Category Archives: forensics

JUSTICE! Trump Administration reopens Emmett Till murder case that helped inspire civil rights movement

EMMETT TILL

The federal government has reopened the murder case of Emmett Till, a black teen whose grisly murder in Mississippi more than 60 years ago after being accused of grabbing a white woman shocked the nation and helped prompt the civil rights movement.

The Justice Department, in a report to Congress in March, said it was reopening the investigation into the 1955 murder due to “new information” it did not detail, the Associated Press reports.

Till was 14 years old when Carolyn Donham, a 21-year-old shopkeeper in the town of Money, said the youth grabbed and whistled at her. Three days later, the battered body of Till, nicknamed “Bobo,” was found in the Tallahatchie River.

Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, requested her son’s casket be left open for the funeral so the public could see how badly he had been beaten. More than 100,000 African-Americans paid their respects.

“In memory of #EmmettTill and thousands of other black men, women & children lynched, we must finally pass anti-lynching law,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted Thursday.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Donham’s then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his brother J.W. Milam were charged with murder but acquitted a few weeks later. Look magazine later published an account of the killing they said they obtained from Bryant and Milam. In the article, the men admit beating Till and tossing him in the river, weighed down with a 74-pound cotton gin fan.

Bryant died in 1994. The federal government reopened the case in 2004 but closed it in 2007 with no further charges being filed.

But Till’s death made news again last year with publication of “The Blood of Emmett Till.” The book, written by Timothy B. Tyson, quotes Donham admitting in 2008 that she wasn’t telling the truth when she made the claims. Donham, now 84, lives in North Carolina.

Simeon Wright, who said he was an eyewitness to Till’s abduction, died in September. He said he was present when Till wolf-whistled at Bryant’s wife at the store.

Wright, in his book “Simeon’s Story,” says that days later, on Aug. 28, 1955, Wright and Till were sleeping when Milam and Bryant entered with guns. He said his mother begged the men not to take Till, even offering them money.

“They had come for Bobo,” Wright wrote. “No begging, pleading or payment was going to stop them.”

The men took Till away, and Wright never saw him again.

“I must have stayed in the bed for hours, petrified,” Wright wrote.

, USA TODAY

Where is Margaret Corbin? Hunt for Molly Pitcher Revolutionary War hero

Molly Pitcher

From atop a makeshift fort high above the Hudson River, a young woman aimed a cannon at a mass of Hessian soldiers swarming up the steep, rocky slopes and fired. Her husband, a Patriot soldier, was just killed in battle and she stepped in to take his place.

Her name was Margaret Corbin.

At 24 years old, “Captain Molly” became one of the first women to fight in the American Revolution — and later the first woman to receive a life-long pension from Congress, making her the first female veteran of the United States. For decades, Corbin’s grave site at West Point — a granite monument within a sacred space of green — was honored by all who passed through the storied cemetery.

“She deserves to have the burial that she earned with her military service at the Battle of Fort Washington.”

– Jennifer Minus, Daughters of the American Revolution

Then, a shocking discovery.

An archeological exam of the bones buried beneath showed they were not Corbin’s but instead those of an unidentified man. Now, the Daughters of the American Revolution is on a mission to find Corbin’s remains and bring the American heroine to her rightful resting place.

“She was a wounded warrior, a prisoner of war and a disabled veteran,” said Jennifer Minus, a DAR official who first learned about Corbin when she was a West Point cadet in the early ‘90s.

“She deserves to have the burial that she earned with her military service at the Battle of Fort Washington,” Minus said. “We are determined to find her.”

Corbin’s heroic story began on Nov. 16, 1776, when she accompanied her husband’s military unit at the Battle of Fort Washington in northern Manhattan, cooking, washing and attending to the injured soldiers.

John Corbin, a cannoneer, was among 2,900 American soldiers defending the fort from some 9,000 British and Hession troops as General George Washington watched from across the Hudson River.

When Corbin’s husband was killed by enemy fire, the young woman sprang into action. Well-versed in how to operate a cannon, she assumed an artilleryman’s position until she was hit by three grapeshot in the jaw, left shoulder and breast, leaving her disabled for the rest of her life.

Greatly outnumbered, Colonel Robert Magaw, who was commanding the fort, surrendered to the British. Corbin and some 2,800 other Patriot soldiers then became prisoners of war, according to historical accounts. Corbin was paroled a few days later and then eventually enrolled in the “corps of invalids” at West Point.

On July 6, 1779, Corbin was granted a life-long Army pension from the Continental Congress for her military service, though pension records show she was given half a soldier’s pay. She was also given a suit of clothes annually and often dressed in old uniforms, which earned her the nickname “Captain Molly.”

After her death in 1800 at age 48, Corbin faded into oblivion and was nearly forgotten.

In 1926, the DAR pinpointed what the group believed was Corbin’s grave site a few miles south of West Point near a cedar stump on the old estate of banker J.P. Morgan. The disinterred remains were taken to West Point and buried underneath a monument depicting Corbin.

But in late 2016, cemetery excavators accidentally struck the grave, prompting officials to order high-tech tests on the disturbed remains. A forensic exam concluded the remains belonged to an unidentified man from the nineteenth century.

“There’s really no question that the bones are from a man,” said Dr. Elizabeth DiGangi, who conducted the examination.

DiGangi, an assistant professor of anthropology at Binghampton University, also noted that the remains in question did not show injuries consistent with those sustained by Corbin during battle.

“I did not find any of the injuries I would expect to see, especially in the shoulder,” said DiGangi. “There was nothing there to indicate any kind of healing.”

On May 1, the DAR held a rededication ceremony for Corbin at West Point, where Ann Turner Dillon, DAR president, vowed to find her remains.

“I’ve been asked why we are continuing to search for Margaret Corbin,” Dillon told other DAR members who had gathered on a spring morning to pay tribute to the war heroine inside the West Point Cadet chapel.

“Our motivation lies at the very core of our organization,” Dillon said. “The Margaret Corbin story is important to the DAR because it epitomizes the very reason our organization was founded … to preserve the memory and spirit of those who contributed to securing American independence.”

Corbin’s influence spreads well beyond members of the DAR. Her monument was erected at West Point some 50 years before the first female cadets, and her story has served as a model of unflinching bravery and sacrifice for women in the U.S. military.

“When I think of Margaret Corbin, I think of hero, trail blazer, the first, and bravery,” said Leslie Frankland, a 23-year-old West Point cadet.

“I am hopeful that one day we will find her,” said Frankland. “But I think this monument represents her well regardless of whether she is found.”

By 

Alleged serial killer Kelly Cochran was ‘like the devil’ in court, new documentary claims

Serial Killer Kelly Cochran

Terri O’Donnell instantly knew her ex-boyfriend Christopher Regan was missing. However, she was not prepared to later discover he was brutally murdered by his married mistress.

The 55-year-old participated in a new documentary on Investigation Discovery titled “Dead North,” which she hopes will shed light on the man she knew — not the tragic victim he became.

The docuseries chronicles the investigation through shocking interviews, extensive bodycam footage and interrogation room conversations.

Kelly Cochran was sentenced to life in prison without parole in May 2017 after an Iron County, Mich., jury convicted her in the 2014 killing of Regan.

kelly cochran

Kelly Cochran who admitted to injecting her husband with a lethal dose of heroin may have killed nine other people and served her lover’s remains at a barbecue.  (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

Then in April 2018, the 35-year-old was sentenced to 65 years in prison for slaying her husband Jason Cochran.

Cochran told police she delivered an overdose of heroin to the 37-year-old and proceeded to put her hands on his neck, nose and mouth until he died less than a minute later.

Michigan prosecutors maintained she lured Regan to her home, where Jason shot him. She then helped dismember him and hide his remains in the woods.

O’Donnell told Fox News her last conversation with Regan still haunts her.

“When I talked to him the last time, he told me that weekend we were going to get together for supper,” she explained. “I tried getting a hold of him and he never responded. And that was very unlike Chris. He would message you right away.

Terri O’Donnell (right) with Chris Regan.  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

“And when he made plans, he didn’t break them. It was so out of his personality not to respond… There were rumors among our friends he had went to see this woman name Kelly who was married. And that maybe he was with her. But that didn’t matter. He would have responded right away.”

O’Donnell first met Regan in the ‘80s when he was in the Air Force. The two called it quits and then reconnected in December 2012.

The former couple wouldn’t start dating again until February 2013, but split once more in April 2014. O’Donnell said she and Regan remained close until he was reported missing in October.

“Christopher was just wonderful,” she recalled. “He loved life. He loved hiking and the outdoors… He was energetic and always wanted to do something new and learn more. He was continually improving himself and going to school… He even went back to college just so that he could be a better manager at his job.

“He also enjoyed being at home and preparing a fancy dinner. He loved to sit and just converse with you. He had these beautiful blue eyes that would just make you melt. He looked at you like you were the only person that mattered. And he made you feel that. He made you feel like you were on a pedestal all the time. It was an amazing feeling.”

Chris Regan (left) with Terri O’Donnell.  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

O’Donnell said that they never spoke about dating other people. O’Donnell claimed she didn’t hear about Cochran until Regan went missing. She also insisted that, by the end of August, Regan wanted to get back together again.

“We were spending time together and I would tell him that we needed to take things slow and just be friends and see if things worked out or not,” she explained. “He would send me texts saying… he loved me. I just kept telling him… we gotta take our time. In September he sent me the song ‘Marry Me’ by Train. He was such a romantic.”

On October 14, Regan was getting ready to pack up and start a new job in Asheville, North Carolina. O’Donnell described him as excited to start a new chapter in his life. The pair had made plans to visit each other during Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Instead, a nightmare unfolded.

Michigan prosecutors alleged that the Cochrans, who married in 2002, made a pact on their wedding night that if one of them was unfaithful, they’d kill their lover.

Dead North 3

Kelly Cochran  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

The couple moved to Michigan in January 2015. Cochran testified in court their marriage was allegedly falling apart and she had affairs with other men, including Regan.

According to court records, she lured Regan to her home with the promise of sex when her husband interrupted them and shot Regan.

Investigation Discovery said in a statement that Cochran’s own brother, Colton Caboyan, told investigators he feared his sister was a serial killer and neighbors said they believed they were served human remains, possibly Regan’s, at a barbecue.

One friend who participated in the documentary described eating a strange-tasting burger without realizing at the time it could have been human.

Dead North 2

Kelly Cochran  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

O’Donnell admitted the horrific details of Regan’s death kept her up at night.

“I would go kayaking at night,” she said. “I really just wanted to know what happened to him. But the more and more that came out, like mutilating his body… I had to push it out of my head… I stopped reading the newspaper. I couldn’t read comments online… I guess it just made it more real.”

The Iron County Reporter revealed police targeted Cochran because she was one of the last people to see Regan alive. However, when police searched her home in March 2015, they found nothing. Still, she and her husband moved to Indiana.

But when Jason died in February 2016, evidence revealed it wasn’t just caused by an apparent heroin overdose. Michigan authorities charged Cochran with Regan’s death and then she fled again.

The U.S. Marshals Service eventually tracked her down in Kentucky, where she was arrested and taken into custody. Court documents revealed Cochran spent her time in jail turning her glasses into shanks and threatening to commit suicide, as well as bodily harm to anyone who came near her.

O’Donnell said she was terrified of Cochran.

Dead North 1

Kelly Cochran and Jason Cochran on their wedding day.  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

“The first time I saw her was in the courthouse,” said O’Donnell. “I just remember her staring at me and grinning. I took a deep breath and thought she was the scariest person I’ve ever seen. I was afraid. I couldn’t look at her for the rest of the time I was there testifying. It was like she was… laughing and saying, ‘Look at what I did. You can’t stop me.’… She just sat there and grinned.

“It was like the devil looking at you… And after I testified… I lost it. I totally lost it. I just remember driving, speeding, not knowing if I had crossed the border. I didn’t know if I was in Wisconsin or Michigan… I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to run as far away from Kelly as possible.”

Cochran directed Michigan authorities to a site where parts of the rifle used to shoot Regan were found, as well as a .22-caliber bullet. Human remains were also discovered, including a skull with an apparent bullet hole. A pair of eyeglasses, believed to belong to Regan, were nearby.

O’Donnell insisted Regan’s murder was not the first for the Cochrans.

“I do not think that Chris is the first person that they murdered,” she explained. “There’s just no way that the first person you choose to kill, you’re going to be able to clean up the blood and get rid of the body so that FBI agents can’t pull DNA off the walls… To do what they did to him? I don’t know how you could do that if it was the first person you’ve ever murdered.

Laura Frizzo examines the woods.

Investigator Laura Frizzo searches the woods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

“Shooting someone, that’s one thing… You can be far away, pull out your gun and it’s done. But to sit there, take a cut up a body and to then wrap his parts, put it in your vehicle and haul it over to the woods and bury it? There’s no possible way you could logically think through all of that… I truly believe there are other people out there.”

The network added per the provisions in Cochran’s plea, the State of Indiana can never charge her for additional murders. If she chooses, Cochran can provide locations of other victims without any penalty.

She claimed to having other “friends” buried in Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee and Minnesota. However, the identities and specific locations of these bodies remain a mystery to this day.

O’Donnell said she is slowly moving on with her life and is even dating again, but still has a hard time trusting others.

“I question people’s motives a lot,” she admitted. “I’m very aware of people around me… Every summer since Chris’ murder, I’ve traveled out of the country. I don’t know if that’s a coping method.

Laura Frizzo findis Chris’ skull.

Investigator Laura Frizzo searches the woods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)

“I remember when they were looking for Chris, during the daytime I would walk in the woods, just trying to find something. A piece of his clothing. Just anything. I don’t want to do that anymore. He’s still not completely found. He’s around the county. Which is scary.”

“Dead North” is available for streaming on IDGO.com.

Florida School Shooting Story Changes Again! Broward County, Nikolas Cruz and The Truth

On Wednesday February 14th, 2018 at approximately 2:21pm, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and wounding 17 survivors.

While many immediately pushed for gun control in the aftermath of this horrible mass slaughter, recent information has made a strong case for a different change in policy. In 2011-2012, Broward County Public Schools had 1,056 total student arrests – 71% for misdemeanor offenses. These were the highest overall numbers in the state of Florida. After concerns over “students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ students” being “disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests” – the PROMISE program was created in 2013.

Standing for Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education – the PROMISE program was specifically implemented in an effort to “eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline.”

After the implementation of the PROMISE program, Broward County Public School arrests dropped from 1,056 students in 2011-2012, to only 392 during the 2015-2016 school year.

UPDATE: Child-Porn Investigators Are Shifting Focus To Rescuing Victims

Update Child Porn

Federal officials who once mainly prosecuted consumers of illegal pornography now hunt for clues in photos and videos to find the victims—and their abusers

By Del Quentin Wilber WSJ

A federal analyst studied the child pornography videos for clues. Finding none, he turned to mundane photographs the suspected abuser also had uploaded online of the young victim playing in a park and by some bushes.

Using a Smithsonian Institution analysis of the shrubs, the sleuth from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, narrowed his search to one U.S. region. Next, he zeroed in on the park’s playground equipment, making dozens of calls to playground makers and organizations that certify them, finally finding a company that pinpointed the park. A neighborhood search quickly turned up the girl and her abuser, who was arrested.

That recent investigation, described by law-enforcement officials familiar with the case, is part of an ICE victim identification program in northern Virginia that is helping transform child pornography investigations.

In poring over child pornography images, ICE investigators find leads in a unique tree, the logo on a sweatshirt, the name on a pill bottle, the rattling of trains, chirping of birds—or the metadata buried in the photos and videos, including information that reveals time and place. Often, the best clues are found in mundane photographs, like those of the girl in the park, that are uploaded by abusers to prove they have access to the children. ​

Officials used to focus on prosecuting the consumers of child pornography. That is no longer enough, law-enforcement officials and advocates say. The focus is increasingly turning to identifying and rescuing the victims, an approach that is also netting a rising number of offenders.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says law-enforcement agencies have identified at least 9,400 juvenile victims of online sexual exploitation since 2013. In the preceding decade, there were about 5,000 such identifications, which officials call “rescues” because the children are often removed from abusive environments.

“Law enforcement has really made a huge effort in this area,” said Lindsey Olson of the nonprofit National Center.

The internet and the “dark web”—a portion of the internet that is only accessible with special software and is often used by criminals—are awash in child pornography, with abusers and viewers swapping videos and photographs as if they were baseball cards, law-enforcement officials say. Last year, the National Center reviewed more than 34 million images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children 17 and under. Its cyber tip line recorded more than 8 million abuse-related reports.

Agents at ICE, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Postal Inspection Service, as well as state and local police, are all tasked with investigating child pornography. ICE has long had jurisdiction in such investigations, dating back to the decades-long work of U.S. customs agents who targeted the mailing and smuggling of such images and videos into the U.S. from overseas.

In the past, those investigations generally involved arresting people who possessed a stash of child pornography, often after receiving a tip. Little effort was generally directed toward identifying the abusers or victims.

That began to change thanks in part to a push by ICE agent James Cole. In 2006, Mr. Cole had spent months searching for a girl and her suspected abuser in a widely distributed child pornography video.

Canadian police officials leading the effort suspected the abuse had occurred in a motel room in Oregon due to a unique fast-food cup they had analyzed in one of the videos. The victim was clearly identifiable but the abuser was never on screen.

Gathering Intel

Analysts seek clues into the whereabouts of child victims of sexual predators by examining photos and videos, which abusers use to prove their access to victims.

SOUNDS

In videos, the chirping of birds has been used to narrow down a location.

VEGETATION

Shrubs, trees and plans can narrow a search to a

particular region.

FISH

In at least one case a fish

helped investigators

determine a location.

CLOTHING

Logos, such as those of

universities or companies, can supply valuable information.

STREET SIGNS

Technology

can reveal clues about a particular city or town.

MEDICATION

Specific items, such as medication containers, can have names on them.

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT

Investigators may turn to playground equipment makers to help locate a park.

GEOTAGGING

Photos taken with smart phones add information like time, date and location to it’s metadata.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Mr. Cole examined the room’s furniture and a sweatshirt caught on screen, visited scores of motels and flipped through hundreds of school yearbooks in search of the girl’s face.

Unbeknown to Mr. Cole and Canadian police, the girl had one year earlier reported to local police that her father had been sexually abusing her. Before the father could be arrested, he fled the country. The girl, then 15, appeared on the television show America’s Most Wanted to help locate the fugitive. Canadian police recognized her and called Mr. Cole.

Mr. Cole said he met the teenager and other family members, and apologized for not having found her sooner. He explained how much work he and his colleagues had done to find her. The girl and her family deeply appreciated the effort, he said, and that is when a “lightbulb went off.”

“We had been approaching this all wrong,” said Mr. Cole, a former policeman and U.S. Army intelligence officer. “I saw how impactful this all was, how much they appreciated how hard we tried to find her. I realized we need to be looking at these cases in a victim-centered way. I also thought it would not only help us find the victims, but also the abuser.”

He decided to test his theory by digging into three of his old cases that had resulted in convictions of men with pornography on their computers. As Mr. Cole combed the suspects’ devices more carefully, he discovered two new victims. The men he had arrested, it turned out, had also been recording the sexual exploitation of their own children. The intervention led to counseling for the children and protection from their fathers once they were released from prison, Mr. Cole said.

As the years wore on, Mr. Cole realized that identifying the victims had multiple benefits. The children got badly needed psychological support, they were removed from hostile environments, and the offenders were often apprehended.

“They were just waiting to be found,” he said. “If you just focus on those who possess and traffic in this stuff, you miss the children and the abusers.”

His new approach drew the attention of superiors. In 2012, Mr. Cole founded ICE’s victim identification program outside Washington with a high-tech computer lab, where analysts digest tips, examine evidence and send reports to the field.

The effort has earned praise from advocates and from victims and their families, who say survivors cannot begin to recover until they are discovered.

“The psychological injuries are lifelong and affect their functioning in family life, work life, everything,” said Carol Hepburn, a lawyer who has represented more than a dozen people who were sexually exploited as children. “It means so much to the families and the victims to know that law enforcement had been looking for them. Jim has been a big part of that effort.”

​Mr. Cole said credit belongs to ICE agents and​ those with domestic and overseas law enforcement agencies. ​He added that the National Center has been particularly instrumental in the search for victims.

His line of work is gratifying, but can be a psychological grind, he said. Not only is it hard to watch the videos, but the search is often fruitless if offenders are careful enough not to include telltale information.

If the information is there, it’s often contained in the​family-style photos that abusers upload alongside the pornography. “It can be jarring examining horrific videos and then these photos of kids smiling,” Mr. Cole said.

The agent has pushed other law-enforcement agencies to adopt his approach and has spoken at dozens of conventions about finding victims. He now chairs the victim identification experts group at Interpol, an international network of 190 police agencies.

Mr. Cole recently took a job at ICE’s headquarters as part of a standard job rotation that will send him to a field office, where he hopes to continue investigating child exploitation.

For all his rescues, he’s haunted by one of his failures, involving a decades-old video of an abuser raping a female toddler. Mr. Cole said the abuser was exceedingly careful: He erased his face and identifying features, and the crime was committed in a room whose walls were covered in a light-blue cloth.

Despite years of investigative effort, no amount of computer enhancement or frame-by-frame analysis has yielded a single clue. The victim is now likely an adult, but that hasn’t stopped Mr. Cole from trying to find her.

“She can’t start the healing process until being identified,” he said. “She deserves to be rescued.”

 

BREAKING: Broward Student Lays Out Devastating Case Against School Board For Neglecting School Safety

On Thursday, Broward County student Kenneth Preston, 19, published the findings of an in-depth investigation he has conducted over the last two months that has uncovered some alarming details about how the Broward County School Board neglected school safety leading up to the Parkland massacre.

Preston confronted the school board two weeks ago and gave his account of what he’d learned to The Hill. In his initial findings, Preston said that he believed that since 2014, the school has only spent around 5% of the over $100 million available to it specifically for school safety. In his new report, he details ways that the failure to invest in school safety may have led to the deaths of some of the students in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. The school board’s embrace of progressive programs, including The Promise Program and the Behavior Intervention Program, Preston maintains, has protected problem students — like the student who eventually slaughtered 17 people in February — shielding them from effective disciplinary measures and thus allowing them to remain threats to their peers.

“After weeks of research, searching through thousands of pages of government documents, and speaking with dozens of officials, I have come to the conclusion that Superintendent Runcie and members of the school board have failed at their essential role in keeping our students safe. Whether that’s because of incompetence or the incentive of federal dollars is for you to decide based on the evidence provided below,” Preston writes. “Ultimately, no matter what laws pass, the extent, or how infrequent these shootings become, if the people who were complicit in facilitating an environment in which something like this could occur don’t face consequences, then there is no justice.”

In a series of tweets Thursday, Preston provided key details from his investigation (h/t Twitchy):

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

Parkland parents, students, I went to the Broward School Board to seek answers for the potential negligence by Superintendent and Board prior to the tragedy at Stoneman. Instead of addressing our concerns, they prevented us from speaking. Read on to understand why.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

Parkland parents, students, I went to the Broward School Board to seek answers for the potential negligence by Superintendent and Board prior to the tragedy at Stoneman. Instead of addressing our concerns, they prevented us from speaking. Read on to understand why. pic.twitter.com/Ppomdtl3BA

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

2) Just to clarify, I’ll be referring to the shooter exclusively by his case number, 18-1958, for the duration of this thread in respect of the families wishes not to give any attention to his name. So, here’s what you need to know.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

2) Just to clarify, I’ll be referring to the shooter exclusively by his case number, 18-1958, for the duration of this thread in respect of the families wishes not to give any attention to his name. So, here’s what you need to know.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

3) Over the last month, I’ve dug through thousands of government document pages and interviewed dozens of people. I found evidence of two things: over $100m in school safety funds that have gone unspent and policies that keep violent students (like 18-1958) out of jail.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

3) Over the last month, I’ve dug through thousands of government document pages and interviewed dozens of people. I found evidence of two things: over $100m in school safety funds that have gone unspent and policies that keep violent students (like 18-1958) out of jail.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

4) First, the money. In 2014, Broward Schools was given an $800m bond, with over $100m specifically for school safety. Since then, delays have led to only 5% of the money spent. Despite safety being the #1 priority of the bond, many projects were delayed to avoid increased cost.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

4) First, the money. In 2014, Broward Schools was given an $800m bond, with over $100m specifically for school safety. Since then, delays have led to only 5% of the money spent. Despite safety being the #1 priority of the bond, many projects were delayed to avoid increased cost.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

5) In a tweet, Superintendent @RobertwRuncie called our report “fake news” and suggested we contact @FloridaTaxWatch, an independent group tasked with helping to oversee the distribution of the money. So I did. FL TaxWatch VP of Research Bob Nave agreed with my numbers. pic.twitter.com/hjo256j3vt

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

5) In a tweet, Superintendent @RobertwRuncie called our report “fake news” and suggested we contact @FloridaTaxWatch, an independent group tasked with helping to oversee the distribution of the money. So I did. FL TaxWatch VP of Research Bob Nave agreed with my numbers. pic.twitter.com/hjo256j3vt

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

6) One of those delayed projects was a $1m fire system for Stoneman Douglas. People familiar with the project told me that the district considered upgrading its systems with an “alarm sequence”, that allows a delay to determine if there’s an actual fire before the alarm triggers.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

6) One of those delayed projects was a $1m fire system for Stoneman Douglas. People familiar with the project told me that the district considered upgrading its systems with an “alarm sequence”, that allows a delay to determine if there’s an actual fire before the alarm triggers.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

7) When Stoneman’s fire alarm sounded, students fled from their classrooms directly into the path of the shooter. The “positive alarm sequence” would have kept the alarm from sounding for up to three minutes if it was determined there was no fire, and in this case, there wasn’t.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

7) When Stoneman’s fire alarm sounded, students fled from their classrooms directly into the path of the shooter. The “positive alarm sequence” would have kept the alarm from sounding for up to three minutes if it was determined there was no fire, and in this case, there wasn’t.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

8) The school resource officer was aware of shots fired within one minute of the alarm. In a situation like this, seconds count. Had the alarm been put in on time and with the suggested upgrade, that delay could have potentially saved students from running into the line of fire.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

8) The school resource officer was aware of shots fired within one minute of the alarm. In a situation like this, seconds count. Had the alarm been put in on time and with the suggested upgrade, that delay could have potentially saved students from running into the line of fire.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

9) In a meeting with Runcie & officials, I was told the system wasn’t invented when the money was allocated and that it wasn’t suggested until last year. However, the tech has existed since the 80s, and the Fmr Dir. of School Safety recommended a similar system years ago. pic.twitter.com/fppWs1vN5K

View image on Twitter

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

9) In a meeting with Runcie & officials, I was told the system wasn’t invented when the money was allocated and that it wasn’t suggested until last year. However, the tech has existed since the 80s, and the Fmr Dir. of School Safety recommended a similar system years ago. pic.twitter.com/fppWs1vN5K

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

10) Part Two of the Investigation: Broward’s discipline policies that help keep potentially dangerous students like 18-1958 in schools and out of jail.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

10) Part Two of the Investigation: Broward’s discipline policies that help keep potentially dangerous students like 18-1958 in schools and out of jail.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

12) In 2013, @browardschools and @browardsheriff signed an agreement to consider alternatives to arrest when dealing with student misconduct. On the agreement’s list, it says that if a crime constitutes a felony, the officer may “consider” placing the student under arrest. pic.twitter.com/dFuJOkyo5J

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Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

12) In 2013, @browardschools and @browardsheriff signed an agreement to consider alternatives to arrest when dealing with student misconduct. On the agreement’s list, it says that if a crime constitutes a felony, the officer may “consider” placing the student under arrest. pic.twitter.com/dFuJOkyo5J

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

13) This agreement was part of an effort to lower student arrests by reshaping school discipline. As a result, troubled students who previously would have been reported to police are now entered into “rehabilitation programs.” Within years, Broward’s arrest rate plummeted. pic.twitter.com/d2JptAlPBW

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Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

13) This agreement was part of an effort to lower student arrests by reshaping school discipline. As a result, troubled students who previously would have been reported to police are now entered into “rehabilitation programs.” Within years, Broward’s arrest rate plummeted. pic.twitter.com/d2JptAlPBW

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

14) Even if students aren’t enrolled in these programs, school admins aren’t required to report potentially dangerous students to law enforcement. The current discipline matrix gives administration complete discretion to decide “appropriate consequences” for student misbehavior. pic.twitter.com/YtoI4VEPJI

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Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

14) Even if students aren’t enrolled in these programs, school admins aren’t required to report potentially dangerous students to law enforcement. The current discipline matrix gives administration complete discretion to decide “appropriate consequences” for student misbehavior. pic.twitter.com/YtoI4VEPJI

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

15) An example of the danger in these policies would be middle school student Jayla Cofer, who was attacked so brutally that she was hospitalized with bruised legs, torn skin, and deep wounds. Her attackers were never arrested, but instead placed in a rehabilitation program. pic.twitter.com/sqDZEhjWpE

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Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

15) An example of the danger in these policies would be middle school student Jayla Cofer, who was attacked so brutally that she was hospitalized with bruised legs, torn skin, and deep wounds. Her attackers were never arrested, but instead placed in a rehabilitation program. pic.twitter.com/sqDZEhjWpE

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

16) More recently, two students from Flanagan High claimed that a fellow student was threatening to kill over 20 people. The student was briefly suspended and allowed to return back to campus alongside the students he threatened to kill. The list goes on. pic.twitter.com/9FC8VoZkrI

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

16) More recently, two students from Flanagan High claimed that a fellow student was threatening to kill over 20 people. The student was briefly suspended and allowed to return back to campus alongside the students he threatened to kill. The list goes on. pic.twitter.com/9FC8VoZkrI

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

17) Similar to these incidents, 18-1958 was never arrested despite threatening to kill students, bringing bullets to school, and being involved in multiple fights. Had he been charged and convicted, he likely wouldn’t have had access to weapons he used.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

17) Similar to these incidents, 18-1958 was never arrested despite threatening to kill students, bringing bullets to school, and being involved in multiple fights. Had he been charged and convicted, he likely wouldn’t have had access to weapons he used.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

18) After I presented this info, the Superintendent and Board took time to defend themselves instead of allowing survivors to speak. The Superintendent praised music, athletic and tech programs, but failed to acknowledge that all of those programs were prioritized over safety.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

18) After I presented this info, the Superintendent and Board took time to defend themselves instead of allowing survivors to speak. The Superintendent praised music, athletic and tech programs, but failed to acknowledge that all of those programs were prioritized over safety.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

19) Board Member @ReverendRos went as far as to suggest that our inquiry into these concerns was an exploitation of bloodshed for “personal gain”. She’s the same board member who removed her kids from the school district over “safety concerns.” pic.twitter.com/on4nIjn5vZ

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

19) Board Member @ReverendRos went as far as to suggest that our inquiry into these concerns was an exploitation of bloodshed for “personal gain”. She’s the same board member who removed her kids from the school district over “safety concerns.” pic.twitter.com/on4nIjn5vZ

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

20) Ultimately, it was the shooter and only the shooter who’s responsible for killing 17 and injuring 17 more. It’s also true, however, that the officials tasked with keeping our children and teachers safe have failed in that essential role.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

20) Ultimately, it was the shooter and only the shooter who’s responsible for killing 17 and injuring 17 more. It’s also true, however, that the officials tasked with keeping our children and teachers safe have failed in that essential role.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

21) Despite these failures, there hasn’t been a single change in leadership. Parkland and this community deserve leaders who put our children first. In the coming weeks, we’ll announce our plans to do exactly that. We have mourned, we have marched, and now we mobilize.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

21) Despite these failures, there hasn’t been a single change in leadership. Parkland and this community deserve leaders who put our children first. In the coming weeks, we’ll announce our plans to do exactly that. We have mourned, we have marched, and now we mobilize.

Kenneth Preston@kennethrpreston

Everything I’ve claimed is sourced and available in my full length investigative report that you can find here: https://medium.com/@kennethrpreston/an-investigation-into-broward-countys-school-board-superintendent-4789bbd5b2e5 

An Investigation Into Broward County’s School Board & Superintendent

Motivation

medium.com

FACT CHECK: Subtracting Gun Homicides, U.S. Still Has More Murders Than Other Countries.

Murder Without Guns U.S.

Violence is endemic to American life. We know this because people are largely inured to it, at least when it happens to other people.

The routine slaughter of young black men over minuscule beefs in Baltimore and Chicago is waved away as some sort of racist myth. Mass killings, meanwhile, happen so frequently that they rarely shock anymore. When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 people at Columbine High School nearly 20 years ago, it stunned the nation. Now, Stephen Paddock murders 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas, and the public and the media quickly move on. Barely a week after the worst mass shooting in America history, Paddock’s atrocity had been relegated to page B-26, next to the legal notices.

The same will probably happen after the church massacre in Texas. (That attack has been described as the “worst massacre at a house of worship in American history.” We have so many mass killings that we break them down by specific location of atrocity.) Unsurprisingly, the U.S. murder rate is much higher than that of other industrialized countries.

People often point to America’s unusually lax gun laws as being solely responsible for the elevated homicide rates. And it’s true that roughly 11,000 Americans are murdered each year by gunshots, according to the CDC. That’s a rate of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 Americans.

The total homicide rate in the U.S., meanwhile, is 5.0 deaths per 100,000, meaning the non-gun homicide rate is 1.5 per 100,000 Americans. And here’s the thing: at 1.5 per 100,000, our murder rate is still higher than many of our peer nations. Sweden’s murder rate is 1.15; Denmark’s is .99; Australia’s, .97; Germany and Greece each have murder rates of .85 per 100,000. Spain comes in it .66, Ireland at .64. Japan’s is an amazing .31 per 100,000.

So even if we removed every gun homicide in America, we would still be significantly more violent than other countries. And in a way, that’s much, much more disturbing than the fiction that America’s violence problem is one of technology, and not of deep societal rot.

By ETHAN EPSTEIN

SHAME: California Parole Board Recommends Parole for Domestic Terrorist

Manson murders

No Freedom for Manson-Family Killer

Leslie Van Houten may have been a teenager, her mind “arguably muddled by drug use” and by “the hold that Charles Manson and his cult-like ‘family’ exerted over her” when she was sentenced to death (later commuted) for her role in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.

But the editors of the Los Angeles Times say she should not be set free, as a parole board has recommended. (California Gov. Jerry Brown makes the final decision.) “It was a particularly gruesome and horrific murder, but it was also an act of terrorism,” they note: “Manson intended to wage a race war” and “destabilize society.”

And while retribution “should be balanced with mercy,” it “does have a role.”