Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trooper Kevin Foley Arrested for Murder

Slain Blairsville dentist Dr. John J. Yelenic predicted he would be murdered in 2006 by a state police trooper living with his estranged wife.

On Thursday, the state Attorney General's Office arrested Trooper Kevin James Foley, 42, of 10 Susan Drive, White, near Indiana, for the April 13, 2006 killing of Yelenic.

A statewide grand jury meeting in Pittsburgh since May recommended filing a criminal homicide charge against Foley, who has lived with Michele Yelenic since 2004.

The jury's presentment said Pittsburgh attorney Effie Alexander, the dentist's divorce attorney, testified that shortly before his death, he offered to set up a fund to investigate his murder because he believed Foley would kill him. The Yelenics were wrangling over their pending divorce.

Foley is accused of entering Yelenic's home in the early-morning hours and repeatedly slashing the well-known dentist with a knife.

At a news conference yesterday, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said Yelenic, 39, bled to death from multiple slash wounds to his scalp, face, neck, trunk and right arm.

"It is extremely difficult to have to arrest a member of the law enforcement community, but as in any case, we follow the evidence wherever it leads," Corbett said.

Corbett gathered with Indiana County District Attorney Robert Bell, state police Maj. Robert Lizik and Blairsville police Chief Donald Hess at the Indiana County Courthouse to announce the arrest.

Investigators said they linked Foley, a 13-year veteran trooper, to the slaying by using his DNA, which matched skin found under the dentist's fingernails.

They also said they found a bloody shoe print at the home that matches the ASICS brand, which Foley preferred because of a discount offered to state police.

After the murder, Foley, an avid runner, suddenly switched to Nike brand running shoes, the grand jury found.

Foley was arraigned yesterday morning before Indiana District Judge Guy Haberl and is being held in the county jail without bond.

Lizik said Foley was immediately suspended Thursday without pay. He said Foley, who was a criminal investigator at the Indiana barracks at the time of Yelenic's murder, was placed on station duty, first in Indiana and later in Hollidaysburg, after he became a suspect.

Under station duty, an officer works at the station and is required to relinquish his badge and gun at the end of each shift. Foley, who has been on sick leave since June, was arrested yesterday at the Indiana barracks without incident, Lizik said.

According to the grand jury presentment, Foley was a suspect from the outset when his co-workers and a Blairsville police officer noticed an injury above his left eye, which the trooper blamed on a hockey game he played in Delmont the night before the murder.

But Foley's teammates, including Trooper Robert Worcester, did not see Foley sustain any injuries during the game, according to the grand jury.

Foley's co-workers, including troopers Deanna Kirkland and Daniel Zenisek, told the grand jury that Foley was always complaining about Yelenic.

Kirkland testified that she was stunned by statements Foley made in March 2006.

"They were on a prisoner transport, driving to Westmoreland County, and Foley said he wished that Dr. Yelenic would die or be killed in a car accident," the grand jury presentment quoted Kirkland as testifying.

Zenisek told the grand jury that Foley once asked him whether he wanted to "help him kill Yelenic." Zenisek said he didn't take Foley seriously.

Lizik said yesterday that none of Foley's threats about Yelenic were ever brought to his superior's attention.

"It's a very dark, disturbing day for the Pennsylvania State Police," said Lizik, Southwestern Pennsylvania state police commander.

Corbett defended the length of the investigation, which lasted almost 18 months. The case was first handled by Blairsville police and county detectives until earlier this year when Bell turned to Corbett's office for assistance.

Corbett said some of the forensic-analysis reports were not finished until they were presented to the grand jury earlier this month.

Corbett declined to comment about a motive, saying the issue will be addressed during the trial.

The grand jury heard from several witnesses who said Michele Yelenic frequently called the dentist's office "demanding money."

Just a week before his death, Michele Yelenic telephoned and Dr. Yelenic refused to take the call, his receptionist, Georgette Johnson, testified. He told his receptionist to tell his wife that if she wanted money she had to sign the divorce papers, according to the grand jury.

The divorce settlement would have slashed Michele Yelenic's monthly support check from the dentist from $3,800 to $1,300 a month.

The grand jury presentment said that Dr. Yelenic was insured for more than $1 million and Michele Yelenic and the couple's adoptive son, J.J., would be the beneficiaries.

Neighbors told state police, according to the grand jury presentment, they heard "blood-curdling screams or noises like pig squeals" about 1 a.m. on the day of the killing. Yelenic's body was discovered by a neighbor boy late that afternoon.

Corbett said the investigation is continuing. He declined to say whether Michele Yelenic is a suspect.

Attempts to reach Michele Yelenic for comment yesterday by telephone were unsuccessful. Foley's attorney, Thomas Johnson, of Indiana, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Police chief Hess said the knife used in the slaying and the tennis shoes were never recovered.

Officer Melissa Kronebusch Charged with Arson


A Saukville police officer has been charged with arson after she allegedly set fire to a vacant home in March.

Prosecutors say surveillance tape captured 26-year-old Melissa L. Kronebusch entering a home after midnight. They say she exited about 20 minutes later, with a glow visible through the basement window.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, the video shows her leaving the adjacent parking lot in her squad car, and then returning a few minutes later to report the fire.

Saukville firefighters responded and extinguished the flames. The complaint says the fire caused $5,000 in damages.

Police Chief Bill Meloy says Kronebusch was placed on paid administrative leave June 26.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Kronebusch.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

Police Employee Kinyetta Bass Charged with Stealing Thousand of Dollars

A Norcross Police Department employee has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the evidence room.

Kinyetta Bass is accused of pocketing $763 on July 30 and $2,600 on Aug. 15. Warrants for her arrest were issued Friday on two felony counts of theft by taking.

Bass, 27, of Smyrna, was hired four years ago as a communications officer and later promoted to red light camera technician and evidence custodian, which is a civilian position. She had not been arrested as of Monday afternoon, Gwinnett jail records show.

Reached by phone at her home on Monday, Bass said, “I have no comment at this time.”

Norcross police spokesman Capt. Brian Harr said Bass came under suspicion when another employee noticed “a discrepancy in our policy and procedures that Ms. Bass was involved in.” Bass has since been fired.

The department completed an audit of the evidence room and no other items are missing, Harr said.

“This was an isolated incident involving one person,” Harr said.


Officer Huy Chi Tran Charged with Harassing Several Women

A Houston police officer has been relieved of duty, charged with oppression and harassment of a least six women he pulled over during traffic stops, authorities said.

In each case, the women involved say Huy Chi Tran, 32, made harassing sexual advances toward them. After the traffic stops, Tran is accused of repeatedly calling the women and asking them out on dates in an exchange for dismissing their tickets, said Harris County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Donna Hawkins.

HPD spokesman Sgt. John Chomiak could only confirm that Tran had been relieved of duty last Thursday.

Tran's next scheduled court appearance is Thursday. The District Attorney's Office asks anyone who believes he or she may be a victim in this case to call 713-755-8330.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26's Isiah Carey.

Officer Paul Ewing Arrested for Raping 16 year old


A Portsmouth police officer is off the job and under arrest. 37 year old Paul Ewing is accused of sexually assaulting a 16 year old girl. Tuesday, he faced a judge.

Portsmouth Police information officer Ann Hope tells MyFoxHamptonRoads.com Officer Paul Ewing and the alleged victim are acquaintances. Ewing was arrested Monday night even though his accuser says she was raped in January of 2007.

More than a year and a half after the alleged rape occurred in January '07, Portsmouth police say the teen and her mother contacted them. On September 28th, the report was filed and the accuser passed a polygraph test according to the police report. September 29th, investigators arrested Officer Paul Ewing at the Portsmouth Police Department on rape charges. Tuesday, he was in court.

"He was placed on administrative leave and we can't really discuss that because it's a personnel issue," says Hope.

Hope says Ewing, now 37, was with the department for almost four years.

"He was a uniformed patrol officer who worked the midnight shift," says Hope.

It was right around noon New Years Day the alleged victim told investigators the rape happened. The report states after she got home, Ewing "followed the victim to her bedroom. The defendant began to remove the victim's pants."

It goes on to say, "The victim told the defendant to stop and was not comfortable with the situation..."

The report also states, "The victim took a polygraph exam in which she passed with no indications of deception."

As Ewing's family left the Portsmouth Courthouse Tuesday, they were too emotional to speak. No one in his neighborhood was willing to speak on camera, saying they didn't know him well enough. No one responded to our knocks at Ewing's home.

"It's sad. It's unfortunate and all we can do at this point in just wait for the court system to run it's process," says Hope.

Ewing's bond was set at 20-thousand dollars. A Commonwealth Attorney Spokesman tells me they requested another attorney be brought in to work this case because of conflict of interest. Ewing's preliminary hearing is set for November.