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Teen learning to drive hits, kills 2 homeless men in parking lot

A 15-year-old girl learning how to drive struck and killed two men Monday night in a parking lot in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, police said. 

Investigators told WPVI-TV that the girl was driving with her mother and two other people in the SUV when the collision took place outside a Dollar Tree discount store. 

“She was navigating into a parking spot and made a mistake,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Mark Overswise told the news station. “The vehicle lunged forward, striking two men who were seated at the wall of the dollar store.”

>> Read more trending news

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that one man, a 54-year-old, was pronounced dead at the scene while his friend, who was 55 years old, died about 30 minutes later at Hahnemann University Hospital. The men, both of whom are described as homeless, have not been publicly identified.

The Inquirer reported that there has been no word on if the girl or her mother would face charges. Pennsylvania law does not allow teenagers to obtain a learner’s permit until the age of 16. 

Police seek information on newborn girl found dead in waters off Florida coast

Palm Beach County officials are seeking the public’s help in identifying a newborn girl whose body was found floating of the Florida coast Friday afternoon. 

The naked infant was found about 100 feet off the coast near the Boynton Beach Inlet, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Capt. Steven Strivelli, who heads the agency’s Special Victims Unit, said Monday during a news conference

“The infant is estimated to have been less than 2 weeks old, at most,” Strivelli said

Strivelli declined to speculate on how long the child had been in the water, telling reporters that, at this time, that’s all it would be -- speculation. It had also not been determined as of Monday if the baby was still alive when she was put in the water. 

Autopsy results on the tiny body are pending. 

The captain talked briefly about the toll an investigation of this nature has on those involved. 

“It’s gut-wrenching,” Strivelli said. “We hate seeing it. We really desperately want to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Reporters asked Strivelli about identifying marks on the child, of which there were none. They also asked about signs of abuse. 

“Can’t discuss,” Strivelli said. 

The Sheriff’s Office released an artist’s rendering of what the child might have looked like at birth. Investigators also released a helicopter’s view of the location where the infant’s body was recovered. 

It was not clear what race or nationality the child was. 

“We have actually tried our best to identify the nationality of the child, but we cannot rule out any one nationality that the child may be,” Strivelli said. “At appearance, (she) looks maybe mixed, but we can’t confirm that. We can’t confirm or deny that (she’s) a white child with dark skin, or Hispanic, black or white.”

>> Read more trending news

The captain said that investigators are still trying to determine how and where the infant ended up in the water. She could have been placed in the water from a marine vessel or by someone who ventured into the water. 

She also could have been discarded from a bridge or the shoreline or she could have fallen from a boat bringing undocumented immigrants to Florida from Cuba or Haiti. 

“We have some thoughts, but we can’t release,” Strivelli said. “We don’t know all the details yet. We’re still waiting for some information to come back from the medical examiner, and that will really aid us in our investigation.” 

Watch the entire news conference from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office below.

The captain confirmed that an off-duty Boynton Beach firefighter fishing with friends made the gruesome discovery Friday afternoon. The Associated Press, which identified the firefighter as Chris Lemieux, said the trio of fishermen initially thought it was a doll floating in the water. 

Strivelli told reporters that investigators are working around the clock to develop leads and solve the case. 

“We are asking that anyone in the public who has any information about this case or what might have happened, about the parents or who they might be, to please contact lead detective Cliff Hamilton at (561) 688-4155 or HamiltonC@pbso.org.

 

Man bleeds to death on roof of house he broke into, police say

A Michigan man cut himself while breaking into houses last month and bled to death on the roof of one of his targets, police said. 

Vincent Parnell Reynolds, 36, of Petoskey, died May 27 after leaving a party he attended at a home east of the city, WPBN-TV in Traverse City reported. Police officials said Reynolds, who had recently moved to Petoskey from Saginaw for work, then broke into two houses nearby.

No one was home in the first house, but the homeowner was in the second one, the news station said. After a confrontation, Reynolds broke a window to escape onto the roof. 

“It’s our belief that, while he was breaking out the windows with his hands, he severed an artery in his arm and therefore had an arterial bleed and was losing a significant amount of blood,” Matthew Breed, director of the Petoskey Department of Public Safety, told WPBN

>> Read more trending news

Responding officers attempted to reach Reynolds using a ladder, but were too late to save him from the massive bleeding he suffered. Breed said Reynolds was unarmed at the time of the break-in. 

Investigators do not believe Reynolds intended to steal anything from the houses he broke into, the news station reported. They are awaiting toxicology reports to determine if he had been under the influence of anything when he died.  

Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape, criminal sex act charges

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to rape and criminal sex act charges in New York.

>> Read more trending news

Weinstein is accused of raping a woman in a hotel room and forcing another to perform oral sex in his office, according to The Associated Press.

Weinstein turned himself in to authorities last month. He was charged with one count each of first-degree rape, third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sex act.

His bail was previously set at $1 million, allowing him to remain free while he awaits trial.

He has denied allegations that he forced himself on women. His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, last month challenged the credibility of the alleged victims and said his client is confident that he’s going to clear his name. 

>> Harvey Weinstein indicted on first-degree rape, other charges by New York grand jury, reports say

Dozens of people have accused Weinstein of inappropriate sexual behavior, ranging from allegations of rape to claims of sexual harassment, after the Times published a report last year detailing complaints made against Weinstein over nearly three decades. Weinstein, who co-founded entertainment company Miramax, was ousted from his position at The Weinstein Company in the wake of the Times report. 

>> Harvey Weinstein investigations launched in London, New York

New York police opened an investigation into Weinstein in 2015, after a Filipina-Italian model told officers that she was groped by Weinstein without consent. Authorities later said they declined to press charges in the case because of a lack of evidence.

Police said last year that they were working to learn of any additional complaints against Weinstein.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mom who sold young daughters for sex sentenced to 30 years

A Georgia woman who sold her two young daughters to be raped for money has been sentenced to 30 years, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said Monday

The 25-year-old Union City woman pleaded guilty last month to multiple charges in connection with the reported abuse of her daughters, including two counts of first-degree cruelty to children, two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and two counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude. 

>> Mother pleads guilty for selling daughters for sex, rapist jailed for life

The woman must serve 20 years in prison and the rest on probation, Fulton district attorney spokesman Chris Hopper said. She initially faced 140 years in prison for the crimes. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not identify victims of sexual assault. The AJC is not identifying the mother in order to protect the identity of the children.

Richard Office — the man she sold her children to — was sentenced last month to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 146 years. The 78-year-old was convicted of rape, trafficking a person for sexual servitude, two counts of child molestation and three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, as well as marijuana possession and possession of a firearm by a felon.

>> Man wanted in baby's killing shot, captured by Florida SWAT officers

According to the DA’s office, while the girls’ mother was detained in a Bay County, Florida, jail on a separate charge, the girls, ages 5 and 6, told their temporary legal guardians that their mother had taken them to men’s homes where they were sexually assaulted for money. They knew one of those men, later identified as Office, as someone who supplied their mother with drugs, the DA said.

The DA said that early in 2017, Office, whom the girls knew as “Pop,” touched them and kissed them inappropriately in the bedroom of his Palmetto home while their mother waited in the living room. After molesting them, Office reportedly gave the girls $100, and their mother took the money from them. The DA said the younger of the two girls was injured in the assault.

>> Read more trending news 

A second man, Alfredo Trejo, was convicted in February in Fulton County for raping the girls in the same manner. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by life on probation.

The victims’ grandmother was also convicted of second-degree cruelty to children for failing to protect the sisters after they told her they were being sexually assaulted. Her five-year sentence was commuted to the time she had already served, with the remainder to be served on probation.

The AJC is not naming the grandmother in order to avoid identifying the children.

Mom charged after son, 5, shoots 3-year-old brother in face with stolen gun, police say

A Tennessee woman remains in jail one week after police say her 5-year-old son shot his 3-year-old brother in the face with a stolen gun at a Smyrna, Georgia, hotel.

>> Watch the news report here

>> 7 things harder to get than a gun

Tashia Lenette Woods faces charges of reckless conduct, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and theft by receiving in the shooting at a Comfort Inn & Suites on May 28, according arrest warrants. 

>> Assault weapon vs. assault rifle: What is the difference?

According to Cobb County police, Woods left a loaded black semi-automatic Taurus .380 in an unsecured bag on the floor. The 5-year-old found the gun and shot the boy in the face, according to the warrant. An 11-year-old was also inside the room but was not injured, police said. 

Police said Woods and her boyfriend drove the boy to the hospital but didn’t call 911, WSB-TV reported. Staff at the Corporate Plaza hotel called authorities, who eventually found the trio at the hospital. 

>> Read more trending news 

The 3-year-old’s condition was not released Monday, but he survived the shooting, WSB-TV reported. The children are in the care of the Division of Family and Children Services. 

Woods, a convicted felon, was not supposed to be in possession of the weapon, which was reported stolen in December from gun store Double Tap Tactical in Clarksville, Tennessee, according to the arrest warrants. In June 2010, Woods was convicted of selling cocaine in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. The warrant does not indicate how Woods got the gun. 

>> Here's what to do to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound

The general manager of the Comfort Inn & Suites told WSB-TV that guns are not permitted on the property. 

Man wanted in baby's killing shot, captured by Florida SWAT officers

A Georgia man accused of killing a baby is in police custody after he was shot by SWAT officers in Florida, WSB-TV reported.

>> Watch the news report here

Carlton Mathis, 28, is accused of killing his infant son, who was found in a Dothan, Alabama, motel, WSB-TV reported. The boy, known as C.J., was 8 months old. Dothan police issued a warrant for Mathis’ arrest.

>> Read more trending news 

It is not clear when Mathis fled to Florida, but authorities said they found him holding a gun to a driver’s head, WSB-TV reported. Mathis was in Levy County, just south of Gainesville, at the time, authorities said.

At one point, Mathis tried to escape police but was shot by a SWAT officer, according to WSB-TV. He was taken to a hospital. 

In addition to his charges in Alabama and Florida, Mathis is also a person of interest in a gas station robbery, sheriff's deputies in Hall County, Georgia, told WSB-TV

Florida woman took car to body shop after deadly hit-and-run on freeway, police say

A 35-year-old Florida woman has been arrested in connection of a 2017 hit-and-run on I-95 that killed a young mother. 

>> Watch the news report here

Sherri Ward of Middleburg is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash

Jazmin Rodriguez, 25, was struck by a silver SUV at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2017, after her black Kia became disabled on I-95 southbound near Old St. Augustine Road, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news 

Rodriguez was struck while outside of her car and was able to tell first responders that she was hit by a silver SUV, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

The owner of a body shop was watching a news report about the crash that mentioned a silver SUV. The body shop owner believed that a car in his shop – a silver 2009 Honda Pilot – might be the vehicle involved, JSO said. 

The body shop owner told police that the SUV was dropped off by Ward soon after the crash. Ward told him that she had hit a construction barrel, but the owner told JSO that the Honda had damage that was inconsistent with her story. 

Black paint and markings – the same color as the car driven by Rodriguez – were found on the Honda Pilot, JSO said. 

JSO said they obtained cellphone records that showed Ward was traveling southbound on I-95 near Old St. Augustine Road at the time of the crash. Ward told a friend that she had struck a guardrail, JSO said. 

Read more here.

Affidavit: Golden State Killer suspect’s DNA obtained while he shopped at Hobby Lobby

search warrant and affidavit unsealed Friday in the Golden State Killer case gave new details as to how suspect Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.’s DNA was obtained, and those details included a visit to a popular arts and crafts store. 

Investigators followed DeAngelo, 72, to a Hobby Lobby store April 18 in Roseville, about three miles from his Citrus Heights home, and swabbed the door handle of his car as he shopped in the store, according to the affidavit. The highly-redacted court documents were unsealed in response to a motion filed by The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

DeAngelo, a former police officer, stands charged with a total of 12 murders. He is also accused of more than 50 rapes and over 100 burglaries in a spate of crimes in the 1970s and 1980s that earned the man responsible multiple nicknames, including the Original Night Stalker, the East Area Rapist and the Visalia Ransacker. 

The search warrant issued in the case covered a plethora of items, from clothing, jewelry and other mementos taken during the burglaries, rapes and homicides to driver’s licenses and photographs of the Golden State Killer’s victims. The warrant also sought any potential murder weapons, as well as any blood, hair or tissue found on those items. 

The warrant also sought any of DeAngelo’s property that could link him to the crimes, including clothing worn at those times and photos of the suspect through the years. DeAngelo was ordered to give fingerprints, saliva, blood, skin and bodily fluids, the warrant said. 

Police officials were also authorized to take photos of his body, particularly of his genitals, the document said

DeAngelo initially became a suspect in the cold cases after Paul Holes, a now-retired Contra Costa County investigator, uploaded the Golden State Killer’s DNA profile onto an open source ancestry website, where he found a similar profile belonging to the alleged killer’s distant relative. Once DeAngelo, through the database and other circumstantial evidence, became a prime suspect, Holes and other investigators began trying to secretly obtain his DNA. 

Read the unsealed search warrant and affidavit of Sacramento County homicide Detective Robert Peters below.

Two days after DeAngelo’s April visit to Hobby Lobby, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office’s crime lab returned DNA results on the swab from his car door, which court records said showed a mixture of three people contributed to the genetic material on the car door. 

The DNA of the person who contributed 47 percent of the material was identical to the profile of the killer in the March 16, 1980, double homicide of Lyman and Charlene Smith in Ventura County, the court documents said

Investigators on April 23 set out to get additional DNA samples from DeAngelo, this time at his home on Canyon Oak Drive Citrus Heights. Three days of surveillance indicated that DeAngelo was the only man seen at the home during that time frame, the affidavit said. 

When the home’s trash was put out by the curb, multiple items were taken and sent to the lab for DNA analysis. Lab technicians got a hit off a tissue from DeAngelo’s trash. 

The DNA results confirmed the previous test, indicating that the male source of the DNA was the killer in the Smith case, the affidavit said. Lyman Smith, a 43-year-old former prosecutor, and his wife, 33, were bludgeoned to death with a log from the home’s fireplace. Charlene Smith was also sexually assaulted.

Smith’s 12-year-old son found their bodies when he showed up to cut his dad’s grass the next day. 

DeAngelo was arrested the evening of April 24 and the news of his capture broke the following day. 

The DNA taken from Charlene Smith’s body had previously been matched to DNA in multiple other murder cases, including the August 1980 double homicide of Keith and Patrice Harrington, both 28, who were beaten to death in their Dana Point home; the February 1981 bludgeoning death of Manuela Witthuhn, 28, in Irving; and the May 1986 beating death of Janelle Cruz, 18, also in Irving. 

DeAngelo is also charged in Santa Barbara County in the Dec. 30, 1979, double slaying of Dr. Robert Offerman, 44, and his girlfriend, Dr. Debra Alexandria Manning, 35, inside Offerman’s condominium in Goleta. The couple’s killer broke in through a sliding glass door, tied them up and shot them to death. 

Santa Barbara County prosecutors have also filed charges against DeAngelo in the July 27, 1981, double slaying of Greg Sanchez, 27, and Cheri Domingo, 35, who were killed in Domingo’s home just blocks from where the Offerman-Manning homicides took place nearly two years before. Sanchez was shot and beaten to death, while Domingo was raped before she was bludgeoned. 

A semen stain found on a blanket at the Sanchez-Domingo scene matches the DNA profile found in the other cases, the affidavit said. The DNA also matched that found in several of the rape cases.

The first two homicides DeAngelo was charged with was the February 1978 shooting deaths of Brian and Katie Maggiore in Rancho Cordova, located in Sacramento County. The couple is believed to have stumbled upon their killer as he either prowled their neighborhood or burglaries a home. 

Brian Maggiore, 21, a military policeman and sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, is believed to have chased the prowler into a nearby backyard, where he was shot. Katie Maggiore, 20, was then shot. The couple’s dog, who they had been walking, was found in the swimming pool nearby. 

The couple’s slayings were tied to the East Area Rapist, in part, by a single pre-tied shoelace found in the yard where they were killed. The shoelace resembled ligatures used in prior rape cases, authorities said. 

The affidavit said that the neighborhood was also one targeted by the East Area Rapist and that in the weeks before the fatal shooting, residents had reported a number of break-ins, prowling incidents and lewd or hang-up calls at their homes. 

The East Area Rapist stopped targeting Rancho Cordova after the slayings and appeared to move on from Sacramento County after the April 1978 release of a composite drawing of a man suspected in the Maggiore slayings, the court documents said

>> Read more trending news

The unsealed affidavit also provided more detailed insight into DeAngelo’s background. 

Born in November 1945, DeAngelo grew up in the Sacramento area and attended Folsom High School, located just a few miles south of the infamous Folsom State Prison. He left the area in 1973 to become a police officer in Exeter, located about 250 miles south in Tulare County. 

Exeter is also just 20 minutes away from Visalia, where the first of the burglaries attributed to the Visalia Ransacker began the following March. The Ransacker’s activity culminated in the September 1975 attempted kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl. 

The girl’s father, who looked out a kitchen window and saw his daughter being led away, ran outside, where he was shot twice. The father, College of the Sequoias journalism professor Claude Snelling, stumbled back into the house and collapsed at the front door, where he died. 

Snelling’s death was attributed to the Ransacker after the bullets that killed him were linked to those fired in a previous Ransacker case. 

The affidavit pointed out that DeAngelo in 1974 attended the Kings County Public Safety Academy, which was affiliated with the college at which Snelling taught.  

DeAngelo has not been charged with Snelling’s slaying. He is being held without bond in the Sacramento County Jail. 

Police: Suspect in killing of Steven Pitt, 3 others, dies of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

A man suspected of killing four people in Arizona in the last week, including a high-profile forensic psychologist who worked on the JonBenet Ramsey case, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday morning as police closed in on his hotel room, according to Phoenix police.

>> Read more trending news

Scottsdale police said in a tweet around 7 a.m. local time that authorities were attempting to contact a suspect in the shootings at the Extended Stay Hotel in Scottsdale.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Vince Lewis said authorities heard gunshots from the suspect’s room on Monday morning as officers were evacuating rooms adjacent to his. When a tactical team entered the room, they found the man dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted wound, Lewis said.

>> Steven Pitt shooting death connected to at least 2 other killings: police

 He confirmed that authorities believe the man is behind a trio of deadly shootings that have claimed four lives in Phoenix and Scottsdale in recent days. 

Steven Pitt, a 59-year-old forensic psychologist who consulted on a number of high-profile cases, was shot outside his office Thursday in Phoenix. Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, on were shot Friday at the office of law firm Burt, Feldman and Grenier in Scottsdale, KNXV-TV reported. Early on Saturday, psychologist Marshall Levine was killed in his office in Scottsdale, according to KTRT.

>> Steven Pitt, forensic consultant in JonBenet Ramsey case, shot to death

Lewis declined to say Monday how the cases were connected or to delve into possible motives behind the attacks.

“I hope to have more information once we’re able to identify the suspect,” he said. 

Authorities believe the man responsible for the shootings acted alone, Lewis said.

Officials continue to investigate.

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