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News in Brief:
Arizona: John Berry Martin, 53, was sentenced to 14½ years in prison on April 23, 2010 for killing his wife, Kathleen Martin, a sergeant at the State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye. Court records indicate that Martin shot her in the shoulder during an argument on April 15, 2009. She was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.
California: On April 3, 2010, Det. Anthony Nicholas Orban of the Westminster Police Department was arrested on sus-picion of kidnapping and rape. Jeff Thomas Jelinek, a guard at the Chino Institution for Men, was arrested as an accomplice. Orban allegedly forced his way into a woman’s car, pointed his service weapon at her, and ordered her to drive to a nearby parking lot where he raped her. The woman escaped, ran to a local business and called police. In the meantime, Orban called Jelinek to pick him up. The pair was subsequently arrested and are being held at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga in lieu of $1 million bail.
China: The BBC reported on May 9, 2010 that Zhao Zuohai, who served almost ten years after being convicted of murder, had been released when his supposed victim was found alive. Zuohai had a fight with a neighbor who then dis-appeared, and was charged when a decapitated body was found 18 months later. He was convicted based largely on his confession; the police reportedly forced him to drink water mixed with chili peppers and set off fireworks over his head. Zuohai was initially sentenced to death but the sentence was later reduced to 29 years in prison. The neighbor he was accused of killing, Zhao Zhenshang, returned to his village to seek welfare assistance 10 years later. Court officials or-dered an investigation and said the original judges in Zuohai’s case would be punished.
Colorado: In the early morning hours of April 14, 2010, all of the cell doors in a segregation unit at the Hudson Correc-tional Facility inexplicably popped open. Eight to twelve of the 41 prisoners in the unit left their cells and began destroying things, including computers and the sprinkler system. Two guards barricaded themselves in an office during the disturbance, which lasted about six hours. The facility is owned by Cornell Corrections and houses prisoners from Alaska. [See: PLN, May 2010, p.22]. The company subsequently hired experts to investigate the incident, who determined the doors were mis-takenly opened by a guard in the central control room rather than due to mechanical failure. Cornell refused to release the guard’s name but said he had been transferred to a different job assignment.
Florida: A prison escapee who had been on the run for almost 35 years was captured on April 20, 2010 – her 56th birthday. Paula Eileen Carroll had escaped from what is now the Lowell Correctional Institution in September 1975. She was serving a 5-year sentence on a stolen property charge at the time. Carroll changed her name and was using a differ-ent Social Security Number when she was found living in Melbourne, Florida following an anonymous tip. She is being held at the Brevard County Jail and reportedly told officers she was “glad it’s over.”
Illinois: In March 2010, the Illinois Department of Corrections was forced to make a $200,000 emergency purchase of ammunition because it owed its discount supplier $6,000. The supplier refused to ship additional ammo until the bill was paid in full. The DOC purchased ammunition from another vendor at full price, and said there were no security lapses be-cause most of the bullets were used for target practice and training. Illinois, like many other states, is facing a huge budget deficit.
Illinois: On April 1, 2010, Kevin A. Smith, 29, formerly a guard at the Will County Jail, was charged with solicitation of murder for hire. Smith allegedly asked a prisoner to kill his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend. After being arrested by the FBI, Smith confessed to the crime while speaking to his mother from jail. He is being held on $2 million bond.
Illinois: 19-year-old Jennifer LaPenta was jailed for contempt of court on May 3, 2010 when she attended a friend’s court appearance wearing a T-shirt that read, “I Have the Pussy, So I Make the Rules.” Judge Helen Rozenberg noticed LaPenta’s shirt, cited her for contempt and sentenced her to 48 hours in jail. La Penta was removed from the courtroom in handcuffs; she is now considering a lawsuit.
Louisiana: On March 30, 2010, Quentin M. Truehill, Kentrell F. Johnson and Peter M. Hughes escaped from the Avoyelles Parish jail in Marksville by holding a shank to a guard’s neck and demanding to be set free. All three escapees were captured in Florida on April 5. Authorities caught up with them after finding evidence inside a stolen truck the trio had abandoned days earlier. They will be returned to Louisiana by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Michigan: The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of prisoner James Dudley, 42, who died on April 28, 2010. Dudley was clearing trees in Emmett Township as part of a jail work crew when he was struck by a falling tree. He was serving a 90-day sentence.
Netherlands: In March and April 2010, burglars broke into a minimum-security Dutch prison in the town of Hoorn to steal TVs from prisoners’ cells. The prisoners were on weekend furloughs at the time. Government officials described the facility as a “very modestly protected environment” that provides pre-release programs. No arrests have been made.
Ohio: An unidentified prisoner from the Noble Correctional Facility was taken to Marietta General Hospital on April 25, 2010 after claiming he had been sexually assaulted by another prisoner. Doctors had to perform emergency surgery to remove a bottle of hot sauce from his rectum. The prisoner later acknowledged that he had not been assaulted but had inserted the bottle himself. News reports noted that taxpayers were on the hook for the cost of the prisoner’s surgery and medical treatment related to the hot sauce bottle extraction.
Ohio: Joseph Lee Daniels, 28, a work release prisoner with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office, died in a single-vehicle accident on May 8, 2010. His blood alcohol level was .250 at the time – more than three times the legal limit. He was on work release while serving a 130-day sentence resulting from a probation violation.
Puerto Rico: On April 7, 2010, porn star Lupe Fuentes, who is 4’9”, weighs just 88 pounds and, early in her career, was marketed as “Little Lupe” and “the world’s youngest-looking porn star,” appeared in federal court to testify on behalf of Carlos Simon-Timmerman. Timmerman was charged with possession of child pornography after Little Lupe the Inno-cent and other adult DVDs were seized from his luggage during a stop-over in Puerto Rico on his way home to New York from a trip to Venezuela. To the dismay of federal prosecutors, when Lupe took the stand she testified she was 19 years old when she made her first porn film; she also provided documentary evidence, including her birth certificate. The charges against Timmerman were immediately dismissed. Timmerman’s public defender had contacted Lupe through her MySpace page to ask her to testify.
Tennessee: Joseph Heaton, 25, was sent to jail for brutally assaulting and nearly killing a Special Forces soldier in 2006. He told the judge that he was too drunk at the time of the beating to remember what happened. Despite his long history of alcoholism, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office approved Heaton’s request for work release and he went to work at a night club where alcohol was readily available. In early April 2010, Heaton failed to return from his work release job. Not surprisingly, authorities found him passed out in front of a bar; he was arrested for public intoxication and re-turned to jail. Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall is now in the difficult position of defending his decision to let Heaton work in the night club. Hall said there are about 50 prisoners in the work release program, and most jobs they can find involve proximity to alcohol.
Texas: On April 2, 2010, Robert Goodley, 50, a guard at the state prison system’s Galveston hospital, died of an ap-parent heart attack at the Ramsey I Unit in Brazoria County after participating in a rigorous physical fitness test. The test requires employees to perform push-ups, sit-ups, deep squats, a quarter-mile walk or run and other exercises. Goodley completed the test without any apparent difficulties and then went to his truck in the parking lot. He was discovered un-conscious by other employees a few minutes later and taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Texas: On April 7, 2010, Robert Luis Loya, a former guard at the Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, was sentenced to three years in federal prison and five years of supervised release for sexually assaulting female prisoners. Loya admitted to sneaking into medical isolation rooms at the detention center infirmary to grope female patients. He fre-quently volunteered for infirmary duty so he could be alone with the prisoners, who were usually asleep when he entered the room. Loya lied to his victims, assuring them that he had been ordered to examine them by a physician and instructing them to disrobe. He then touched them in a sexual manner.
Texas: On April 8, 2010, Woody Densen, a former Harris County state district judge, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief. He was ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and over $4,500 in restitution. Densen was charged after he was observed on surveillance video keying his neighbor’s SUV. [See: PLN, August 2009, p.1]. The judge was apparently upset because the SUV blocked part of the sidewalk in front of his house; his neighbor set up a video camera after his vehicle was repeatedly vandalized.
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