Friday, January 08, 2010

Former Deputy Donna Sheain Charged with Sale of Meth

A former, long-time deputy at the Coweta County Sheriff's Office was arrested Dec. 31, 2009, and charged with selling methamphetamine.

Donna Rachelle Sheain, 37, is charged with two counts sale of meth, possession of meth, conspiracy to sell meth and possession of marijuana.

Sheain was a supervisor for the sheriff's office, where she was employed for over a decade. She was a certified CPR instructor, a general instructor and a field training officer.

She left her job, at the rank of corporal, in 2004 for a year-long tour as a defense contractor in Iraq, according to The Times-Herald news files.

She volunteered to be part of the effort to train the Iraqi police force.

Officers Donnell Patterson & Charles Battle Charged with Assault

Two Richmond police officers were arraigned in Richmond Circuit Court yesterday on charges that they assaulted a man while working an off-duty security job at a nightclub in Richmond's Fan District.

Donnell Patterson and Charles Battle each face one count of misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident June 26 outside Club 534 on North Harrison Street between West Broad and West Grace streets.

Patterson's attorney, John Rockecharlie, described the incident as a "chaotic crowd-control situation" early that morning after patrons left the club around closing time.

The club's owner, Nat Dance, said as many as 350 people leave the club at closing time on some mornings. He estimated that about that many people might have been outside the morning of the incident, but he said some of the people in the crowd had come from another club that had let out.

The club was paying the officers to work security that morning, Dance and Rockecharlie said.

Richmond police officials and city prosecutors declined to describe what happened outside the club or to provide either officer's employment status. A special prosecutor from outside Richmond will be assigned to the case.

Battle's attorney, Claire G. Cardwell, declined to comment. The officers' accuser, Sadaris Fitzgerald, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Dance, who used to own the Cotton Club on Fifth Street in downtown Richmond, was fined $2,000 in 2006 after a judge found him guilty of maintaining a common nuisance at Club 534. The conviction later was thrown out.

According to testimony at the 2006 hearing, the Cotton Club and Club 534 could attract vast crowds that clogged streets and sidewalks.

Dance said yesterday that crowds outside Club 534 are not dangerous or a nuisance. He also said the June incident occurred around the corner from the club and not directly outside it.

Patterson and Battle each are free on a personal recognizance bond. A court hearing for both officers was set for Jan. 25.

Former Officer Donald Bailey Pleads Not Guilty to Accepting Cash From Inmate

A former Baton Rouge police corporal accused of soliciting and accepting cash from a Parish Prison inmate told a state District Court judge Friday that he is innocent.

Donald Bailey, 49, pleaded not guilty in state District Judge Chip Moore’s court to one count each of bribery, corrupt influencing and malfeasance in office.

Bailey, a 14-year veteran of the police force who coordinated the Targeted Violent Offender Program, declined comment after the hearing.

Bailey’s attorney, Mike Walsh, said he would be in a better position to comment after he meets with Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell to review evidence in the case.

The state Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting Bailey because District Attorney Hillar Moore III is a key witness in the case, Caldwell has said.

Bailey approached Moore last year for help getting a Parish Prison inmate released, Caldwell has said. Moore immediately contacted the appropriate authorities.

State Police have said detectives arranged for the inmate to make a recorded telephone call to Bailey from Parish Prison. The inmate told Bailey he needed help getting out of jail.

Caldwell has said Bailey agreed on Sept. 15 to aid the inmate. Bailey allegedly told the inmate he would have the charges dismissed and the parole hold lifted in exchange for $12,000.

Bailey then contacted the District Attorney’s Office and the Office of Probation and Parole to request the dismissal of the charges and the lifting of the parole hold, State Police have said.

Both agencies, working with detectives, allowed the charges to be dropped and the parole hold lifted, State Police have said.

State Police detectives arranged for the inmate to meet with Bailey. During a meeting on Sept. 28, Bailey accepted $1,400 for his assistance, State Police have said.

State Police arrested Bailey that day at Police Department headquarters. The police officer resigned from the force Oct. 7 in lieu of termination.

Detention Officer Larry Martinez & Wife Accused of Stealing Prescription Drugs

Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker says a county detention center officer was fired Friday after being accused of stealing prescription drugs from the jail to sell on the street.

Hooker said Larry Martinez, 36, and his wife, Jesseka Martinez, 35, are facing assorted felony drug charges.

Larry Martinez, 36, was arrested for stealing Xanax from the detention center and giving it to his wife.

“He was charged with trafficking a controlled substance... Xanax,” Deputy Nathan Kinnison said.

Detention Center Administrator David Casanova said he doesn’t know how Martinez was able to get access to the drugs because the thefts happened before he was hired to run the jail.

According to police:

• On New Years’ eve, sheriff’s officers and members of Region V Drug Task Force contacted Jesseka Martinez at her home in the 1700 block of U.S. 236.

• Undercover agents had been purchasing marijuana from her since October as part of an undercover operation.

• During the investigation, Jesseka Martinez told officers her husband was a guard at the detention center and was stealing drugs from the center.

• “She allowed us to search the house,” Kinnison said. “We found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and prescription drugs in the house. So that is a misdemeanor and fourth degree felony.”

• During interrogation, Larry Martinez admitted stealing Xanax from the center and giving it to his wife, said Kinnison. He was charged with felony drug trafficking.

• Larry Martinez was behind bars at the center Friday in lieu of $20,000 cash-only bond. His wife was jailed in lieu of $7,000 cash-only bond.

Officer Christopher Sundheim Charged with Having Sex with Minor

A Jupiter Island Police officer is facing felony charges after he had sexual relationship with a minor, according to warrant affidavit from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, deputies charged Christopher J. Sundheim, 31, with sexual activity with a minor. Later on Friday, he was released from jail on $25,000 bond.

Sundheim is on administrative leave from the department, according to a news release from Jupiter Island Public Safety Department.

In September, the girl, with her parents and a family friend, reported the incident to police officials. The girl said she and Sundheim became friends after meeting at Hobe Sound Beach. The two would often flirt with each other until, “one thing lead to another,” the girl said in the affidavit. Detectives interviewed several people who saw the girl and Sundheim together. However, none of the people said they ever saw inappropriate behavior, the affidavit states.

The girl, now 18, said she and Sundheim had sex numerous occasions when she was 17, from October 2008 to January 2009, including one instance at a vacant cottage, which neither of them owned, the report states.

Officer Darryl Russell Failed to Yield Causing the Death of Man on Bicycle

An accident reconstruction by the Mississippi Highway Patrol shows that a Waveland police officer failed to yield the right-of-way in an accident that caused the death of a Bay St. Louis bicyclist last year.

Cpl. Johnny Poulos released the results on Friday.

Francisco Jesus Mendoza Suarez, 33, died in the Sept. 21 accident.

Patrolman Darryl Russell pulled out of an eastbound turn lane and attempted to cross U.S. 90 toward the far-right emergency lane.

At the time, Suarez was riding a bicycle in the righthand emergency lane.

As the police car crossed the highway, it was struck by a Cadillac Escalade that was also headed east, Poulos told the Sun Herald in September.

The collision caused the Escalade to veer out of control into the emergency lane, striking Suarez.

Poulos said Russell reported he had attempted to cross the road because Suarez resembled the description of a criminal suspect that had been broadcast to police units in the area.

Russell told investigators that his patrol car’s blue emergency lights had been on when he attempted to cross U.S. 90.

Bay St. Louis police said Suarez was not the suspect.

Waveland Police Chief James Varnell said he could not comment on the case because a lawsuit has been filed by Suarez’s family against the city of Waveland, the police department and Russell.

Immediately after the accident, Russell was placed on administrative leave with pay for four weeks but currently is on duty, Varnell said.

The accident occurred just inside the Bay St. Louis city limits.

Russell was in Bay St. Louis because officers must make a U-turn when westbound on U.S. 90 to return to Waveland.

Former Officer Wade Merritt Charged with Impersonating a Police Officer

A former Algonquin police officer who police say flashed a badge during a recent traffic stop was arrested Friday.

He had resigned from the force in June after being convicted of domestic battery.

Wade Merritt, 46, who lives near Oakwood Hills, was stopped at 8:17 a.m. Jan. 1 at Route 14 and Federal Drive in connection with speeding, said Deputy Police Chief Dennis Harris of the Crystal Lake Police Department.

At that time, Merritt presented a police badge to the officer, Harris said.

Merritt had been a sergeant with the Algonquin department for 23 years.

He resigned in June 2009, nearly a month after he was found guilty of domestic battery in a March incident at his home.

Before his resignation, Merritt had been suspended without pay for more than a month by police commissioners.

Merritt surrendered himself to Crystal Lake police Friday on a warrant of false impersonation of a peace officer, a Class 4 felony, as well as speeding. He was released on $1,075 cash bond.

Merritt is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. Jan. 28.

West Valley Officer Being Sued by Man Who Claims he was Slammed to the Ground

A West Valley Police officer is being sued by a man who claims was slammed to the ground and injured unjustly by the officer. Ceasar Medina says he was driving to his girlfriend's house July 17 to meet her for breakfast. Medina says he was pulled over by the officer in West Valley, near where his girlfriend lives. He says that the officer claims he was resisting arrest during the stop and pulled him out of his vehicle and slammed him to the ground.

West Valley Police say they do not know about the lawsuit and cannot comment until they review the case.

Police say that Medina was pulled over for failure to stop at a stop sign and speeding.

Until West Valley Police have had a chance to review the case, FOX 13 has chosen not to release the identity of the officer involved.

Officer Brandon Loverde Accused of Fondling Woman While on Duty

An Orlando police officer is behind bars Thursday, and it's not his first run-in with the law.

Orlando police Officer Brandon Loverde has been accused of fondling a woman while he was working off duty at the Firestone nightclub.

Loverde turned himself in to authorities Wednesday and was charged with false imprisonment and battery.

The incident allegedly happened in a parking lot near the club. Loverde is accused of exposing the woman's right breast and then touching her breast. The alleged victim passed a polygraph test. The owner of the nightclub was shocked.

"I'm disappointed an officer would do that."

According to his personnel file, since Loverde has been working with OPD, he has won awards, received good evaluations and been praised for his excellent work.

One evaluation said he was "somewhat bothered" by people who are "disrespectful" to law enforcement.

Loverde has been relieved without pay.

Former Officer Bruce Webster Sentenced to 19 Years

A former Fairfax County police officer, whose wife was slain in 1991, was sentenced Friday to 19 years in prison for abducting her twice in the months before her death, but he has not been charged with killing her.

Bruce Webster, 69, a former patrol officer in the Mount Vernon Police District, met Joann Allison when she was waiting tables at Elsie's Magic Skillet, a Route 1 diner and regular hangout for officers. Webster and Allison were married in the diner in October 1988.

Webster, a Vietnam War veteran, spent 18 years as a Fairfax officer, resigning in January 1990. The couple then moved to Alabama. But not long after, Joann Webster decided to separate from her husband, return to Fairfax and resume waitressing at the Skillet, according to former owner Elsie Plues's trial testimony in August.

But in May 1990, Joann Webster went to a bank near the Skillet and withdrew $9,000 while her estranged husband watched. She then ran to the Skillet and told Plues that her husband had "tied her to a chair, threatening to kill her," and forced her to withdraw the money, Plues testified.

Bruce Webster's attorneys said that his wife had fled Alabama with $15,000 from their joint account, leaving him penniless.

Plues urged Joann Webster to report the incident to police. She did, but refused to prosecute.

Seven months later, on New Year's, a bloodied Joann Webster turned up at a 7-Eleven store in Woodbridge, claiming that she had been abducted and tied up by her estranged husband, witnesses testified. This time she agreed to prosecute, and Bruce Webster was charged with abduction.

On Feb. 15, 1991, divorce papers were served on Bruce Webster. The next day, Joann Webster didn't show up for work at the Skillet. She was found fatally stabbed in her apartment in Sacramento Square, wearing her waitress uniform, police said. She was 44.

Several days later, Bruce Webster did not appear for his preliminary hearing on the abduction charge. Prosecutors, without their complaining witness, did not pursue the case. Homicide detectives said they investigated Webster closely in the death of his estranged wife but couldn't make a case.

In 2007, Fairfax cold case homicide detectives revisited the slaying and tracked down Webster, who was living in a one-room apartment in Las Vegas. During several long, taped conversations, Webster denied killing or kidnapping his wife. But he did say, "When I get angry, people get seriously hurt or they die."

A Fairfax grand jury indicted Webster in May of last year for both abduction incidents and use of a gun in one of them. A trial jury convicted him of the three counts, recommending eight-year sentences on both abduction counts and three years for using a gun. Webster did not testify.

At his sentencing hearing, Joann Webster's daughter, Tammy Magouirk, testified that "it's something that doesn't go away. It has colored my relationships. How do you trust people when things like this happen to your mom? I was in a bad relationship, but I was terrified to end it. I stayed in that relationship for 15 years."

Bruce Webster declined to make a statement to Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jonathan C. Thacher. Webster's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Dawn M. Butorac, said he was not remorseful because he maintains that he did not kidnap or kill his wife.

More Information

Officer Jeffery Asher Accused of Assault

For the past two years, Officer Jeffrey Asher has worked in the records department, in plain clothes, at Springfield Police Headquarters.

It was an assignment that was supposed to keep him out of the kind of trouble he apologized for in 2007.

"And if the performance of my duties, I have any way offended any individual or group, I extend my sincere apology," said Officer Asher

Those words spoken in 2007 coming back to haunt Officer Jeffrey Asher. This video shot by a neighbor shows a police traffic stop the night of November 27th.

Melvin Jones III of Springfield was a passenger in the car and according to the incident report, was resisting arrest.

The report indicates Officer Asher was the cop swinging a flashlight after Jones allegedly tried to grab an officer's gun.

Jones’s father, who shares a name with his son, says Officer Asher should be fired.

"This guy doesn't need to be on the police force, that’s my opinion. I don’t think he should be. Something needs to be done about the way he treats suspects or whatever, particularity black men."

It’s not the first time Asher was caught on tape. In 1997, video shows him kicking a black suspect who had already been subdued by other officers.

Asher was suspended for six months without pay. Then, in 2004 he accused of beating a black school principal who was acting strangely during a medical crisis.

Asher was cleared by the Police Commission and returned to the force again, this time behind a desk, but in November 27th, he was on patrol.

"Officer Asher is assigned to the inside duty. He works in the records division in plain clothes, he has been since 2007. He works inside, this particular evening he was assigned by a supervisor where he was working a Shannon Grant extra detail, like an extra job. So that is the reason he was on the street last night," said Sgt. Delaney.

Mayor Domenic Sarno says he was alarmed to hear of the latest allegations.

"It is disturbing. There are rules and regulations that have to be followed to protect the integrity of residents and the integrity of the police department. Police know my reputation when it comes to public safety and race relations," said Mayor Sarno.

Officer Steven Solari Charged with Hitting Handcuffed Suspect

A Little Silver police officer has been charged with hitting a handcuffed suspect and trying to get a witness to the incident to lie to investigators, authorities said today.

Patrolman Steven Solari, an 11-year veteran of the department, was charged Thursday with two counts of official misconduct and one count each of aggravated assault, tampering with a witness, obstruction of justice and hindering his own apprehension, Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin said.

Valentin said Solari, 36, is accused of hitting a suspect several times at police headquarters on Dec. 20 while the man had his hands cuffed behind his back.

Solari and another Little Silver police officer arrested the man after responding to a call at an undisclosed private residence. During the call, Valentin said, Solari and the man got into a struggle. The man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

At headquarters, Solari allegedly struck the handcuffed man several times, causing his head to hit a metal filing cabinet. The man, whose identity was not released, was treated at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, the prosecutor said.

Two days after the alleged incident, Soliar, dressed in his full uniform and on duty, approached one of the witnesses to the attack in an attempt to convince the witness to lie or withhold the truth from investigators, Valentin said. He would not say whether the witness was another police officer.

Solari is suspended without pay. He was released from the Monmouth County jail in Freehold today after posting $81,000 bail.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Solari could face up to 20 years in prison and would be permanently barred from holding any public job in New Jersey.