Burglar on the Run Accidentally Admits His Crimes to an Off Duty Detective

A man who had stolen cigarettes and lottery tickets from a Shell gas station made the mistake of striking up a conversation with a fellow pedestrian.

Little did he know that the man in street clothes was an off duty detective for the Nashville police.

Charles Harbin asked the detective to use his phone. The detective dialed the number and let Harbin use the phone. The detective listened and became interested in what the man was saying.

Noticing that the man was “soaking wet,” the detective asked Harbin if he was running from police. “Hell Yea” was the answer. Harbin went on to describe how the police had cornered him and that he had to jump in a creek to escape them.

The burglar then asked the police officer for a light and asked him if he wanted to buy cigarettes. Harbin opened a black garbage bag full of cigarette packs and cartons along with lottery tickets.

He then asked for a ride to no avail. Harbin said he would catch a bus and gave three of the tickets to the detective.

Subsequently the detective called his department and ascertained that a Shell gas station nearby had been burglarized. And strangely—cigarette cartons and lottery tickets were missing.

The detective called for back-up. Then he followed Harbin to a parking lot. The units converged, and the officers arrested Harbin.

At first he admitted that he had stolen the items, then he changed his story to say that he had found the bag.

The DA charged Harbin with burglary and had him held at the Davidson County Jail. In addition, he was held on a $50,000 bond.

Had Harbin been more discrete, he would probably have continued eluding the authorities.

Children of Slain San Antonio Police Detective Share their Memories

On November 20, 2016, Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot in head two times during a routine traffic stop. The 20 year veteran of the San Antonio Police Department was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Marconi’s children shared their memories of their father shortly before the funeral which was attended hundreds and included law enforcement personnel from all over the United States. Jacey Lewis, Marconi’s oldest child, reflected on the fact that her father will not be at her upcoming wedding or meet the children she hopes to have. Dane Marconi, the youngest child, has a child of his own but his father won’t be there to watch him grow into a young man.

Lewis and Marconi both agreed that their father used sleep to recover from the stresses associated with his job. “Then he would usually make a really big dinner. He was a phenomenal chef,” said Lewis. Though both children are now adults, they clearly remember the love their father had for them. “A lot of support, a lot of love,” said Lewis.

Detective Marconi was described by his kids as a strong man who continued to put on his uniform every day for 20 years despite the dangers he knew were possible. “He wouldn’t be a police officer if he had qualms about dying in the line of duty,” Lewis explained.

Otis McKane was arrested and charged with the murder of Detective Marconi almost 30 hours after his death. After his capture, McKane said that the shooting was his way of striking out at law enforcement after an earlier arrest. Dane Marconi said that his father would likely have helped McKane if he had been given the opportunity. “If he would have just talked to him he could have changed everything,’ said Marconi.

Apparent Suicide by LAPD Detective Complicates Derrick Rose Rape Trial

Rape cases can be notoriously difficult to prosecute especially when the defendant is a high profile athlete like NBA star Derrick Rose. The woman at the center of the case alleges that Rose and two friends raped her in her apartment while she was intoxicated. She is suing for $21.5 million in a civil case.

That the three men had sex with her in her LA apartment is not in question. However, the men claim it was consensual. The woman alleges that she drifted in and out of consciousness to find her dress over her head, a burning sensation between her legs, lubricant on them, and condoms scattered around the floor.

Rose’s lawyer shocked the courtroom when he announced that LAPD Detective Nadine Hernandez had been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. With no sign of foul play, officers are investigating her death as a suicide. However, the investigation is ongoing.

The two sides provide conflicting commentary about Hernandez’s comments on the alleged rape. Rose’s lawyer, Mark Baute, claimed in court that she had told him “there’s no rape case.” He also said that the detective alerted him to deleted texts from the victim to Rose which her lawyers withheld from the defense.

However, the woman initially known as Jane Doe, appeared shocked when Baute announced the death. One of her lawyers stated the detective had unequivocally said that a “crime had been committed.”

The highly charged trial is shining a light on how the judicial system handles sexual assault cases. Rose and his friends claim that the alleged victim is just seeking money from them, while Jane Doe insists that she was brutally raped.

The woman’s identity has now been revealed in court, but so far the media has restrained from releasing her name. The outcome of the case is far from certain, and one can hope that the verdict will be just.

Detective Testifies in Campustown Shooting; Suspect Held Over for Trial

A preliminary hearing held on October 11, in Champaign County, Illinois, found that there was sufficient evidence to hold Robbie Patton, 18 for trial. Patton is accused of fatally shooting George Korchev, 22, of Mundelein and shooting and wounding three of Korchev’s friends in September in Campustown.

Patton was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm during his September 30 arraignment. During the October 11 hearing, Detective David Allen walked through the details of Patton’s crime.

According to Detective Allen, a fight broke out in a Campustown parking lot which led to the victim, Korchev, being attacked by a group of at least five people. This account was backed up by a cell phone video obtained by the police department. Patton arrived on the scene after the victim lie beaten on the ground and surveillance footage showed him running from the scene after shots were fired. In the footage Patton had pulled up his hood over his head and an object was scene in his waistband.

One witness identified Patton as the shooter and another witness gave a description of the shooter that matched Patton. Detective Allen also said that a third witness identified Patton from still images from the surveillance footage.

Patton’s attorney cross-examined Allen during the hearing and asked how many other fights had occurred on the same night and if any shell casings or weapons had been found. Detective Allen admitted no weapon or shell casings had been found and that possibly three or four fights had ensued the same evening the murder took place.

Detective Allen stood by his testimony stating that witnesses confirmed Patton’s identity both through video and through personal knowledge of the suspect.

Judge Roger Webber agreed that there was enough evidence to hold Patton over for a pretrial hearing which was set for December 13, 2016.

Albuquerque Detective Profiles Suspects in 10-Year-Old’s Grisly Murder

Ten-year-old Victoria Martens’ body was found burnt and partially dismembered in a bathtub in an apartment in Albuquerque, NM in late August. The child had been raped, stabbed and set on fire. Officers were alerted to the scene after receiving a noise disturbance call. Three adults were found in the residence including Michelle Martens, Victoria’s mother. Michelle, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales and his cousin Jessica Kelley were all arrested.

Sisi Miranda, a veteran detective and founder of the Albuquerque Police Department’s child abuse task force spoke with a local television station to give her thoughts on the gruesome case. Miranda believes that the child suffered from prior abuse and that the mother, Michelle, was manipulated by predators. Miranda profiled each of the suspects saying that she thinks Fabian Kelley is most likely a sexual deviant who was probably abused herself as a child. She believes Kelley’s cousin Fabian Gonzales likely grew up in the same circumstances.

Miranda said she considers the mother to be different than the others, but not better. “I think Michelle probably is leading a double-life,” she said. Miranda believes that the two cousins preyed on Michelle and her daughter because they were vulnerable and then used methamphetamines to control them. Michelle had met Fabian only a month prior to the violent murder of her daughter.

She went on to say that the abuse that Victoria suffered “was likely fueled by a horrifying combination of meth and zero sleep between the three.” Miranda theorized that Victoria was likely acting different in the weeks leading up to her death and that if anyone noticed, it wasn’t reported. She urged the public to always report their concerns to the police if they believe a child is in distress, saying that the embarrassment of being wrong has far less consequences than being right and not reporting it.

Vacationing Detective Helps Save Drowning Victim

Bill Williams and his family vacation in Virginia every year, but this year their vacation memories will hold even greater meaning.

The Allentown, Pennsylvania police detective and his family were spending a leisurely day at Assateague Island National Seashore in Virginia when his wife, Marade, pointed to the water.

A man who had just been playing in the surf with his daughter and wife had collapsed in the water. Though the water was only knee-deep, the waves continued to roll up and onto the beach, leaving the man in jeopardy of drowning.

While the man’s wife struggled to pull him out of the water, Williams’ sprang into action and ran to help lifeguards pull the man to safety. Williams said that 59-year-old man did not have a pulse and was not breathing when they laid him on the beach.

Lifeguards immediately began doing chest compressions while Williams, who is trained in CPR, moved the man’s head to open and clear his airway. Additional lifeguards soon showed up with medical equipment and Williams stepped in to administer oxygen while an AED was attached to the dead man.

The AED delivered a first shock to the man’s heart and CPR was continued until a second shock was sent electronically. After two shocks, the man’s heart still wasn’t beating.

Marade Williams noticed the man’s wife standing alone, terrified and grief-stricken. She put her arm around her and began to pray.

Williams and the team of lifeguards continued manual CPR for several more minutes until the man gasped and started breathing on his own. Soon the man regained consciousness and was able to communicate with medics before heading to the hospital.

The stricken man’s wife called Williams the following day and told him her husband was on track to be released from the hospital the following day.

Williams and his family know that this vacation will stand out in their memories among all others.

Detective Sues Prosecutor’s Office Alleging Botched Murder Investigation

Longtime Detective Jeffrey Scozzafava recently made national headlines when he filed suit against the Somerset Prosecutor’s Office in Superior Court on April 20, 2016. In the lawsuit, Scozzafava accuses the prosecutor’s office of mishandling the murder investigation into the alleged murder-suicide deaths of Joyce and John Sheridan back in 2014.

Language taken from the filed lawsuit states, “It was common knowledge among detective assigned to the Forensic Unit that the Sheridan evidence was improperly collected, improperly preserved and subsequently destroyed.” Scozzafava, one of the detectives assigned to the high-profile case, had worked within the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Unit since 2007.

Here’s the backstory. Just before sunup on September 28, 2014 firefighters were called to the Sheridan residence in Skillman, New Jersey as smoked poured from the couple’s house. Upon entering, firefighters found Joyce and John Sheridan dead on the floor of their master bedroom where both had suffered multiple stab wounds.

After examining the crime scene, the prosecutor’s office determined that John had stabbed Joyce, set fire to the room, then turned the knife on himself. But most of the community remained doubtful. A group comprising of nearly 200 New Jersey residents including the couple’s four sons and three former New Jersey governors formed a group calling itself “Friends of John & Joyce Sheridan” and plead for the Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano to reopen the investigation.

In his pending lawsuit, Scozzafava claims the following:

  • Evidence found in the crime scene was left unsecured on the vehicle bay floor and stored in unsealed containers in the fingerprint lab.
  • The forensic team failed to properly process blood evidence.
  • Evidence was hastily placed in envelopes, making it vulnerable to contamination.
  • Fingerprints were searched using a “flashlight” method, which denotes the lack of scientific examination.

As of yet, neither Soriano nor any one else in the prosecutor’s office has offered any reactions to Scozzafava’s lawsuit.

Gatlinburg Detective Suspected of Perjury has Clean Personnel Record

Gatlinburg police detective Rodney Burns is currently under investigation for possibly perjuring himself during testimony in a rape case involving an Ooltewah High School student. To find out if Burns had other such incidents on his record, the media news station WBIR TV-10 reviewed Burns’ personnel file. To date, Burns’ history with the Gatlinburg Police Department reveals no prior occurrences of abject misconduct.

Burns began his service with the Gatlinburg Police Department as a jailer-dispatcher back in 1991. Since then, Burns’ has received several promotional recommendations that eventually led him to his current post as police detective.

Last December, Burns took the reigns as lead investigator in an alleged assault case wherein an Ooltewah High School freshman boy sustained serious bodily injuries resulting from an alleged rape and assault with a pool cue at the hands of older senior classmates. Both the victim and the accused perpetrators were in Gatlinburg to attend a basketball tournament as a team.

The three boys said to be involved in the rape now face criminal prosecution in Sevier County’s Juvenile Court. Their court date is scheduled for March 15, 2016.

During a preliminary hearing in Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court on February 15, 2016, Burns testified that the senior boys had been hazing several young teammates with the pool cue when the cue unexpectedly tore through the victim’s pants thereby penetrating him. Since the penetration appeared to be an accidental outcome, Burns further testified that the act appeared to be more of an assault than a rape.

Burns’ testimony that the case was not sexual in nature triggered Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston to request a perjury investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. In assessing Burns’ past annual evaluations, WBIR TV-10 learned his supervisors consistently praised his steadfast work ethic, interest in ongoing developmental learning, and persistent efforts to exceed expectations.

Amateur Detectives Break Open Cold Case During 2015 Christmas Break

In 2010, a park ranger in Dead Horse State Park in Utah crawled back to his patrol truck to call for help after being shot multiple times by an unknown assailant. A silver Pontiac was discovered later and linked to Lance Arellano, reported to have a record of drug and assault charges.

Arellano was not found in the manhunt that followed. The trail went cold after a few weeks, and the FBI put up a $30,000 reward for anyone that had any information. He seemed to disappear into the dark canyons without any trace.

Fast forward to December 2015. Caleb Shumway is a 23-year-old college student, and since Lance Arellano disappeared five years ago, he has been obsessed with the case. He grew interested in the cold case when his father, a police officer, was part of the unsuccessful manhunt for Arellano.

Caleb grew up as an Eagle Scout, spending hours and hours hiking around in the canyons of Dead Horse State Park. With supplementary information from his father about where Arellano may have hidden and experience hiking in the canyon, Caleb convinced his younger brother Jarom to spend their Christmas break searching for where Arellano had gone.

48 hours into their search, they found what they were looking for.

In a small cave, they found a bag with a firearm and a human bone. They took pictures, but didn’t disturb the remains. Police dug further in once the brothers turned their find into them, finding a whole skeleton further inside the cave. The remains were sent in for analysis by the Utah State Examiner, but it’s expected that it is Arellano’s skeleton.

Caleb is excited to have found the remains, and is hopeful he’ll receive the reward money from the FBI. He says his real motivation was in finding closure for the park ranger who was injured by Arellano.

New True Crime Series “Killing Fields” Revisits Cold-Case with Two Detectives

Airing on the Discovery Channel is a new true crime series, “Killing Fields,” a short series following two detectives as they reopen a cold homicide case nearly 2 decades old.

In 1997, Eugenie Boisfontaine’s body was found in a ditch in Louisiana with fractures to her skull. By itself, this murder is not necessarily worthy of a true crime TV series.

What makes it interesting is that Eugenie was one of 60 missing women in a 7-year period, and two other women from the street she lived on went missing in that time frame. There were multiple serial killers operating in the Baton Rouge area around that time, and the prevailing theory is that a vast majority of these missing persons cases are related.

The two detectives are Rodie Sanchez and Aubrey St. Angelo. Sanchez was the detective that worked on Eugenie Boisfontaine’s case to begin with. In the first episode of “Killing Fields,” Sanchez laments never having found the man who killed Eugenie, saying it keeps him up at night. He is joined by newbie detective Aubrey St. Angelo, the daughter of a detective Sanchez worked with on this same case.

The series will follow these two detectives, as well as the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives as they reopen this case. The series takes a different approach to the genre than other true crime series in that it’s being filmed in real time. The series began filming in August 2015 and is being aired over the course of 6 weeks in January and February 2016. This causes the series to take on an atmosphere of wonder and discovery as the main characters of the show discover evidence along with the viewer.