Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Correctional Officer Andrew Ravelo Accused of Sexual Assault

Andrew Ravelo, a former Correctional Officer at the Wyoming Women’s Center, has been charged with sexual assault in the second degree by infliction of sexual intrusion on a victim while he was a state employee at a penal institution and the victim was known by him to be a resident of such facility. If convicted of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, which is a felony, Ravelo faces a maximum penalty of not less than two nor more than twenty years imprisonment.

Ravelo has also been charged with taking contraband into a correctional facility. Between the dates of Dec. 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008 Ravelo did intentionally convey a compact disc or other items, possession of which are prohibited under certain circumstances by a person confined to a penal institution or correctional facility. If convicted of Taking Contraband into Penal Institution or Correctional Facility, a misdemeanor, Ravelo faces one year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine.

When contacted, Capt. Haltor of the Wyoming Women’s Center stated that Officer Ravelo was employed as a correctional officer at the Wyoming Women’s Center, but they are unable to make any comments at this time.

In addition to the above charges Ravelo is charged with Driving Under Suspension. If convicted of Driving Under Suspension, a misdemeanor, Ravelo faces a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a $750 fine.

A $5,000 cash bond was posted and Ravelo is not to leave the State of Wyoming.

Police Finally Admitt they were Wrong about the Ramsey's

The Boulder district attorney's office announced today that new DNA evidence discovered in the clothing worn by JonBenét Ramsey identifies "the perpetrator of the homicide" and excludes all members of the murdered girl's family.

District Attorney Mary Lacy said in a letter posted on the DA's website that the Ramsey family should "be treated only as victims," and she apologized to them.

Six-year-old JonBenét was discovered with a garrote around her neck in the basement of her parents' Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

No one has ever been charged in her death. Boulder police once said "an umbrella of suspicion" was over her parents, Patsy and John Ramsey.

Tabloids pointed the finger at their son, Burke, who was 9 when his sister was killed.
But today, in a letter to John Ramsey, Lacy said her office wanted "to state that we do not consider your immediate family — including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke — to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime.

"I wish we could have done so before Mrs. Ramsey died."

Patsy Ramsey died June 26, 2006, of ovarian cancer at age 49.

Lacy's office took over the investigation into JonBenét's death in December 2002.

One of the clues they inherited was male DNA found in JonBenet's underwear that did not match that of anyone in her family.

Last year, Lacy attended a National Institute of Justice program on forensic biology and DNA that introduced her to a new technology called "touch DNA," she said in the release.

"Forensic scientists scrape a surface where there is no observable stain or other indication of possible DNA in an effort to recover for analysis any genetic material that might nonetheless be present. This methodology was not well-known in this country until recently and is still used infrequently," she said.

At the end of last year, her office opted to work with Bode Technology

Matching DNA was found in JonBenét Ramsey's underwear and the long johns she was wearing when her body was found in 1996. It did not match DNA of anyone in her family.

The lab scraped both sides of the waist of the long johns JonBenét was wearing over her underwear the night she was killed.

This area was chosen, the release said, because it was assumed that her killer took off JonBenét's clothing and then redressed her and would have handled the long johns.

The lab notified the DA on March 24 that DNA was found on both sides of the waist of the long johns.

That DNA matched the DNA found years ago in JonBenét's underwear.

Lacy's office had the Colorado Bureau of Investigation analyze other samples to make sure the DNA profile could not have been left during the autopsy, when JonBenét's clothes were removed.

That was not the case, the CBI reported on June 27.

Lacy called the DNA found on JonBenét's clothing "very significant and powerful evidence."

She said in the release, "It is very unlikely that there would be an innocent explanation for DNA found at three different locations on two separate items. It is, therefore, the position of the Boulder district attorney's office that this profile belongs to the perpetrator of the homicide."

And "the most reliable forensic evidence we can hope to find" excludes all members of the Ramsey family, the release concluded.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner issued a statement this afternoon on the new DNA findings:

"The discovery of additional matching DNA in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case is important information that raises more questions in the search for JonBenet's killer. The Boulder Police Department concurs with the Boulder District Attorney's Office that this is a significant finding. We remain committed to bringing JonBenet's killer to justice. That is, and always will be, our goal."

In the letter Lacy sent to John Ramsey dated July 9, she explained how the new DNA was found.

She apologized to him and his family, saying: "To the extent that we may have contributed in any way to the public perception that you may have been involved in this crime, I am deeply sorry."

She told him "solving this crime remains our goal."

When asked what receiving the letter means to him, Ramsey replied, "The most significant thing to me was the fact that we now have pretty irrefutable DNA evidence we now have very, very solid evidence and that's always been my hope, at least in the recent past, that that would lead us to the killer eventually as the DNA database grows and is populated."

A Little Sweet Revenge?

A Watauga teen accused of delivering drug-tainted cookies and candy to area police departments denied to investigators any involvement, but he told authorities that friends may have been using marijuana while he baked the cookies, police said Wednesday.

The 18-year-old was carrying the names of 25 departments with 12 of them checked off when he was arrested Tuesday at the Lake Worth police station.

Christian Phillips of Watauga was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of tampering with a consumer product. He remained in the Lake Worth Jail with bail set at $75,000.

If convicted, Phillips faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“He’s claiming that there was no criminal intent or that he was not trying to hurt someone,” Lake Worth Police Chief Brett McGuire said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, seven Fort Worth police officers and department employees have been tested for drugs after eating some of the cookies, police said. Blood has been taken from the officers and employees to test for any drugs, Fort Worth police Lt. Paul Henderson said Wednesday.

“This is an eye opener for not just our agency, but any government agency. Our officers and employees ate these food items believing them to be safe and from a good person,” Henderson said. “The truth of the matter is though, there are evil people out there intent on doing us harm.”

Watauga police received cookies and all of them were eaten.

Watauga police said Wednesday that they would be sending three to four officers and employees to be tested for drugs.

“The city has made arrangements to take them to a medical clinic,” Watauga Officer Sean Romer said Wednesday.

Investigators believe the teen may have started dropping off the baskets with candy and cookies about a week ago. The baskets included a logo indicating that they were from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.

But Lake Worth police were ready for Phillips. MADD officials had called the Lake Worth department Tuesday morning after they learned that someone had been delivering the baskets to area police departments, claiming to be from that agency.

MADD officials said they had nothing to do with the baskets.

Phillips was arrested about 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Lake Worth police station when he attempted to drop off a basket of cookies and peppermint candy, saying they came from MADD. Cookies in that basket tested positive for LSD, police said.

Lake Worth police also confiscated additional cookies from Phillips’ car which was parked at the Lake Worth police station. Tests on those goodies had not been completed.

After Phillips’ arrest, Lake Worth police on Tuesday sent out bulletins to area police departments concerning the gift baskets.

Police in Blue Mound received a basket filled with candy and cookies just before 8 p.m. Monday.

When a Blue Mound officer picked up one of the cookies, it smelled like marijuana, police said. A field test proved that the cookie contained marijuana, police said.

Hurst, Euless and Richland Hills police also reported receiving the gift baskets last week.

In Hurst, the basket contained only Dum Dum Pops, but no officer or employees have reported being ill, Hurst police Sgt. Craig Teague said Wednesday.

Richland Hills police said Wednesday they received a basket with wrapped candy and cookies and no one reported being sick.

At Euless, police Lt. John Williams said that a kid came to the department last week and dropped off some cookies.

“An officer picked up a cookie and it smelled,” Williams said. “We tested it but it didn’t test positive for anything. We still threw the cookies away.”

According to Watauga police reports, Phillips has a criminal history in that city.

A loud party was reported to Watauga police on July 21, 2007, and Phillips opened the door when police arrived, police said.

Phillips tried to shut the door on officers and when an officer propped the door open with his arm, Phillips swatted it away, according to police reports. About 20 or 30 people were at the party.

When Watauga officers made their way through the blocked door, Phillips tried to punch an officer, missed and was immediately taken down with force.

A Tarrant County court reduced the charge of assault on a public servant to assault with bodily injury.

Phillips is still fulfilling community service for the assault charge.

Woman Testifies She had Secret Affair with Offiicer Accused of Murder


At the same time Ken DeKleine claimed his estranged wife was having an affair with her therapist, he was romantically involved with another woman, court testimony today revealed.

Richelle VanderWal, once married to a Holland police officer, was in the midst of a divorce in 2006 when she said she met Ken DeKleine and began a relationship that lasted until his arrest for allegedly killing his wife.

VanderWal testified today at Ken DeKleine's murder trial, describing how she met DeKleine in July 2006 and began a sexual relationship that fall, before her December 2006 divorce. DeKleine still was living at the Calvin Street address with Lori DeKleine until she filed a personal protection order in January 2007.

They kept the relationship a secret, she said.

VanderWal testified DeKleine was fixated on doing something about suspicions his wife was having a relationship with her therapist and planned to report the man to a state board. She acknowledged DeKleine was upset and frustrated with the constant rescheduling of court dates for his divorce.

VanderWal said she never came to police after DeKleine's arrest this past January to tell about their relationship. They eventually contacted her.

"I know how police think. I was afraid of being accused of her murder," she said.

In other testimony, police testified they asked DeKleine the same day of his wife's death if he killed her. He denied any involvement.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 11, in an interview room at the Zeeland Police Department, Ottawa County sheriff's Detective Tom Knapp told DeKleine they had found clothes in the garage attic with apparent blood stains. During that interview, DeKleine claimed he left items in the attic while fixing a vent pipe in 2006 and had cut himself.

When Knapp directly accused DeKleine of being responsible for his wife's death, DeKleine replied: "I don't know how to respond to that, Tom."

Are Police Giving Other Officers Special Treatment?

UPDATE on Officer Donyell Sanchell

For the second time in recent weeks, a traffic stop raises the question, are police giving some people special treatment?

First, it was the Causeway incident involving Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price. Now Crescent City Connection Police say they will ask the Orleans Parish District Attorney if their handling of an incident involving a New Orleans Police officer was appropriate.

A spokesman says the Crescent City Connection Police will ask the Orleans District Attorney's Office to look at a squad car video and other evidence in the incident involving NOPD Officer Donyell Sanchell.

Spokesman Mark Lambert says the bridge police will ask the District Attorney’s Office if the charges against Sanchell are appropriate.

Criminologist Peter Scharf of Tulane University says the question's clear: Did officer Sanchell get special treatment? ****(Why of course he did!! All officers get this special treatment from their buddies!!!)****

“We have a culture where people think that they’re above the law and they’re entitled to some kind of deferential, special treatment,” Scharf said.

The incident took place Saturday evening.

According to the bridge police report, they gave chase with lights flashing when they see a black pickup doing up to 90 mph, weaving around traffic on the Crescent City Connection.

The truck driver speeds over the bridge, gets on I-10 east and doesn't pull over until he gets off at Basin Street.

The police report says the driver in the pickup, Officer Sanchell of the NOPD, was "irate" because he was late for work, then Sanchell drives off again -- his truck allegedly grazing the forearm of bridge police Officer Jeremy Wright.

When Sanchell finally stopped at First District police headquarters, an altercation takes place off camera, and Officer Wright says Sanchell slapped him.

“It seems incredible that a police officer would for whatever reason not respect the authority of another officer,” said John Penny of SUNO’s Criminal Justice Department.

What happened next raised even more questions. The bridge police gave Sanchell a summons for two counts of battery and traffic tickets for hit and run and careless operation.

“If that had happened to anyone else, what would have happened? Jail, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault,” said Scharf.

“This officer should have been arrested and been placed in jail until he made bond,” Penny said. People across the community are saying the same thing.

In one viewer's words, “If I would have sped away, refused to stop, left after stopping and slapped an officer, I should have been arrested and brought to lockup.”

Dr. Scharf says Officer Sanchell's behavior may be troubling, but the message the response by bridge police sends is even more disturbing. “It's devastating. It's that if you’re in the entitled group that you’re above the law.”

The NOPD has launched an administrative review and suspended Sanchell without pay.

Dr. John Penny says the NOPD should send a message that makes it clear to other officers behavior like Sanchell's won't tolerated.

“Given what we see and if any of this is proven true, I think the officer should no doubt be fired,” Penny said. “He's unfit to be a police officer.”

Police Officer Charged With Stalking

Officer Rob Vargas was arrested in Jackson County and charged with stalking.

Here is a statement from the Lansing Dept:

On July 1, 2008 the Jackson County Prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Lansing Police Officer Rob Vargas. On July 3, 2008 Officer Vargas was arraigned on charges of Felony Aggravated Stalking and Misdemeanor Malicious Use of Telecommunications.

Officer Vargas was hired on August 22, 1997 and was most recently assigned to the uniform patrol division. Officer Vargas was placed on paid administrative leave on May 23, 2007 due to a criminal investigation in Jackson County. Since that time Officer Vargas has applied for a duty disability pension. The Pension Board is currently reviewing his request.

Lansing Police Chief Mark Alley said today that the Lansing Police Department does not tolerate criminal misconduct by any of its members and that allegations of wrongdoing by any member of the agency are thoroughly investigated.

"We have and will continue to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards of integrity and professional conduct in law enforcement," Chief Alley said. "We will not compromise our core values and will assure that those values are applied to all our personnel on or off duty. The Lansing Police Department will maintain the integrity of our disciplinary process by following the policies, procedures and union contract, which details the disciplinary process."

Chief Alley noted that Officer Vargas's situation remains in the criminal justice system and therefore it would be inappropriate to discuss the details of his case.