Monthly Archives: May 2018

Hoarding Nightmare: Man Charged with Murder After Contractor Died Digging Tunnels Under His Home

A bizarre home in suburban Maryland — with hundreds of feet of tunnels running at least 20 feet below the surface — is now the center of a murder investigation.

Daniel Beckwitt, 27, allegedly hired 21-year-old Askia Khafra to help him dig the tunnels. During a fire last September, rescuers discovered Khafra’s naked, charred body in Beckwitt’s basement. Officials said he died of smoke inhalation.

Cops charged Beckwitt with second-degree “depraved heart” murder last Friday, saying he showed “extreme disregard” for the 21-year-old’s life, according to an arrest report obtained by Oxygen.com.

Beckwitt’s reason for digging the strange tunnels remains a mystery. Investigators described the house as a hoarding nightmare, with “immense piles of garbage” and “narrow, maze-like pathways,” in the arrest report. The strange network of tunnels stretched out beneath city streets, authorities said.

Beckwitt allegedly hired Khafra multiple times to work on his tunnel system. On each occasion, he insisted Khafra wear

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/hoarding-nightmares-Daniel-Beckwitt-charged-with-murder

Who Is Alice Johnson, The Inmate Kim Kardashian Discussed With President Trump At White House?

The White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian West on Wednesday was surprising enough on its own. But their reason for meeting added another twist: The world’s most famous reality star came to support a great-grandmother who is behind bars.

West met Trump to push prison reform with particular emphasis on pardoning Alice Johnson, 63, an inmate who has become a rallying cause for advocates.

Here’s what you need to know about the woman who caught the Kardashian spotlight:

She’s serving a life sentence for a non-violent offense.

Johnson was indicted in 1994 for being part of that trafficking operation, alongside over a dozen others. She was convicted in 1996 for conspiracy to possess cocaine, attempted possession of cocaine and money laundering in Memphis and sentenced to life without a chance of parole a year later. She has now spent a third of her life behind bars and is being held at a federal facility in

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/alice-johnson-kim-kardashian-west-trump-white-house

Woman Escapes Abusive Boyfriend With Gun By Slipping Note To Dog’s Veterinarian, Cops Say

A Florida woman escaped her threatening, jealous boyfriend after convincing him their dog was ill and needed to be taken to the vet, where she then passed a note pleading for help, she told police.

“Call the cops. My boyfriend is threatening me. He has a gun. Please don’t let him know,” Carolyn Reichle’s note said, according to the Volusia County Sherriff’s office, which released a photograph of the note and an account of the woman’s ordeal Friday.

After getting the note, staff at the Deland animal hospital acted quickly and called police, who rescued Reichle. Cops arrested her boyfriend, Jeremy Floyd, and seized his fully-loaded 9mm handgun, the sheriff’s office said.

Reichle was “visibly upset and crying” when police arrived, with a swollen left eye, and “covered in bruises and lacerations,” according to a police report obtained by Oxygen.com.

“Thank God for the courage of this woman, the quick action of

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/Carolyn-Reichle-jeremy-floyd-boyfriend-gun-note-dog-vet

Grand Jury Indicts Harvey Weinstein On Rape And Sexual Assault Charges In New York, He Faces 50 Years

A Manhattan grand jury has indicted Harvey Weinstein on felony rape and sexual assault charges.

The indictment, issued late Wednesday, accuses the disgraced Hollywood heavyweight of first degree rape, third degree rape and criminal sex act in the first degree.

The two top charges, first degree rape and first degree criminal sex act, are both class “B” felonies under New York law, and each carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, which could be imposed consecutively if Weinstein is convicted.

The charges in the indictment are the same as those that lead to his arrest last Friday. They are based on the accounts of two women, one of whom says Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, and another who says Weinstein raped her in a midtown Manhattan hotel in 2013.

Weinstein himself has not addressed the allegations, but his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said on Tuesday that

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/harvey-weinstein-indicted-on-rape-and-sexual-assault-charges

‘Murdered’ Russian Journalist Appears On Live Ukrainian Television

It’s a crazy turn of events. A Russian journalist — who, according to media reports, had been shot dead in his apartment —made an appearance during a Wednesday press conference to announce he faked his own death to avoid being assassinated.

“Murdered” journalist  Arkady Babchenko, 41, appeared next to Ukrainian security officials in a live news conference, as Ukraine’s Security Service said it staged the death to foil an alleged Russian plot to kill Babchenko.

The security service said they planned the fake death two months ago, after collecting intelligence on Russian special services. Even Babchenko’s wife, who reportedly found his body, thought he was actually dead, officials revealed during the conference.

“I would like to apologize for what you all had to go through… because I’ve buried friends and colleagues many times, and I know it’s a sickening, vomiting feeling when you have to bury your colleagues,” Babchenko said. “Also I would like

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/murdered-russian-journalist-appears-on-television

Florida Juvenile Jail Guard Allegedly Raped Teen Inmate, Said She’d ‘Never See The Daylight Again’

A Florida corrections officer allegedly raped a teenage girl at a juvenile jail in Orlando and threatened that she would “never see the daylight again” if she reported it, according to investigators.

Marcus Leon James, 26, was arrested Monday night after a teen at the Orange County Regional Juvenile Assessment and Detention Center sought medical attention following the alleged assault, according to a police report obtained by Oxygen.com.

James told investigators the incident with the 17-year-old inmate was consensual, according to WFTV 9 Orlando. But the age of consent in Florida is 18, and state law bars law-enforcement officers from any sexual contact with detainees.

The alleged assault occurred Sunday around 11 p.m., when James instructed the girl and another inmate to clean separate areas of the jail, and lured the victim into an office area, investigators said. Once he had her alone, James ordered the girl to her knees, slapped her, and

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/Marcus-Leon-James-florida-juvenile-guard-rape-teen

Mom Stabbed 6-Year-Old Son Repeatedly And Said He ‘Deserved It,’ Police Say

An Oregon mom who admitted to stabbing her 6-year-old son repeatedly said he “deserved it,” police said.

Nemoria Lynn Villagomez, 34, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault and criminal mistreatment Saturday, according to KPTV in Portland.

Villagomez admitted the stabbing to detectives and said her son had it coming, according to an affidavit released Tuesday.

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, the boy, who has bleeding and had visible stab wounds, went to a neighbor’s house for help and left a trail of blood along the way, the affidavit said. He had cuts on his face and a deep laceration to his chin. He told the neighbor that his mom had tried to kill him.

The boy suffered at least six stab wounds all over his body, according to The News Guard in Lincoln City.

When officers arrived at Villagomez’s residence, no one answered the door, so they forced their way in.

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/Nemoria-Villagomez-oregon-stabbed-son-deserved-it

‘Active Shooter’ Video Game Pulled After Outcry From Shooting Victims’ Families

An online gaming platform that was set to sell a game called ‘Active Shooter,’ pulled the video game before it was released after an outcry from mass shooting victims’ families.

In the game, which was scheduled to be released on June 6, gamers could play from the point of view of an active shooter, firing at civilians and SWAT team members, or from the point of view of a SWAT team member.

“Pick your role, gear up and fight or destroy! Be the good guy or the bad guy,” a description for the game, developed by Acid Publishing Group, read on Steam before the game was removed on Tuesday night. “The choice is yours!”

People who lost loved ones in shootings quickly worked together to protest the game.

“These active shooter games encourage copycats and those with violent tendencies to become desensitized to the carnage we know too well,” Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Redfield Ghawi

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/active-shooter-video-game-pulled-after-outcry-from-victims-families

Ebby Steppach’s Disappearance Is A Murder Investigation After …

The remains of an Arkansas teen who vanished more than two years ago have been found, and police tell Oxygen.com that what had been a missing persons case is now a homicide investigation.

Ebby Steppach, 18, was last seen alive on October 24, 2015. Her bones were found last Tuesday in a park drainage pipe in a Little Rock suburb, steps from where her car was discovered after she disappeared.

The finding has raised questions about the early steps in the case, with a former Little Rock cop who looked into Steppach’s disapperance for her family as a private investigator after he retired, telling Oxygen.com there were “missed opportunities” years ago.

Little Rock police initially described the case Wednesday as a “missing person case.” But Public Information Officer Steve Moore told Oxygen.com Friday that police are now treating it as a homicide probe while they await cause of death confirmation from the medical examiner’s office, which “will take some

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/ebby-steppach-arkansas-disappearance-murder-investigation

California Man Charged With Murder After Veteran’s Charred Remains Found

A night of partying at a hangout for biker veterans in northern California turned deadly, authorities say — and one man is accused of torturing and murdering a 70-year-old Vietnam vet before burning his remains.

Sean Bryant, 51, was booked Sunday for allegedly murdering and torturing Stanley Owen Norman.

Bryant initially told cops that he and Norman spent the night of April 14 drinking together into the next morning. He said he eventually passed out and woke up as the sun was coming up the next day to find Norman, his Hummer H2 and his poodle KoKo all missing.

Cops searched for Norman for a month and eventually found his charred remains on one of Bryant’s properties.

Bryant made inroads with the veteran community after moving to Grass Valley in rural northern California roughly two years ago, according to Kristen Day, a fellow veteran who organized a community search for Norman and spoke to Oxygen.com.

“I

Read more at: http://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/sean-bryant-stanley-norman-vietnam-vet-murder-burned