mathis

Kenneth Mathis

Wral.com reports today that only 1 of the 20 inmates being released on October 29 will have official supervision, even though the group has more than 250 infractions while in prison for offenses like fighting and weapon possession. One inmate, Kenneth Mathis, has received 5 infractions since 2000, with the latest being an attempt to assault an inmate with sexual intent in 2005; that wasn’t his first sexual-related infraction.

One of the issues of concern is what’s going to happen when these inmates are released. They’ve spent 30-plus years in prison and only three – Alford Jones, James Pone and Manley Porter – have had any involvement in a pre-release program. Those three have participated in the Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which is the result of a 2005 state Senate amendment requiring at least 20 percent of eligible inmates to participate. An inmate who successfully completes the program is guaranteed release with parole.

For all of them, I think our community has to wait and see. They’re being released after 30 years into a society that has experienced significant technological developments, and into a society that has an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent. People with better skills and a clean rap sheet are having trouble getting hired. If these inmates, who have lived a sheltered three decades in a structured society, can’t find a job and can’t succeed from the start, will they turn back to crime? Some have commented that it’s only a matter of time until crimes are re-committed. I’m most worried about the sex offenders, for reasons described in an earlier post.

Prison is not about rehabilitation. Idealistically,  it is. Realistically, it’s not. There’s a huge debate about whether or not criminals can be rehabilitated, a debate I won’t begin to dig too far into here. But is the structure of our prisons causing the continuance of criminal activity? Joseph Edward Duncan, III is an intense, terrible criminal. A convicted criminal/suspected child sex offender and murderer, Duncan wrote in his blog about how society and the legal system always treated him like a sex offender and a criminal, even after he served his time. He blames society and the legal system for making him kill a family, kidnap and rape two children, killing one, before being caught.

Rehabilitation versus punishment is a life-long debate and a winner will never be determined. I believe there are some people who can never be rehabilitated, who should never be released from prison. Knowing that 20 people who committed some of the most terrible offenses are going to be released back into our society, 19 of which will not be supervised, most of which have had no transition or training to get back into the real world, is terrifying. I guess I should throw my money into the pool to see which will re-offend first, and just hope I’m not the victim.

In November last year, the North Carolina Court of Appeals filed an opinion in State of North Carolina v. Bobby E. Bowden that said a 1974 statute defined a life sentence as 80 years. It wasn’t significant to me at the time, but when the NC Supreme Court declined to overturn the decision last week, the ruling granted 20 hard-core violent criminals a substantial reduction in their life sentences.

From what I understand, Bowden argued that a life sentence was defined as 80 years and, in conjunction with the 1981 Fair Sentencing Act and his good behavior, he had already completed his life sentence. It was hard for me to quickly find anything describing in detail the Fair Sentencing Act, but I did come across a news article from October 1984 regarding the fairness of the law:

Depending on whom you ask, the Fair Sentencing Act established by the state legislature three years ago is either an abomination, a way to ensure that all convicted felons receive equal treatment or a vehicle to reduce prison overcrowding…

‘It’s consistent with the hope of sentencing in general – that everyone receives equal consideration,’ said state Rep. Harry E Payne, D-New Hanover, a lawyer. ‘But on the other side of that, no crime, no defendant, no victim, is the same as any other, and crime is not as homogenized as the Fair Sentencing Act presumes it to be.’

The article also says the law gives a credit of one day for each day served, halving a sentence for good behavior on top of “gain time” that can be earned at a rate of up to six days per month for working or exhibiting meritorious conduct. All of these little aspects added up to the Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of Bowden, opining that because Bowden committed the crime and was sentenced when these laws were in effect, the laws determine that he has served his life sentence in 36 years.

The ruling then effected other inmates who committed crimes and were sentenced while these laws were in effect, leading to the release of 20 violent criminals. The release is scheduled for October 29.

Below is a list of the criminals set for release, as well as information about the crimes they committed.

Bobby Bowden was convicted in December 1975 of two counts of first-degree murder. On August 7, 1975, Larry Lovett and Norma Ehrhart were shot and killed at the McArthur Road Seven-Eleven Store. Money had been taken from the floor safe. As Lovett lay dying from several gunshot wounds, he said “two black dudes” were responsible. Bowden was seen leaving the store before the victims were found. After the murder, Bowden and his accomplice admitted they were responsible for the crime. Bowden was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and was originally sentenced to death, but this was converted into two consecutive life sentences. Upon release on October 29, Bowden will have served 36 years, 8 months and 1 day of his consecutive life sentences.

Faye Brown was with two people on September 22, 1977, when she shot and killed State Trooper Guy Davis. Brown and her accomplices robbed the bank of about $6,000 and were stopped 15 minutes later for a routine traffic violation. Trooper Davis walked up to the car, where he was shot in the neck with a shotgun and killed almost instantly. All three were found hiding in a soybean field, and all three confessed to having taken part in the robbery and murder. All three were sentenced to death for first-degree murder, a sentence that was converted to life in prison. She will have served 32 years, 3 months and 21 days of her life sentence, and will have 20 years of federal parole to serve upon release.

Andrew Carter was an exterminator in 1977. He regularly serviced the home of Irene Alley, then on September 27,1977, returned to the home, sexually molested her, beat her and strangled her; he told interrogating officers he put a belt around her neck to stop her from screaming. Carter was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death in the gas chamber in 1978. When the jury announced the sentence, Carter fainted, his wife cried and his sister emotionally tried to reach for him (from this article). The seventh juror, upon seeing the emotions, said she did not agree with the sentence, and jurors could not reach an unanimous decision after that point. The judge sentenced Carter to life in prison. He will have served 31 years, 8 months, and 8 days of his life sentence upon his release.

Willard Warren was arrested on February 17, 1975 for public drunkenness, and allegedly bragged to another public drunk about how he murdered Leo Jack Clark, a 64-year-old man found dead in an abandoned building. The drunk testified against Warren, saying Warren and three others were drinking in the building when one left to get more alcohol, and Warren and the other man, Harold Warren, decided to rob and kill Clark. Harold hit Clark with a 2×4, and Willard used a knife. The jury convicted him of first-degree murder and he was sentenced to death in the gas chamber in December of that year. Before the execution, his conviction was overturned and he got a new trial, during which he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He will have served 33 years, 3 months and 14 days of his life sentence.

Dewey Gray forced his way into his victim’s home armed with a gun and a knife and dragged her outside where he raped, beat and stabbed her. He was convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree burglary and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was a prior death row inmate whose sentence was converted to a life sentence. In 2001 he was eligible for parole, but the Charlotte Citizens Parole Accountability Committee fought his release, saying he and 14 other eligible criminals were public safety threats.

John Montgomery was sentenced to 2 years in prison for felony breaking and entering and larceny in 1968. He escaped from the Guilford Correctional Center and raped a 15-year-old girl. Montgomery will have served 36 years, 6 months and 12 days of his life sentence upon release, at which time he will have to register as a sex offender.

Alford Jones was convicted of first degree murder the year after he shot William B. Turner, Sr. in the chest with a shotgun during an attempted robbery. Mr. Turner died three weeks after the shooting. Jones will have served 33 years and 18 days of his life sentence upon his release.

Omega Perry was a prior death row inmate whose sentence was reduced to life in prison. His victim and her children were sleeping when he awakened her, knocked her down when she tried to get away, and raped her multiple times while threatening and assaulting her with a knife. He was convicted of second-degree rape. He will have served 32 years, 7 months and 22 days of his life sentence upon release.

James Pone murdered Neil Purdie, a taxi driver, on January 20, 1978.  Pone was 16-years-old at the time of the murder, and he confessed less than 24 hours after the crime. Purdie was beaten and shot in the abdomen, and his body was found beside his taxi. Pone pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He will have served 31 years, 6 months and 5 days of his life sentence.

Willie Womble killed Roy Brent Bullock on November 18, 1975 during the commission of a robbery. Bullock was shot twice in the mouth and once in the chest, and died on the way to the hospital. Womble was convicted of first-degree murder. He will have served 32 years, 5 months and 23 days of his life sentence.

William Baggett was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of James Williams on October 24, 1976. He will have served 41 years and 25 days of his life sentence.

John Alford raped his victim during a robbery on January 28, 1978. He was convicted of first-degree rape. He will have served 31 years, 6 months and 2 days of his life sentence.

James Johnson murdered John Farley Hall on February 19, 1975. He was originally sentenced to death for his first-degree murder conviction, but his sentence was converted to life in prison. He will have served 31 years, 7 months and 19 days of his life sentence.

Manley Porter committed a robbery on September 1, 1976, during which time he also raped his victim. He was convicted of first-degree rape with armed robbery. He will have spent 33 years, 5 months and 18 days of his life sentence.

Kenneth Mathis was convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to death after forcing a woman into a wooded area while she was walking home from work and raped her on Valentine’s Day, 1976. His death sentence was converted to a life sentence. He will have served 31 years, 8 months and 16 days of his life sentence.

John Martin was convicted of second-degree rape for a March 31, 1977 rape and was sentenced to life in prison. He will have served 32 years, 1 month and 21 days of his life sentence.

Charles Lynch broke into his victim’s home when she was gone, waited for her and assaulted her, intending to rape her. He was also a suspect in 9 other assaults. He was convicted of second-degree burglary and assault with intent to commit rape. He will have served 30 years, 6 months and 17 days of his life sentence.

Steven Wilson abducted and raped a 9-year-old girl, and was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and first-degree rape. He will have served 31 years, 9 months and 15 days of his life sentence.

Raymond Dull was a prior death row inmate who abducted his victim at knifepoint, forcer her to drive him to a location where he raped her, and then returned her to where she was abducted. He was convicted of first-degree rape. He will have served 33 years and 8 days of his life sentence.

Cecil Morrison abducted a 12-year-old girl while she was walking home from school, forced her into a wooded area and raped her at knifepoint. He was convicted of second-degree rape. He will have served 32 years, 1 month and 29 days of his life sentence.

Matthew SillimanWRAL is reporting that Wake County authorities have identified the body found Tuesday night as 18-year-old Matthew Josiah Silliman, an Apex teen who was declared missing on November 26.

All four teenagers facing murder charges – Allegra Rose Dahlquist, Ryan Patrick Hare, Aadil Shahid Khan, and Drew Logan Shaw – were denied bond today. They are being held in the Wake County jail. District Court Judge Jane Gray informed the four that they could face life in prison if convicted of murder. At one point, News and Observer reports, Assistant District Attorney Susan Spurlin corrected Judge Gray after she told Hare he may be eligible for the death penalty; the crime allegedly occurred November 30, 3 days before his 18th birthday. People under 18 cannot be sentenced to death.

A lawyer for Khan said the teen feels “terribly sorry” for Silliman’s family.

Meanwhile, nearly two-dozen peers posted on Hare’s Facebook page, some wishing him a begrudging happy birthday, while others expressed their disappointment. It also seems the photos added most recently to his Facebook page – mid- to late-Novemberish – have been removed from his profile.

I can only feel for Silliman’s family and friends, and can only question – as so many are – why this crime has occurred. It is not only the time for justice, but also the time for us to determine why this happened to prevent it from happening again.

More updates to come.

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Josiah Silliman was reported missing November 26 through a Silver Alert, a system similar to the Amber Alert but used primarily for adults with mental impairments. Most Silver Alerts apply to older people, and most are canceled within a few hours, making this alert particularly interesting. He was last seen at 1017 Oakgate Court, Apex, NC, wearing clothing described as “gothic”.

SillimanToday, WRAL is reporting that four teens have been charged with murder after a body was found in an unoccupied mobile home on Olive Branch Lane in New Hill, NC. The murder allegedly took place on November 30, and the body hasn’t been identified, but Silliman’s parents received a visit from the police this morning. The News and Observer is reporting that the teens were defiant when charged, with one laughing and one asking to speak with his girlfriend.

The four teens are Allegra Rose Dahlquist (17), Ryan Patrick Hare (18), Aadil Shahid Khan (17), and Drew Logan Shaw (16). Murder charges against the four are expected this afternoon.

Dahlquist

Dahlquist

According to their Facebook pages, Dahlquist and Hare are in a relationship. Dahlquist and Khan are seniors at Apex High School and Hare is a senior at Panther Creek High School. Under “Favorite Quotes” on Hare’s page, he posted this: “‘Ryan, you leave a path of destruction that always ends with you seeing your girlfriend.’ -Chris Goodarzi”. December 3 was Hare’s 18th birthday. While I am currently unable to find a Facebook page for Shaw, Silliman is listed as a friend of the other three.

KhanKhan’s Facebook page is private, but his MySpace page is not, though his last login was in February. In his About Me section, he wrote:

“i am an anarchist…i believe in absolute freedom it is usually hard to place me in a social group simply because i dont really fit in one…ppl have insulted me, made fun of me, but i proudly say that i am something that they’ll never be…and they can all go to hell because i could care less about them and their sorry ass lives… i usually get along with people, or end up hating them for all eternity (this has only really happened once…i usually tolerate ppl pretty well)…i don’t get into fights for a good reason…”

Underneath that, he has a long sidebar with online test results that say how evil he is (80 percent in one, 90 percent in another) and he listed Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books.

Hare

Hare

Hare also has a MySpace presence. His last login was December 2, and his status was, “RYAn [Trying to heal] a little tired, a little stressed, a little bored, a little hurt, a little depressed, a little sore, still alot in love.” Under an animation of an atomic bomb exploding, he has the following quote: “I can imagine a world of love, peace, and no wars. Then I imagine myself attacking that place because they would never expect it.”

Hare had a brush with the law earlier this year, when nearly a dozen Apex police officers entered his home and seized ammunition and a firearm after he was overheard saying he was going to blow up a school bus with a C-4 explosive. The search came one month after he was reprimanded for shooting a school bus with a paintball gun.

Dahlquist’s MySpace page was set to private, just like her Facebook page. She lists her city of residence as New Hill, NC, and a man living next door to the mobile home where the crime took place siad Dahlquist lived in the mobile home with family about three years ago, but left after three months. He also said he had seen Dahlquist and several teen boys in the area from time to time.

Shaw

Shaw

If the murder charges are connected to Silliman’s disappearance, this case just became more intriguing. It’s not too unusual for an emotional teen to disappear for a bit, but for him to still be missing a week later and for a body to turn up that leads police to his parents is rare. Seeing how this case unfolds will be interesting, and while it would be devastating for four teens to have killed a friend, Silliman’s family deserves to have closure if that is indeed what happened.

Update – 3:47pm

Sheriff Donnie Harrison has said a tip from the Apex Police Department led them to the trailer in New Hill. The cause of death will not be determined until an autopsy is performed.

In the News and Observer article linked above, Thomasi McDonald updated the article to include a quote from a neighbor that he saw lights on in the unoccupied trailer last week, but didn’t call police because he wanted to mind his own business.

On Silliman’s Facebook page, as one commenter on WRAL.com pointed out, Silliman posted a photo on January 30 of a boy who looks Middle Eastern and who is dressed up as a suicide bomber. He tagged Khan in the photo, and on November 17 said he found it at Khan’s parent’s house, and Khan responded that he thought he hid the photo. This is most probably a joke, and adds to the confusion about why these teenagers would murder a friend, if they are found responsible.


While looking more intoDahlquist the charged teens, I found Allegra Dahlquist and her mother own a pet sitting business, Hoof and Paw Petsitting, LLC. On the website, she writes that she and her mother founded the business in 2005, and one page contains photos of her with a dog and her riding horses. Two customers posted favorable reviews on the business’ Yahoo! Local page.

From the accounts I’ve read, Dahlquist seemed to be a happy girl, and for a teenage girl to co-found a business with her mother, they must have had a good relationship. I can’t imagine what went wrong for her to earn a murder charge.

Three friends have wished Hare a happy birthday on his Facebook page today. For him to spend his 18th birthday facing a murder charge…well, it sure is a way to spend his first day as an adult.

I’ll be updating as more information becomes available.

Update – 5:30pm

Steve Huff over at the True Crime Report picked up on the story, finding Khan’s YouTube account and several other pieces of information. He’s a wonderful true crime writer, so if you’re looking for some more in depth information, I’d recommend his site.

A judge today allowed for the release of search warrants in the Eve Carson murder investigation. Links to the search warrants are below.

From the beginning, I was worried this was going to turn it to be a by-the-book crime: a guy, maybe two, get brave and break the law, then brag about it to someone, get caught and are handed an adequate punishment. I think Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. both deserve death, the most horrible death allowed, but I won’t go down that road.

One of the search warrants I read today said some evidence requested was Pubic hair combings, 50 pubic hairs, 50 head hairs, blood, and saliva and cheek scrapings from Atwater, who she was in the back seat with. A warrant also says police have probable cause to believe “sexual assault of an unknown nature occurred,” though neither Lovette nor Atwater has been charged with such an assault. I think the autopsy report is telling on this issue, and is scheduled for release on Monday (June 30).

According to the warrants, both men admitted to a confidential witness (CW) that they entered Carson’s home, forced her into the backseat with Atwater. Investigators have hinted that Carson was alive and in the backseat of her car when a photograph was taken of one of the suspects withdrawing money from Carson’s credit card (photo one below). She was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds from multiple guns. Her bank account showed the suspects withdrew $1,400 from her bank account over two days.

Links to search warrants
:
Warrant One
Warrant Two
Warrant Three
Warrant Four
Warrant Five
Warrant Six

Photo One

It is believed that Carson was alive in the backseat at the time this photo was taken at an area ATM.

**Updated 7:15p.m., 3/9**

A beautiful young woman, 22-year-old Eve Marie Carson was a senior, a Morehead-Cain scholar and the Student Body President at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. As a political science and biology major, she had aspirations of attending medical school, and spent Spring 2006 studying abroad in Cuba and Ecuador. She was originally from Athens, Georgia.

Today, she was identified as an apparent random shooting victim who died yesterday morning in the Hillcrest neighborhood.

Police were called to the neighborhood before dawn after reports of gunfire. Carson was shot multiple times, including at least once in the head. She did not have any identification on her, and her 2005 blue Toyota Highlander with Georgia license plate AIV 6690 is missing. There have been no arrests.

The Chancellor released a statement, calling for a gathering to grieve today at 3 p.m.

It is obvious that Carson had a tremendous impact on the UNC community. Her biography is extensive and exemplary, and YouTube has several videos from Carolina Week that feature her during her election campaign. One male student, after admitted attempts to woo Carson, set up a Facebook group to win a date with her through a charity auction.

UNC has suffered a great loss, one that will be hard to recover from. My condolences to all.

Anyone with information about case is asked to call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760.

Update

Chapel Hill Police have released the following photos of a person of interest/suspect:

The person(s) in the photos attempted to use Eve Carson’s ATM card, though authorities are not releasing the time they were used. Initially, police said there was only one person in the car, believed to be Carson’s. However, the Raleigh Chronicle is reporting there may be a second person in the backseat. Using an enhanced color photo, an investigator determined this from the following photo:

Some message boards, one at courttv.com and at websleuths.com, have rumored that the girlfriend of the suspect in the photo has come forward, saying he was just released from jail and will kill, though this has not been confirmed.

There is also speculation that his hat could signify a gang, but more research is needed.

These photos are good photos, and it should only be a matter of time until this person is caught.

Serial rapists commit two or more crimes on unrelated victims at different times. They usually begin their crimes more cautiously, and get more and more bold as their confidence in their abilities to commit their crimes increases. Serial rapists differ from spree rapists, who usually commit several rapes over a very short period of time (for example, Omar Sharpe).

Fayetteville authorities are reporting that there is a serial rapist in the area after reports of three rapes in the area in the last 18 months. The suspect is also linked to a series of peeping tom incidents throughout 2004. Police are not confirming how they have linked the rapes, but believe the suspect stalked the victims in preparation for the attacks.

A 23-year-old woman was jogging near the Ramsey Street and Oates Drive area, was attacked from behind and raped in August 2007. In February 2007, a 45-year-old woman was sleeping when the suspect broke into her house, woke her up and raped her. A third rape occurred seven months later, when a 21-year-old woman’s apartment was broken into, and she was raped.

On January 26 of this year, a sexual assault occurred when a woman living on the same street where one of the previous rapes occurred was attacked. Between 2:15 and 3:15 a.m., a suspect broke into the home of a 29-year-old woman and sexually assaulted her.

The suspect was wearing a dark clothes: black shoes, dark jeans and a dark hooded sweatshirt with “Notre Dame” across the chest. This last attack has not been connected to the previous rapes, but police are looking into the possibility.

With the media attention these cases are receiving, every woman needs to be on the lookout. Police have released this information about the suspect:

* White or Hispanic male
* Early 20s or 30s
* Between 5-foot-8 and 6-foot-3
* Medium, slightly muscular or athletic build
* Close-cut, or shaven dark hair

In a related case in Reno, Nevada, Brianna Denison’s body was found yesterday; it was confirmed that it was her body today. Denison disappeared January 20 from a friend’s house. She was strangled.

Her attacker has been linked to several other rapes and sexual assaults in the area from DNA found on the pillow Denison was using the night she disappeared:

* On October 22, a University of Nevada, Reno student was attacked from behind by a white male, who forced her to the ground in the Brian Whalen Parking Garage on campus. Some reports have said that parking garage is where campus police officers park their vehicles. The victim said the suspect held a black-and-silver handgun to her head while assaulting her.

* November 13: a female was battered and sexually groped in the 400 black of College Drive

* December 16: a female was battered and kidnapped from the 1400 block of North Virginia Street, sexually assaulted and returned home

* January 19: an unknown suspect unsuccessfully attempted to break into the home of the December victim

* Jan. 20: Denison goes missing from a friend’s home. Her body is found February 15.

All of the above-mentioned crimes, with the exception of the October rape that has not definitively been linked to the same suspect, occurred between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The suspect in the Reno case is described as a while male between 28 and 40 years old with a long face and square chin, and facial hair between one-quarter and one-half-inch long. He had brown hair, and was taller than 5 foot 6 inches but not excessively so. His body build was strong but not significantly muscular. He had an “innie” belly button and a shaved pubic region.

Sources: Nevada Sagebrush, News14.com, Fayetteville Observer.

While this is not a crime that occurred in Raleigh, I feel it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Not much is known about what happened to Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, though authorities are now saying they have substantial evidence that she is dead and buried somewhere in Onslow County. They do not know where her body is, or if the baby was born, or who the father of the child is. I’ve pasted a timeline of her case below.

There’s much to be said about her case. Lauterbach accused a superior officer, 21-year-old Cpl. Marine Cesar Armando Laurean, of rape, but the investigation had gone sour. The police have named Laurean a suspect in this case, and he currently can’t be located.

Recently, Lauterbach’s stepmother said she was a compulsive liar and bipolar. I’m wondering if this had anything to do with the investigation not turning out in favor of Lauterbach.

This is all just pure speculation, but if Laurean is the father of the child, and denies sexually assaulting Lauterbach, the child’s birth may be detrimental to his side of the story. The fact that Laurean has disappeared does not make him look good. And if this is true, I would say the Naval investigators did a poor job in looking at the allegations and in thinking Laurean was not a flight risk.

To read the search warrants in the case, go here.

Despite everything, this is yet another tragic case. More to come.

Timeline

December 14: Lauterbach’s stepmother, Mary Lauterbach, said she had a heated telephone conversation with her about putting the baby up for adoption. This is the last time anyone has heard from her.

December 15: Lauterbach purchases a one-way bus ticket to El Paso, Texas. The ticket has never been used.

December 19: Lauterbach is reported missing by her stepmother, who tells the police department that Lauterbach is 8 months pregnant and bi-polar, and had a history of lying.

December 20: Lauterbach’s cell phone is found near the main gate at Camp Lejeune. Her roommate, Marine Sgt. Daniel Durham, is brought in for questioning, though he is not a subject.

December 24: An unidentified white male attempted to use Lauterbach’s ATM card at the Marine Federal Credit Union. He attempted to cover the ATM’s security camera with a rag.

December 26: Lauterbach misses a prenatal care appointment.

January 7: Lauterbach’s car is found at a bus station near Camp Lejeune.

January 11: Authorities say Lauterbach is dead and buried somewhere in Onslow County, though they don’t know where. Laurean is a suspect, but authorities cannot find him.

Update, 3:30 p.m.

Authorities have found what they believe to be Lauterbach’s remains in a fire pit in the backyard of Laurean’s residence. The remains are skeletal, charred, and dental records have been sent to confirm it is Lauterbach’s remains. The remains of a fetus were also found.

Police were tipped off to the body by Laurean’s wife, who found a letter from Laurean saying Lauterbach came to his place and cut her own throat. There was also a massive amount of blood on one of the walls, as well as some blood spatters on the ceiling and in the garage. It appeared as if someone had tried to clean the blood and paint over it.

Forgive me if I’m not buying Laurean’s side of the story, especially since he hasn’t been seen since 4 a.m. yesterday. An arrest warrant has now been issued for him.

Lauterbach had a private MySpace page, in which she last logged in on November 3. But she also had an old MySpace page where she last logged in in March, about 9 months ago, around the same time she became pregnant. It has some information about her, such as likes and dislikes.

Laurean also had a MySpace page, but it seems to have been cleared out. He last logged in on October 30.

There were several Facebook pages set up to help find Lauterbach, and some posted their memories of her. Yesterday, one girl wrote:

My best friend and I met Maria one weekend ths past October in Camp LeJeune. We came down to see some friends of ours and Maria, at that time, had lived in the barracks that our friends lived in and was friends with them also. I personally thought Maria was a very nice and welcoming girl, I had talked to her about her thoughts on being a female in the Marine Corps because at the time, I was in the process of making my decision to join. I just recently joined as an officer, and some of the things she said to me during our conversation that night helped me in my decision. We also talked about our fathers, she had told me that her father was a Master Sergeant and my father is a Master Gunnery Sgt, so we laughed and joked around about that together. She had also mentioned her rape to my friend and I, and by looking at her, you could tell she had a little stomach on her. My best friend and I found Maria to be a girl who had been emotionally drained and looking for someone to befriend her. My best friend and I gave her our numbers and told her that if she ever needed to talk, to just give us a call. Wednesday night when i saw her on Fox News Channel, I was in shock and disbelief. I told myself “that can’t be the girl we met at LeJeune, it just can’t be”. Then yesterday when they released more pictures of her, I knew it was the same person. All of the new information released today just absolutely breaks my heart. She was an extremely friendly person and did not deserve anything that allegedly happened to her, including her prior rape. My thoughts and prayers are continuously with her family and friends. Semper Fi.

A horrible ending to the story. Hopefully this man, Laurean, will be caught soon. He’s not someone who needs to be running away.

Photos from Wral.com

If all is to be believed, Stephen Scott Thornton was a 45-year-old white male, a Texan, and a survivor of thyroid cancer. How he ended up in Wake County, N.C., I don’t know. But news reports today say Stephen Thornton, who also goes by the alias Scott Monaco, was killed during a drug raid at a home in North Raleigh.

I haven’t found much about Stephen, though the News and Observer wrote that as of yet he has not been identified as a suspect in the two-month long investigation of illegal growing of marijuana. He was identified by fingerprints.

While the police were conducting their raid, one officer, Sgt. Ronnie Byrd, was shot in the leg. He has been released from WakeMed. It is still not clear who shot whom, though a neighbor said he heard four or five gunshots and screaming.

The house where the raid was conducted is 5401 Alpine Drive, and has been a rental home for several years. According to Wake County Real Estate Data, the owner of the home resides in Florida, and the deed was transferred to her name in 2002.

So who exactly is Stephen Scott Thornton?

Well, googling his name provides a post on the Texans for Medical Marijuana website, where the man I’m assuming is the Stephen Scott Thornton in question admitted to growing his own medical marijuana since having his thyroid gland removed 10 years ago. He wrote that smoking and growing marijuana has helped him “go from a 145-pound weakling to a 180-pound healthy man,” and he has helped other cancer patients by giving them marijuana, as well.

The post, last updated on September 28, 2006, also describes how he recently got busted, first by Collin County Police and then by the ATF. He wrote that he expected a two-three year federal sentence, in part because he owned a .9mm handgun.

“If I do not plead guilty I could easily get ten years or more prison sentence since I also owned a 9-mm pistol. By pleading guilty I expect a 2-3 year federal sentence. The feds wanted me to narc on the cancer patients I provide with marijuana but I would only narc on myself.”

His account of the incident, however, differs from a press release about the case from the Wylie Public Information Office. The release says:

“On May 19 at approximately 9:06 pm, Wylie Police Officers responded to a neighbor disturbance involving weapons in the 1200 block of Silene Court in northwest Wylie. Officers subsequently arrested Stephen Scott Thornton, 43-year-old white male, for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Thornton was transported to the Collin County Jail and a search warrant was obtained for his residence to search for the weapon that was used in the offense. As Wylie Officers executed the warrant, they observed in plain view, a large quantity of marijuana in the residence.”

So Stephen’s story on the pro-medical marijuana website sounds a bit different from what police said happened. Though really, it may be impossible to know the truth.

A bit of digging found me at Collin County’s Case History service, where I found case 366-81652-05 (search by name), Stephen’s still-open case of assault with a deadly weapon, complete with blatant notification of his outstanding warrant. It details the various events of the case from August 2005 through July 2007, in which the motion for counsel withdrawal was approved.

Stephen is also still on the exhaustive list of active warrants, found here (search “Thornton”).

While Wake County police did not say if medical marijuana was found in the search warrant execution, one officer has said he saw marijuana plants inside of the house. The shooting is currently being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation.

More as it becomes available.

Update: 1/5, 4:00 p.m.

A neighbor of Stephen’s, 71-year-old Richard Walden, said he was outside when the raid was occurring. He told the News and Observer, “Then I heard someone screaming, ‘Get away from me! Get off my property!’ The next thing I heard was a banging sound, like an aluminum ladder leaned up against a home.” It’s safe to assume the banging sounds were gunshots.

I have two big concerns at the moment.

One: Did Stephen know these were cops? Ever since the Peyton Strickland case, my big concerns have been whether law enforcement officials make it known that they are in fact law enforcement officials. From my standpoint, I see a group of armed guys coming towards me, I don’t just stand there and take it. And it’s easy for law enforcement officials to assume the worst.

Two: This was a “special response team” deployed for a search warrant – why was that necessary? I don’t know much about drug raids or the standard precautions, but a search warrant doesn’t mean guilt. So, assuming this is unusual, which it may very well not be, why were several armed men executing a search warrant in this way?

Many, many questions in this case.

Authorities today were seen carrying marijuana plants out of the home, and said they’ve found drug paraphernalia. I’m interested to see if it was all marijuana related, especially considering Stephen’s claim in his post that it was medicinal.

At this point I’m assuming Stephen was the only one in the house, as nothing has indicated otherwise. Sheriff Donnie Harrison has said the officials made a forced entry into the house. Who shot first, while maybe perceived as trivial, is an important fact to uncover, at least to me. In North Carolina, someone is permitted to use force (ie, a handgun) against someone is breaking into a home (though a few law enforcement friends of mine have always said to make sure that the intruder falls into the house). Keeping that in mind, if the law enforcement failed to identify themselves as such, Stephen’s response was justified.

Though I don’t know what went down, and probably won’t for a while. It’s not fair at this point to say who did what, so I guess it’s the just-wait-and-see game for a bit.

Update: 1/8

Reports are now saying authorities confiscated 43 pot plants (“green vegetable material”) as well as chemical lights, from Thornton’s home. In all, 45 items were taken.

Apparently, Wake County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board officers received a tip that he was making and selling marijuana, and they did surveillance on the house for two months before the raid. Authorities checked the trash on January 3 and found marijuana stems and plant material, which tested positive for marijuana.

Another report was more descriptive about the search warrant: “Among the items seized were 43 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, four plastic bags of what appeared to be marijuana, soil additives, grow lights, plant-growing chemicals, a VHS tape entitled ‘Frontline: War on Marijuana’ and another entitled ‘Pot of Gold.’ Officers also seized books and magazines on growing marijuana and books described as anti-government, according to the warrant.”

It’s interesting to see how “anti-government” books were a factor in this.

Also, the US Marshal’s Service had a full extradition order to return him to Dallas when he was arrested. This makes me wonder why they needed to fingerprint him to identify him.

One interesting note in the above-linked story is that Sheriff Donnie Harrison didn’t say who shot first or whether Thornton was shot by a deputy. The choice of words is interesting – he “declined” to say. Does this mean he knows? Hopefully this won’t be kept hush-hush for too much longer.

I’m in Charlotte for the Holiday break and felt like writing, so thought I’d tell Kyle Fleischmann’s story.

At 2:30 a.m. on Friday, November 9, security cameras show Kyle Fleischmann leaving Buckhead Saloon in uptown Charlotte at about 2:20 a.m. He has not been seen since.


His sister received a call from his cell at 2:19 a.m., one minute before leaving the bar, then he called two friends: one, friend, Daniel Scagnelli, at 3:28 a.m. and the other, his roommate Bruce, at 3:29 a.m. Kyle didn’t leave any messages and his phone was dead by morning. But reports have said the pings from his last cell phone calls hit a tower at 10th St. and Seigle Ave. He did not leave any messages.

His vehicle was not returned, and he did not show up to work later Friday. His debit card and coat were left at the bar, and those involved are assuming he does not have cash.

At 10 p.m. on Nov. 9, a missing person’s report was filed. There is a $25,000 reward for information about where Kyle is or about what happened the night he disappeared.

Since his disappearance, friends and family have organized search parties and created a non-profit organization, the Kyle Fleischmann Foundation. They’ve done a great job of getting the word out, with his story being told as far away as Los Angeles and hitting national news.

This is Kyle’s MySpace – from his “About Me” section (“Just like Shakira, my hips don’t lie.”) and pictures, he seems like the kind of person who was out to live life just to live it. It’s also been revealed that his mother, whom he called every day, was to have breast cancer surgery last week, and it isn’t like him not to be there.

This is quickly becoming a confusing, but not helpless, case. While the last pings on Kyle’s cell were from the tower at 10th and Seigle, I don’t know how far away the tower reaches – as in, what is the radius of the tower, how far away do you have to be to ping it? This could be important – was he calling from outside of the bar, or from outside of a hotel, like some have rumored his intentions were?

A thread on CourtTV.com has said Kyle may have been heading to a party at a Holiday Inn, or may have realized he left his belongings in the bar after it had closed, or some other similar situation. In using Google Maps, I found there is a Holiday Inn within one block of the Buckhead Saloon. I hope this has been checked out.

There haven’t been any leads yet. I may run downtown tomorrow and take some pics, which I’ll post if I do. Below is some information about Kyle:

Description:
Height: 6′ even
Weight: about 180 pounds
Eye Color: green eyes
Hair: brown


He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and black dress shoes. His hair was gelled and probably looked a little darker than his natural color.

If you have any information about Kyle, call Crimestoppers – 704.334.1600.