Monthly Archives: May 2012

Maryland man charged with killing, eating man’s brain, heart

via Baltimore Sun:

Man, 21, charged with first-degree murder

Alexander Kinyua is charged in the killing of Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei- Kodie
A 21-year-old Morgan State University student told investigators that he ate the heart and portions of the brain of a man whose dismembered remains were found in his Joppa home, according to a grisly account from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrest of Alexander Kinyua came almost a week after Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, 37, went missing, and followed a search of the home the two men apparently shared in the 500 block of Terrapin Terrace in Joppatowne early Wednesday morning, police said.

Kinyua, an electrical engineering student who until January was involved in the ROTC program at Morgan, was ordered held without bail at a court appearance Thursday afternoon.

Monica Worrell, a spokeswoman for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said today that Agyei-Kodie had been reported missing, but information collected by detectives “didn’t pass the smell test.” On Monday, police released a public appeal for help in locating him.

Late Tuesday night, Antony Kinyua, notified police that his son, Kinyua’s brother, had found what they believed were human remains in the basement of the house, according to charging documents. Upon their arrival, Jarrod Kinyua told police he found a human head and two human hands inside metal tins, under a blanket in the laundry room.

When he asked Alexander Kinyua about the remains, Jarrod Kinyua said his brother denied that they were human and said they were animal remains, according to charging documents. After calling his father, Antony Kinyua, downstairs, the pair discovered the remains had been moved and Alexander Kinyua was washing out the metal tins.

With a search and seizure warrant for the location, deputies were able to locate the head and hands on the main floor of the house, according to charging documents. They also interviewed Alexander Kinyua, who allegedly admitted that he had killed Agyei-Kodie by cutting him up with a knife and afterward, ingested his heart and portions of his brain.

Kinyua also directed police to Towne Baptist Church, in the 500 block of Trimble Road, to find the rest of the remains, which were found in a Dumpster on the property, according to charging documents.

The case comes on the heels of shocking incidents in cities like Miami, where a naked man believed to be high on bath salts ate another man’s face, and New Jersey, where a man disemboweled himself and reportedly threw his intestines at police officers. Police there say they aren’t sure whether the man, Wayne Carter, was on drugs or suffering from mental illness.

At his first court appearance, defense attorney Lynne McChrystal requested that reasonable bail to be set in the case, adding that Kinyua has been in Harford County for six years and in Maryland for nine years. He is self-employed and performs consulting work, she added.

Upon questioning by Judge John L. Dunnigan, Kinyua said that all of his family members resided in Maryland and he was originally from Nairobi, Kenya.

Assistant State’s Attorney Trenna Manners cited those out-of-country ties, as well as the “grisly” nature of the crime, when she asked for Kinyua to be held without bail.

The charges are not Kinyua’s first in recent weeks, and a previous arrest and Kinyua’s online postings point to a troubled man. In January, he was disenrolled from the ROTC program after two-and-a-half-years of participation, said Lt. Col. James Lewis, a professor of military service who oversees the program. Officials said it followed a disciplinary incident.

Then on May 20, Kinyua, who otherwise does not have a criminal record in Maryland, was charged with first-degree assault and reckless endangerment in Baltimore in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred May 19 at the Thurgood Marshall apartments, according to court records.

In that case, according to police, Kinyua “randomly” attacked another Morgan State student in a doorway of the apartment complex with a baseball bat, then fled into a nearby wooded area. The victim, listed as Joshua Ceasar, suffered fractures to his skull, arm, shoulder, as well as blindness to his left eye. The first responding officer saw Ceasar stumbling toward her, with blood coming from his forehead, and the officer noted a large amount of blood in the doorway.

Kinyua was ordered held on $220,000 bond in that case, and university officials said the school was in the process of expelling him.

On May 25, what appeared to be a plea from his parents for help paying Kinyua’s legal fees in the case from was posted on the website Mwakilishi.com, a Kenyan news site. The post, which has since been removed, said Kinyua had been arrested for “being involved in a fight in his dormitory room at Morgan State University.”

The online plea says, “In order to get him the best defense possible, we need to secure an attorney who will take his case and leave no stone unturned.”

It also states a fundraising event was scheduled at the International Christian Community Church on Sunday. He was scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in that case June 19.

In the days prior to the arrest, he had posted several strange messages on his Facebook page, in all capital letters. In two of the posts, he uploaded “QR Codes,” bar code images that when scanned with a smart phone lead to a web page. They both led to the following message about the “destruction of the black family”:

“PROJECT CRACK CODE COUNTERING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HUMAN FAMILY SPREAD THE MESSAGE OF CREATION SUPPORT CRACK TEAM STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SURVIVAL OF THE HUMAN FAMILY.”

In another, he wrote about campus shootings and “death cults”:

“HEAR ME OUT HBCU’ERS: ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH TO ENDURE RITUAL HBCU MASS HUMAN SACRIFICES AROUND THE COUNTRY AND STILL BE ABLE TO FUNCTION AS HUMAN BEINGS? IT’S BEEN ALL TOO TRAGIC WITH THE DUAL UNIVERSITY SHOOTINGS AT VIRGINIA TECH, AND OTHER PAST UNIVERSITY KILLINGS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. NOW FOR A TWIST: ETHNIC CLEANSING IS THE POLICY, STRATEGY AND TACTICS THAT WILL AFFECT YOU, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY IN THE COMING MONTHS. THIS IS THE BRUTAL BASIS, AN EVIL & TERRIFYING METHOD OF THIS DEATH CULTS.”

Jasmine Bloomfield said Kinyua was known around campus – “he was always all around campus involved with things” – but often acted strangely. He was “always in his own little world, preaching everywhere he went and talking about how he was writing a book.” Once, she said, he got up during a screening of a documentary and started yelling about the struggle of black people.

But his page also shows Kinyua in the fall smiling at a campus event for student organizations, showing off a jacket for the National Society of Pershing Rifles, which according to its website is a fraternity for students in Reserve Office Training Corps program.

Late Wednesday, a man who answered a phone at the number listed said Antony and Beatrice Kinyua were “resting,” and that the family did not wish to speak to the media without an attorney present.

John Edwards Not Guilty on 1 Count, Jury Hung on 5 Others

via ABC News

A North Carolina jury found John Edwards not guilty on one of six counts in a campaign-finance trial, and declared itself hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining charges, leading the judge to declare a mistrial on those counts.

Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate, accused of soliciting nearly $1 million from wealthy backers to finance a cover up of his illicit affair and illegitimate child during his 2008 bid for the White House, was found unanimously not guilty on Count 3 of the six-part indictment.

That count pertained only to whether Edwards illegally received several hundred thousand dollars in donations from wealthy heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon to cover up the affair in 2008.

After nine days of deliberations, three times as long as the defense took to put on its case, the courtroom here was briefly thrown into confusion when it briefly appeared the jury had reached on a verdict on all counts.

The jury informed the judge they had not reached a verdict and were charged again to go back to deliberating.

The jury came back less than an hour later and declared itself hung on the five outstanding counts.

The jury began deliberating on May 18 after a month of testimony, which at times sounded more like a steamy soap opera than a trial on the intricacies of campaign finance rules.

The government spent three weeks building its case. Much of it hinged on the testimony of Andrew Young, once Edwards’ most loyal aide, who testified he collected $725,000 from wealthy heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, who disguised her contributions as payments for antique furniture.

The prosecution detailed the way Edwards met mistress Rielle Hunter and how he worked throughout his campaign to keep the affair and later his love child a secret. The government said Fred Baron, another wealthy backer who was once Edwards’ campaign treasurer, contributed an additional $300,000 to move Hunter and her baby all over the country to keep them away from the media.

In just three days of defense testimony, Edwards’ lawyers tried to portray Young as the mastermind of a plot to use Edwards’ scandal to request funds for his own personal use. Any lies Edwards told, his lawyers, said were in an effort to keep the affair a secret from his wife, Elizabeth, who was dying of cancer, and not to advance his political career.

All-You-Can-Eat Crab Legs Are Probably Not Worth 3 Months Of House Arrest

via Chris Morran

(catastrophegirl)

As we’ve already seen, disputes over the exact meaning of the phrase “all you can eat” have led to protests and lawsuits. But things got so bad between two diners at a Pennsylvania Chinese restaurant’s buffet that one of them has been sentenced to house arrest.

The incident, which occurred last summer in East Lampeter Township, PA, just recently made its way to trial, where witnesses shared the full details of what we have decided to call the Crab Leg Calamity of Lancaster County.

The dispute began when one diner, a 48-year-old former Marine, admittedly took all eight remaining crab legs from the buffet while people were in line behind him.

“I cleaned it out,” he testified in court. “You got to get in line pretty quick.”

The customer reportedly told those who complained that the restaurant would be bringing out more crab legs soon.

But that didn’t stop a woman in line from allegedly making rude comments to him.

“She was making references to my weight and me being a pig,” said the man.

That woman’s 21-year-old boyfriend then approached the man at his table, where the older man says the boyfriend was behaving ” like a raging maniac” and threatened to hit him.

He admits to reaching out to calm the younger man down, though lawyers for the defendant say their client was shoved, thus provoking what came next.

The younger man allegedly punched the other gentleman in the face, tackled him into a buffet station and then continued to punch him in the face.

“You couldn’t have felt more demoralized,” he testified. “I wish I would have just given him my crab legs.”

It only took the jury a few hours to find the younger man guilty of simple assault and disorderly conduct. The next day, the judge sentenced him to three months of house arrest for his crimes.

“I learned my lesson,” the defendant said at sentencing. “I should never have said anything. I should have just taken my plate of food — crabs or not — and sat down.”

Testimony: Man assaulted because he took all the crab legs at buffet [LancasterOnline.com]

Crab legs assailant sentenced [LancasterOnline.com]

Fooling Your Kids Into Thinking You Caught A Fish Can Get You Arrested In Austria

via Mary Beth Quirk

(J Dailey)

A German man on vacation with his family in Austria learned an important lesson recently: Don’t try to impress your kids by pretending a frozen fish is one you just caught from a pond. Authorities are now convinced the man is a poacher because of the trout deception.

Alexander says he and his wife cooked up a prank to play on their two kids, involving two frozen trout, already gutted and ready to cook, purchased from a grocery store, says Germany’s The Local(via Huffington Post).

He then tied the fish to the end of poles and dangled them in the pond until they were thawed enough to look freshly-caught, in order to fool his kids. However, another pondgoer spotted him and reported the fishing to police, who arrested the couple for illegal fishing

Apparently, it’s against the law to even put a rod in the water without a license, say cops, no matter what you’ve tied to the line.

The dad’s fate will be decided after the man who reported him comes back from vacation, as he claims he told the guy it was a frozen fish. If convicted, he could spend six months in jail.

Of course, he’s already had the punishment of having to fess up to his children and admit that Daddy lied. Ouch.

Dad faces poaching charge for fake fishing [The Local]

Armed EPA Agents Visit Ashville Man

Sometimes a small incident says volumes about a large government agency. In this case the Environmental Protection Agency.

Around 1.45 PM on May 23, Ashville, North Carolina resident Larry Keller was in the midst of an international call which he had to cut short in order to answer his front door. He found two armed agents of the EPA who were accompanied by an Ashville Police officer.

According to a May 24 news story in the Ashville Tribune, a weekly newspaper to which I am a contributing columnist, the agents had blocked his and his neighbor’s driveways with their cars. They had driven all the way from Raleigh to confront him.

What had he done? The unannounced visit had been occasioned by news that Dr. Al Armendariz, a regional EPA administrator whose 2010 lecture had been videotaped and been released by the office of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) on April 25th. In the lecture, Dr. Amendariz had said that the agency’s “general philosophy” was to “crucify” oil and gas producers.

He compared the agency’s “philosophy of enforcement” to the way, as a Wall Street Journal editorial reported, “Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. “They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them, And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. The point is to ‘make examples’ of alleged lawbreakers.”

The case in point had been Range Resources, a driller who had been exonerated of charges of water pollution as the result of fracking. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the reference to executions “raise(d) questions not only about” not only Dr. Arnendariz’s comments “but the EPA’s larger impartiality and judgment.”

Keller, who describes himself as “a bit of a political activist” had emailed the EPA Director of External Affairs, Dr. David Gray, saying “Hello Mr. Gray. Do you have Mr. Armendariz’s contact information so we can say hello?”

That was enough to dispatch two armed agents to his front door. He was told by one agent that “…my choice of words in the email could be interpreted in many ways.” They did not identify themselves, but asked if he had ever been arrested. He responded swiftly that he had not. When he asked for a copy of his email, they refused to provide it because “the case was still under investigation.”

His wife arrived home and the agents did not want a witness so “They left in a big hurry.”

The Ashville Tribune by Catherine Hunter quoted Keller who described their attitude as “accusatory” reporting that he compared “their tactics to those of Nazi Germany SS methods.”

Keller contacted the agent’s supervisor, Michael Hill, and was told that the incident with Dr. Armendariz “had prompted so many emails and calls that authorities in Washington, DC ordered an investigation.”

Keller’s email inquiry to contact Dr. Armendariz was treated as a threat when it clearly was not. Since when is trying to contact an EPA administrator a crime?

“I want the world to know,” said Keller, “the government is reaching into the privacy of our homes and computers. I’ve never been so offended by the power of government in my life.”

Do we really want an EPA that uses such tactics against a citizen who has merely indicated an interest in contacting one of their administrators to comment on what he had said during a lecture?

Do we really want an EPA whose working “philosophy” regarding the oil and gas industry is to “crucify” it in order to regulate it and, as we know, is trying to thwart drilling, as well as to end the coal industry that provides an energy resource that produces one half of all the electricity in the nation?

It is, as noted, just one small incident, but it reflects the way the EPA functions in a presumably free society. Over the years I have read of many incidents in which the EPA has asserted powers to impede the most innocent actions of citizens and it is long past the time when this agency is reined in by Congress.

The only option at this point is to rid the nation of the Obama administration, crack down on the EPA, and rid us of the threat it poses in its efforts to deny entire industries from providing the energy the nation requires and attacks our agricultural and ranching communities for practices that reflect its normal operation.

As they used to advertise horror films, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” An EPA that operates on the basis of intimidating its chosen enemies and that seeks to intimidate citizens inquiring about it, is reason enough to be afraid.

Man Manages To Board Flight Without A Ticket After Leaving Prison

via Mary Beth Quirk

 

It makes sense that everyone has to take off their shoes to go through security, but then a recently released inmate can swan past security and board a flight without a ticket, doesn’t it? A man who got out of jail on Memorial Day hopped on a flight in San Diego without bothering with the whole ticket thing, but he just ended up going right back to jail.

NBC San Diego says the man entered the tarmac through an emergency door in the airport’s commuter terminal. The alarm did go off, so the guy just hotfooted it through the tarmac and mixed in with the other passengers boarding a United Airlines flight to Los Angeles.

A witness says he handed off his duffle to a flight attendant and said he really needed to use the bathroom, before sitting in a seat. Attendants realized there were too many people onboard, and were able to identify the extra person, “as he looked disheveled and suspicious,” according to one passenger.

Everyone was told to deplane while dogs sniffed their bags, and a second security screening was held before takeoff.

He was escorted off the plane peacefully, arrested and taken back to jail while police investigate the incident.

Fresh Out of Prison, Man Boards Plane Without Ticket [NBC San Diego]

Father & Son Kicked Off Flight Because 3-Year-Olds Don’t Care About The Seatbelt Sign

via Mary Beth Quirk:

 

Anyone who’s ever been in the vicinity of a toddler knows how they don’t always want to do what they’re told. So it’s not that surprising that a three-year-old didn’t want to comply with instructions to buckle up on a recent flight. That act of childish defiance got him and his dad booted from an Alaska Airlines flight, claims the boy’s father.

MyNorthwest.com says the man and his son were seated in coach while his wife and other son were up in first class on a flight out of Sea-Tac International Airport. The young boy got a bit squirmy before takeoff, and didn’t want to stay seated with his seatbelt on.

“He was crying, being cranky,” said the dad. “I started putting him in his seat. I put his seatbelt on. But he was being cranky, trying to be close to me, so he wasn’t fully fastened yet.”

The man claims he called his wife back to help him out, and they eventually got him quieted down with a pacifier and some water. But meanwhile, the plane had taxied back to the gate.

He says an Alaska Airlines rep asked them to get off the plane, but didn’t explain why they were having him leave. The airline said it was a judgment call, and that the pilot preferred to deal with the issue on the ground than mid-flight.

The airline offered to rebook them on a later flight, but the father says he’s never going to fly with Alaska Airlines again.

Antsy toddler kicked of Alaska Airlines plane [MyNorthwest.com]

Obama calls Romney; congratulates him on GOP nod

I’m still not voting for either of them.

 

via the Associated Press: 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama called Mitt Romney to congratulate him on winning the Republican nomination on Wednesday, just as the Democrat’s campaign opened a new critique of Romney by focusing attention on his economic record as governor of Massachusetts.

The president told Romney “he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said. Romney’s campaign said the call was “brief and cordial.” Both men wished each other’s families well during the upcoming race.

Romney’s primary win in Texas on Tuesday pushed him past the 1,144-delegate threshold he needed to claim the nomination.

Obama took the formal step of congratulating his opponent even as his team looked to shift to the Massachusetts story under Romney. Romney’s campaign, meanwhile, was bringing attention to failed stimulus projects under Obama and federal money given to green energy companies like Solyndra, a solar firm that received hundreds of millions of dollars from the government only to go bankrupt.

The competing attack-lines came as Romney pivoted from a long primary slog to the Republican nomination and a new summertime window to sway voters who have not yet fully tuned into the presidential campaign. Romney hopes to present himself as a worthy replacement for Obama who can help revitalize a slow-moving economy, the most important issue for voters.

The country is “just beginning a general election, we’ve gone through a primary … not a lot of people focus time on the characteristics of a new candidate like myself, and people will get to know me better. My guess is they’re going to get to know more about me than they’d like to by the time we’re finished,” Romney said in an interview on Fox News that aired Wednesday but was taped over the weekend.

For months, Obama and his allies have signaled plans to target Romney’s Massachusetts record, with advisers noting that the state’s economy lagged in job creation and saw an increase in debt while he was governor from 2003-2007. The critique will build upon a line of attack this month of Romney’s record at private equity firm Bain Capital, which Obama’s team contends led to job losses and bankrupt companies even while Bain profited.

“There’s nothing that Gov. Romney did either in the private sector that created jobs or in the public sector that distinguished himself as a job creator,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Republicans contend that Obama’s critique of the Bain record will backfire because it will give voters the impression that he is anti-business. The focus on Obama’s green energy record, including Energy Department funding for companies like Solyndra, gives Romney a chance to rebut Bain because Republicans say Obama essentially played the role of venture capitalist by investing government money in green energy companies.

On Tuesday, Romney raised money in Las Vegas with Donald Trump, the real estate mogul who has stoked doubts about whether Obama was born in America. It was the start of a weeklong push to raise millions of dollars during a West Coast trip designed to help Romney bring in as much cash as possible ahead of a ramped-up campaign schedule later this summer.

The former Massachusetts governor was looking to take advantage of his official claiming of the nomination, a triumph of endurance for a candidate who came up short four years ago and had to fight hard this year as voters flirted with a carousel of GOP rivals. According to the Associated Press count, Romney surpassed the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination by winning 105 delegates in the Texas primary, pushing his total to 1,191 delegates.

Romney must now fire up conservatives who still doubt him while persuading swing voters that he can do a better job fixing the nation’s struggling economy than Obama. In Obama, he faces a well-funded candidate with a proven campaign team in an election that will be heavily influenced by the economy.

Romney has scheduled fundraisers this week in wealthy California enclaves like Hillsborough, near San Francisco, and Beverly Hills. He has at least one major fundraising event every day for the rest of the week, as well as a series of smaller events.

Neighbors Resort To Prank-Playing In Attempt To Drive Out Squatter

via Chris Morran

Last summer, a home in the Palmer Woods section of Detroit became vacant when the homeowner walked away on the mortgage. Not long after, a moving van pulled up and a new neighbor moved himself in. Thing is, he wasn’t the new owner — and there wasn’t much the neighbors could do about getting him out.

The squatter says he filed paperwork claiming the property under the much-misunderstood (and almost never successful) adverse possession laws, which allow people to assume ownership of an abandoned property if they live there long enough, pay taxes and provide upkeep — and if no one legally buys it.

But the bank that had foreclosed on the home couldn’t sell the property yet because the homeowner had a six-month period to reclaim the home.

So the neighbors took matters into their own hands.

First they got the utility company to cut off gas and electric service to the house. When that didn’t work, the neighborhood’s inner 12-year-old began to show.

One neighbor spent an entire day placing large rocks in the property’s driveway. Another thought that putting glue in the locks would do the trick.

“We have no way to know what the person is doing in the house,” one neighbor tells the Detroit News. “We are trying to protect the assets in the neighborhood. People really do care about the neighborhood and will be proactive.”

The broker who is now showing the home says he even offered the squatter $4,000 to leave the property.

He should have taken the money and split, because now he’s facing charges of filing false ownership paperwork on this property and two others.

Neighbors find Detroit squatter tough to dislodge [Detroit News]

Amazon To Collect Sales Tax, Build Distribution Center In New Jersey

via Chris Morran

One by one, the number of states where Amazon does not collect sales tax continues to shrink. New Jersey Governer Chris Christie has announced that the e-tail giant will not only begin collecting sales tax in the Garden State, but will also open a distribution center there.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Amazon won’t begin the collection of NJ sales taxes until July 1, 2013, so everyone in the state has a year to keep track of their Amazon purchases to make sure they are paying taxes on them when they file their return next spring.

Amazon and the state have already been in talks about working together to construct two 1.2 million sq. ft warehouses in NJ, most likely in the central New Jersey counties of Middlesex or Mercer.

“That’s OK, but it doesn’t mean a lot unless it actually happens,” said one skeptical lawmaker.

The New Jersey deal isn’t dissimilar to the one Amazon made with Texas. There, the company said it would make about $200 million worth of capital investments and create about 2,500 jobs.

Amazon.com to begin collecting sales tax on N.J. orders next year [NJ.com]