murder | Texas Public Radio

murder

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

Larry Swearingen is scheduled to be executed Wednesday by the State of Texas.

It was 19 years ago that Swearingen was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of Melissa Trotter. This is the sixth time that Swearingen had a date with death in the Texas prison system. But lingering questions about his guilt have caused the courts to repeatedly step in.

The night of December 6th 1991 – Four girls – ages 17, 17, 15 and 13 were working and hanging out at a “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt!” store in Austin.

Eliza Thomas, Amy Ayers and sister Jennifer and Sarah Harbison were forced to strip, they were tied up, they were murdered – the shop was set on fire and the case is unsolved.

25 years after that night – it’s still a deep dark mystery.

“Who Killed These Girls? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders” explores in rich detail the kills and the flawed prosecutions of four suspects.

A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.

The study, led by José María Gómez of the University of Granada in Spain and published Wednesday in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.

The findings tell us two things:

Police in Malaysia say they have uncovered more evidence of human smuggling, with the discovery of at least 139 graves along the country's border with Thailand.

For the third time this year, a blogger has died after a brutal attack on a street in Bangladesh. The writer Ananta Bijoy Das was killed by men wielding machetes. He wrote for the same blog founded by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American who died in a similar attack in February.

Courtesy: 'Find Justice For Gelareh Bagherzadeh' / Facebook

HOUSTON  — Texas investigators have uncovered a hit list in the case of a Jordanian man accused of fatally shooting a female Iranian activist, prosecutors said Friday.

The disclosure came during a court hearing for Shmou Ali Alrawabdeh, 37, who with her husband, Ali Awad Mahmoud Irsan, are charged in the 2012 death of activist Gelerah Bagherzadeh. Investigators say Irsan was enraged Bagherzadeh helped his daughter, who considered her a best friend, abandon his stern Islamic teachings and marry Coty Beavers, a Christian.

Prosecutors told State District Judge Jan Krocker that Alrawabdeh was in the front passenger seat of the family car on the night Irsan killed Bagherzadeh, 30, as she drove toward her parents’ home in January 2012. They also say Alrawabdeh overheard Irsan’s harassing telephone calls to Bagherzadeh.

Irsan, 57, is charged with capital murder in the slayings of the activist and Beavers, who was found shot dead in the apartment he shared with Irsan’s daughter, Nesreen Irsan, in November 2012.

Courtesy: facebook.com/CotyBeaversMemorial/

HOUSTON — A Jordanian immigrant bent on revenge over his daughter’s marriage to a Christian killed a female Iranian activist who persuaded the woman to go through with the marriage, then later killed his despised son-in-law, according to charges revealed Wednesday in Houston.

Ali Awad Mahmoud Irsan, 57, is charged with capital murder in the 2012 deaths of Gelerah Bagherzadeh and son-in-law Coty Beavers. Shmou Ali Alrawabdeh, his 37-year-old wife, and his 21-year-old son, Nasim Irsan, are charged with murder for assisting in Bagherzadeh’s slaying, according to prosecutors.

Nadia Irsan, 30, another of Irsan’s daughters, is charged with felony stalking for tracking her estranged sister for her father, according to court documents.

Mid-Air Murder: Co-Pilot Purposely Downs Plane; Families Ask Why

Mar 26, 2015
Texas Public Radio

PARIS — Passengers with moments to live screamed in terror and the pilot frantically pounded on the locked cockpit door as a 27-year-old German co-pilot deliberately and wordlessly smashed an Airbus carrying 150 people into an Alpine mountainside.

The account Thursday of the final moments of Germanwings Flight 9525 prompted some airlines to immediately impose stricter cockpit rules — and raised haunting questions about the motive of the co-pilot, whose breathing never wavered as he destroyed the plane and the lives of those aboard. “We have no idea of the reason,” Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin said, revealing the chilling conclusions investigators reached after reconstructing the final minutes of the flight from the plane’s black box voice recorder. Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s intention was “to destroy this plane.”

Prosecutor In Texas Execution Case Accused Of Misconduct

Mar 19, 2015
www.clarkprosecutor.org

AUSTIN — A prosecutor who handled the case of a Texas man executed for the fire deaths of his three daughters has been formally accused of misconduct over allegations that he concealed evidence during the 1992 murder trial.

The State Bar of Texas has asked a Navarro County court to discipline John H. Jackson following questions raised by the New York-based Innocence Project and Cameron Todd Willingham’s relatives, which investigates potential wrongful convictions.

A spokeswoman for the bar said the punishments for Jackson could range from a reprimand to revoking his law license.

Jackson was the lead prosecutor against Willingham, whose case has become a flashpoint for death penalty opponents who contend that he was wrongly executed. Jackson, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, declined to comment Wednesday on the state bar’s action.

His attorney disputed the accusations.

Willingham maintained his innocence up until being executed in 2004.

Courtesy BCA Forensic Science Services

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The body of a woman found in a drainage ditch 35 years ago has been identified as that of an 18-year-old Texas hitchhiker who was assaulted and killed by a former Minnesota state trooper, state authorities said Tuesday.

Michelle Yvette Busha’s remains were identified over the weekend through DNA testing. Her body was found on May 30, 1980, and had been buried anonymously at a cemetery in the southern Minnesota city of Blue Earth for the past three decades.

Robert Leroy Nelson, a state trooper at the time, had confessed to killing a woman nine years later, but investigators had been unable to determine her identity.

“This was a case of not whodunit, but who was she,” said Faribault County Sheriff Michael Gormley. Busha’s remains were exhumed in August and DNA was collected as part of a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension effort to identify dozens of unidentified human remains in the state. BCA Forensic Science Services Director Catherine Knutson said investigators built a DNA profile, and entered that information into a national database for missing persons in mid-February.