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Crime & Tragedy

New York’s new bail reform law will tell criminals that there are no ‘repercussions after committing crime’

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New York’s bail reforms that will eliminate bail and pretrial detention for a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges have met with considerable backlash from various fronts. Effective from January 1, 2020, the retroactive law that has been brought forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio’s administration, aims to reduce the number of people held in jails and the amount of time they are held. Inmates who are in jail and eligible under the new law will have to apply to be freed.

The law also aims to address concerns over an unfair advantage that law enforcement had in prosecutions. Grand jury proceedings will not be a secret under this law and prosecution will have 15 days to turn over evidence after arraignment to the defense, which can be made to 30 days in exceptional cases. The defense gets 30 days to submit the case to the state. 

According to the New York Post, nearly 900 people are expected to be released from Rikers under the new law. Critics fear that it would add to crime rates and jeopardize the safety of New Yorkers. (Getty Images)

They also have to show evidence three days before a plea deal expires. The defense will have access to contact information of anyone relevant in the case, including police officers. The defense can also visit the scene of the crime to help build their case, which many critics have said could victimize those wronged further. 

The Mayor’s Office is also putting in place the Atlas program, to help defendants stay out of trouble while they await trial. The program includes free housing assistance, mentoring services, job training and more.

According to the New York Post, nearly 900 people are expected to be released from Rikers jail complex under the new law. Earlier this week, a suspected drug dealer, who almost hit a pedestrian in Manhattan in an attempt to escape DEA task force agents, will be released from jail after the law goes into effect. He is charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, marijuana possession and attempted grand larceny. 

Critics fear that it would add to crime rates and jeopardize the safety of New Yorkers. 

“The upcoming bail reform sends a message to criminals that they can do whatever they would like with no repercussions after committing a crime. They will be sent back onto the streets to commit more crimes, which will endanger the public’s safety and cause crime to skyrocket,” Joseph Imperatrice, founder of Blue Lives Matter, a non-profit organization “created to help Law Enforcement Officers and their families during their time of need” told MEA WorldWide, “Politicians need to pull their heads out of the sand and start doing what they were elected to do, keep the people safe and make decisions in their best interest.” 

Probation officers have also come forward telling lawmakers that they do not have the staff or infrastructure to implement these reforms. Mayors across the state have also shown concern over the implementation of these reforms, saying they lack the resources.

Among the offenses that bail will be eliminated for also include charges of animal cruelty and animal fighting, which is also a cause of concern for animal rights activists. All animal cruelty laws fall under this new system.

They are “detrimental” to animal cruelty prosecution said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Suspects charged with these crimes, including animal fighting, will simply be given desk appearance tickets,” he said, adding that a case can be potentially thrown out if the shelter cannot meet documentation requirements because of a shortage of time. 

“Shelters, many of which are non-profit agencies, will need to quickly document the treatment of abused animals in these cases and present information to the district attorney within the new timeline. If the documentation falls short because of time constraints, the case may be thrown out and the animal returned to a suspected abuser. I don’t believe this was the intent of these reforms, but it’s what we have to work with now,” he said. 

According to the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, those accused of following charges won’t get held on bail: 

• Assault in the third degree
• Aggravated vehicular assault
• Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old
• Criminally negligent homicide
• Aggravated vehicular homicide
• Manslaughter in the second degree
• Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
• Coercion in the first degree
• Arson in the third and fourth degree
• Grand larceny in the first degree
• Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds or criminal possession of a firearm
• Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and second degree
• Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and second degree
• Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
• Specified felony drug offenses involving the use of children, including the use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense and criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child
• Criminal solicitation in the first degree and criminal facilitation in the first degree
• Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third and fourth degree
• Making a terroristic threat
• Patronizing a person for prostitution in a school zone
• Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
• Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child
• Promoting a sexual performance by a child
• Failure to register as a sex offender
• Obstructing governmental administration in the first and second degree
• Obstructing governmental administration by means of a self-defense spray device
• Bribery in the first degree
• Bribe giving for public office
• Bribe receiving in the first degree
• Promoting prison contraband in the first and second degree
• Resisting arrest
• Hindering prosecution
• Tampering with a juror and tampering with physical evidence
• Aggravated harassment in the first degree
• Directing a laser at an aircraft in the first degree
• Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree
• Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor
• Enterprise corruption and money laundering in the first degree
• Aggravated cruelty to animals, overdriving, torturing and injuring animals
• Failure to provide proper sustenance
• Animal fighting

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Crime & Tragedy

Mark Redwine: Dad killed 13-yr-old son after boy found pics of him in women’s underwear eating feces

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COLORADO: A 13-year-old was reportedly killed by his father after he found ‘compromising’ photos of him eating feces from a diaper while wearing women’s underwear. The murder trial of Mark Redwine, 59 began on June 21. Prosecutors claimed in the opening statement that Mark ‘flew into a rage’ on the night of November 18, 2012, when his teenage son Dylan might have mentioned or shown him his ‘compromising pictures’.

Mark Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death of Dylan. In similar incidents of child abuse and murder, an Arkansas father was convicted of murdering his six-year-old son by sexually assaulting him with a stick. He was sentenced to death in November 2016. In June 2021, a Tennessee father was found guilty of murdering his autistic, nonverbal toddler son in 2018. A Florida father and son were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide on May 21, after the child’s mother had alerted authorities requesting the child be removed from the father’s care.

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Prosecutor Fred Johnson said in his opening statement, “A damaged relationship, exposed with compromising photographs, photographs in the hands of a 13-year-old who is disgusted by it, which triggered a violent rage in the defendant.” During Thanksgiving 2012, Dylan disappeared from Redwine’s Vallecito home during a court-ordered visit. According to the Denver Post, the boy’s remains were found by 2013 and 2014. Johnson further mentioned that prosecutors intend to prove that Redwine killed Dylan in his living room and then dumped his body off a trail near his home. Afterwards, he misled the investigators for months to cover up his crime. Traces of Dylan’s blood were found in Redwine’s living room and his body was found without his wallet or backpack.

Redwine’s public defender, John Moran, argued that Dylan had no interest in visiting his father and suggested he could have been attacked by a bear or mountain lion after running away, claiming a tooth mark was found on his skull. He further said that Dylan had previously confronted him (Redwine) about the fetish photos during a cross-country trip. There was no way the prosecutors will be able to prove a connection between Dylan’s death and the photos. Moran said that the photos “come from deep within Mark’s private life.” “If the prosecution could find an expert to say people who do that are more likely to kill their child, that information would be given to you … Mr Redwine did not kill his child,” he added. Moran also noted that no evidence tied his client to the boy’s death.

“Mr Redwine, in addition to being innocent, lost everything. He lost it all, and now he sits here with this demand for wrongful conviction, ” Moran said. According to KUSA, Redwine worked as a trucker in Washington when he was arrested. Dylan’s older brother, Cory, who previously claimed he saw the sordid images of his father as well, called for ‘justice’ in his brother’s death in November 2020. Cory wrote on Facebook, “Dylan needs strength from more than just us and I can’t begin to explain how much every single person that knows his story is a part of that! Every day a kid is forgotten by the legal system and that is not ok!!”

The trial was postponed after multiple delays in the case. It is expected to last until mid-July, with testimonies to start on June 22.

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Crime & Tragedy

Chris Hamburg: Serial road rager filmed by TikToker trying to run car off road

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RANTOUL, ILLINOIS: A serial road rager was finally arrested, months after harassing numerous drivers, thanks to one TikTok user. Chris Hamburg was recorded by user Kaleb Moore attempting to run Moore’s friend’s car off the road. The incident quickly went viral, with other users also complaining that they were victims of Hamburg, leading to his eventual arrest on August 25. It appears Hamburg has troubled man drivers in his beat-up van and is now facing charges of disorderly conduct.

Despite facing threats of bans, TikTok has proved to be a vital source for people to out anti-social Americans. On August 17, TikTok user Lisette went viral after she was recorded ranting at gym users who came in front of her camera while attempting to record work out TikToks. Days before that, TikToker Heather Brown recorded a White woman grabbing her son, to block him from entering the community pool. We also reported on Denise Bradley aka Aunt Karen, who used her TikToks to out racist CEO Eileen Cure. 

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While most cases have just gone viral and led to public condemnation, Moore’s TikTok led the police to act, and arrest Hamburg after much public pressure. Reportedly, numerous people have been subject to Hamburg’s road rage, which Moore called “completely sickening”. In fact, he would’ve probably gotten away with it too, had he not ended up in the same motel as one of his earlier victims, who wasted no time in calling the cops.

Who is Chris Hamburg?

Beyond Moore’s TikTok and one local news story, there appears to be no information about Hamburg. Illinois Department of Corrections doesn’t appear to have Hamburg listed currently, so he is likely out on bail. Hamburg is reportedly charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor in Illinois that is punishable with jail time and/or a fine. It’s unclear where Hamburg is from, but he was taken to Vermilion County jail in Danville after his arrest. We also know he drives a white van, with one of the windows replaced with a piece of wood. 

One user on Facebook has created an account in Hamburg’s name and urged people to report him to the police. The account claims Hamburg is a “wanted pedophile and con artist”, who uses multiple names, and has several Facebook accounts. We could not verify this information, or the claim he is a “drifter”. The post also says Hamburg is from Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho, again information we could not verify.

It’s unclear when Moore encountered Hamburg, but his video quickly went viral at the end of August. Moore was in the passenger seat when he noticed Hamburg, who was “way ahead” pull to the side of the road. Once Moore and his friend went by, Hamburg reportedly took pictures of their plates and followed them. “We stopped to let him pass which sent him into a road rage fit,” Moore explained. When asked if there is a problem, Hamburg replies, “Do you have a problem, b—h?”

A screenshot from Moore’s TikTok showing Chris Hamburg. (TikTok)

 

Moore’s friend attempts to speed up and get away, leading Hamburg to attempt to force them off the road. Hamburg then opens his door and yells “gonna beat your fucking ass,” even as Moore and his friend attempt to get away. Eventually, they do so, near a construction site. Moore then says in a TikTok video, “There were sightings in three towns around that area, including people giving away that same license plate number, the same description of the van, same description of the dude, same actions.” He reportedly received photos and videos from users of Hamburg’s actions, including one aunt who claimed Hamburg “chased” her nine-year-old niece. 

One of Hamburg’s many victims was Helene Ellis, who encountered the serial rager in July. According to Ellis, she passed Hamburg’s car in Brookhill Road in Rantoul, when Hamburg made a u-turn, followed her, and tried to hit the back of Ellis’ car. She posted about the encounter on Facebook, which led to more victims coming out. One day, Ellis ended up at the Super 8 hotel in Rantoul, where she noticed Hamburg’s car. Ellis promptly called the cops, who arrested Hamburg on August 25 and took him to Vermilion County jail. Following his arrest, Moore posted “thank you everyone who helped get this guy off the road” on Facebook. Moore also said there are additional warrants in Hamburg’s name in Idaho and Wyoming, and is “hopeful” additional charges are brought. 

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514

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Crime & Tragedy

Washington girl, 15, rams jogger with car to ‘scare him’, laughs about it as he dies

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MAPLE VALLEY, WASHINGTON: A 15-year-old girl from Washington state intentionally rammed a jogger with a borrowed car and sped off, killing him on the spot. Reportedly, the girl laughed while narrating the incident to a friend later.

Taking her godmother’s car without permission, Kasama Smith went 50 mph, which is 5 mph over the speed limit supposed to be maintained. Charges against the suspect say that she hit Greg Moore, 53, when he was jogging at about 6 am on July 18 on a street in Maple Valley. “I’m going to scare him, I’m going to bump him,” Smith reportedly told a passenger in the car.

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When the killing took place, a friend of Smith was following the Camry in another car. She reportedly heard a loud sound, and then saw “saw something fly into the air”, she told reporters. Hours later, Moore was found at the spot in a ditch in front of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, lying dead and without shoes.

Smith has been slapped with second-degree murder and hit-and-run charges. Moore’s wife is enraged that Smith is being tried as a teen and not an adult. “A family member (of the suspect) heard the individual laugh about the way Greg’s body flew up in the air when she hit him,” Michelle Moore said. She further said that since the car was doing 50 mph, calling the impact a “bump” is an understatement, and wrong. “It’s a ‘thrill kill’ is what it’s called,” Moore said. She had set up a website to find Smith, and offered a reward of $35,000. A GoFundMe page was created after the incident, and $41,291 was raised of the $100,000 goal when this report was published.

Greg Moore (second from right) with his family (whokilledgreg.com)

According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the case cannot be moved to adult court because of the accused’s age, and lack of a criminal record. “Even when juveniles are convicted as adults, Superior Court judges at sentencing can – and do in many cases – still follow the juvenile sentencing guidelines set by state lawmakers,” office spokesman Casey McNerthney told The Seattle Times.

Smith allegedly took her godmother’s car and killed Moore, but later lied to the car’s owner, claiming that she never even drove it. She said someone damaged the car with a bat. Reportedly, Smith spent several weeks following the murder in fear and concern, worried that friends might “snitch on her”. When Smith’s godmother watched surveillance footage of the car, she immediately recognized it as hers and approached the authorities. Smith, accompanied by her father, later turned herself in.

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