 1999.

He wanted money for the details, where to find her alive. He tried to send reporters on errands and remote searches for bones. He used code language and appeared to feel clever.

"He actually, at one point, referred to himself as Hannibal Lecter and said the reporters were like Clarice," said Kristi Belcamino, a former Contra Costa Times reporter who visited Anderson in jail several times. "He acted like he was smarter than anyone else, smarter than the cops. I think he was a miserable, lonely person and all of a sudden he was important for the first time in his life, and he was taking advantage of it."

As Pinole police closed the book Monday on the 1988 disappearance of 7-year-old Amber Swartz, of Pinole — noting a signed confession by Anderson a month before his death in 2007, and no evidence to refute it — the news brought hope of resolution for her family. But memories of his manipulating ways cast a lingering doubt.

Amber's mother, Kim Swartz, sounded cautious Monday. She said her sons are skeptical because no body has been found.

"The hard part is the roller coaster, the ups and downs. People would call up and say she was fed to pigs, she was pushed out of a plane. Who knows? Is this another one of those or is it real?" she said. "I don't want it to be him. I knew what kind of a person he was. It makes your mind run crazy with the possibilities."

Anderson confessed to several Bay Area abductions, sexual assaults and killings a month before his December 2007 death at a Bakersfield hospital while serving a combined 301-year sentence for Midsi's abduction and Xiana's kidnapping and murder. He only signed a confession in Amber's case.

"Wow. I hope this is real," said Marc Klaas, whose daughter, Polly, was kidnapped and murdered at age 12 in 1993 in Petaluma. "You want to know what happened to your child. You want to know who committed the crime against your child and you need assurance that that individual is no longer out there. People who are left hanging oftentimes seem to be suspended in time." Still, Klaas couldn't help but recall Anderson's prevaricating ways.

"I remember he played (Stephanie Kahalekulu, Xiana's great-aunt) for a long time, had her coming back to jail, sending letters to give him money, all these things so she could get the answers she needed," Klaas said. "He was a real monster, that one. If somebody like that were to tell the truth, you wouldn't know it."

It's unclear what other motive would prompt Anderson to describe a random snatching of Amber on June 3, 1988, and her killing in Arizona.

Eight years ago, it was time in the spotlight, and the hope for cash in jail.

"It'd buy me a TV, a Walkman, soup to eat every day, candy bars, ice cream, sodas, smokes, probably some sex — cuz you gotta have that," he told Belcamino.

Xiana's skull was found in Los Gatos as Anderson sat in jail for Midsi's abduction. A day after it was identified, Anderson offered the Times an account of his life — crime, drugs, growing up in Vallejo with dreams of being like motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel. He refused to admit or deny killing Xiana.

"That's a question for them 12 people in the courtroom," he said. "If I jumped up on the table and screamed 'I didn't do it!' would the headlines be as big?"

Staff writer Karl Fischer contributed to this story. Reach John Simerman at 925-943-8072 or jsimerman@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Clay Today
Arrest made in old murder case
Clay Today | June 23, 2009 | 1 Comments
http://www.claytoday.biz/content/1212_1.php
By Randy Lefko

ORANGE PARK – In a first-of-its-kind case in Clay County, a Melrose man who lived in Keystone Heights years ago will be prosecuted for the 1979 murder of a family member even though investigators have been unable to find the victim’s body, Sheriff Rick Beseler said Tuesday, June 23.

Clay County Sheriff's Office investigators arrested Kenneth Wayne Murwin, 53, on Monday at his Melrose home with no incident.

In 2006, detectives got two separate tips about the then-missing victim, 34 year old Benjamin James Parker. The first tip had detectives looking for Parker as a missing person. The second came from an eyewitness who gave a detailed account of the killing of Parker and the burying of his body. That tip led detectives to search a property in the 4700 block of Montana Terrace earlier this month for the remains of Parker's body.

Sheriff Rick Beseler would not divulge the name or location of the eyewitness. While no body was found, State Attorney’s office chief prosecutor Steve Nelson said they believe a crime was committed.

“We have been given a very prosecutable murder case,” said Nelson. “The only real complicator is the missing body, but that is not unheard of. If someone kills someone and dumps the body in the ocean, you might never find that body.

“If you have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a murder and it can be proven before a jury, then we can prosecute.”

Parker was Murwin’s son-in-law who, according to the charges, was killed sometime between Sept. 11, 1979, and Dec. 31, 1981.

Beseler emphasized that the “clan-like” living of the family made the murder situation almost a family secret until 2006.

“Some circumstances in the family situation changed over the last 10 years like relatives dying, divorce, some moved, some remarry, where a situation like that triggered talk of family secrets and a family member came forward in 2006,” said Beseler.

“She immediately told us the name of the victim which got our detectives trying to verify where this victim was; records of employment, driver’s license, etc.

We were trying to see if the victim was still around but he literally dropped off the face of the Earth.”

Beseler would not answer questions as to the type of evidence already gathered

“A lot of this we can’t talk about right now,” said Beseler. “This case will be very difficult because the event is so old. Murder has no statute of limitations as long as the suspect is still alive.”

Beseler characterized the case as an old one but not “cold” because it had not been reported until the eyewitness reported it to investigators in 2006.

Murwin’s court documents indicated that he has had arrests in Clay County dating back to 1992 when he was twice convicted of sexual abuse of a child. He was released from prison in 2002 when he started working as a land surveyor until 2007


CNN.com
Convicted Murderers whose victims weren’t dead
updated 8:49 a.m. EDT, Mon June 22, 2009Next Article in Living »
By Rob Lammle
http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/06/22/mf.convicted.murders.victims.alive/index.html

2. The Brothers Boorn

In May of 1812, when Richard Colvin vanished, speculation amongst the townspeople of Manchester, Vermont, was that his brothers-in-law, Jesse and Stephen Boorn, were responsible. Without evidence of foul play, though, no charges were pressed.

Seven years later, the Boorn Brothers' uncle had a dream in which Richard said he'd been killed and his body buried in an old cellar on the Boorn farm. Upon excavation of the cellar, a penknife and a button were found, both identified as Richard's. But the "evidence" still wasn't enough to charge the Boorn Brothers. Soon after, when a barn on the Boorn farm burned to the ground, many believed it was arson to cover more evidence. But, again, no charges were filed.

Things finally came to a head, however, when a boy discovered bones under a tree near the Boorn home. While in custody, Jesse confessed that he and his brother had killed Richard. But before the trial began, a closer examination of the bones revealed they weren't even human, but those of an animal. The prosecution carried on, however, for they had the damning testimony of Silas Merrill, a forger, who was Jesse's cellmate.

Merrill said Jesse had implicated himself, Stephen, and their father in Colvin's murder. His testimony mentioned the suspected locations of the crime -- the cellar, the barn, and the tree -- all fitting together in a neat little package. For his cooperation in the case, Silas was set free.

As the evidence mounted, Stephen confessed as well, telling the same story as Silas, but without implicating his father. The Boorn Brothers were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1819. Jesse's sentence would later be commuted to life in prison, but Stephen was set to hang.

Rather than sit idly by, Stephen placed an ad in different newspapers explaining his predicament. The ad included a description of Richard Colvin. Amazingly, the thing worked! Someone actually tracked Colvin down, who was alive and well in New Jersey.

The Boorn Brothers were released from prison and petitioned for compensation from the state. But because they had both confessed to the crime, they received nothing but their freedom. The Boorn case became the first documented wrongful murder conviction in American history. Mental Floss: 8 prolific female serial killers

The Daily Democrat Online
Winters man to stand trial in 'no-body' homicide
Created: 06/17/2009 09:55:57 AM PDT
https://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_12608034

A Winters man will stand trial for the murder of his wife, despite the absence of her body, the District Attorney's Office announced.
District Attorney Jeff Reisig reported the decision was made Tuesday at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing that lasted more than a day, before Judge Paul K. Richardson of the Yolo County Superior Court.

Richardson found sufficient evidence for Felipe Cruz Hernandez to stand trial for the murder of his wife, Leticia Barrales Ramos.

Barrales Ramos, a 28-year-old mother, has been missing from her home in Winters since April 12.

The last person known to have seen and talked to her was Hernandez.

Richardson found that Hernandez had a motive to kill his wife "because she had filed for divorce and was requesting custody of their daughter, who turned ten on May 6," according to Reisig. "Furthermore, some evidence suggested that Mr. Hernandez showed signs of jealousy - following his wife in a borrowed vehicle, confronting her and her boyfriend, and eventually borrowing a firearm from his brother."

Despite the fact that a body has yet to be found, FBI Special Investigator Christopher Hopkins described the apartment shared by Hernandez and his wife and daughter as "a homicide scene," Reisig reported.

"Apparent blood was discovered throughout the apartment, most notably on some of the living room furniture and in large areas of the carpet," Reisig stated.

Hopkins testified that there was also some attempt at a "clean up," noting that a rental receipt for a carpet steam cleaner was found during the search and that some of that furniture had been situated to cover some of the bloodstains on the carpet.
Hernandez had claimed that his wife went to Mexico for a family emergency. The defense introduced evidence that relatives of Mr. Hernandez received phone calls from someone who claimed to have seen Barrales Ramos at the Mexican border and that she had encountered deportation difficulties with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

However, investigators found no evidence she had any contact with ICE officials. Instead, during the search of the apartment, they found her purse, passport, Mexican Voter Registration Card, and a credit card in her name, Reisig stated. In addition, her niece produced her wallet, which contained her driver's license, her Mexican Consulate card, and over $1,000 in cash.

Richardson also noted that Barrales Ramos left no notice with anyone else that she was leaving or how to contact her, even though she had two jobs, where she was described as a responsible employee who always kept them up to date on her work schedule.

Hernandez is scheduled for arraignment on the sole count of murder in the first degree on July 1, at 10:30 in Department 6 of the Yolo County Superior Court.

The search for the body of Barrales Ramos continues.

Crime Shadows News.com
Where is Baby Daijsa Weaver? – This Post Ends Badly.
Jun. 15, 2009
http://crimeshadowsnews.com/main/2009/06/where-is-baby-daijsa-weaver-this-post-ends-badly/

There is a horrible story coming out of Dallas, Texas. Police are trying to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Daijsa Weaver, a nine-month-old baby that has been missing since June 9. Police say the parents in this case haven’t exactly been forthcoming –and what they have to hide might just be the murder of their own child.

At first, the child’s mother, nineteen-year-old Tamaira Creagh, told police that near midnight on June 9, a man in a red hooded sweatshirt broke into her home at the Oak Run Apartments. She said the man tried to rape her. Then, she said, he took off with her child. She told police that Daijsa’s father, Alandus "Landus" Weaver, wasn’t at home when the alleged kidnapping took place.

"I just want whoever has my little girl to bring her back," Tamaira Creagh told one reporter.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for the safe return of Baby Daijsa. Schepps Dairy is putting up the money. The reward, in effect for the next six months as of June 12, is being put up by Schepps Dairy. The reward will also be given for information leading to the arrest and indictment of whoever is responsible for her disappearance. The responsible party just might be too close to home.

Investigators say Creagh’s story just doesn’t correlate with Weaver’s. According to Dallas police, shortly after the baby went missing, Weaver told Craig that she shouldn’t have allowed police inside their home because there was blood inside.

A police search warrant affidavit indicated that investigators overheard Weaver speaking to Creagh in what was described as "a very threatening manner."

Various items were seized during a search of the residence –mostly items used in the care of an infant. Included among several other items were a red bath towel, stained baby outfit that had been thrown in the trash, a fitted sheet with red stains.

Alandus Weaver was arrested June 12 on suspicion of tampering with evidence. Police have changed the focus of their investigation from a missing child case to a homicide. An Amber Alert issued earlier this week remains in effect indicating there might be a glint of hope. No body has been found, and there is no solid evidence that the baby is deceased at this time. But, that hope is most fragile, as things do not look good at this point.

"She’s been lying from day one, so why start believing her now?" These, the words of Weaver’s uncle, Rudy Oliver who went on to say, "I think she had something to do with it, and she let her family know, but they are not telling us, they’re trying to get her out of trouble. I don’t think the baby is dead. I believe that she’s still alive and I believe that they know where she is." Meanwhile, the family of Tamaira Creagh is remaining silent.

Alandus Weaver is being held on a bond of $100,000.

Attention: While writing this post, some very disturbing information has just been released:

Police have just arrested Tamaira Creagh on suspicions of tampering with evidence. Little Daijsa Weaver is dead. Her body has been tossed, by her own father, Landus Weaver, into Lewisville Lake from the bridge crossing the water.


Creagh told police that Weaver picked her up from work on June 8. Weaver told her that he had given Daijsa a bath and then left the baby home alone.

When they got back home, the baby was on the floor unclothed and wrapped in a towel.


Creagh said she came home to find Baby Daijsa cold and without a heartbeat.. She tried to administer CPR to no avail. The next day, Creagh went to work as normal, while her dead baby waited at home. After work, Creagh and Weaver tied a sandbag to the baby –and tossed her into the lake. Authorities are searching the lake for the baby’s body today.

So, all this time, Tamaira Creagh has been lying to police, at the behest of Landus Weaver. Creagh was going to call the police at one point. Weaver did not want that to happen. He told her they must "stick together." It was then they invented the kidnapping ruse. On Friday, Creagh told reporters, "We’re not getting help from the detectives that were assigned to us. We have to do the investigation ourselves."

Creagh described herself on her MySpace profile as a "proud parent." She says "My name is Tamaira but you can just call me Diva. I get what I want, When I want it and Exactly How I want it." That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

The question now is, exactly how did Baby Daijsa end up dead? Creagh says that when she asked Weaver what happened to their baby, he became threatening and violent. Creagh says that she is afraid of Weaver. She claims to be 6-months pregnant with his child.


Belleville father, son indicted for murder despite no body found
by Paul Brubaker/The Star-Ledger
Monday June 15, 2009, 7:01 PM
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/belleville_father_son_indicted.html

BELLEVILLE -- Divers scoured the Meadowlands' marshes near Kearny for two months last October looking for the remains of Jordan Voorhees, but never found his body.

That didn't stop an Essex County grand jury from indicting Voorhees' uncle and cousin for the 22-year-old Bloomfield man's slaying -- triggering what may be the state's first murder trial without the victim's corpse as evidence.

Peter Toscano, 20, and his father, Gerald Toscano, 47, face multiple charges in connection with Voorhees' Oct. 19, 2008 death, Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow announced today. The victim had been living with the Toscanos for six months before the younger Toscano allegedly shot him multiple times in their Belleville home, Dow said.

The two men later dumped Voorhees' remains near one of their favorite fishing spots in the marshes.

Both father and son were indicted on Friday for conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful disturbing and concealing human remains, hindering apprehension or prosecution, obstructing the administration of law and tampering with evidence.

Peter Toscano, who was reported to be absent without leave from the U.S. Navy at the time of crime, was also charged with murder and weapons offenses. He is currently being held at the Essex County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail and faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted, said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor William Neafsey.


Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger
Gerald Toscano waits for his son to be arraigned in Essex County court in October. Peter Toscano, 20, allegedly killed his cousin Jordan Voorhees, 22, during an argument . Authorities said that Gerald Toscano, 46, and his son loaded the body and the boat into a pickup truck and drove to dump the body in the Meadowlands.Gerald Toscano was released on bail of $75,000 in October. He worked his last day as a Public Service Electric & Gas Company meter reader on Oct. 17, 2008, said a spokeswoman for the utility.

Dow and Neafsey told reporters today their circumstantial case was strong enough to convince a jury and win the convictions of the two suspects, even without the victim's corpse.

A body can provide a wealth of information which won't be available to prosecutors, said Michael Risinger a Seton Hall Law School professor who specializes in evidence.

The medical examiner's autopsy report, post-mortem photographs of the victim, bullets removed from the victim's body and a coroner taking the stand to explain them are all common episodes in a murder trial that will be absent from Neafsey's case, Risinger said.

"This makes a trial a lot harder," Risinger said. "There's always the possibility of things going wrong in the jury room."

A single juror is able to conjure up theories about what may have happened during the crime to replace facts that would have been provided by the victim's corpse, he said.

Murder cases without victim's corpses have dotted the history of the Anglo-American judicial tradition, Risinger said.

But Risinger was at a loss to recall a New Jersey murder case that lacked the victim's body.

"It could be that we have never had a prosecution or conviction without a body available," he said.

George Thomas, a Rutgers Law School criminal law professor, was also hard-pressed to recall such a case.

Thomas said it was unlikely that prosecutors would bring a case to trial with strong circumstantial evidence such as the father's testimony against his son. Dow and Neafsey wouldn't answer questions about their gathered evidence.

A news release indicated that the Prosecutor's Office Crime Scene Unit seized a truck, rowboat and a weapon was recovered at the home.

No one answered the door today at the Toscano's home at 56 Smallwood Ave. in Belleville, where National Rifle Association decals were affixed to the windows and a motorboat sat on a trailer in the driveway.

John D. Frederickson, Gerald Toscano's private attorney, did not return a phone call seeing comment.

Peter Toscano's attorney, Robert J. DeGroot, said that prosecutor's have not told him whether Gerald Toscano was going to testify against his client.

Thomas said that no matter what the trial's outcome, the jury could be left with a haunting feeling.

"There will always be a lingering doubt in the minds of the jury of whether the victim is actually dead," Thomas said.


See more in Bergen County, Crime/Courts, Essex County, News

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▣ Vermont no body murder trial where victim may have been found alive!

posted by Admin on October 25th, 2009 at 5:49 PM

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Okay, so it happened in 1819 but still... I just learned about an 1812 murder in Manchester, Vermont where two brothers, Stephen and Jeese Boorn were accused of murdering their brother in law, Russell Colvin. After being tried for the murder and found guilty in 1819, both were sentenced to death by hanging. Before either one could be hanged, however, Colvin was found alive in New Jersey. Or was he? A book called The Counterfeit Man: The True Story of the Boorn-Colvin murder case, by Gerald W. McFarland, tells this interesting story. I haven't read the book yet but plan to do so and will review it once I have read it. The only other case that I'm aware of where the victim was later fond alive after a defendant was convicted of his murder is the Hudspeth case from Arkansas in 1886. The Boorn case is also the first and only no body murder trial in Vermont that I'm aware of.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Surprise guilty plea in 1969 Saratoga County, NY no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 25th, 2009 at 12:22 PM

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Surprise plea in 40-year-old murder case

Posted: Oct 23, 2009 10:03 PM

A 40-year-old Saratoga County murder case has finally come to a close.

In a surprise move, 63-year-old Nelson Costello entered a guilty plea for manslaughter just two weeks before his murder trial was to begin. Costello says he shot and killed David Bacon in Waterford back in 1969.

News 10's Marie Luby has more on why Costello made that plea.

It was a difficult case from the start.

"We had no body, we had no murder weapon, we had no forensics," says Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.

The DA was relying on a taped telephone conversation in which Costello, then a Waterford police officer, admitted to shooting David Bacon to death. Even with no forensics, Costello's attorney knew a murder conviction meant his client would likely die in prison. So, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Bacon's few living relatives were in court to listen. "When they heard Nelson Costello say to the judge in open court, 'I killed a man. I killed David Bacon,' they breathed for the first time in 40 years," says Murphy.

It was a relief too for Costello, who carried his guilt for 40 years -- even as he raised a family.

"Because he has a conscience and because he's remorseful, it has been a tough life for him as well," says Costello's attorney, Gaspar Castillo.

Costello admits to killing Bacon in his jealosy over a woman. Even she was there to hear his confession. The now 63-year-old man faces 5 to 17 years behind bars, "and almost wants to be punished, because that's his way of sort of appeasing his own conscience," says Castillo.

"Despite some real tough hurdles, we have delivered substantial justice to these victims and for that I am grateful," says Murphy.

Now, Costello will guide police back to where he buried Bacon's body along a Virginia riverbank, in hopes that the family can finally give him a proper burial.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Oregon man accused of murdering fishing buddy and dumping body

posted by Admin on October 25th, 2009 at 12:19 PM

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Oregon Fisherman Accused of Murdering Buddy, Dumping Body
By Caleb Hannan in Chalk Outlines, Crime & Punishment
Wednesday, Oct. 21 2009 @ 4:29PM

UPDATE: Newly released court documents give a brutal play-by-play. After the jump...

It's safe to say that if Erin Rieman ever asks you out on his boat, you're obligated to at least think twice. The Pacific City, Oregon man was arrested yesterday and charged with the murder of his friend and business partner, 53-year-old John Adkins. Adkins had been missing since July 4th weekend, when he, Rieman and a third man set off from Garibaldi, Oregon in The Tiger, the 48-foot fishing boat they co-owned.

Investigators say the point of the trip was to fix the boat in Ilwaco Harbor, just on the other side of the Oregon-Washington border. When The Tiger came back to port, however, Adkins was no longer on board. Adkins' family reported him missing three days later, but no body has been found. The key to arresting Rieman, says Pacific County prosecutor David Burke, was the third, yet identified, man on the boat.

​"This is an odd situation," he says."They just came up here to get their boat fixed on fourth of July weekend. So we had to do a deal with the other guy to get what happened."

UPDATE: The third man on the boat, a hired deckhand, tells investigators he saw Rieman kill Adkins.

According to the newly released court documents, the third man on the boat, a hired deckhand, spent months denying he knew of Adkins' whereabouts. Then he came forward on Monday with his side of the story.

The deckhand claims he was out drinking on the night of July 5th. When he came back to the boat he saw Adkins and Rieman fighting in the pilot house. He said he then saw Rieman smash Adkins' head through a window, punch him several times then tie an extension cord around his head. Rieman then strangled Adkins and took the $5,000 he'd brought along on the trip, say the court documents.

For two days, the deckhand claims he and Rieman trolled around pretending to search for Adkins before finally dumping his body, wrapped in a sleeping bag and tied down with fishing weights, into the ocean. The reason the deckhand waited so long to come forward, he says: Rieman threatened to kill him and his girlfriend if he talked.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Calvin Harris gets 25 years to life in no body murder case

posted by Admin on October 25th, 2009 at 12:10 PM

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Murderer to serve
maximum
By MATT HICKS
Staff Writer
Published:
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 9:10 AM EDT
OWEGO — Tioga County businessman and convicted murderer Calvin Harris will spend at least the next 25 years of his life in prison after the sentence was handed down by Judge James Hayden Monday.

In August, Harris was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury. for the presumed murder of his estranged wife, Michele Harris, on Sept. 11, 2001.

Michele’s body has never been found.

Michele’s brother, Greg Taylor, said it felt good to have Harris convicted as he walked from the Tioga County Courthouse Friday with his wife, Shannon.

“We’re happy that he got the maximum, but it’s not going to bring Michele back,” said Taylor.

Although the Taylor family has been distanced from Calvin and Michele’s four children for several years, Taylor hopes his nieces and nephews will be able to get through having their only living parent now behind bars.

“But their dad is the one who’s done this to everyone involved here, and now he has to pay for what he has done,” said Taylor.

Before sentencing Friday, Harris again stated that he was innocent.

Arguing for a minimum 15 years to life sentence, defense attorney William Easton said Harris had not posed a threat to anyone in the time since he was first found “guilty” in 2007, when the verdict was thrown out due to surprise witness testimony.

Harris said he’s been active in the community while raising his children and coaching their athletics.

“I have been raising my kids, keeping my head up because I have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Harris.

Turning the focus of his statement toward District Attorney Gerald Keene, Harris said Keene’s arguments made for good drama, but “it wasn’t possible” that he could have murdered his estranged wife.

“It wasn’t possible” was a quote Hayden hung on to during sentencing, stating that Harris also said “it wasn’t possible” when testimony identified him speeding down a one-way road.

Hayden based his sentencing on the jury’s implication that Harris took a life; he took away his children’s mother; and disposed of Michele’s remains, never to be found again.

Harris’ defense plans to file an appeal in the next 30 days due to the strong local media coverage that has existed over an extended period of time, creating an “insurmountable obstacle” in the jury selection process, said Easton.

Harris said, “And I will fight every step of the way to get my family back together again.”

Harris’ father, Dwight, said his son was wrongfully targeted in the murder investigation.

“There’s no body; there’s no evidence; there’s no witness,” said Harris. “It’s ridiculous.”

Keene, however, maintained that Harris underwent a fair trial with a fair jury, with a judge who was careful to keep the record clean and protect the defendant’s rights.

“I’m not surprised that they would be taking an appeal. In a trial like this, it’s common for the defense to file an appeal,” said Keene, adding that he feels the August verdict will be held up by an appellate court.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Trial begins in Utah No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on October 18th, 2009 at 7:36 PM

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Roberson trial: First day, two distinct stories
Jury hears opening statements in murder trial of Ulysses Roberson, charged with killing his 4-year-old son
By Adam Jensen
ajensen@tahoedailytribune.com

Attorneys file into the courtroom Tuesday.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The four-year-old boy in the photograph sits at what appears to be a kitchen table, smilingly broadly in a moment of happiness. The boy's head is topped with a tousled crown of red, tightly-curled hair. The boy's skin is black.

The picture shows signs of age — the whites discoloring into a dull yellow and the contrast starting to fade — but, still, the boy sits smiling.

What happened to the boy in the photograph — Alexander Olive — is the focus of a more than two-decades-old murder case that began in South Lake Tahoe this week. The photo was one of several pictures of Olive's childhood projected on a large screen by El Dorado County Deputy District Patricia Kelliher during her opening statement on Monday.

District Attorneys have charged the boy's father, Ulysses Roberson, with first-degree murder including special allegations of torture and racial bias in the December 1985 disappearance of Olive from a Tahoe Keys home.

Roberson has pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted of the murder and either one of the special allegations.

The trial is expected to last more than two months.

The prosecution's opening statement
During her opening statement, Kelliher described something she referred to as the “World of U,” a world where Ulysses Roberson allegedly lured women into a life of subservience with offers of free astrological readings and a promise of a better life.

“This case will take you to a world that never should have existed,” Kelliher told the 12 person jury on Monday.

In the “World of U,” Roberson took more than a half a dozen wives and moved frequently with them and their children with them between homes in Los Angeles, Sacramento, the Bay Area, South Lake Tahoe and Seattle, Wash., Kelliher said.

In the “World of U,” Roberson expected the women and children to obey all of his demands, or face harsh — sometimes violent — discipline, Kelliher said.

The violence in the “World of U” included Roberson hanging Olive — known as “Salaam” for most of his life — by his ankles for days and beating the 4-year-old as a punishment for wetting himself, Kelliher said.

The violence in the “World of U” would allegedly reach its peak when Roberson killed Olive after disciplining the small boy by making him stand naked in the garage of a Monterey Drive home in the middle of winter without food, Kelliher said. Roberson, who is black, would kill Olive because his mother is white, prosecutors allege.

Although Olive's body has never been found, witness testimony will leave no doubt in the mind of the jury as to what happened to Alexander Olive, Kelliher said on Monday.

“He is not here because of this man siting over here,” said Kelliher said pointing dramatically at Roberson, seated at the defense table wearing a traditional Muslim cap and robe.

The defense's opening statement
Defense attorney Monica Lynch presented a very different story during her opening statement on Monday.

Although Lynch told the jury the woman included with Roberson undoubtedly lived a “weird lifestyle,” she contended prosecutors do not have enough evidence to show Olive was murdered, let alone murdered in the fashion Kelliher describes.

“There is no proof that Alexander is dead,” Lynch told the jury, highlighting the fact that no body has never been found.

During the trial, a “handful” of witnesses will testify that they have seen Olive since he was allegedly killed by Roberson more than 20 years ago, Lynch said.

The defense attorney said several other deficiencies also exist in the prosecutions case, but the credibility of Roberson's fist wife — Raj Roberson —will be her primary target. Raj Roberson is expected to testify during the trial.

“She is the only witness, the only one that will come here and testify she saw Alexander, Salaam, dead,” Lynch said.

Inconsistent statements made my Raj Roberson on at least two occasions will show the matriarch of the Roberson clan is either a “liar or a child abuser,” Lynch said on Monday.

A promise of immunity that was granted to Raj Roberson when she first talked to police about Olive's alleged murder in 2001 will also be used to cast doubt on her trustworthiness as a witness, Lynch said.

“The narrow issue in this case is whether Raj can be believed for not,” Lynch said.

Following the opening statements, Kelliher called Olive's mother and one-time member of the Roberson family, Rosemary Olive, to the stand.

Olive began testifying Monday morning and Kelliher wrapped up her initial questioning on Tuesday afternoon. Cross-examination of Rosemary Olive by Lynch is expected to begin Wednesday morning.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Saratoga County, NY Man to Be Tried in No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on October 18th, 2009 at 7:22 PM

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Man to be tried in 1969 murder case
Defendant is accused of killing a romantic rival; trial set to begin Nov. 9

By LEIGH HORNBECK, Staff writer
First published in print: Tuesday, October 6, 2009
BALLSTON SPA -- Nelson Costello, a former Waterford man accused of killing a romantic rival 40 years ago, will face trial on Nov. 9.

Saratoga County Judge Jerry Scarano set the trial date Monday when Costello made a brief appearance in his courtroom. Scarano also denied a request from Costello's lawyer, Gaspar Castillo, for more access to the witnesses the lawyers from District Attorney James Murphy's office interviewed while preparing for trial.

Costello, 63, is accused of murdering David Bacon in April 1969 but no body or weapon has been recovered.

"I'm of the position witnesses don't belong to the prosecution, they're simply witnesses," Castillo said, adding that withholding information about the people who made statements about Costello interferes with his Constitutional right to prepare a defense.

Assistant District Attorney Alan Poremba, who is handling the case for the prosecution, said he has shared information freely with Castillo ahead of the deadlines imposed by law and turned over more than 100 statements to the defense attorney.

"The right to confront witnesses comes at trial, not beforehand," Poremba said.

He agreed, at Judge Scarano's suggestion, to give Castillo the minutes from the grand jury hearing by Nov. 2, a week before Costello's trial is scheduled to begin.

The case against Costello is based largely on incriminating statements he made after police investigated a tip from one of his acquaintances; and statements Costello allegedly made on tape to an ex-girlfriend.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=849538&category=SARATOGA#ixzz0ULAPipKA
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▣ Texas man charged with no body murder

posted by Admin on October 18th, 2009 at 6:45 PM

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Mickey Patterson brought back to Lubbock
Posted: Oct 04, 2009 9:58 PM EDT

By Brittany Pieper - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - An accused killer is back in Lubbock following more than three years of his alleged crime.

Authorities transported Mickey Patterson from Oregon to Lubbock where he arrived Sunday afternoon. Patterson is accused of killing Peggy Merimon and Kay Harrelson in August of 2006 when the two women went missing from the Lubbock State School where they worked. Three years after the disappearance of Harrelson and Merimon, police charged Patterson with two counts of 1st degree murder.

As Patterson walked into the Lubbock County Jail he said he was innocent, but he had these few words for the victim's families, "I'm sorry for them." Merimon's husband Geral is confident Patterson is responsible for his wife's death. "The very next morning when I heard his name, I knew it was him," he said.

For Geral, the past three years have been painful ones, searching for his missing wife. "We have searched and searched for many months. A little over two years we searched, and I went searching again about three weeks ago. I've continued. I haven't stopped searching," said Geral.

He's happy Patterson is now in custody, but says it won't bring closure unless he finds his wife's body. He believes Patterson holds the key to that mystery. "That's always been our greatest hope is that he'll tell us where she's at. I mean, just knowing that he's been arrested, and I'm hoping that he has a conscience, and that he'll tell us where she is and we can bring her home. That's the most important thing to me," said Geral Merimon.

Harrelson's body was found 11 days after the two women disappeared, but after several searches Merimon is still missing. The fact that there is no body will likely come up in trial. It's not common, but it is possible to convict without a body. It happened in Lubbock in the 90's. A jury found Leisha Hamilton guilty of murdering the man she lived with, Roger Scott Dunn. Police could not find Dunn's body, but prosecutors found enough circumstantial evidence to get a conviction.

The District Attorney's office says while not having a body in the Merimon case presents a challenge, it does not mean they cannot convict Patterson in the murder.

©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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▣ Arrest in 1976 Missouri No Body Murder Case

posted by Admin on October 18th, 2009 at 6:36 PM

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Suspect arrested for 1976 murder

From ConnectMidMissouri.com:
By Mark Slavit
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:47 p.m.

COLUMBIA -- An arrest has been made in a 33-year-old Columbia murder case.

Authorities in Georgia arrested Johnny Wright, 65, for the 1976 murder of Columbia waitress Becky Doisy.

Police arrested Wright last week after he asked Lawrenceville, Georgia police to run a background check on him to help him find a job. Wright didn’t realize a 1985 warrant for his arrest was in the FBI’s database for the 1976 murder of Columbia waitress Becky Doisy. Former Boone County Prosecutor Joe Moseley issued Wright’s 1985 arrest warrant after his former roommate told police he saw Doisy’s dead body in Wright’s car and heard Wright say he had “offed” Doisy.

“I was surprised there had been an arrest," Moseley said. "At the time we filed charges in 1985, some thought that Johnny Wright might be dead at that time. He hadn’t been seen in a number of years. He was involved in a number of high risk activities when he was last spotted and he traveled in fairly rough circles. So, there was some that thought that this might be an exercise in futility.”

The case ended up being an exercise in patience. Becky Doisy was 23-years-old at the time of her disappearance while she was a waitress at Ernie’s Café and Steak House in Columbia.

Today, none of the employees at Ernie’s Café and Steak House ever worked with Becky Doisy. However, Becky’s memory has been hanging on the wall of the old restaurant for more than 30 years.

A poster by Chester Gould, the creator of comic book detective Dick Tracy, hangs over the counter and endorses Ernie’s hamburgers. A reproduction of the poster in a smaller sketch by Gould asks the question, who killed Becky Doisy? Jamie Bedford has been a waitress at Ernie’s for 5 years and says that unanswered question is a dark part of Ernie’s 75 year history.

“Well, I think it’s good to solve the puzzle," Bedford said. "Everybody has been wondering. It’s been a mystery around here for a long time.”

In 1976, co-workers told police that Doisy and Wright went out on date. Witnesses last saw Doisy alive when the two were drinking alcohol at Columbia’s Heidelberg Restaurant. Today, investigators are searching for old witnesses to help with their new case against Wright.

“We definitely have a list of people that we will contact," Columbia police officer Jessie Haden said. "We’ve got them identified already. Making contact with them is the next step and figuring out if they are still in the area or not.”

Wright faces a second degree murder charge. Investigators have no body and no DNA samples to help them with their case, if and when, Wright goes to trial. Wright is awaiting extradition to Columbia while in Georgia on a $100,000 bond.

Former Columbia police investigator Chris Egbert worked on this case for 9 years before an arrest warrant was issued for Johnny Wright in 1985.

KRCG News left a message on the retired police officer’s answering machine at his Columbia home.

Egbert did not return our call.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Guilty plea in Oregon no body murder case

posted by Admin on September 29th, 2009 at 7:37 PM

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Green van was crucial to investigation

By Rachel Beck, Gazette-Times reporter | Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 2:00 am | No Comments Posted

Soon after Brooke Wilberger vanished May 24, 2004, thousands of tips began pouring in to police. But only a handful provided solid leads - included persistent reports of a green van seen in the area that day.

For eight months afterward, a dark green 1997 Dodge Caravan harbored what would become a crucial piece of evidence in the case against Joel Courtney, who pleaded guilty to Wilberger's aggravated murder on Monday.

Authorities spoke about how the van helped lead to that conclusion.

On the evening of May 24, 2004, Oregon State University employee Bob Clifford reported seeing a green van with Minnesota license plates in the parking lot of Reser Stadium that morning.

When an Oregon State Police detective interviewed Clifford the next day, Clifford said he saw the driver talking to a female student. Something about the exchange raised his suspicions, and he made note of the vehicle and its driver.

The student, who worked for the OSU women's basketball team, later reported her encounter with the man in the green van to another employee in the athletics department, Sandy Santiago. Santiago called the police.

The third report came from another OSU student who was walking to class when a man driving a green van pulled in front of her and asked for directions. The woman walked away after he got out of the vehicle and opened the rear door. When she heard about Wilberger's disappearance, she called the police.

A fourth person who saw a green van on May 24, 2004 - a man who identified himself as "Brian" - never was found. "Brian" called 911 about 11 a.m. that day to report a speeding, recklessly driven minivan near Rickreall.

Courtney came to the attention of local authorities after his arrest Nov. 29, 2004 for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 22-year-old Russian exchange student near the University of New Mexico.

New Mexico authorities did a background check on Courtney and found he had an outstanding warrant from Lincoln County for failing to appear on a charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants. A New Mexico investigator called Newport, explained that they had arrested a man named Joel Patrick Courtney. They asked if Oregon had any missing women or girls in the area.

Lincoln County referred them to the Corvallis Police Department.

The Brooke Wilberger Task Force, a multi-agency team headed by the Corvallis Police Department, learned about Courtney on Dec. 7, 2004, and immediately started to investigate his proximity to Corvallis on May 24.

Investigators soon found that Courtney left Portland that day en route to Newport - but he never showed up. They also discovered Courtney was driving a green 1997 Dodge Caravan.

The van belonged to Creative Building Maintenance, which had briefly employed Courtney. Courtney drove the vehicle from Portland to New Mexico in early June of 2004; Creative Building Maintenance later reclaimed it and returned it to the Northwest.

Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said the county purchased the van so investigators could freely search it. The exact cost was not available, but Haroldson said it was less than it would have been to litigate challenges related to searching the vehicle.

On Dec. 12, FBI agent Joe Boyer and investigator John Chilcote went to Washington and retrieved the van. Although more than six months had passed since Wilberger's abduction, authorities hoped they would find trace evidence to prove she had been in the vehicle.

According to an affidavit by lead detective Shawn Houck, trace evidence, including latent fingerprints, hair and DNA, "while fragile, will remain intact for many months if protected from the elements ... a crime scene found in a vehicle or a building, if not affirmatively cleaned out, can yield evidence of a crime for months or even years after the criminal conduct ... "

Houck said Oregon State Police criminalists and FBI recovery team members "dismantled" the van that week and sent numerous items to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., to be examined for trace evidence, including DNA, fingerprints and fluids.

In terms of evidence, Houck's hopes were realized: Technicians were able to recover trace evidence of bodily fluids containing the DNA of both Wilberger and Courtney. Houck got the results one year to the date and almost the hour after Wilberger went missing.

"Tell me that wasn't divine," he said.

With no body, the DNA evidence was crucial to the case against Courtney.

"It was a touchdown," Houck said.

Authorities won't say where the van is now, except to say that it remains "under the control" of the Corvallis Police Department. Its ultimate fate has not been determined.

Posted in Local on Saturday, September 26, 2009 2:00 am Updated: 11:17 pm.

Posted by Thomas A. DiBiase (No Body Guy)

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▣ Four no body murder trials in the last 30 days

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2009 at 2:07 PM

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It's been a super busy month with four trials involving no body murder cases:

Sam Parker was found guilty in
Georgia.

Bruce Hummel was found guilty in Washington state.

David Hawk (covered in a previous blog entry) was found guilty in California.

Aaron Thompson's casse is undergoing jury deliberations in Colorado.

See below for articles on the Parker, Hummel and Thompson cases.

Sam Parker:
Sam Parker Found Guilty Of Murder
Sentenced To Life For Slaying Of Wife, Theresa
posted September 3, 2009

A criminal court jury on Thursday afternoon found former LaFayette Police sergeant Sam Parker guilty of murder.

He was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Jon "Bo" Wood.

Parker also received two concurrent five-year terms for violating his oath of office and giving a false statement.

He was found not guilty of computer invasion of privacy.

The jury from Bartow County deliberated for 23 hours over four days.

Parker was found guilty of the slaying of his wife, Theresa, whose body has never been found. She was last seen March 21, 2007.

The jury as late as at noon on Thursday said it was still deadlocked 8-4 on the murder count. Judge Wood then gave the Allen charge ("dynamite" charge) urging them to reach a verdict by focusing on the facts of the case and not becoming advocates for either side.

Parker, 51, showed no emotion. He was asked by Judge Wood if he wanted to say anything, and he declined.

Judge Wood said he was sentenced to serve "the rest of your natural life" in prison.

The judge told the jurors from Bartow County they could later speak with anyone about the case or they could decline to do so.

He let the jurors leave the courtroom first and get on the bus. He said a deputy would be at their arrival point in Cartersville to see that they were not disturbed.

The jurors had heard two weeks of testimony. Parker did not take the witness stand. His attorneys said he has always maintained his innocence.

Prosecutor Leigh Patterson from Floyd County said after meeting with the Theresa Parker family, "We will never stop looking for Theresa."

She said the former Walker County 911 dispatcher "got that close to getting away." Ms. Parker had gotten an apartment in Fort Oglethorpe and was in the process of moving items from the Parker home on Cordell Avenue in LaFayette when authorities said Parker killed her.

Prosecutors said Parker stashed her body in the back of her Toyota 4Runner, went out to meet a lady friend to establish an alibi, then hid the body the next morning before going fishing with attorney Bill Slack.

Ms. Patterson said, "He knows where the body is."

Concerning deputy Shane Green, who authorities said was close to Ms. Parker, Ms. Patterson said cell phone records showed he did not join her for a trip to Gatlinburg shortly before she disappeared.

Sheriff Steve Wilson said deputy Green was on patrol the night she was killed, and the fact that he used several tanks of gas is not unusual because of the size of the county.

Ms. Patterson said there had been previous successful prosecutions in Georgia of murder cases where there was no body found.

She said the prosecution was aided by the fact it was allowed to display to the jury "similar transactions" and "pattern of conduct" regarding Parker, including the testimony of a former wife who said he put a gun to her head, choked her and handcuffed her to a bed after dragging her by the hair through broken glass.

She praised GBI Agt. James Harris for spotting inconsistencies in Parker's statement soon after Ms. Parker was reported missing.

Sheriff Wilson said Agt. Harris "did a jam-up wonderful job."

He said it was one of the most difficult cases to prosecute he has encountered.

The sheriff said of Parker that "the fact that he did not participate in the early searches was a red flag."

Sheriff Wilson said of Theresa Parker, "She was a very sweet person. It was always a pleasure to talk with her."

Bruce Hummel:

Jury: Former Bellingham Man Guilty Of Wife's 1990 Murder

Tracy Ellis Reporting
kgmi@kgmi.com


BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A former Bellingham man has been found guilty of killing his wife here 20 years ago.

A Whatcom County Superior Court jury found Bruce Hummel, 67, guilty of murder on Thursday.

He killed his wife and hid her remains.

Alice Hummel went missing in 1990.

Her body has never been found.


“The defense tried to emphasize, in this case, the lack of a body, and the lack evidence of the causation of the death of Mrs. Hummel,” said KGMI Legal Analyst Jeff Lustick.

“But obviously, the jury looked beyond that, and felt that beyond a reasonable doubt, there was evidence to convict Bruce Hummel of murder in the first degree,” Lustick said.

“This is not a capital case," he said. "The prosecutor did not request the death penalty, and Mr. Hummel will face a sentence anywhere from 22 years in prison, up to 26-and-a-half years, according to the sentencing guidelines."

Lustick said Hummel displayed very little emotion when the verdict was read.

The courtroom was packed with supporters of the Hummel family and others, but they sat silent during the proceedings, according to Lustick.


Aaron Thompson:

Defense rests after Thompson refuses to testify
posted by: Sara Gandy 8 days ago
CENTENNIAL - Defense attorneys for Aaron Thompson began their presentation of evidence and testimony Wednesday morning in Arapahoe County District Court, and announced they were resting after he refused to take the stand.
Thompson is on trial in the death of his 6-year-old daughter, Aarone, whose body has never been found. He is charged with child abuse resulting in death, rather than murder, because the prosecution has been unable to present any direct evidence that Thompson killed his daughter.

At 3:15 p.m., Thompson refused to take the stand in his own defense and his attorneys then rested their case. They started just after 9 this morning.

Authorities say on Thursday, the defense, the prosecution and the judge will spend the day coming up with jury instructions. That means closing arguments will start Friday morning.

It's likely the jury could get the case Friday afternoon and would start deliberating on Monday.

Because Thompson was indicted on 60 counts, deliberations could take two to three days.

Earlier on Wednesday, Thompson's lawyers played a 94-minute videotaped interview of Sheley Lowe's oldest son with two Aurora Police detectives. Lowe was Thompson's live-in girlfriend.

For more, including a timeline of Wednesday's events, see Mike McPhee's story in The Denver Post.


(Copyright KUSA*TV/Denver Post, All Rights Reserved)

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Arrest in case of missing five year old

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2009 at 1:04 PM

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Missing 5-year-old Fremont boy's foster parents arrested
By Cecily Burt and Harry Harris
Oakland Tribune


Posted: 08/28/2009 08:14:16 PM PDT
Updated: 08/29/2009 08:25:38 AM PDT


Louis Ross, right, holds a picture of Hasanni Campbell while his wife Jennifer Campbell stands...«12»Related Stories
Sep 3:
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Missing 5-year-old's foster mother: "We wouldn't hurt him for anything in the world"Aug 20:
Foster dad threatened to abandon 5-year-oldAug 14:
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Oakland 5-year-old with cerebral palsy still missingThe case of Hasanni Campbell has changed from missing persons to homicide, Oakland police said Friday after the arrest of the 5-year-old's foster parents.
Louis Ross, 38, and Jennifer Campbell, 30, have been arrested and are being held on suspicion of murder, authorities confirmed, all but dashing any hope of finding the boy alive.

"This is a not a missing persons case any more," Officer Jeff Thomason, Oakland police spokesman, said Friday evening.

"This is a homicide investigation, and we are talking to the people responsible."Campbell was arrested at 1:50 p.m. at the Union City BART station. Ross was arrested in the couple's Fremont home at 2:45 p.m. Hasanni's body has not been found, Thomason said.

Campbell was booked Friday night on suspicion of being an accessory to murder. Police were still interviewing Ross late Friday night and said they would be booking him on suspicion of murder.

Homicide investigator Sgt. Gus Galindo said police decided to arrest the couple "because our preliminary and follow-up investigations have shown Hasanni Campbell was never in the rear of the Rockridge shoe store as reported by Louis Ross."

Police plan to release additional details that they hope will draw more information from the public. The last confirmed sighting of Hasanni was Aug. 6 at a Wal-Mart in Fremont, where he was seen with both foster parents.

Ross reported Hasanni missing Aug. 10 outside the Rockridge shoe store where Campbell worked.

Ross and Campbell, who is also the boy's aunt, were active in searching for Hasanni and pleading for his safe return. Ross defended himself after word leaked he had failed a polygraph test and after the content of a damaging text message about the children he sent to Campbell went public.
Campbell, who is six months pregnant, has declined to take a polygraph test.

Ross, who used to live in Maryland, had a restraining order filed against him there in 2005. He also has had a number of judgments for unpaid state taxes there, including a number of income tax liens totaling thousands of dollars. As she has done since Hasanni's disappearance, Campbell's mother, Pam Clark, continued to defend her daughter and Ross after hearing of the arrests Friday evening.

"It's shocking. I think they made a mistake and arrested the wrong person," Clark said. " just feel like they don't have anything to do with it." Clark said the arrests did not dim her hopes of seeing her grandson again.

"This is not going to stop me from looking for Hasanni, because he still needs to be found. I have hopes he will come back alive," Clark said. "I just feel he's alive somewhere. I'm still looking." Police have scoured the area around the shoe store in the busy Rockridge shopping district but have turned up no clues. Police earlier served a search warrant at the Fremont home where Hasanni and his younger sister lived with Ross and Campbell, retrieving a small, decorative sword, a cell phone and other items.

Police also searched the 2002 BMW that Ross was driving the day Hasanni disappeared, taking swabs, the rear seat of the vehicle, carpet from the car, two car seats, molding and latches, according to a receipt of property from the FBI. An Alameda County Superior Court document also shows that four fingerprint lifts, eight DNA swabs and one pair of latex gloves were taken from the car.

Oakland police officers again searched the couple's home Friday, starting about 2:30 p.m. and continuing into the night. Officers could be seen searching a bedroom above the garage, going through clothes and papers, and flipping the mattress. Between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m., police officers removed a gray computer CPU tower and screen from the house. Two dogs, one large and tan-colored and the other black and white, were removed from the home and loaded into Fremont city vehicles.

Around 8:30 p.m., officers left the house with two grocery-sized paper evidence bags as they prepared to wrap up the search. Fremont police provided security during the search and restricted traffic to and from the subdivision for several hours.

Residents said they were shocked at the news of the arrests Friday. "I can't believe it," said Jim Pham, who has lived on a street adjacent to the couple's home in the Hampton Place subdivision.

Pham said the FBI came to his house in the days after the boy's disappearance and asked general questions about the couple, but Pham had never seen them. Other residents echoed his sentiments and added they were concerned about the negative publicity being brought to the quaint neighborhood.

More than a half-dozen neighbors interviewed in recent weeks described Ross and Campbell as a quiet couple rarely was seen outside their home. A woman who lives next door said sheâ d never seen Hasanni, and another woman who lives across the street said she only saw him once earlier this year. Although several of the neighborhood children play in the streets, Hasanni was never among them, they said.

Juan Bonuel, who lives in a home across the street from the couple's corner lot, had contact with Hasanni several times but never had spoken to Ross or Campbell. Bonuel said that every day during the school year he would see Hasanni on the school bus that takes kids to James Leitch Elementary School in Fremont's Warm Springs District. "He's a good-looking kid, adorable," Bonuel said recently, noting Hasanni always would say, "Hi." Bonuel said he had not seen Hasanni since summer vacation began in mid-June.

There is a $10,000 reward for information leading to Hasanni's whereabouts. Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211. If those numbers are not working, call Sgt. Galindo at 510-238-7934.


Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Appeal in 2001 no body murder conviction

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2009 at 12:56 PM

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Witness: DA made a deal in Franklin County murder case
By VICKY TAYLOR Staff writer


FRANKLIN COUNTY - In 2001 Franklin County District Attorney Jack Nelson made a deal with a key witness in a murder trial to get the man out of jail in return for his testimony, according to testimony in an appeal hearing Thursday.
Megin Chilcote testified that she talked to Nelson many times between August 2000 and the time of the July 2001 trial in which Ronald Harshman was convicted of killing his neighbor, Melvin Snyder.

The conversations centered around when Nelson would be able to get her then-boyfriend, Randy Kohr, released from jail, she said.

"Every conversation we had related to Randy being released in return for his testimony at the Harshman trial," she said.

Chambersburg attorney Chris Sheffield is appealing Harshman's conviction, claiming Kohr and another inmate, Keith Granlun, lied at the trial.

Last month, Kohr and Granlun were in court to testify on Harshman's behalf, but opted out after they were told they would be arrested for perjury if their testimony differed from what they testified to during the 2001 trial.

Kohr told President Judge Douglas Herman that his attorney had advised him that he would incriminate himself if he testified.

Herman recessed the hearing for several hours to get an attorney for Granlun. That attorney, from the public defender's office, also advised Granlun against testifying.

Sheffield's case hinges on proving that the two men lied at the murder trial.

Kohr's testimony that Harshman
told him while at Franklin County Prison that he had killed Melvin Snyder in 1985 was instrumental in Harshman's conviction.
Snyder disappeared in May 1985. His body was never found, but Harshman was developed as a suspect when police learned Harshman had an affair with Snyder's wife the prior year.

Charges were not filed, however, when police were unable to find a body or other evidence that Snyder had actually been killed. Some acquaintances later testified during Harshman's trial that Snyder had threatened to go to Montana and disappear someday.

Nelson reopened the case in 1998 after a grand jury recommended that it be pursued.

At Nelson's suggestion, Pennsylvania State Police checked the property in Antrim Township where Harshman had lived in 1985, using a metal detector to uncover a .25-caliber shell casing buried under three inches of soil near a clothes line pole in the yard at the property.

The casing matched a shell casing found on the floor of Snyder's barn following his disappearance in 1985. During the trial, prosecutors said they believed the casing was buried after Harshman test fired a .25 caliber gun he had bought before Snyder's disappearance.

The state's case depended on testimony that Harshman held a grudge against Snyder, the two shell casings and Kohr's and Granlun's testimony. The prosecution had no body or other evidence that Snyder had been murdered.

Harshman is currently serving a life sentence at a state prison in Rockview.

When Chilcote was called last month after Kohr and Granlun decided not to testify, Nelson objected that her testimony would be hearsay. Sheffield argued that there was legal precedent for such testimony in cases where other evidence is not available.

Herman continued the hearing until he could study the issue and make a ruling.

Last week Herman ruled that Chilcote could not testify about her conversations with Kohr or his letters to her in which he allegedly said he planned to lie in return for special consideration by the D.A.'s office, but she could testify about her direct conversations with Nelson.

On Thursday she testified that she had talked to Nelson numerous times about what she understood was a deal between Kohr and Nelson for his testimony.

At one point when asked by Sheffield what the conversations with Nelson were about, she said "there was a deal" between Kohr and Nelson's office.

Nelson quickly objected, and his objection was sustained.

She did not use the word "deal" again, testifying instead about the number of times she talked to Nelson "directly about Randy getting out of prison."

She said she talked to Nelson "a lot of times" and that the conversations "lasted for awhile."

Every conversation centered around a potential release date for Kohr. She was expecting Kohr's child at the time and she said the first release date was supposed to be before the birth of their child that November. When that didn't materialize, the conversations turned to other dates.

"Then it was before Christmas, then before Valentines Day," she said.

Kohr was finally released shortly after his testimony at the trial, but has since been jailed again.

In cross examination, Nelson asked Chilcote why she thought he could get Kohr released, since he was in a state prison and Nelson's authority did not extend to the state parole board.

"Because that's a conversation you and I had a number of times," she said. "You said that if Randi did his part, you would talk to the state about getting him released."

Nelson pushed the issue, and Chilcote said she didn't know if the parole board was mentioned in the conversations, but insisted that she thought at the time that Nelson was promising to get Kohr released from state prison.

Under Nelson's cross examination, she said Sheffield had contacted her in 2006 "to see what I knew about the case."

Nelson asked if a state trooper had come to her house to talk to her "within the last couple of years." She said no, but later reversed that, saying someone had visited her but wasn't sure whether it was a trooper or a detective.

Nelson pushed her about her memory, asking how she could be sure of her conversations with him if she didn't remember the visits by state police just three years ago.

"I know what you told me and I know what I told you too," she shot back. "I remember what happened."

Her testimony ended with her telling Nelson that "all I was concerned with (in 2000) was you keeping your promises. I don't remember all the details."

Nelson had planned to call Trooper Daren Hockenberry, the lead investigator in the case against Harshman, but Hockenberry was not available Thursday because of a prior job commitment.

Nelson asked and was granted a continuance of the hearing until 9 a.m. Oct. 27.
Vicky Taylor can be reached at 262-4753 or vtaylor@publicopinionnews.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Missing woman thought murdered found 50 years later!

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2009 at 12:39 PM

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I'm often asked if there has ever been a trial for a no body murder and the "victim" was later found alive. The only case I'm aware of is the Hudspeth case from 1886 where Charles Hudspeth was tried twice and ultimately found guilty of the murder of his lover's husband, George Watson, in Arkansas. Hudspeth was executed in 1892 but the "victim" was later found alive in Kansas. Ooops. The below article points out that it could happen again although this case did not involve a trial:
From The Times August 22, 2009

Katharine Farrand Dyer found alive 50 years after she was 'murdered'Mike Harvey
A suspected victim of a notorious American serial killer in the 1950s has been found living in Australia.

Katharine Farrand Dyer was thought to have been “Boulder Jane Doe”, an unidentified woman who was found beaten to death, possibly at the hands of Harvey Glatman, the so-called Lonely Hearts Killer, in 1954.

However, carers for an 84-year-old woman in Queensland made a chance discovery as they were preparing to move the woman they knew as Barbara into a care home. As they packed up her possessions, staff stumbled across an address book belonging to “Katharine Farrand Dyer”.

An internet search linked her to the suspected murder victim and further research put them in contact with Silvia Pettem, the author of a book on the Boulder Jane Doe case.
The writer tracked down relatives of Ms Dyer, who explained the details of how she came to be living in Australia. According to Ms Dyer’s siblings, she left Denver for personal reasons, moving to California and Hawaii before emigrating in 1963.

Police in Boulder, Colorado, described the discovery as a “good news, bad news development”.

Phil West, operations division chief at Boulder County Sheriff’s office, said: “While it’s a relief to know that Katharine is alive, it’s also discouraging in that we are back to square one with essentially no viable candidates for who Jane Doe might be.”

The investigation into the murder was reopened in February 2004 after pressure from Pettem. She raised private money to have Jane Doe’s body exhumed and to have DNA testing and a facial reconstruction done. She also combed newspaper and police archives.

There are suspicions that the killer might not have been Glatman, who died in the gas chamber in 1959. If so, police suspect that Boulder Jane Doe’s real killer may still be alive.

When the unidentified body was found near Boulder, animals had left her face unrecognisable. Police believed the woman to be Ms Dyer, who disappeared about the same time. Some thought that she was an early victim of Glatman.

The young woman found in Boulder Canyon was in her early 20s with strawberry blonde hair. After being beaten to death, she was stripped and tossed off an embankment into the creek below. Ms Dyer was slender and blonde, like Jane Doe. Before she married Jimmie Dyer in 1949 she was called Katharine Farrand.

Detective Steve Ainsworth in Boulder, who has worked on the Jane Doe murder investigation, said that Ms Dyer was “quite a mysterious person”.

He said: “Even before she disappeared there is not a whole lot known about her life. I think for some reason she didn’t want to be found.” Glatman, who was arrested and jailed several times for burglary and sexual assault from his teenage years, moved to Los Angeles in 1957 and started contacting modelling agencies.

He would offer work to models then take them to his apartment and rape and strangle them.

He was arrested in 1958 after kidnapping a woman, who would have been his fourth victim. He confessed to three other murders and was executed at San Quentin prison on September 18, 1959.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ More No Body Murder news

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2009 at 12:18 PM

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Colorado man arrested for 1995 murder of wife

Suspect In 1995 Disappearance Of Wife In Colo JailGREELEY, Colo. (CBS4/AP) ― John L. Sandoval
CBS
Tina Sandoval
CBS


A former Colorado man has been extradited from Las Vegas and charged with first-degree murder in the 1995 disappearance of his estranged wife.

John Sandoval, 44, was returned to Colorado and booked into the Weld County jail Monday. He was in court Tuesday to hear the charge against him in the disappearance of Kristina Tournai Sandoval, who was reported missing on Oct. 19, 1995.

Her body hasn't been found.

Kristina's family issued a statement through a spokesperson on Thursday. "We'd like you to keep the number 5,000 in mind. It has been approximately 5,000 days since any of us last saw Tina or spoke with her. Not a day has passed that her absence has not been felt," said Robert Kuznik, family spokesman.

Authorities say Kristina Sandoval was to meet with her husband on the day she disappeared.

Greeley police have worked on the case since 1995. Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck has said the passage of time has weakened the likely defense that Kristina Sandoval just left.

A preliminary hearing for John Sandoval is scheduled for November.

More on the John Sandoval murder casse:

Note that the DA says 89% of no body cases result in convictions, hey that's my statistic!

Family hopes for new answers



Mike Peters
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Mike and Mary Ellen Tournai sat quietly at the press conference Thursday, knowing that they've waited 5,000 days for this day to come — the prosecution of the man they believe killed their daughter.

Tina Tournai Sandoval disappeared on Oct. 19, 1995, after she told friends and family she was going to talk to her ex-husband, John Sandoval, about some money he owed her.

Sandoval's actions after his ex-wife's disappearance have always placed him at the top of the suspect list, but it took almost 14 years to make the arrest. He was extradited this week from Las Vegas and is being held in the Weld County Jail on first-degree murder charges. His first court hearing is set for Oct. 14.

Despite never finding Tournai Sandoval's body, Weld District Attorney Ken Buck said prosecutors are confident of a conviction. “Eighty-nine percent of ‘no body' cases have resulted in a successful prosecution,” Buck said. He also said he didn't know of any “no body” murder trials in Weld County.

Police admit they have no new evidence in the homicide case, but they are confident that clues turned up during the 1995 investigation give them enough to present a case.

According to court records, some of the evidence includes:

» Witnesses who say that Tina told them she was afraid of Sandoval, but she had to meet with him on the day of her disappearance.

» Police who saw Sandoval return to his west Greeley home on the morning after the disappearance. In his car, they found a shovel, clothing with dirt on them, a bucket with a rope tied into a noose and a 9 mm handgun.

» On that morning, when police tried to talk to Sandoval in his house, he fled through a bathroom window and police caught him after a short footchase. There were fresh scratches on his neck and face, and police said Sandoval refused to let them take fingernail scrapings. He continuously chewed and cleaned his fingernails while in custody, they said.

» Tina Tournai's car was found in an apartment parking lot about four blocks from the Sandoval house, and police brought in a tracking dog to go through the scene. The dog tracked the scent from the car to the Sandoval home, making investigators believe Sandoval parked her car in the parking lot and walked back to his house.

» Police also have statements from acquaintances of Sandoval, including one man who said he and Sandoval were talking at a bar about their divorces and ex-wives, and Sandoval said “Too bad we can't just kill them.”

In speaking of the case, Buck had high praise for the Greeley police detectives — Sgt. Keith Olson and Lt. Brad Goldschmidt — who took another look at the cold case and came back with enough to charge Sandoval.

Two others also spoke at the morning press conference at the Greeley Police Department.

Howard Morton, executive director of a group called Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, said the organization is grateful to Greeley police and the district attorney for going forward with the case.

“There are 1,487 unsolved homicides in Colorado, and we celebrate each time one of the cases comes to prosecution,” Morton said. “This serves the cause of justice.”

Speaking for the Tournai family was Robert Kuznik, a relative: “We're here to show our love for a daughter, a sister, an aunt — Tina. It takes a village to bring comfort for a grieving family, and that's what has happened here.”

Kuznik said members of the Tournai family will likely be called to testify in the trial.

“We would like you to keep the number 5,000 in mind. It has been approximately 5,000 days since any of us last saw Tina or spoke with her. Not a day has passed that her absence not been felt.”

Victim and suspect
Tina Tournai-Sandoval: Graduated from Windsor High School, where she participated in choir, band, volleyball, track, basketball and the Knowledge Bowl. She enrolled at Aims Community College and the University of Northern Colorado, where she received a degree in nursing. She worked at North Colorado Medical Center.

John Sandoval's criminal history: Arrest record includes assault, menacing, burglary in California (served two years in prison), harassment and trespassing. Five months after his ex-wife disappeared, he pleaded guilty to first-degree trespassing. In that case, he was found hiding in a Greeley woman's closet when she came home one night. He was sentenced to six years in prison in that case. When he was released, he was paroled to Las Vegas, where he lived until his arrest in the present case.


(© 2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Some catching up to do.....

posted by Admin on September 18th, 2009 at 12:05 PM

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I've been in trial (not a no body murder case) so I've fallen a bit behind on updating the blog. Lots of catching up to do as there have been many no body murder trials and cases in the last month:

Guilty plea in Kentucky no body murder case

Steven Hafer A 20-year-old Northern Kentucky murder case wraps up in court today with no body recovered and nobody charged with murder. David Lee Smith pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence this morning as part of a plea agreement in the 1989 death of his brother-in-law Steve Hafer.

Smith was charged with complicity to murder and tampering with evidence when he entered the courtroom this morning. As part of his plea agreement, the prosecution dropped the complicity to murder charge.

Police arrested him just last year.... 19 years after the alleged murder of Hafer. Hafer's widow, Linda told police that Smith and another man, who has since died, suffocated Hafer. When confronted, Smith admitted to burying Hafer's body along the Licking River but not killing him.

Hafer's ex-wife later changed her story which made it a tough case to prosecute. Retired Campbell County Police Detective Dave Finckenscher told Local 12's Joe Webb, "Unfortunately in a 19-year-old case you've only got witness statements and not a lot of forensic evidence to go on. This case started out a little better than it ended with the deterioration of one of our witnesses. That happens."

The plea agreement includes a recommendation that Smith serve the maximum sentence of five years. He will be sentenced September 30th.

California man found guilty of no body murder

Dave Hawk guilty in murder of ex-wife
Published online on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009
By Tim Sheehan, Eddie Jimenez and Lewis Griswold / The Fresno Bee
Similar stories:
•Judge waits to decide Hawk trial location
Judge waits to decide Hawk trial location
A judge has decided to listen to prospective jurors next week before ruling whether David Hawk's murder trial should be moved out of Kings County.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday.

Lawyers for Hawk, accused of killing his ex-wife, Debbie Hawk, argued in court Tuesday afternoon that the case should be moved because, they say, extensive news coverage will prevent Hawk from getting a fair trial in Kings County.

•Attorneys outline cases as Hawk murder trial opens
Attorneys outline cases as Hawk murder trial opens
HANFORD -- The prosecution in the David Hawk murder trial told a Kings County jury Monday that Hawk had a reason for wanting his ex-wife dead: Debbie Hawk was demanding financial records that might show he was stealing money from his children's trust account.

"The evidence will show that the only person benefiting from Debbie's death ... was that man right there, the defendant," prosecutor Shane Burns said, pointing to David Hawk.

But one of Hawk's attorneys countered that no physical evidence links the defendant to the crime.

•No Hawk verdicts after Day 2
No Hawk verdicts after Day 2
HANFORD -- The jury in Dave Hawk's trial deliberated for a second day Thursday without reaching verdicts on whether he killed his ex-wife and embezzled from his children's trust funds.

Jurors will resume deliberations in Kings County Superior Court at 9 a.m. today.

Hawk, 51, of Lemoore was charged in mid-2007 with embezzling from his three children's trust accounts and was awaiting trial when he was arrested in May 2008 in connection with the murder of his ex-wife. Debbie Hawk, a Hanford resident, disappeared in June 2006.

•Hawk murder trial jury to start deliberations
Hawk murder trial jury to start deliberations
HANFORD -- A Kings County jury will begin deliberations today to decide whether Dave Hawk was the only person with a motive to kill his ex-wife or whether the prosecution failed to put Hawk at the murder scene.

Those were the key points hammered home Tuesday as the 11-day trial reached closing arguments.

Hawk, 51, of Lemoore, was charged in mid-2007 with embezzlement in connection with his three children's trust accounts and was awaiting trial in that case when he was arrested in May 2008 in connection with the murder of his ex-wife, Debbie Hawk. She disappeared in June 2006. Her body has never been found.

•Testimony ends in Hawk trial
Testimony ends in Hawk trial
HANFORD -- Jurors will hear closing arguments today in the murder trial of Dave Hawk, whose ex-wife disappeared three years ago.

Debbie Hawk's body has never been found.

Prosecutor Larry Crouch said outside Kings County Superior Court on Monday that investigators built a strong case by quickly identifying Dave Hawk as "the person who had a motive" to kill Debbie Hawk.
HANFORD -- Jurors convicted Dave Hawk on Friday of killing his ex-wife, with the foreman noting afterward they got "chills" from a secret recording in which Hawk talked hypothetically of dropping her body in a river.

On their third day of deliberations after a two-week trial, a jury of 10 women and two men found Hawk, 51, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Debbie Hawk and of embezzling more than $300,000 from trust funds set up for the couple's three children.

But the verdict didn't solve the mystery that has transfixed Kings County since Debbie Hawk disappeared from her north Hanford home in June 2006: no sign of the 46-year-old has ever been found.

The murder conviction includes a special finding -- the crime was committed for financial gain -- that will land Hawk in prison for the rest of his life. Prosecutors alleged that Hawk killed his ex-wife to keep her from exposing his misuse of the trust funds set up by his parents for the children.

Prosecutors last fall opted not to seek the death penalty for Hawk, who showed no emotion as the court clerk read the verdicts.


JOHN WALKER / THE FRESNO BEE
Attorney Mark Coleman lays a hand on David Hawk after Hawk was found guilty in his murder trial on Friday.

JOHN WALKER / THE FRESNO BEE
Dave Hawk is escorted from a Kings County courtroom Friday after the guilty verdicts were read in his trial.

FRESNO BEE FILE
Dave Hawk of Lemoore, left, is accused of murder in the June 2006 disappearance of his ex-wife, Debbie Hawk of Hanford, right.

CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS
Story archive on Debbie Hawk case

Judge Daniel Creed, a visiting judge from Santa Clara County who presided over the trial in Kings County Superior Court, ordered Hawk back to court for sentencing Dec. 4.

The jury also convicted Hawk on five counts of tax evasion for failing to file tax returns from 2001 to 2005 and one count of perjury for falsely stating under oath that he had filed a tax return. Hawk pleaded no contest earlier this month to a charge of loan fraud.

Hawk's attorneys agreed that Hawk mixed money from the trust funds with a household bank account but denied that he killed his ex-wife. No physical evidence tied Hawk to her disappearance and murder, his attorneys said.

But jurors said other evidence outweighed the absence of a body.

Jury foreman Kenny Knutson, 33, of Lemoore, said that when a neighbor testified about hearing screams the night Debbie Hawk disappeared, Dave Hawk's reaction seemed to be as if he "was almost remembering, yeah, that's exactly how it happened."

"That's when I first started to think he was connected to it," Knutson said.

Knutson said jurors spent time in deliberations listening to a conversation between Hawk and a friend, Keith Marshall, who secretly taped the conversation for investigators, including a passage in which Knutson recalled hearing Hawk say that "if he was a bad guy, he'd drop the body in the river."

"For some of the people, that just gave them chills," Knutson said.

In the same conversation, Hawk denied killing his ex-wife.

Juror Dee Reed, 35, of Lemoore was persuaded by other evidence.

"For me, the deciding factor was his youngest daughter stating she saw her father the month before driving by [Debbie Hawk's] house taking pictures," Reed said. "If you've been divorced that long, why would you drive by your ex-wife's house taking pictures?"

Prosecutors never elaborated on why they presented Savannah Hawk's testimony.

The defense team was "tremendously disappointed" by the verdict, said Mark Coleman, one of Hawk's attorneys.

Coleman said Creed should have granted a defense motion to move the trial out of Kings County because of the intense publicity the case had attracted in the Valley. Once Creed denied the motion, Coleman said, the defense knew the trial would be hard to win.

He said the defense plans to file a motion for a new trial.

Deputy District Attorney Larry Crouch, who prosecuted the case, alluded to a civil case that Debbie Hawk brought against her ex-husband -- but did not live to see concluded -- over Hawk's theft from the trust funds. "Today is the day Debbie Hawk finally got her hearing," Crouch said. "I'm happy about that."
Debbie Hawk, a pharmaceutical sales representative, was reported missing from her home on June 13, 2006, after her son and daughters returned from a custody visit with their father. The house was in disarray, and her van was gone.

The van was found a couple of days later in southwest Fresno -- keys in the ignition and a stolen license plate from Hanford on the rear bumper. Blood in the van and in Debbie Hawk's Hanford home was later found to be hers.

Intense searches of Kings County parks, fields and waterways in the following weeks yielded no sign of Debbie Hawk, and Hanford police classified the case as a homicide in July 2006.

In the months after Debbie Hawk's disappearance, several discoveries of unidentified remains in nearby counties stirred hope that at least part of the mystery might be solved. But each time, dental records and DNA comparisons determined the remains were not hers.

In one instance, bones found in a dairy drain near Dave Hawk's Lemoore home turned out to be animal remains.


JOHN WALKER / THE FRESNO BEE
Attorney Mark Coleman lays a hand on David Hawk after Hawk was found guilty in his murder trial on Friday.

JOHN WALKER / THE FRESNO BEE
Dave Hawk is escorted from a Kings County courtroom Friday after the guilty verdicts were read in his trial.

FRESNO BEE FILE
Dave Hawk of Lemoore, left, is accused of murder in the June 2006 disappearance of his ex-wife, Debbie Hawk of Hanford, right.

In the courtroom Friday was Hawk's daughter Chelsa, 17, who along with her brother, Conrad, 19, and sister, Savannah, 13, testified during the trial. Chelsa Hawk emerged from the courtroom in tears after the verdict.

Sandy Brown, retired pastor of Lemoore Presbyterian Church, where Hawk was an elder, said he was disappointed by the verdict and is heartbroken for Hawk's daughters, who are living with their grandparents, Stan and Lois Hawk, in Lemoore.

Brown said he considers himself Hawk's pastor and friend and is holding out hope Hawk can get a new trial in a different county.

"I just want to have somebody say and publish that Dave Hawk is not the monster the prosecution has made him out to be," Brown said. "He is a good man who has been caught up in something way beyond him."

Stan Hawk said he had no comment when reached by phone Friday afternoon.

Area attorneys offered mixed reactions to Hawk's guilty verdict on the murder charge.

"It's very difficult to convict anyone when there's no body unless you have an eyewitness to the killing, and they didn't have that in this case," said former Fresno County District Attorney Ed Hunt.

Another former prosecutor, Fresno attorney Michael Idiart, said that from what he has seen and read, "the case wasn't the strongest in the world," but added that Kings County's political conservatism may have helped prosecutors.

And then, Idiart said, "there's what I call a 'stench factor.' He's the most likely suspect and he had motive, and the jury looks for evidence to convict him."

Hawk's attorneys did not call him to testify in his own defense -- a move that would have opened him up to cross-examination by prosecutors.

Instead, the only words jurors heard from Hawk were in the secretly taped conversation.

"My experience, in 35 years as an attorney, is that jurors like to hear someone get on the stand and say, 'I didn't do it,' " Hunt said. "But most of the time, a conviction isn't the result of any mistake by the attorneys, it's just the weight of evidence such that jurors can reach no other verdict."

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Interview with prosecutor in Calvin Harris no body murder case

posted by Admin on August 8th, 2009 at 6:08 PM

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http://www.wicz.com/news2005/viewarticle.asp?a=9957

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▣ Dallas man charged with no body murder of baby

posted by Admin on August 7th, 2009 at 8:02 PM

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Father charged with capital murder
Submitted by Larry on 25 July, 2009 - 09:37.

Nine-month old Daisja Weaver’s father, 20-year-old Alandus Weaver of Dallas, is charged with murdering her.

When Daisha was first reported missing from her far North Dallas apartment, her mother, 19-year-old Tamaira Creagh, told police that the baby had been kidnapped during an attempted sexual assault.

Investigators say Alandus Weaver, 20, has told them he accidentally drowned the baby while giving her a bath on June 8. He said he poured too much water over her head and she drowned.

Weaver and Creagh told police they then panicked and put the dead child in a car overnight. The next day they finally disposed of the body in Lewisville Lake.

www.txcn.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/tv/stories/wfaa090709_wz_daisja.24e1176e.html

No body has been recovered to date and Daisja is still listed as missing on missingkids.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase

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▣ Prosecutor named Prosecutor of Year for No Body Murder Conviction

posted by Admin on August 7th, 2009 at 8:00 PM

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Making a case for conviction
Deric Rothe/Auburn Journal
Suzanne Gazzaniga tells Auburn Rotary Club members Tuesday about the intensive effort by local law enforcement and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office that led to the conviction of Paul Kovacich Jr. for the 1982 murder of his wife Janet. Gazzaniga and her prosecution team created a timeline and calendar outlining Janet and Paul Kovacich’s daily and hourly whereabouts shortly before and after the homicide. “The trial came down to re-creating bit by bit what happened in September 1982,” she said. Despite facing long odds and having no body, no weapon, no crime scene, no indisputable cause of death, no eye witnesses and no confession, Gazzaniga and the Placer District Attorney’s team won a conviction. She was recently named a statewide Prosecutor of the Year for her efforts.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Colorado No Body Murder Trial Starting

posted by Admin on August 7th, 2009 at 7:56 PM

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Aarone murder case finally going to trial

By John Romero Reporter

7:46 AM MDT, August 3, 2009

DENVER - After four years of accusations, speculation and investigation, the Aarone Thompson murder case goes to trial Monday as jury selection starts in Arapahoe County.

Aaron Thompson called Aurora Police in November 2005 saying his daughter had run away and not come back. But after an all out search for the missing girl, police turned their attention to Aaron Thompson himself and his girlfriend Shelly Lowe.

Now Thompson stands accused of child abuse resulting in death. He's facing a 60 count indictment accusing him of abusing Aarone and the other 7 kids he cared for with Lowe.

Lowe died of a heart attack. And Aarone has never been found.

We spoke by phone with Aarone's birth mother Lynette Thompson. She said the trial wouldn't bring closure for her.

"I want my child's remains," she told us. "Nothing can bring back Aarone."

Community activist Alvertis Simmons was once a vocal supporter of Aaron Thompson. Now he simply wants justice.

"Aaron will get his just desserts," he said. "And then the community can move on."

But prosecutors will face a high hurdle to get a conviction. They have no body. And no solid evidence of how Aarone died. They will have to build a circumstantial case to prove the girl was long gone before Thompson reported missing to police, according to legal analyst Dan Recht.

"The girl wasn't in school, they didn't have a bed for her allegedly," Recht says. "I think a jury would believe the girl was gone for a while."

Recht also says the 60 count indictment has enough serious charges of abuse relating to the surviving children, who can testify in court, that if convicted on those counts, Thompson could spend the rest of his life in jail, even if he isn't convicted of the death.

Copyright © 2009, KDVR-TV

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Calvin Harris found guilty of no body murder....again

posted by Admin on August 7th, 2009 at 7:49 PM

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After the judge tossed out the first guilty verdict two years ago, Calvin Harris was found guilty in upstate New York again. From PressConnects.com:

Jury finds Harris guilty; Defendant stoic as verdict read
Attorney plans appeal

By Debbie Swartz • dswartz@gannett.com • Staff Writer *

OWEGO - It was 1:13 in the afternoon when Calvin Harris and his defense team stood to face the jury.
As the word “Guilty” reverberated through the silent Tioga County courtroom, Harris sank back into his chair, hung his head and slowly shook it back and forth.

Nearly eight years after his wife Michele vanished, a jury took about nine hours over two days to find her husband guilty of second-degree murder for a second time.
The complete lack of reaction to Wednesday's verdict was in stark contrast to the cries of “Oh God. Oh God. No,” Harris uttered after being found guilty in his first trial in June 2007.

As defense attorney William Easton rested his hand on Harris' shoulder, the defendant stood, was handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. He was later transferred to the Tioga County Jail.

The second-degree murder conviction means Harris faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life and a minimum of 15 years to life, said Tioga County District Attorney Gerald Keene.

It's too early to say what Keene will recommend, but he said it depends, in part, on whether Harris shows remorse for killing Michele.

“It's the hardest case I've ever prosecuted,” said Keene, who also handled the first Harris trial.

Even though their long deliberation was a little nerve-wracking, Keene said, he had faith.

“I had a good feeling about this jury,” he said.Both times, Keene's case lacked a body and murder weapon and relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, including medium-velocity blood spatter in the Harris kitchen and garage, as well as testimony from several witnesses who said Harris had threatened his wife.

This trial was made more difficult, Keene said, because Harris testified.

During his testimony, the defense portrayed Harris as a caring father concerned about his wife's disappearance. Meanwhile, Keene painted a picture of a lying, cheating, manipulating husband. In his defense, Harris accused nearly every prosecution witness of fabricating evidence.

According to the prosecution, Michele arrived at her Town of Spencer home late at night on Sept. 11, 2001. Upon entering her kitchen, she was hit with an object, fell to her knees and was hit again. Her body was then dragged into the garage where she died.
At the time of her disappearance, the estranged couple was in the process of a divorce. While the defense argued that a settlement - worth more than $700,000 - was imminent and that Harris was in good sprits and good financial shape, the prosecution offered a different scenario.

According to Keene, Michele's attorney rejected the offer and instead, sought appraisals on Harris' multi-million dollar businesses.

Harris was obsessed with control and because of the pending divorce was about to lose his hold over his wife, children, finances and business, the prosecution argued.

“In his mind, she's the one that created all the problems,” Keene told the jury. “She's on her way up. He's on his way down.”

During the first trial, the father of four was found guilty after a jury deliberated four hours, but the conviction was set aside months later and a new trial ordered. That decision was handed down when a surprise witness - Kevin Tubbs - came forward after the verdict and said he thought he saw Michele with an unidentified man hours after the prosecution said Calvin Harris killed his wife.

Since then, Harris, a Tioga County businessman, had been free on $500,000 bail.

Outside the Tioga County Courthouse on Wednesday, people driving by stopped and asked for the verdict. Some beeped while passing the historic building, while others armed with cameras lined the street.

The verdict came as a shock, said defense attorney Terence Kindlon, who was not part of the first trial.

“This is not the result we obviously expected,” he said. “We are, frankly, quite surprised.”

Having the trial in Tioga County presented a significant problem for the defense, Kindlon said. When potential jurors were asked, he said, fifty percent said they had opinions about the first trial.

The defense filed two motions for a change of venue, both were denied.

“He was really up against it…” Kindlon said of Harris. “I firmly believe there should have been a change of venue in this case.”

Without being prompted, Kindlon said he would file an appeal by the Sept. 2 date set by Judge James Hayden, adding it is unbelievable that Harris was going to jail instead of back to his home.

“Cal did not commit this crime,” Kindlon said. “An innocent man has been wrongly convicted.”

Twelve people from Tioga County did not agree.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy in the News

posted by Admin on August 7th, 2009 at 7:38 PM

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I spoke with John Pless, a Tennessee reporter regarding the Sam Parker case. Here's the link, http://www.newschannel9.com/articles/parker-983439-evidence-sam.html and the article:

New Developments In Sam Parker Murder Case
August 05, 2009 5:28 PM
John Pless

A Walker County judge has decided what kind of evidence can, and can not be used against Sam Parker.

Parker is about to go on trial for killing his wife Theresa even though police have never found her body or evidence she's dead.

Some evidence the prosecution team spent a tremendous amount of time and money on will not be allowed against Parker.

Remember last month, when the prosecution showed the judge the video of cadaver dogs in action? Prosecutors argued the dogs alerted their handlers back in 2007 to the smell of a decomposing body near Teresa Parker's car and Sam Parker's garage.

Lisa Higgins with the Louisiana Search and Rescue Dog team testified in July "almost immediately I gave the command and she hit really hard, worked very, very hard inside the wheel well on the driver's side and gave a full indication right there."

After further cross examination it was learned that cadaver dogs can hit on other things, like pigs, or bark when they're excited about something not connected with the search. Parker's defense team argued that evidence should be thrown out since no one knows what excited the K-9's.

Walker County Superior Court Judge Jon "Bo" Wood agreed, saying in a previous case the Georgia Supreme Court "decided the alerts should not have been admitted."

The FBI had great interest in the Parker case because it was going to be a "test case" where cadaver dogs would help in the prosecution of a no body murder trial.

But on another issue Judge Wood sided with prosecutors about deputies going on Parker's property without a warrant. Judge Wood concluded in his July 31 ruling "...the Court finds that the officers had a right to be on the property of the Defendant and alleged victim for a safety/wellness check."

Theresa Parker seemingly vanished more than two years ago without a trace. Her husband Sam is accused of killing her despite no body and no evidence she's dead.

"When you don't have the body you don't have the best, single piece of evidence in a murder case," according to Thomas "Tad" DiBiase.

Dibiase was a federal homicide prosecutor for more than 12 years in the District Of Columbia who has spent the last five years researching so-called "no body murder cases."

The Parker murder case is only the seventh case known in Georgia where prosecutors have gone to trial without a body. DiBiase found the six previous Georgia cases span from 1949 to 2005. All but one in 2001 resulted in a conviction.

One of the more recent was the case against Calvin Hinton in Atlanta, who was convicted in 2005 for killing 19-year-old Shannon Melendi. Her body was never found before trial, but after his conviction Hinton admitted he burned and then buried her body in his yard.

In the Parker case we have yet to hear about any other physical evidence that could help win a conviction.

"Typically in an investigation the public does not know all the information that is there, so that's the first caveat, you can never predict what the police or the prosecution may have that hasn't been revealed yet," DiBiase said.

Dibiase said in most no body cases a conviction is based on three factors: there is forensic evidence tying the suspect to the victim, the accused gives a confession or the accused tells someone else about the crime.

Since the cadaver dog testimony won't be allowed we're not sure what physical evidence prosecutors may have.

We do know that the prosecution team is under pressure to make a challenging case. Chattanooga criminal defense attorney Jerry Summers, who's not involved in the Parker case, gave us his perspective about prosecutors under that kind of pressure.

"Of course there's an inordinate amount of public pressure in the Sam Parker case, it's been highly publicized and unfortunately that sometimes puts pressure on prosecutors because prosecutors are publicly elected," Summers said.

The process of picking a jury begins August 17 in Bartow County, Georgia. Jurors will be sequestered and brought to the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette for the trial.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Fairfax Detective discusses no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 12th, 2009 at 10:16 AM

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This was a no body murder plea from 2002...
Fairfax detective solves difficult homicides
By: Freeman Klopott
Examiner Staff Writer
July 12, 2009 Homicide detective Chester Tony, 47, has worked for the Fairfax County Police Department for 23 years, 10 in his current position. Previously, he worked as an assistant manager at a pizza restaurant in the District. He grew up in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and moved to D.C. more than 25 years ago. He graduated from Alabama A&M University and is married with one son.

How did you enter law enforcement?

I always knew, even when I was in college, that I wanted to get into law enforcement. I wanted to do local police work before working for the federal government. I expected to stay only a few years [at Fairfax] and did apply with a couple federal agencies but kind of backed out because I liked the department.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Any death in the county that may be questionable or may need to be looked into, we are tasked with that. I like the whole aspect of it. What keeps me motivated is that not only is it the best job in the police department, it's the most important. You're dealing with victims' families and being able to help them find some degree of understanding on what happened. You help them try to move on.

What interesting cases have you worked on?

My partner and I worked on one case where a young Chinese kid killed his family in 1993. He left the [bodies of the] family in the house until 1999. In 1999, he dumped them in the Chesapeake Bay and in 2002 his ex-girlfriend reported it. Within 11 days we had enough information to lock him up. He was charged and got 33 years in prison for each of three counts of first-degree murder. It was a good case because we never had their bodies but we had enough information from witnesses involved.


-- Maria Schmitt

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ More on DC's latest no body murder case

posted by Admin on July 1st, 2009 at 7:56 PM

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Gee, wonder who did one of the only two no body murder trials in DC? Perhaps moi?

2 Arrests Made in Separate Decade-Old Deaths
By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two men were arrested last week in homicide cases that go back 10 years, D.C. police said. One case involved a woman whose body has never been found.

The woman, Yolanda Baker, 35, of the 400 block of 44th Street NE, was reported missing Aug. 4, 1999. Police said they investigated for a year but did not find her remains. She was declared legally dead in February.

The U.S. attorney's office and "cold case" detectives began a new investigation that involved interviews and forensic testing, and Terrence Barnett, 44, the father of Baker's twin children, was arrested Tuesday, police said. Barnett, of Capitol Heights in Prince George's County, was charged with second-degree murder.

"No body" murder prosecutions are difficult; it was reported last year that only two such trials had ever been held in the District.

In the other case, police said Lawrence Davis, 45, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Elizabeth Singleton, 32. Singleton was found stabbed in her home in the 1700 block of A Street SE in March 1999, they said.

Police said Davis, for whom no address was given, was her estranged husband. An investigation begun last year incorporated DNA evidence, police said.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ DC Police make arrest in no body homicide case

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 5:55 PM

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The Yolanda Baker case is one I worked on when I was with the US Attorney's Office. Nice to see an arrest:

From the PD press release:

On August 4, 1999, 35-year-old Yolanda Baker of the 400 block of 44th Street, NE was reported missing. At the time, she was living with the father of her twin children, 34-year-old Terrence Barnett. The couple had a history of domestic violence. The case was investigated for a year, but Ms. Baker’s remains were never found.



In February of this year, Ms. Baker was declared legally deceased. At the same time, Homicide Branch Cold Case detectives and the United States Attorneys Office began re-investigating the case. After additional forensic testing and numerous interviews the Homicide Branch obtained an arrest warrant, and subsequently the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested the now 44-year-old Barnett on June 23, 2009. Barnett had been residing in Capitol Heights, Maryland, and is charged with Second Degree Murder.

This is the second “no body” case now being prosecuted by the United States Attorneys Office in the past year.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Police may have found body of missing Maryland victim of no body murder

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 5:38 PM

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Expert says missing homicide victim found
Police hope dental records will make positive identification
By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Staff Writer
Published 06/20/09

A partial skeleton found last year in Baltimore may be the missing remains of a 2007 county homicide victim, according to police, prosecutors and a new federal database.

Forensic investigators are trying to use dental records to positively identify the body as Michael Francis, 21, of Brooklyn Park, but an orthopedic screw found in a right femoral bone makes them believe they are on the right track.

"We are hopeful the remains are those of Michael Francis so the family can have some closure on that end," said Capt. David Waltemeyer, the head of the county's Criminal Investigation Division.

The discovery comes as Antonio Moore, 22, of Brooklyn Park, prepares for his third jury trial in regard to Francis' April 14, 2007, death in Brooklyn Park. Charged with first-degree murder, he saw his first trial end in a mistrial March 3, 2008, and his second trial end with a hung jury on May 30, 2008.

While prosecutors had no body during either trial to prove Francis was dead, jurors said they weren't worried about that. Only one juror refused to convict after the second trial, and he withheld his vote because he didn't believe the state's witnesses could be trusted, other jurors said.

Still, prosecutors hope a special medical examiner will be able to positively identify the remains on Tuesday, giving them one more piece of evidence when they take the case back to court Dec. 1.

"We are anxiously awaiting the results of the special medical examiner," said Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's Office. "We look forward to proceeding with the new evidence."

District Public Defender William Davis, Moore's defense attorney, could not be reached for comment.

Police and prosecutors credit a relatively new database with tentatively identifying the remains. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System - identifyus.org - the skeleton was located April 20, 2008, in a wooded area off Strathdale Avenue in Baltimore. The skeleton was missing limbs.

Investigators at that time determined the person who died was probably black, 20 to 25 years old and about 5 feet 5 inches tall. The person probably died in 2007.

Erin Jones, a forensic science analyst with System Planning Corp. who provides technical support for the federal database, tentatively identified the body earlier this month after Francis' information was added to a sister database dealing only with missing persons - www.findthemissing.org.

Jones said she noticed several similarities between Francis and the skeleton - both were the same age, sex, size and race, and both appeared to have died at about the same time. The body also was found in relative proximity to where Francis was shot.

"They were similar enough that I contacted Anne Arundel County Police," she said.

Jones explained the big question at that point was whether Francis had a screw in his right femur. She asked detectives to check with Francis' family, who confirmed he had been in an accident and had needed such a screw.

"This is my first hit," Jones said, happy to be able to reunite Francis' family members with their loved one. "We've gotten several hits, but this is the first one I have gotten."

Richard A. MacKnight, Jones' boss, said the U.S. Department of Justice launched the database dealing with unidentified bodies in 2007, but didn't launch the one dealing with missing persons until January. He said NamUs - the system's common moniker - is still working with different police departments to get them involved.

"Given the number of law enforcement agencies, it is a long-term proposition in getting the majority of the agencies to use the system," he said, eager to get the word out about this apparent success. "This is how the system is supposed to work."

According to court testimony, Moore shot Francis with an assault-style rifle about 3 a.m. April 14, 2007, behind 5102 Brookwood Road in Brooklyn Park. Witnesses said he stuffed Francis into the trunk of a Toyota Solara, then drove off with his girlfriend in the front seat.

Witnesses also testified Moore beat another man, Teiko Johnson, earlier that morning with the butt of the rifle and tried to put him in the trunk.

While the second jury could not reach a verdict regarding the murder charge, it did convict Moore of first-degree assault and two lesser charges in the beating of Johnson. Moore was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison for that assault.

Circuit Court Judge Michele D. Jaklitsch declared a mistrial in March after a state witness testified the Toyota Solara Moore was driving the day of the killing was stolen from Russell Toyota in Baltimore. The judge feared the jury could have concluded that Moore stole the car, even though he never was charged with the crime and someone else was under investigation for the theft.

sdaugherty@capitalgazette.com
Copyright © 2009 The Maryland Gazette and Capital Gazette Communications, Inc.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Boston pair charged with no body murder

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 5:22 PM

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Pair accused of murder, dismembering man in drug deal
Jessica Fargen By Jessica Fargen
Monday, June 8, 2009 - Updated 16d 22h ago

Two Catholic high school buddies are accused of murdering a 37-year-old Guatemalan immigrant and then dismembering and burning his body at a Walpole cement business all over a massive drug debt, prosecutors alleged today.

Mass Pike toll collector Paul E. Moccia, 48, murdered Angel Ramirez because he couldn’t afford to pay his $70,000 drug debt, and then enlisted his friend to help make the body disappear, Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Robert Nelson alleged today during an arraignment.

Ramirez, who was killed March 20, brought kilos of cocaine to Massachusetts from the West Coast and allegedly sold the drugs to Moccia, he said.

Moccia’s longtime buddy, Daniel P. Bradley, 47, an assistant football coach at Xaverian Brothers High School, was allegedly involved in the shooting and the dismembering and disposed Ramirez’ body at his cement business. “The body was cooked,” Nelson said.

Nelson said investigators found blood spots inside Bradley’s concrete business, RJ Bradley Co. Inc., as well as blood on a pair of Bradley’s boots inside his Westwood home. Police executed six search warrants in connection with the case.

A Wrentham District Court judge ordered both men held without bail.

Defense attorneys for Moccia and Bradley said the pair have been friends since their days at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury.

Moccia, who has two sons, lives in Dedham and has worked for the Mass Pike collecting tolls for 13 years, said his attorney, Steven Boozang. “He’s a good man and he’s a good father,” Boozang told reporters after the arraignment.

Bradley lives in a quiet Westwood cul-de-sac with his 4-year-old son and his fiance. His attorney, John Gibbons, said his client doesn’t even know Ramirez. “He never met Ramirez,” he said.

Ramirez’ body has not found, but Norfolk County District Attorney William R. Keating in the past successfully charged a man with murder when there was no body.

Police began investigating Ramirez’ disappearance after his girlfriend reported him missing March 24. Ramirez picked up a friend from Logan International Airport on March 20 and the two went back to Ramirez’ Framingham apartment, where Ramirez told him he would be meeting a man, later identified as Moccia, to talk about a power washer, Nelson said.

Ramirez was actually Moccia’s drug supplier, and when the two met up that night Moccia shot him in the back somewhere near Bradley’s concrete business, Nelson said. Bradley was allegedly present for the shooting, he said.

Bradley and Moccia have been arrested for cocaine possession in the past. Bradley was arrested in June 2001 after police searched his car in a Walpole Wal-Mart and found crack cocaine. The case was dismissed because the search was later ruled illegal.

Moccia was arrested in 1987 on cocaine charges.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ South Carolina police investigate case of man missing 24 years

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 5:17 PM

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Lexington Co. investigates 24-year-old murder

Posted: June 3, 2009 03:55 PM

Updated: June 9, 2009 05:26 PM
Lexington Co. investigates 24-year-old murder, Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield reports

PELIOD, SC (WIS) - Deputies think they are closing in on whoever killed Darryl Morris. The 24-year-old disappeared in 1985.

"It's almost a Mayberry, you know your neighbors, know everyone, went to school with everyone," says Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.

And everyone around there knows what happened to Darryl Morris.

"We just believe from people we've talked to recently, he's met foul play and his body may still be somewhere around here," says Metts.

Metts was sheriff when it happened in 1985. Morris, a 24-year-old heating and air technician, disappeared after stopping at what used to be Shumpert's Grocery.

No official suspects were ever named and no body was found. The sheriff, who has been working the case for many years, says folks have been talking in the small town and he's got a hunch.

"We developed some good information on suspects in this case, but we need more," he says.

Darryl Morris' sister, Delores Hoover, called us asking us to help reopen the case.

"Some days are good, some days are bad. His birthday was May 12th, it just so happens it falls in the same month as Mother's Day and that's tough," Hoover says.

Hoover was 17 when her big brother disappeared. He was last seen cashing a check.

"He was a good person, loved his family, worked all the time," said Hoover.

The case has been pretty much cold until about a year ago when they got a tip that Morris had an ongoing dispute with some folks at a store that was knocked down. The rumor was he was buried out back. Deputies excavated the place with the help of USC anthropologists.

"We hand-dug the area and it turned out to be a garbage pit," said Metts.

But they still think his body is somewhere in this town and so is the person who could crack this case.

"We have some persons of interest we've interviewed and we just need a little more," said Metts.

"We don't want to know details, but I think it would be much easier to have a body and bury it and to bury him and know he's where you put him. You can go visit the place," said Hoover.

This case is a little different. Deputies say they're not sure if the person who did it is even alive. But they say someone in Pelion has the answers. If you have a tip, call 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No body murder case against Utah man remains alive

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 4:44 PM

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Although Christopher Jeppson plead guilty to greatly reduced charges in the Kiplyn Davis case, Timmy Brent Olsen still has murder charges pending against him in Utah:

Judge issues a no-ruling on the no-body issue in Kiplyn case

By Sara Israelsen-Hartley
Deseret News
Published: Monday, June 1, 2009 5:03 p.m. MDT
PROVO — A judge has deferred judgment on a potentially case-ending motion against a man charged with killing Kiplyn Davis.

Kiplyn was 15 when she disappeared from Spanish Fork High School in May 1995, and prosecutors charged a former classmate, Timmy Brent Olsen, with murder.

However, attorneys for Olsen have argued that the murder case against him should be dismissed because Kiplyn's body has never been found, and neither has a murder weapon, blood nor DNA evidence. The only evidence against Olsen is alleged incriminating statements Olsen made to several people regarding his knowledge of and participation in Kiplyn's death.

Defense attorney Jeremy Delicino has argued that the case fails under the "corpus delicti" rule, which requires the state to present a "body of evidence" — which in this case would be an actual body — to support Olsen's incriminating statements.

However, prosecutors argue that foul play is the only likely option because Kiplyn didn't have money, a driver's license or any personal problems that would have led to her running away or committing suicide.

Fourth District Judge Lynn Davis recently ruled that he is not in a position to make a decision on the motion because prosecutors have not yet brought their full case, according to court documents. The evidence already presented was in a preliminary hearing nearly a year and a half ago and under a lower burden of proof, he wrote.

"Ruling on corpus delicti without considering all facts (presented) at trial or at an evidentiary hearing is an invitation to commit error," Davis wrote. "At this stage, the facts in evidence are simply incomplete. The parties are essentially asking the court to test a cake for done-ness before it has even been put into the oven."

Olsen's murder case is still on hold while an appeal is pending regarding a change-of-venue motion.

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Tulsa missing persons profiled

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 4:37 PM

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Not having closure for a family is one of the worst features of any missing/no body murder case:

A purgatory of sorts: Families suffer from the uncertainty

Robert and Juene Soper can cover their table with photos and artifacts related to their son Alan, who has been missing since 1974. JAMES PLUMLEE / Tulsa World


By NICOLE MARSHALL World Staff Writer
Published: 5/25/2009 2:18 AM
Last Modified: 5/25/2009 3:27 AM

Read more about Tulsa’s cold-case missing-persons investigations, watch a video of a woman who sells pies to fund a reward for information about her missing daughter, and read the stories in the first part of the series

Thirty-three people have vanished from Tulsa in the last three decades.

By definition, police classify this core group of cold-case missing persons as "endangered." In most cases, however, investigators say they are likely dead.

"Every year we have two, maybe three cases where we know that a fatality has most likely taken place," Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Huff said. "But when you have no body or scene, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack."

The victims linger in a purgatory of sorts. Their names are never added to any homicide count. But even years and decades later, their families still post fliers pleading for information that might bring them home. And for decades, the lack of a uniform state and nationwide system to match unidentified remains with missing people has prevented some families from learning that their missing loved one has died.

Hundreds of people are reported missing in Tulsa every year. During 2008, 323 people age 18 or older were reported missing, Detective Margaret Loveall said.

More than 95 percent of missing-persons cases are closed quickly — when the victim is found, Loveall said.

"In
a lot of cases, people are just gone for a few days and they don't tell their family, or they are involved in a situation where they are trying to distance themselves from someone they know," she said.

Adult missing-persons cases — and those of children who are missing along with them — are investigated by the Homicide Unit. Missing people younger than 17 are referred to the Exploitation Unit. Most of these youths are categorized as runaways if there is no reason to believe that they were harmed.

In Tulsa, few people remain missing long term. A person of any age who is "missing under circumstances indicating that his/her safety may be in physical danger" is considered endangered, according to the FBI's definition. The chance of finding them alive declines with time, so police must act accordingly.

Maj. Matt Kirkland, commander of the Detective Division, said, "I think it is important to recognize when you have certain criteria present in a missing-persons case, you have to treat that case like a homicide and utilize all of the resources that you have available."

A third of Tulsa's 33 missing-endangered cold cases might have resulted from illegal drugs or domestic problems or a combination, a Tulsa World analysis shows.

"Most of these cases are going to be caused by lifestyle issues, whether it be domestic, drug-related or a transient life they are leading," Loveall said. "The stranger abductions are going to be rare, but they do happen."
Searching for answers
Police believe that drugs led to the disappearance of Karen Heim on Dec. 26, 2006. But Heim hadn't always lived such a risky lifestyle.

"She was a cheerleader, pompom girl, played softball, and all of sudden she got hooked on drugs," her uncle Roy Heim said.

Heim is retired from the Tulsa Police Department after spending many years in the Homicide Unit. Even before his niece's disappearance, he began tracking missing-persons investigations in Oklahoma and compiling them in a database.

"Karen was involved in meth production in Osage County and in Tulsa," he said. "She testified in a federal drug case right before this happened, the spring before it happened. It was a huge case."

Karen Heim, 42, was last seen at residences in the 3400 block of West 48th Street and in Sand Springs.

Her car was found abandoned the next morning in Red River County, Texas. It contained a receipt indicating that it had exited Oklahoma's Indian Nation Turnpike at the Eufaula exit. Her family went to Texas to search for her, but she has not been found.

"I think everyone has given up hope she will be found alive," Heim said.

He believes, however, that "there is a good possibility that she will be found and identified someday."

In at least seven of Tulsa's 33 cold missing-persons cases, the reason the person disappeared remains a mystery. There isn't enough information for police to say why they are gone.

Analysis shows that at least two disappearances, including Lisa Addington's on May 16, 1984, might have been stranger abductions.

Addington attended her bachelorette party at a nightclub near 21st Street and Garnett Road with a group of friends. When her friends left, she decided to stay, and she was never seen again.

"Stranger abductions are harder cases to solve," Loveall said. "When a suspect has some type of relationship with the victim, the connection itself generates leads to follow. With a stranger, it is much more difficult. It is a shot in the dark."

At least two of the missing people, including Alan Soper, who disappeared in 1974, were last known to be traveling with truck drivers.

Soper, 22, graduated from Oklahoma State University and had planned to travel during the summer by working for truck drivers. When he last called his family on June 7, 1974, he said he was in Sacramento, Calif. His wallet and clothing were found near Needles, Calif., in 1977, but he has never been found.

Soper's parents, Juene and Robert Soper, knew within weeks after he left that something was wrong because he didn't call them again, as he had said he would.

"A mother does not give up thinking that your child might be alive," Juene Soper said. "I was determined to learn what happened."

While searching for their son, the Sopers found a note from him that was posted on the bulletin board of a truck stop along Interstate 40 west of Oklahoma City. The note indicated that Soper was seeking a job with a truck driver so he could travel cross-country.

The trail eventually turned cold, and his belongings that were found in California were thrown away before DNA testing became available.

"We just want him found so we could give him a Christian burial," his mother said.

Transitory lifestyles, hitchhiking and truck drivers have been linked to many serial killings.

Last month, the FBI unveiled its Highway Serial Killings Initiative, which includes a database of 500 murder victims found along or near highways, as well as a list of about 200 potential suspects.

The FBI began the initiative after an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation analyst saw a pattern of slain women being dumped along the Interstate 40 corridor in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The suspects in the FBI's database are predominantly long-haul truck drivers. The mobile nature of the suspects, the lifestyles of the victims, the significant distances involved, and the scarcity of witnesses or forensic evidence make the cases tough to solve.
Missing links
Unexplained links between missing people make their cases even more mysterious. In Tulsa, two families have each had two members disappear during different years.

Paula Phillips was 26 when she was last seen on Oct. 3, 1991. She left her home about 7 p.m. and said she was going to a store. But detectives say she might have met up with her sister, Londa Phillips, who disappeared in 1992.

Londa Phillips was 22 when she was reported missing by her boyfriend after she failed to arrive at a relative's home.

"Their disappearances could potentially be connected to one another and to drug activity," Loveall said, adding that although detectives have had "persons of interest" in the cases, they never had enough evidence to make an arrest.

In another unusual case, Terrence Haney was 36 when he was last seen leaving a relative's house about 5 p.m. April 2, 2001, to walk about two blocks home. He was never heard from again.

Haney's brother-in-law, Edward Martin, 50, is also on Tulsa's missing-persons list. Martin, known by the nickname "Chicken," was last seen about July 1999. His disappearance was not reported until a few years later, Loveall said.

Martin and Haney disappeared from the same area.

Haney's wife, Corlina Haney, still calls Loveall frequently, hoping to hear some good news. The couple were separated when her husband disappeared, but the last time they talked, they spoke of reuniting.

She believes that "there is more to the story than we know," Loveall said, referring to a potential link between the Martin and Haney cases.

A partial skeleton and some clothing were found in 2006 at an old dump site at 3000 N. Victor Ave. Authorities are investigating whether the remains are either man's and are waiting for DNA results.

If the bones belong to Terrence Haney, his wife feels certain that he was forced into the woods and slain.

"He would not go off in some woods unless it was with someone he knew," she said. "I hope they find whoever did this. That is all I want. I want closure to it."

Nicole Marshall 581-8459
nicole.marshall@tulsaworld.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Texas man and woman convicted of no body murder

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 4:18 PM

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Jury convicts Arlington man of murder in 2007 killing
BY MARTHA DELLER
mdeller@star-telegram.com
FORT WORTH -- Alejandro Orona’s attorneys contended that there was no evidence that Orona intentionally killed Scott Sartain or that the homeless diabetic was even dead.

Prosecutors argued that Orona, 33, was linked to Sartain’s 2007 beating death by numerous witnesses, even though Orona and another man cleaned up the bloody Arlington house where Sartain was killed, chopped up his body and his car and disposed of them.

Apparently believing the witnesses that the defense had denounced as liars, a Tarrant County jury convicted Orona Friday of Sartain’s Sept. 6, 2007, murder. Jurors deliberated for two hours and 45 minutes before delivering the verdict to 396th District Judge George Gallagher.

Orona’s relatives did not react to the verdict as instructed by Gallagher. Afterward, they wailed outside the courtroom. Sartain’s parents conferred briefly about the punishment phase scheduled to resume later Friday.

A string of witnesses testified this week that Orona and co-defendant Kelly Munn killed Sartain, 40, in retaliation for the arrest of a woman for forging a check that Sartain gave her to cash for his grandmother.

After beating Sartain, some witnesses said Orona and Munn confined him to a back room next to a garage where he was deprived of insulin. A deputy medical examiner said the lack of insulin could have killed him within 24 hours.

Some witnesses said they witnessed the beating. Others said they saw blood or smelled rotting flesh. Still others say they were shown Sartain’s severed head or were told by Munn that they had killed him and chopped up his body.

In closing arguments, however, defense attorneys Jerry Woods and Brett Boone said those witnesses were not credible because they hoped to get favorable deals from prosecutors for pending criminal cases.

The defense contended that Brian Johns was an accomplice in Sartain’s beating and, as such, his testimony could not be used to convict Orona unless it was supported by other evidence.

Johns acknowledged that he punched Sartain once and his wife backhanded him because they blamed him for her arrest. But he said that Orona and Munn inflicted most of the blows and were still beating him when they left the house to pick up their children from school.

Several days later, Johns said, the men summoned him to the house and asked him to buy cleaning supplies. That’s when he noticed an assault rifle, knives and a saw laying on a table near a back room where Munn picked up a Sartain’s severed head by the ear and showed it to him, he said.

Woods made much of the fact that neither Johns or others who said they witnessed parts of the crime didn’t tell police about the crime until Arlington Detective Jim Ford began investigating a tip nearly three months later. Even then, they lied about what they knew, he said.

Sartain was not reported missing until Ford contacted his mother nearly five months after he was killed. Woods said that means Sartain could have survived the beating, given Munn his car and split for the West Texas oilfields where he had previously worked.

“That’s no more absurd than the scenario (state witnesses) gave you,” he said.

Prosecutors Kevin Rousseau and Robert Huseman denounced the defense alternate theories of the crime as “murky.”

On one hand, Rousseau said, defense attorneys wanted jurors to believe a witness who said Johns joined Munn and Orona in beating, kicking and punching Sartain. On the other hand, he said, Orona’s attorneys wanted to discount that woman’s testimony, saying she just wanted the state to help her get a reduced sentence on a drug charge.

Rousseau said prosecutors didn’t even know that the woman was facing a drug charge when she testified before the grand jury in October.

He acknowledged that many of the state’s witnesses had criminal records and that there was not much physical evidence because Orona and Munn cleaned up the crime scene.

But there is ample evidence, Rousseau said, that Sartain is dead.

“Scott is dead,” he said. “He’s not going to come riding back in his pickup with a hard hat and a bouquet of flowers for his mother.”
MARTHA DELLER, 817-390-7857

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ Nebraska man who confessed to no body murder seeks to withdraw plea

posted by Admin on June 25th, 2009 at 4:08 PM

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Confessed Child Killer Claims CSI Planted Evidence

Posted: May 11, 2009 11:46 PM

Updated: May 12, 2009 02:08 PM
Omaha, NE - He confessed to killing his own son and pleaded guilty to the crime, but now Ivan Henk wants his conviction thrown out.

Henk filed a 21 page motion in Cass County claiming a CSI, already under fire, planted evidence in his case.

The Commander of the Douglas County Crime Lab, Dave Kofoed, faces four federal charges and one state charge in connection with the April 2006 double murder of Wayne and Sharmon Stock in Murdock, NE. He is accused of mishandling evidence and misdating a report about when he searched a suspect's car. Two men, Matt Livers and Nick Sampson, were falsely arrested and spent seven months in jail. The men are suing Cass County, the investigators and Kofoed. Kofoed has said he made a mistake, but was not malicious.

In Ivan Henk's case, he claims Kofoed planted blood evidence in his case, even though Henk admitted he did it and even took investigators to the Bellevue dumpster where he says he put Brendan's remains and the knife he used to decapitate his son in January 2003.

Kofoed examined the dumpster, found Brendan's blood and gave the sample to the lab, which confirmed it was Brendan's DNA. However, Henk's motion claims there is "compelling circumstantial evidence" to believe Kofoed planted evidence and-or falsified reports concerning Brendan's blood and the dumpster. The documents say no one was around when Kofoed found the blood and mentioned that he's accused of mishandling evidence in the double murder case in Cass County.

Brendan's grandmother is outraged with the accusations. Hannah Gonzalez says she is appalled to think of Henk being set free. She says, "I don't see how they would bring that case up again. He confessed. what else is there, there wasn't even a trial."

The Plattsmouth Police Chief, who still keeps Brendan's picture on his desk, wants Henk to stay in prison.But he understands why this is happening now. Chief Brian Paulsen says, "We have to make sure everything was done properly. I think it was. I have nothing but accolades for those guys and girls who worked case for us ."

Brendan's mother, who lives in Louisiana, believes if searchers would have found Brendan's body in the landfill, no one would want Ivan Henk out of prison.

The same judge who sentenced Henk will review the motion.

Reported by Michelle Bandur;michelle@action3news.com
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ More No Body Murder News

posted by Admin on May 26th, 2009 at 8:42 PM

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My friend Steven Banic in Australia, the only other person I know of who tracks no body murder cases as obssessively as I, sent me the following updates:

Virginia man pleads guilty in no body murder case

GUILTY PLEA ENDS TRIAL


Gaudenzi pleads guilty to murder, agrees to serve 25 years
BY ELLEN BILTZ


Date published: 5/7/2009

BY ELLEN BILTZ


Joe Marto said he got some relief yesterday, but he didn't get closure.

His long-missing daughter's husband, Lawrence Gaudenzi, pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

But the plea agreement does not require Gaudenzi to say what happened to Lisa Gaudenzi's body, or whether he destroyed it.

"He took away a bright star out of my life," Marto said, holding back tears after yesterday's plea. "I wanted to know where the body was so I could bring her back home."

As part of the plea deal, Caroline County Commonwealth's Attorney Tony Spencer agreed to reduce a first degree murder charge to second degree in exchange for the guilty plea.

Spencer and Gaudenzi's defense attorneys also agreed on a 25-year sentence. The maximum for second degree murder is 40 years in prison.

The plea came about a day and a half into what was supposed to be a four-day jury trial.

A tape was about to be played, potentially showing that Gaudenzi was planning his life without his wife before anyone knew she was missing.

Lisa Gaudenzi's disappearance had been a cold case for 13 years until Spencer announced last year that he would be prosecuting Gaudenzi for murder following a Virginia State Police investigation.

Marto had already spent more than a decade hiring private investigators and searching for his daughter.

He said yesterday that he didn't get what he really wanted, but he's glad Gaudenzi is behind bars.

"I'm still in shock," he said.

That feeling was shared by many of the other 30-plus family and friends gathered outside the courthouse after the trial.

Most were glad the case had finally come to an end.

"I just wish it were sooner," said Leah Burdette, Lisa Gaudenzi's first-born, 23-year-old daughter.

Burdette had told the jury earlier in the day that her mother's relationship with Gaudenzi was an abusive one. Her mother disappeared when she was nine years old.

Burdette said she'd always known Gaudenzi killed her mother.

Kathleen Marto, Lisa's mother and Joe Marto's ex-wife, said she also doesn't feel closure, but for another reason.

"I won't have closure until I meet by daughter again," she said. "I have justice though. I don't want a body. I was relieved that he is finally out of society."

The hours leading up to Gaudenzi's guilty plea were full of testimony from those who were close to Lisa Gaudenzi near the time of her disappearance.

Lisa Gaudenzi had just finished basic training in the Army when she disappeared Jan. 26, 1995. She was supposed to report for a new training program two days later.

But she never showed up.

And witnesses told the jury yesterday what Gaudenzi said to them about Lisa after she vanished.

Their stories varied between Lisa going AWOL from the Army, leaving suicide notes and running away to Florida to be with a Cuban man.

Though Judge Horace Revercomb III has accepted Gaudenzi's guilty plea, he is expected to sign the formal plea agreement this morning.

At that time, there will also be a sentencing hearing so that Lisa Gaudenzi's family can express their victim-impact statements.

"I wrote a statement in anticipation," Joe Marto said. "I want him to know he left two of my grandchildren without a mother."

Ellen Biltz: 540/374-5424
Email: ebiltz@freelancestar.com

Plea and sentence in Craiglist No Body Murder case
John Burgess To Be Sentenced; Donna Jou's Family To Send Letter To Craiglist
Monday, May. 18 2009 @ 10:13AMBy Spencer Kornhaber in Crime & Sex


A press release sent out this weekend by lawyer Gloria Allred notifies us that John Steven Burgess, the man who plead guilty to manslaughter and concealing an accidental death in the case of Rancho Santa Margarita's Donna Jou, faces sentencing in Los Angeles Superior Court today at 1:30 p.m. As part of his plea agreement, Burgess is expected to face five years in state prison.

[Update, 5/19: Burgess was sentenced to five years. Read more at the LA Times.]

Additionally, the Jou family will release a letter that they plan to send to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. The letter will be "suggesting specific changes in the policy and practice of Craigslist, which could help to prevent other convicted sexual predators from being able to use Craigslist to contact unsuspecting young women such as Donna Jou."

No additional information is provided as to what exactly that could mean. But Allred recently spoke to the Weekly about Craigslist. Then, she said that Craigslist should implement some sort of screening system that will either block convicted sex offenders from the site, or flag their posts with a warning message.

When Burgess plead guilty on May 6, he said that he had injected 19-year-old Donna Jou with a "speedball" of heroin and cocaine during a party at his home in Los Angeles in June 2007. When he awoke the next morning, he found her dead. In a panic, he says he took her body out to sea and dropped it off the side of his sailboat. Burgess had previously been convicted for lewd acts against a child, and in October 2007 was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender. He refused to speak with law enforcement about the Jou case while serving time for the failure-to-register conviction.

The Jou family request to Craigslist comes less than a week after Craigslist it announced it would bend to criticism from law enforcement around the country by eliminating its "erotic services" section. Jou and Burgess reportedly met on Craiglist, when Burgess answered Jou's ad offering her services as a math tutor.

Did no body defendant lead police to body before sentencing?

Sedlak Cooperates On Body Search, Sentence DelayedPITTSBURGH (KDKA) ―
KDKA
Sentencing has been delayed for a Greenfield man who has been convicted of third-degree murder.

Man arrested in no boy murder of his brother
May 05, 2009
Missing Man’s Brother Arrested for His Murder
Los Angeles: Detectives are investigating the murder of a man who has been missing for more than a year; the man’s brother has been arrested in connection with the disappearance and murder.

On May 16, 2008, 48-year-old Mohammad Reza Shirazi was reported missing by his family members. He was last seen on or about April 24, 2008, at his home in West Hills.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit (MPU) has been investigating Shirazi’s disappearance. All efforts to locate Shirazi have failed, and Shirazi has made no attempts to contact his family, causing increasing concern that he has met with foul play. In February 2009, family members contacted a private investigator to help search for Shirazi.

Over the course of interviewing Shirazi’s family members, the private investigator uncovered information that led him to believe that Shirazi had indeed become the victim of a violent crime. That information was relayed to the MPU who passed it on to West Valley homicide detectives in March 2009.

After all of the information and evidence was gathered, detectives determined that Shirazi had been murdered on or near the date that he was last seen alive, April 24, 2008. Though his body has yet to be found, efforts to locate Shirazi’s remains are ongoing.

On April 30, 2009, Detectives arrested Shirazi’s 34-year-old brother, Hossein Shirazi of Canoga Park for murder. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Valley Homicide Detectives John Doerbecker or Gregory Crowe at 818-374-7725. During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247). Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.” Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy


Bryan Sedlak, 37, led authorities to the victim's body, which had gone undiscovered for four years.

Sedlak was convicted of third-degree murder in the shooting death of Patrick Kenney, of Jefferson Hills.

Sedlak claimed he shot Kenney in self-defense at a Homestead hair salon.

Kenney's body was dismembered.

Friday, Sedlak reportedly led police to an undisclosed location where pieces of vertebrae were found.

Sentencing will be delayed until those bones can undergo DNA testing.

Stay with KDKA for more details.

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▣ Case dismissed against no body defendant in Utah

posted by Admin on May 26th, 2009 at 8:17 PM

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A rarity: a no body murder case was dropped in Utah against one defendant:

Jeppson pleads no contest to lesser charge in Kiplyn case
By Sara Israelsen-Hartley

Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 10:43 p.m. MDT

PROVO — Christopher Jeppson shuffled into the courtroom Wednesday afternoon with a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

His family members put their arms around each other and wiped away tears as they watched him sit down between his two attorneys.

Less than an hour later he walked out, still shackled at hands and feet but free of a murder charge for a crime he says he knows nothing about.

"Christopher Jeppson knows nothing about the circumstances or cause (of Kiplyn Davis' disappearance)," said his attorney Scott Williams. "He has never wavered on that. Now (he) can start cleaning up from the tornado that has hit his life."

Jeppson was charged with murder in 2007 in the death of Kiplyn Davis, a sophomore at Spanish Fork High School who disappeared on May 2, 1995. Her body has never been found.

And although prosecutors tried to link Jeppson to the crime through two joking-type statements he made regarding Davis, he has maintained he doesn't know what happened to her.

Because of that, Jeppson was only willing to plead no-contest Wednesday to an obstruction of justice charge, based on his 2005 grand jury testimony, that meant no increase in prison time, Williams said.
Jeppson is already serving a five-year prison commitment for a federal perjury conviction related to the case.

So, as part of the plea deal, both sides agreed to a one-step reduction of the obstruction of justice charge, meaning that Jeppson was technically sentenced on a third-degree felony.

That zero-to-five prison sentence will be served at the same time as his federal sentence, which is appropriate, given that they are the same facts in both cases, Williams said. Jeppson also agreed to drop his appeal of his federal sentence.

The final element of the plea deal was a small, signed statement from Jeppson. It said only two things.

First, that he is the defendant in the case and second, "I have no knowledge of, nor involvement in the cause or circumstances of the disappearance of Kiplyn Davis."

This prevents him from coming back later and trying to add or remove blame from someone else.

Although they were hoping for more information about Kiplyn, this is an appropriate solution, said prosecutor Mariane O'Bryant.

She said she still doesn't believe Jeppson is as innocent as he claims to be, but it's hard to prove guilt without a body, or blood, or a murder weapon or DNA evidence or anything actually linking Jeppson to the alleged crime.

"It's a difficult case from the beginning," she said. "We got some, we lost some. But when you take a jury, you never promise anybody anything."

For the Davis family, it feels mostly like a loss.
"It hurts quite a bit," said an obviously upset Richard Davis after the hearing. "We didn't really want to go with this, but we have to go with it. It's more than we've had in the past. We'll ride with it, go on with our lives."

Over the past 14-plus years, parents Richard and Tamara Davis have faithfully attended nearly every hearing in federal and district courts, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by Judge Lynn Davis in 4th District Court.

"This is a painful but only partial closure of this case as it relates to the Davis family and also the Jeppson family," Judge Davis said. "The Davis family is no closer to discovering the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of their beautiful daughter than they were before. There is some measure of closures but nothing that comes close to any final closure."

There is still a murder case against co-defendant Timmy Brent Olsen; however, his case is on hold due to a pending appeal.

For Jeppson's family, Wednesday meant a huge sigh of relief.

They too, have attended hearing after hearing and listened to hours and hours of testimony, waiting for their side of the story to be seen.
"I'm just glad it's done," Jeppson's wife, Jessika, said after the hearing.

The family have already braced themselves for five years without Jeppson while he's serving his federal sentence, so they can handle this, they said.

The last-minute plea deal canceled a three-week jury trial slated to begin in late May.

Williams said the deal was mutually arranged and represents not only the right decision but a financially prudent move that saves tens of thousands of dollars and could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in trial and appeal costs.

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy




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▣ Lots of No Body Murder news!

posted by Admin on May 10th, 2009 at 1:58 PM

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From the arrest of Drew Peterson to a ongoing trial in Virginia, lots to report on:

Appeal in Iowa no body murder case:

Jamee Corean appeals kidnapping conviction

By Heidi Bell Gease, Journal staff | Wednesday, April 01, 2009
A woman sentenced to life in prison for her role in the 2004 kidnapping of Troy Klug has appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court, asking that her conviction be overturned.

Jamee Corean, 29, was convicted last August on charges of aiding and abetting aggravated kidnapping and being an accessory to murder. State prosecutors say she knew that Klug, then 26, was being held, bound and gagged, in a toolbox in the garage of her Belle Fourche home but failed to call authorities.

Fourth Circuit Judge John Bastian sentenced Corean to five years in prison for accessory to murder and to a mandatory life sentence for kidnapping. Tory Teigen is serving a 100-year prison sentence for kidnapping and is now charged with murdering Klug, although no body was ever found.

In a brief filed March 3 with the state Supreme Court, defense attorney Dave Claggett argues that the evidence introduced at trial was insufficient to convict Corean on either charge.

Claggett objects to the fact that jailhouse letters from Teigen – one of which mentions “James and Jaime” in writing that is lighter than the rest of the letter, suggesting it may have been written at a different time – were allowed to be introduced at trial.

Claggett also says the state did not prove that Corean was involved in any conspiracy.

“Corean was not a co-conspirator of Teigen’s under any theory, given the facts of the case, certainly not at the time that the letters were written,” the brief reads. “The introduction of these letters is prejudicial and, at a minimum, grounds for a new trial.”

In the brief, Claggett argues that Judge Bastian should have told jurors that three people who testified for the prosecution at Corean’s trial were “accomplices as a matter of law,” which could have led jurors to give their testimony less weight.

Witnesses James Kusick, Abby DeJong, Eric Haar, Tell Cook and Cynthia Kindall all testified that they knew about Klug’s kidnapping and had “varying levels of participation in the crimes for which Corean was charged,” the motion states.

Kusick pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and perjury and is serving 20 years in prison. Cook pleaded guilty to failure to report a felony and served probation. Kindall pleaded guilty but mentally ill to kidnapping and is serving a 20-year sentence.

DeJong and Cook were given immunity in exchange for their truthful testimony.

Claggett also argues that Coren’s sentence is excessive and “disproportionate to the severity of the crime” in light of evidence used to convict her.

Contact Heidi Bell Gease at 394-8419 or heidi.bell@rapidcityjournal.com

Rare acquittal in Kansas no body murder case:

Jeffrey Salas Found Not Guilty in Death of Tony Epps

Last Update: 4/27 9:19 pm
by Cliff Judy (WICHITA, Kan.)

Jeffrey Salas says he's relieved and praying for Tony Epps' family after being released from the Sedgwick County Jail. He and family members walked out of the jail shortly before 3:00 p.m., three hours after a jury found him not guilty of Epps' murder.

"I'm relieved," Salas told Eyewitness News Reporter Cliff Judy. "It's been 21 months (in jail). I have a lot of sympathy for Tony's family, and I'm praying for them."

Salas' mother and brother carried out two large grocery bags worth of belongings and mail he'd collected since he was arrested in July 2007. Epps disappeared in March 2007. Sandra Salas, Jeff Salas' mother, cried as she told Eyewitness News, "I just want to take him home."

Salas agreed.

"I just want to get some fresh air and go home," he said. "We placed our faith in God that this day would come."

Epp's family was crushed by the news of the not guilty verdict. His body has never been found, and they were hoping for answers at Salas' trial. Epps' mother told Eyewitness News she didn't feel justice had been done.

"They had enough evidence to convict him, and they didn't," said Emily Epps. "We got a bad deal. This man can go free for killing (Tony). Whoever (the jurors) were, I don't know what they were listening to."

Update - Monday AM

A jury has found Jeffrey Salas not guilty in the death of Tony Epps.

by Cliff Judy (WICHITA, Kan.)

Jurors have begun hearing evidence in the murder trial of Jeffrey Salas. He's accused of the March 2007 killing of Tony Epps, whose body has never been found.

During opening statements, prosecutors told jurors Salas killed Epps because he owed the man a drug debt of somewhere between $11,000 and $18,000.

Prosecutors say a man called Wichita police after Epps disappearance saying Salas had wanted to store an SUV in his garage, and the man suspected the vehicle was stolen. Police later found the SUV in Oklahoma City, and a small amount of Epps' blood was found in both the SUV and the garage.

The man told police Salas also asked him if anyone hunted near the garage.

"Mr. Salas had told Mr. Malloy that if you hear a shot, don't worry about it," said prosecutor Kevin O'Connor. "Don't come out and check. Don't ask any questions."

Prosecutors also plan to call Salas' ex-girlfriend to the stand who says while talking about Epps, Salas told her, "I did it."

Salas' defense attorney told jurors there's no evidence to show Epps is even dead, and Salas didn't have anything to do with his disappearance.

"No one in this courtroom knows where Tony Epps is except Tony Epps," said Philip White, Salas' attorney. "Tony Epps is alive, and he is not dead."

Epps' family members tell Eyewitness News Reporter Cliff Judy even they didn't know the details told in court Wednesday morning.

Cliff was in the courtroom to hear both prosecutors and defense attorneys lay out their strategies for the trial.

Below are his updates from inside the courtroom.

Update: 10:15 a.m.

PROSECUTION OPENING STATEMENT:

KEVIN O'CONNOR TELLS THE JURY NO ONE HAS SEEN OR HEARD FROM TONY EPPS SINCE 3/21/07. HIS VEHICLE WAS FOUND TWO DAYS LATER. FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS SAY HE'D TOLD THEM HE WAS GOING TO SEE JEFF SALAS.

MANY SAID SALAS OWED EPPS A DRUG DEBT...THE PROSECUTION BELIEVES THE DEBT WAS FROM $11,000-$18,000.

OFFICERS WENT TO TALK TO SALAS AFTER HEARING THAT'S WHO EPPS WAS SUPPOSED TO MEET THE DAY HE DISAPPEARED. AS THE OFFICER BEGINS TO TALK TO SALAS, HE SAYS HE WAS SUPPOSED TO MEET EPPS. O'CONNOR SAYS SALAS THEN SAID TO THE OFFICER, "WHY IS EVERYONE LOOKING AT ME?" THE OFFICER THINKS THIS IS STRANGE AND SAYS HE'S ONLY CHECKING INTO A MISSING PERSONS CASE.

AT ONE POINT, A WITNESS CALLS POLICE SAYING SALAS HAD ASKED HIM IF HE COULD PARK HIS SILVER DENALI AT THE MAN'S GARAGE. THE MAN BELIEVED THE SUV WAS STOLEN.

THE MAN SAYS SALAS HAD ASKED HIM IF PEOPLE "SHOOT" (HUNT) NEAR THE AREA OF THE GARAGE AND IF THE MAN HEARD A SHOT, "DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT." POLICE WENT TO CHECK ON THE SUV, BUT IT WAS GONE BY THEN.

IN MAY 2007, OKLAHOMA CITY POLICE FOUND THE SILVER DENALI AND IMPOUNDED IT. WICHITA POLICE PROCESSED THE CAR FINDING SALAS' FINGERPRINTS...THERE WAS ALSO EVIDENCE OF BLOOD IN THE CAR THAT WAS A MATCH FOR TONY EPPS.

WHEN WICHITA POLICE PROCESSED THE WICHITA MAN'S GARAGE, THEY FOUND A SMALL AMOUNT OF BLOOD THAT ALSO WAS A MATCH FOR EPPS. POLICE BELIEVED THERE WAS EVIDENCE OF SOMEONE TRYING TO CLEAN UP BLOOD.

O'CONNOR SAYS SALAS AND HIS LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND WERE CLOSE TO BREAKING UP, BUT SALAS WANTED HER TO STAY. THE WOMAN HAD HEARD RUMORS ABOUT TONY EPPS, MENTIONED EPPS' NAME, AND SAID SHE WAS LEAVING SALAS. THE WOMAN SAYS SALAS CRIED AND SAID, "I DID IT."

SALAS DIDN'T RESPOND WHEN THE WOMAN ASKED, "DOES THAT MEAN WHAT I THINK IT DOES?"

Update: 10:25 a.m.

DEFENSE'S OPENING STATEMENT:

SALAS' DEFENSE ATTORNEY STARTS BY SAYING, "NO ONE KNOWS WHERE TONY EPPS IS EXCEPT FOR TONY EPS. EPPS IS NOT DEAD. HE'S ALIVE."

THE ATTORNEY GOES ON TO SAY THERE'S NO DEATH CERTIFICATE, NO BODY, ETC., AND EPPS IS A MISSING PERSON...NOT A HOMICIDE VICTIM.

THE ATTORNEY ADDRESSES SEVERAL OF THE ACCUSATIONS O'CONNOR MENTIONED EARLIER EXPLAINING THEM AWAY.

FOR INSTANCE, THE ATTORNEY SAYS SALAS WAS INTIMIDATED AND SCARED BECAUSE HE'D RECEIVED DEATH THREATS FROM EPPS' FAMILY AFTER HE DISAPPEARED. THAT'S WHY SALAS ASKED AN OFFICER "WHY IS EVERYONE LOOKING AT ME?" WHEN THE OFFICER FIRST BEGAN INVESTIGATING EPPS' DISAPPEARANCE.

Murder trial begins in Virginia:

Murder trial starts in case of missing Caroline County woman

By AP

Published: May 6, 2009

BOWLING GREEN — Fourteen years ago, Lisa Gaudenzi disappeared. Now her husband is on trial in Caroline County on a charge of murdering her.

Circuit Court jurors were set to hear evidence today in the trial of 45-year-old Lawrence Peter Gaudenzi, who prosecutors contend killed his wife then destroyed her body.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer told jurors that even though Lisa Gaudenzi’s body was never found, circumstantial evidence points to her husband.

He said one witness will testify that Gaudenzi cut up his wife’s body and dumped it in a swamp in Surry County.

Defense attorney Kathy Hancock countered that there’s no proof Lisa Gaudenzi ever died.

And finally, Drew Peterson, long suspected to have killed and disposed of his fourth wife, is arrested for murdering his third wife:

Drew Peterson arrested — but will it stick?
Lawyer: Case against him for murder of third wife is ‘weak, circumstantial’

May 8: Drew Peterson, the former police sergeant suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife, is being held on $20 million bond in the drowning death of his third wife. Amy Robach reports from Illinois and Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s attorney, discusses the charges.
Peterson's attorney: 'His spirits are high'

TODAY staff and wire
updated 9:21 a.m. ET, Fri., May 8, 2009

The murder case against Drew Peterson is not a strong one, the former police sergeant’s attorney said. Peterson was arrested Thursday and charged with the murder of his third wife. He is also the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife.

“This is a weak, circumstantial case at best,” lawyer Joel Brodsky told TODAY’s Natalie Morales Friday in New York. He pointed out that Will County, Ill., prosecutors have to prove that Peterson drowned his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in her bathtub in 2004. “Drew doesn’t have to prove his innocence,” Brodsky said.

Joking in cuffs
After Peterson was arrested at a traffic stop in his hometown of Bolingbrook, Ill., he was led to jail in handcuffs. He quipped to reporters, “I guess I should have returned those library books.”
Morales asked Brodsky if Peterson understood the gravity of the charges against him.

“He takes it very seriously,” Brodsky said, dismissing the flip remark as a way to deal with tension. “That’s just Drew’s way of reacting to his stressful situation. That’s just his nature. It’s impossible not to take it seriously.”

Peterson, 55, was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of first-degree murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Peterson is being held on $20 million bond, Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said, and his young children are in the custody of local child welfare officials.

“We are very confident in our case,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

Savio’s body was found in a dry bathtub, hair soaked in blood from a head wound, just before the couple’s divorce settlement was finalized. Her death originally was ruled an accidental drowning, but authorities later said it was a homicide staged to look like an accident.

The indictment alleges that “Peterson on or about Feb. 29, 2004 ... caused Kathleen Savio to inhale fluid,” causing her death.

Savio’s family has long voiced suspicions, saying she feared Peterson and told relatives if she died it would not be an accident. Their fears resurfaced after the October 2007 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, then 23.

Drew Peterson is a suspect in the disappearance, which police have called a possible homicide. But he has not been charged and has repeatedly said he thinks Stacy Peterson ran off with another man.


Former police officer Drew Peterson was arrested for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, near his home in Bolingbrook, Ill.
In one of several appearances on TODAY after Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, Peterson told co-host Matt Lauer, “I can look right in your eye and say I had nothing to do with either of those incidents.”

‘Lock-tight alibi’
One of Peterson’s attorneys, Andrew Abood, said the indictment was not a complete surprise.

“There was tremendous pressure for the government to do something in this case,” Abood said Thursday evening. But Abood said one of Peterson’s sons with Savio has “provided a lock-tight alibi” for his father, who faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

In an appearance on CBS’ “The Early Show” last month, 16-year-old Thomas Peterson appeared alongside his father and defended him.

“I highly do not believe that my dad had murdered my mom. Because, first off, he wasn’t there, he was with us during that period of time,” Thomas Peterson said on the show.

Peterson has seemed to relish the spotlight since Stacy Peterson's disappearance, appearing in a People magazine cover story and on multiple national talk shows — most recently to tout his new engagement to a 24-year-old woman.

TODAY
Stacy Peterson had two children with Drew Peterson before her disappearance.
From the day Stacy Peterson was reported missing, her husband, a cop of nearly 30 years, knew if investigators weren’t focused on him, they soon would be. And it wasn’t two weeks before the Illinois State Police made it official, calling Peterson a suspect and her disappearance a possible homicide.

When at the same time authorities announced they believed Savio’s death looked like it was a homicide, Peterson knew authorities were looking closely at him as well.

“The husband is always a suspect, whether you declare him so or not,” another of Peterson’s attorneys, Joel Brodsky, said when authorities revealed an autopsy on Savio’s exhumed body showed she was murdered.

Savio’s body was found by a friend of Peterson’s after the police sergeant called him to say he was worried because he had not talked to or seen Savio for a few days. The couple had recently divorced.

The friend, Steve Carcerano, has said he went to the house and went upstairs while Peterson waited downstairs. When he found Savio’s body in the bathtub, he called downstairs to Peterson, who has said he then ran upstairs, took Savio’s pulse, but found none.

Video
Peterson’s fiancee: ‘I just don’t believe it’
Feb. 13: Drew Peterson, who is suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife and the death of his third, and his fiancee, Christina Raines, talk about their plans for the future.

Today show

Peterson’s next wife was Stacy, who was 30 years younger. They had two children, who lived with the couple along with Peterson’s two children from his marriage to Savio.

On the morning of Oct. 28, 2007, Stacy Peterson talked to a friend. Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, tried to call her in the middle of the afternoon, and did not get through. Late that night, Cales went to Peterson’s home, but neither Drew nor Stacy was there. A few minutes later, she reached Peterson on his cell phone, with Peterson telling her that Stacy had left him.

Cales didn’t believe it and reported her sister missing the next day.

Pamela Bosco, a friend of Stacy’s family who has acted as an unofficial family spokeswoman, said, “We’re just happy for the Savio family.

“We always said that Stacy and Kathleen had one thing in common ... Drew Peterson,” Bosco said.

For more details on Drew Peterson's arrest in the death of his third wife, watch Dateline on NBC Friday, May 8, at 9 p.m. ET.

—Mike Celizic, with additional reporting by The Associated Press

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body murder case in Washington relies on suspect's saliva

posted by Admin on April 18th, 2009 at 2:46 PM

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Interesting case going forward in Washington state:

Spit on letter could help prove woman's murder
The playbill from a local production, pulled from the files of producer Peggy Coverdale, is displayed on her table in Westport, Wash. Bruce Allen Hummel, back center in plaid shirt, portrayed the murderer in the play.

Story Published: Apr 17, 2009 at 7:40 AM PDT

Story Updated: Apr 17, 2009 at 7:40 AM PDT
By Associated Press
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - Prosecutors say a little bit of spit on an old letter could help prove an 18-year-old Bellingham, Wash., murder case.

Bruce Hummel is accused of killing his wife, Alice, in October 1990. After she disappeared, Hummel told their children she had simply run off, and the children didn't report her missing for more than a decade.

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran says Hummel sent relatives a letter in the mid-1990s purporting to be from his missing wife, to make them believe she was still alive. The prosecutor wrote in court papers this week that detectives tracked down the letter and plan to analyze DNA taken from the stamp and the envelope to prove that Bruce Hummel - not Alice - sent it.

No trace of Alice's body has ever been found. Hummel's murder trial is set to begin next month. He fled to Westport, on Washington's coast, when he realized police were after him. There he joined a community acting troupe - and played the killer in a dinner-theater mystery.

Accused husband plays role of killer

In the small-town dinner-theater mystery, Bruce Hummel had no trouble admitting he was the killer: "I got my revenge," he told the audience. "Tell that to the sheriff."

Now he must answer to a real-life murder charge. Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran charged the handyman and amateur actor with first-degree murder in the disappearance of his wife.

McEachran has no body and no blood - only Hummel's bizarre words and actions since his wife vanished. Detectives say Hummel told his children their mom had abandoned them; he sent them gifts purporting to be from her; and only in 2004, after being questioned by police, did he write them a rambling, implausible letter acknowledging she had been dead all along.

He also continued to cash her disability benefits from the Alaska Teachers Retirement System - for which he is serving a 27-month federal prison sentence - and led police on a yearslong cat-and-mouse game that ended in Westport, a small fishing village on Washington's coast, last year.

Hummel blended in there by tutoring children at a low-income housing complex, driving senior citizens to doctor appointments and starring as the killer in a dinner mystery put on by a local theater group, the Grayland Players.

"Oh my gosh, it's so long coming," Hummel's niece, Laura Keithley, said during an interview last year. "It's a bittersweet moment. I so want some kind of resolution for my aunt."

In the words of her husband: Alice Hummel's sudden departure

In 1990, Bruce and Alice Hummel lived in a house atop Bellingham's Alabama Hill, after more than a decade teaching in some of the remotest parts of Alaska: Bethel, a hub for dozens of native villages; St. Paul Island, 200 miles into the Bering Sea; Naknek, a salmon fishing outpost.

One day that October, Alice Hummel disappeared. According to charging papers, Hummel told his three children that their mother left to take a job in California, and for the next few years he sent them letters and gifts - from fictitious return addresses - so they would believe she was alive.

One typewritten letter to the younger daughter said her mom "had found another man and he did not want to have any kids around," McEachran wrote in charging papers.

The children, then ages 13, 17 and 21, had suspicions, he wrote. It seemed strange that their mother would have no contact with them, that she would skip her son Sean's high school graduation, and that through the 1990s they were unable to locate her.

There was one other troubling fact, the charging papers say: Two weeks before Alice Hummel disappeared, the younger daughter told her she had been molested by her father. Alice Hummel promised it would never happen again.

"Alice Hummel disappeared, never to be heard from again, after agreeing to confront her husband, Bruce Hummel, about his molestation of their 13-year-old daughter," McEachran wrote. "The evidence clearly shows that Bruce Hummel had the motive and opportunity to murder Alice Hummel and in fact did so in October 1990."

The children did not report their mother missing until August 2001. Bellingham police detectives spent the next six years tracking down Bruce Hummel and contacting state, federal and foreign authorities searching for any trace of Alice Hummel.

Bruce Hummel was living in Billings, Mont., with a new wife. The only sign Alice Hummel was alive was that someone was cashing her disability checks.

During an interview with investigators in 2004, Hummel insisted he had last seen Alice alive when he took her to the airport in October 1990. He denied cashing her checks until confronted with evidence, they wrote in interview reports.

Hummel fled after being questioned by police and made his way to Westport. Police found him there after he registered his van to a P.O. box; he pleaded guilty last year to stealing the disability payments.

While on the lam, Hummel wrote a letter to investigators claiming his wife slit her wrists in the bathroom of their home. He insisted he disposed of her body by towing it in a makeshift raft out into Bellingham Bay, and that he invented the story that she had run off to keep the children from learning she had killed herself.

"I rowed and bailed for an hour and a half at least but the wind got worse and I had to let her body go," the letter said. "I was too tired to cry but I remember saying a silent prayer."

Bellingham Detective Glenn Hutchings said there's no way Hummel could have handled his wife's corpse in the way he described; there was no wind on Bellingham Bay that night; and there was no trace of blood in the bathroom when detectives processed it for evidence.

Cadaver-sniffing dogs and ground-penetrating radar also turned up no indication of a body buried on the Bellingham property, McEachran said.

Keithley, now 50 and living in Bellevue, said Bruce Hummel - her father's brother - tried to molest her in the 1970s, when she lived with Bruce and Alice in Alaska for several months. For years after Alice disappeared, Bruce Hummel continued to attended the family's annual reunion picnic on Mercer Island and behaved as if nothing was wrong, she said.

"It was sort of an unspoken thing; our family didn't talk about it at all," Keithley said. "But the circumstances of what we heard - that she left without saying goodbye to her own children - we knew she would never have done that. A mother would never go off

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No body murder case begins in Kansas

posted by Admin on April 18th, 2009 at 10:20 AM

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The article says there have been three no body murder cases in Kansas but there have actually been at six, all of which resulted in convictions except for the Floyd case:

Unusual murder trial begins
Reported by: Anthony Powell
Email: apowell@ksn.com

WICHITA, Kansas – Prosecutors are asking a Sedgwick County jury to convict a man of murder even though the body of his alleged victim has never been found.

On Tuesday, attorneys finished selecting a jury, including alternates. It includes 10 women and 4 men. Opening statements are set to begin Wednesday morning.

Tony Epps and Jeffrey Salas knew each other from what police say was criminal activity. Now, more than two years after Epps disappeared, Salas is on trial for his murder.

Epps, a father of two, has not been seen since March 2007. The only trace of him was his car and cell phone found at the Green Mill Restaurant on E. Kellogg.

"Even though we have not located his body, through our investigation, we believe Mr. Epps was murdered,” said Capt. Randy Landen with the Wichita Police Department.

While evidence to support the theory that Salas is the murderer, legal analyst Dan Monnat says without a body, prosecutors can face an uphill battle.

"In a bodiless case, the prosecutor is trying to prove both a killing and a killer by circumstantial evidence, while the jury is required to presume innocence as to both elements,” Monnat said.

Monnat has been involved with one of the handful of Kansas murder cases that went to trial when there was no body. Only two convictions have resulted. He defended Shannon and Chad Floyd of Johnson City. They were accused of killing Shannon’s ex-boyfriend Michael Golub, who was also the father of her child. His body was never found, but DNA evidence linked to blood was. Still, two juries emerged hung. Several months ago, prosecutors dropped the charges.

"Blood or the presence of DNA doesn't mean anybody died,” Monnat said. “And it doesn't mean that somebody died other than by accident or suicide."

Now only time will tell if the jury hearing Salas’ murder trial will decide if there’s enough evidence to convict – even without a body.

Monnat could soon find himself in the middle of another bodyless case. Butler County Attorney Jan Satterfield is still deciding whether or not to file charges – possibly murder charges – against Doug and Valerie Herrman. Their adoptive son Adam disappeared 10 years ago and the two never reported him missing.

Monnat is Doug Herrman’s attorney.

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ New No Body Murder Cases Table uploaded

posted by Admin on April 16th, 2009 at 2:13 PM

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Check out the latest table of nearly 300 no body murder trials. Will be more to add soon....

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, No Body Guy

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▣ No Body Guy in the news....

posted by Admin on April 12th, 2009 at 5:35 PM

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Lawyers question evidence in Levy case
April 11, 2009 - 2:55pm
This undated file photo released by the family shows Chandra Ann Levy, a 24-year-old graduate student from University of Southern California. A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons says Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant facing charges in the slaying of Washington intern Chandra Levy, was transferred Thursday, April 9, 2009 from the Adelanto, Calif. prison where he was serving a 10-year sentence for assault to the bureau's federal transfer center in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Family Photo via The Modesto Bee, File)
By NAFEESA SYEED
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - There are plenty of witnesses in the case against an imprisoned Salvadoran immigrant accused of killing former D.C. intern Chandra Levy _ the ex-girlfriend who says she was beaten, other women he's convicted of attacking and a man believed to be a fellow inmate.

But none of the dozen prosecution witnesses outlined in a March 3 affidavit actually saw the attack on the young woman in a Washington park about eight years ago. Only two directly link Ingmar Guandique, who's expected to arrive in Washington in the next few weeks, to Levy's death.

Prosecutors have nailed convictions in other cases with no physical evidence and only secondhand or circumstantial witness accounts. New evidence could also emerge in the Levy case.

But without forensic evidence linking Levy and Guandique or an eyewitness account, the Levy case offers weaknesses the defense could pounce on, say several attorneys not connected to the case.

"It's long on witnesses and short on direct evidence that Guandique had anything to do with this," said David Benowitz, a criminal defense attorney who once worked as a public defender in the District of Columbia.

The same team of prosecutors and detectives working the Levy case last year solved the 1996 D.C. slaying of Shaquita Bell, even though her body has never been found and no one saw the killing.

Michael Dickerson, her ex-boyfriend and a convicted felon, pleaded guilty in October to killing her after authorities lined up evidence from ballistics, past domestic violence and witnesses who saw the couple argue.

Thomas A. "Tad" DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor in D.C. who now runs the Web site nobodymurdercases.com, recalled many other cases in which suspects were convicted even though a body was never found and no witnesses actually saw the killing.

"You line all these things up and that ends up being quite powerful and difficult for the defense to deal with," DiBiase said.

The Levy investigation has been problematic since it started. Critics have long pointed to early missteps such as the police department's failure to find Levy's body until a year after the Modesto, Calif., resident disappeared.

Some former investigators also say police remained too focused on former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, the California lawmaker who was reportedly romantically involved with Levy. Condit lost his bid for re-election in 2002.

Guandique is accused of sexually assaulting and killing Levy on a trail in Rock Creek Park on May 1, 2001. By the time her remains were found, they were so decomposed that valuable evidence probably was lost.

The March 3 arrest warrant and affidavit make no mention of DNA or other forensic evidence pointing to Guandique. U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor said that there was no physical evidence linking Guandique to the crime, but that the "cumulative weight" of circumstantial evidence led investigators to Guandique.

Guandique has been serving a 10-year federal prison term in California for two other attacks in the same park where authorities say he attacked Levy. Federal Bureau of Prisons