Cyntoia Brown’s case back in the spotlight after Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West speak out

Wendy Tucker rubs Cyntoia Brown’s back during closing arguments in her trial in Nashville, Tenn. Brown received a life sentence for the murder of Johnny Mitchell Allen, Aug. 25, 2006.

When Cyntoia Brown was 16, she shot and killed a man who had allegedly hired her for sex. She was tried as an adult, convicted of first-degree murder and given a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole only after 51 years.

Now, her case is back in the spotlight thanks to social media posts by celebrities calling for her release. Advocates say they are hoping the renewed attention helps them argue that Brown should be eligible for parole sooner.

“We have been very, very surprised. The entire team, as well as Cyntoia, obviously had no idea that this was going to happen or why it happened, and she is very appreciative of the support from everyone,” Charles Bone, Brown’s attorney, told ABC News. “It is about her, but it’s also about the issues, and I think that’s what she feels strongly about. The issues of sex trafficking and sex slavery and juvenile justice all need a lot of attention throughout the world but especially here in Tennessee.”

Cyntoia Brown was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006, when she was 16.

Brown was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006 after she shot and killed Johnny Michael Allen, a 43-year-old man who had allegedly hired her for sex. She was forced into sex with other men by 24-year-old Garion “Cut Throat” McGlothen and had experienced physical and sexual abuse, according to an amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by her attorneys in 2015. McGlothen died in 2005.

Brown has already spent more than a decade behind bars, but Bone said the renewed attention comes as he is preparing to argue her case before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in early 2018.

“The court will be asked by our team to consider the constitutionality of the 51-year sentence for a child,” Bone said. “That’s been the issue we have felt for all these years needs to be considered by the courts. We haven’t been successful yet, but we are hopeful the 6th Circuit will consider our appeal on a favorable basis.”

Marsha Levick, the deputy director and chief counsel of the nonprofit Juvenile Law Center, said Brown is far from the only juvenile offender to have received a harsh sentence.

“My hope for cases like Cyntoia’s is to just literally try to change the paradigm,” Levick told ABC News. “When someone is a child, when someone has had the experiences Cyntoia had, our system needs to be able to reflect that and to recognize that. Otherwise, I think we lose our sense of humanity.”

In this Dec. 18, 2015 photo, inmate Cyntoia Brown of the Tennessee Prison for Women delivers a commencement address before receiving her associate degree from Lipscomb University.

Brown was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder in 2012, according to her attorney. At the time she shot Allen, “her exposure to alcohol poisoning in utero left her with a damaged brain which caused her to experience the world through the mind of a 10-year-old child,” according to the habeas corpus petition. She had also been abandoned and later kidnapped by her biological mother, suffered physical and sexual abuse and was forced “into a life of prostitution,” the writ of habeas corpus states. In 2009, the Supreme Court of Tennessee upheld her conviction.

But two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2010 and 2012 have changed how juveniles can be sentenced. In 2010, the court prohibited sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole for non-homicide offenses. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that 8th amendment prohibits sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison without the possibility of parole for any offense.

Those two decisions are among the reasons Bone believes Brown’s case should be reconsidered.

But Jeff Burks, who prosecuted Brown, told FOX17 in Nashville last week that he disagrees.

“There has been a group of people who have wanted to make Ms. Brown a victim and a celebrity since this happened,” Burks wrote to Fox 17 News. “She was not ‘trafficked’ nor was she a ‘sex slave.’ It’s not fair to the victim and his family that the other side of this case is so seldom heard.”

Burks did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Although she has been incarcerated since her arrest in August 2004, her case first received widespread attention after the release of a 2010 documentary, “Me Facing Life: The Cyntoia Brown Story.” Bone said he began representing her pro-bono the same year after seeing the documentary.

Her story is now back in the spotlight after singer Rihanna posted about Brown’s case on Instagram earlier this week and other celebrities followed suit, including Kim Kardashian West, rapper TI and basketball player LeBron James.

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Chelsea Clinton thanks abortion for being good for the economy

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide, has been great for the economy, says Chelsea Clinton.

The number of women entering the workforce has exploded since the early 1970s, she explained this weekend. These women are responsible for adding about $3.5 trillion to the U.S. economy.

Roe v. Wade was also decided in the early 1970s. You do the math.

“Whether you fundamentally care about reproductive rights and access right, because these are not the same thing, if you care about social justice or economic justice, agency – you have to care about this,” Clinton said Saturday at a “Rise Up for Roe” event.

She added, “It is not a disconnected fact … that American women entering the labor force from 1973 to 2009 added three and a half trillion dollars to our economy. Right? The net, new entrance of women – that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the

“So, I think, whatever it is that people say they care about, I think that you can connect to this issue,” Clinton continued.

She added, “Of course, I would hope that they would care about our equal rights and dignity to make our own choices – but, if that is not sufficiently persuasive, hopefully, come some of these other arguments that you’ve expressed so beautifully, will be.”

A couple of thoughts:

First, I thought it wasn’t about the money. I thought it was about choice and personal autonomy. Clinton’s focus here on the supposed economic benefits of Roe is unsettling. To endorse it as a money-generator is one step away from endorsing termination-for-profit. And why not? If Roe added $3.5 trillion to the economy, then let’s up those numbers! Let’s do it and be rich! If personal profit is the real game – well, at least Clinton is being honest. So much for safe, legal, and rare.

Second, there may be a correlation between the $3.5 trillion added to the U.S. economy and the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, b ut it’s not a clear-cut thing.

While we’re here, let’s talk more about the drain that the average cost of obtaining an abortion ( $300 – $800) has been on the U.S economy. Let’s talk also about the cost of eliminating an estimated 60 million persons from the national workforce.

Let’s have those conversations.

15-year-old shoots parents to death, found with violent cartoons, rap lyrics and web searches about killing dad: Cops

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 15-year-old girl who investigators say searched on her phone for “scary movies where kids kill parents” and had rap lyrics about wanting her father dead is accused of killing her parents.

Daejona M. Holmes faces two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence. She will be tried as an adult.

Holmes is accused of shooting and killing mom Kinderly Holmes and dad Brian Starr on April 9 at their home in the 5000 block of Belmeade Road.

Court records say that police found Holmes, 37, and Starr, 38, both shot to death inside their home.

Daejona Holmes reportedly called 911 from a different location and said a robbery had occurred and her parents were shot. She later changed her story and said her father shot her mother, and she shot her father.

When investigators got a search warrant and looked at Holmes’ phone, they found the web searches, rap lyrics and a video of Holmes holding a gun and dancing in her bedroom. They also found a hand-drawn stick figure illustration where one labelled “me” was pointing a gun at another labelled “dad.” A third illustration had a stick figure with X’s for eyes and blood around it.

A witness told police that Holmes called him, saying she needed help. He met her at a McDonald’s on Eastwood Trafficway where she told him her parents had been shot. The witness added he had to talk her into calling 911. She also made nine phone calls with her mother’s phone following the shooting and waited an hour to call 9-1-1.

Court documents show investigators spoke with Holmes on April 9 and again May 11 to clarify her story. During the first interview she said her parents were fighting and she heard a gunshot. She said she went upstairs and passed her father, but they didn’t exchange words, and she found her mother dead in her bedroom. She then said she picked up a gun before walking back downstairs, and shot her dad as he approached her. She said she ran in and out of the house and threw the gun in a nearby yard.

During her second interview she said she had actually gone back into the house twice; once to get her cell phone and another time to get her mom’s cell phone. She admitted to changing her clothes prior to leaving the home and moving her dad’s body close to the front door. She couldn’t explain why she didn’t leave the house upon hearing the first gunshot, why she didn’t call 9-1-1 sooner, or why she made nine phone calls from her mom’s cell phone.

Prosecutors have requested a bond of $150,000.

 

 

Tinder serial killer allegedly used dating apps to assault and murder women

daneul-drayton

Tinder and Plenty of Fish have often allowed millennials to navigate the world of dating with a simple swipe on a cell phone. However, the dating apps allegedly became platforms for a serial killer to find his next victims.

According to the New York Daily News, Danueal Drayton, 27, was able to impress women online, schedule a date with them, and would later assault and kill them.

The hunt for Drayton began after Samantha Stewart, 29, was found dead inside her home in Queens, New York, on July 17. Authorities say Drayton met Stewart on Tinder and the two met for a date before he strangled and killed Stewart. Police collected DNA from the scene and connected it to a sexual assault that took place in Brooklyn, New York, one month prior. The victim in Brooklyn survived the attack and told authorities that she met Drayton on Tinder.

Drayton fled to Los Angeles, California, where he continued to meet women on dating apps. He was eventually tracked by the New York-New Jersey Police Task Force. When Drayton was arrested at a hotel, he allegedly had raped a woman and was holding her captive in the hotel room. He met the woman while sharing a ride through Uber pool.

Once in custody, he allegedly confessed to Stewart’s murder and seven other murders that took place. He told police he killed two women in Connecticut; one woman in the Bronx, New York; another woman in Suffolk County, New York; one woman in Queens, New York; a woman in California; and two men in New York.

Drayton was arrested in June for choking his ex-girlfriend, Zynea Barney, in Nassau County, New York. His bail was only $1K, but the judge dropped bail requirements and Drayton was set free.

Barney told CBS Local that Drayton seemed like a “cool guy” who had an impressive vocabulary. She said he attempted to strangle her in her car until witnesses saved her life. Once he was released from jail, he continued to harass her and cut her tires with a knife.

Drayton’s sociopathic actions serve as examples of why dating is not always easier when using an app to find love.

He is currently being held in California on $1.25M bail and is being charged with attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual penetration by foreign object and false imprisonment. He also faces extradition to New York.

3 Black U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to Make Lynching a Federal Hate Crime!

Senators Cory Booker, Tim Scott and Kamala Harris introduced a bill that would make lynching a federal hate crime. A similar bill has been introduced in the House.From left: Bryan Anselm for The New York Times; Al Drago for The New York Times; Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesThe United States Senate’s three black members introduced a bill on Friday that would make lynching a federal hate crime.The move came more than two weeks after a similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. Nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress from 1882 to 1986. None were approved.“This sends a very powerful message,” said Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, who introduced the Senate bill along with Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, and Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican. “Literally thousands of African-Americans were being lynched throughout history, and the Senate never stepped up to pass any legislation to stop this heinous, despicable behavior.”Under the bill, lynching would be punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison. The measure would not preclude murder charges that can already be brought under existing law.Representative Leonidas Dyer of Missouri sponsored an anti-lynching bill that was thwarted by Southern Democrats in the 1920s.Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives“In the course of a crime there can be multiple charges,” Mr. Booker said in a phone interview. “This bill will make lynching another charge on top of murder.”Sixteen other senators, including Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont; Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat; and Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, have signed on as co-sponsors. The bill also has the support of the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky.“I thought we did that many years ago,” Mr. McConnell said this month in an interview on Sirius XM. “I hadn’t thought about it, I thought that was done back during L.B.J. or some period like that,” he said.“If we need one at the federal level, I certainly will support it,” he said.The bill comes nearly 100 years after Leonidas Dyer, a United States representative from Missouri, introduced anti-lynching legislation. In 2005 the Senate agreed to apologize to the victims and the descendants of the victims of lynching, for its failure to enact anti-lynching legislation.“The Senate’s apology, while laudable, stills falls short of the mark,” Ms. Harris said in a statement. “It is time for the Senate and the House finally to take up and pass this legislation, and end this stain on American history.”A memorial for victims of lynching in Montgomery, Ala.Andrea Morales for The New York TimesMore than 4,000 people were lynched in the United States from 1882 to 1968, according to the three senators who introduced the bill. The documented killings have been recorded as having occurred in all but four states.Earlier this month, Representative Bobby Rush, Democrat of Illinois, introduced a bill in the House that would make lynching a federal hate crime. Thirty-five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus co-sponsored it.“While many may argue that lynching has been relegated to history, you only need to look at the events in Charlottesville last year to be reminded that the racist and hateful sentiments that spurred these abhorrent crimes are still prevalent in today’s American society,” Mr. Rush said while introducing the bill.The only memorial in the United States for lynching victims opened in April, in Montgomery, Ala.The memorial, officially called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, is dedicated to the victims of white supremacy. It features a walkway with 800 worn steel columns that hang from the roof. The names of the different counties and the people who were lynched in those counties are engraved on the columns. Some of the reasons for the lynchings are also engraved on the columns.“This bill,” Mr. Booker said of the Senate measure, “finally rights a wrong that should have been done a long time ago.”

Mother ‘took cocaine then drove head-on into truck and killed her children’

Kanosha Bason has been charged with six counts of vehicular homicide after driving her SUV into a truck and killing her two children as well as her brother (Pictured following a previous arrest/WKBN)

A mother got high on weed and cocaine before driving her car down the wrong side of a freeway and into a truck, killing her two young children, police say.

Kanosha Bason, 25, was also found with alcohol in her system after the February 23 crash that killed her son Noreyion, 7, and daughter Nia’Laisha, 5, as well as her brother Cedrick Lyons, 32, police say.

Children get bulletproof shields as a ‘graduation gift’ before starting high school

Lab tests subsequently showed that Bason was not legally over the limit that morning, but that she was likely impaired by what she had consumed.

The horror smash happened after she drove her SUV into oncoming traffic on an interstate connecter along Route 711 in Youngtown, Oh.

It saw her collide head-on with a tractor trailer that was hauling steel beams.

As a result of recent lab results, Bason was charged with vehicular homicide Monday, with US Marshals currently now trying to establish her current whereabouts.

Truck driver Gilbert Demello, who survived the impact told WKBN that Bason was driving at high speed when they collided.

He added: ‘I was going to walk down and the lady said, “There’s three babies, three babies on the ground, dead.”‘

Speaking about the charges, Youngstown City Law director Jeff Limbian said: ‘There were factors under both her urine screens and her blood screens that suggested that we should do it, charges in the alternative.’

Asked about the delay in bringing charges, he said: ‘It’s more important that we get it right than that we get it done fast.’

This photo shows the extent of the damage done to Bason’s SUV following the head-on smash with the truck (Picture: WKBN)

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