Review Category : National News

Fired Attorney Charged in Ex-Boss’ Home Invasion and Stabbing

iStock/Thinkstock(FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.) — A woman who was reportedly fired from her law firm and her husband are charged with attacking an executive of the firm and his wife in their home.

Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl, who are both lawyers, have been charged with malicious wounding and abduction by force or intimidation after an attack in a home in northern Virginia on Sunday, according to Fairfax County Police.

Officers responded to a home invasion and robbery call just before 10 p.m. and found the married 61-year-old homeowners, whose names have not been released publicly, “suffering from apparent stab wounds to the upper body,” police said in a statement.

Police determined that the male homeowner, who is listed as the managing shareholder at an Arlington law firm on the company’s website, answered the front door and the male assailant “made his way into the home and assaulted the male homeowner,” the police release states.

The victim’s wife heard the disturbance and went towards the front door, only to be attacked by the same assailant, police said. One of the two victims was able to set off a home security alarm which prompted the assailant to flee.

When police arrived, the victims gave officers a description of their attacker which included enough information about the getaway car that helped police find the vehicle “a short time later.” Inside the car was Andrew Schmuhl, 31, and Alecia Schmuhl, 30, and both were arrested, police said.

Both suspects are charged with two counts each of malicious wounding and abduction by force or intimidation, but Alecia Schmuhl also faces a charge of obstruction of justice without force and a felony count of eluding or disregarding police. They are being held without bond after appearing in Fairfax County General District Court on Wednesday.

Alecia Schmuhl was dismissed from the firm of Bean Kinney & Korman late last week, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA.

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According to their LinkedIn profiles, the two suspects both have law degrees from the same university and had worked as lawyers in northern Virginia since graduation.

The investigation is still under way, but police said they believe it was not a random act. Because the police have not formally released the names or conditions of the victims, ABC News has chosen to withhold their names, but the law firm Bean Kinney & Korman released a statement.

“We are very affected by the event and very concerned for everyone involved and hope that there is full recovery for our partner and his wife,” David Canfield, a spokesperson for Bean Kinney & Korman, told ABC News.

The violence of the attack stunned the victims’ neighbor Dave Tivel, who told ABC News, “It’s a pretty quiet neighborhood” where the only crime they experience is when “somebody will leave a bicycle out in front by the street and some yard guys will grab it.”

Tivel said that the victims lived in the area for more than a decade and he regularly saw the husband go on daily walks around the neighborhood for exercise.

“I just can’t believe that a couple of lawyers — you’d think they’d have more sense than to do something like that,” Tivel said of the attackers.

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Parents Ordered to Pay Estranged Daughter’s College Tuition

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A New Jersey woman has successfully sued her estranged parents to pay for her college tuition.

A judge in Camden County, New Jersey, ruled that Caitlyn Ricci’s biological parents will have to cough up $16,000 each year so that Ricci, 21, can continue classes across the Delaware River at Temple University in Pennsylvania, ABC News station WPVI in Philadelphia reported.

The parents’ attorney is appealing the judge’s decision, her mother, Maura McGarvey, told ABC News. She said she’s shocked her own daughter would sue her.

“Of course, it’s not anything you ever imagine,” she said between tears. “I feel like I tried very hard to raise my child right.”

McGarvey said she learned Ricci was suing her and her ex-husband when the court papers arrived on the Friday before Mother’s Day 2013.

The parents had already filed a motion to emancipate their daughter.

Ricci’s parents’ marriage only lasted two-and-a-half years. Ricci lived with her mother but also saw her father, the couple said.

“She comes from two loving families and she was given what she wanted when she was growing up,” her father, Michael Ricci, told WPVI.

McGarvey described her daughter as a rebellious teenager who left home and moved in with her grandparents last February because she didn’t want to follow her mother’s rules, putting stress on the family’s relationship. She said the only time she has seen her daughter since she started at Temple University was in a courtroom.

“She packed her stuff and moved in with my ex-in-laws,” McGarvey said.

Caitlyn Ricci’s attorney, Andrew Rochester, told ABC News she was unavailable for comment. He told WPVI her parents were to blame for the separation.

“Caitlyn did not voluntarily leave the home. She was thrown out by her mother,” Rochester told WPVI.

“Caitlyn really is a good girl. She is the nicest, sweetest girl,” he added. “All she wants is to go to college.”

A judge said divorced parents may be required to contribute to their children’s education, according to WPVI.

Ricci’s grandparents are paying her legal fees, according to WPVI.

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Driver Reportedly Blames Truck Stuck in Milwaukee Park on GPS

iStock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) — The driver of a tractor-trailer that ended up in the middle of a Milwaukee park reportedly told police his GPS navigation system led him there.

The driver, who was not identified, drove his trailer onto a walkway in Milwaukee’s Lake Park on Tuesday afternoon. The driver steered the truck over two bridges, striking a tree and damaging a railway in the process, according to ABC News affiliate WISN.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported the driver was a 50-year-old man from Indiana. He was fined $579.80 for reckless driving and failure to obey signs, police said, according to the newspaper.

Milwaukee County Sheriff’s officials did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Crews arrived on Wednesday to remove the truck from the park.


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Hammerhead Shark Stalks Florida Kayakers for Two Miles

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Mark Naumovitz and a fellow kayaker off of Florida’s coast encountered a surprising guest this week — a hammerhead shark.

Underwater video shows the shark trailing the group for two miles.

“He hit my rudder and jarred my whole kayak,” Naumovitz said. The shark followed along, “steadily and creepily,” he added.

The kayakers believe the shark was about 13 feet long, about as big as their kayaks.

“With a big shark following you, it got a little hairy — just a little hairy I think,” Naumovitz said.

Hammerheads are not considered as aggressive as great whites, with fewer than 30 attacks in recorded history. But they can be territorial — a lesson learned by a spearfishing duo in California who were circled by an 8-foot hammerhead. The duo clung to each other and jabbed at the shark with spears before deciding to get back on their boat.

Experts believe warm waters from El Nino could be responsible for increases in shark encounters, with the warm waters attracting fish — as well as the bigger fish that eat them.

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The Absurd Reason US Marshals Spend Millions on Charter Flights

Greg Kahn/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A new review of the U.S. Marshal Service said that the cost of bringing international fugitives to justice in the U.S. is getting out of control, partly because the service is spending millions of taxpayer dollars on charter flights for criminal transport. But what is normally thought to be a luxury, the service says, is actually a necessity due to some obscure lines in U.S. legal code.

Last year alone the service spent some $5.3 million to remove 875 international fugitives from a third country and bring them to the U.S., according to a Department of Justice Inspector General report released on Thursday. The Marshals had requested the review, hoping to curb the “spiraling cost” of the removals.

Many trips cost next to nothing as “some removal events from Mexico may involve simply walking or driving the fugitive across the U.S. border.” Others, however, can run up a tab north of $200,000 each usually on the relatively rare occasion when the USMS springs for taking their quarry home on chartered flights.

In fiscal year 2013, the service took 29 chartered flights, costing approximately $2.3 million, the IG report says. The difference in cost from chartered to commercial can be striking, as noted in a section of the IG report that said a 2012 chartered transport for a fugitive from Scotland to Arizona was approximately $130,000, compared to a similar removal the next year done commercially for just under $6,000.

But while the IG criticized the Marshals for sometimes not explaining why some chartered fights were necessary, in the report the Marshals do explain one curious problem with what’s known as “959” cases.

The “959” refers to a section in the U.S. legal code that says when a person is apprehended on certain drug charges outside the U.S., they “shall be tried in the United States district court at the point of entry where such person enters the United States…” By the USMS’s interpretation, this means “where the aircraft first touches down” — no connecting domestic flights allowed, even just for refueling.

“As a result, the USMS must ensure that a ‘959’ fugitive is taken directly to the federal judicial district where the original charge was brought so that prosecutors responsible for the case can handle the prosecution,” the IG report says. “This can be problematic when commercial airlines do not offer direct flights to a particular federal district.”

For example, the IG report says that the Southern District of New York doesn’t have a major international airport, “yet many narcotics and high-profile cases are charged in this district.” So, the USMS has to charter a plane that can fly into a smaller airport in Westchester County, which is in the right judicial district, even though major hubs like JFK, LaGuardia and Newark International Airport are just miles away.

The IG conceded that there was little to be done about the “959” cases, short of telling the Marshals to “seek legislative change” to the U.S. code to remedy the problem.

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Pair Sought in Daring Midday Armed Jewelry Heist in NYC

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York investigators are pouring over surveillance tapes looking for clues that will help them identify two heavily armed men who allegedly robbed a jewelry store in the city’s busy Diamond District, escaping with more than half a million dollars in jewelry and $6,000, according to authorities.

The heist occurred around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday as the Veterans Day Parade passed by less than a block away.

“They had a great knowledge of the situation,” said Nick Casale, an ABC News consultant and former member of the NYPD. “They cased this place prior. They came in boldly. They came in comfortably.”

Police said one man posed as a delivery man Tuesday and was let into the eighth-floor Standard Jewelry Shop. Four workers were inside at the time, including owner Daniel Mikhaylov.

“Suspect No. 1 pulls out a gun and demands the jewelry in the safe to be placed into a bag that he was carrying,” said Deputy Chief William Aubrey. “A fifth employee returned during this time and was struck by suspect No. 1 in the head with a gun.”

Police said the second man involved in the robbery waited outside as a lookout. The worker who was struck in the head — Mikhaylov’s father — was in stable condition.

Mikhaylov told ABC News on Wednesday that 90% of the shop’s inventory — including Rolex watches, some diamonds, and Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry pieces — had been stolen.

He said that the pieces were not insured because the shop did “business among friends.”

He said he did not recognize either man.

He said the two men claimed they had more accomplices downstairs.

Police took their search to the rooftops on Wednesday with its K9 unit, hoping the dogs would catch a scent.

Sources, however, told ABC News that the pair likely didn’t exit from the roof and that they ran out the front of the building, going in two different directions and vanishing into the parade crowds.

Police said that one of the two had used the subway after leaving the building and that cameras had caught him entering the station.

They were reportedly running surveillance images through a mug shot database as well as fingerprints found at the scene.

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Earthquake Hits Kansas

Photodisc/Thinkstock(CONWAY, Kan.) — A 4.8-magnitude earthquake hit Kansas Wednesday afternoon near the city of Conway Springs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center.

A spokesman for the Sumner County Emergency Management in Kansas told ABC News that he received no reports of major damage.

People in Conway Springs and Derby, near Wichita, noted that they felt shaking for 10 to 20 seconds, but added that the shaking was “not intense.”

A fire truck is headed to a location eight miles south of Conway Springs, which is believed to be the earthquake’s epicenter, to check on one location that might have received damage.

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Suspect Charged in Wife’s 2012 Murder Enters Not-Guilty Plea

Harold Henthorn /FacebookA Colorado man accused of killing his wife after she fell off a cliff while hiking with him in a national park in 2012 pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday afternoon.

Harold Henthorn did not speak in the Denver federal court during the first session of the day, but sat beside his attorney while wearing a khaki jumpsuit and his wedding ring.

Authorities confirmed last week that they had also launched an investigation into the 1995 death of his first wife, Sandra Henthorn. Sandra, then 38, died when a jack slipped while she and her husband were changing a flat tire and their car crushed her to death.

Henthorn was not charged with his second wife Toni’s 2012 death until last week, after police said they determined that they have enough evidence to argue that it was not an accident.

“Mr. Henthorn was the only person in deserted areas in both of his wives’ deaths,” U.S. Attorney Blair Spencer said in court Wednesday.

When asked by the judge if he had enough money to pay for bond, Henthorn’s attorney, Craig Truman, said that he would be getting financial help from family and friends because he has not had “steady employment” for years.

Concerns about Henthorn’s financial standing were raised by Dana Chamberlain, an auditor in the economic crime section of the U.S. Attorney’s office who reviewed his tax returns and bank accounts for the case. She said that Henthorn had told friends that he worked as a fundraiser for nonprofits, but there was no money trail to support that claim.

Toni Henthorn had three $1.5 million life insurance policies in her name at the time of the accident, authorities said. Though the Special Administrator of the Estate noted that a claim was made for one of those policies just two days after she fell 140 feet to her death — on the same morning that her autopsy was being performed — that money was never paid.

Chamberlain noted that Harold Henthorn has not received any payments as a result of Toni’s life insurance policies, but he did get $495,000 from his first wife’s policy following her 1995 death.

Truman reminded the court that “claims on Sandra’s death were paid after the Douglas County Sheriff investigation was over,” but did not mention anything about the sheriff’s office decision to reopen the investigation following Toni’s death.

“I’m sure when all the facts are known in this difficult and complex case, justice will be done,” Truman told ABC News after his client’s arrest Thursday.

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Couple That Lost Twin Baby Weds at Bedside of Surviving Infant

WFAA(FORT WORTH, Texas) — A Texas couple coping with the loss of one of their twin babies got married at the bedside of the surviving infant in an emotional hospital ceremony.

Kristi and Justin Nelson said their vows Tuesday at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth next to their 2-month-old son, J.J., who was dressed in a tuxedo onesie and served as the ring bearer.

“We couldn’t leave him out of our wedding,” Kristi Nelson told ABC News Wednesday.

“It was a dream come true,” she added. “I could not have wished for it to be any more perfect. The main thing was having our son there by our side. It meant the world to us.”

She gave birth to J.J. on Sept. 2, but his twin was stillborn. J.J. survived, but was premature and only weighed 1 pound and 13 ounces at birth. J.J. has remained at the hospital’s NICU since birth because his lungs are underdeveloped, but his parents hope they can take him home soon. He’s already tripled in size, his mom said.

“He’s definitely made some improvements and he is a fighter,” she said.

The couple’s family and their 8-year-old daughter joined them for the one-of-a-kind wedding, the first time anyone has married at the hospital, while the rings balanced on J.J.’s chest.

“After losing our baby Colt, J.J.’s twin, we decided that we’ve been putting it off for too long and with him getting stronger, we wanted to share this day and include him in it as well,” Nelson said.

Her wedding dress was donated and the couple borrowed J.J.’s tuxedo onesie from a friend.

The couple says the ordeal has only made them stronger.

“We’ve had great times and we’ve definitely been through some very tragic and hard times,” Nelson said. “Our love has only grown and made us stronger. We know that after all we’ve been through, there’s no doubt that we can make it through anything.”

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Man Charged After Attempted Kidnapping in Utah

Getty Images(SANDY, Utah) — Police formally filed charges on Wednesday against the man accused of the attempted kidnapping of a five-year-old girl in Utah last week.

Tory Morley, 48, allegedly broke into a home in Sandy, Utah, on Nov. 7 and grabbed the girl from her bedroom.

The girl’s parents woke up during the kidnapping, and after finding their daugter’s room empty, they confronted Morley outside their home and rescued her.

Morley fled, but was later located in a neighbor’s home and taken into custody.

The Sandy Police Department said Wednesday that Morley has been charged with one count of child kidnapping and one count of burglary — both felonies. He also faces one count each of criminal trespassing in a dwelling and interference with arresting officer.

Morley is currently being held on $2 million bail.

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