HOUSTON (AP) — A former Houston police officer has been charged with helping distribute cocaine when he was on the force.
Federal prosecutors in Houston on Wednesday announced the arrest of 36-year-old Marcos E. Carrion, who recently resigned from the Houston Police Department.
An indictment returned April 16 and unsealed as Carrion surrendered charges him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. No attorney information was immediately available for Carrion, who faces an initial court appearance.
Investigators say the case involves cocaine being moved from mid-2013 through this month. Further details weren't immediately released.
Carrion had been a Houston police officer for five years. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison and a fine of as much as $10 million.
Houston police had no immediate comment.
READING, Pa. (AP) - A police officer in eastern Pennsylvania has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the police department's evidence room to fund his gambling habit.
Forty-seven-year-old Jodi Royer surrendered to Berks County detectives Wednesday to face charges including theft and evidence tampering.
Investigators said an audit of the Reading police department's evidence and property room determined that nearly $15,000 from four cases was stolen. In additional cases that were identified, authorities said Royer replaced the stolen money with his own funds.
The alleged thefts occurred between April 2011 and March of this year.
Royer is a 24-year-veteran of the force and is on medical leave.
Reading police Chief William Heim said Royer is being placed on suspension with the intent to dismiss.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By Steven Henshaw, Of The Reading Eagle
The Reading police officer charged with stealing at least $16,500 seized from drug suspects as evidence is likely to be fired.
Police Chief William M. Heim on Thursday said he is moving forward with procedures to dismiss Officer Jodi B. Royer, who was on paid medical leave when he turned himself in on Wednesday.
"There is a contractual procedure to be followed," Heim said in an email Thursday – a day after recommending Royer be immediately suspended without pay from his $63,918-a-year job. Authorities said Royer, 47, a former community police bicycle officer who joined the force in 1990, came under suspicion in March when his supervisor discovered cash missing from the evidence property room in the basement of City Hall.
Investigators said Royer stole the money to support his gambling habit.
Royer was transferred to the evidence department in April 2011. The Berks County District Attorney's audited the evidence and allege Royer tampered with evidence in six cases, stealing $14,484 in four cases and returning $2,214 from two other cases but with bills of the wrong denomination, including some that were not in circulation at the time of the original case.
Royer remains free awaiting further court action on charges of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence and unlawful use of a computer and related
NEW YORK (WABC) -- An on duty NYPD detective accidentally shot his partner in the wrist in Queens overnight, and was charged with driving while intoxicated, police sources say.
Detective Jay Poggi shot his partner, both assigned to the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn, in the wrist at about 1:50 a.m. Thursday morning.
Police say Poggi and his partner were driving to a Queens location as part of an investigation when he accidentally fired his .38 caliber revolver.
According to court documents, Poggi was showing his partner the barrel of his gun, and the weapon went off.
The partner, a 12 year veteran, was shot in the wrist.
Detective Poggi rushed his partner to Jamaica Hospital where he required surgery, and is listed in stable condition.
Poggi's lawyer says the officer was just trying to save his partner's life. "He drove his partner to the hospital," said attorney James Moschella. "And part of the allegation of driving while intoxicated is driving his partner to get life-saving treatment at the hospital, which you certainly can't fault him for."
Officials say Poggi refused to submit to a breath-alcohol test following the shooting. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, and has been released on his own recognizance. His driver's license has been suspended.
According to court documents, Poggi's blood alcohol level was .113 when the legal limit is .08.
Poggi's next court date is June 16th.
The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident.
ELKHORN — A former Bloomfield and Genoa City police officer was arrested on April 16 after he was allegedly filmed stealing cash from the Genoa City Police Department.
Aaron E. Henson, 36, was arrested on charges of theft and misconduct in public office. Henson is a five-year veteran of the village of Bloomfield Police Department, and he also worked part time in the village of Genoa City.
Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci said Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel has accepted a request to be a special prosecutor on the case. Schimel will review the information in the case and make a decision on whether to formerly charge Henson. Necci said that future court proceedings will occur in Walworth County.
Henson was booked into the Walworth County jail on April 16 at 6:49 p.m., and he was released on a signature bond the next day at 2:25 p.m. Henson was arrested after police raided his home as part of the theft investigation.
According to online court records, defense attorney Frank Lettenberger is representing Henson. On Thursday morning, Lettenberger said he can't comment on the case at this time.
Genoa City Police Chief Joseph Balog said he felt betrayed by the theft.
"When I briefed my personnel, I would equate this to telling them that there was a death in the department," Balog said on Thursday morning.
Balog also emphasized that he acted quickly when he learned of the theft, and that Henson was not given special treatment because he is a police officer.
"Even when someone in our own department does something they are held accountable," Balog said.
He said acting quickly is necessary to ensure that the public can trust law enforcement.
In a press release, Bloomfield Police Chief Llyod Cole reported that on April 17, his department was notified of the investigation into Henson. The press release states that later that day Henson submitted his resignation to the Bloomfield Police Department.
Cole's press release also states that Capt. Dana Nigbor is handling the investigation. She didn't return a message left Thursday morning seeking comment.
Necci said his office is reviewing the cases that Henson handled prior to his arrest.
"I don't know how big the fallout will be, but there will be fallout," Necci said. "There will be cases that have to be dismissed because of this. I don't know how many, but I know that will happen."
Necci said Henson's arrest will affect his credibility as a witness in some cases.
"Credibility is always at issue with a witness. Despite the fact that he is an officer he is a witness," Necci said. "If these (allegations) were allowed in at trial, which I tend to think they would be, that would affect his credibility greatly."
In the village of Bloomfield, Henson recently arrested a man for fourth-offense drunken driving, and he referred charges to the District Attorney's Office against the man for attempting to bribe a public official.
In that case, Henson's report included that the man he arrested offered him a $1,000 to let him go. Henson reported that he declined the bribe. So far, the District Attorney's Office has only filed the drunken driving charges against the man.
The defendant in that case is represented by defense attorney Peter Wilson. On Thursday morning, Wilson said he isn't sure what effect, if any, Henson's arrest will have on his client's case.
"It would appear that the two incidents are unrelated," he said. "It obviously goes to the officer's character, but the officer's character is not an element of the offense that my client is charged with."
Wilson added that Henson and his client are both presumed innocent.
According to the search warrant affidavit, on April 7, Balog was contacted by his administrative assistant, who reported to him that there was money missing from the bond box.
After the money went missing, on April 11, the assistant photographed and recorded the serial numbers of $230 in cash, which she then placed into the bond box.
On April 14, the assistant discovered that the $230 of pre-recorded cash and $1,728.30 in other bond envelopes went missing.
Later that day, Balog photographed and recorded the serial numbers to another $400 and installed a video camera near the bond box.
The next day, the money went missing. Balog reviewed the video surveillance footage and saw Henson use a fly swatter to remove the bond envelopes from the locked bond box, according to the affidavit.
"(Balog) observed Henson remove the envelopes that contained the money and walk out of view of the camera," the affidavit states.
A search warrant for Henson's home was obtained and executed the next day. Balog has since turned the investigation over to the Walworth County Sheriff's Department.
At his first court appearance, Henson was ordered not to have any contact with the village of Genoa City Police Department, the Genoa City Village Hall, the Bloomfield Village Hall or any of the employees of either department.
According to online court records, Henson is next scheduled to appear in court on May 1 at 1:15 p.m. in front of Judge David Reddy.
By Nick Grube
PF Bentley/Honolulu Civil Beat
Hawaii Sen. Will Espero during a hearing at the State Capitol.
Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill out of conference committee Wednesday that will force county police departments to disclose more information about officers who get in trouble for misconduct.
If signed into law, Senate Bill 2591 will force police chiefs to tell the Legislature how many officers were suspended or fired in a given year, and whether the disciplinary action resulted in criminal charges or was still subject to a union appeal.
Any disciplinary action that is overturned will require police chiefs to include an explanation as to why the punishment was revoked. This should also be the case if a disciplined officer resigned before the punishment was finalized.
“This will be one of our positive measures that we pass this session in terms of transparency and open government,” said Sen. Will Espero. “It’s a big step and there’s more to do, but this is certainly a win.”
Espero introduced SB 2591 in response to Civil Beat’s series In The Name Of The Law, which examined the secrecy and lack of public accountability surrounding police misconduct.
A key component of that series involved an analysis of annual misconduct reports each county police department is required to submit to the Legislature. Civil Beat found that about once a week on average a Honolulu police officer is suspended or discharged for breaking the law or violating policy.
But the reports provided little detail about the type of misconduct that is actually taking place in a department. Important details, such as an officer’s name or whether they were prosecuted for a crime, are not included.
That’s because the state’s police union was successful in convincing lawmakers in 1995 to carve out an exemption in the Hawaii public records law that allows departments to withhold information about suspended cops. Fired officers, however, are not afforded this shield and are subject to having details about their misconduct released.
SB 2591 does not require police agencies to release suspended officers records.
However, a Hawaii Circuit Court judge recently ruled that suspended officers files must be disclosed. That case has been appealed by the union.
All other public employees who are suspended or fired — whether they’re a teacher or a prison guard — are subject to information about their misconduct being released.
Another important component of SB 2591 relates to how long police departments must hold onto an officers disciplinary records.
Departments will often destroy a fired officer’s personnel file before the public is made aware of it through the annual reports to the Legislature due to archaic records retention schedules and lengthy union grievance procedures.
SB 2591 requires departments to hold onto an officer's disciplinary records for at least 18 months after a final disciplinary action is recorded in an annual report.
That particular provision comes from legislation that died before making it to conference committee. House Bill 1812 — introduced by Rep. Karl Rhoads — was a companion piece to SB 2591 and was identical in nearly every way.
Rhoads, however, amended the bill to include more time for lawmakers and the public to get access to a fired officer’s disciplinary file to provide more oversight. He also suggested changing the public records law to get rid of the exemption that protected suspended cops from having details about their misconduct released.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers and Honolulu Police Department vigorously opposed Rhoads’ amended HB 1812 while journalists and good government groups, including the Media Council Hawaii, the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest and state Office of Information Practices all supported it.
HB 1812 passed both chambers, but died before making it through conference committee.
Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center, said HB 1812 was definitely a stronger bill due to the changes it sought in the public records law.
But he also noted that SB 2591 was less controversial and didn’t get as much pushback from SHOPO, which made its presence known in the halls of the State Capitol.
“The original purpose of (SB 2591) was to make things better in terms of the annual disclosures,” Black said. “Anything that’s going to make police misconduct a more informed issue with the public is a good thing no matter what.”
SB 2591 also includes a provision that says fired police officers’ disciplinary files will not be made available until 90 days after disciplinary action becomes final.
Current law requires the information to be released after 30 days.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -
Two suspended Broward Sheriff's Office deputies with ties to convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein now face federal criminal conspiracy charges.
Federal prosecutors filed charges Friday in Fort Lauderdale against Lt. David Benjamin, 48, of Boca Raton, and Detective Jeff Poole, 47, of Weston.
They're accused of abusing their law enforcement powers to help Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to orchestrating the scam that involved investments in nonexistent legal settlements.
Specifically, the charging documents allege Benjamin received about $185,000 in cash and other items of value from Rothstein in return for providing his assistance when needed. That included arranging with Poole to arrest the ex-wife of an attorney who was engaged in a child custody dispute with her, arranging to use force and threats of force against the boyfriend of an escort who was threatening to expose the illicit relationship which existed between the escort and one of Rothstein's partners, and assisting Rothstein in loading cash and jewelry onto a private plane which was used by Rothstein to flee to Morocco on Oct. 27, 2009, as the Ponzi scheme was beginning to unravel.
"The allegations, as you know, were very serious," Sheriff Scott Israel said. "The implications were great."
According to court documents, Poole faces up to 10 years in prison for conspiring to violate civil rights, while Benjamin could be sentenced to five years for extortion and civil rights violations. Both charges carry fines of up to $250,000.
Israel said both deputies were fired. They had been serving suspensions with pay since Israel took office last year.
CHICAGO — A former suburban Chicago police officer convicted of driving the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive in 2013 and causing a fatal crash was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.
Terrell Garrett, who worked for the North Chicago Police Department, was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide following a crash that killed 25-year-old Joaquin Garcia, 25, and Fabian Torres, 27. In a deal with prosecutors, Garrett pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated DUI before Cook County Judge Mary Brosnahan imposed the prison sentence. It did not please the victim's families.
"My son's life was worth more than 10 years," said Cecilia Garcia, whose son was studying to be a surgical technician at Chicago's Malcolm X College.
Maria Torres, whose son was a first-year student at DePaul University, noted the judge had a sentencing range of between seven and 31 years.
"She didn't even try to go in the middle," said Maria Torres. "Ten years is not enough. It's a letdown. It's a disappointment."
Garrett was off duty at the time of the crash. Witnesses said he was traveling 60 mph or more before the two cars collided.
Cook County prosecutors say Garrett's blood alcohol content after the early-morning crash was measured at 0.184, more than twice the 0.08 legal limit.
A passenger in a third automobile involved in the crash, Eve Yeaton, was injured. Yeaton said she hasn't been able to work and sees a long list of therapists for post-traumatic stress disorder and concussion.
"In my heart, Terrell, I would like you to know I forgive you," she said. "None of us want to be in this situation, including you."
Before being sentenced, the 36-year-old Garrett said he takes responsibility for his actions.
"Today is the hardest day of my life and it's my own fault," he said. "If I could give my life for theirs I would. I'm sorry, but I know that's not good enough."
Maria Torres said she would forgive Garrett if he apologized to her from her heart.
"He does not know what he took from me," she said. "He took a beautiful person. He had a beautiful soul."
By Ciara O'Rourke and Tony Plohetski
Late one night last August, a state trooper arrested Austin police officer Ricardo Zapata after smelling alcohol during a traffic stop. Zapata was also slurring, according to Austin Police Department records, and he nearly fell over while getting out of his car. The trooper charged him with drunken driving, and a blood sample later found his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
Four months ago, Police Chief Art Acevedo fired Zapata, and, in a publicly released letter of suspension, declared that Zapata could no longer be on the force because he had failed to act responsibly and had destroyed the community’s confidence in the department’s goals of combating DWI.
U.S. Attorney’s Office April 23, 2014 • Southern District of Texas (713) 567-9000
HOUSTON—Former Houston Police Department (HPD) officer Marcos E. Carrion, 36, has surrendered to authorities, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson today.
Carrion was charged in a sealed indictment returned April 16, 2014. It was unsealed as Carrion turned himself into authorities this morning. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge George C. Hanks Jr. at 2:00 p.m. today.
Carrion is charged with conspiring with others to possess with the intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine from mid-2013 through April 2014.
Carrion, a five-year HPD veteran, had recently resigned from his position.
If convicted, he faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison as well as a possible $10 million fine.
The charges are the result of a six-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of HPD and the FBI. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark E. Donnelly and Shelley J. Hicks.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Detroit—Nearly two dozen Detroit Police officers will be suspended after a routine check of their driving records revealed they have outstanding warrants for their arrests.
“Mostly, these were for parking violations in suburban cities; one or two might be moving violations,” Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said.
“None of these were criminal offenses, but it doesn’t negate the fact that officers have warrants out for their arrests. We obviously can’t have that.”
A police source said 23 officers were suspended, but Woody said he isn’t sure of the exact number. “I know there were several, though,” he said.
“We can’t have people with suspended licenses driving city-owned vehicles, and we can’t have officers out there with outstanding arrest warrants.”
The officers will be suspended with pay until they take care of their legal issues.
“We have policies in place: Anytime an officer has a warrant against him on this kind of issue, they’re suspended with pay until they pay the fines or get their licenses back,” Woody said. “Once that happens, they’ll be brought back to work.”
Department officials twice a year run officers’ records to ensure there are no issues, and a recent check uncovered the arrest warrants, Woody said.
“Some of these suburban communities don’t play — if you’re one day late paying a parking fine, they put out an arrest warrant,” Woody said.
“Some of the officers don’t have warrants, but have had their licenses expired or suspended.
“These aren’t felonies, but it’s still an issue that needs addressing.”
If officers don’t take care of their legal issues, they will be further disciplined, Woody said.
The Police Department used to check officers’ driving records quarterly, but because of reduced manpower, they’ve pared that back to twice a year, Woody said.
TULSA, Oklahoma — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former Tulsa police officer who was found guilty of perjury and civil rights violations in a corruption scandal that shook the Tulsa Police Department.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the decision Thursday in the case of Jeff Henderson, who was convicted on eight counts and sentenced to three-and-half years in prison. He was acquitted on 45 other charges.
Henderson was among 11 officers charged or named as unindicted co-conspirators in an investigation that led to more than 40 defendants having convictions overturned or being released from prison.
Among the accusations against Henderson was that he and other officers entered a home without a warrant in September 2007 in what was determined to be an illegal search.
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SALISBURY — The way things are now in Wicomico County, law enforcement agencies are policing law enforcement officers.
The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit regularly investigates police-involved shootings, and for those incidents, the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office makes decisions on whether to prosecute.
Mary Ashanti, president of the Wicomico County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, would like to see citizens become more involved in the process.
At a Wicomico County Council meeting Tuesday, Ashanti brought up the suggestion for a police oversight board with subpoena power during the public comment session.
“The complaints we have is police are investigating themselves,” Ashanti said.
Ashanti said in a phone interview that ideally, the board would be made up of citizens, businesspeople, clergy and maybe also people with a law enforcement background who are not current law enforcement officers. The board would look at deadly force situations or other incidents involving police misconduct, she said.
The suggestion comes after three police-involved shootings, two of which were fatal, that happened within two months earlier this year in Wicomico County.
“It’s time for a movement,” Ashanti said at the meeting.
Police oversight boards
There are civilian police oversight boards in cities across the country and beyond.
Brian Buchner, president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, said the biggest benefit of having citizens provide oversight is building a bridge between the community and its police department, which creates more trust.
This trust leads to decreased crime, Buchner said. Oversight agencies also help ensure that people’s civil rights are protected, he said.
Buchner said civilian oversight boards are normally part of local governments. That’s the case for the City of Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission, where Kelvyn Anderson is executive director.
Anderson said Philadelphia’s first police advisory board was formed in 1958, and the current agency was formed in 1994.
The initial board did not have subpoena power, Anderson said, which is something the agency now has.
Because officers are not just disciplined based on the findings or view of the advisory board, and the board doesn’t have control over the police commissioner’s decision, Anderson said the commission has more influence when it comes to overall policy issues.
Philadelphia police have done more training for dealing with mental health issues, for example, because of the oversight board, Anderson said.
“We’ve found that, again, those larger policy issues are areas where if we’ve done our homework, if we’re listening well to the community, we have useful things to say to the police department,” Anderson said.
Wicomico County has seen three police-involved shootings between February and March — two which resulted in the death of two suspects.
Ashanti noted that locally, when those police-involved shootings take place, they are investigated by other police –– even if the shooting does not involve the Maryland State Police, for example, that agency works with the other local departments.
She’d prefer that an objective board look at the case, and she’d rather have the FBI or U.S. Department of Justice investigate incidents rather than, for example, the state police.
Ashanti said she’s currently in the researching stages of this initiative and is interested in seeing what other areas do.
Tuesday was the first time that County Council President Matt Holloway had heard about this idea, but he said if the public and law enforcement are on board with the initiative, he would support something like this.
He wasn’t sure whether the council or county executive would take the lead on such an initiative; he said he’d need to learn more and get further input.
This may be a good time to get started on something like this, Holloway said, and it could help be more proactive than reactionary.
“This could be a step towards accomplishing that,” Holloway said.
Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello did not have information about the specifics of this plan, so he did not talk about it in particular. He did say he supports strengthening relationships between police and the community. Law enforcement officials regularly meet with community leaders and organizers and hear concerns, he said.
He noted how important these police-community relationships are, and that in the majority of cases, citizens are crucial.
“The police are there to serve the citizenry, and the citizenry are there to assist the law enforcement,” Maciarello said.
By: Erica Zucco
One of three Police Oversight Commissioners who stepped down from the group today called the commission a “mockery” of real civilian oversight.
All three of them said the group has no power, citing an April 10 message from the city attorney’s office as the final straw. They say they do not want to deceive citizens into thinking they do have effective civilian oversight.
“I think they're frustrated cause they're just not getting the kind of power and oversight that they need and so we're seeing people resign,” Ralph Arellanes of LULAC, who served on a task force to reform the POC, said.
Peter Simonson of the ACLU was on that task force too.
“We felt the police oversight commission and the Independent review office, in whatever way shape or form they take, should form a single system and ultimately that the IRO should respond to, be supervised by, the oversight body,” Simonson said.
That task force created eighteen recommendations, some of which city council is working on now. But most of the recommendations haven’t been put into action by city officials.
In the meantime, Richard Shine, Jennifer Barela and Jonathan Siegel resigned from the commission.
“It's unfortunate, maybe it's inevitable. The situation we have currently, we know that the POC and the IRO are in a state of complete uncertainty as they wait to see what the city council plans to do,” Simonson said. “They were extremely frustrated with the way in which the city attorney's office has construed the relationship between the IRO and the POC, construed the power of the POC to weigh in on policy matters and obtain certain kinds of data from the police department and so I think all of their concerns were completely legitimate, I can totally understand why they had the reaction they did and I know both Mr. Siegel and Mr. Shine and I think they are upstanding individuals, devoted to their community.”
In their letters, all three resigning commissioners said they hope the city will take action to reform the POC.
“I think they truly wanted to see an effective civilian oversight body process here in the city of Albuquerque and I think it’s a shame to lose them from the civilian oversight process. I hope that they can remain engaged because really they have committed literally thousands of hours on our community's behalf,” Simonson said.
3 Albuquerque police oversight members resign
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Half of the members of Albuquerque's Police Oversight Commission have resigned, citing a lack of independence and inability to provide any real citizen oversight of the troubled department.
The resignations Tuesday by three members of the civilian review board come less than a week after the U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report on what it called excessive force and a culture of abuse and aggression at the Police Department. Albuquerque officers have shot at 37 men since 2010, killing 23.
The report also criticized the city's oversight system and limited powers in investigating cases of questionable police conduct.
Oversight commission members Jennifer Barela, Jonathan Siegel and Richard Shine sent their letters of resignation to Mayor Richard Berry, leaving just three members on the nine-member panel, which had three vacancies. Each city council member has the ability to appoint a member to the commission.
In his letter, Siegel said a series of decisions by the city attorney's office gives the board little power to do more than ratify the recommendations of an independent review officer, who Siegel says is "fully aligned with the chief of police."
"I cannot continue to pretend or deceive the members of our community into believing that our city has any real civilian oversight," he wrote.
Albuquerque's chief administrative officer, Rob Perry, thanked the commission members for their service and said, "We are hopeful that the City Council, which created this board and nominates its members, will work in consultation with the DOJ in continued efforts to reform and implement needed changes."
Photograph the Police: Photographer sues Caltrans, CHP over Willits arres...: By GLENDA ANDERSON A freelance photographer who was arrested while covering protests against the controversial Willits highway bypa...
TROY -- A former Rensselaer police officer was sentenced to prison for driving drunk and killing his childhood friend in a crash.
Mark Fusco pleaded guilty to first degree vehicular manslaughter Friday
afternoon. Fusco admitted he had a blood alcohol content of .18 or greater when
he crashed into a tree in East Greenbush on March 13, 2013. His passenger, Sean
Murphy, 22, was killed.
Fusco said he couldn’t remember why the two got in the car after taking taxis
all night. Murphy’s family said early reports that they had forgotten something
in a taxi and were trying to catch up were untrue.
Sean’s mother, Coreen, read the only victim impact statement during sentencing.
“I am so proud to call myself Sean's mother. It's all I’ve ever
wanted to be. He was the greatest son and person a mom could ever wish for. On
the morning of March 13th I was destroyed, my heart shattered and sadly since
day I wish every morning when I open my eyes that somehow I could trade places
with my son,” said Coreen. “Sean was the heart of our family we don’t know how
to go on without him.”
Fusco’s attorney said Fusco wanted to plead guilty immediately after the crash,
but he advised him against it. He also said Fusco resigned from the force days
after the crash.
“I am...beyond sorry for causing your son to be taken away. Sean was my best
friend, he was my brother,” Fusco told the Murphy’s before sentencing. “Words
will never explain how truly sorry I am to both of you. I can’t imagine what
you're going through and it tears me up inside to think what I’ve done to such
By JOE JOHNSON
former Athens-Clarke County police officer was recently indicted by a Clarke County grand jury on bribery and other charges for allegedly trying to help a friend buy his way out of a DUI arrest.
Christopher Lee Burton, 35, had been on the police force a little more than three years when he was arrested and then fired in February 2012 for arranging the bribery attempt, officials said.
He and his friend, 63-year-old Julian Larry Anderson of Monroe, were both charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, according to the indictment filed April 8 in Clarke County Superior Court.
Burton was additionally charged with violation of oath by a public officer.
The alleged bribery scheme stemmed from Anderson’s arrest in August 2011 on charges of DUI and failure to maintain.
Athens-Clarke County Senior Police Officer Sean Palmateer arrested Anderson after seeing his car weaving on West Broad Street, according to police reports.
Anderson pleaded not guilty and was set to go to trial on the charges in March 2012. But as the trial approached, he allegedly asked Burton if he could help him out of his jam, authorities said.
According to the indictment, Burton told Palmateer that Anderson was a friend who would pay $2,000 if Palmateer would dismiss the criminal charges.
Burton then invited his fellow officer to a party Anderson was supposed to be attending, according to the indictment.
Palmateer immediately informed a supervisor that he’d been approached by Burton.
The alleged bribe offer made its way up the chain of command to Police Chief Jack Lumpkin, who asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate.
A meeting between Palmateer and Anderson was subsequently arranged. When money changed hands between the suspect and the officer, the transaction was monitored by the GBI, authorities said.
The amount of the bribe was $3,500, according to the indictment.
Burton was arrested by the GBI on Feb. 16, 2012, and Anderson was arrested three days later.