Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
San Marco Properties
Claude Nolan
Underwoods
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Charles Parish
Aug 142013
 

FBI/Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail(NEW YORK) — A man charged with the abduction of a Virginia teenager who is still missing, was one of the last people to speak with another teen before she disappeared in 2010, according to authorities.

Samantha Clarke was 19 when she went missing on the night of Sept. 13 or early Sept. 14, 2010, in Orange, Va. Authorities said one of the last people Clarke talked to before she disappeared was Randy Taylor, now 48, who was arraigned Tuesday in the abduction of Alexis Murphy, 17, who was last seen on Aug. 3.

During a brief appearance in Nelson County Juvenile and Domestic Court in Virginia, Taylor was assigned a public defender but did not enter a plea on an abduction charge in the case of Murphy, who still hasn’t been found.

“As Randy Taylor is someone that Samantha spoke with immediately prior to her disappearance, he remains someone we are very interested in learning more about,” Diana H. Wheeler, Orange County Commonwealth’s Attorney, said in a statement.

Wheeler said authorities in Orange, where Clarke was last seen, are coordinating with their counterparts in Nelson County, Va., to “share whatever information they have to which may be helpful.”

Authorities declined to elaborate on what led them to arrest Taylor on Sunday night, however they asked anyone who may have seen Taylor before or just after Murphy’s disappearance to come forward.

Murphy was last seen on Aug. 3 at a Lovingston, Va., gas station. Her white Nissan Maxima was located three days later in the parking lot of Carmike Cinemas in Charlottesville, Va.

On Monday, what would have been Murphy’s first day of her senior year of high school, her mother, Laura Murphy, made a sobbing plea for her return.

“I want her to come home because today would’ve been her first day of school,” she said at a news conference. “I carried my youngest son to school this morning but I didn’t have my daughter to take.

“Please, if the public knows anything, please, please let us know. Please,” she said.

Taylor was never arrested or charged in Clarke’s disappearance, which police said remains an active investigation.

However, in an interview last year with The Hook, a Charlottesville newspaper, Taylor said police treated him like a suspect and harassed him to the extent that he lost his job, home and custody of his son.

“The case needs to be solved,” he told the newspaper, “but the way they’re going about it is ridiculous.”

Taylor told the newspaper that Clarke had expressed romantic interest in one of his younger acquaintances but had soon shifted her sights to another friend, who happened to have a girlfriend.

“I heard [the girlfriend] saying she wanted to ‘beat her ass,’” Taylor said, adding that he heard the second man claim he’d help his girlfriend.

Taylor told the newspaper he called Clarke, who he said he didn’t know very well, to warn her to “stay away” from the second man.

Clarke’s last words were to her 13-year-old brother late Sept. 13 or early Sept. 14, 2010, before she left their apartment.

“I’ll be back,” she said, according to Wheeler. Clarke never returned.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Aug 142013
 

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — A large cargo plane crashed outside the Birmingham, Ala. airport on Wednesday morning.

Flames were reported at the scene where a UPS jet crashed near the Birmingham Airport.

The Birmingham Fire Department confirmed the crash, but was unable to speculate on the number of injuries or deaths.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Aug 142013
 

Hemera/Thinkstock(SAINT JOSEPH, La.) — A gunman inside a Louisiana bank shot his two remaining hostages, killing one of them, as police stormed the facility and killed the suspect in a standoff that lasted 12 hours, authorities said.

The standoff ended shortly after midnight local time in St. Joseph, La., when state police made the decision to send a SWAT team into the bank, police said. The gunman, identified as 20-year-old Fuaed Abdo Ahmed, shot the two hostages before he was killed by police, Louisiana State Trooper Albert Paxton confirmed to ABC News early Wednesday morning.

The two hostages, one male and one female were taken to area hospitals, where one of the hostages later died, Louisiana State Police said.

Rapides Regional Hospital confirmed to ABC News that one of the bank hostages is in their care, but gave no update on their condition. A third hostage that escaped earlier in the standoff was uninjured, according to police.

All three hostages were employees at the Tensas State Bank, Paxton said. Their identities have not been released.

The tense standoff began around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when Ahmed, who is from California, took three people hostage inside the bank, police said.

Ahmed’s relatives were at the scene, helping FBI officials and state negotiators, according to Paxton.

“They’ve been on scene for awhile and they’ve been very cooperative,” Paxton told ABC News Radio.

Louisiana State police say the suspect had some sort of mental illness because in a list of demands he made during the standoff, Ahmed said there was device in his head that was causing him to hear voices and he wanted them to make it stop.

Areas closest to the bank were evacuated as a “precaution” in fear of explosives, according to Paxton.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Aug 102013
 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EAST HAVEN, Conn.) — The bodies of four people have been recovered from the remnants of two homes that burned after a small plane crashed into them yesterday in East Haven, Connecticut. 

Two children, who were in one of the homes at the time of the crash, were among those killed. The other two bodies found were those of the pilot and his teenage son. The two were traveling to look at colleges.

The small turbo prop plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was on its way to New Haven, Conn., when it crashed into two houses in East Haven on approach to Tweed New Haven Regional Airport on Friday.

The children are believed to be a 1-year-old and a 13-year-old.

Investigators are still searching for any sign of what may have caused the crash.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Aug 042013
 

ABC News(CLEVELAND) — Kidnapper Ariel Castro has been “calm and cooperative” since being moved to his temporary prison home, where he will stay until Ohio officials determine where he will spend the rest of his life, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Castro was moved to Lorain Correctional Institution at 6:25 p.m. on Friday where he’ll be in solitary confinement, Department of Corrections Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told ABC News.

Lorain is a “reception prison” where Castro will be evaluated before being moved to his still undetermined permanent prison, she said. He may be at Lorain for weeks.

Castro accepted a plea deal on July 27 that sends him to prison for life plus “not less than 1,000 years” with no chance of parole for abducting three women and keeping them as sex slaves for over a decade.

At his sentencing hearing this week, he shocked a Cleveland court by saying he is “not a monster,” “lived a normal life” and that the sex he had with the three women he held captive for more than a decade was “consensual.”

Castro’s statement came after one of his victims, the petite Michelle Knight, confronted him for the “hell” she endured in his house for 11 years.

Castro showed no reaction to the remarks by Knight. Instead, he gave a rambling speech in which he depicted himself as a person who had “everything going” for himself but was plagued by an addiction to porn.

Castro, 53, also denied that he ever raped Knight or his two other victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, during the years they were incarcerated in his house.

“Most of the sex that went on in the house, and probably all of it, was consensual,” Castro said.

“These people are trying to paint me as a monster. I’m not a monster. I’m sick. My sexual problem, it’s so bad on my mind,” Castro said.

“God as my witness, I never beat these women like they’re trying to say that I did. I never tortured them,” he said.

He insisted “there was a lot of harmony” in his house among himself and his captives.

Castro had such an emotional attachment to the home that prosecutors said he broke down in tears when he had to sign over the property deed last week, saying it was wrong to tear it down because he had so many happy memories there.

When Castro finished, Judge Michael Russo thanked Knight for her “remarkable restraint” during the statement.

“You’re welcome,” she replied, prompting light laughter.

Castro’s statement came after Knight bravely delivered a victim’s impact statement telling the man who tormented her for more than a decade that “I will live on, but you will die a little every day.”

Knight scoffed at Castro for “going to church every Sunday and coming home to torture us.”

Berry and DeJesus did not appear in court but had statements read in court for them.

As one woman finished her statement she turned to Castro and said in Spanish, “May God have mercy on your soul.”

Castro, manacled at the hands and feet, stared emotionless ahead during the statements.

During the hearing, detectives told how he captured the three women and subjected them to a decade of torture, which one woman wrote in a diary was like being held as a “prisoner of war.”

Prosecutors used a detailed scale model of his house and slides to take the court through his house of horrors, including hidden rooms, chains, motorcycle helmets for his victims and a gun he would use to threaten them.

Knight, 32, the first of the three women to be kidnapped, was in a store asking for directions when she was approached by Castro who offered to give her a ride, said Detective Andy Harasimchuk.

Knight told detectives she accepted the ride because she knew Castro’s daughter. Castro then drove her to his house and invited her to come inside to pick out a puppy for her son, at which point Harasimchuk said Knight was restrained with an extension cord, dragged to the basement where she was restrained with chains, had a motorcycle helmet jammed on her head and raped for the first of many times.

Eight months later, on April 21, 2003, Castro targeted Amanda Berry by offering her a ride home from her job at Burger King. Berry knew Castro’s son and daughter, and Castro took her to his house so she could talk to his daughter, Harasimchuk said.

She was quickly bound with duct tape, put in a motorcycle helmet and chained to a pole in the basement.

Castro’s third victim, Gina DeJesus, now 23, was friends with his daughter. On one occasion in 2004, she got into Castro’s car and he asked her to come in the house to help him carry a speaker to his car, Harasimchuk said. She became uncomfortable and tried to flee in the dark house, she inadvertently ran into a closet and was captured, the detective said.

The home was wired with alarm clocks “in a makeshift manner” to create an alarm system to the house, Harasimchuk said.

The women were kept in two rooms behind a door that could be secured from the outside with a lock, with a circular hole cut towards the bottom of the door that was a source of ventilation, the agent said. The windows were boarded up with very heavy closet doors, he said.

Berry shared one room with her now 6-year-old daughter, who Castro fathered while in captivity. DeJesus and Knight shared an attached, smaller room where a chain was also kept to restrain the women.

According to a sentencing memorandum released Wednesday, the women were restrained by chains attached to their ankles with access only to plastic toilets in the bedrooms that were rarely emptied. Castro fed the women one meal a day and used the “cold of the basement” and the “heat of the attic” as punishment techniques, according to the memo.

The women kept diaries during their incarceration.

“The entries speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall, of being held like a prisoner of war,” the memorandum says.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder that will send him to prison for life for abducting the three women and keeping them as sex slaves for more than a decade in his Cleveland home.

The prosecution released the memo in an attempt to persuade the judge to give Castro the sentence that the former bus driver has agreed to accept.

The plea deal spared Castro the death penalty because he was accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus after forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims who he is accused of impregnating. The deal will also spare the three women from having to testify at a trial.

Castro allegedly told the women that he had previous victims and that “some of them made it home, but others had not.” The former bus driver once kept the three women locked in a vehicle for three days while he had a visitor at his home.

The victims were discovered in Castro’s home in May.

The documents also addressed Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, saying her time in captivity started the day she was born Dec. 25, 2006.

Cleveland police Wednesday also posted a picture on Facebook of a handwritten note by Knight, thanking the authorities for collecting gift and cards from well-wishers.

“Life is tough, but I’m tougher! Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly,” Knight wrote.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio