Saturday, October 04, 2008

Police Chief George Hayden Arrested for Murder 36 years Later

Juror Thirteen site opened a 36-year-old cold case file on their message boards five weeks ago. Posting an article written by Lindell Kay of (The Daily News) out of Jacksonville, North Carolina.

After only a few days of the stories coming out about this cold case, two people were arrested for Miller's murder... one was a former police chief.

Motorists found the body of Sergeant William Donald Miller lying in the middle of the road on Western Boulevard halfway between Marine Boulevard and County Club Road on September 16, 1972.

He had been shot, according to an incident report of the time.

Authorities found Miller's car on the shoulder of the road with the engine running, the lights on, a blinker clicking, and a half-cocked pistol on the seat, according to a Daily News archived report.

The Sheriff's Department, the SBI, the Marine Corps and NCIS investigated Hayden for more than a year before Miller's homicide case turned cold. Investigators at the time could not find enough substantial evidence to arrest Hayden, according to the JAG letter.

Thirty-six years later, George Hayden, 57, a police chief at Cape Carteret and Belhaven police departments, was been charged with murder in Miller's shooting death, on September 9, 2008.

Also charged in the case is Vickey Miller Hayden Cooper Babbitt, Miller's wife at the time of his death, in Oregon. Babbitt was arrested in Oregon in mid-September and didn't fight extradition back to North Carolina.

Miller, Hayden and Babbitt were all in the Marine Corps in 1972. Miller and Babbitt were married, and the three were friends. In August 1972, Miller returned to Jacksonville from training in Okinawa in to find Hayden had moved in with Babbitt.
Babbitt left Miller to live with Hayden. On Sept. 16 of that year, Miller went to meet Babbitt, but was gunned down in the middle of Western Boulevard. Investigators say Babbitt lured Miller to the spot, possibly by faking car trouble, and then Hayden shot Miller twice with an M-16 - once in the head and once in the back.
The break in the case came from a key witness who has been in fear of his life over the 36 years since the murder. His identity is still being kept silent because of that fear.

"The horror on the face of the witness was unlike anything I have seen in my 42 years of law enforcement," said Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown.


Veteran Sex-Crimes Prosecutor Arrested for Rape

A veteran Contra Costa County sex-crimes prosecutor was arrested Thursday on suspicion of rape, Martinez police said.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Gressett, 51, of Martinez is suspected of raping another deputy district attorney, according to two sources close to the investigation. A statement issued by Martinez police did not refer to the alleged victim.

Gressett was booked on suspicion of committing rape, oral copulation, sodomy and penetration with a foreign object, all felonies, Cmdr. Eric Ghisletta said in the police statement. The alleged attack occurred "several months ago," police said, but they did not give a date.

Gressett's attorney, Michael Cardoza, said his client is innocent and will "fight these allegations very vigorously."

"Everybody that knows him is exceedingly shocked by these allegations," Cardoza said. "The problem with allegations like this is that when he walks away innocent, there will always be people who will wonder. The allegations alone have a devastating effect."

Gressett was being held Thursday night in the county jail in Martinez in lieu of $1 million bail, a sheriff's deputy said.

Ghisletta said investigators were first told of the alleged attack Sept. 26. Officers later served a search warrant and "discovered evidence which was consistent with the victim's statements," Ghisletta said.

Police did not say where the warrant had been served.

"It's a sad day for our office for anything like this to occur," District Attorney Robert Kochly said late Thursday. "Anything of this nature is devastating to the office. It's antithetical to what we're about."

Kochly said Martinez police planned to turn over their evidence to the office of state Attorney General Jerry Brown to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Brown's office will decide on possible charges.

Gressett was arrested near the district attorney's office in Martinez. He was then placed on paid administrative leave, Kochly said.

Gressett has worked as a prosecutor for more than 20 years, and worked in the sex-crimes unit for the past 2 1/2 years, Kochly said. He ran unsuccessfully three times for Contra Costa district attorney, in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

During his most recent campaign, Gressett pledged to initiate a "real" no plea-bargaining policy, mandating maximum prosecution of violent felonies, including rape.

During his 1998 campaign, Gressett proposed a program that would list the disposition of every criminal case on the Internet.

"It's my belief that sunshine is the best disinfectant," Gressett said then. "This would hold the district attorney accountable. The one institution we need pure is the district attorney's office."

Gressett grew up in New Mexico and earned his law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law in 1986.

This article appeared on page B - 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Grace Chung Becker, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Diane J. Humetewa, and Special Agent in Charge John E. Lewis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Phoenix Division announced today that former Fort Mojave Tribal Police Department officer, Michael Phelps has pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation and to providing a false statement to the FBI.

Phelps was charged in a two-count information lodged Oct. 2, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix. In the plea agreement, Phelps admitted to having sexual relations with a female arrestee and later lied to the FBI agent during an investigation into the incident. Phelps admitted that he arrested the victim for a motor vehicle offense and threatened to incarcerate her unless she had sex with him, then released the victim after she complied. Phelps also admitted that, after a complaint by the victim led to a federal investigation, he falsely told FBI agents that he did not have sex with the victim.

Phelps faces a maximum penalty of nine years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec.15, 2008.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Yuma Resident Agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Bachus of the District of Arizona and Trial Attorney Cyra O'Daniel of the Department of Justice.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In Fiscal Year 2007, the Division's Criminal Section convicted the highest number of defendants in its history, surpassing the record previously set in Fiscal Year 2006. During the last seven years, the Criminal Section obtained convictions of 53 percent more defendants in law enforcement prosecutions than during the previous seven years (391 vs. 256).

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

Border Officer Jesus Esparz Accused of Accepting Bribes


A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer accused of accepting bribes to allow cocaine and heroin to be smuggled into the country at the Calexico Port of Entry was arraigned Friday in federal court.

Jesus Velasco Esparza, 22, of El Centro, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter C. Lewis in El Centro, the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego said.

Esparza was arrested Thursday in Imperial County following an nvestigation by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

He is accused of bribery; attempting to aid and abet importation of controlled substances; and computer fraud for looking up license plate numbers of vehicles suspected of being used to smuggle drugs into the United States, according to a federal complaint filed Thursday.

According to the complaint, the investigation began in August with the assistance of a confidential FBI source.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Forge said Friday that Esparza was paid $500 for each license plate he ran through CBP computers, and from $7,600 to $13,400 to allow drugs to be smuggled through the port.

Esparza is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a detention hearing.