crime

It hasn't been easy for Barbara Amaya to talk about her past. She was abused at home as a child, and when she was 12 she ran away to Washington, D.C. — where she was picked up by sex traffickers and forced into prostitution.

"I fell into the hands of a woman. I was sitting in the park and she just started talking to me," Barbara tells her daughter, Bianca Belteton, on a visit to StoryCorps in Arlington, Va.

Tomasz Wyszołmirski/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut was among the states with the most recorded exonerations in 2013, according to a new report from the National Registry of Exonerations.

It was a record year for exonerations. Eighty-seven prisoners falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated in the U.S. in 2013. 

The FBI nabbed five alleged mobsters in a series of predawn raids in New York on Thursday in connection with the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist that netted $6 million in cash and jewels and that inspired the film GoodFellas.

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus says it has begun notifying customers whose credit cards were compromised during a security breach.

The AP spoke to Ginger Reeder, spokeswoman for Dallas-based company, who would not estimate how many customers could be affected.

WNPR/CPTV

Governor Dannel Malloy announced an appointment Wednesday to a newly-created cabinet level position within his administration advocating on behalf of the state’s disability community.

Jonathan Slifka will be responsible for increasing outreach on behalf of the governor and executive branch agencies to people with disabilities, in order to provide policy and practical recommendations for advocacy and employment programs.

HPD

The 2013 crime statistics from the city of Hartford are in. And police say most major crime numbers are down.

State of Connecticut

There are a lot of people who, for understandable reasons, would like the story of the Sandy Hook shootings to fade away. But, of course it never will. It's part of our molecular structure, especially here in Connecticut. 

This hour, we touch on some of the questions answered  by the release of the state's so called final report on the murders. We also talk about some of the questions that haven't been answered and the peculiar, to some of us, reluctance by the state to release this report. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state said that a new law aimed at getting juveniles out of the adult prison system is working. It's called the "raise the age" law and was fully implemented last year.

Wikimedia Commons

A Francis Bacon triptych, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" sells for $142.4 million.

Jeff Koons work sells for $58.4 million, making it the most expensive art by a living artist to sell at auction.

Is any art really worth this much or do a few wealthy investors artificially drive up the market to divert the rest of us from the reality of overall declining sales. If art is not worth as much as certain vested interests want us to believe, how do we determine the real worth of art?

BBC

Two terror suspects who were extradited from Britain a year ago pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in New Haven. The men admitted to raising funds for terrorists through a Connecticut-based web company that was unaware of it's clients' business practices.

Nico7Martin on Flickr Creative Commons

The Monkees were the first group to exhibit all or most of the qualities we now associate with the term "boy band." They were assembled through auditions. They had a set of visual styles imposed on them. They were incredibly popular with tween-aged girls. They were plagued by the accusation that there was less to them than meets the eye. That last accusation was false, by the way.

State of Connecticut

This week, the long-awaited report was released on last year’s shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. On our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse, we discuss the report and other evidence that may soon be released to the public. Also on the day the report came out, we had yet another campus scare, this time at Yale University.

Note: During the show, Colin mentioned this New York Times story about a death in St. Augustine, FL. That story presents what we see as a compelling reason for the public release of crime scene documents and 911 calls. This story was also the subject of a PBS Frontline documentary, which you can watch here via CPTV. - jd

Robert Elyov on Flickr Creative Commons

Why should sex feel bad? It shouldn't, and Bill Gates is offering $100,000 to the inventor of a condom that puts the pleasure back in sex. And, it isn't just about pleasure. Scientists at the University of Manchester's National Graphene Institute say a "redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling, or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty."

Former chemist Annie Dookhan began serving a 3-to-5 year sentence in a Massachusetts prison on Friday after pleading guilty to falsifying tests of drug evidence and helping to create one of the nation's largest drug lab scandals.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says the state is taking steps to improve forensic testing:

"It is certainly lessons learned," she says. "We hope that we've made changes in the system that will mean this unique case will not happen again in Massachusetts."

State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.

But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the deal leaves unclear just what the bank did wrong.

A former chemist for the state of Massachusetts' crime labs pleaded guilty Friday to falsifying drugs tests that potentially compromised tens of thousands of criminal cases. WBUR reports she admitted all 27 counts against her.

Update at 4:40 p.m. ET: Prison Sentence Of 3-5 Years

Judge Carol Ball sentenced Annie Dookhan, 36, to three to five years in prison, plus a probation period. Prosecutors had requested a sentence of from five to seven years in prison.

Our original post continues:

CT-N

Michael Skakel walked out of Stamford Superior Court this afternoon after posting a $1.2 million dollar bond. He has served eleven years in prison after being convicted in the 1975 death of Greenwich neighbor, Martha Moxley when they were 15.

Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

We’re less than a year away from the 2014 midterm election, but we’re still wrapping up a major story from the last congressional election. One of the key figures in the Chris Donovan scandal involving illegal campaign contributions was sentenced on Monday.

James "Whitey" Bulger has been sentenced to two terms of life in prison, to run consecutively, plus five years for his role in the murder of 11 people. Bulger, 84, is also being punished for racketeering and other crimes. Before announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Denise Casper read aloud the names of Bulger's victims.

(With the day's court action over, we updated this post at noon ET.)

Confronting James "Whitey" Bulger, who she believes killed her father in addition to the 11 people he's been convicting of murdering, a woman told the mob boss Wednesday morning that "we got you, you rat."

It's the moment many victims of former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger have been waiting decades for: In federal court in Boston, relatives of those killed by Bulger will face the former gangster and describe their pain.

Bulger was convicted in August of taking part in 11 murders while running a massive criminal enterprise for decades. There is little suspense around Bulger's sentencing — even the minimum would be enough to send the 84-year-old away for the rest of his life.

To many victims, Wednesday's sentencing hearing is less about Bulger than it is about them.

The first thing T. Jeremy Gunn says when you ask him about President John F. Kennedy's assassination is, "I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't have a theory about what happened."

Chion Wolf

Okay, this is sad. Like a lot of people, I have trouble achieving the deep focus needed to enjoy long fiction. And, like a lot of people, I have trouble finding time to read novels.

Recently, I came up with a solution. I go to the gym, get on a recumbent bike, and I read while I pedal for an hour, so yes,  I kill two birds with one Robert Stone.

In New York City, the country's largest police force has been involved in a high-profile legal battle over its stop-and-frisk policy.

Few policies of outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been as controversial as stop-and-frisk, the tactic New York police use to stop people on the streets without a search warrant.

The police department says it's been vital in catching criminals and reducing the city's crime rate.

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch

From the Associated Press in New Haven:

A Connecticut judge has granted a new trial for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, ruling his attorney failed to adequately represent him when he was convicted in 2002 of killing his neighbor in 1975. Judge Thomas Bishop's ruling marks a dramatic reversal after years of unsuccessful appeals by Skakel. 

CT-N

A state board has voted unanimously to release Bonnie Foreshaw from prison. Foreshaw has served 27 years for fatally shooting a pregnant woman, but had garnered support from advocates who said she was unfairly tried and convicted.

Connecticut Department of Correction

Bonnie Jean Foreshaw, a woman believed to be Connecticut’s longest-serving female prison inmate, will have the rare chance for early release Wednesday. The clemency hearing is to be held at Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic.

erin_can_spell / Flickr Creative Commons

Welcome to autumn in New England. The weather is getting crisper, you can get pumpkin flavored lattes, beer and donuts, and it's prime apple-picking season. 

Most apple pickers do it the legal way. You get a bag, pick the ripest, biggest apples you can find, and then you pay for them. Apparently, some people are forgetting that last step.

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

NamUs.gov

Cold cases are frustrating to police and to family members whose loved ones disappear. Jan and William Smolinski of Cheshire have been looking for their son, Billy, for nine years. He disappeared in 2004.

Speaking on WNPRs Where We Live, Jan Smolinski says while there are missing person cases that do not involve a homicide, they suspected foul play when he disappeared. She says the night he went missing, her son called another man who was dating Billy's girlfriend. 

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