California prison guards “didn’t notice” that a self-described Satanist decapitated and dissected the body of his cellmate, a state investigation found.
Why the officers at Corcoran State Prison didn’t discover the grisly scene until the following morning is not detailed in the reports, the Los Angeles Times reported. A lawsuit filed by the dead inmate’s family claims the cell bars were covered with a sheet and accuses the guards of not checking the cell.
Osuna was serving a life sentence for torturing and killing a woman at a motel in 2011 and had a history of attacking fellow inmates. He had never had a cellmate before.
He allegedly used a homemade knife to cut out one of Romero’s eyes, chop off a finger, remove part of his ribs and slice out part of a lung. He ultimately cut off his head. He also posed the body, slicing Romero’s face open on either side of his mouth to resemble an extended smile, according to an autopsy.
When the guards finally found the dreadful scene, Osuna was wearing a necklace made of Romero’s body parts.
A state investigation found that the guards reported both men alive the night before. The state probe doesn’t say why the cell was not checked at any point during the night. It said the two officers falsely reported seeing Romero alive and that two other offices did not report that their colleagues had failed to properly conduct inmate counts the night of the horrific scene.
The report also criticizes the prison department’s internal affairs investigation, noting that some officers lied and key witnesses were not interviewed. And the question of whether the two killers should have been put together was never probed.
Osuna has been transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison’s psychiatric inpatient program. He has been diagnosed with unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, according to the newspaper.
A judge has ruled that Osuna is not competent to stand trial for Romero’s death.
Arnold Schwarzenegger could’ve seen this one coming.
After a United Nations commission to block killer robots was shut down in 2018, a new report from the international body now says the Terminator-like drones are now here.
Last year “an autonomous weaponized drone hunted down a human target last year” and attacked them without being specifically ordered to, according to a report from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya, published in March 2021 that was published in the New Scientistmagazine and the Star.
The March 2020 attack was in Libya and perpetrated by a Kargu-2 quadcopter drone produced by Turkish military tech company STM “during a conflict between Libyan government forces and a breakaway military faction led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army,” the Star reports, adding: “The Kargu-2 is fitted with an explosive charge and the drone can be directed at a target in a kamikaze attack, detonating on impact.”
The drones were operating in a “highly effective” autonomous mode that required no human controller and the report notes:
“The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true ‘fire, forget and find’ capability” – suggesting the drones attacked on their own.
Zak Kallenborn, at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism in Maryland, said this could be the first time that drones have autonomously attacked humans and raised the alarm.
“How brittle is the object recognition system?” Kallenborn asked in the report. “… how often does it misidentify targets?”
Jack Watling at UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute, told New Scientist: “This does not show that autonomous weapons would be impossible to regulate,” he says. “But it does show that the discussion continues to be urgent and important. The technology isn’t going to wait for us.”
Alkaline hydrolysis, or ‘water cremation,’ which involves liquifying the human body and dumping the remains into the sewage system, is already approved in 20 states.
MADISON, Wisconsin, May 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Wisconsin senators approved a bill earlier this week allowing dead bodies to be dissolved in a chemical bath and disposed like sewage.
The bill, Senate Bill 228, authorizes a practice called alkaline hydrolysis, or “water cremation,” which liquifies the human body using a mixture of water, heat, and chemical agents, leaving only bones behind. The liquid is then dumped into the sewage system or boiled off, and bones can be crushed and deposited in an urn.
The Republican-led Senate passed the legislation without debate on Tuesday over the objection of the Catholic bishops of Wisconsin.
“Catholic teaching is centered on the life and dignity of the human person because each person is created in the image and likeness of God,” Kim Vercauteren, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, wrote to the senate health committee. “The heart, mind, flesh, and bones of a human person are all elements of a unique creation, down to the DNA, which must be honored even after death.”
“Our concern is that with alkaline hydrolysis, remains are washed into a wastewater system as though the body created by God never existed,” Vercauteren added. “Wastewater does not honor the sacredness of the body, nor does it allow the grieving to honor the dead after disposition.”
Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, who sponsored SB 228, argued for the measure as a means to promote “consumer choice.” At a hearing for the bill, he said that “Wisconsin funeral directors are receiving more and more requests for flameless or water cremation.” “I believe in allowing consumers choices. And if a consumer chooses flameless cremation, I would like to empower Wisconsin funeral directors the means to fulfill that choice,” Testin said.
Catholic leaders have sternly rejected that reasoning. “Respect and reverence for human bodies must not be sacrificed for a cheaper, quicker disposition,” the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops said two years ago, after attempts to authorize alkaline hydrolysis were introduced in the Lone Star State.
“We must treat the remains of all human beings, no matter how long they lived or how they died, with dignity, charity, and respect. Chemical digestion of the human body fails to follow this simple principle,” the bishops said, likening the practice to dumpingaborted babies down drains.
Clergymen across the United States have similarly spoken out against “water cremation” and other “alternative” disposition methods, including in Missouri, Ohio, and Washington. Around 20 states nevertheless have approved alkaline hydrolysis in recent years.
According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the practice involves a pressurized vat that typically can hold around 100 gallons of liquid. Deceased people placed in the chamber can be heated at up to 302 degrees and bathed in lye, an industrial chemical agent used as a drain cleaner, to induce rapid decomposition.
The full process of alkaline hydrolysis takes between three to 16 hours, ultimately producing a “sterile” liquid devoid of tissue and DNA. “In some cases, the water is diverted and used for fertilizer because of the potassium and sodium content,” CANA said.
Proponents of alkaline hydrolysis claim that it is “greener” than traditional cremation, with fewer carbon emissions, arguments that the Wisconsin Catholic Conference has dismissed as well. “The practice can use anywhere from 100 to 300 gallons of water and can influence pH levels in the water supply,” Vercauteren said. “We question whether a process that alters the chemical composition of large amounts of clean water … is good stewardship.”
The Catholic Church emphasizes burial of bodies but has softened its stance on traditional cremation since the 1960s, permitting cremation “unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.” Human remains must be buried in cemeteries, entombed in a mausoleum, or inurned, and may not be scattered, the Church holds.
Seven-year-old Jeffery Taylor told his parents that kids at school called him the n-word, ‘blacky’ and ugly.
SAN ANTONIO — Jermaine and LaKeisha Chaney, who have seven children, are still mourning the loss of their youngest son, Jeffery Taylor.
“It’s been a struggle. I put on this beautiful face, but inside I hurt because I miss my baby,” LaKeisha said.
Taylor loved God, church music, boxing, hats, costumes and pranks. The 7-year-old was known for being the first one up or getting up in the middle of the night for snacks, only to be found sleeping on the couch in the morning.
“He wasn’t a bad child,” Jermaine said.
Now, their home on Channel View in southeast San Antonio seems silent without his presence. For the grieving couple, the noise of their anguish bangs loud as a drum.
“A lot of people don’t know his story,” LaKeisha said.
The hurting mother said that on Dec. 20, 2019, her son got off the bus with his head hanging down.
“Why are you so sad? This is the last day of school?” she said. “Shouldn’t you be happy? (It’s) Christmas break?”
According to his mother, he said, “I should, but I’m not happy. I want to get away from that school. They don’t listen to me. They don’t like me.”
She said Taylor alleged students from various grades called him the “N-word,” “Blacky,” “snaggletooth” and ugly. According to the Chaneys, the students went as far as destroying her son’s shoes and a pair of boots.
“It just seems like he just was being targeted and picked on,” Jermaine said. “He was just that one person that stood out.”
At a parent/teacher conference, his mother said her son’s desk sat segregated from the rest of the class. They said he was the only Black student. The teacher reportedly said Taylor might have been having issues with other students.
“No matter what I said to him that Friday, the day before,” LaKeshia said, “it wasn’t enough because he was already broken.”
The Chaneys said they kissed their sleeping children goodnight after returning from an outing on Dec. 20. The following day, the mother said, she thought it odd Taylor was not up. She asked a sibling to check on him.
Everyone around her was crying.
“When I went to that room, all I could do is just scream,” Jermaine said. “I just ran back out screaming at my wife. She couldn’t hear me.”
Her daughter pulled the earbuds playing gospel music from her mother’s ear. LaKeisha said her daughter said her brother felt hard.
“I went straight to the room. I saw my baby laying there, like he normally is,” she said. “But when I looked to the left, I saw my gun. And I saw dry blood on my baby’s face.”
His mother said she screamed and screamed more. She said she grabbed her son.
“And I just started holding Jeffery in my arms. My baby was hard as a rock. Just hard as a rock,” she said. “I put him back…and all I could do was run.”
San Antonio Police officials responded to the home for a shooting in progress call. The 7-year-old boy died at home.
Investigators called the shooting an accident, but they didn’t say if they looked for signs of suicide.
“How could this happen?” Jermaine said.
The couple, who said they train to handle guns, thought their kids were unaware of firearms in the home. Taylor, according to his parents, did not even have play guns.
LaKeisha said her son found the gun in a Bible case under her bed. The couple accepts the responsibility for the first-grader finding the weapon. But the reason he retrieved it, in their mind, may tilt beyond accidental.
“I’m not sure what to think because my baby told me he was tired,” LaKeisha said. “With that different voice.”
His parents believe the incidents at school may be to blame.
Taylor attended Salado Elementary School in the East Central Independent School District. The system released the following statement about the allegations and Taylor’s death:
“East Central ISD profoundly mourns the loss of Jeffery Taylor. He was a bright and well-liked student and we still, to this day, are in shock and disbelief over this tragedy. Our tight-knit community is filled with love, sorrow, and remembrance for Jeffery and his family. We continue to express our deepest condolences to his family, and our community is united in our compassion for healing and strength.
“We are saddened to hear about the allegations as any form of bullying, harassment, or violence is taken seriously and follows required state law, board policy, and District procedures. The District completed a thorough investigation with many teachers, staff, and classmates to determine if any bullying occurred. The investigation did not produce information to corroborate the allegations. The findings of the investigation were in a letter sent to the family on January 8, 2020.
“We investigated the allegations further at three levels: Salado Elementary, student services, and the superintendent. All investigations did not support the allegations.
“Approximately a little over a month before the incident occurred in 2019, Jeffery’s teacher had a regularly scheduled parent conference with the mother. Bullying was never mentioned in the parent conference. No reports or complaints were ever filed or brought to the attention of Jeffery’s teacher, school, or District office.
“East Central ISD provides ongoing training to its staff regarding bullying prevention and identification. Jeffery’s teacher had completed this training prior to the incident.
“After Jeffery’s passing, East Central ISD offered counseling and bereavement services to the Taylor family multiple times. The District also provided extensive support to friends and classmates of Jeffery.
“East Central ISD stands proudly united in our commitment to inclusion and diversity. Our schools participate in lessons regarding bullying prevention every October and offer many events for the students and community regarding inclusion. Our East Central Police Department has an active presence daily on campuses and promotes “see something, say something” as part of Operation Safe Schools. Our equity committee and task force continue to be proactive in assessing that our system protocols and procedures continue to be equitable and inclusive.
“East Central ISD again expresses its deepest condolences and continues to be a source of support and healing.”
In three audio recordings obtained by KENS 5, ESCISD Superintendent Roland Toscano met with LaKeisha, a minister’s alliance supporting Taylor and his grandmother.
Toscano said his investigation revealed Taylor had no academic issues. The elementary school student, described as a leader, had no problem calling out students who did not align with school rules. That, Toscano said, may have caused some contention.
Toscano talked about the challenges of getting solid accounts from students for such a serious investigation on the recordings.
But Taylor’s defenders said he never got a chance to list his alleged offenders due to his death.
The school leader said if a person feels bullied, that perception remains valid to the victim.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.
Dakari Davis, an African American police officer with the DART Police Department in Dallas, Texas, says he is upset and confused after being told that his braided hairstyle is “unprofessional” by a lieutenant, which ultimately led to him being reprimanded.
Davis, who began serving in law enforcement in 2019, says that he could not believe it when one of his superiors judged his ability to do his job based on his appearance.
He said a particular lieutenant “felt that it was unprofessional for male police officers to wear cornrows and contacted the Chief of Police and eventually filed a formal complaint against my hairstyle,” according to WFAA.
Davis was, in fact, ordered not to wear the hairstyle while in full uniform in July 2019, documents revealed. But when he wore the hairstyle again during a DART police officer awards ceremony, an internal affairs investigation was conducted in November 2019.
“I actually decided to cut my hair out of fear of retaliation, I said, ‘you know what, I have a son, I need to provide for them, I’m just going to cut my hair,’” Davis said.
After the investigation, his “braided or cornrow hairstyle” was referred to as “unprofessional and unapproved.” A complaint against him listed five allegations including insubordination for disobeying a direct order from a supervisor and violation of the police department’s dress code policy.
Davis was then placed on administrative leave and he received a recommendation for termination and a letter of reprimand. Davis, who always dreamed to protect and serve, said he became depressed at that time.
He eventually reached out to Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who thankfully supported him. The letter of reprimand was rescinded in September 2020 and a notice was sent to the Chief of Police from DART’s Chief Operating Officer, Carol Wise. He was also put back to his full assignment as a motorcycle officer without restrictions.
Most recently, DART has been reviewing its appearance policy, stating that it is done as “times change, people have different desires.”
“We understand that you want to be able to work your job, also you want to be able to present a bit of yourself and to present yourself in a particular way,” said Gordon Shattles, DART Director of External Relations.
While Davis is relieved that there have been more discussions regarding the issue, he said it is also important to acknowledge the underlying bias about hairstyles in the workplace.
“If you know me and I wear this uniform and stand right beside you and you view me in that manner, what does that say about you and how you view someone who doesn’t wear this uniform?” Davis asked.
In a shocking incident, a COVID-19 infected woman, who was declared dead, woke up minutes before her cremation.
The 76-year-old woman’s family found her alive when they took her to a crematorium in Baramati, located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
The victim, identified as Shakuntala Gaikwad, had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days back and was in home isolation. Later, her symptoms became severe due to her age, News18 reported. Her family took her to a hospital in an ambulance but they were struggling to secure a bed for her. Gaikwad fell unconscious and the ambulance staff declared her dead. The incident took place on May 10 but it was reported Sunday.
The victim’s relatives were informed and she was taken back to her village. Gaikwad woke up when the family members were about to light the funeral pyre. They were shocked as the woman opened her eyes and began crying, Khaleej Times reported.
Gaikwad was immediately rushed to a local hospital for further treatment, local authorities said. The current condition of the woman remains unknown.
The incident takes place as most states in India continue to be under lockdown amid an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals across the country have been reporting shortage of oxygen and beds. Early Monday, India recorded more than 280,000 COVID-19 cases.
In a similar incident last month, a 72-year-old woman who was declared dead by doctors was found alive minutes before her cremation. The elderly woman was rushed to a hospital in the state of Chhattisgarh but she died on the way. The woman was admitted to a local hospital with some health issues. Doctors were unable to find her vital signs and declared her dead. The woman had tested negative for COVID-19. At the crematorium, the woman’s granddaughter found that the victim’s body was not cold. She decided to call another doctor to check her vitals. It was later found that the woman was alive.
A man walking on a Southern California beach Friday discovered a well-preserved carcass of a bizarre-looking fish that typically resides at depths of 2,000-plus feet.
The extraordinary discovery of what has since been identified as a female Pacific footballfish, a type of anglerfish, was made by Ben Estes at Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach.
Images of the 18-inch anglerfish were captured by Estes and Crystal Cove employees, and shared to Facebook on Saturday by Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching.
“It’s been identified as a deep-sea Pacific footballfish, which is a species of anglerfish that normally dwell at depths more than 3,000 ft below the surface,” Davey’s Locker wrote. “It’s one of more than 300 living species of anglerfish from around the world. Though the fish itself is not rare, it is extremely rare to see one this intact along a beach in southern CA.”
Encounters with anglerfish are exceedingly rare because of the extreme, lightless depths at which they reside.
In 2014, scientists with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute captured ROV footage of an anglerfish swimming 2,000 feet below the surface.
Dr. Bruce Robison of MBARI described the anglerfish as being “among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes.” Robison described the footage as first of its kind. The 3.5-inch fish was collected for study.
Most species of anglerfish measure less than 12 inches. They’re called anglerfish because first spine of their dorsal fins, called the illicium, extends outward and contains a phosphorescent bulb intended to lure prey.
They snatch up prey, usually small fish or squid, with long, sharp teeth.
While anglerfish fish are rarely observed, many will find them to look familiar based on a scene in the popular animated movie “Finding Nemo,” in which Marlin and Dory are entranced by the glowing light and narrowly escape capture.
The Pacific footballfish discovered Friday was collected by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and it was unclear Saturday where it would end up.
–Images are courtesy of Ben Estes (top) and Crystal Cove State Park
An alleged intruder armed with a knife took a fatal head shot from a homeowner Tuesday in Escambia County, Florida.
WKRG reports that the suspect, a 54-year-old male, allegedly kicked in the door of the residence then “armed himself with a knife.”
He allegedly made threats against the woman of the house and went “room to room” trying to find her. He discovered her in a back bedroom. She was armed and shot twice at the man out of fear for her life.
One of the shots struck the suspect in the head, killing him.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) commented on the incident, saying, “At the time of the incident, the suspect, had an active Domestic Violence Injunction filed on him. He was also reportedly on his way to anger management treatment when the incident took place.”
The ECSO posted video showing the suspect allegedly kicking in the door to make entrance into the home.
Ledell Lee was executed for murder in a flurry of lethal injections that divided the Supreme Court and proceeded despite lawyers’ calls for DNA testing.
“No one should be executed when there is a possibility that person is innocent,” attorney Nina Morrison said in April 2017, just after Lee — convicted in the 1990s — became the first person put to death in Arkansas in more than a decade. The state drew national scrutiny for moving aggressively through capital cases before one of its drugs used in executions expired.
Four years later, attorneys say genetic material from the murder weapon in Lee’s case points to someone else.
New testing found DNA from an unknown man on the handle of the bloody club apparently used to bludgeon Debra Reese to death, according to lawyers who sued the city of Jacksonville, Ark., to have old evidence analyzed. The Innocence Project, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lee’s family sought the testing last year in an unusual effort to exonerate someone with DNA testing even after the person’s execution.
The results obtained nearly three decades after the crime “proved to be incomplete and partial,” acknowledged Morrison, a lawyer with the Innocence Project. But she framed the discovery as significant and leaving the door open for more findings down the road in a case that relied largely on eyewitness testimony.
“We are glad there is new evidence in the national DNA database and remain hopeful that there will be further information uncovered in the future,” Patricia Young, Lee’s sister, said in a statement.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) defended Lee’s execution at a news conferenceTuesday, saying that the new evidence is “inconclusive” and noting that “the jury found him guilty based upon the information that they had.”
“Whenever you make tough decisions, whenever you have to carry out the decision of a jury, you realize that it’s been reviewed by the Supreme Court at every level,” said Hutchinson, who scheduled Lee’s among a wave of executions in 2017. “They affirm the convictions, and it’s my duty to carry out the law.”
In a statement, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) dismissed criticisms of the case against Lee.
“The courts consistently rejected Ledell Lee’s frivolous claims because the evidence demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that he murdered Debra Reese by beating her to death inside her home with a tire thumper,” Rutledge said, adding that she hopes the victim’s family got closure after Lee’s execution.
The Washington Post could not reach the lead prosecutor on Lee’s case on Tuesday. Now a judge, she has expressed confidence that authorities took a serial predator off the streets, and Lee was convicted of two rapes in the early ’90s after his arrest for the Reese murder.
“I think what makes Ledell Lee particularly deserving — and no other penalty but the death penalty would be proportional to the crimes that he has committed — would be this pattern of being a serial rapist and a killer,” the prosecutor, Holly Lodge Meyer, previously told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
After his arrest in the 1993 killing of Reese, authorities linked Lee to four other crimes with DNA — three sexual assaults and one homicide, according to the Democrat-Gazette, though the homicide and one of the assault cases were dropped.
In Reese’s case, one neighbor testified that he saw Lee enter and leave the victim’s home the day of the killing, according to the Democrat-Gazette. Another said that Lee came to his door once asking for tools — what prosecutors suggested was Lee’s tactic for seeking out women home alone. Authorities said a shoe print and human blood found in Lee’s sneakers also bolstered their case.
Yet lawyers advocating for Lee said a review uncovered flaws in the evidence,including a “shocking[ly]” biased photo lineup. Lee’s appellate attorney acknowledged in an affidavit that he had struggled with substance abuse and didn’t have the resources to mount a proper defense. Now, there is also the new testing.
No match was found for the unknown man’s genetic profile in a national database of DNA, but it will now be automatically compared against any new additions, according to lawyers with the Innocence Project, the ACLU and two law firms that represent Lee’s sister. DNA that appears to be from the same person was also discovered on a bloody white shirt wrapped around the weapon, they said.
Testing could not rule out Lee as the possible source of one of multiple hairs and hair fragments recovered from the scene, they added, but the kind of mitochondrial DNA profiles analyzed “may be shared by thousands of individuals in a given population.”
A lawyer for Jacksonville — which also received the new reports, according to the lawyers who sued the city — did not immediately respond Tuesday evening to a request for comment.
Lee died maintaining his innocence, and attorneys appealed his case right up to his lethal injection. The Supreme Court eventually cleared the way to execute Lee and others on Arkansas’ death row — splitting 5 to 4 at one point, with the court’s liberal justices saying the state should not proceed.
“I have previously noted the arbitrariness with which executions are carried out in this country,” wrote Justice Stephen G. Breyer. “And I have pointed out how the arbitrary nature of the death penalty system, as presently administered, runs contrary to the very purpose of a ‘rule of law.’ ”
Lee died just before midnight, after making some last calls and sharing up his possessions, a lawyer said, among them chips that he gave to a fellow prisoner. That man’s execution had just been called off, and he remains on death row.