May 30, 2013

(AP) — A Chicago man has been charged with killing a 6-month-old girl whose death earlier this year brought attention to gang violence on the city's South Side, prosecutors announced Monday.

Koman Willis, 34, is accused of killing the baby, who was shot on March 11 while sitting in her father’s lap in a minivan. Police say the baby’s father, Jonathan Watkins, was the intended target of the attack.

Willis is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney's Office. A bond hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Watkins, who has a lengthy criminal record, was seriously wounded in the shooting.

Chicago police devoted large numbers of resources to finding a suspect in the shooting, which happened in the middle of the day in the city’s Woodlawn neighborhood.

In March, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy had said Watkins was cooperating with the investigation but that there was “a lot more” help he could provide.

At the girl’s funeral, several people lamented the “code of silence” that keeps some residents from reporting crimes, cooperating with authorities or even fingering members of rival gangs who have targeted them.

Religious leaders speaking at the funeral service implored those in attendance to transform gang-riven neighborhoods.

The shooting came just weeks after a 15-year-old honors student was gunned down on a South Side street in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

May 30, 2013

City News Service

 

The coroner's office today released the name of an 11-year-old boy stabbed to death in a family dispute inside a Westlake District apartment. He was Jai Shaun Lewis, coroner's Lt. Joe Bale said. The boy's accused attacker, his 26-year-old stepfather, who was also injured, remained under guard at County USC Medical Center, awaiting a doctor's clearance to be released from the hospital and booked on charges in connection with the boy's death, said Sgt. Melvin Gamble of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Station.

The homicide took place inside a Westlake District apartment at 227 S. Carondelet St. and was reported just before 9 a.m. Monday, said LAPD Sgt. Michael Mabie of the Rampart Station.

 ``An 11-year-old boy has died from his stab wounds and we have his attacker, a 26-year-old man, in custody now,'' Mabie said.

 LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman told City News Service the suspect is the boy's stepfather. Eisenman said she did not know what triggered the violence between the man and the boy. Neighbors told reporters that they heard an argument, and then screams from the boy's mother from the upper floor of the two-story building, in a densely populated neighborhood northwest of MacArthur Park. The boy was in cardiac arrest when he was transported from the scene by paramedics and died at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. His stepfather was injured in the struggle with the boy and taken to County USC for treatment, according to Mabie and Eisenman. His name was not expected to be released until he is booked.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

May 23, 2013

Special to the NNPA from The Michigan Chronicle

Retired postal worker Melvyn Wilson is probably one of the luckiest men on earth, because on Wednesday, he picked up his fourth winning lottery check, and this time, it was for a whopping $500,000, reports The Washington Times.

The Woodbridge, Va., resident, who has won more than $2 million, first hit the lotto jackpot back in 2004, when a scratch card fetched him $25,000.

Just one year later, Wilson struck it rich, yet again!

Two more lottery scratch cards resulted in Wilson receiving a $1 million win on one and a $500,000 prize on the other.

Two years after his last lotto windfall, Wilson decided to call it quits at the post office.

Now nearly eight years since his last big win, Wilson remains cool as a cucumber and almost appears unfazed by the excitement that a fourth win should generate.  Wilson told lottery officials as he claimed his check for $500,000, “‘I’m just in the right place at the right time.”

The 72-year-old retiree admits that he is “in it to win it’ and plans on continuing to play the lottery.  Wilson believes he has a chance at winning Thursday’s Powerball, which is now at a jackpot of $360 million.

The record high for a jackpot is $656 million.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

May 23, 2013

City News Service

 

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded not guilty this week to assaulting an inmate in the back of a patrol car, a charge brought nearly two years after the alleged incident occurred. Matthew John Funicello, 31, is accused of hitting Dewayne Wright, who was then 19, several times with his fist on July 22, 2011. Wright was being moved from the sheriff's Palmdale station to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility downtown at the time. Funicello was booked at the Crescenta Valley Station in April, when the felony charge of assault under color of authority was filed, and released on $35,000 bail.

He appeared today in a dark pin-striped suit rather than his uniform.

“Every deputy charged with a felony is relieved of duty without pay” pending the outcome of their case, said defense attorney Vicki Podberesky, when asked about her client’s employment status. Funicello is due back in court June 19, when a date is scheduled to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for him to proceed to trial. If convicted, he faces up to three years behind bars, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

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