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Articles Posted in Murder

A mother, her adult child, and a juvenile child are all facing charges related to the murder of the mother’s 6-year-old son. According to police, the mother concocted an odd story about a woman named Monique and another guy named Whacko or Chaos. The mother said that the child left with Whacko/Chaos and was never seen from again. However, police were able to punch a hole in that story, and then the investigation turned on the family. 

The boy was found naked and wrapped in a plastic bag in an alley. The boy’s mother is charged with first-degree murder among other crimes. Her adult son is charged with aggravated abuse of a child and unlawfully disposing of a body. A juvenile will face charges in juvenile court. A recent autopsy revealed that the boy died of hypothermia. However, the autopsy also revealed that burns were on the boy’s body. 

Analyzing the Evidence

Two men meet in rehab. Neither is ready to commit to a life of sobriety. The one man sells the other man drugs or arranges for him to get access to drugs, and that man dies. Now, the other man is facing homicide charges. He is convicted of giving the other man a fatal dose of drugs. He pleads guilty and is sentenced to seven years.

Prosecutions such as these are becoming more popular and increasing the risk to drug dealers or even those who procure drugs from a drug dealer to deliver to a friend who is going to share the drugs with them. In this case, the victim’s parents pushed police to investigate the overdose as a homicide. Police were able to recover cell phone exchanges between the two men. Importantly, one exchange involved the victim complaining that he believed he overpaid for his drugs. The defendant responded by telling him he had given him the correct amount and the correct change. 

The Controversy Surrounding This Law

Kyle Rittenhouse has been eating up the headlines, but a recent verdict in favor of the prosecution may salve any lingering misgivings about his acquittal. Three men have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. The men approached Arbery on the street believing that he was loitering around a home that was under construction so that he could find something to steal. The men detained Arbery under a centuries-old citizen’s arrest law that has since been repealed after furor over the Arbery case.

Travis McMichael was convicted of malice murder, which is similar to first-degree murder in Illinois. It was the strongest conviction the prosecution was able to attain. McMichael’s son was charged with felony murder as was a third man who broke the case wide open by publishing a video of the murder.

But the case almost did not make it to trial. Now, the first prosecutor who was presented with the case is facing charges of prosecutorial misconduct for her role in preventing the case from going to trial. The state’s attorney general has charged the prosecutor with prosecutorial misconduct and corruption. She recused herself from the case when it became known that she and the McMichaels knew one another. She is accused of attempting to influence the prosecution of the case in favor of the defendants.

A Chicago-area woman is facing charges for the murder of her mother in Indonesia. She spent the last seven years in an Indonesian prison on the same charges. She is believed to have killed her mother with the help of her boyfriend at the time. Authorities believe that the daughter and her boyfriend killed the mother and then stuffed her into a suitcase. The two exchanged text messages on how and when to kill the mother. The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges but waived a release hearing that would have allowed the judge to set bond. She will remain in federal prison until January when her next hearing is set.

Does double jeopardy apply to foreign prosecutions?

No. It is only intra-circuit, which can make things frustrating and confusing. If, for example, a defendant is charged under state law and the jury comes back with a verdict of not guilty, the federal government can step in and re-prosecute the charges. This almost never happens unless the issue is extremely high-profile and the stakes in a conviction are extremely high. 

One thing many folks are not aware of is that double jeopardy, the legal concept by which an individual can only be tried once for the same crime, does not apply across jurisdictions. While it is exceedingly rare for the federal government to pursue a prosecution that was already lost at the state level, it is much more likely in cases when the defendant is acquitted. It is also more likely in cases where the federal government has a valid reason to pursue the charges under federal law, and the cases they do pursue after failed state prosecutions tend to be high-profile high-stakes cases like Rittenhouse’s trial.

The jury was made aware by the judge that if they convicted Rittenhouse on any of the homicide charges, it would reduce the likelihood of a second trial filed by the federal government. On the other hand, it increased the possibility that Rittenhouse would be convicted in this trial. In other words, the jurors were instructed as to the consequences of their decision. 

What Federal Charges Could Rittenhouse Face?

The Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial took an interesting turn this week. When a judge excludes a certain line of questioning from a criminal case, neither side can ask questions that would put a witness in the position of answering that question. In this case, the judge excluded evidence that Rittenhouse was going to the protest to defend property. The prosecution had Rittenhouse on the ropes when they broached that line of questioning. Before Rittenhouse could answer through tearful sobs, the judge shut down the proceedings, rebuked the prosecutor, and sent the jury out of the room. 

The defense’s objection raised the point that the trial was not going well for the prosecution. By asking questions that had been specifically prohibited by the judge, the prosecution (the defense claimed) was attempting to cause a mistrial that would have allowed the prosecution to start all over again, perhaps with a better theory of what happened and stronger supporting evidence that could be made. The defense then also moved for a mistrial with prejudice. That would have meant that the trial could not have ever been retried by the prosecution and Rittenhouse would be presumed innocent of the charges for the remainder of his life. 

Understanding What is Happening

Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen charged with murder of two people during race riots in Wisconsin, has entered the second week of his trial to determine if the teen should face adult penalties for the deaths. Meanwhile, a political war is brewing over whether or not Rittenhouse did anything wrong or even illegal. With polarization on both sides of the issue, some believe that Rittenhouse was doing his best to protect his country from armed mobs. Others believe that Rittenhouse went out there looking for a fight. Depending on who you believe, you may be inclined to think Rittenhouse is guilty or innocent

Despite media claims, Wisconsin does not place restrictions on the ownership or possession of weapons by 17-year-olds. Rittenhouse broke no law by carrying the rifle and his defense team maintains that he acquired the rifle in Wisconsin meaning he did not transport the rifle over state lines. The only question before the jury is whether or not Rittenhouse was justified in discharging the weapon. 

The Question of Self-Defense

Five Chicago gangsters are facing RICO charges related to a criminal enterprise, the O-Block street gang, that murdered a Chicago rapper and committed other crimes on Chicago’s South Side. Since the gang members are charged with orchestrating a murder, they will face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. 

RICO Charges and Investigations

The purpose of RICO is to help prosecutors use the full extent of the law to pursue criminal charges. Prior to RICO, a prosecutor had to know which member of a criminal enterprise committed the offense. That left defense attorneys with the option of pointing the finger at other vested parties within the same organization. That vested party could point the finger at another vested party, and so on. It became impossible to get the men at the top of the conspiracy because they always worked through intermediaries. So unless you had them saying, “Hey Joe, can you please kill a rapper?” There were no legitimate means of prosecuting the shot caller. 

The family of a missing woman is becoming increasingly more desperate as attempts to find her come up empty. The woman was on a cross-country excursion with her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance. Police have named the boyfriend a person of interest after failing to cooperate with the investigation. However, not answering the police’s questions is not an indication of wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, when police ask a close association of a missing person questions concerning their disappearance, their tendency is to assume that anyone who is impeding the investigation is responsible for the crime. However, police also tend to assume that boyfriends or husbands are responsible for the deaths of girlfriends and wives in a large cross-section of these sorts of cases. Hence, a boyfriend may be hesitant about providing information to officers who are prone to accuse him of the crime.

What happened?

The daughter-in-law of a Cook County board president has been charged with a grisly murder that occurred inside of an Atlanta home. Prosecutors have accused 40-year-old Ronisha Preckwinkle of murder, evidence tampering, and false imprisonment. When the couple lived here in Chicago, police records indicate that there were numerous domestic calls to their residence. However, Preckwinkle’s husband called the charges against his wife “preposterous.” 

Ronisha Preckwinkle is accused of helping a registered sex offender carry out a disturbing attack on a 23-year-old woman. Since the attack occurred in her apartment, she is being charged with the assault. However, her husband says that is not where she was living.

Preckwinkle is accused of helping Dennis Lane, a recently paroled sex offender here in Illinois. Lane has been charged with felony murder and necrophilia. Police are currently running his DNA to tie him to other killings. Preckwinkle and Lane’s brother are accused of helping Lane dispose of the body and remove key pieces of evidence from the apartment.

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