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Postby Eliza » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:57 pm

UPDATED at 1:52 p.m. with identity of Cahokia murder victim.

Police across the area were busy Sunday investigating violent crimes that left three dead and one in critical condition.

• Byron White, 34, of the 4100 block of Hayes Lane, died Saturday after being shot several times during an argument, police said.

Police were called to the 3800 block of Sullivan Avenue at 4:35 p.m. where officers found White on the ground bleeding. He was taken to St. Louis University Hospital where he was declared dead at 5:10 p.m.

Witnesses told police White had been arguing with a man who pulled a gun, shot White and then ran away.

• Mark Mosley, 52, of the 300 block of Coppinger Drive in Ferguson, died late Saturday night after being shot in the neck, shoulder, stomach and back.

Police responding to a call for a shooting found Mosley on the sidewalk on the 1600 block of Goodfellow Boulevard. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police did not have a suspect and knew of no witness to the crime.

• About 11:14 p.m., St. Louis police found a 43-year-old man lying in a parking lot in the 900 block of North Kingshighway with a stab wound to his stomach. The victim was uncooperative and would not give officers information about his assailant, police said.

He was taken to a hospital where he was in critical condition. Police did not have a suspect and did not know if anyone witnessed the incident.

• In Cahokia, the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was activated Saturday night to investigate a fatal shooting.

Jarius M. Nicholson, 18, of Cahokia, was shot to death outside 19 Saint Ambrose Drive about 7:30 p.m.

Fourteen investigators are on the case. They are asking the public’s help in locating a red or maroon BMW, possibly a mid-1990s model, the suspects were driving at the time of the shooting.

Anyone with information can contact investigators at 618-337-9505.

Read more:LINK
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Postby Eliza » Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:32 am

3-month-old twin boys found dead in apartment

BY MARLON A. WALKER • > 314-340-8104 |
Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2011 12:00 am

Updated at 4:15 p.m. Saturday with more information on investigation

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • Police say it could be several weeks before the St. Louis County medical examiner learns what caused the deaths of 3-month-old twin boys found dead in a St. Louis County apartment Friday afternoon.

At this point, police say there are no obvious signs of foul play but they are waiting to learn more from the medical examiner's office given the unusual fact that both boys died at the same time.

"At this point we're waiting for the medical examiner to tell us this could be a natural death — which seems unlikely — or maybe something of an accidental death," St. Louis County Police Officer Rick Eckhard said Saturday.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch on Friday said that a woman called police at 12:39 p.m. and reported that her infant boys, Moses and Noah Abdus-Sabir, weren't breathing in an apartment in the 2600 block of Tyrrell Drive, near Jennings in unincorporated St. Louis County.

They were pronounced dead in the apartment a short time later.

Fitch said investigators were not looking for suspects to a crime.

He said there also were no obvious signs of foul play, "but two 3-month-old children aren't going to have deaths of natural causes at the same time."

Police said it was not immediately known where the twins were located when the mother first noticed they were not breathing. She was in the three-bedroom apartment with six children, ranging in age from 3 months to 8 years.

Fitch said the Missouri Department of Social Services had been made aware of the deaths. The investigation by St. Louis County police is ongoing, he said.

Friday afternoon, after the police tape was removed, people carried bins full of clothes and papers from the home. A woman said no one wanted to talk about what happened.

"Have you ever lost a child?" she asked.
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Postby Eliza » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:43 pm

Upper left, Joseph Q. Lacombe; lower left,
Dwayne L. Gibson, upper right, Brandon C. Claspill;
lower right, Tevin T. Parks.
Photos from St. Peters police.

Four charged in St. Peters brawl that critically injured one

FROM STAFF REPORTS | Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011 1:15 pm

UPDATED 2:16 p.m. with more about fight at gas station earlier in the day.

ST. PETERS • Two people were injured — one critically — in an apparent brawl Sunday that involved about 20 people in a residential subdivision, police said. Two men were struck with baseball bats, and police said one remained in serious condition this afternoon.

Four St. Charles County men were charged today. Tevin T. Parks, 19, of the 1200 block of Mendoza Drive in St. Peters; and Dwayne L. Gibson, 19, of the 1200 block of Park Ashwood Circle in St. Charles County, were charged with one count each of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

Police said Parks and Gibson struck Michael C. Matthews, 19, with metal baseball bats. Parks hit him at least twice in the back, they said, and Gibson hit him at least once in the head.

Joseph Q. Lacombe, 18, of the 1400 block of Caulks Hill Road in St. Charles County, was charged with second-degree assault and armed criminal action. Police said he struck another man in the hand and arm with a metal baseball bat.

Brandon C. Claspill, 18, of the 300 block of Madeira Court in St. Peters, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon. Police said he pulled a .45-caliber pistol from his waistband to threaten people.

Matthews was taken to St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles after suffering a significant head injury, police said. A hospital spokeswoman would not release his condition.

Another victim was treated for an arm injury.

Police said they are not looking for any other suspects.

Officer Melissa Doss said the defendants told police Matthews had a disagreement with Claspill's girlfriend, which led to bad blood between the men. Lacombe and Matthews -- and possibly others -- then fought at a gas station on Caulks Hill Road Sunday afternoon, she said.

St. Charles County Sheriff's Lt. Craig McGuire said deputies were called to the Circle K station at 1525 Caulks Hill Road a little after 3 p.m. Sunday. The caller said two men were fighting with 10 people watching them. He said half a dozen people then were fighting inside the convenience store.

Everyone had fled by the time deputies arrived, McGuire said.

Police received a call about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, reporting the fighting in the 300 block of Madeira Court.

The fighters dispersed while police were on their way to the subdivision, Doss said. The 19-year-old man was "unconscious and unresponsive," said Marty Limpert, public information officer for the St. Charles County Ambulance District.
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It's a jungle out there. A real jungle. Scary times.

Postby Eliza » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:29 pm

O'Fallon, Mo., man charged in police chase that killed Caruthersville officer
BY JOEL CURRIER • > 314-340-8256 | Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 2:14 pm

UPDATED at 2:15 p.m. with comments from suspect's mother.

An O'Fallon, Mo., man was charged today in a police chase in Pemiscot County that killed a Caruthersville police officer.

Deonta J. Williamson, 29, of the 2000 block of Williamstown Drive, was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, first-degree assault, motor vehicle tampering and resisting arrest by fleeing. He is being held without bail at the Pemiscot County Jail.

Officer Evan Burns, 28, was killed about 12:30 a.m. after Williamson, whom O'Fallon police wanted in an assault Monday night, rammed his police cruiser, authorities said.

Pemiscot County is in Missouri's bootheel about 200 miles south of St. Louis.

Sheriff Tommy Greenwell said deputies spotted a 2002 Cadillac Escalade heading south on Interstate 55 north of Hayti after O'Fallon police had notified authorities there that Williamson may be driving the stolen Escalade in the area and that he may have a weapon.

Greenwell said in a news release the man "allegedly set his stepfather on fire and attempted to burn the home."

O'Fallon Officer Diana Damke said the alleged burning attempts occurred in the 2000 block of Williamstown Drive around 9:30 p.m. Monday. She said the suspect tried to light his stepfather on fire inside his house as well as starting a fire in the garage before leaving in his stepfather's vehicle.

After deputies tried to stop the fleeing Escalade, the Williamson headed east on Highway 84 toward Caruthersville, authorities said. Two Caruthersville police officers driving separate cars tried to stop the Escalade using spike strips but were unable to set them before the suspect struck their cars.

Pemiscot County Sheriff's Lt. Ryan Holder said the pursuit lasted about six miles and approached speeds of about 60 mph.

Williamson rammed the two Caruthersville police cars, killing Burns and injuring Officer Richard Altice, police said. Burns, a 2-year veteran of the police department, was pronounced dead at the crash scene.

Altice was taken to a hospital in Hayti for treatment. His condition was not available Tuesday.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

Charges are also expected in St. Charles County.

Williamson's mother, Rhonda Williamson, said Tuesday that her son suffered from mental illness for which she struggled to find him professional help.

On Monday night, she said, her son set fire to some towels inside the house. The blaze awoke his stepfather, who had fallen asleep on the couch while watching television. She said her son had also ignited towels in the garage.

"A lof of things don't make sense when you're dealing with an adult child with mental illness," she said.

Deonta Williamson split time living in O'Fallon with her as well as her sister's house in the bootheel, his mother said. She said he has suffered from depression, paranoia and post-traumatic stress stemming from losing his right arm to a gunshot wound at a friend's house in the bootheel about six years ago.

"I can stress it enough how saddened we are," she said. "I just want to give my condolences to the family of the officer that lost his life."

Williamson's stepfather was treated for minor burns, police said.

Shane Anthony of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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'Yes We Can'

Postby Eliza » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:49 pm

30 arrested at Bel-Ridge home as police look for evidence of prostitution

BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN • > 314-621-5804 | Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011 3:21 pm

BEL-RIDGE • St. Louis County Police arrested 30 people at a Bel-Ridge house last week while they were executing a search warrant to look for evidence of prostitution, alcohol violations, drugs, and weapons.

The house, in the 8800 block of Snowhill Court, was raided early Friday morning by the county's tactical operations, K-9, and special investigating units.

The address is listed as the location of the "Yes We Can Social Club" on the Missouri Secretary of State's website. It was incorporated in January for the purposes of "recreation" and says that assets from the corporation would be given "to another charitable organization," according to paperwork for the club on the site. Latroy L. Simmons is listed as the club's registered agent.

A police spokesman said he didn't know if the social club had anything to do with what police found last week at the home.

Some weapons were recovered and there was a 15-year-old teenage girl unrelated to anyone in the house at the time, police said.

Charges are pending.
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Postby Eliza » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:40 am

Student shot in Jennings on way home from school

BY DENISE HOLLINSHED • > 314-340-8319 | Posted: Monday, August 22, 2011 5:00 pm

UPDATED at 7:04 p.m. with update on girl's condition and school.

JENNINGS • A middle school school student was shot and wounded about 3:30 p.m. today as she walked home from Jennings Junior High School, police and witnesses said.

The girl was shot in the face at Hord and Emilie avenues, said St. Louis County Police Capt. Troy Doyle, who commands the precinct that patrols Jennings.

Doyle said she is in critical condition and that police were interviewing a possible suspect in the shooting.

Police said the girl was walking with a group of friends when shots were fired into the group. Police believe the shooter or shooters were targeting someone in the group but not the girl who was shot.

The student was transported to a hospital. Police withheld her identity.

"She was still alive when she was transported to the hosptial," said Doyle, who commands the county police assigned to Jennings. The scene is near the school but off its grounds, he said.

Police were interviewing witnesses and a possible suspect late Monday, Doyle said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 866-371-8477.
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Postby Eliza » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:42 pm

Woman shot while sitting in car at White Castle

FROM STAFF REPORTS | Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 6:28 am

UPDATED at 10 a.m. Wednesday with additional detail from police.

ST. LOUIS • A woman was fatally shot late Tuesday night on the parking lot of a White Castle restaurant at Natural Bridge Avenue and Kingshighway, St. Louis police say.

Angie Young, 36, was shot several times at about 11:35 p.m. Tuesday as she sat in a car on the parking lot. Young died at a hospital. She had lived in the 5700 block of Hamilton Avenue.

Police have made no arrests in the killing but said investigators are working several leads. The White Castle is at 3524 North Kingshighway.

Witnesses told police that a man in his late 20s or early 30s fired several shots into Young's car. The gunman then ran to a truck that was parked nearby and drove away. Police did not release a description of the truck.

Check back for updates.
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Postby Eliza » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:13 am

Police pursuit ends in crash, car fire on I-70 in St. Louis

BY CHRISTINE BYERS • > 314-340-8087 and JOEL CURRIER • > 314-340-8256 | Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 5:00 pm

UPDATED 2:45 p.m. with more detail of carjacking, fire.

ST. LOUIS • A pursuit that began when a St. Louis County police officer witnessed a carjacking on a grocery store parking lot in north St. Louis County has ended in a crash along Interstate 70 just west of Bircher Boulevard.

That's where the suspect crashed the vehicle and a pursuing police car caught fire on the side of the interstate. Authorities closed eastbound lanes about 1 p.m. and reopened them about an hour later.

Police began chasing the man about 12:20 p.m. after a uniformed St. Louis County officer spotted a woman being forced out of her 1998 gold Chrysler 300 on the Clocktower Place plaza parking lot at West Florissant Avenue and Dunn Road.

The carjacker threatened the woman, 74, with a metal file of the type used in woodworking, police said. The woman was not injured.

The man fled in the car and the officer chased him, said St. Louis County Officer Rick Eckhard. Officers from St. Louis County and city joined in the more than 10-mile pursuit along Interstates 270, 170 and eastbound 70 before ending when the suspect's vehicle struck a guardrail before crashing into the median.

The fleeing driver, 18, of north St. Louis County, then got out of the car, ran across the three eastbound lanes of the interstate and scaled a chain-link fence along the highway but St. Louis County and city officers caught up to him and captured him in a tractor-trailer lot on the south side of the highway.

Eckhard said he believes the pursuing officers followed the deparment's chase policy.

"I think the officers did a great job," Eckhard said. "I think the officer stayed within our pursuit policy as far as trying to stay behind this vehicle as safely as he could, trying to get this to a peaceful end. The suspect did put citizens in danger, but the officer was in a marked vehicle was following our policy and trying to apprehend him. And luckily we did apprehend him."

The suspect faces charges including robbery, armed criminal action and resisting arrest.

No other cars were struck during the chase and no police were hurt during or after the crash, Eckhard said.

Police said they believe the patrol car caught fire after the hot engine sparked a brush fire underneath the vehicle. The fire destroyed the police car.
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Postby Eliza » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:39 am

Man shoots at St. Louis County patrolman at gas station

BY JOEL CURRIER • > 314-340-8256 | Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 11:54 am

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • Police are looking for a man who fired shots at a St. Louis County patrolman at a gas station Monday night.

Police said a St. Louis County officer had just stepped out of his squad car after pulling into a ZX gas station at Old Halls Ferry Road and Netherton Drive about 9:25 p.m. when a man in the parking lot raised his gun at the officer and fired.

The officer saw the man point the gun at him and shoot, said Officer Rick Eckhard of the St. Louis County Police Department.

The shots missed the officer and his patrol car, Eckhard said. Police believe the man fired without warning or provocation.

The officer shot back but missed.

"I really can't remember the last time we had an incident where a guy just started shooting at one of our officers," Eckhard said.

The man ran off and police could not find him. Police had only a vague description of the gunman.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call St. Louis County Police at 314-889-2341 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477. ... ml?print=1
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Postby Eliza » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:48 am

St. Louis woman accused of statutory rape of boy, 13

BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN • > 314-621-5804 | Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011 5:16 pm

ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis woman was charged today with statutory rape, child molestation and sodomy after she was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in her neighborhood.

Charged is Levetrea Dione Atkins, 36, of the 5700 block of Theodore Avenue in St. Louis. Court documents describe the boy as developmentally delayed.

The boy told authorities Atkins persuaded him to get money from his piggy bank and give it to her on June 24, according to court documents. Then she molested, sodomized and had sex with the boy, the filing says.

Neighbors reported what happened to the teen's father after Atkins bragged about it, documents say.

A cash-only bond has been set at $150,000. Atkins was not in custody early Thursday evening. ... 0f31a.html

Levetrea Dione Atkins, in a mugshot provided by police
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Postby Eliza » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:07 am

Body identified as missing Mizzou student from Weldon Spring

BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN • > 314-621-5804 | Posted: Sunday, August 28, 2011 12:00 am

The remains found in a creek July 26 have been identified as missing University of Missouri student Nicholas Michael Coppola, who was last seen Dec. 12, his mother said Saturday.

Nellie Coppola, of Weldon Spring, said authorities contacted her family for her son's dental records a few days ago, and on Friday night the Lincoln County coroner informed them of the identification.

"It's always in the back of your mind," she said of the possibility that her son might have died. He was 24 years old when he was last seen.

The family had no immediate funeral plans and had not yet been given the remains, she said.

Coppola was arrested by Wright City police on Dec. 12, the day Foristell authorities first noticed his abandoned 1998 Subaru Legacy on Interstate 70 just west of the Foristell exit.

After his car ran out of gas, Coppola apparently sought shelter from the bitter cold by breaking into a house in Wright City. Investigators say his cellphone and wallet were found inside the car. The remains were found on the border of Lincoln and Warren counties.

Family members described Coppola as a friendly and outgoing person who had become withdrawn and had started talking less to friends and family in the months before his disappearance. ... ade01.html
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'Teen', 'man', or youth?

Postby Eliza » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:18 pm

Man is charged in north St. Louis County carjacking, chase

BY CHRISTINE BYERS • > 314-863-2821 | Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:04 pm

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A Florissant teen was charged today after a nearly 15-mile police chase that ended in a crash Tuesday.

Cameron Thomas, 18, of the 12000 block of Sandalwood, has been charged with robbery, armed criminal action, resisting arrest and assault of a law enforcement officer, according to court documents filed today.

Thomas is accused of carjacking a 74-year-old woman on the parking lot of Aldi's near the intersection of Dunn Road and West Florissant Avenue at 12:21 p.m. Tuesday. Police say Thomas threatened her with a woodworking metal file, but she was not injured.

A St. Louis County police officer saw the crime and chased Thomas along Interstates 270, 170 and eastbound 70 before Thomas' vehicle struck a guardrail and crashed into the median.

Thomas then got out of the car, ran across the three eastbound lanes of the interstate and scaled a chain-link fence along the highway but St. Louis County and city officers caught up to him and captured him in a tractor-trailer lot on the south side of the highway.

He kicked an officer as they tried to arrest him on that lot, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, the pursuing St. Louis County police officer's vehicle caught fire after its engine sparked a brush fire on the side of the interstate.

Bail has been set at $100,000.

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Nancy Grace. Velez-Mitchell, where are you?

Postby Eliza » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:27 pm

East St. Louis mother killed two children, fled, say police

BY MARLON A. WALKER • > 314-340-8104 | Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:00 pm

UPDATED at 1 p.m. with identities of children.

EAST ST. LOUIS • An East St. Louis woman was in custody after she allegedly fatally shot her two youngest children Wednesday evening, then drove to downtown St. Louis, where she was caught after hitting three pedestrians, police and relatives said.

An arrest record Thursday morning identified the woman as Yokeia Smith, 25. Relatives identified her as Yakia Smith. She was being held by St. Louis police.

East St. Louis police Capt. Bobby Cole said authorities received a call about a shooting in the 3000 block of Lincoln Avenue at 6:03 p.m. When police arrived, they found the children dead in a room in an apartment there.

On Thursday, the St. Clair County Coroner's Office identified the girl as Yokela Smith, 4, and the boy as Levada Brown, 5. Autopsies were completed today but the coroner's office did not release details of findings.

Smith had fled the scene before police arrived.

Cole said no motive had been determined for the shootings.

"We don't have a clue why," he said. "Until we go speak with the lady, we won't know anything."

Relatives of Smith also said they had no potential explanation for the slayings of the children.

"I don't know why the babies are dead," said a cousin, Virginia Brown.

Brown did say that Smith had recently been prescribed medication to treat depression or some sort of mental illness.

Lt. James Morrisey of the Illinois State Police said state child-services workers have had dealings with the family in the past, but he declined to discuss a motive for the kilings. The State Police and the East St. Louis police are handling the case together.

Brown, a cousin of Smith, said she had just returned home from work when a man on a bike told her a woman around the corner had killed two children. She didn't think it was Smith, but she went to check out the scene anyway.

Hours after the shootings, Brown and other relatives stood about 200 feet from the apartment where Smith lived remembering her playful, happy children.

They said that in addition to the two children who were killed, Smith had an 8-year-old son who was unharmed.

The apartment where the family lives is in a multi-unit building. It was cordoned off by crime scene tape late Wednesday.

In addition to East St. Louis police, officers from the Illinois State Police, FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene.

In St. Louis, Smith was allegedly driving a car that struck two pedestrians on Market Street near Memorial Drive about 6:40 p.m. The pedestrians were a man, 42, and boy, 3. They were taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Laura Bluedorn of KMOV-TV was near the scene when the pedestrians were struck. She said she was loading her truck when she heard a "thud." She looked up in time to see that a man and a boy she said was his son were airborne. She said she was told the two were visiting St. Louis from Iowa.

"They were conscious and breathing," she said. "The kid had a goose egg on his head, and the dad said he had hip and leg pain."

Bluedorn said she saw an older-model, two-door Saturn stop after hitting the pedestrians.

When police arrived on the scene, a witness told them that a woman was crouched between two TV news vehicles holding a shotgun. Police say that woman was Smith. She was taken into custody there.
Morrisey said St. Louis authorities likely would seek charges Thursday against Smith for the crash and weapon possession. Illinois investigators would then present their case for the murders to the St. Clair County state's attorney on Friday, he said.

Patrick M. O'Connell, Kim Bell and Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report. ... 5043d.html

Yokeia Smith is being held in jail in St. Louis.
The woman was arrested outside the KMOV newsroom on Wednesday evening.
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Nasty Grace? Velez-Mitchell?

Postby Eliza » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:18 pm

Family stands by East St. Louis woman charged in killing of two children

BY DENISE HOLLINSHED • > 314-340-8319 and MARLON A. WALKER • > 314-340-8104 | Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 5:15 pm

UPDATED at 4:45 with photo of children.

EAST ST. LOUIS • Relatives of an East St. Louis mother charged with fatally shooting two of her children in the head with a shotgun said that they don't know what caused Yokeia Smith to break but that they will still support her.

"We just want to say as a family that we love Yokeia," an aunt, Martenia Jones, said at the same press conference authorities used to announce murder charges Friday. "We will always love Yokeia, and we are here for her and will always be here for her. She needs us now, more than ever."

Authorities say Smith, 25, shot her daughter, Yokela Smith, 4, and son Levada Brown, 5, in their heads with a shotgun Wednesday evening at their East St. Louis home in the 3000 block of Lincoln Avenue. Another son, 8, was not harmed. Authorities said only that he was able to escape.

Smith fled to St. Louis in a vehicle while several calls brought police to the apartment, authorities said.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said the crime scene they found there was horrific and that "officers don't get paid enough to do this."

"Those officers will never be able to forget what they saw on that night," he said.

Smith was arrested in St. Louis after hitting a man, 42, and his son, 3, about 6:40 p.m. while the two were crossing Market Street near Memorial Drive. The KMOV studios are nearby, and officers found Smith crouching between two TV news trucks, cradling a shotgun.

Thursday, Smith was charged in St. Louis with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the driving incident.

Friday, Illinois officials added the murder charges, which would earn Smith life in prison if she is convicted. No bail was set for Smith, who was still in custody in St. Louis.

After officials announced the charges, Smith's family stepped to the microphone.

"Sometimes things happen that the human mind can't understand," Jones, 45, said at the press conference as tears flowed. "I know that God will hold us up as a family."

Jones said the family is struggling with funeral expenses and asked anyone who would like to help to send donations to Officer Funeral Home, 2114 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis, IL 62205. A memorial fund has also been established at Associated Bank, 326 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis, IL 62201.

Kelly, the prosecutor, said "The family of Yokela and Levada are grieving and we are grieving with them."


The killings have stunned neighbors and others in East St. Louis

"This is just as horrific as it gets, with a family losing two children who had not really had an opportunity to began to live," said East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks.

Neighbors described Smith as a nurturing and attentive mother who mentioned often that she would do anything for her three children.

"This is from left field," said neighbor Malik Isaac, who lives in the same apartment building. "You would've never thought this would happen."

Neighbor William Rucker said when he saw Smith's children they were always laughing and playing together. Smith, he said, paid a lot of attention to what they were doing, and was often a participant in the kids' outside activities.

"If you see one, you'd see all of them," Rucker said of the family.

Torrey Williams said Smith moved into the building in February.

"They all stayed off to themselves, like loners," said Williams, who lives on the lower level of the two-story apartment building. "She didn't really speak, or ask anybody for anything, even before she had her car. You'd just see them all walking up the street to somewhere."

But they seemed happy, he said.

"Everything looked normal," he said. "The kids were happy-go-lucky. Everywhere she went, her kids went with her."

"I'm just shocked this happened, especially as close as she was with those kids."


Illinois officials told the Associated Press that Smith was investigated twice between December 2007 and March of this year on allegations of child neglect. An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services spokesman declined to detail the claims, citing privacy laws, but said there were no reports involving physical abuse.

Smith never lost custody of her children, the spokesman, Kendall Marlowe, told the Associated Press. Police briefly took protective custody once, but DCFS did not take that matter to court because Smith's relatives took steps to adequately ensure the children's well-being, Marlowe said.

The state agency also offered the woman aid, but she refused it, Marlowe said. ... 6039a.html

Mumsy's family.
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Judge Larry should have NEVER been a judge

Postby Eliza » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:29 pm

Like that idiot jerk off Judge Loony Larry keeps saying about Tot Mom, maybe this will be shotgun Mom's "golden ticket." :twisted:
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Postby Eliza » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:18 am

St. Louis County man charged in fatal July shooting

| Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 12:31 pm

UPDATED at 3:34 p.m. with information from court documents.

ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis County man was charged today in the shooting death of a man found dead in a St. Louis city alley in July.

Antoine D. Barton, 18, of the 1400 block of Reale Avenue in St. Louis County, was charged today with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. On Wednesday, Barton was charged with a misdemeanor count of making a false declaration for allegedly providing police with a false identity.

Authorities say Barton fatally shot Calvin Ross, 22, of the 9600 block of Vincennes Drive in north St. Louis County. Ross was found dead about 11 p.m. July 6 in an alley of the 5700 block of Woodland Avenue in the city's Walnut Park East neighborhood.

Ross had been shot multiple times.

According to court documents, a witness, identified by the intials M.F., told police that Barton was angry with Ross, and that M.F. gave Barton a handgun at Barton's request. Barton asked him to drive to the 4700 block of Plover Avenue, where they met up with Ross and another person. Ross, Barton, and the other person went into the alley while M.F. remained near his vehicle. Shortly afterwards, Barton came back from the alley alone, carrying M.F.'s gun and another gun and said he had killed Calvin. M.F. asked for his gun back, and Barton said they had to get rid of the gun, which they did. ... 0f31a.html

Antoine Barton
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Postby Eliza » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:25 am

North city neighborhood residents frustrated alleged shooter out on bond
BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN • > 314-621-5804 | Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 2:39 pm

ST. LOUIS • Residents of a north St. Louis neighborhood remain frustrated that a man who allegedly shot at the owner of a beauty supply store in July remains out on bond, largely because of the decision of a judge who had said publicly earlier this year she wanted to be tougher on gun crimes.

Kevin Maurice McCall, 40, of O'Fallon, Mo., faces four felonies for the July 30 incident in which officials said he came into the store at 5800 Goodfellow Boulevard, and started an altercation with the owner's wife while other employees and the owner's two children were inside. The defendant's girlfriend had worked at the store but supposedly had been fired.

He was ordered to leave, and returned later and fired a gun into the glass door at the owner. Nobody was hurt, but the following day McCall contacted the owner and threatened to kill him and his family, according to court documents.

Associate Circuit Judge Barbara Peebles set the bail at $100,000, with the opportunity to post 10 percent in cash.

Meanwhile, citizen crime-fighting advocates had been working with residents of the North Pointe neighborhood, educating them about what they could do for themselves to fight crime. So several North Pointe residents signed a neighborhood impact statement asking that the bond not be reduced, and a neighborhood resource officer appeared in court on Aug. 25 at a bond reduction hearing.

Still, Peebles reduced the bail to $40,000, and McCall was able to post 10 percent of that and was released.

Peebles said in an interview today that she reduced the bail based on the defense attorney's allegation that the one of the victims was not cooperating and that the victim was contacting the defendant.

But one victim had written a letter to the judge, saying in part, "If he gets bailed out he might be in my store or house trying to kill us all."

Frustrated, residents and the circuit attorney's office asked for the bail to be reconsidered.

A hearing on the matter was set for Friday, and about a dozen people, including police officers, North Point residents, and neighborhood advocates, showed up in court to wait. The state said they informed defense attorney Michele McMahon about the hearing earlier in the week, but McMahon said she was not prepared and Peebles continued the hearing until today.

In open court on Friday, Peebles denied reports that she had previously said she was "not interested in the neighborhood" when presented with the neighborhood impact statement. Alderman Gregory Carter, who attended the hearing Friday but not the Aug. 25 one when she allegedly made the initial statement, sent out numerous Tweets about the matter, including one that said, "Judge Peebles is the one that said she doesn't care about our community! She allowed a shooter back in our neighborhood! She's a bad judge."

Carter could not attend this morning's hearing, but about six people did on behalf of the neighborhood, including two police officers. Peebles did not increase McCall's bond, but did order him to stay away from the neighborhood, and ordered him to have no contact with the victims.

Residents their supporters remain frustrated. "There was no real reason to reduce it in the first place," said Mark Minden, a neighborhood improvement specialist with the city. "It's beyond frustrating."

Tommy Simril, a block commander for North Pointe, said the matter is especially frustrating since Peebles said publicly earlier this year that she supported higher, cash-only bonds for defendants involved in gun crimes. "How are we going to keep up with these guys?" Simril asked.

Carter said, "She should put a message out the criminals, 'if you shoot up this neighborhood, that's okay, I'm going to reduce your bond.' I understand why the city of St. Louis is number one in crime. You've got judges such as this who are not being accountable."

Peebles, in an interview after the hearing today, said cases have to be considered on an individual basis, and that McCall does not have a record of crime in the North Pointe neighborhood nor did the state present her with evidence showing he did. She again denied making any statement about not caring for the neighborhood, and said she has to look at each case on an individual basis and that bonds aren't meant to impose punishment, but rather to ensure an appearance in court.

She said that issuing higher bonds on gun cases is more the policy of Criminal Assignment Judge John Garvey, and the state had not shown that McCall is not a danger to the entire community.

"Everybody, at this point, is presumed to be innocent. It's an allegation against him," she said. "At this point it is not a truth-gathering expedition," she said, emphasizing that bond hearings are not trials.

"I have to consider both sides. I think what I did is fair, given that he had been a problem to one family here." ... 0f31a.html

McCall mugshot...
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Postby Eliza » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:43 am

Pregnant woman shot to death in Lafayette Square


Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:15 am

ST. LOUIS • Police searched Tuesday night for a man wanted for questioning in a shooting in the parking lot of a Lafayette Square loft that left a pregnant woman dead and a man seriously injured.

St. Louis police Capt. Kenneth Kegel declined Tuesday to identify the victims or the man wanted for questioning. He said the woman was the intended target of the shooting, but he declined to describe any relationships among the victims and the gunman.

Kegel said police received calls about shots fired about 5:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of Carroll Street.

Police found a woman lying between a car and a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot at the WireWorks Lofts, 1435 South 18th Street. She had been shot in the head. The man had been shot in the back.

Both were transported to St. Louis University Hospital, where the woman and her unborn baby were pronounced dead. The man was in serious condition.

The shooting was a shock to several residents who live at WireWorks, an 80-unit complex including units above the popular SqWires Restaurant and Market.

Emily Rasinski, a Post-Dispatch photojournalist who lives in the loft complex, said she had initially mistaken the shots for fireworks.

"I walked out of my apartment to check and saw others had come out of their apartments, too," Rasinski said. "That's when I saw the man walking around and wailing in the parking lot."

Alex McGlamery, who also lives at WireWorks, said the victims had moved into the building two months ago, and mostly kept to themselves. McGlamery was let into the couple's second-floor unit late Tuesday to retrieve the couple's dog, Fendi.

"They were nice people," McGlamery said Tuesday night. "They weren't ever really social, though." ... z1XuW3J8s6
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Flash mobs? Social media organized?

Postby Eliza » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:33 pm

Packs of motorcycles swarming St. Louis area highways

BY JENNIFER MANN • > 314-340-8315 | Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:44 pm

ST. LOUIS • Drivers have reported huge packs of motorcycles swarming the highways around St. Louis, with the bikers pulling stunts, making hand gestures and forcing cars off the roadway.

There has been no official word yet from the state highway patrol or other public safety officials.

The reports started coming in around 2 p.m. from various spots on I-270 and I-70, most recently in the north St. Louis county area. Some claimed to see as many as 800 to 1,000 motorcycles in a pack.

There has been at least one major accident, which resulted in serious injuries and forced the closure of I-270 near New Halls Ferry Road. The injured were flown to an area hospital, according to the state highway patrol. No further details are known at this time.

Brian Johnson of St. Louis said he was heading on I-170 north to Lambert International Airport with his wife when he saw the pack of motorcycles on the other side of the highway.

"There was a good half mile stretch where it was 20 bikes wide the whole highway," he said. "It was hundreds after hundreds after hundreds of bikes."

Johnson said the bikers were not your typical Harley Davidson types; most were wearing racing suits and riding speed bikes like you would see in stunt shows.

He said the first group of bikers were pumping their fists; the second group created a ringlike formation and had bikers riding down the middle doing wheelies.

Johnson said cars were forced over to the shoulder of the road and trying to get off. There were also traffic tie-ups on his side of the highway as drivers slowed to gawk at the spectacle.

"When they were out around the other cars it was dangerous," he said. "When they took over the entire highway it was like being in a motorcycle show." ... 0f31a.html
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Postby Eliza » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:54 pm

Massive motorcycle ride prompts second thoughts by police

BY JENNIFER MANN • > 314-340-8315 | Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 6:45 am

The framed photograph hanging in his family's deli in Mehlville shows James Ruma at his best. The front wheel of his motorcycle is high in the sky, the back wheel planted on the pavement.

It's an image of thrill-seeking that stands in sharp contrast to where Ruma is now, drifting in and out of consciousness at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Ruma is expected to live, but his family wonders whether his final ride was last weekend.

On Saturday, Ruma, 32, of De Soto, was one of about 2,500 bikers who converged on St. Louis area highways for the "Ride of the Century," an annual event that has escaped major attention until this year. It drew so much anger from startled drivers that organizers are now considering canceling the event. And if it does happen again, state law enforcement has pledged to step in.

Drivers this last weekend reported bikers going up to 90 mph, weaving in and out of traffic, and forcing cars off the road. YouTube videos show riders performing stunts such as wheelies and, in at least one case, a rider standing backward on his motorcycle.

Ruma had his wife, Trisha, on the back of his bike and was riding safely, according to friends. As a lifelong biker, he knew the drill: Pay attention to the cars around you because if there's a collision, they will win.

Ruma was struck by a 1999 Ford F350 pickup truck as he stepped into traffic while walking on the side of Interstate 270, east of Halls Ferry Road, to retrieve a backpack he had dropped. He suffered several injuries to the lower half of his body, including multiple fractures and a ruptured artery in his right leg.

Mac Metzler, a close family friend and manager at Rumas Deli, called it "a freak accident." James Vaughn, co-owner of Streetfighterz Productions, a St. Louis-based stunt company that organizes Ride of the Century, said the accident could have happened independently of the event. He also insisted that reckless riding was not encouraged.

But for critics, the accident speaks to the dangers of throwing a couple of thousand motorcycles, many of them speeding and performing stunts, on the highway. And they wonder why police officers did little to control the event, which has been held for the last nine years and was announced months in advance.

"It was extremely dangerous," said Andrew Molina, of Town and Country, who encountered the ride on Highway 40 (Interstate 64), approaching Clayton Road. "If they knew it was coming, why didn't they have more of a police presence on the highway?"


Streetfighterz Productions grew out of basketball games among Vaughn and three friends at the South County YMCA. The foursome, who shared a love of motorcycles, began challenging one another to tricks on the highway and videotaping the stunts. They sold the videos at a mall kiosk. In 1999, they formally organized, gaining sponsors and a bevy of underground fans.

Streetfighterz gained the attention of police and media in 2004, after a crash on Highway 364 in Maryland Heights. A 16-year-old crashed his car into another while following four bikers who suddenly veered off the highway. The bikers were never identified. Vaughn insists that it wasn't Streetfighterz.

The group gained notoriety again in 2007, when a television reporter named them as the bikers who were kicking and throwing bricks at cars. Streetfighterz, which once acknowledged receiving 80 tickets from police in five years, again claimed innocence.

Vaughn said in an interview this week that the group restricted its stunts to shows it performed on drag strips across the country.

"We've always gotten kind of a bad rap in the press, and maybe rightfully so in the beginning," he said. "But for the last six or seven years, we've pretty much kept to ourselves."

He said that as the popularity of Streetfighterz had grown, so had Ride of the Century, a gathering of bikers and fans. Vaughn described it a loosely organized ride in which bikers come on their own and act on their own.

"The event is as safe as the riders are going to make it," he said. "Everybody is on their own motorcycle, everybody is responsible for their own actions. I feel that I'm safe when I ride. I can't speak for everyone else."

The Saturday ride started with lunch at Big St. Charles Motorsports, which was hosting a calendar girl contest, billed as "one bad-ass party all day long." Terry MacCauley, the dealership's general sales manager, described the group in attendance as "nice, clean-cut kids who like riding their motorcycles."

Starting at 2 p.m. in downtown St. Louis, the bikers proceeded to ride on several local highways, including Interstates 270, 170 and 70, before finishing three hours later at the dealership in St. Charles.

"As weird as it sounds, we try to pick the least-used highways as possible," Vaughn said.

Police dispatchers across the area received a flood of calls from drivers. They included complaints of bikers weaving among cars, causing the cars to swerve to avoid accidents. There was one report in Maryland Heights of a biker punching a car mirror.


Drivers this week said they were startled by two things: the sheer size of the group — a thick swarm that often stretched a half-mile long — and its aggressive behavior.

"Every day you'll see one of these fools dodging in and out of traffic, but to see dozens and dozens of these people doing it — it was absolutely mind-boggling," Molina said.

Molina watched on Highway 40 as confused drivers to his right slowed, nearly causing a five-car pile-up. A motorcycle rammed into the rear car, the bike's rider thrown about 15 feet in the air, Molina said. Another driver complained about the incident on an online forum, saying the biker lay still on the highway after being thrown.

The Highway Patrol has no record of the accident, but Vaughn confirmed the incident and said the biker was fine.

Mel Jordan, of Bismarck, Mo., was driving on I-70 when he encountered the ride. He was one of several drivers who complained that they could see police cruisers nearby but that the officers did not appear to take action.

At some point during the ride, electronic billboards on highways started warning drivers: "Motorcycles are everywhere. Stay alert."

Since the ride, several of the bikers have boasted about their invincibility in online forums. "There's too many of us to corral," one wrote on the ride's Facebook page.

Several police departments said they were unaware of problems with the bikers, or dismissed the incidents as isolated.

Others acknowledged, however, that the size of the ride, and its quick movement across multiple police jurisdictions, made it difficult to target those causing trouble.

"It's easy for someone to be brave in a crowd," said St. Louis County police spokesman Rick Eckhard. "And it's hard to enforce when you have multiple offenses at the same time."

Sgt. Al Nothum, spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said his agency became aware of the event only the night before, and officers handed out about a dozen tickets Saturday. The patrol is scheduling a meeting with other law enforcement departments and prosecutors to talk about how to handle the event next year.

"When we get notice of this again, we're going to have a game plan," Nothum said.

It may be a moot point. Vaughn said Ruma's accident has organizers considering canceling the event.

"It's great to see everyone and for everybody to have a great time," he said. "But we don't want to put anyone in harm's way by having an unsafe event." ... ml?print=1
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Postby Eliza » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:01 am

Police: House sitter shoots, kills burglar in Fox Park neighborhood

BY KIM BELL • > 314-340-8115 | Posted: Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:00 am

UPDATED at 7:50 p.m. Friday with comments from Kemp's aunt.

ST. LOUIS • A house sitter shot and killed a suspected burglar who kicked in the door of a home being rehabbed in the 2800 block of Magnolia Avenue early Friday, St. Louis police say.

Rico Kemp, 39, was shot to death at about 12:30 a.m. Friday. Kemp lived in the 2300 block of Collett Drive in Moline Acres.

The house sitter, a 48-year-old man, was not identified by police. He told detectives that he woke up after hearing someone break into the back door. He told police he was scared for his life so he fired one shot.

Kemp was shot in the chest.

The burglary and shooting were reported at 12:33 a.m. Friday. The 2800 block of Magnolia is in the Fox Park neighborhood. The house is in the half of that neighborhood that recently was designated as a local historic district, said Ian Simmons, president of the Fox Park Neighborhood Association.

Katie O'Sullivan, a police department spokeswoman, said Friday that police would present the case to prosecutors, who would decide whether to file charges against the house sitter.

Missouri is one of several states with the so-called Castle Doctrine, a self-defense law that says someone is justified in using deadly force if he or she "reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend" against the "use or imminent use of unlawful force" by someone else. The law says the person feeling threatened doesn't have to retreat from a dwelling or vehicle if the intruder enters unlawfully.

According to court files, Kemp has previous convictions for burglary, theft, property damage, possession of marijuana and domestic assault.

Kemp was released from parole on April 7 of this year, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Ethel Mackey said her nephew, Kemp, was a troubled soul who couldn't get off drugs. He was staying with his father in Moline Acres until recently, taking to sleeping on park benches and in vacant buildings after the family urged him to give up the drugs.

"He just didn't want to listen," said Mackey, of Radcliff, Ky.

She said Kemp had talked on the phone with his father Thursday night. Kemp said he was going to try and stay with his sister, who lives near the Magnolia Avenue home, for the night. The sister didn't answer the phone, Mackey said.

"I guess that's when he went to this house," she said of the home on Magnolia Avenue. "I'm thinking this is his safe haven where he'd go to sleep. He probably didn't think anybody was staying there.

Property records maintained by the city show that the home is owned by Joe Freund, but Freund said he sold the property in August to a woman named Toni Easter. Easter was out of town and unavailable for comment, a woman who works with her said.

Wendell Byrd, 44, who lives nearby and was walking down Magnolia Avenue on Friday morning, told a reporter he thinks the house sitter was within his rights to protect the property.

Byrd survived a stab wound to his neck last September by a man he said broke into his apartment in the 3400 block of Cherokee Street. Byrd recalled waking up face down on his bed in a pool of blood.

With the knife still lodged in his neck, Byrd said he walked across the street to a short-term loan business to get help. He said he spent more than a week recovering at a hospital.

"If you break into my home, you're getting one," he said. "Coming into someone's house is a bit extreme."

Police said no arrests were made in Byrd's case.

Marty Luther, 41, who lives a few houses down on Magnolia Avenue with his wife and three young children, said he probably would have done the same as the house sitter to protect his family and property.

"It's unfortunate someone had to lose their life for something so stupid," Luther said.

Luther said he has concerns about safety in his neighborhood.

"If it happens again, I'm looking to get out," he said. ... ml?print=1

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Postby Eliza » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:57 pm

Man stable after being shot several times outside Chinese restaurant

BY PATRICK M. O'CONNELL • > 314-340-8126 | Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:45 am

ST. LOUIS • A shooter fired at least 20 bullets into a car parked outside a Chinese restaurant Friday night, apparently targeting the driver but missing a woman and a baby inside the vehicle, police said.

The shooting happened about 8:50 p.m. in the parking lot of Harold's Chop Suey at 1122 Union Boulevard. The victim, believed to be in his 20s, was shot several times in the chest and shoulder, St. Louis police Lt. Ken Lammert said. He was reported in stable condition Saturday.

After he was shot, the victim drove north a few blocks into a Walgreens parking lot, where he flagged down a security guard, who called for help.

The woman in the car jumped out during the shooting and suffered minor injuries, but none from gunshots. The baby, believed to be about a year old, was in the back seat on the passenger side. It appears the shooter specifically aimed for the man, since he fired shots into the windshield, then ran around to the driver's side of the car to fire more shots, Lammert said.

The shooter ran off before police officers swarmed the area. ... 0f31a.html
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Postby Eliza » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:36 am



Police: Grandma left twins in car to buy drugs in St. Louis

BY KIM BELL • > 314-340-8115 | Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 9:07 am

ST. LOUIS • A woman left her twin 2-year-old grandchildren in a car while she bought drugs, then didn't notice they were gone when she returned to the car and drove away, police say.

The twins had gotten out of the car on their own and were found wandering along busy Martin Luther King Drive. A passerby found them and called police.

Four hours later, the grandmother's sister reported the twins missing, police say.

Wanakee T. Robinson, 55, was charged Tuesday in St. Louis Circuit Court with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Judge David Dowd set bail at $30,000, cash-only. Robinson lives in the 5500 block of Drury Lane.

Court records allege that Robinson took the children — one boy and one girl — with her to buy drugs at about 7 p.m. on Sept. 7.

Robinson told police that she parked her car on Martin Luther King and tried to buy drugs while in her car, according to a probable cause statement by St. Louis Det. Julie Johnson. But she wasn't able to complete the transaction from her car, so she took the children out of their car seats, left them in the unlocked car and went into an alley.

Johnson didn't specify what drug Robinson was buying.

The car was parked by a lounge, a bar and an auto salvage shop. At the time, pedestrians and other cars were going by on the busy street.

At about 9:15 p.m. that night, a passerby saw the children alone in the car in the 4700 block of Martin Luther King Drive. The twins get out of the car on their own, according to the court documents. They walked around and pointed to a nearby building. The passerby walked around with the children to try to find a parent or guardian, even going into the building the children had pointed to.

By the time the passerby and the children returned to where the car was parked, the car was gone, police say. The passerby and another person called police.

Robinson later told police she didn't realize they were missing when she returned to the car and drove away.

No one reported the children missing until 1:15 a.m. on Sept. 8, police say. That's when Robinson's sister called police. Robinson had told her the children were gone, but Robinson didn't report it to police herself.

The Robinson case was mentioned Tuesday on Twitter by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who said Robinson left the kids to go into a drug house.

According to a probable cause statement by St. Louis Det. Julie Johnson, Robinson was arrested on Oct. 6.

Robinson's previous convictions include felony stealing and forgery. She also has a federal conviction for escape from federal custody. Robinson has more than a dozen aliases, including one in which her first name is spelled Wonakee.

In one old case, a stealing conviction from St. Louis in 1992, a judge ordered Robinson to undergo long-term, inpatient treatment at an alcohol and drug abuse program in Hannibal.

A woman who answered the phone at Robinson's home Wednesday declined comment.
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Postby Eliza » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:39 pm


Woman found slain in St. Louis hotel bathtub

BY JOEL CURRIER • > 314-340-8256 | Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 9:58 am

UPDATED at 3:44 p.m. with identity of victim

ST. LOUIS • A hotel housekeeper found a dead woman this morning who police say had been bound in a bathtub at the Holiday Inn, 5915 Wilson Avenue, police say.

Police got the call about 8:15 a.m. today. The hotel is near Interstate 44 and Hampton Avenue.

Police this afternoon identified the woman as Jenifer Goertzen, 29, of Morton, Ill., near Peoria.

Some staff members of the Texas Rangers organization are staying at the hotel, in town for the World Series against the Cardinals.

Police don't believe Goertzen was connected in any way to the Rangers ballclub.

Police said Goertzen's wrists, ankles and neck were bound and that she had bruising around her face.

Investigators have not determined her cause of death.

Capt. Michael Sack of the St. Louis Police Department said the woman had visible injuries and that her death is a homicide.

"This is definitely going to be a murder," Sack said.

Sack said the housekeeper drew back the curtains of the bathtub and found the woman this morning. The hotel room was on the sixth floor.

Police think the woman had the room for a couple days but was killed sometime in the past 24 hours, possibly Wednesday morning. Police are checking the hotel surveillance footage for clues.

Hotel guests watched as police investigators came and went Thursday.

One guest, Natasha Radny, 28, of Melbourne, Australia, said she was staying on the seventh floor with her boyfriend, Jason Stolarski, 32, of Cicero, Ill. They had been visiting St. Louis and staying at the hotel for the last two days and are leaving today to visit Stolarski's family in Chicago.

Radny said they didn't hear anything suspicious. She was surprised to hear of the woman's murder.

"You only hear this in the movies or CSI," Radny said. "That's just insane. Wow."

Michael Mabe of Dallas, who sells season tickets for the Texas Rangers organization, has been staying at the hotel to attend the World Series here. He said was surprised by the crime but said he didn't feel unsafe in the city.

"There's no place that's 100 percent safe," said Mabe, 30. "These things can happen anywhere."

Still, he said, "if it comes to the sixth and seventh game, I probably wouldn't want to stay here (at the hotel) again."

Another Rangers employee, Tera Bryant, 25, of Dallas, does graphics design for the team. Bryant was waiting for the hotel elevator on Thursday morning when the elevator doors opened and she saw police in the elevator with a body bag.

"I waited for the next elevator," she said.
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Postby resigned » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:12 pm

Metro East prosecutor announces crackdown on bad cops


BELLEVILLE • A day after six Metro East police officers and a former police dispatcher were charged with official misconduct, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly announced "Operation Enemy Within," a sprawling law enforcement initiative to prosecute bad cops.

"If people can't trust law enforcement, then there is no law and we are all endangered," Kelly said in a news conference today, flanked by various police leaders.

The operation is part of a joint effort with federal authorities to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

On Wednesday, six officers and a former dispatcher from St. Clair County were accused of an array of crimes including a forced sexual encounter with a woman, state benefit fraud and theft..
(snipped) ... z1bMmfqapG
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