Friday, August 29, 2008

Officer Shaun Murray Arrested for Stealing Painkillers for Evidence Room

An Elwood police officer is out of jail on bond after his arrest on charges of stealing painkillers from his department’s evidence room, state authorities said.

Elwood evidence tech and patrol officer Shaun Andy Murray, 28, Anderson, was charged with official misconduct, theft and possession of a controlled substance, according to a news release issued Friday night by Sgt. Michael Burns, a spokesman with the Indiana State Police post at Pendleton. Burns did not immediately reply to a call to find out the severity of the charges.

Murray is alleged to have taken narcotic pain relievers from the evidence room for the past year for his personal use, the release said. Murray is the department’s evidence room technician and worked for other police agencies in Madison County, according to Burns.

State police Detective Keith O’Donnell told the Anderson Herald Bulletin that investigators learned in July Murray had become addicted to prescription painkillers. An investigation only began when Elwood police Lt. Jason Brizendine noticed evidence missing Aug. 23.

Brizendine temporarily had placed 62 confiscated hydrocodone pills into an evidence locker Aug. 21, O’Donnell said in today’s newspaper. When Brizendine returned to the evidence room Aug. 23, he noticed 10 pills missing, O’Donnell said.

Murray was arrested Friday at his home. He posted a $5,000 bond, the release said.

Murray’s phone was not listed, and he could not be reached for comment.

Murray’s status with the Elwood Police Department is not known. Patrolman Jim Robertson said today the police chief, Jack Miller, was not on duty and could not be reached for comment.

Veteran Officer Arrested for 13 Counts of Larceny

The Rochester Police Department has released the results of a criminal investigation into allegations of Sgt. Carlos Garcia’s misappropriation of city property. The investigation spanned almost five months.

Today, the RPD filed a criminal complaint in Rochester City Court charging Sgt. Garcia, a 21 ½ year veteran of the RPD, with 13 counts of petit larceny for using his department issued gas credit card to obtain gasoline for his personal use, convenience or profit.

Rochester Police Chief David Moore is quoted in a written statement saying, “The RPD is very vigilant against any misconduct and will abide by the same zero tolerance that we proclaim in our efforts to combat violence. This serves as a testament of our commitment to thoroughly police ourselves.”

Officer Paul Hubka Placed on Probation for Killing Drug Dog

A San Diego police officer charged in the death of his canine partner pleaded no contest yesterday to a misdemeanor charge of animal endangerment and was ordered to pay for the dog.

Paul Hubka, who was not at the hearing, was placed on three years' probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service at any nonprofit agency within six months.

San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said yesterday that the officer will no longer work with canines.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring also ordered Hubka to pay the department $5,000 for the dog. The amount was outlined in a memo issued by Lansdowne and referenced in court.

The prosecutor said the department paid $8,000 for the animal, which was more than 4 years old and fully trained at the time of purchase. The dog was expected to retire at age

Hubka was charged this month in connection with the dog's June 20 death. Authorities determined that Forrest, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, died of heatstroke at the officer's home in Alpine.

The officer, a 22-year veteran of the department, is accused of leaving the dog in a police cruiser with the windows rolled up on a day when East County temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Korsmeyer said her office would not oppose allowing Hubka to end his probation early if he completes the requirements in the plea agreement.

Hubka's lawyer, Rick Pinckard, said after the hearing that his client is eager to put the case behind him. The misdemeanor charge Hubka was convicted of carried a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

“This was unintentional,” Pinckard said. “It was essentially a mistake, but it has absolutely devastated him.”

Lansdowne said the internal investigation of the incident is done and he is in the process of deciding what punitive action to take against Hubka.

The chief said the officer won't be fired.

“Paul Hubka as been a good officer for 22 years,” Lansdowne said. “He is very remorseful and will take full responsibility.”

City Attorney Michael Aguirre filed a lawsuit this month that seeks to recover the cost of the dog. Aguirre did not specify the amount he was seeking but said it would be in excess of $25,000.

Aguirre disagreed with the amount Hubka was ordered to pay.

“We think the number was significantly higher than that; that's why the city brought its own case,” he said in an interview yesterday.

The department's K-9 unit has received a replacement dog thanks to private donations. The San Diego Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization, bought the dog in July for $10,000, said Wenda Alvarez, the foundation's president and chief executive officer.

“Several individuals approached us in response to the loss of the dog and wanted to help,” Alvarez said.

The new canine has not yet been assigned to a handler.

Officer Arrested for Double Murder is Released on $150,000 Bond

Former DeKalb County sheriff’s deputy Derrick Yancey can await his double murder trial under house arrest and a $150,000 bond, a judge ruled Thursday.

The ruling drew a response from a representative for two siblings of Yancey’s wife, whom Yancey is accused of killing. An attorney who said she spoke on behalf of the siblings of Linda Yancey said the DeKalb district attorney’s office failed to do enough to prevent Yancey’s release.

“It appears Mr. Yancey is receiving preferential treatment as a result of his previous employment with the DeKalb County court system,” said a statement issued by lawyer Loletha Denise Hale, who said she spoke for Eugene Thomas and Gloria Thomas Sanders.

Asked about the statement, chief assistant district attorney Don Geary said Yancey “will be treated as any other criminal defendant charged in DeKalb County. We will vigorously prosecute within the limits of the law, and we will do everything we can to be mindful and considerate of the wishes of the victims’ family.”

Linda Yancey, 44, and day laborer Marcial Cax Puluc, about 20, were killed at the Yanceys’ home near Stone Mountain June 9.

Yancey told police that Cax Puluc killed his wife in an armed robbery attempt, forcing Yancey to shoot him. But authorities say lab tests showed Yancey shot both victims.

Derrick Yancey, 49, escorted prisoners to appearances in the county courthouse for 11 years until he was placed on leave because of the shootings. He resigned Aug. 11 and was jailed Aug. 14, when a grand jury indicted him.

Superior Court Judge Linda Workman issued a bond order Thursday, specifying that Yancey must wear an ankle monitor and leave his mother’s Clayton County home only for legal or medical appointments.

Workman’s order quoted a Georgia law which makes defendants eligible for release on bond if they pose “no significant risk” of fleeing, intimidating witnesses or committing other crimes. Unlike many other states, Workman wrote, Georgia does not further restrict bond for murder defendants unless they have been convicted of a prior violent crime.

Geary opposed bond in a Wednesday hearing, telling Workman that Yancey became more of a risk to flee after quitting his job and placing his 8-year-old son with his mother. Workman’s order noted, however, that Yancey had taken those steps before his indictment and still reported to jail voluntarily when an arrest warrant was issued.

Geary did not offer evidence about the shootings or suggest that Yancey might be a threat to others.

Defense attorney Keith Adams said Thursday he expected it would take “a couple of days” to arrange the bond and electronic monitoring. Yancey is being held in an undisclosed jail.

Yancey was a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. Linda Yancey also worked for the sheriff’s office for 13 years, most recently as an intake officer in Juvenile Court.

Workman’s order said she expects Yancey to be tried by the end of the year.

Officer Ron Smith Charged with Aggravated Assault

A grand jury indicted a Seattle police detective and a Hells Angels member whom the detective shot and wounded in a bar fight at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

The detective, Ron Smith, 43, was charged with aggravated assault, perjury and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The Hells Angel, Joseph McGuire, 33, of Imperial Beach, Calif., was charged with aggravated assault, the Meade County state's attorney reported Thursday.

In addition, four other members of a law enforcement-oriented motorcycle club -- a second Seattle police officer, two U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, and a U.S. Defense Department firefighter -- were charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, a misdemeanor, according to State's Attorney Jesse Sondreal.

The shooting happened about 1 a.m. Aug. 9 at the Loud American Roadhouse, a crowded bar in Sturgis. The detective, a member of the Iron Pigs motorcycle club, said several Hells Angels jumped him and that he fired in self-defense after being beaten.

The other four Iron Pigs members indicted are Dennis McCoy, 59, a North Precinct patrol sergeant in Seattle; Scott Lazalde, 38; James Rector, 44; and Erik Pingel, 35.

Should the case reach a jury, the weapons charge carries an alternative offense of failing to abide by the gun permit of a reciprocal state, according to the statement.

Lazalde, of Bellingham, and Rector, of Ferndale, are stationed in Blaine with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Both remain on duty while the agency awaits formal notification of the charges, spokesman Mike Milne said.

Rector is a 20-year veteran and assistant port director of passenger vehicles, he said.

Pingel is a civilian firefighter at Buckley Air Force Base outside Aurora, Colo., according to an Air Force spokesman.

The South Dakota grand jury met Wednesday to hear from 10 more witnesses before the indictments were issued. It was the grand jury's second hearing since 25 witnesses, including Smith and other officers, appeared on Aug. 10.

Smith's testimony is apparently the basis for the perjury charge.

No court date had been set.

Either warrants or summonses would be "issued and served as appropriate," according to the state's attorney.

Smith and McGuire could face up to 15 years' imprisonment if convicted of aggravated assault. The grand jury also indicted on an alternative charge of misdemeanor assault, which would give a jury the choice of a lesser crime.

The misdemeanor version is punishable by up to a year in jail. The perjury charge could carry a penalty of up to five years.

Smith was one of five Seattle officers with the Iron Pigs at the bar while vacationing at the rally. Witnesses told the Seattle P-I that the confrontation might have started because some Hells Angels members took umbrage to the officers wearing their "colors," or three-piece patches, into the bar.

A Seattle police spokesman said Thursday that Smith and McCoy would remain on administrative leave while the department conducts its investigation. The three Seattle officers who aren't facing charges would be returned to duty, according to a department source.

Smith, of the pawnshop unit, is on the Seattle Police Officers' Guild's board of directors and is editor of the guild's newspaper, The Guardian. In a statement, police guild Vice President Ty Elster urged the community not to pass judgment until the officers have had their day in court.

"We are certain that once all the facts are known, the involved SPOG members will be vindicated and absolved of any wrongdoing," he said.

Federal law allows off-duty and retired police officers to carry their weapons anywhere in the country, overriding any state or local gun regulations. But officers are not covered by the law if under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or have been removed from duty, or have certain disabilities.

There have been cases around the country where officers were charged with weapons violations under a local regulation and relied on the federal law to get the case dismissed, said Ted Deeds, spokesman for the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, which spearheaded the drive to pass the law in 2004.

McGuire was shot twice, with one round striking his abdomen and another shattering his femur. He spent several days in intensive care after making the trip to the rally from the San Diego area. His brother said it was McGuire's first trip to Sturgis.

He left California despite pending marijuana charges against him in San Diego County. McGuire and several other Hells Angels members, including the San Diego chapter president, were arrested during drug raids conducted by federal agents and San Diego police in January 2007.

McGuire has prior convictions for burglary and possession of an illegal knife, according to San Diego County Superior Court records.

Smith had a previous tangle with a Hells Angels member in 2005. He filed a report of possible harassment against Anthony J. Magnesi, whom he said had threatened him during a telephone conversation.

Magnesi had called Smith after hearing from friends that the detective was asking about him. He wanted to find out if he were under investigation, according to Magnesi's attorney, Paul Bernstein.

At the time, Magnesi owned Lucky's Choppers, a custom motorcycle shop in Georgetown. He'd been charged before with first-degree assault for shooting near a man's feet during a scuffle in an unrelated case. But it was dismissed when the state's witnesses backed out of testifying, according to court records.

Magnesi taped one of his conversations with Smith and argued it was proof that Smith had threatened him. After hearing the tape, city prosecutors dropped the harassment charge against Magnesi, according to Bernstein and court records.

At one point on tape, Smith tells him: "Yeah, you better watch your back." Later, he tells Magnesi he has no reason to be calling and asks if he's laundering money, according to a copy that Magnesi's friend played for the P-I.

Smith tells Magnesi that "playing on the phone" is a crime and that belonging to the Hells Angels is a bigger crime, according to the tape.

Magnesi filed a complaint with the department's Office of Professional Accountability, which handles internal investigations. The complaint was referred to Smith's supervisor.

Smith has been disciplined twice before for unprofessional behavior.

He was suspended for two days for conduct unbecoming of an officer after an incident at a Seahawks game in January 2005.

He received a written reprimand after he was accused in August 2005 of threatening to shoot a man at a Tacoma bar while off-duty.

Internal records show that the man was bothering some of the officer's friends. But witnesses also heard the officer utter a racial remark at the restaurant manager, who had asked him to leave, according to department records.

Officer William Wike Accused of Touching 15 year old Girl


The Huntington Police Officer accused of sexual misconduct with a minor was in court for the first time.

"Sexual misconduct with a minor's categorized by either a devious sexual conduct or some kind of illegal touching and that's what we've alleged here," explains D.J. Sigler, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.

Officer William C. Wike is accused of touching a fondling a 15 year old girl. The incident allegedly happened in Whitley County between November, 2006 and January, 2007. The alleged victim is now 17 years old.

According to the Whitley County Prosecutor, 2 friends of the girl told police about an inappropriate relationship. That sparked a State Police investigation.

Wike was charged with one count of sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class C Felony. On Wednesday, State Police arrested the 8 year veteran of the Huntington Police Department.

"It takes away from our public trust, casts a shadow over us and certainly, I guess the bottom line is we hope it's not true," says Huntington Police Chief Tom Emely.

On Thursday, Wike was escorted into the Huntington County Court in handcuffs for an initial hearing. The Huntington County judge set the bond for Wike at $20,000. That is standard for a Class C Felony. The judge also set Wike's next court date for October 30.

Back in 2006, a report with similar accusations was filed. Court documents said the alleged victim denied those reports at that time. She told investigators she was afraid of what would happen if people didn't believe her story.,0,7836848.story