Review Category : National News

Police: Prostitute Injected Google Exec with Heroin, Left Him to Die

Santa Cruz Police Dept.(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) — More than seven months after a Silicon Valley executive was found dead on his yacht of an apparent overdose, police said they have uncovered new video evidence that reveals he may have been murdered.

Alix Tichelman, 26, who police describe as a high-end call girl, is believed to be the woman in the video injecting Forrest Hayes, 51, with heroin during a date together last November, according to Santa Cruz, California police.

It was initially thought that Hayes, who had worked at Apple and was employed by Google at the time of his death, died of an overdose on his yacht, “The Escape.”

The newly uncovered surveillance video shows a woman, who Santa Cruz police say is Tichelman, administering the drugs and never trying to help Hayes or to call authorities when it was clear something had gone terribly wrong, Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.

“She was so callous that in gathering her things, she was literally stepping over the body and at one point stepped over the body to grab a glass of wine and finish the glass of wine,” Clark told ABC’s San Francisco owned station KGO-TV.

Police said the woman believed to be Tichelman even drew the blinds to the bedroom on the 50-foot yacht before leaving.

Investigators took Tichelman’s fingerprints from the wine glass, according to KGO-TV. Posing as a potential client, police said they met up with Tichelman at a hotel on July 4 and arrested her on suspicion of second-degree murder, destruction of evidence and transporting and providing narcotics.

It was unclear if Tichelman has hired an attorney.

An obituary posted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel describes Hayes as a husband and father to five children.

“More than anything else he enjoyed spending time with his family at home and on his boat,” the obituary said. “His brilliant mind, contagious smile, and warm embrace will be missed and cherished in memories by his friends and family.”

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Colorado Man’s Close Call with Lightning Caught on Video

iStock/Thinkstock(ARVADA, Colo.) — A Colorado man using his phone to capture a video of hail and lightning outside his house Monday got a little too close to the action when he was suddenly thrown to the floor by a bolt of lightning, catching the whole thing on camera.

Chad Greenlees, of Arvada, had thought he was safe from a strike when standing underneath the protection of his garage. Taking out his phone, he panned across the dark and cloudy sky before a lightning strike knocked him down.

“I kind of stumbled back and fell through the door,” Greenlees told ABC News affiliate 7NEWS.

Greenlees’ daughter, Ileah, heard the crash and ran over to find her father convulsing on the floor.

His wife, Emmy, immediately called 911.

“I thought I was going to lose him,” she said. “It was scary.”

At the hospital, doctors checked Chad Greenlees for entrance and exit wounds, but none could be found.

While doctors have told Greenlees he’s going to be okay, he still reports hearing ringing in his ears and being generally achy.

“I was scared to death,” said Greenlees. “I’m grateful that I survived.”

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Police: Prostitute Injected Google Exec with Heroin, Left Him to Die

Santa Cruz Police Dept.(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) — More than seven months after a Silicon Valley executive was found dead on his yacht of an apparent overdose, police said they have uncovered new video evidence that reveals he may have been murdered.

Alix Tichelman, 26, who police describe as a high-end call girl, is believed to be the woman in the video injecting Forrest Hayes, 51, with heroin during a date together last November, according to Santa Cruz, California police.

It was initially thought that Hayes, who had worked at Apple and was employed by Google at the time of his death, died of an overdose on his yacht, “The Escape.”

The newly uncovered surveillance video shows a woman, who Santa Cruz police say is Tichelman, administering the drugs and never trying to help Hayes or to call authorities when it was clear something had gone terribly wrong, Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.

“She was so callous that in gathering her things, she was literally stepping over the body and at one point stepped over the body to grab a glass of wine and finish the glass of wine,” Clark told ABC’s San Francisco owned station KGO-TV.

Police said the woman believed to be Tichelman even drew the blinds to the bedroom on the 50-foot yacht before leaving.

Investigators took Tichelman’s fingerprints from the wine glass, according to KGO-TV. Posing as a potential client, police said they met up with Tichelman at a hotel on July 4 and arrested her on suspicion of second-degree murder, destruction of evidence and transporting and providing narcotics.

It was unclear if Tichelman has hired an attorney.

An obituary posted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel describes Hayes as a husband and father to five children.

“More than anything else he enjoyed spending time with his family at home and on his boat,” the obituary said. “His brilliant mind, contagious smile, and warm embrace will be missed and cherished in memories by his friends and family.”

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Colorado Man’s Close Call with Lightning Caught on Video

iStock/Thinkstock(ARVADA, Colo.) — A Colorado man using his phone to capture a video of hail and lightning outside his house Monday got a little too close to the action when he was suddenly thrown to the floor by a bolt of lightning, catching the whole thing on camera.

Chad Greenlees, of Arvada, had thought he was safe from a strike when standing underneath the protection of his garage. Taking out his phone, he panned across the dark and cloudy sky before a lightning strike knocked him down.

“I kind of stumbled back and fell through the door,” Greenlees told ABC News affiliate 7NEWS.

Greenlees’ daughter, Ileah, heard the crash and ran over to find her father convulsing on the floor.

His wife, Emmy, immediately called 911.

“I thought I was going to lose him,” she said. “It was scary.”

At the hospital, doctors checked Chad Greenlees for entrance and exit wounds, but none could be found.

While doctors have told Greenlees he’s going to be okay, he still reports hearing ringing in his ears and being generally achy.

“I was scared to death,” said Greenlees. “I’m grateful that I survived.”

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Alarming Stats from Congressional Campus Sex Assault Report

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Many institutions of higher education are failing at addressing sexual assaults on their campuses, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Wednesday as she released a new report on how colleges and universities are responding to sexual assault cases.

“This survey shows that there are way too many schools that are failing and just about every institution in the country has room for improvement,” McCaskill said at a news conference Wednesday.

Here are some of the most alarming figures from the report:

  • 41% of institutions did not conduct a single investigation of campus sexual assault in the past five years
  • 43% of the nation’s largest public schools allow students to help adjudicate sexual assault cases
  • 22% of institutions permit athletic departments to have oversight of sexual assault cases involving athletes
  • 21% of institutions do not provide sexual assault response training to their faculty and staff
  • 31% of schools do not provide any type of sexual assault training for their students
  • 33% of schools did not provide basic sexual assault training to the people who adjudicate claims of sexual assault
  • 30% of law enforcement officials at the institutions received no training on responding to reports of sexual violence
  • Only 16% of schools conduct climate surveys of students to assess sexual assaults on college campuses

The findings come from a survey of a national sample of 350 institutions of higher education, which were granted anonymity in order to receive the most candid information.

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Feds Spied on Prominent Muslim-Americans, Report Claims

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A new report based on National Security Agency documents taken by Edward Snowden has revealed the names of prominent American Muslims whose emails it claims were monitored by the FBI and the NSA for years — the most specific allegation yet of the U.S. government’s domestic spying and one that officials said could compromise ongoing operations.

The report, published overnight by Glenn Greenwald at the fledgling news outlet The Intercept, identifies five of some 202 “U.S. Persons” listed in NSA documents whose emails were allegedly swept up over a six-year period ending in 2008: Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country; Faisal Gill, who served with the Department of Homeland Security and ran for public office in Virginia as a Republican; Asim Ghafoor, a defense attorney who has taken on terrorism-related cases; Hooshang Amirahmadi, an international relations professor at Rutgers University; and Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University and National Chairman of the American Muslim Alliance.

“There is absolutely no question in my mind that the reason I was being surveilled is because I am a Muslim. There is nothing in my background. I have always carried a security clearance,” Gill told ABC News in an interview broadcast Wednesday on Good Morning America.

The disclosure by The Intercept of Americans allegedly once spied on secretly, and possibly under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, is unprecedented, according to some officials in national security positions who say they urged Greenwald not to use the names of any individuals because it could compromise ongoing operations or wrongly implicate the people cited.

All five named by Greenwald have denied involvement in terrorism and none have ever been charged with any terrorism-related crimes.

The new disclosures raise a host of questions — namely why these individuals’ emails were collected by U.S. spies inside the homeland in the first place, given the layers of legal review such intelligence warrants undergo. Current and former officials said the Attorney General and the FBI director would have been personally involved in overseeing any FISA warrant targeting the leader of a civil rights group such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is protected by the First Amendment speech protections of the Constitution.

In his potentially explosive story, Greenwald admits he only has a list of thousands of email addresses which may have been targets of intelligence collection, adding that because other files he does not possess are still classified, “it is impossible to know why their emails were monitored, or the extent of the surveillance.”

“It is also unclear under what legal authority it was conducted,” Greenwald writes.

Any spying inside the U.S. linked to terrorism or espionage must be approved with a warrant from the super-secret federal court that oversees classified FISA surveillance and clandestine FBI searches.

In June last year, with Greenwald’s help, Snowden leaked the first known copy of a FISA court order since the court’s inception 35 years ago.

Greenwald also concedes in his online article that The Intercept’s reporters and editors do not know “what, if anything, authorities found that permitted them to continue spying on the men for prolonged periods of time,” but said the five shared a “Muslim heritage.”

“It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights,” said a joint statement by the Department of Justice and Office of the Director of National Intelligence Tuesday night.

While the reasons for surveillance aren’t known, some of the men named had public associations that may have raised questions. Gill, for instance, once worked as a consultant for the American Muslim Council, which was founded by Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a man who pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges related to his “activities… with nations and organizations that have ties to terrorism.” Gill was investigated for this connection twice by the DHS and was cleared both times, The Intercept reported, yet the surveillance continued.

A senior government official said without knowing the underlying probable cause presented to a federal judge from the FISA court in each case, Greenwald and The Intercept cannot know why the e-mails of the purported targets were collected.

As a result, the official said, Greenwald and Snowden cannot know whether the surveillance revealed evidence or intelligence in each case that was incriminating or exculpatory — or whether some targets later cooperated with the FBI. Several officials said it was “irresponsible” to name individuals as surveillance targets when no public court record exists. The identified targets could be guilty or innocent or even cooperating with the government, the officials said.

“You don’t know if somebody was later approached to become an informant,” the senior official said. “To the extent any of these people were targets, [The Intercept report] is a serious compromise. And if they weren’t targets, they shouldn’t be named.”

The Intercept said many of the emails on the spreadsheet titled “FISA Recap,” which they said Snowden provided, “appear to belong to foreigners whom the government believes are linked to al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.” But the report says their three-month investigation showed that “in practice, the system for authorizing NSA surveillance affords the government wide latitude in spying on U.S. citizens.”

However, current and former U.S. officials told ABC News that Snowden or Greenwald may have misunderstood some of the NSA documents, which they reported are spreadsheets with 7,485 email addresses, including many among multiple accounts by individuals.

“You should not assume all of the names Glenn Greenwald has were targets of surveillance,” a senior official familiar with Snowden’s pilfered cache told ABC News last week.

A former senior official once closely involved in the FISA warrant process told ABC News that The Intercept’s reporters were repeatedly warned by him that they “were getting it wrong” in how they interpreted what the NSA spreadsheets from Snowden signified. The documents also were curiously absent of the markings secret files typically carry which denote its specific level of classification and distribution limitations.

“The documents indicated to me that they were not targets,” the former official said.

Greenwald, who delayed his announced publication date last week by several days while seeking additional clarification from the U.S. government, reported the Department of Justice refused to comment and he was ultimately unable to determine under what legal authority the surveillance was conducted or whether the men were formally targeted under FISA warrants.

“Unlike some other nations, the United States does not monitor anyone’s communications in order to suppress criticism or to put people at a disadvantage based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion,” the joint statement provided to ABC News by the government offices said. “Our intelligence agencies can collect communications only when they have a legitimate foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose. This work is done to help protect Americans.”

“Moreover, no U.S. person can be the subject of surveillance based solely on First Amendment activities, such as staging public rallies, organizing campaigns, writing critical essays or expressing personal beliefs. On the other hand, a person who the court finds is an agent of a foreign power under this rigorous standard is not exempted just because of his or her occupation,” the statement said.

The Intercept also reported that Snowden provided a 2005 training document that instructed “intelligence community personnel” to file memos correctly to justify a FISA warrant. “In the place where the target’s real name would go,” Greenwald writes, “the memo offers a fake name as a placeholder: ‘Mohammad Raghead.’”

Another senior government official, who is not authorized to speak to the press, told ABC News that the offensive document was produced by a low-level “knucklehead” who only shared it with a few fellow government or military employees, not thousands of intelligence workers.

Vanee Vines, a spokesperson for the NSA, told ABC News that while the agency would not comment on the “authenticity of any allegedly leaked material,” the NSA “has not and would not approve official training documents that include insulting or inflammatory language.”

“Any use of racial or ethical stereotypes, slurs or other similar language by employees is both unacceptable and inconsistent with NSA policy and core values,” Vines said.

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Pretrial Date Set in Fla. Movie Theater Shooting; Trial Could Start in Early 2015

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — A retired police captain accused in a fatal movie theater shooting appeared in court Wednesday, and expected to learn when he’ll stand trial. The judge, however, set the date for another pretrial hearing to take place Sept. 10 with hopes for the trial to begin in early 2015.

Police say Curtis Reeves, 71, shot and killed Chad Oulson, 43, during a confrontation over Olson’s texting during the previews before a showing of “Lone Survivor” at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, theater.

Attorneys for Oulson’s widow, Nicole, who watched her husband die at her side, say there’s no reason the trial should be delayed.

“We are just delaying the inevitable,” attorney T.J. Grimaldi said. “No matter what occurs, there’s no way, the way we see it, that [Reeves] is going to be found not guilty.”

Reeves became annoyed with Oulson’s using his cellphone and went to tell the movie theater managers, according to authorities.

When he returned, the argument escalated, authorities said.

Reeves, who’s in jail after his bail request was denied, is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty, claiming he acted in self-defense. Reeves’ attorneys say that Oulson may have thrown a cellphone at Reeves.

Witnesses say the only thing Oulson threw was a bag of popcorn.

“He was hit in the face with an unknown object,” attorney Richard Escobar said. “At that point, he has every right to defend himself.”

In audiotapes played by prosecutors in a February bond hearing, Reeves said he regretted the shooting immediately.

“As soon as I pulled the trigger, I said, ‘Oh, this is stupid,’” he said in the tape. “There’s no justification for what happened in there. If I had to do it over again, it would have never happened. We would have moved.”

The shooting has proved especially tragic because of the ramifications. Reeves was a decorated former law-enforcement officer. Oulson left behind a 2-year-old daughter, Alexis.

Alexis misses her father, Grimaldi said.

“She understands daddy isn’t home. She asks for daddy and he doesn’t show up,” Grimaldi said. “It’s almost a good thing that she’s so young, because she doesn’t quite comprehend where daddy is.”

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UM Football Players Accused of Sexually Assaulting ‘Physically Helpless’ Classmate

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Two University of Miami football players were arrested on sexual battery charges Tuesday, and kicked off the team and campus, for an alleged incident involving a 17-year-old girl.

Court and jail records show JaWand Blue and Alex Figueroa, both 20-year-old linebackers, were booked Tuesday.

The two admitted to getting the classmate intoxicated and then allegedly raping her several times in Figueroa’s dorm room over the 4th of July weekend.

Blue and Figueroa turned themselves in.

They confessed to buying several alcoholic beverages for the victim, leaving her “physically helpless to resist” as they allegedly performed sexual acts without her consent, according to an affidavit.

The accuser reported the alleged incident to university police, and the Coral Gables Police Department investigated.

Students on campus were stunned by the allegations. “I think that’s terrible,” graduate student Liz Chapel said. “I feel terrible for the girl.”

In a statement, Miami athletic director Blake James said Blue and Figueroa have been barred from campus.

“Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus,” he said. “We hold all of our students — especially student athletes — to the highest standards of moral conduct.”

University president Donna Shalala also issued a statement, stating that the school has “zero tolerance for sexual assault.”

This is the fifth time in the past three years that a University of Miami football player has been booted from the team after run-ins with the law.

Blue and Figueroa have been released on bond and are scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

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UM Football Players Accused of Sexually Assaulting ‘Physically Helpless’ Classmate

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Two University of Miami football players were arrested on sexual battery charges Tuesday, and kicked off the team and campus, for an alleged incident involving a 17-year-old girl.

Court and jail records show JaWand Blue and Alex Figueroa, both 20-year-old linebackers, were booked Tuesday.

The two admitted to getting the classmate intoxicated and then allegedly raping her several times in Figueroa’s dorm room over the 4th of July weekend.

Blue and Figueroa turned themselves in.

They confessed to buying several alcoholic beverages for the victim, leaving her “physically helpless to resist” as they allegedly performed sexual acts without her consent, according to an affidavit.

The accuser reported the alleged incident to university police, and the Coral Gables Police Department investigated.

Students on campus were stunned by the allegations. “I think that’s terrible,” graduate student Liz Chapel said. “I feel terrible for the girl.”

In a statement, Miami athletic director Blake James said Blue and Figueroa have been barred from campus.

“Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus,” he said. “We hold all of our students — especially student athletes — to the highest standards of moral conduct.”

University president Donna Shalala also issued a statement, stating that the school has “zero tolerance for sexual assault.”

This is the fifth time in the past three years that a University of Miami football player has been booted from the team after run-ins with the law.

Blue and Figueroa have been released on bond and are scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

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Trial Date Expected in Florida Movie Theater Shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — A retired police captain accused in a fatal movie theater shooting is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, expected to learn when he’ll stand trial.

Police say Curtis Reeves, 71, shot and killed Chad Oulson, 43, during a confrontation over Olson’s texting during the previews before a showing of Lone Survivor at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, theater.

Attorneys for Oulson’s widow, Nicole, who watched her husband die at her side, say there’s no reason the trial should be delayed.

“We are just delaying the inevitable,” attorney T.J. Grimaldi said. “No matter what occurs, there’s no way, the way we see it, that [Reeves] is going to be found not guilty.”

Reeves became annoyed with Oulson’s using his cellphone and went to tell the movie theater managers, according to authorities.

When he returned, the argument escalated, authorities said.

Reeves, who’s in jail after his bail request was denied, is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty, claiming he acted in self-defense. Reeves’ attorneys say that Oulson may have thrown a cellphone at Reeves.

Witnesses say the only thing Oulson threw was a bag of popcorn.

“He was hit in the face with an unknown object,” attorney Richard Escobar said. “At that point, he has every right to defend himself.”

In audiotapes played by prosecutors in a February bond hearing, Reeves said he regretted the shooting immediately.

“As soon as I pulled the trigger, I said, ‘Oh, this is stupid,’” he said in the tape. “There’s no justification for what happened in there. If I had to do it over again, it would have never happened. We would have moved.”

The shooting has proved especially tragic because of the ramifications. Reeves was a decorated former law-enforcement officer. Oulson left behind a 2-year-old daughter, Alexis.

Alexis misses her father, Grimaldi said.

“She understands daddy isn’t home. She asks for daddy and he doesn’t show up,” Grimaldi said. “It’s almost a good thing that she’s so young, because she doesn’t quite comprehend where daddy is.”

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