In its haste to welcome the victims of the world, Washington’s rubber-stamp refugee policy has taken in a rogue’s gallery of despicable war criminals. The latest, Beatrice Munyenyezi (pictured), a commander in Rwanda’s systematic mass murder of Tutsi tribal members, is quite a piece of work, but is by no means unique in depravity.
Some of the noteworthy diverse criminals residing in America have included:
● Bosnian Sulejman Mujagic, was accused of murder and torture while an Army commander during the ethnic war in the former Yugoslavia. He was arrested in Utica in 2012, where 6500 Bosnians reside in one of the largest Bosno-diverse settlements in the country.
● Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos was arrested in 2006 for being an illegal alien and also a member of the Salvadoran military death squad that brutally murdered six priests in 1989.
● Kelbessa Negewo was an Ethiopian government official who participated in torture of political enemies who objected to the marxist regime. After immigrating to the US, he was later recognized in a New York City elevator by one of his torture victims.
● Marko Boskic was a Serb militia triggerman who helped execute thousands of residents of Srebrenica in the 1995 massacre. Even so, he entered the US in 2000 using his real name and settle in Peabody Mass where he had numerous arrests for drunk driving and such, but was only tracked down when Boston Globe reporter Elizabeth Neuffer investigated. In 2010, the US extradited Boskic to Bosnia where he was tried and imprisoned.
Back to today’s case, where a Rwandan woman has been convicted of lying about her history of human rights abuses to enter the United States and sentenced to prison:
A woman who lied about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide was sentenced on Monday to ten years in prison, a fate her lawyers say is tantamount to a death sentence.
Rwanda native Beatrice Munyenyezi, from New Hampshire, remained stoic as U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe sentenced her to the maximum prison time. She declined her right to address the court.
Munyenyezi, 43, was convicted in February of entering the United States and securing citizenship by lying about her role as a commander of one of the notorious roadblocks in the city of Butare – where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter as they tried to evacuate.
According to some reports, a fifth of the 500,000 massacred during the Rwandan genocide were killed in Butare.
However due to the chaotic nature of the genocide, it has been difficult for experts to put exact numbers on how many died.
She also denied affiliation with any political party, despite her husband’s leadership role in the extremist Hutu militia party.
McAuliffe acknowledged she has led a crime-free and productive life since her arrival in New Hampshire in 1998 but said it was a life lived under false pretenses. Continue reading this article
In St. Paul last November a 14-year-old girl was sexually attacked by nine Hmong males who had enticed her to a party for that purpose of gang rape, a practice that is more or less accepted in misogynist Hmong culture. The first trial has finished with a conviction and sentence of eight years for the perp.
Below, five adults of the nine Hmong members of the True Blood (TB22) street gang who were arrested for the gang rape of a 14-year-old girl.
As Roy Beck explained in his 1994 Atlantic article The Ordeal of Immigration in Wausau the influx of many thousands of primitive Hmong into the midwest was a project of some church do-gooders who thought it would be nice to welcome refugees to their town. Little did they imagine that the numbers would only mount and the cultural divide would expand into worsened crime and social disfunction.
Interestingly, as the brutal crime spurred more investigation, the cultural component was described in a local paper:
[. . .] A clash of cultures may play a role in the crimes, some scholars and Hmong leaders say.
For instance, in Hmong homelands, a boy who wanted to marry a girl could get his friends or relatives to help him capture her. Even if he raped her, the assault could be forgiven if he married her. Ilean Her, executive director of the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, said she’s afraid those practices get handed down in some families.
“Some [men] are going to end up in prison as long as the mentality is still there,” Her said. “And lots of them are passing it on to their sons.”
For the same reason, some Hmong mothers aren’t sympathetic to daughters who have been raped, she said.
“The older ladies, they will tell you right away, ‘When I was young, I was molested. And that’s just what girls go through,’ ” she said. [. . .]
That’s interesting: hmongs consider rape to be a normal part of their culture, and girls are supposed to accept it.
Is this the sort of social norm that diversity enthusiasts want us to celebrate?
At least the crime is being punished American-style, although a longer sentence would have been appropriate.
A St. Paul teenager on Tuesday became the first person to be sentenced in the 2011 gang rape of a 14-year-old girl, receiving an eight-year prison term for his role in the November crime.
Shaileng Shong Lor, 17, pleaded guilty in July to charges of conspiring to rape the girl and to having committed the crime for the benefit of a gang. He was one of five adults and four juveniles accused of plying the girl with alcohol, driving her to a vacant St. Paul house, dragging her inside and sexually assaulting her.
“We told the public that we would rigorously prosecute these cases,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “What you’re seeing is that unfold.”
In addition to Lor, three others have entered guilty pleas. Five cases remain open, although Vang Tou Ger Vue, 19, has a plea hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
The county attorney’s office has run hard at the case. Choi put one of his top prosecutors, Heidi Westby, on all nine cases, and three juveniles were successfully certified as adults. One of them, Jim Her, 17, is appealing that decision.
“We’ve been working on this quite some time,” Choi said.
Prosecutors and police say the suspects were members or associates of the True Blood (TB22) street gang, one of St. Paul’s largest Hmong gangs, known for guns, violence and several burglaries throughout the metro area. Continue reading this article
Leonard appeared on the John and Ken radio show during the 3pm hour on Thursday to explain the day’s testimony. (Listen — trial info starts at 1:20.) Of particular interest was Culver City detective Bryan Thompson who described an altercation with Espinoza in a police interrogation room. Espinoza jumped up and flipped the table over, saying something like, “Screw this” and taking a boxing stance against the officer. Thompson knocked him down with one punch and that interview was done.
Espinoza had been arrested earlier for threatening someone with a gun in a Culver City park over gangster stuff. Espinoza quizzed park visitor Sam Duran about his gang affiliation, asking “Where you from?” and Duran was able to escape when the Mexican was slow in pulling his revolver out of his pocket. This weapons possession was the crime that got Espinoza a few months jail time, after which he was let go and shot Shaw the following day.
The point is that Pedro Espinoza acted like a violence-crazed psycho in the presence of police. He was an illegal alien Mexican with a seemingly fanatical allegiance to the 18th Street gang. Even so, Espinoza was not deported, but was released onto the streets of Los Angeles, where he shot down Jamiel Shaw a day later.
The reason is Los Angeles’ own sanctuary city policy, Special Order 40 which protects even the worst illegal alien criminals and endangers American citizens.
In addition, I would like to know whether Espinoza had the BK (“blood killer”) tattoo behind his ear which identified him as a gang enforcer when the LAPD released him instead of sending him for deportation.
Prosecutors have presented evidence of the gang affiliation of the man on trial for the killing of high school athlete Jamiel Shaw, Jr. — as they try to explain the motive.
Pedro Espinoza could face the death penalty if he’s convicted and jurors agree the murder on March 2, 2008, was motivated by his gang ties.
One witness, a former Shaw neighbor, says as part of a police sting days after the killing, Espinoza smiled and said, “B.K. all day,” after being prompted about the murder.
“B.K.,” prosecutors explained, stands for “Blood Killer,” and again pointed out the tattoo with those initials behind Espinoza’s left ear.
Later, a man from Culver City described how he was confronted by Espinoza in a park a few months before the Shaw murder.
After Espinoza asked him ‘where are you from?’ — Samuel Duran said he watched Espinoza ride his bicycle through the park and confront others.
“That’s when he started throwing up his gang signs — eighteenth street,” Duran said.
Minutes later, Espinoza confronted Duran again, asked him if he had a problem, and tried to pull a handgun from his pocket.
“If it wouldn’t have gotten stuck he woulda pulled it out and used it,” Duran told jurors.
Then, the Culver City Police Department detective who interviewed Espinoza after the arrest for the Duran incident, said Espinoza snapped during an interrogation and challenged the detective — who stands at least a foot taller — to a fight.
“He stood up and flipped the table over,” said Det. Bryan Thompson. “He said – ‘man fuck this shit let’s go’ and took a fighting stance.”
“I struck him once in the face with my right fist,” Thompson said, and Espinoza screamed ‘18 motherfucker 18′ repeatedly as he and two other officers tackled Espinoza and put on handcuffs. Continue reading this article
In Newark, the fifth trial of the horrific Newark schoolyard killings of three local college students has wrapped up with convictions on many charges. Peruvian illegal alien Jose Carranza was found guilty on felony murder and robbery.
Carranza (pictured below) was a dangerous criminal with a rap sheet of violent crimes, but he was not deported even after some alarming activities:
[. . .] FOX News has learned Carranza, who has a fake Social Security number, had been arrested on charges of raping a 5-year-old girl and then threatening the child and her parents. In that case he faced a 31-count indictment.
In another, he was arrested on assault charges stemming from a bar fight.
How can an illegal alien accused of child rape be released from jail to endanger the public? Carranza’s trail from violence against a child to the deaths of innocents was entirely predictable. The terrible crimes on the Newark schoolyard could have been prevented by normal public safety measures of imprisoning and then deporting violent illegal foreigners.
A jury today found a man charged in connection with the Newark schoolyard slayings guilty of felony murder of three college-bound friends.
Jose Carranza, 32, of Newark was also found guilty of the robbery of three students, including a fourth who was the lone survivor of the attack. He was found not guilty of sexually assaulting the survivor, 19-year-old Natasha Aeriel.
Prosecutors say Carranza, one of six men accused in the killings, was there when they were killed.
He was accused of sexually assaulting one of the victims and then using a 12-inch machete to slash at her neck. The victim, 19-year-old Natasha Ariel, survived the attack.
Prosecutors said a fingerprint of Carranza’s was found on a still-cold bottle of beer at the murder scene. And Aeriel identified him in a series of photographs from her hospital bed.
Carranza, 32, is charged with murder, attempted murder, robbery and other offenses. Unlike his co-defendants, Carranza is also charged with the sexual assault of Aeriel.
Aeriel’s brother, Terrance Aeriel, 18, and her friends, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey, both 20, all died from gunshots to the head. They were all either attending or planning to attend Delaware State University that fall.
Two of the six accused – Rodolfo Godinez, 28, and Alexander Alfaro, 21 – were convicted by a jury and are serving life sentences. Shahid Baskerville and another defendant, Melvin Jovel, 22, pleaded guilty; Jovel is serving a life sentence and Baskerville accepted a 30-year sentence in exchange for testifying at Carranza’s trial and the trial of the remaining defendant, Gerardo Gomez, 19.
Baskerville, 20, testified during Carranza’s trial that the 32-year-old sexually assaulted Natasha Aeriel and slashed her neck with a 12-inch kitchen knife. In exchange for his testimony, Baskerville will likely be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Baskerville said the group had been celebrating Gomez’s 15th birthday that August 4 night the killings took place nearly five years ago.
Prosecutors say all six defendants charged in the shootings have ties to a Central American gang known as MS-13 and they believe the murders were gang-related.
Carranza, an illegal immigrant from Peru, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in an unrelated aggravated assault case and was free on bail when the killings occurred.
Authorities say Carranza’s fingerprint, found on a 40-ounce bottle of Colt 45, places him at the scene of the murders. His attorney argued that a fingerprint alone does not indicate whether he participated in the attack.
Carranza’s sentencing will be held in April.
Twenty years doesn’t seem an adequate sentence for a death caused by drunk driving, but Judge Jon Farris thought the illegal alien killer’s apology was touching enough to merit a lowered sentence, and family tears were shed on behalf of the perp in court as well. Neither of the surviving victims appeared, who were seriously injured in the crash.
Not only was there an emotional apology, the killer said he found god in jail and had quit drinking. Plus, he says he wants to become an ordained minister.
Below, crime victim Sister Denise Mosier and drunk-driving illegal alien Carlos Martinelly Montano.
The case was a big embarrassment to the Obama administration which had professed to creating an immigration system that was tough on dangerous criminals and not so hard on the proverbial busboys. Unfortunately for Obama, the crash that killed Sister Denise Mosier occurred not far from Washington and couldn’t be ignored in the capital city. DHS Secretary Napolitano withheld records about the case which increased the suspicion that it was even dirtier than it appeared.
Plus, the DHS snooze-through illustrated how the federal government still does not regard drunk driving seriously enough to deport the dangerous foreigners who drive drunk. The agency promised to do better in the future, but that remains to be seen.
Carlos Martinelly Montano, a 23-year-old Bolivian national who had been set for deportation before he was convicted of killing a Prince William County nun and injuring two others in his third DUI offense, was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.
Martinelly Montano pleaded guilty in October to lesser charges of driving while intoxicated and driving without a license. During his trial, he was found guilty of felony murder.
At the last second before he was sentenced for killing a nun in a drunk driving crash, he asked to speak. Clutching a hand written letter, he read his statement to Judge Lon Farris.
“I am truly sorry,” Montano said. “I feel terrible. I have agonizing pain in my heart.”
“Ever since the accident, I have been deeply moved for the life and the damage I inflicted upon the sisters.”
Martinelly Montano admitted he was drunk while driving in Brisow on Aug. 1, 2010 when he hit a car carrying Sisters Denise Mosier, Charlotte Lange and Connie Ruth Lupton. Mosier was killed, while Lange and Lupton were both seriously injured.
He says he had a drinking problem that lead to the decision he made that morning.
While they were not in the courtroom today, Martinelly Montano says the other nuns have forgiven him for the death of Mosier. He says that mercy helped him fight off alcoholism and find religion in jail.
“I’m ready to take full responsibilty for my actions and I accept the consequences,” he told the judge.
No one representing the nuns was present during today’s sentencing.
Judge Lon Farris said he lowered the initial sentence after Martinelly Martinelly Montano read the statement professing his remorse. Continue reading this article
See the opening statements from Rep. King and Senator Lieberman. The Senator made the point that “The only Americans who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks in our homeland since 9/11 have been killed at U.S. military facilities.”
The Obama administration continues to cower in political correctness by refusing to name the Islamic motivation. The President must still believe that his oratory can charm the Muslims out of 1400 years of using the sword to spread their violent religion.
The administration characterizes the Fort Hood mass murders as “workplace violence” even though several witnesses report Col. Hasan screaming “Allahu ackbar” as he shot down soldiers. The excuse shows Obama’s disrespect for the military and his undue solicitude for Islam generally.
Below, the victims murdered by Col. Hasan in the 2009 Fort Hood mass murders.
Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.
During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.
“The documents attached illustrate how the Department is dealing with the threat of violent Islamist extremism in the context of a broader threat of workplace violence,” read the letter, which was obtained by Fox News.
Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in 2009, and the number of alleged plots targeting the military has grown significantly since then. Lawmakers said there have been 33 plots against the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, and 70 percent of those threats have been since mid-2009. Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, who is being held for the attacks, allegedly was inspired by radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September. The two men exchanged as many as 20 emails, according to U.S. officials, and Awlaki declared Hasan a hero.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a “direct target of violent Islamist extremism” within the United States.
“The stark reality is that the American service member is increasingly in the terrorists’ scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting,” Lieberman told Fox News before the start of Wednesday’s hearing.
In June, two men allegedly plotted to attack a Seattle, Wash., military installation using guns and grenades. In July, Army Pvt. Naser Abdo was accused of planning a second attack on Fort Hood. And in November, New York police arrested Jose Pimentel, who alleged sought to kill service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Both Pimentel and Abdo also allegedly drew inspiration from al-Awlaki and the online jihadist magazine Inspire, which includes a spread on how to “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”
Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said military service members are “symbols of America’s power, symbols of America’s might.”
“And if they (military personnel) can be killed, then that is a great propaganda victory for al Qaeda,” King told Fox News.
In San Jose, California, the inmates are trying to run the asylum, and authorities may agree.
Worsening gang violence prompted San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore to invite ICE in to help. But the “immigrant” community became fearful that ordinary illegal alien job thieves and other foreign grifters might be scooped up and given a free trip home.
The situation shows an upside-down relationship between police and lawbreakers, in which illegal foreigners and their allies threaten non-cooperation if the law is enforced. The new police chief sounds amenable.
In San Jose, foreigners who don’t like American immigration laws bleat their complaints in the language of civil rights, and the agency responsible for public safety appears to prefer appeasement to law enforcement.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A coalition of San Jose community groups gathered Friday to send a loud message of disapproval to Police Chief Chris Moore on his decision to keep a pair of recently enlisted federal immigrations investigators.
“Our message is clear: we don’t want ICE here,” Stefanie Flores, a spokeswoman for Silicon Valley DeBug, said at a news conference this morning. “We want to work with the police to find real solutions.”
DeBug is part of a handful of San Jose immigrant and civil rights groups that oppose Moore’s recent decision to enlist the help of two investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Community Shield” program.
The groups said the program increases the community’s distrust of law enforcement, cultivates fear and undermines immigrants’ civil liberties.
“Now, more than ever, there needs to be a culture of trust between immigrant populations and the Police Department,” said Jazmin Segura, a spokeswoman for the group Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network, or SIREN. “This program will invariably damage that trust.”
At a community meeting hosted by Sacred Heart Community Service on Wednesday night, Moore said the agents are helping the department target escalating gang violence, which he said has contributed to more than half of the city’s homicides this year. Continue reading this article
In any normal case in Texas of a man who had murdered a mother while carjacking her vehicle, the sentence would have been a slam-dunk trip to the executioner. But since killer Timoteo Rios escaped to his native Mexico, the Mexican government required a promise of no capital punishment in order to allow the perp’s extradition.
So the jury quickly found him guilty of capital murder and the sentence was an automatic life in prison.
The Houston murder got a lot of attention in 2008 because the victim, Tina Davila (pictured), was the mother of five who was protecting her baby in a carseat from being taken along with the SUV.
A jury on Thursday took only an hour to convict Timoteo Rios of capital murder in the stabbing death of a woman protecting her 4-month-old baby from a would-be carjacker.
The April 2008 incident, including Tina Davila’s struggle with a man over her car keys and her collapse inside a cellphone store in east Houston, was captured on surveillance video that was presented during opening arguments in the two-day trial.
Rios, a 26-year-old Mexican national who has lived in the U.S. since he was 2, received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.
Davila’s older daughter, 20-year-old Patricia Matt, said the sentence was a good outcome since Rios was not eligible for the death penalty.
Here’s an interesting review of who’s up and who’s down in southern California crime. Black gangs manage to hang on, though the hispanic and illegal alien gangsters are gaining in power because of their exploding population.
Demography can be cruel: some blacks have been forced to find honest work as a result of the failing gang biz, we learn.
Nevertheless, elite liberals in Los Angeles remain in deep denial about the ethnic transformation of who the criminals are, to the point where reformed black gangsters are still sent to do-gooder fundraisers in Hollywood. Nobody wants to make the hired help in the mansion feel uncomfortable by using more representative Mexican hoodlums. So sensitive.
My driving instructor used to be a member of a South L.A. gang, but business dried up in the 1990s, and he was forced to get a job instead. He’s about five feet tall, but everyone calls him “Big.” “It was pretty sweet round here in the Nineties,” Big tells me as we navigate the barren streets between the Westside and South Central. That was what he calls the “golden age” of the Crips and the Bloods. Both African-American gangs are still strong, but they’ve lost a lot of their clout. “They were tough bastards, but they were our bastards,” says Big. “They were born around here, you know? They were real Americans.” And they sang and danced about it, too, turning South L.A. into a site of cultural significance for nearly a decade. It was here that the Rodney King riots started in 1992, turning the ghetto into the Immortal City of black poverty, fetishized in the hip-hop of Snoop Dogg and the movies of Spike Lee.
But, as Big explains to me, South L.A. has undergone some changes since then. The decline of the black gangs and the rise of a new Hispanic force based around 18th Street is a fascinating tale of globalization, endemic crime, and social turmoil. Likewise, the ignorance displayed by Hollywood and its environs north of the ghetto offers a glimpse into the myopia of West Coast liberalism.
Put simply, South L.A. used to be majority black; now it is majority Hispanic. In 1980, 71 percent of the population was African-American. According to the 2010 census, that figure has fallen to 31 percent, while the proportion of Hispanic residents is now 62 percent. One fun innovation the Hispanic migrants have brought with them is a culture of raising livestock at home. In contemporary South L.A., it is not unusual to be woken up at 6 a.m. by the sound of a rooster crowing. While turning onto Gage Avenue, I nearly drove my car into a goat. Continue reading this article
In Milwaukee, a Hmong man, Thaying Lor (pictured), was recently sentenced for a crime that would be considered normal activity back in the homeland of Southeast Asia: child marriage by way of kidnapping. (Thx Refugee Resettlement Watch.)
A Milwaukee man convicted of sexually assaulting his wife, who was 12 when he abducted her into a Hmong cultural marriage in 1991, was sentenced Monday to at least eight years in prison.
The case of Thaying Lor, 43, drew nationwide attention among Hmong-Americans, who feared it could lead to unfair judgment of their culture and an upsurge in Hmong wives making similar claims years after their weddings.
Circuit Judge Kevin Martens, who presided at Lor’s weeklong trial in December, called it one of the most difficult he’d seen, “given the number of issues I’m asked to consider on both sides.”
Prosecutors and advocates for victims of domestic violence sought much tougher punishment, while Lor’s counsel and Hmong-American groups and individuals who sent dozens of letters recommended probation.
The case began when a bailiff overheard the victim testify in her divorce early last year about how she was kidnapped, raped and essentially sold into marriage at age 12. The victim never wanted to involve police out of respect for the Hmong culture, but the bailiff alerted law enforcement and Lor was charged 10 days later.
The woman, now 32, has a different last name than Lor and is not being identified because she is the victim of a sexual assault. She remains in the Milwaukee area, where she is raising the couple’s six children.
In a letter to Martens, she said she did not feel safe appearing in person because she and her family have been subjected to ridicule, ostracism and threats, including on Hmong radio stations.
“They have threatened to hunt me down like a squirrel in the woods,” she wrote.
She asked that he sentence Lor to prison as a message to other abused Hmong women who lack the courage to come forward.
Martens spoke for 90 minutes Monday before announcing the sentence. He stressed repeatedly that case should not be seen as only “the Hmong marriage” case, but considered for Lor’s specific behavior.
“It would be wrong for anyone to take this as an indictment of the Hmong community as a whole,” he said. […]
How can anyone not “take this as an indictment of the Hmong community as a whole,” since the woman said she was threatened by her tribe for not cowering in submission like a proper Hmong female? The case is an all-too-accurate window into one of the more rudimentary peoples Washington has dispersed willy-nilly into America through its harmful refugee policy. In fact, the New York Times has called the Hmong “the most primitive refugee group in America.”
An earlier report from the Lor trial contained some interesting detail about how the kidnap happened:
Last week, she testified that Lor had visited her family once or twice before offering to take her to the mall in May 1991, when she was in sixth grade. Instead, he took her to a relative’s home where another man was waving something overhead in a circle, a gesture she knew from Laos meant she was being taken from her family into a Hmong marriage. Inside the home, she testified, Lor raped her for three days as she cried and begged to go home. They were married in a Hmong cultural ceremony a few days later.
Below is a brief video (not connected with the previous case) of a Hmong immigrant family whose daughter was grabbed like an animal and taken away for marriage, like they weren’t in America at all.
The families of the three brutally murdered young people were satisfied and relieved that Roldolfo Godinez was found guilty. The trial was a long time coming since August 2007, when three college friends were slaughtered on a schoolyard by a group of MS-13 gangsters.
It is a good outcome in particular because the evidence linking Godinez to the actual murders was weak compared with the other accused. Yet he was found guilty on all 17 counts, including murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons violations.
NEWARK — In the first trial stemming from the shootings of four college-age friends in a schoolyard here nearly three years ago, a jury on Monday returned guilty verdicts for three murders and one attempted murder after less than a day of deliberations.
The jury in State Superior Court, in Newark, convicted Rodolfo Godinez, a 26-year-old gang member and native of Nicaragua, of all the charges facing him, including multiple counts of robbery, weapons charges and conspiracy. Each murder count carries a minimum penalty of 30 years to life in prison, and the sentences can be given consecutively.
“This man will never see the light of day,” the acting Essex County prosecutor, Robert D. Laurino, said.
As the jury foreman, a slender, middle-aged man, read the verdicts, several of the victims’ family members clutched one another, as some nearby wept silently. Shalga Hightower, the mother of one of the murder victims, Iofemi Hightower, shook visibly throughout the proceeding.
James Harvey, the father of another victim, Dashon Harvey, said afterward: “It’s truly a blessing from God. It’s to send a message to youth — ‘Do you really want to join a gang? This is what comes of it.’ ”
Mr. Harvey said it was gratifying to see Mr. Godinez “coming into court with a smirk on his face, and for us to have the last laugh.”
As the verdict was read, Mr. Godinez stared straight ahead impassively, his hands clasped in front of him, not turning to look at the jury. Judge Michael Ravin scheduled his sentencing for July 8.
Mr. Godinez’s lawyer, Roy Greenman, said, “Obviously, there will be an appeal on a number of grounds.” He declined to elaborate.
After three weeks of testimony, lawyers’ statements and instructions from the judge, the jurors began deliberations on Thursday afternoon. Judge Ravin gave them Friday off, and shortly after returning to court on Monday morning, they sent word that they had reached verdicts.
Prosecutors did not assert that Mr. Godinez, one of six defendants in the case, was the person who hacked at some of the victims with a machete, or the one who shot each of them, execution-style, in the back of the head with a .357-caliber Colt Trooper revolver. But they described him as a member and recruiter for the violent street gang to which the attackers belonged and as the one who summoned some of the others to the schoolyard on the night of Aug. 4, 2007, to instigate the attack.
Mr. Godinez came to the United States at age 9, probably illegally, and later gained legal residency, the authorities have said. At least one of the defendants is in this country illegally, and the status of another is unclear. Critics of United States immigration policy pointed to the schoolyard killings as evidence of a need for tougher enforcement.
At the time of the shootings, Mr. Godinez had been a fugitive for four years, after jumping bail on assault, robbery and weapons charges.
The emotional high point of the trial came when the surviving victim, Natasha Aeriel, took the witness stand to describe the night when she, her brother Terrance Aeriel, Ms. Hightower and Mr. Harvey gathered behind the Mount Vernon elementary school to chat and listen to music. Ms. Aeriel recounted being sexually molested and slashed with a machete, hearing the shots that killed her brother and friends, and then being shot herself.
Troy Bradshaw, the Aeriels’ father, said after the verdict, “It’s still heavy on my heart.” He added that he had immense pride in his daughter, who might have to testify five more times.
It’s been nearly three years since three black college students (pictured below) were brutally murdered by Hispanic gangsters (at least some illegal aliens) in Newark, and the trial finally started this week. The sole survivor took the stand to testify about what happened when the four friends went to a local schoolyard to listen to music and hang out. Instead of having an enjoyable evening, the women were sexually assaulted and hacked with machetes, and three were shot execution style in the attack by six Hispanics.
A gang expert testified at pre-trial that the crimes were probably an MS-13 initiation, given the savagery.
Consider this detail from a few days after the murders:
Yesterday, a family member of one of the slain victims, Iofemi Hightower, described the level of savagery of the attack. He said the thugs used a machete to hack their victims.
“They cut my niece’s face off,” said John McClain, who is Hightower’s great-uncle, and the chaplain of the Newark Police Department. “They cut her from cheek to cheek. They left her head hanging.”
McClain said the mortician told him he had to work for three days to put his grand-niece’s face back together.
“Most people couldn’t tell, when he was done, but the family could tell,” he said.
The defendant in the current trial is illegal alien Rudolfo Godinez, who is believed to be an MS-13 recruiter who arranged for gangster wanna-bes to murder random people as an aptitude test.
Godinez had been previously arrested for critically knifing a man during a robbery, but he was released despite the felony charge and illegal status. (Another of the accused is illegal Peruvian Jose Lachira Carranza, who was charged with repeatedly raping a young girl but was out on bail at the time of the murders.)
She had been sexually assaulted, slashed with a machete and shot in the head, but as the young woman clung to life she could think only of one thing: Where are my friends?
“I remember an ambulance coming to pick me up and telling them I’m fine,” the woman testified Thursday in the first trial stemming from the killings of three friends in a Newark schoolyard. “I kept moving the breathing thing out of the way. I kept telling them, ‘There’s some kids back there at the wall, go find them.’”
Emergency responders found the three — Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower, both 20, and 18-year-old Terrance “T.J.” Aeriel — slumped against a wall behind the school. Prosecutors say they were led down a flight of stairs, lined up and each shot in the back of the head.
The woman’s testimony Thursday represented her first public account of what happened near Mount Vernon School on a warm summer night in 2007. The woman, who was 19 at the time, is not being identified by The Associated Press because of sexual assault charges against some of the defendants.
Her identification of a picture of one of the suspects in the days after the slayings ultimately led to the capture of all six. The first defendant, Nicaraguan national Rodolfo Godinez, is on trial on murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons charges.
Anger over the slayings gave urgency to several anti-crime measures that have been credited with helping lower Newark’s murder rate by nearly 40 percent from 2006 to 2008.
During nearly three hours of testimony before a packed courtroom, the woman, wearing glasses and a light brown leather jacket over a gray blouse, described in a calm, measured tone the events of Aug. 4, 2007. It began with four friends, all of whom lived in Newark and were students at Delaware State University, assembling early in the evening to drive around, hang out and listen to music.
Parts of her testimony drew quiet gasps from a group of about three dozen friends and family members, while other parts drew chuckles, such as when she described Harvey doing a dance on the playground to music playing from her car radio.
Under direct examination by Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas McTigue, the woman testified that the four were set upon by six men and boys, two of whom were in the school playground when the friends arrived and four more who arrived about 40 minutes later.
The two who were already there were sitting on a small set of bleachers drinking beer and didn’t seem threatening, she said. But that quickly changed when the others arrived.
As the friends sensed danger and tried to get in their car, they were ordered to lie on the ground.
“We all complied,” she said. “I was scared. I had never been robbed before. I hoped they’d just steal my car and keep moving. … I didn’t think they’d start going crazy the way they did.” Continue reading this article
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