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October 2011 Archives

Two Arrested on Suspicion of Child Prostitution Using Backpage.com

Two people are accused of using the controversial website Backpage.com to pimp out a 15-year-old Arizona girl for child prostitution, reports ABC15 News.

Chad Walker reportedly forced the teenage girl into child prostitution for several months after she ran away from home to be with him. The girl claims Walker set up an ad on Backpage.com and made her schedule sexual appointments with men in different hotel rooms in Maricopa and Pinal counties. He would then collect the money outside the room after the encounters were over. Walker is also accused of sexually assaulting the girl multiple times.

Bibi Jones: A Tale of Baseball, Porn Stars and Prostitution?

One thing is clear from the recent Bibi Jones/MLB agent Terry Bross scandal - Bibi Jones likes baseball. The rest is all a matter of speculation.

Jones, a porn actress, recently went on a media spree after pictures of her and a New England Patriots player blew up on Twitter. During those broadcasts, she managed to let slip that a Phoenix agent would "kind of use me to get baseball players to sign him as an agent," reports CBS News.

Jones added in another interview that the undisclosed agent would take her to bars after Arizona Diamondbacks games in 2010, introducing her to players she would later hook up with.

Safe Trick-or-Treating: Halloween Safety Tips for Valley Parents

Scary shouldn't mean unsafe this Halloween. Keeping a few Halloween safety tips in mind will ensure that the only potential harm your trick-or-treater will face is a stomach-ache after consuming so much candy.

There are basic safety tips that children should know regardless of the holiday: always travel on sidewalks and paths not streets; cross at street corners and crosswalks; and never enter a stranger's home.

But there are also Halloween-specific safety tips Valley parents should teach their children before going out, such as: bring a flashlight in case there aren't streetlamps; never trick-or-treat alone; and wait for an adult to inspect all candy before eating.

Tucson Teacher Had Sex with Student; Guilty of Felony Sex Charge

A 33-year-old former Tucson teacher admitted to having sex with a 16-year-old student and pleaded guilty to one count of felony sexual conduct on Monday, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

Jennifer Lynn Whiting, who taught at Rincon High School, faces a minimum of one year in jail and probation to a maximum of eight years and nine months in prison at her sentencing hearing in December. She will also have to register as a sex offender.

UA Streaker Charged with Felony Criminal Impersonation

When University of Arizona Senior Jace Lankow planned his senior prank, he knew he was going to go all-out and ended up baring all in front of a cheering Arizona Stadium. Now, the University of Arizona streaker may face time in jail for criminal impersonation because he first pretended to be a referee in order to gain access to the field, according to Fox11 News.

With four seconds left in the first half, Lankow dropped his referee act and prepared for the prank he had planned months in advance for - streaking across the field during the Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins game. Lankow's stunt ended in a spectacular take-down by Deputy Matt Schilb in front of a national crowd. Before Schilb could tackle him, however, Lankow had already gained attention with his referee uniform-dropping sprint across the field.

Super Bowl Porn Hacker Pleads Guilty to Computer Tampering

For 37 seconds during the telecast of the 2009 Super Bowl held in Glendale, AZ, Tucson viewers saw a flash of flesh that was not attached to a football player. Instead, they were exposed to a pornography clip from “Wild Cherries 5” courtesy of Tucson man Frank Tanori Gonzalez. Two years later, the 39-year-old would plead guilty to two counts of computer tampering for the prank, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

Gonzalez’s acknowledgement of guilt is a result of a plea agreement with prosecutors. As part of the bargain, Gonzalez must serve three years’ probation and pay a $1,000 fine. If successful, the felony computer tampering charges will be dropped down to misdemeanors.

Mesa Hells Angels Member Guilty of Murder of Valley Woman

Last week, nearly a decade after the gruesome murder of a Valley woman, a member of the Mesa Hells Angels pleaded guilty to second degree murder, reports The Arizona Republic.

Kevin J. Augustiniak was originally indicted in 2003 on suspicion of murdering Cynthia Garcia in October 2001. Fifteen others were also implicated in the 43-count indictment. Garcia's body was found badly beaten and stabbed near Usery Pass in the southeast Valley.

Considering Missing Arizona Jury Duty? Think Again

Both the United States and the Arizona Constitutions guarantee the right to a trial by a jury comprised of your peers. Those chosen for this sacred civic duty, however, typically don’t see it in such bright and shiny terms. Instead, jury duty is usually regarded as a waste of time, taking people away from their daily duties at their jobs and with their families. But if you’re thinking of blowing off your duty as a juror, the consequences of missing Arizona jury duty will definitely make you want to think again.

Most jurisdictions have punishments for missed jury duty, such as monetary penalties of up to $1,000 and jail time that can last a few months. Jail time typically results if you have been found in contempt of court. Hindering a court’s procedures is a big no-no.

Chandler Police: Man Arrested on Assault Charge for Licking Woman

Usually, if someone commits an assault, images of the person hitting, striking or kicking another usually comes to mind. Martin Soto, on the other hand, wasn't arrested on an assault charge for a violent act; instead, police took him into custody on Friday for the sometimes innocuous act of licking, reports The Arizona Republic.

The 43-year-old is accused of licking a stranger's knee after she tripped and fell down a step. He then reportedly tried to hug her and lick her face, according to Chandler police. The victim was able to flee from Soto's not-so-loving embraces, and called the police.

Arrest Made in Tucson Sexual Assault Case of 93-Year-Old Victim

A decades-old Tucson sexual assault case involving a 93-year-old woman may finally have a resolution. With the help of DNA evidence, U.S. Marshals were able to arrest 48-year-old Claude Ranger on Wednesday for the brutal rape, reports the Associated Press.

The elderly victim, Mary Ellen Scott, was found beaten, robbed and sexually assaulted in her assisted living facility room in April 1993. Unfortunately, Scott died that November due to the lasting effects of her injuries and was never able to identify her attacker.

Recent Dog Attacks Shed Light on Phoenix, AZ Dog Bite Laws

If you are the owner of a canine, the recent dog attacks on victims in Surprise and Tucson raise the need for awareness about Arizona and Phoenix dog bite laws. Although you may think your beloved pet wouldn’t hurt a fly, he or she comes with responsibilities that could lead to civil liabilities or criminal punishments if not followed.

A Tucson dog owner was issued a criminal citation last Friday after his two pit bulls attacked and injured an 86-year-old man, the Associated Press reported. He was cited for 14 misdemeanor violations of city code including having a vicious or destructive animal, having a dog at large and having an animal that wasn’t vaccinated, licensed or wearing a tag. The victim is expected to recover from his injuries, but the two pit bulls were shot dead.

Retrial Sought for Johnathan Doody in Buddhist Temple Murders

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office is pursuing a retrial against Johnathan Doody, the man sentenced for the Buddhist temple murders in 1991, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review an appellate court’s decision to throw out his confession, reports azfamily.com.

Doody was sentenced to 281 years in prison for the death of six priests, a nun and two helpers during a robbery at the Wat Promkunaram temple near Phoenix. Since his sentence began in 1994, his attorneys have argued that his confession was coerced, and Doody was given inadequate Miranda warnings.

Toddler Shot and Killed During Suspected Mesa Home Invasion

A one-year-old toddler was shot and killed Monday morning in a suspected home invasion in Mesa that went horribly wrong, according to The Arizona Republic.

Two masked men attempted to enter an apartment in a Mesa complex around 7 a.m. when they were confronted by the toddler's grandmother, according to authorities. In the ensuing altercation, the toddler was fatally shot in the head by one of the men, Mesa police allege. The boy was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Jared Loughner to Stay in Tucson Pending Ninth Circuit Decision

Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner will remain in a Tucson federal prison for the time being, but it may be up to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine how long his stay will be. Prosecutors are adamant that Loughner return to Missouri for more psychological treatment, and the issue of his forced transfer has reached the appellate court's door again, reports the Associated Press.

Federal district court judge Larry Burns had ruled Monday to extend Loughner's commitment at a Springfield prison for four months. With the assistance of psychiatric treatment, the judge believed Loughner could be brought to competency for his trial. Loughner is currently charged with 49 felonies stemming from the January 8 shooting rampage that occurred outside a Tucson supermarket. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford was severely injured in the onslaught but has managed to survive her critical injuries. Six other people, however, were not so lucky.

Elizabeth Johnson Found Incompetent to Stand Trial...Again

The judge presiding over the Baby Gabriel trial has found accused Tempe mother Elizabeth Johnson incompetent to stand trial, reports The Arizona Republic. However, he gave doctors 60 days to once again try to prepare her for trial.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie has stated in the past that there is a “real issue as to whether or not she’s restorable. “This is the second time Johnson has been found incompetent to stand trial. Last year, she was ruled incompetent in June but found competent in September. The judge then ordered her to undergo another psychological evaluation in May of this year.

Donald Lapre, Phoenix Vitamin Pusher and Alleged Fraud, Dies

Authorities report that Donald Lapre, the disgraced Phoenix-based vitamin seller and alleged fraud, was found dead in his Florence prison cell on Sunday, reports The Arizona Republic. Lapre has been in federal custody since July on multiple charges of fraud, money-laundering and conspiracy stemming from his heavily-promoted business, the Greatest Vitamin in the World.

The pill pitchman and alleged fraudster faced 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, promotional money laundering and transactional money laundering. Lapre allegedly cheated hundreds of thousands of consumers and investors out of hefty commission checks that were promised in exchange for investing in his products.