Category Archives: Florida

Remember When the Mall Easter Bunny Got Arrested?

The scene, Edison Mall, 2006. They have an Easter Bunny area where families could come and get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. 27 parents were lined up when the Bunny-manager decided to shut down for the day, 15 minutes early. One of the parents approached the manager and asked why, to which the manager replied, “because I felt like it”, and punched the mom in the face. When the bunny saw the manager involved in a fight, he jumped in and started punching the mom in the back of the head.

arthur mcclure easter bunny

Arthur McClure, the Rogue Rabbit

The Bunny, Art McClure, claims that he and the manager, his girlfriend, were acting in self-defense when the “mob of angry soccer moms” came after them. Ultimately, McClure was charged with misdemeanor battery and breach of the peace, and pled out  to time served on the charges a couple weeks later. The responding officer got statements from half a dozen of the parents, who all indicated McClure and his girlfriend were the aggressors. It’s like Bad Santa for another season!

It’s too bad that cell phone cameras were not as common then, and even the snapshots that were taken don’t seem to have made it to the internet. McClure’s listed occupation on the arrest report is “Easter Bunny”, though this was his last day on the job.

Holy Cow: Aaron Hernandez Acquitted in Double Murder Trial

aaron hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

A jury today found former Gator and Patriot football player not guilty on two counts of murder, along with the attempted murders of the other passengers and the intimidation charge against the State’s key witness. He was found guilty of illegal firearms possession, and sentenced to four to five years in prison, most of which he has already served. Now, this acquittal may be all for naught, as Hernandez is already sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd, for whom he was convicted of killing in 2013.

Keep in mind, a criminal acquittal is not proof that he did not do it (cough cough – OJ – cough cough). It merely means that the state did not convince the jurors beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt.  The state’s case was based on the testimony of Alexander Bradley, a convicted violent drug dealer who says he was there and Hernandez did it. Hernandez’s attorney Jose Baez (who famously defended Casey Anthony) did a great job of casting doubt on Bradley, his motivations, and suggesting that it may have been Bradley who did the shooting. Without corroborating evidence, accepting Bradley’s testimony to convict was presumably to hard for the jury to swallow.

Hernandez’s other conviction is being appealed and will be heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, probably later this year.

Closing Arguments in the Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial

aaron hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

The prosecution and Defense concluded their closing arguments this afternoon. The jury is expected to begin deliberations tomorrow. The Defense attacked the state’s star witness, himself a violent drug dealer with reason to blame Hernandez instead of himself. Jose Baez made some colorful arguments that the state did not prove their case.

hernandez tattoos

Hernandez’ arm, with possibly incriminating tats

The State argues their witness was credible, and that the evidence supports his claim. They say Hernandez had motive, opportunity, and they allege that a tattoo he later got equates to a confession. This is not the first time tattoos have allegedly documented a crime. A verdict is expected in the coming days.

Aaron Hernandez’ Fiance Again Testifies Against Him

Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez

Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez

The prosecutors offered immunity to the fiance of Aaron Hernandez in order to get her to testify on their behalf in both of his murder trials. She testified in the second case this week, but she was definitely not there to help the prosecution. In fact, she gave Hernandez an alibi, saying that he was in a hotel with her at the time the murders allegedly took place. Prosecutors rebutted that evidence, by showing that a call was made from Hernandez’ phone to her from Boston’s South End just minutes after he allegedly shot two men after a dispute at a Boston nightclub. A federal agent testified that cell phone records indicated there was “absolutely no way” he could have been in Plainville when she claimed.

Jenkins-Hernandez was a reluctant witness for the prosecution, to say the least. After the previous trial where Aaron Hernandez was convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd, she not only maintained her engagement to him, but she even added is name to hers as a hyphenate. They are not legally married, and apparently Massachusetts does not allow conjugal visits, even if they were married. While she testified for the prosecutors, if they secure a conviction, it will be in spite of her testimony, not because of it.

The prosecution is expected to rest their case today or early next week.

Star Witness Testifies Against Aaron Hernandez

aaron hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

The second murder trial of Aaron Hernandez has been underway in Boston, and the key witness against him recently took the stand. Holy cow the testimony was a doozy! Dan Wetzel did a great story detailing the testimony and the twisted background that let up to it. In short, after he allegedly shot the two men for the slight of spilling a drink on him at a nightclub, Hernandez grew more and more paranoid, and ultimately shot his friend in the face to prevent him from having a chance to turn him in. That friend, Alexander Bradley, survived only to refuse to break code and snitch on his friend. You should really go read the whole piece by Wetzel.

From a legal point of view, the case is fascinating. Bradley puts Hernandez at the scene, and describes him committing the murder. But Bradley’s testimony is going to be mercilessly attacked by defense attorney Jose Baez, who will claim that he’s the actual shooter. It’s his word alone that can convict Hernandez, and he has a motive to testify against the man he now says shot him in the face. The fact that Bradley initially refused to finger Hernandez as the man who shot him may actually help his credibility. The evidence suggests that these two men were in the car, and that one of them committed the crime. Bradley has his own charges, ranging from drug dealing and assault to shooting up a bar on another occasion. The State’s star witness is no angel. Regardless of the outcome, Hernandez is not likely to ever be released from prison, having already been sentenced to life for the murder of Odin Lloyd, though he is appealing that decision.

via Yahoo! Sports

Here’s the NBC story I was in Last Night

Marian Williams

Marian Williams

NBC did a follow-up story on the case of Marian Williams, charged with 3 counts of First Degree Murder for the young boys that died in a fire she allegedly started. She’s also charged with arson and attempted murder. I spoke to NBC about some of her prior history. She’s being held in the Desoto County jail without bond.

via NBC-2: http://www.nbc-2.com/clip/13170970/memorial-growing-questions-piling-up-about-alleged-arsonists-past

 

Florida’s Death Penalty Reinstated, Governor Signs Law for New Procedure

Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the bill amending the procedure for Florida’s death penalty. The new law requires a unanimous jury finding for the death penalty, in order for it to pass constitutional muster.